The Republic of Zimbabwe is looking forward to the operationalization of AMAADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 18, 2021/APO Group/ --
The Republic of Zimbabwe becomes the eleventh (12th) Member State to deposit the instrument of ratification of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). The Republic of Zimbabwe ratified the Treaty for the establishment of AMA on 31 August 2021 in Harare, Zimbabwe and deposited the instrument of accession, to the Commission of the African Union (AU) on 17 September 2021 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mr. Sabelo Mbokazi, Head of Labor, Employment and Migration, at the Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS) Directorate, on behalf of the African Union Commission received the instrument from the Zimbabwe delegation.
Speaking during the official deposit, the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Ethiopia and the African Union H.E. Taonga Mushayavanhu noted that the deposit will add to the number of deposits required to meet the expected target of 15 deposits for the Treaty to come into force. “The Republic of Zimbabwe is looking forward to the operationalization of AMA and to contribute to the important role that the Agency will play in the standardization and regulation of medicines and medical products in the continent,” the Ambassador said.
The ratification and deposit of the instrument follows a high-level advocacy engagement between H.E President H.E. President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Republic of Zimbabwe with Honourable Michel Sidibé the African Union Special Envoy for the AMA on 18 May, 2021 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The Agency’s main function will be to promote the use of quality assured, safe and efficacious medicines, medical products and medical technologies in Africa. AMA will also monitor the medicines market through the collection of samples in every State Party to ensure the quality of selected drugs, have them analysed and provide the results to State Parties and other interested parties, who will thus have reliable information on the quality of the drugs circulating in their countries and, where necessary, will take appropriate measures.
Seventeen (17) member states have ratified the AMA Treaty and twelve (12) of these have deposited the instruments of ratification to the Commission. The AMA Treaty will enter into Force 30 days upon the deposit of the 15th instrument of ratification at the Commission. Pending the deposit of the 15th instrument of ratification, the Commission has invited member states to submit proposals for the hosting of the Africa Medicines Agency Headquarters. The Commission has also further extended the deadline for submission of interest to host the AMA up to 15th October 2021 per the ruling of the PRC on 6th September 2021. The Commission expects to have the establishment and operationalization of the AMA in full progress in 2022.
The African Union Commission encourages all its Member States to sign and ratify the Treaty for the establishment of AMA in the interest of public health, safety and security. The Treaty is available for signature at the Headquarters of the Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
At least 9,150 patients received surgical care from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Maiduguri in the last 18 months, its Head of Delegation, Mr Eloi Fillion, said on Monday.
Fillion told the News Agency of Nigeria in Maiduguri that no fewer than 7,700 patients received surgical care from the ICRC surgical team in 2019.
He said that the ICRC’s surgical team received more than 350 surgical admissions and carried out more than 1,450 surgical interventions in the first half of 2020
He said out of those received in the period, 11 patients in critical conditions were referred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) for further treatment.
He added that the surgical programme of the ICRC would stretch for a long time in Maiduguri because of its training component.
“It is not only meant to support emergency for people who needed to be treated, it is also a teaching programme for medical staff including surgeons here in Nigeria and abroad.
“We train on orthopaedic surgery and everything that goes around it; we train staff that will be sent abroad to work in similar circumstances.
“We don’t have many places to train on orthopaedic surgery, so Maiduguri has become one of the places to train ICRC medical staff on orthopaedic surgery,’’ Fillion said.
He said the ICRC also opened the Maiduguri Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) recently in collaboration with the UMTH to provide physical rehabilitation services.
According to him, the PRC will offer services in physiotherapy, prostheses (artificial limbs), orthoses (supportive braces) for upper and lower limbs, customised wheelchair fitting and walking aids.
“It will also offer services in mental health psycho-social support as well as offer accommodation for patients from outside Maiduguri in its 18-bed dormitory,’’ he said.
He told NAN that ICRC would still maintain its PRC domiciled at the Dala Orthopaedic Hospital in Kano.
“We will maintain our Kano centre for those from other parts of the northwest, but we don’t have so many war wounded patients there like we have in Maiduguri.
“Here in Maiduguri, we have more patients treated in our surgical ward and some of them that will need prostheses (artificial limbs) or orthoses (supportive braces) will be accommodated at the PRC,’’ Fillion added.
He said 314 patients were fitted with artificial limbs through the ICRC physical rehabilitation programme in 2019.
“More than 140 persons with disabilities benefitted from the ICRC-supported rehabilitation programme at the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Kano from January to June, 2020.
