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Issue 1 - August 2013
GENERATIONS’ POWER: FOR YOU, EVERYONE AND FOREVER (PREMIER EDITION) is now available for $15.50 and can be ordered through the publisher’s website www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for pick up and delivery within Nigeria.
Intrigues as South West Legislators affirm support for State Assembly Financial Autonomy
Rt. Hon. Omirin Adewale Albert, Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly and Vice Chairman of Conference of Speakers, South West Zone
Law makers in the south west have declared their support for financial autonomy for state houses of assembly and said they would unanimously vote 'yes' to the recommendation of the National Assembly seeking constitutional back up on the issue. The latest campaign to drum support of members of the state houses of assembly across the thirty six states of the federation is championed by the conference of speakers and supported by State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) a DFID good governance programme in Nigeria. The campaign aimed at educating the law makers on the benefit of being financially independent of the executive for effective discharge of their legislative
duties. Speaker of the Ekiti House of Assembly and Vice Chairman of the Conference of Speakers Rt. Hon. Albert Adewale Omirin who received a team of SAVI members who were on sensitization campaign in the South West said the failure to secure financial autonomy for the states legislature in the past had gravely affected oversight functions of the house. Omirin regretted ignorance exhibited by some members of the state legislature when the first move was initiated to entrench it in the constitution. He said the executive had often treated geniune requests from the legislature with levity resulting to ineffective discharge of duties. The speaker appreciated effort of SAVI in convening a meeting of the executive
committee of conference of speakers to discuss ways of ensuring that financial autonomy of state assemblies was integrated in the ongoing constitution review. 'In 2010, the 1999 constitution was altered for the first time. Efforts were made at that time to give financial autonomy to National and State Assemblies. As required by the constitution the state legislature voted for the financial autonomy of the National Assembly but unfortunately turned its back on itself by voting against financial autonomy of state legislature' he lamented. Amirin noted that the virility of the National Assembly exemplified by its effective oversighting and responsiveness was as a result of its true independence.
We are leading advocacy initiative to reduce Maternal Mortality in Lagos state, says Barr. Ayo Adebusoye, Chair of LACSOP Steering Committee Barrister Ayodele Adebusoye is the Chair of LACSOP Steering Committee and the Secretary General Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) in this interview with CSO Digest, he spoke of action plan developed by LACSOP to support Lagos state government effort to reduce maternal mortality rate in the state. Excerpt - What is maternal mortality and child death and what socio-economic challenges does it pose to the nation? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes." Child or Under-five mortality rate is the probability per 1,000 that a newborn baby will die before reaching age five, if subject to current agespecific mortality rates. A significant percentage of the disease burden in children under the age of five years is related to poor maternal health. Evidence abounds that interventions directed at reducing maternal mortality indirectly reduce infant mortality and improve the quality of life of the child as motherless children are ten times more likely to die within two years of the death of their mothers.
How has this affected national family planning and child and women rights? From the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), Section 14. (2) It is hereby, accordingly, declared that:7 (b) the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government: Section 17(3) The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that- (a) all citizens, without discrimination on any group whatsoever, have the opportunity for securing adequate means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment; (b) conditions of work are just and humane, and that there are adequate facilities for leisure and for social, religious and cultural life; (c) the health, safety and welfare of all persons in employment are safeguarded and not endangered or abused; (d) there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons: Family Planning is a central component of Maternal and Child Health, Reproductive Health and Child Survival strategies. It is one of the 4 pillars of safe motherhood, and thus a critical component in newborn and child health. No country has made significant inroads to improving maternal health without also having widespread access to family planning in place. Prioritizing family planning, is one of the most cost-effective development investments, it has been observed that by ensuring family planning is accessible, maternal deaths can be prevented by up to 40 percent. In Lagos State, women have an unmet need for family planning as many of the family planning units in the Secondary and Primary Health Facilities are not adequately equipped to provide basic and essential family planning services. Nationally, the contraceptive prevalence rate has not significantly improved in the last 20 years (from 10 percent to 13 percent in 2003 to 15 percent in 2008). In Lagos State, whilst the figures are still relatively better, a lot has to be done to ensure that family planning services get to the grassroots. One of the strategies for strengthening Family Planning Services and to reposition it as a key strategy for the reduction in maternal mortality is by procurement and distribution of equipment and supplies for the family planning clinics in Primary and Secondary Health Facilities based on needs. In this regard, this year, the state procured family planning equipment for all secondary and primary health facilities offering maternal health services. From a national scale what is the rate of maternal mortality and what are the major
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He explained that the legislature which is the first arm of government has a lot of responsibility in ensuring good governance and that the dividends of democracy are available to the generality of the electorate they represent. Also making similar commitment to the issue of autonomy, speaker state of Osun, Rt. Hon. Salaam Najeem said there was no going back on bloc vote from the region so that the present opportunity provided by the ongoing constitution review will aptly capture the demand. Najeem said the state legislature had suffered various forms humiliation from the executive adding that financial autonomy for the state assembly will guarantee its independence and further entrench efficiency and accountability in the system. He called on south west law makers not to entertain fear of possible threat from outside but remain resolute and vote for their freedom.
