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USAID Earmarks $19.2m for 76,000 HIV Orphaned Nigerian Kids

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USAID Nigeria

By Adedapo Adesanya

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission has launched $19.2 million Integrated Child Health and Social Services Award Region 4 (ICHSSAA 4) to support 76,000 HIV Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Nigeria.

The agency made this known in a statement by the Public Affairs Department of US Embassy in Abuja, as the activity is set to commence in Bauchi and Adamawa States.

At a virtual launch of the new activity, USAID’s Country Director, Mr Stephen Haykin, revealed that the programme was designed to protect vulnerable or orphaned children in both states.

He said the $19.2 million ICHSSAA 4 activity was among four new USAID OVC programmes that was targeting about 450,000 people in six states.

The USAID chief said that the integrated approach aimed to protect young people from the stigma of association with HIV and eliminate the perception of people living with HIV as anything less than fully productive community members.

He added that this USAID assistance would help Nigeria achieve a healthier, more resilient and educated population through support to children and their families made vulnerable to HIV.

“We hope its successful practices and procedures can be duplicated and scaled up by state and local governments both in Bauchi and Adamawa.

“Over the next five years, ProHealth International will implement ICHSSA 4 in concert with other indigenous non-governmental organisations in Adamawa and Bauchi states.

“To provide much needed HIV prevention, treatment, protection, and care and support services to over 76,000 vulnerable children and their households.

“Working with indigenous community-based organisations, ICHSSA 4 will respond to the specific needs of children living with HIV and their families, survivors of sexual violence, and children and adolescents at high risk of HIV.

“The activity will focus on strengthening families, communities, government systems, and civic institutions that care for HIV infected, affected, and at-risk OVC and adolescents, and help teens stay healthy, stay in school, and lead safe and stable lives.

“The five-year ICHSSA 4 will build on the successes of other past and present USAID investments in partnership with local Nigerian organisations and state governments.

“To continue support OVCs, including the launches of the COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in nine states and will help further solidify USAID’s relationship with state counterparts,” he said.

The Bauchi State First lady, Mr Aisha Bala Muhammad, while speaking at the launch, said the project would ensure the provision of quality services for orphans and vulnerable children in a sustainable manner.

“Working with the existing mechanisms and structures, we can better the living conditions of the OVCS in Bauchi state,” she said.

USAID revealed that from July 2014 to December 2019, it funded three similar OVC activities in six states that helped mitigate the impact of HIV and Tuberculosis among over 600,000 OVCs and their families.

It noted that the activities had helped improve health systems at the state and local levels while boosting the capacity of local partner organisations.

It also disclosed that other states to be included in the ICHSAA4 intervention for the next five years include Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, and Kano.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive Nigeria

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COVID-19 Vaccine Nigeria

By Ahmed Rahma

The first batch of the COVID-19 vaccines produced by AstraZeneca in conjunction with the Oxford University, the United Kingdom, has arrived in Nigeria, one of the presidential aides, Mr Bashir Ahmad, has announced.

Nigeria had been expecting to receive almost 4 million doses of the vaccine on Tuesday for free, according to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a tweet this morning via his official Twitter handle, Mr Ahmad disclosed that the drugs came into the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on an Emirates flight. He said the doses touched down at the airport at about 11:46am.

“The first batch of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines has arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja,” Mr Ahmad said in the post.

Also recall that it was reported that the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, had said that the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in Nigeria in batches.

According to him, the country has been allocated 16 million doses and from late February 2021, the jabs will begin to enter the country for the use of Nigerians.

At the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, the health expert said Nigeria will also stick with the vaccine despite South Africa rejecting it based on its epidemiological and equity assessment done by WHO.

“As earlier communicated, Nigeria is no longer expecting the 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BIONtech vaccine through the COVAX facility but has been allocated about 16 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“This was based on epidemiological and equity assessment done by WHO,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria was considered one of the countries ready to receive the Pfizer vaccine but because the distribution intended to achieve public health value, it was not practical to provide every capable country with the vaccine due to its limited quantity.

Yesterday, Business Post reported that an online portal for the registration for the COVID-19 vaccination was launched.

Nigeria intends to first inoculate frontline health workers, security officials and others.

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Zamfara Governor Confirms Release of Abducted Schoolgirls

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Jangebe schoolgirls1

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Governor of Zamfara State, Mr Bello Matawalle, has confirmed the release of the students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Zamfara, abducted by some terrorists last Friday.

Mr Matawalle said the girls were released by their abductors in the early hours of Tuesday after five days in the den of their kidnappers.

Last Friday, nearly 300 students of the institution were taken away in their dormitory by the insurgents. The incident happened just over a week after some students were abducted in Niger State.

“Alhamdulillah! It gladdens my heart to announce the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe from captivity.

“This follows the scaling of several hurdles laid against our efforts.

“I enjoin all well-meaning Nigerians to rejoice with us as our daughters are now safe,” Governor Matawalle announced this morning.

Business Post gathered that the girls were taken to the Government House in Gusau, the state capital before being taken to an undisclosed location for proper care.

The release of the schoolgirls has elicited excitement in the country.

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari promised that there would not be any kidnapping of students again in the country. He has also warned that the government would not condone such act any longer.

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ITREALMS Unveils Date for 2021 DigitalSENSE Forum

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ITREALMS

By Ahmed Rahma

The multiple award-winning digital news platform and the organisers of the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum (NDSF) series, ITREALMS Media, has unveiled the date for the 2021 edition of the forum.

The Editor-in-Chief/Lead Consulting Strategist at ITREALMS Media, Mr Remmy Nweke, made the disclosure over the weekend.