“No fewer than 67 assistive devices were produced, fitted and delivered to persons with disabilities in the same period,’’ he said.
Also in an interview with NAN, Dr Bhavna Chawia, a surgeon at the ICRC Surgical Ward at the specialist hospital, said the primary goal of the surgical programme was to treat victims of armed conflicts and other situations of violence.
“The programme is aimed at treating the war-wounded, offer life and limb saving surgeries; we also do emergencies for patients from the Internally Displaced Persons camps around the region.
“We have a lot of patients in the male ward that came in with orthopaedic trauma. This is where the role of psychotherapy comes early to assist in the procedures for rehabilitation,’’ She said.
She told NAN that some of the surgeries would involve amputation of limbs and that there was the need to rehabilitate such amputees.
“We have a PRC in Kano to where we used to refer the amputees to have access to mobility aids.
“With the inauguration of the new PRC in UMTH, it is going to be easier to refer our patients there. They don’t need to travel almost seven hours to get to Kano,’’ the surgeon said.
According to her, 70 per cent to 80 per cent of surgical interventions done by the ICRC Mobile Surgical Team are orthopaedic cases and limb injuries, while the remaining relate to abdominal and other areas of body.
The surgeon said the greatest challenge of the surgical programme was access to patients for timely intervention, adding that it could take two days to get some patients to the ward because of distance.
NAN reports the ICRC Surgical Ward domiciled at the Maiduguri State Specialist Hospital has a minimum capacity of admitting 36 patients, operation theatre, recovery room, accident and emergency unit, physiotherapy facility as well as psycho-social support facility for children.
Edited By: Alli Hakeem
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) plans to rehabilitate 2,000 physically challenged patients at the newly inaugurated Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Maiduguri in the next two years.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the centre was virtually inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, along with other landmark projects at UMTH.
Also on ground was the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who physically inaugurated the PRC on behalf of the President.
The ICRC head of delegation said that the PRC was constructed in collaboration with UMTH to provide the much-needed physical rehabilitation services for people with disabilities to regain their mobility.
He added that “it is expected that the centre will receive 90 patients per month during the first months and should have attended to some 2,000 patients by 2022.
According to him, the newly constructed centre will provide artificial limbs – prostheses and orthosis, physiotherapy sessions and walking aids such as the zimmers frame and wheelchairs.
“The ICRC will provide technical and material support to 34 healthcare professionals, including nine orthopedic technologists, who are completing their training in Tanzania and Lagos under ICRC scholarships.
“Six of the centre’s employees are physically challenged too,” he said.
Fillion, however, said that the ICRC started assisting physically challenged people in Nigeria since 1979.
He explained that “before today, physically challenged people from Borno and surrounding states had to undertake long and often difficult journey to Kano for physical rehabilitation services.
“The ICRC is the world’s largest provider of physical rehabilitation services in developing and fragile countries including countries experiencing armed conflict.
“In 2019, the ICRC assisted more than 420,000 physically challenged people in more than 30 countries.
“In Nigeria alone, 314 people were fitted with artificial limbs through the ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme in Kano in 2019.
“Thankfully, with the establishment of the Physical Rehabilitation Centre here, we will be reaching a lot more people.’’
He thanked all who contributed toward achieving the feat, especially the Federal Government and citizens of Borno “for their warm reception of the ICRC and our humanitarian interventions.
“Assisting and protecting lives affected by armed conflict and violence is always a collective effort; I strongly believe that this centre will demonstrate that in the years to come,’’ Fillion said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulomba, congratulated the Federal Government and Borno Government for the landmark achievement.
He said the projects inaugurated demonstrated government’s commitment to boost healthcare delivery in the state.
The representative expressed optimism that the inauguration of Trauma Centre at UMTH would help the state to provide services for people affected by the insurgency.
Mulomba assured continued support of WHO to deliver better healthcare services in the state and the country at large.
Highlight of the event was the tour of the PRC by the minister of health, in company of the Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, the Chief Medical Director of UMTH, Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo and Mr Eloi Fillion, the ICRC Head of Delegation in Nigeria.
The PRC has a manufacturing unit for production of orthopaedic prosthesis for the physically challenged, fully equipped and furnished with a hostel, water and electricity supply.
Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
Mr Daniel Ngota, Team Leader, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) says ICRC is set to provide one- stop physical rehabilitation service for people living with disabilities in Maiduguri.