R-L: Lagos State House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity- Hon. Segun-Olulade, Right activist, Dr Sylvester Odion Akhaire, Professor of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU) Abubakar Momoh during the 2nd edition of LAHA-CSO parley
Legislature-CSO Parley on Challenges of Impunity in Grassroots Politics continue on page 4
n realization of major challenges facing local government administration in the country, stakeholders- comprising of Civil Society organizations (CSOs) and members of the Lagos State House of Assembly convened a round table discussion recently to discuss the way out of the logjam. The house committee chairman on Information, Strategy, Security and Publicity- Hon. SegunOlulade while addressing the gathering said the state legislature was passionate about improving the overall wellbeing of people at the grassroots.
He said the parley became necessary to enable government feel the pulse of the people and to fully understand their needs for proper planning and execution of projects that will improve the living standards of over 18million people in Lagos State. The parley, hosted by the state house of Assembly, was aimed at strengthening grassroots governance through monitoring and assessment of Local Government areas and Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos State. Hon. Olulade however maintained that the effectiveness and efficiency of government at the local government level should be
Uk urges Nigeria to develop a robust Energy Policy to Drive Growth By Chika Izuora-Lagos
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ritish Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria Peter Carter has said that only a robust gas policy with strong legal framework could help the country harness its abundant gas deposits. Carter said apart from supporting the country's power growth initiative the policy will provide the necessary framework that will ensure
encouraged since it is the yardstick applied in measuring the success of the millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Right activist, Dr Sylvester Odion Akhaire earlier stated that the local government – the arm of government closest to the people- has been bastardised. He said that under the current dispensation the chief executives of various states of the federation have hijacked the local government structures by usurping their financial autonomy in the name of state-local government joint account. “To worsen matter, virtually all the occupants of the leadership positions of the local government are imposed by party stalwarts. So, what you have is local administration and not local governance, which entails inclusivity and actual participation of the local people in the decision-making process in the affairs of the local council, he remarked. “The idea of participation has to do with people at the grassroots taking part in the determination, execution, supervision, and audit of projects as well as partaking in the
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Mr Peter Carter, Deputy British High Commissioner in Nigeria
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CSO Digest is published by Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) supported by SAVI-Lagos.
Ekiti State Achieves Over 50% Budget Performance Ekiti state government said it has committed energy in the provision of infrastructure with the aim of creating clement environment for sustainable economic development. The government also explained that the crux of its budget implementation centres on road projects and other key structures that will boost its vision of job creation and social welfare of vulnerable segments in the state. Speaker of the State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Albert Adewale Omirin said during the sensitization of South West members of the states legislature on the proposed financial autonomy for the legislature said the state has maintained prudent budget expenditure and has targeted development projects with the
view to propel massive economic activities. Omirin said the State House of Assembly has supported the executive in ensuring judicial application of funds to specific targets that will entice investors and also build confidence of private sector operators (OPS) to embrace the recently enacted Private Partnership Law of the state. The law has attracted specific projects that will bring about job opportunities for the youths and will further engender peace and reduce restiveness among the unemployed. 'We have passed so many bills and the interesting thing here is that we look at specific issues that will bring about development and restore confidence
.....to create 1,000 jobs among the people, so the beauty of laws made in the state is that they are development and result orientated' the speaker remarked. He gave example with the Private Partnership Law which is bringing industries with a target of generating over one thousand jobs in the next few months. In addition he said the Social Security Policy specifically developed for senior citizens of the state that have attained 65 years and above has reduced the suffering of the aged as the state now provides supports for them. Speaking on the relationship between the law makers and
the executive, Omirin disclosed that the present governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has entrenched transparency in the system. He said that every process with regard to governance recognises the principle of separation of powers as outlined in the constitution.The speaker said because the governor has a Civil Society orientation he ensures every bill will provide for specific benefits for the people. Because of absence of rancour and the knowledge of the state legislature on budget process acquired through capacity building programme facilitated by the State Accountability and Voice Initiative
(SAVI) a DFID project in Nigeria Ekiti state 2013 appropriation bill was passed in December 2012. He said the rare feat was the first of its kind in the state. Omirin said the passage has been meticulously followed up with sustained oversight which has resulted in the achievement of over 50 percent performance of the budget just in the second quarter of the year. He noted that the figure is not a matter of interest to the house but the impact on the people. 'We followed up to measure the impact of this achievement on the overall welfare and wellbeing of the people and we found out that the state is actually doing well'.
