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VP’s wife, state governors’ wives harp on girl-child education



VP’s wife, state governors’ wives harp on girl-child education

The wife of the Vice President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, and wives of Kebbi and Ogun state governors, on Tuesday, stressed the need to improve access to quality education for the girl-child.

They made the call at the launch of the ‘Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS)’ project and commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC) in Abuja.

Osinbajo, while decrying the high number of out of school children, particularly girls, in the country, called for more commitment to highlight issues affecting the girl-child to enable her explore and achieve her potentials.

According to her, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and other harmful traditional practices like the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) are some of the hindrances affecting the girl-child.

While commending Proctor and Gamble (P7G) and Talitha Cumi Foundation for distributing sanitary hygiene materials to girls, Osinbajo stressed the need to provide opportunities for girls to achieve their dreams.

“ The potential that the girl child has must not be stopped by anything. They must achieve their potentials because our enjoyment of life depends on it.

Also read: VP’s wife calls for greater investment in girl-child education

“The potential of the girl, who will be a pilot or maybe an astronaut, who may be a doctor or maybe a surgeon, a teacher or CEO or an MD as we see today or a first lady when she is educated, is a step closer to being who she is  made to be,’’ she said.

Also, the wife of the Kebbi state governor, Dr Zainab Bagudu, called on the government to provide conducive business environment for businesses to thrive, which will encourage investors to delve into sanitary hygiene products.

“ There is a lot that needs to be done, we have indigenous and non-indigenous manufacturers of sanitary hygiene products that are facing a lot of difficulties operating within the current atmosphere in the country.

“Repatriation of the earnings is very difficult, it is not something that is limited to this industry alone. There is taxation of some of the components that are required to make these products.

“Government needs to sit down and look at that and find a way to provide an easy to do business environment that we here about all the time,’’ she said.

While commending P&G and Talitha Cumi Foundation for providing vulnerable and marginalised girls in Ogun state with sanitary products, the wife of Ogun state governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, called for subsidy in taxation of sanitary products.

“Many children cannot afford to purchase sanitary towels and now things are even tougher.

“So now you can imagine the impact of it in the lives of children, young girls. If we make provisions on a regular basis for sanitary towels.

“We need the government to support the manufacturers to make laws that will make it easier for the manufacturing and production of sanitary towels to be more accessible and affordable to young girls,’’ she said.

On her part, Mrs Temitope Iluyemi, Senior Director, Global Government Relations, Africa, P&G, said the launch of the second round of AKGIS project is aimed at removing gender bias, promoting girl-child education and ending SGBV.

Iluyemi said the project targets 10,000 girls with menstrual hygiene education programme as well as one-year supply of always sanitary pad in rural and semi-urban areas in the FCT and Ogun state.

Mrs Tayo Erinle, Executive Director, Talitha Cumi Foundation, said the organisation will work with school authorities to offer girls that are vulnerable some sanitary products and menstrual hygiene education.

“The idea is to reach girls who do not have the opportunity or cannot even afford sanitary pad and they are many. So we work in schools that are underserved communities to meet these girls.

“Some of them are househelps, orphans, heads of households – girls, who treat their menstruation with ordinary clothing materials,’’ she said.

Erinle said the girls will be given adequate and right knowledge on menstrual hygiene management, puberty training and discarding myths and taboos associated with menstruation to enable them stay in school during their cycles.


Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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