“In 2018, the ICRC, in collaboration with the UMTH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fund and construct a PRC at the UMTH and bring the service closer to the people in Borno and neighbouring states.
“This centre is different from other centres because it provides a one- stop services- that means when you come here with physical disability, you receive all the services you need without referring you to any other place.
“The centre gives a comprehensive rehabilitation service, people with disabilities as a result of amputation, polio, diabetes, accidents are provided with services here.
“We will provide services in physiotherapy, prostheses (artificial limbs), orthoses (supportive braces) for upper and lower limbs, customised wheelchair fitting and walking aids.
“ We provide services for other structural deformity affecting spine and we will also provide mental health psycho-social support and 18-bed dormitory accommodation.’’
According to him, the construction of the centre started in July, 2019 but was completed in October, 2020 because of COVID-19.
Ngota told NAN that the centre was built to address the problem of referring amputees to National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala (NOHD), Kano where ICRC runs a Rehabilitation Programme in collaboration with NOHD.
“It was built due to the problem that happened in the North East and it was not easy for people to move to Kano due to insecurity along the road.
“As a result of that, they came up with a programme of building the centre to provide people with disability with services they need.
“We have all the machineries required to produce artificial limbs, from medium level technology to high level technology.
“Secondly, we have production unit, it is equipped with all the materials that are important to rehabilitate people living with disability.
“We also have physiotherapy section where training is done for people who have received their services and require training on how to use them,’’ he said.
According to him, artificial limb is not something that is natural, the beneficiaries needed to be trained on how to use these appliances both for lower limbs and upper limbs.
In addition, he said the centre hosts an advanced training area where service users could use, explaining “service users are old patients that needed only follow up services.’’
Ngota further told NAN that ICRC had trained six orthopaedic technologists in Tanzania to provide services at the new PRC, adding that three technologists were undergoing training at Federal college of Orthopaedic Technology, Lagos
“We are two from ICRC- a Prosthesist and a physiotherapist, we will continue to mentor these staff for the first two years because they just completed their training.
“ We need to strengthen their capacity and we will hand over completely to them by 2022,’’ the official said.
Ngota, however, advised UMTH to embrace the work at PRC and improve the facilities to a higher status, saying “ the centre can be one of the training institutions in future for prosthesis and orthoses.
In an interview with a Physiotherapist at PRC, Abdulhammed Jabbo, said physiotherapist had a vital role in the rehabilitation of amputees.
“ When a person has his leg amputated, we have to give attention to the unaffected leg, strengthen the muscles and build the endurance of the person before administering prosthesis.
“It is a new device so we have to train them to use the artificial limbs, so our role is vital to the amputees because if physiotherapy is not done well it can lead to deformity,’’ he said.
Edited By: Ese E. Ekama
COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread throughout Nigeria with index case, an infected Italian, who flew into Lagos.
The infection had significant negative impacts on healthcare systems in the country and caused societal disruptions.
To respond effectively to the pandemic, rapid detection of cases and contacts, appropriate clinical management and implementation of community mitigation efforts became necessary and critical.
A key response strategy to reducing the impact of the pandemic was to safely expand diagnostic testing to ensure that a large number of people could access testing during the public health emergency.
The Council consequently accredited eight private laboratories to carry out COVID-19 tests to complement same service rendered in government facilities.
Erhabor said after the Council placed advertisements in the media, requesting for submission of COVID-19 test kits by manufactures, it received 11 In-vitro diagnostics kits, one Polymerase Chain Reaction-based (PCR) kit and nine Rapid Test Kits (RTK) for validation.
It also received two Antigen-based kits, seven Antibody-based kits and one Viral Transport Medium kits for the exercise.
“Out of the RTKs submitted for validation, however, only four met the validation criteria, just as the validation of PCR based and Antigen based Rapid Test Kits are on-going,’’ he said.
He added that the results of validation showed that four COVID-19 Rapid Test Kits validated, actually fell below the generally acceptable minimum for Intro-Diagnostic (IVD) Sensitivity of 95 per cent.
“Therefore, none was approved for the purpose of diagnosis and surveillance in Nigeria,’’ he affirmed.
Also on Oct 14, Erhabor told newsmen that after the second batch of Pre-Market Validation of COVID-19 test kits, none of the kits presented was approved for use in Nigeria.
“MLSCN, however, encourages both local and other manufactures to improve on the quality of their products so as to meet the minimum validation requirements to guarantee reliable, accurate, and timely test results.
