Population opC), and relevant stakeholders, have been cautioned against extorting money from citizens during birth registration.
Agbonsuremi ’s Executive Director, described birth registration as one of the biggest current corruption channel where ordinary Nigerians were made to pay to get their newborns registered in the country.
Birth registration is supposed to be free in Nigeria, and it is the responsibility of the NPopC to keep the birth record as it keeps death records, because both are important for national planning.
Corruption is a major problem facing Nigeria and it is robbing the citizens of the dividends of good governance,’’ he said.
He noted that birth registration of children in Nigeria had been low, in spite of the initiative introduced in 2012 by NPC with the support of United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) (Nigeria) to address the problem.
According to him, extortion of money by birth registration officials across the country has denied the country from registering a large number of births.
This he said had further hampered appropriate record keeping for actual number of births recorded in the country in a year.
He noted that with increasing demand for birth certificates for different purposes, many Nigerians had missed opportunities such as scholarships, oversea trips and admissions among others.
With this reality, parents are now eager to get their children registered but the exercise is marred by extortion and lack of adequate registration centres in rural areas.
It became worrisome when the officials saddled with the childbirth registration are those that are culpable of this crime in spite of the fact that registration is the first step towards recognising a child’s inalienable rights as a human being.
An investigation by the ICIR revealed that the task of documenting the birth of Nigerian babies has been taken over by touts and profiteers who collect dubious fees from unsuspecting parents,’’ he said.
He called on anti-graft agencies to beam their searchlights on the NPopC’s birth registration with a view to ending the corruption, sanitising the system, and prosecuting culpable officials.
He further said that UNICEF in a report titled “Good practices: Working towards free and universal birth registration’’ stated that costs related to fees had always been a barrier to increased birth registration.
He, however, said UNICEF recommended the prohibition of payment for birth registration in some countries such as Nigeria, Senegal and Rwanda among others.
The Executive Director urged the Federal Government to look into the recommendation.
PRIMORG is focused on advocating for good governance and accountability. It fights corruption generally, sensitises and mobilises citizens to participate wisely in government activities such as election.
Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated globally on Dec. 9, to tackle corruption in all fields of life.
Edited by: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore
Facebook announces opening of new office in Lagos
Facebook on Friday said it would be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria, as part of its continued commitment and ongoing investment in Africa.
Facebook, in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos, said this would be its second office on the African continent.
It said the opening of the new office was aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region.
The office, it said, was expected to become operational in 2021.
According to Facebook, it will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.
It said the office would be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.
Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Head of New Product Experimentation, said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world.
“All across Africa, we are seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem and I am proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we will build products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm.
“We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.
“The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa.
“The hub was opened in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance, “Archibong said.
Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa said that the new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to the region.
“Our mission in Africa is no different from other parts of the world, which is to build community and bring the world closer together.
“I am excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa,” Boakye said.
The policy director said since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook had made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem.
Boakye noted that the support includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa.
He said thia was aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID.
Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa, said: “We are delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria.
” Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we will continue to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms.
“The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent,” Ntshingila said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Optimal breastfeeding, complementary feeding will prevent malnutrition in children – UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday said that optimal breastfeeding and age-appropriate complementary feeding practices would prevent malnutrition among children under five years.
Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, a Nutrition Specialist at the UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, stated this in Kaduna at the end of a three-day training for traditional birth attendants, women leaders, health workers and nutrition focal persons.
The training was organised by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to promote optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices toward ending malnutrition in Kaduna State.
Ezeife explained that good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival, health, and development.
She added that well-nourished children would grow, learn, participate, and contribute to the development of their communities.
She said that the well-nourished children would also be resilient in the face of disease, disasters, and other global crises.
“But for the millions of children suffering from acute malnutrition, death is inevitable except something is done urgently.
“For millions more, chronic malnutrition will result in stunting – an irreversible condition that literally stunts the physical and cognitive growth of children.”
She said that with optimal breastfeeding practices and adequate complementary feeding, malnutrition would be averted among children and would give them a good start in life.
The nutrition specialist said that optimal brain development of a child depended largely on sufficient quantities of key nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life, which breast milk and age-appropriate complementary feeding will provide.