According to him, the management has approved Thursday, June 10, 2021, as the date for the yearly NDSF which borders on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) and Nigeria IPv6 Roundtable.

Mr Nweke revealed that the main theme for 2021 is Digital Cooperation: Enhancing Multistakeholder Governance for Digital Economy.

He said nowadays, the paradigm shift has shown that the digital era brought inconceivable benefits alongside many challenges not limited to growing digital divides, cyber threats, and human rights violations more so online.

In order to lay a roadmap for the Nigerian stakeholders towards improving what has become digital cooperation, ITREALMS Media, through its digital rights initiative of the annual Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum (NDSF) series, will be exploring the theme for safer, equitable world with positive future on the disclosed date at the Welcome Centre Hotels, International Airport Road, Ikeja, Lagos.”

He further revealed that NDSF series motivates public discourse and create awareness on the technological cum business benefits of rapidly advancing technologies capable of impacting on ICT adaptation, Internet Governance, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and domain name industry, their effects on the eco-system and offers a first-class platform for industry networking.

The Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum series is organised by ITREALMS Media and hosted under DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), an At-Large Structure certified by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in collaboration with critical stakeholders including regulators in the Information and Communication Technologies.

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Corps Members’ February Stipend Not Used to Settle Bandits—NYSC

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NYSC Members

By Ahmed Rahma

The management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has denied the news that the February stipend for corps members has been used to settle bandits.

The agency described the rumour as fake news, noting that there is no iota of truth in the speculations, which are going viral.

It was alleged that the federal government was planning to pay a part of the February stipend for corps members at the end of March.

But the NYSC, in a statement titled To all Corps Members and the General Public, said the news emanated from mischief-makers, urging the corps members to ignore it and only rely on the NYSC platforms for information regarding the service.

“The management of the National Youth Service Corps wishes to alert members of the public, especially corps members on the fake news currently trending, which states that corps members will be paid the February monthly stipend at the end of March 2021.

“The fake information claimed that the fund appropriated for the stipend had been expended on the settlement of bandits.

“[The] management enjoins all to disregard in its entirety the story which is the handiwork of mischief-makers.

“[The] management admonishes the originators of this falsehood to refrain from such criminal acts. Corps members are advised as always to only rely on the information on the NYSC platforms,” the statement read.

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Ikeja Electric Assigns Prepaid Meters to All Customers

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Ikeja Electric

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

All unmetered customers of Ikeja Electric Plc have been scheduled for metering, a notice from the electricity distribution company has revealed.

The affected customers would be provided prepaid meters under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) of the federal government, the disclosure explained.

However, to claim the meters, energy consumers would have to register on the Ikeja Electric platform and provide the necessary details.

Interested applicants have been advised to visit kyc.ikejaelectric.com for registration.

A visit to the registration portal by Business Post showed that unmetered energy consumers would be asked their biodata, including the IE account number, means of identification, passport photograph, amongst others.

“This information is for all unmetered customers under Ikeja Business unit. You have now been scheduled for metering under the National Mass Metering Program.

“All those who are yet to register are enjoined to visit kyc.ikejaelectric.com to complete their registration as soon as possible.

“Please note that we will not be able to meter you without a complete registration via kyc.ikejaelectric.com,” the notice from the disco said.

It further urged customers not to pay any money to the meter installers as well as Ikeja Electric staff at “any point, during your field survey or meter installation.”

The federal government, as part of efforts to bridge the wide metering gap, came up with NMMP and it is to provide six million locally-made prepaid meters to energy consumers in the country.

Though it said the meters would be installed free of charge, Business Post gathered that over time, customers will pay for the meters.

A strategy would be designed to deduct the value of the prepaid meters from every recharge made by the customers.

It could be similar to the deduction of a certain percentage of every unit of energy bought by current customers with outstanding bills on their prepaid meters.

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Why Buhari is Ineffective, Incompetent, Clueless—Aisha Yesufu

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Buhari Aisha Yesufu

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group, Ms Aisha Yesufu, explained why she describes President Muhammadu Buhari as ineffective, incompetent and clueless.

The popular activist, while speaking on Politics Today aired on Channels Television last Friday, accused the President of not performing the duties he was elected for.

She criticised the handling of the security situation in the country by Mr Buhari, despite swearing on oath to protect the lives and properties of citizens of Nigeria.

The Edo State-born Ms Yesufu was reacting to the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State by some terrorists. The incident occurred barely two weeks after a similar kidnapping of students in Niger State.

The President had in a statement last Friday warned the kidnappers that the government was not afraid to put an end to their activities, but Ms Yesufu, who was very vocal when some schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 in Chibok, Borno State, described Mr Buhari’s words as “absolutely nothing.”

According to her, “We are used to a President whose words mean nothing. He says one thing and another thing happens.”

“The body language of President Muhammadu Buhari enables the terrorists. They know that we have an ineffective President and Commander-In-Chief, we have an incompetent one a clueless one, who does not even bother about what is happening in the country,” she added.

“Yesterday (last Thursday), we buried seven military officers, the best that we have, the nation was in mourning and the President was a few minutes away from where they were and the President didn’t even turn up, what does that signify? It is high time we begin to make serious demands on the President,” Ms Yesufu stated.

She expressed worry that the government was yet to learn anything from the previous abductions “in spite of almost seven years of advocacy that we have been calling on the government to do the right thing and to do the needful to ensure that the citizens are protected.”

But when asked steps that can be taken to put a stop to insecurity in the nation, she simply said, “It is not in our place to give the way forward.

“His (the President’s) salaries are being paid for it, his needs are being taken care of. He was voted to give the way forward.”

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