“Importantly, MLSCN will work closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that the two WHO Pre-qualified Antigen Rapid Test Kits go through validation as soon as they arrive in the country.
“This will enable the country to expand the scope of access to quality COVID-19 testing as more sectors of the economy open.
“MLSCN assures the federal and states ministries of health, and indeed the government of Nigeria of its commitment to ensuring quality healthcare delivery as envisioned in its statutory mandate,’’ Erhabor said.
He also told newsmen that the Council received a total of 43 brands of test kits for validation, adding that the goal was to determine the laboratory performance characteristic of Rapid/PRC test kits.
He added that 33 test kits and systems were validated, but “all the antigen and antibody test kits, rapid or otherwise, failed to meet minimum acceptable criteria.
“The 22 rapid test kits being reported upon, while having fulfilled the requirement of rapid test kits, have not met the characteristic of sensitivity and specificity.
“They have not met the requirements to quality for deployment for purposes of testing in disease surveillance and routine diagnosis,’’ the registrar stressed.
Represented by Mr Akinpelu Afolabi, Laboratory Manager at the National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, Ihekweazu called on key line agencies to support the works of the MLSCN to ensure that Nigeria had reliable rapid test kits.
“Any kit that is not validated by MLSCN is illegal kit and that is the area we need to encourage manufacturers to ensure that they produce to standards.
“Imagine if those kits that were not approved had been put in market, we would have been recording inaccurate results.
“Based on this, COVID-19 is not something to play with, and that does not mean that the market should be flooded with substandard kits,’’ he said.
Bassey, represented by Dr Casmir Ifeanyi, National Publicity Secretary of AMLSN, however, appreciated the efforts of manufacturers as well.
“They are close to getting it right; with a little more effort, you will be well-positioned to produce reliable test kits for the country,’’ he said.
Edited By: Alli Hakeem
The United States has revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks, the State Department said on Wednesday.
This is a move China called a violation of human rights.
The acting head of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said earlier that Washington was blocking visas “for certain Chinese graduate students and researchers with ties to China’s military fusion strategy to prevent them from stealing and otherwise appropriating sensitive research.”
In a speech, Wolf repeated United States charges of unjust business practices and industrial espionage by China, including attempts to steal coronavirus research, and accused it of abusing student visas to exploit American academia.
Wolf said the United States was also “preventing goods produced from slave labour from entering our markets, demanding that China respect the inherent dignity of each human being,” an apparent reference to accusations of abuse of Muslims in western Xinjiang.
A State Department spokeswoman said the visa action followed a May 29 proclamation by President Donald Trump as part of the United States response to China’s curbs on democracy in Hong Kong.
“As of Sept. 8, 2020, the department has revoked more than 1,000 visas of PRC nationals who were found to be subject to Presidential Proclamation 10043 and therefore ineligible for a visa,” she said.
She said the ineligible “high-risk graduate students and research scholars” were “a small subset” of the Chinese coming to the United States for study and research, and that legitimate students and scholars would continue to be welcomed.
About 360,000 Chinese nationals study in the United States, bringing its colleges significant revenue, though the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the return to campus this autumn semester.
In Beijing on Thursday, a foreign ministry spokesman described the United States move as “naked” political persecution and racial discrimination that seriously violated human rights.
“China reserves the right to make a further response on this issue,” Zhao Lijian told a daily media briefing.
China-United States relations have sunk to historic lows with the world’s two biggest economies clashing over issues ranging from trade and human rights to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
Trump, who had touted friendly ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping as he sought to make good on promises to rebalance a massive trade deficit, has made getting tough on China a key part of his campaign for re-election on Nov. 3.
He has accused his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, who leads in national opinion polls, of being soft toward Beijing.
Some Chinese students enrolled in United States universities said they learnt of the cancellations in emailed notices received on Wednesday from the United States embassy in Beijing or consulates in China.
In a WeChat chatroom, more than 70 holders of F-1 visas, both postgraduates and undergraduates, said the notices advised them to seek new visas if they wanted to travel to the United States
Many said they were majoring in subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Some said they had secured bachelor’s degrees at Chinese universities with links to the People’s Liberation Army.
A final-year undergraduate student of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign expressed shock at getting the notice.
The only reason he could think of could be prior experience at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), he said.
The university is known for its defense and security technology research.
“I studied at BUPT before year two, but I have no connections with that university since,” he said on condition of anonymity as the subject is sensitive.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
The United States Government has imposed restrictions on senior Chinese diplomats, regarding their engagement in cultural and university events in the country.
Henceforth, Chinese diplomats would require approval from the Department of State to visit United States university campuses and to meet with local government officials.
Secretary of State, Mr Michael Pompeo, who announced the decision in a statement on Wednesday, said the move was retaliatory.
Pompeo alleged that Chinese government started it by preventing “American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people.”
According to him, cultural events in the United States with an audience larger than 50 persons hosted by the Chinese embassy and consular posts outside their premises, will also require approval.
He said the department would also take action to properly identify all Chinese embassy and consular social medical accounts as accounts of the Chinese government.
He stated that this was in retaliation for the denial of the United States Embassy in China” unfettered access to Chinese social media.
Pompeo added that Chinese citizens were blocked from using Twitter, Facebook and other American social media platforms.
“PRC authorities implement a system of opaque approval processes designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people.
“United States diplomats’ attempts to host cultural events, secure official meetings, and visit university campuses are regularly obstructed.
“In the United States, by contrast, PRC diplomats have enjoyed open access to American society, while ignoring sustained United States entreaties to improve the balance.
“In response to the PRC’s longstanding restrictions on United States diplomats and refusal to engage in good faith on fundamental matters of reciprocity and mutual respect, the Department of State is compelled to impose certain new requirements on PRC diplomats.
“The United States insists on reciprocal access to educational and cultural institutions for American diplomats around the world.
“These new requirements on PRC diplomats are a direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government,” he said.
The secretary of state said the United States was ready to reciprocate as soon as China eliminated the restrictions imposed on United States diplomats.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved N8.49billion for the procurement of 12 items in various quantities for the testing of coronavirus pandemic by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 11th virtual meeting of the Council, held at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “The Minister of Health presented a memo on behalf of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to procure materials for preparation for COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging all parts of the world including our country.
“This is part of the preparedness for community transmission which is going on now and has affected 586 Local Government Areas and we need materials to expand our testing and diagnostic capabilities.
“This memo is the result of the Presidential Task Force COVID-19 and special intervention for COVID-19 which is operated by the Presidential Task Force which allocated these resources for NCDC preparedness.
“So, we are procuring testing materials right from sample materials to other kits for diagnostics in our laboratory system to be able to respond properly to the community transmission phase.
“We have already made plans to have at least one sample collection site in every local government, minimum of 774 and these resources would be necessary to go round the 774 local government areas to ensure that persons in the rural areas or small towns are not excluded and to ensure that not only the big cities are the ones being attended to.
“So, that is the basis for the entire memo.’’
He, however, stated that the test was not very reliable as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other experts.
He said: “It is not that nobody is thinking of rapid diagnostic test, it is being used all over the world even in Nigeria today but the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other experts, have said that this test is not very reliable and that it also delivered a significant number of false positive or false negative result.
“So, if you go to a place where a percentage of test result can give you a wrong result, then you have to be careful. Whereas the PRC test, that is the polymerise chain reaction test is accurate and reliable.
“So, if you want to know how accurate a person is positive, that is the test you ought to do, that is the recommendation of World Health Organization.
“There is also the anti-body rapid test and the anti-gem rapid test. So, I believe that within a matter of weeks and months, there will be one that will be accurate enough for us to reliable on.
“So, those who do the rapid test now, if it is positive you have to go and confirm with the PRC because the accuracy is questionable. Some of them their accuracy is 60 per cent, which means that 40 per cent will be wrong, others are 20 per cent wrong which is why Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), is not yet officially used in Nigeria.
“But I personally believe that as they continue to improve on it within some months we shall be able to use it. Meanwhile, we use only the most reliable one, which is PCR.”
Ehanire also frowned at the reported disregard for COVID-19 protocols at the ongoing political campaigns in Edo and the funeral rites of Sen. Buruji Kashamu, in Ogun.
Also speaking on the issue, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “As a matter fact this matter came up at the last PTF briefing, and the coordinator said that we will continue to advise social distancing in whatever gathering.
“It has been proven that wearing mask saves many lives and we will continue to harp on it that people should take personal responsibility.
“We are escalating our conversation with sub-nationals, governors and local government chairmen because, everybody must take personal responsibility.
“So, our guidelines remain the same – wear a mask, avoid mass gatherings, keep social distancing, maintain very good hygiene, wash your hands, use hand sanitizers.