“As such, early initiation of breastfeeding within 30 minutes to one hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months presents a window of opportunity for the nourishment of children.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that infants should not be given any form of complementary food until after the first six months of age, in addition to breast milk.
“Complementary feeding is introduced after six months, when breastfeeding alone is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, and therefore, other foods and liquids are needed, along with breast milk,” she said.
Mr Silas Ideva, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, explained that the objective of the training was for the participants to understand the importance of feeding children the right kinds of food.
Ideva added that the training was also organised to identify and resolve the difficulties in ensuring optimal IYCF practices in communities.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Dada
UNICEF tracks 544,951 out of schools children in Adamawa
The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) says it tracked about 544,951 out of school children in Adamawa in 2019.
Mr Bhanu Pathak, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, said this at a ceremony to mark the commencement of reconstruction and rehabilitation of 80 schools in Adamawa ,held in Fufore, headquarters of Fufore Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on Thursday.
Pathak, however, said that about 94 per cent ( 514,743 ) of the children were returned to school after some efforts.
He said that UNICEF partnership with the State Government in the education sector over the years had yield positive results.
“Among the positive partnership results are in 2029 about 544,951 out of school children were tracked in five LGAs ,where 94 per cent of the children were successful returned to school.
” Also, over 599,417 additional children were enroled into school as a result of enrolment drive in camps and host communities across the state.
” And today, we are witnessing another important flag off of project on renovation and reconstruction of 80 schools in Fufore and Guyuk LGAs before the end of 2020,” Pathak said.
The field officer said that another set of schools would be considered in additional four LGAs ultimately, to contribute to quality education in the state.
Pathak urged the state government to release the N200 million counterpart funding for the implementation all basic education intervention in the state for 2020.
Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri thanked UNICEF for its efforts in ensuring that children in the state were supported to get basic and quality education.
Fintiri said that the enormous task before his administration was to ensure that basic education was made available to every child in state.
“I am delighted to hear the progress report of the Chairman of the Board and I want to use this opportunity to thank the UNICEF and development partners on Basic Education in the state including the Universal Basic Education Board for sponsoring some of these laudable projects.
“Our greatest asset is the children and educating them properly is the surest way to preserve the asset.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on parents and community leaders to ensure that children are enroled in schools when schools resume,” Fintiri said. ( NAN)
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
NBS solicits Nigerians’ support on survey on children, women
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has appealed to the general public to support its survey on the situation of women and children it is conducting, is brought to “ a successful end”.
Mr Sunday Ichedi, the Head, Public Affairs and International Relations Unit, NBS made the appeal on Wednesday in a statement.
Ichedi said that Nigeria had formally started the process of conducting the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS6)/National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) with a virtual inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee.
The programme was developed to support countries in the collection of internationally comparable data on a wide range of indicators on the situation of children and women.
MICS surveys measure key indicators that allowed countries to generate data for use in policies and programmes, and to monitor progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed upon commitments.
“The National Steering Committee on MICS6/NICS appeals to the general public for their support in ensuring that the survey is brought to successful end.
“Nigeria has formally commenced the process of conducting the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS6)/National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) with an inaugural meeting of the National Steering Committee virtually held on Sept. 15.
“The task of the committee is to oversee the whole process of MICS6/NICS 2020 to ensure that all activities concerning the survey are effectively carried out for a successful outcome,” he said.
Ichedi said that MICS was the largest source of statistically sound and internationally comparable data on women and children worldwide.
He said the data focused on issues such as health, education, child protection, water and sanitation, among others.
“Since its inception, a total of five rounds have been conducted with technical support mostly from UNICEF,’’ he said.
Members of the National Steering Committee were drawn from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government and international partners, of which the NBS is the chair.
Members of the committee included National Population Commission; Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Education; and Ministry of Women Affairs.
Others are Ministry of Water Resources; Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Central Bank of Nigeria; and National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
Also Office of Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention; Representatives of States Bureau of Statistics (Bauchi and Sokoto); and GAVI (Vaccine Alliance).
Finally, Melinda and Gates Foundation; UNICEF; United Nations Population Fund; Department for International Development (DFID); World Health Organisation; World Bank; and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“For more enquiries on this survey please contact Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, the Director of Real Sector and Household Statistics Department, NBS through the number: 08065646116,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf