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Port Harcourt Electricity Accuses DPO of Economic Sabotage 

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Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc has accused the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Akpajo Divisional Police Station in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, SP Emmanuel Ifeanyi of sabotaging its activities by illegally releasing two drivers and their haulage trucks that willfully destroyed electrical installations belonging to the company.

A statement by the PHED said on the 24th of April 2022, an array of freight haulage trucks conveying massive equipment along the Onne/Eleme axis of the East West Road, destroyed several PHED electrical installations.

The statement said the damage occurred when in the process of forcing their way through the route, using sticks to adjust and move uninsulated overhead cables, they tampered with the red, yellow and blue phases which caused an induction that damaged a PHED 500KVA Transformer.

According to the statement, the matter was promptly reported at the Akpajo Divisional Police Station and the drivers and trucks were arrested.

“However, when the next day the Head of Security at PHED, Major Tubonemi Williams Adey (RTD) and his team reported at the same police station to follow-up the matter, he was told by the DPO, SP Emmanuel Ifeanyi that the drivers have been released because of pressure from above,” the statement said.

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The statemt continued that when Major Williams left the office of the DPO and was making calls in an attempt to uncover the mysterious disappearance of the trucks, the DPO on sighting him, ordered his arrest and he was manhandled along with his men.

Meanwhile, damaging, vandalizing and stealing of electricity infrastructure is an act of economic sabotage which is a criminal offense.

PHED stated that while it is aware that haulage trucks must pass through major roads where it has its infrastructure, it has a permit policy on haulage trucks, and the permit is issuable to freight haulage operators for ease of navigation to avoid damaging the company’s assets and power infrastructure that serve the citizens.

It regretted that despite this provision, some truck drivers have in recent times with the aid of the police flouted this permit policy and have in the process damaged the company’s power equipment.

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NEWS

School Feeding: FG to Spend N999m Daily on 10m Pupils

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. Reviews Meal Cost from N70 to N100 Per Child

The Federal Government on Tuesday said N999 million would be spent daily to feed approximately 10 million pupils in the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) across the country.

Hajiya Aishatu Digil, the Team Leader of NHGSFP disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting on disbursement modalities for the review cost of feeding in the programme in Abuja.

She said Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development got the approval of spending N100 per person daily on the feeding in the programme.

She said that 9, 990, 862 pupils from primary one to three in the programme would now be fed with N100 daily for 20 days in a month, which would amount to N999,086,200 million daily.

“Prior to this, we were feeding school children with N70 per child, per meal.

This was since 2016 but the President has approved N100 upward review.

“We have all stakeholders like the World Food Programme, National Bureau of Statistics, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Ministries of Agriculture, Education and others to deliberate on the modalities of disbursements.

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“We are here basically to look at how best we can realise the benefits of the programme based on the new approved cost to improve the standard and quality of the meal and menu for the children.

“The breakdown of the N100 is as follows; N70 is for the cost of all food items except egg, N14 for cost of egg to be implemented through the state structures in partnership with Poultry Association of Nigeria.

“We are planning to have ‘Egg Wednesday’, where each child in the programme will be given one egg each every Wednesday.

“N10 stipends for cooks, N5 and N6 for micronutrient fortification, payable to cooks and one naira for quality assurance, payable to supervisors, which is optional,” she said.

Digil said the programme would ensure the elimination of poor implementation practices, adding that the ministry was looking out for reforms.

“After this meeting, we will collate inputs from stakeholders and present them to the minister so that we will implement the reviewed feeding cost in the next feeding circle, which starts this month,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Umar Bindir, the National Resource Person of the National Social Investment Programme said that the programme was not the responsibility of the Federal Government alone.

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Bindir said to implement the procedure of deploying the N30 that made it N100 ineffective feeding of school children, it was absolutely necessary to consult with stakeholders.

Malam Musa Abubakar, the Programme Manager of NHGSFP in Sokoto State said pupils and their parents were happy with the initial N70 per meal per child.

“However, with the upward review of N100, all of them will smile as this will also boost the rate of school enrolment.”

Mr Chika Ebogha, the Chief Programme Officer at NOA said the N100 per meal per child was a good improvement.

Ebogha called on Digil to step up in the area of compliance in states that have challenges, adding that NOA was willing to assist on monitoring and evaluation of the programme nationwide.

Mr Kingsley Anikwe from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development suggested that formation of school gardens should be encouraged in schools to handle the production of agricultural produce.

Ms Irowa Irabor, the Project Manager, Enhancing Access to Safer Nutritious Diet Project (GAIN) said the organisation would provide technical and capacity development to the programme.

Irabor said GAIN would be interested in the `Egg Wednesday Campaign’, adding that the organisation could support in creating visibility in the implementation in states.

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Mr Onallo Akpa, the Director-General, Poultry Association of Nigeria called for effective collaboration with the association to actualise the `Egg Wednesday’ initiative.

However, some stakeholders suggested that state governments should actively involve others, saying that cooking of meals should be done within the school vicinity and that farmers should also be evaluated.

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Health

Menstrual Hygiene: MDAs Unveil Pad Banks for Emergency in Offices

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Some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government on Monday unveiled pad banks to cater for cases of emergency within their work environment.

Mrs Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs disclosed this while meeting with the media, students and other stakeholders in Abuja, ahead of the 2022 World Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day, celebrated every May 28.

Tallen said the gesture was aimed at creating more awareness about menstrual hygiene, in line with the 2022 theme: Making Menstruation a Normal fact of life by 2030.

 “As the coordinating ministry and the National Secretariat for Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management, we have also made remarkable progress around menstrual health and hygiene management in Nigeria.

“It is worthy to mention that some ministries through advocacy, are unveiling their Pad Banks, to cater for cases of emergency within their work environment,” she said.

According to her, the MDAs include Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, Interior, Youth and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) amongst others.

The minister, therefore, encouraged others, especially those in the private sector to emulate the gesture for the wellbeing  and convenience of women and young girls.

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“I therefore wish to use this opportunity to call on other MDAs and other stakeholders, including airlines, schools and security agencies to join in the campaign to make menstruation a normal pact of life, by setting up Pad Banks in their spaces.

“Together, if we strengthen our collaboration, existing structures to end violence against children, to secure a brighter future for our country will be sustained,” she said.

Ms Erika Godson, Deputy Country Representative, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), encouraged the public to see menstrual hygiene as essential for women and young girls.

On the issue of obstetrics fistula, Godson called on relevant stakeholders to improve quality of services in healthcare system.

“We encourage our healthcare system to improve the quality of services, so that women can deliver babies safely and not left with the issue of obstetrics fistula.

“This will put them in such discriminatory conditions, in which they cannot contribute meaningfully to the society,” she said.

Also speaking, Miss Latifat Kabir-Yahaya, a student, stressed the need for students to be able to access and afford sanitary pad at all times.

She said poor access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermined the educational opportunities, health and overall social status of women and girls.

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Similarly, Benjamin Ojionu, a student of Junior Secondary School, Garki, stressed the need to also educate the male-child, on issues affecting women and children.

He said more sensitisation would improve menstrual hygiene and prevent sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

Other highlights of the day included the distribution of sanitary pad to some FCT students. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Spain Donates 4.4m Doses of J&J COVID-19 Vaccines to Nigeria

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The Government of Spain has donated 4,400,000 doses of Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.

The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Juan Sell, said during the handover of the vaccines to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Tuesday in Abuja that “this is the largest COVID-19 donation to any African nation.

Sell said that the donation was in fulfilment of Spain’s commitment to supporting developing countries in ramping up vaccination against COVID-19.

He added that “in 2020, the world was faced with the challenge to develop an effective vaccine. In 2021, the challenge evolved to the production and distribution of the vaccines. Today in 2022, we need to put these vaccines within peoples’ reach.

“As we want to leave the acute phase of the pandemic behind, we cannot linger, and there are lessons to be learnt.

“One of the lessons is the need to improve global mechanisms for technology transfer to decentralise the production of health products in all regions, Africa in particular. And that is why Spain has joined the WHO Technology Access Group.

“And that is also why the EU launched Team Europe Initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccines, medicines and health technologies in Africa, with one billion euros, and that will benefit Nigeria.

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“We need to protect, safeguard and invest in health and health workers, and this is the effort line that Spain is co-leading in the framework of the Global Action Plan, and we have committed 300 million euros for further donations and projects to strengthen public health systems.”

Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NPHCDA, who received the donation on behalf of Federal Government, thanked the Spanish Government, saying the gesture came at a time when the country needed it most.

Shuaib used the opportunity to call on eligible Nigerians who were yet to be vaccinated to do so.

According to him, continued vaccination will create a scenario that will ensure that even when the virus continues to evolve, the severity of the disease will reduce over time as human immunity increases due to vaccination.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, WHO and UNICEF country representatives all commended Nigeria in its efforts to vaccinate eligible Nigerians. (NAN)

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