“Because, as at today, there is no known vaccine or medicine to cure COVID-19. If anybody says wearing a mask is inconvenience let him try a ventilator, you will know.
“We all are opinion moulders and people take to what we say, it’s not about those that went to campaign in Edo or those who went to the funeral rites of Kashamu.
“It’s so sad that one of my colleagues said he went home and he was wearing a mask and they felt he was the one with the problem.
“In some parts of the country, they believe anybody wearing a mask has COVID-19, they don’t believe it. So I think we all should take personal responsibility.”
The Minister of Environment, Alhaji Muhammed Mahmoud, also told the correspondents that the Council approved National Gender Action Plan on Planet Change policy.
According to him, the priority areas for mainstream gender action plan are: agriculture, forestry, health, water and sanitation, energy, transportation.
He stated that the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), academia, international organisations and other relevant stakeholders would all be part of the gender action plan.
“We presented a memo today on National Gender Action Plan on Planet Change. Planet change is affecting everybody across the world just as here in Nigeria.
“It affects men, women and children but we have found out that women bear most of the brunt of planet change and the purpose of this policy is to mainstream gender within the planet change action plan.
“What does it mean to mainstream gender? Women bearing the main brunts imply that we will take particular steps to make sure that women are involved in planet action activities right from inception, design, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects.
“We will also involve women in the process of decision making. Also, we will make sure that women are carried along in planet change issues and also in areas where women are predominantly involved, like in agricultural activities.
“Seventy per cent of agricultural activities involve women. Therefore, some of the priority areas in the gender action plan are agriculture, forestry, health, water and sanitation, energy, transportation; and the same particular areas are also the areas that constitute meeting our indices.
“That is the nationally determined contribution to the Paris Agreement. What that means is that through these sectors, we can reduce the emissions in Nigeria, thereby meeting our indices as we committed ourselves during the Paris Agreement.’’
Mahmoud maintained that Nigeria had already committed itself by agreeing to reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, and 45 per cent reduction of emissions by the Year 2030.
The minister, however, stated that Nigeria would need the assistance of international organisations to be able to achieve this commitment.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
The United States has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, according to the Department of State.
Spokesperson for the department, Ms Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement that the order was aimed at protecting American “intellectual property and Americans’ private information”.
“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people.
“This is just as we have not also tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behaviour,” Ortagus said.
The United States has always accused China of intellectual property theft, cyber espionage and interference in operations in the country.
The move has further worsened the sour bilateral relations between the economic powers as China has vowed retaliation.
Reacting, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, described it an “unprecedented escalation” in United States’ “recent actions against China”.
“The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China.
“We urge the United States to immediately revoke this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures,” Wenbin said.
He accused the United States government of harassing Chinese diplomats and consular staff members.
The spokesman alleged that the United States had also been “intimidating and interrogating Chinese students and confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them”.
Wenbin added that the United States government had interfered with China’s diplomatic missions, including intercepting diplomatic pouches and confiscating Chinese items for “official use”.
Local media reports indicate that trouble started on Tuesday evening when fire broke out at the Chinese consulate in Houston.
But when first responders arrived they were denied access into the premises, the reports quoted Houston police as saying.
Wenbin reportedly downplayed the incident, saying the consulate was operating normally.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
The United States has designated an additional four China-owned media organisations on its soil as foreign missions.
In a statement on Monday, the Department of State identified them as China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that these bring to nine the number of Chinese media entities in the United States, labelled as foreign state operatives.
It followed the Feb. 18 designation of Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation, and Hai Tian Development USA.
The statement said the nine organisations met the definition of a foreign mission under the Foreign Missions Act.
What this means is that they are “substantially owned or effectively controlled’’ by a foreign government, according to the statement.
“In this case, they are effectively controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China.
“Over the past decade, and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s tenure, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has reorganised China’s state propaganda outlets disguised as news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them.
“He has stated ‘party-owned media must. . . embody the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority … their actions must be highly consistent with the party.’’
“In short, while Western media are beholden to the truth, PRC (People’s Republic of China) media are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party,’’ it said.
The department explained that the entities were not designed base on any content they produced, neither does it place any restrictions on their publications.
It said the tag simply recognised them for what they are, adding that they must now have fulfilled certain administrative requirements that also apply to foreign embassies and consulates in the United States
NAN reports that the United States and China have been locked in a showdown over the foreign press.
In February, China expelled three journalists with the Wall Street Journal, after the paper published a controversial editorial criticising Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)