Lagos State Public Procurement Agency Launches Journal & Official Website
(L-R) Chairman Finance Committee Lagos State House of Assembly Hon (Mrs) Funmi Tejuoso,GMCEO Lagos State Public Procurement Agency Engr Akin Onimole,Commissioner For Science and Technology Hon Adebiyi Mabadeje,Lagos State Head of Service Mr Adesegun Ogunlewe and Special Adviser on Education Otunba Fatai Olukoga
he Lagos State Public Procurement Agency has unveiled a robust journal to support its public education of the Lagos public procurement law. The agency has also activated its website as part of efforts to allow the public follow activities on procurement process in the state. The General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of the agency Engineer Akin Onimole commenting on the landmark event stated that the Public Procurement Reform was a fundamental aspect of the State’s Government and Public Finance Management Reform System- whose objectives amongst others were to ensure the application of fair, competitive value for money standards and practices, for procurement and disposal of public assets and services. Onimole also explained that the law would create opportunities for the citizenry, particularly small and medium scale enterprises to participate in the economic opportunities and benefits of public procurement He said that for the law to achieve its
objectives, the procurement system has to be opened up to a wider group of stakeholders through a system of information, Education and Communication mechanism that is accessible, affordable and gives equal opportunity to all. Accordingly, salient aspects of the Procurement Law provide for the publication of the procurement Journal and the agency’s website as the primary source of information for all public procurement matters and opportunities within the preview of the Law and Regulations issued under the Law, he noted. He affirmed that the event was significant as it has ushered in a new era of a very pragmatic approach to the business of procurement in Lagos State adding that the general public and those interested in partnering with Government in the provision of goods and services will have regular access to information on bidding opportunities, details of contract awards, and basic education on procurement in general. He encouraged the public to subscribe to the journal which will be published bimonthly in 2013 and monthly from the beginning of 2014.
Uk urges Nigeria to develop a robust Energy Policy to Drive Growth clement environment for operators to maximize and utilize the commodity for pure economic value. The envoy told the CSO DIGEST at a Climate Change Retreat organised by the Policy Advocacy Project Partnership on Climate Change (PAPCC) in Lagos that the monumental environmental degradation going on in the Niger Delta Region was as a result of absence of clear cut gas policy to guide utilisation of the product. He absolved the Multi-national oil companies prospecting oil in the region from blame on the vexed issue of gas flaring stating that the country has not taken pro-active measures to address the issue. Carter explained that even as the International Oil Companies (OIC's) flared the gas from their fields government should be able to identify key economic areas where it could be put into proper use. He said companies from United Kingdom have been encouraged to invest in small electricity generating stations to
help in gas utilisation efforts but wondered if present energy policy is capable of ensuring its availability. The deputy high commissioner lamented the quantum of gas flared in the country adding that such wasted commodity could be converted to economic development as the country needed such money to provide infrastructures. Speaking on the global climate change efforts, he acknowledged certain efforts initiated by government toward addressing climate change and reaffirmed his home government commitment toward assisting Nigeria manage its challenges. "The UK is keen to work with you in the public and private sectors in addressing the local challenges faced due to climate change" he assured. He said one of the efforts was the sponsorship of a Nigerian delegation by the UK Trade and Investment to attend the Green Technology Road show in London where forward looking Nigerian businesses were able to increase their
Stakeholders canvasses support for MTSS
takeholders in the Education sector in Lagos State recently converged to canvass support for the critical recommendations in the Education Sector covering the period from 2013 to 2015. Despite the shared common goal to provide universal access to quality education, the efforts have not been integrated to ensure maximum efficiency hence, the first of its kind public dialogue with the main purpose of adding value to Lagos State medium term sector strategy (MTSS) and budget process. The MTSS recommendations which LACSOP and CSACEFA members participated in formulating last year, had twenty five points out of which the Civil Society is willing to lend support ten critical areas. These include conducting a State wide survey for out of school children, conduct Professional in-service training for teachers, free mid-day meals and extension classes for WAEC students The rest are advocating for Inclusive
Education, concerted government attention to the private schools, mapping of donor Projects and instituting Community Based Performance Monitoring (CPBM) as well as bi-annual stakeholders’ meeting by ministry of education (MoEd). The Honourable Commissioner for Education,Mrs.Oladunjoye Olayinka represented by Dr. G.O Shodimu, the Director of Policy, Planning, Research and Statistics Ministry of Education at the meeting in his remarks appreciated the effort made by the civil society organizations (CSOs) who are working in the education sector in the State. Of note was the work done in creating viable School Based Management Committees and the fact that the State was recently recognised as having the most effective inputs during the Ministries quarterly report session. The event which was well attended by participants drawn from the Ministry of Education; representatives from SUBEB and various Education Districts; and Executive
Secretaries from Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) also had development partners such as SAVI, ESSPIN and State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC). Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and stakeholders in attendance. Also in attendance were parents, education consultants, the academia, SBMC Chairmen and the media. In her remarks at the event – Mrs. Dede Kadiri the Executive Director of Innovative Matters, noted that LACSOP had over time demonstrated capacity in building and sustaining structures for Lagos state government. Kadiri said LACSOP has remained the firstever results-driven body of major CSO networks and coalition established to strengthen people and advance voice so as to enhance participation and accountability in governance in pro poor sectors including education and health. Highlighting LACSOP’s leadership role in
The Commissioner for Education in Lagos State, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye
knowledge of the. Challenges and opportunities of climate change. Carter further said "I've said that Nigeria is taking positive steps. But Nigeria shouldn't just content itself with taking actions at home.This is a powerful country with one of the strongest voices in Africa. The evidence you develop here and the practice that you adopt should be share
For advert placement, call +234805-2412030, 708-8651644, 803-7191348 email: email@example.com policy engagement with CSOs and g o v e r n m e n t . S h e s a i d L A C S O P ’s commitment was to add value to the education sector such that the implementation of the MTSS roadmap would lead to real time development for the citizens of Lagos State. Also, in the same light the State Coordinator of CSACEFA- Dr.Keziah Awosika speaking at the eventemphasised CSACEFA’s role as an implementing body for LACSOP and the emergence of the body was to ensure that every individual has access to and attain quality education to achieve dignity and contribute to the development of the Nation. LACSOP and CSACEFA have extensively contributed to Lagos State’s education sector. Its members are widely involved in policy and fiscal analysis as well as strengthening local voices through the establishment of School Based Management Committees (SBMCs) across the State. At the end of the programme which was conducted with the support of the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI), participants called for a structured engagement to be put in place by the Lagos State MoE in terms of contributions of expertise in policy formulation.
itizens’ voices are important dimensions of governance. Without it, democracy cannot be said to have been tangibly delivered. In Nigeria’s build up towards 2015, the feverish anxiety to ensure a preferred candidate is placed in power is the reason why, now more than ever, citizens’ voices need to be heard. But what platform is available to channel citizens’ voices? Recently, I was part of a conversation that rehashed the event of the 2011 fuel subsidy saga. To be frank this was one of the many times I had been involved in this type of conversation. The conversation was excited and heated and tried to determine who was to blame behind - the “sell out.” One the one hand, there was the support for the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and on the other hand there was a support for a civil society organization (CSOs). In this familiar argument, I asked the question, “But who is this civil society?” There was silence. At that moment, I realized that the term CSO was blurred to me as with many others. Who is civil society anyway, who do they represent and where are they really? In Nigeria, the term “civil society” gained an emancipatory character when activism among select groups helped to steer cooperation and resistance that defeated the pre-1960 colonial repression and then military authoritarianism in 1999. They played a lead role in the struggle to enthrone political transformation and mid-wife a third democratic era. As with other countries, which have experienced and resisted oppressive regimes, this notoriety earned civil society a superior position as a force for socio-political change. In a post-1999 democratic era, civil society presence appears to have moved from a nationalist struggle to one seeking to advocate the achievement of economic and social rights for citizens. To date, they are perceived to represent a crop of civic elite thatchallenges the state, critiques it’s political and economic responses and drives for a deepening of democracy in the political sphere. Hence, the great expectations during the fuel saga. But a recent study titled “What is CSO
Civil Society as Platforms of Change in Nigeria… Really? Anyway? Engaging an Evolving Third Sector” undertaken in Lagos State as a pilot study revealed that what is usually termed as CSO today is a fairly modern organizational structure mostly located in the urban centres, run by middle-class professionals and often supported by international aid. These are the well-known non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are neither understood nor trusted. Engagement with the government circles reveal a perception of initiatives driven by political motives or unfavourable western ideals. The private sector, especially those who on the rare occasion engage with the third sector, have their own opinions of CSO/NGO legitimacy - as idealistic, antagonistic organisations that are incapable of functioning in the market. Their unpredictable nature marked them can as a distant group which should represent citizens’ interest in their battle against public malpractices or vices. In this case, in order to protect their business environments,
corporate organisations will do well to keep away from them. These perceptions are not surprising given the fact that data measuring CSO operations or impact in the country has not been widely available. However, this same study revealed that as many as 59% of CSO respondents interviewed, operate without formal registration. Specifically, out of 403 respondents, 160 were registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), which is theresponsible body for regulating the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. One must take care not to interpret this non-registration status as an indication of dormancy. This alarming Dede Kadiri figure can, to a certain degree, explain one firstname.lastname@example.org reason why the third sector has remained a Another interesting pointer of its silent grey area for so long. Rather than dormancy, operations is the finding that 13,269 people this indicator reveals that there is a depth of are employed by the 403 CSOs interviewed. social influence taking place in this sector A total of 10,762 of the above figure are partand that its scope and potentials has gone time and volunteer staffs are engaged by unnoticed or measured for an uncertain CSOs – an indication of a strong but silent period of time. volunteer culture. This indicator raises issues on the nature and drivers of volunteerism and whether such organizations may enjoy a followership that can influence societal renewal in Nigeria. ...real issues real news But where are they now? We must Editorial Team understand that NGOS are just one fraction Publisher Editorial Coordinators of the CSO structure. Civil society is a space where people, individuals, associational LASCOP Emeka Nwanewu groups, NGOs converge to influence society Ayo Adebusoye whether economically or socially. The Gbenga Gazallo Editor players are everyone and the platforms are Dede Kadiri Mayowa Adeniran multiple. In the Nigerian history, it took a Tony Akpan cross-sector CSO effort to overthrow the Bola Nuga Copy-Editor Nigerian military junta in 1998. Even during Stain Izuora democratic dispensations, market traders, Design/Layout who are ordinarily organized to secure their Afuye Yakubu A. Reporter/Production Supervisor members’ economic interests, have been Lara Olusaiye known to rally support for specific political parties during elections in 2007 and won. All correspondence to However, on their own, associational CSO The Editor, CSO Digest, C/o 16, Harvey Road, off Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos. categories are not known to mobilize Phone: +234805-2412030, 708-8651644, 803-7191348 themselves into social movements for E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org effecting change without the support of @csodigest on twitter, experienced CSO groups such as NGOs, www.csodigest.com
Page 3 political parties and other forms of social movements. What is lacking in driving Nigerian citizens voices to influence policy and governance is the glue for social mobilization. This is where the NGOs come in. Given their experience of advocacy, formalized NGOs should be the preferred candidate for mobilizing social groups. This is because of their capacity to reach social ideals of wider collective purpose than other niche groups and the existence of a latent passion, capacity and experience that can bring people-centred issues to fore. But Nigerian NGOs have shown up to be institutionally fragile and facing incessant self-sustainability challenge. With the shrinking up of international donor funding source, many NGOs are now commercializing their functions or at worst, closing business totally. While engaging in income generating activities to meet social objectives, these groups struggle with balancing their social vision with making enough profit to sustain their operations. At the very least, the resonating effect of the commercialized NGO will be the weakening of citizens’ voice and the widening of an already deep government-citizen divide. So back to our question: What is CSO? CSO is everyone. The responsibility to influence social change lies at the threshold of various groups and individuals. The society itself is vibrant but the glue for activating this cohesion is quickly being eroded. If citizens’ voices are to be increased, a dense independent civil society must exist. This cannot happen unless NGOs are sustained by independent funding from the private sector, government and its members. NGO commercialisation will only serve as a distraction from a commitment to balance the power of the state and to protect individuals from the state's power. Without it, individual liberty will be severely curtailed and the political system can quickly degenerate into anarchy. Dede Kadiri is Executive Director of Innovation Matters and Co Author of the book, What is Civil Society Anyway? Engaging an Evolving Third Sector.
Benefits of Sound Chemical Management in Nigeria By Kayode Aboyeji
couple of weeks after the draft National Sound Chemicals Management (SMC) situation report, a project being financed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Swedish Chemical Agency through the Federal Ministry of Environment was approved. Stakeholders at the weekend in the nation’s capital, Abuja, at the end of a two-day review workshop organised by the UNDP country office, endorsed the policy option analysis and action plan; the cost benefit analysis framework and feasibility report. Kayode Aboyeji reports When the full implementation of Sound Management of Chemicals, which is expected to be mainstream into the Millennium Development Goals-based development plans and policies in Nigeria that will kick off next year, the country would have a return of five dollars to every one dollar invested in managing chemicals based on the cost benefit analysis carried out using the existing data. Besides, there would also be other benefits which economically cannot be quantified but would be derived from every investment made. While analysing the governance regime and gaps in chemical management in Nigeria, the situation report resulting from the baseline assessment identified some challenges impeding SMC: weak institutional, legal, technical and financial capacities; inadequate workers’ knowledge; lack of public awareness; poor informal sector practices; and, nonavailability of best available techniques and best environmental practices. It further observed that a comprehensive chemicals management strategy and planning framework is missing while policy on chemicals is isolated from the overall national development thinking.
A portion of the economic analysis framework stated that in order to ensure SMC in Nigeria, “It is imperative that decision-makers should understand and act on the outcome of analysis of specific issues under consideration. “One major way of doing this is by quantifying and/or estimating the costs of action to pursue the identified chemical management opportunities versus the costs to the public health system, losses and drain in family income and environmental degradation when no action is taken. This is the overall purpose of economic cost-benefit analysis, a useful tool for the integration of SMC priorities into national development policies and plans”. In her welcome address at the stakeholders’ workshop, Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Olori Olufunke Babade, said the SMC project in Nigeria would serve as a model to other countries in Africa and globally. Babade, who was represented by Mr. Kassim Bayero, also a deputy director in the department, said the time had come to move from identification of the chemicals to managing them in a sustainable way. National Coordinator, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Mainstreaming SMC project, Mr. Adediran Bello, said that the target of the project was to mainstream SMC into the second national development plan document which starts in 2014, noting that while government is developing in the chemical intensive area, the consequences of chemicals should be looked along in such a way that it can develop sustainably. Bello added that with the endorsement of the cost benefit analysis framework and feasibility report; the policy option analysis and action plan by the stakeholders which is
in line with best practice, a road-map will be documented based on the action plan of the project will be prepare. “We have looked at the action plan and the cost benefit analysis. We have seen that to every dollar invested by the government it will bring a return of five dollars. That is not to even mention those benefits that cannot be quantified”, he explained. In a presentation on cost benefit framework and feasibility report, representative of the team that prepared documents and a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ife, Mr. Adedokun Adebayo, explained that the cost benefit analysis presented in the document implies that the project is viable and is highly recommended for execution. “The cost-benefit analysis as presented strongly supports the feasibility of mainstreaming SMC in the development agenda in Nigeria. This is logical and reasonable since despite
numerous non- monetised and indirect benefits are not covered by this cost benefit analysis, the direct and monetised benefits show that the return expected of any amount expended on the project is huge”, he added. Adedokun explained that the analysis does not cover the multiplier effect of returns through saved cost in terms of income to be accrued through its reinvestment in other economic activities compared to the enormous multiplier effect of the danger of leaving the status quo to remain on the human health of current and future generation and other environmental effect including the increasing distortion in the ecosystem. Under the action plan for policy options cum activities needed to address SMC priority issues, an estimated sum of $287.4 million is to be expended on the four-year project that will start in 2014-2017. Part of the institutional arrangement is to establish
and facilitate SMC secretariat at Federal Ministry of Environment, support to six pilot states, one in each of the geopolitical zones, in establishing focal points. Training/ capacity development in the areas specified in the National Needs Assessment document. It would be recalled that the draft National SMC situation report, which serves as the baseline assessment of chemicals management practices in Nigeria was adopted in June, this year. SMC is the application of managerial best practices to chemicals throughout their life cycle to prevent and where this not possible, to reduce or minimise the potential for exposure of people and the environment to toxic and hazardous chemicals and is directly concerned with implementation of Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
Legislature-CSO Parley on Challenges of Impunity in Grassroots Politics payback of benefits” Akhaine said. In his keynote address at the parley, Professor of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU) Abubakar Momoh noted that the running of local government administration by politicians have not produced the desired result.According to him, it should shock no one that what obtains at the grassroots are mere local administrations and not actual governance with dividends to the needs and aspirations of the people. Momoh observed that the local government being the third tier of government in Nigeria, had been inconsistent saying that the country has practiced about thirteen different systems including zero –party system in the past thirty years but without sustainable plan or clear development agenda to ensure proper or actual governance. Most worrisome, according to him, is that the current system is most destructive, running contrary to the principle of democracy. He argued that a system where every state government that comes into power immediately upturns existing local structure and government “is not only reckless, but also destructive”. He observed that politicians believed in zerosum game, against the democratic ideals of collective participation, representation and inclusion in governance which has contributed to lack of structure in the grassroots politics and often fueling anarchy. Continuing he further observed ‘that the constitution is so ambiguous that no local government chairman knows his tenure because their lives and activities are as dictated by their governors. The LGAs also internalizes this despotism and foist it on their community. What we have in the ten years is authoritarian democracy as perpetrated from the Federal government down to the state governments’. Stressing the role of CSOs amid current challenges, however, Momoh pointed to the need for civil societies to work in partnership to actualize the common goal of entrenching good governance. The speaker of the Lagos state house of Assembly Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji in his remarks said that it has become necessary for stakeholders to work in concert to be able to promote good governance at the grassroots. While supporting state- control local government, as against autonomy advocated in some quarters, Ikuforiji suggested for political education and routine training for elected officials at the grassroots to mitigate one-toomany cases of power tussle between the executive and legislative arms of government at the grassroots. Ikuforiji who was excited over the convocation of the parley which provided elected representatives of the people the rare opportunity of inter-facing with the electorate as well as representatives of Civil Societies in Lagos State commended the efforts of the Civil Society in the post military era as having helped to strengthen democracy and good governance. In their contributions, representatives of some CSOs contested the position of the speaker on the issue of autonomy. Many of them spoke in support of Local government autonomy, and limiting the influence of the state government. Abdulsalam Bashiru, representing Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) while speaking called for regular town hall meetings at the grassroots, where the electorate would constantly meet with their representatives for dialogue, like the state government is regularly doing.
Lecture to commemorate Prof. Ropo Sekoni at 70
Lecture in commemoration of the 70th birthday of Professor Ropo Sekoni, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of t h e Wo l e S o y i n k a C e n t r e f o r Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) which holds on Wednesday 7 August, 2013 at the Agip Recital hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan Lagos by 10:00am. Dr. Babafemi Folorunso will be the keynote speaker on the theme ‘Make or Break: The Imperative of Cultural Democracy in Nigeria’. The event which will be chaired by Lt Gen Alani Akinrinade (Rtd) will feature presentation of a book Federalism and the Yoruba Character authored by the celebrator, and the launch of the “Yoruba Insight and Innovation Initiatives (YIII)”.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Attihuru Jega meets with Young Nigerians By, MAYOWA adeniran
… solicit for partnership ahead 2015 General Elections
he Youth Alliance on Constitution Review and Electoral Reforms (YACORE) met with the Chairman of INEC Prof. Attihuru Jega, 3 National Commissioners, Secretary of the Commission and some Directors discussing youth participation in electoral process and the 2015 elections. The Chairman of the Commission Prof. Jega was impressed with the Youth Alliance comportment and issuebased approach about youth participation in governance in Nigeria. The Commissions solicited the youth group in partnership in the build up to the 2015 elections. While sharing the plans of the Commission ahead of the 2015 elections, Prof Jega hinted that the National Continuous Voters Registration exercise is due to commence in October 2013 and end sometime in 2014. He also said that the Continuous Voters Registration for Anambra state will start on the 17th August 2013. Prof Jega informed the delegation that INEC has established a Youth Desk at the officer of the Director of Voter Education, Gender and Civil Society. The delegation from a youth group includes Itodo Samson, National Coordinator, and Zonal Coordinators among them are Purpose Osa Iserhien, Muhammed Bello Jega and Dan Nengel.
Secret of healthy living at Makoko By Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna
water. Our fish market draws people from as far as Ondo, Edo and even Delta State. I eat a lot of sea food and that has helped and is still helping my health. My dear, sea food is good for you.” Another resident, Mr. Bawo Ayeoshetienikan, a town planner by training but now a private school owner is 59 years old. You would take him for someone in his early 40s. He too attests to the fact that eating fresh fish and the peaceful existence in the Makoko community is healthy. “The lifestyle here is simple and far away from the hustle and bustle of the main Lagos city. We are surrounded by nature; and nature is taking care of us as we are also taking care of nature,” he says. I took a canoe ride round the waterfront, and met a group of women selling sea food. My desire was to get more facts about the unique environment of the Makoko riverside which appears to a tonic for looking good and young. I engaged a woman in banter. But she was unperturbed over ordinary issues of life that would have made the average Lagos city dweller disturbed.
Letters to the editor
ne thing I have noticed during my visits to Makoko in Lagos is that the people are ever smiling, lively and vibrant; and they look well fed according to this reporter. MakpI also noticed that they look younger than their age. Alhaji Ibrahim Aladetan, a leader in the waterside community, is 80 years old but you would take him for someone in his 50s. A picture on the wall of
he 5th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held on Saturday 13 July, 2013 threw up significant issues for the understanding and successful use of the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 2011. The Chairman of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Professor Ropo Sekoni, in his opening speech alluded to the fact the Centre believes that the quality of investigative reporting should have increased since the Act was passed into law as the nation abounds with talented and courageous journalists for whom the FOIA will be of great benefit.The lecturer, Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of African and African American Studies from Harvard, in his lead paper gave a treatise of the law under the sub-theme ‘The Dictatorship of Corruption and Mediocrity’. While acknowledging the importance of the law as a legislation that will open up the vista of governance in Nigeria; Prof. Jeyifo wondered whether the law had not come at a time when there was little or no secrecy in the affairs of public officials and their attitude in the public sphere. According to him, members of the ruling class carry out corrupt practices with audacity, impunity and brazenness. Professor Jeyifo asked; “what need do we have for a law on access to information when all the ineptitude and brazen corruption of public officials operate not in secrecy but in the open.” According to him, whenever the military made a decree against public expression or media publication, it has always been a brash audacity to cover up their subterranean corruption and in his view, the civilian ruling class, hiding under cover of the expensive nature of democracy has come to make corruption a sublime art. The University of Ibadan-trained English scholar gave an elucidating classification of
his living room shocked me upon my learning that the great-grand pa celebrated his 80th birthday in April. When I asked if indeed he was 80, he smiled and said: “Yes, my daughter. I have celebrated 80 but I still have many more years to go.” I wanted to know the secret of his long life and healthy look. He put it back to me this way: “Don’t you know we are surrounded by sea food? There is a lot of fresh fish in the Makoko
“We eat good food and have peace of mind here,” contributes an elderly one among them. “All these fish, crabs, crayfish and other sea food we catch from the water makeup what we feed our family with. There is always enough fish for everyone to eat in my family. Fish is good for the body.” Majority of the people in Makoko are into fishing. The children start fishing from an early age as they join their parents on long fishing trips in the canoe. It is common site in the waterfront to see children from age five, fishing with their nets. While one paddles the canoe, the other throws the net in anticipation of a catch. I didn’t leave Makoko without my own share of the lookgood secret. I bought a big basket full of assorted fresh fish. To the Lagos State Government, Makoko may be a slum. But the resolve of these awesome dwellers to live a healthy, law abiding and economically-productive communal life is an example I believe other perceived slum dwellers in the Lagos metropolis should emulate.
The Freedom of Information Act and the dictatorship of corruption and mediocrity the manifestation of corrupt practices as an interplay of the concepts of the ‘corrupt’, ‘corruptive’ and the ‘corrupted’. In this paradigm, many assumed innocent Nigerians fall under the corrupted class, hence he said corruption is pervasive but not inherent; therefore, with concerted efforts, it can be abated. Other discussants - Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr. Peter Carter joined Professor Jeyifo in the exercise of shedding light on the Freedom of Information Act. Dr. Odinkalu highlighted the need for a moral rebirth especially in the economic lifestyle about which many Nigerians are living on wrong values and adopting wrong economic goals. Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on her part, challenged members of the media to use the FOIA to investigate the lifestyle of presumed corrupt politicians. Contributing to the discussions, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Peter Carter asserted that “Citizens deserve the right to know how they are being governed however uncomfortable to public office holders that may be, it is the essence of democracy.” In the goodwill message from the State of Osun, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Mr Oladipo Soyode, the Special Adviser on Culture and Tourism, emphasised that the logic of democracy is seeing through the workings of government which means that the government is accessible to the people and a government that is accessible is also more likely to be acceptable to the people. Mr Tunji Bello,
Lagos State Commissioner for Environment who represented the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola also lent his voice to acknowledging the importance of the lecture. The question and answer session of the lecture raised salient issues bordering on the use of the FOIA by citizens as a tool to ask the right questions about everything from the to lack of empowerment for women on sexuality, to the decay in the educational system, to lowering standards of values and morals in the society and many more. In closing the event, Playwright, Odia Ofeium, gave a recitation of Prof Soyinka’s poem – Civilian
and Soldier. Motunrayo Alaka the Centre’s Coordinator, gave the vote of thanks saying that the success of the event was to the credit of promise keepers who gave their word in one way or the other and had the integrity to keep same. Some of the guests at the event included the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Prof Bola Akinterinwa; the Editor-in-chief of the News Magazine, Mr Kunle Ajibade; Edo State Commissioner for Information Mr Louis Odion; Director, This Day Newspaper, Mr Kayode Komolafe and Ms Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Ogun State Special Adviser on MDGs.
NGO NEWS Civil Society moves to deepen Citizens’ Participation in the Budget Process
articipants across various Civil Society (CS) groups in the SouthWest geo-political zone of Nigeria as well as Edo and Delta States converged in Ekiti state to brainstorm on the budget process in the country. The 3-day workshop organised by the State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI), a programme of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) was geared at providing an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of the budget processes and identify opportunities for engagement. It also provided networking for Civil Societies across the zone and the State House of Assemblies alongside the media for improved engagement with government. The workshop was equally designed to enable participants develop strategies for mobilizing the citizenry to effectively participate in the budget planning, appropriation, implementation and monitoring processes. Participants at the workshop included five persons selected from each state in the South West representing Civil Society groups cutting across various networks and platforms and 5 participants each from Edo and Delta States. In his keynote address to open the workshop, Rt. Hon Dr Albert Omirin – Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, spoke on the need to promote participatory government through the budget process. Omirin pointed out that participatory government was a key attribute of good governance as it enables all stakeholders to make input into the governing process. He argued that participation in budget processes by key stakeholders helps to promote sense of ownership and builds trust between the citizens and the government..
he Cross River State Government is set to harness the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment to its shores by investing in local content development through skill acquisition and vocational training; this was made known at The Bridge Leadership Foundation’s 2013 Career & Founder’s Day event which held at the Cultural Centre, Calabar recently. Speaking at the event, The Economic Adviser to the Cross River State Government, Prof. Ndem Ayara pointed out that so far ten (10) private investors have come into the state to invest in the different sectors of Construction, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Energy & Power as well as Agro Processing. He presented an Industry Survey conducted by the state to ascertain areas of skill dearth, employers’ needs and existing human capital to meet these needs. Prof. Ayara highlighted the areas where skilled manpower is needed as well as the potentials of the service industry to provide auxiliary services to such firms and the populace. In addition, he announced the partnership with the Highbury College in the United Kingdom to establish a Polytechnic where interested and qualified young people will be trained to meet the employment demands of the investing companies. This rounded off a self development initiative of the organizers, The Bridge Leadership Foundation which discussed the theme, ‘The Crisis of Leadership’. Speakers at the event engaged participants under four sub-themes namely: Leadership Alternatives (Social Entrepreneurship: Finding Solutions & Making Impact) facilitated by Ola Orekunrin, CEO, The Flying Doctors’; and (The Role of Creativity, Innovation & Action) by Oluseun
Ford Foundation Announces New President
arren Walker, who emerged from smalltown Texas to an international career in law and finance before becoming a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds, will become the 10th president of the Ford Foundation this September, succeeding Luis A. Ubiñas, the foundation’s Board of Trustees announced. The Ford Foundation, with offices in the United States and ten regions worldwide, is among the world’s largest private philanthropies, with more than $11 billion in assets and over $500 million in annual giving. “In Darren we have found a president of powerful and diverse ability, deeply committed to our mission and tradition of leadership in the social sector,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, chair of the Board of Trustees. “With extensive experience in both the private and non-profit sectors, a strong command of the substance of our work, and an engaging leadership style that relies heavily on collaboration and partnership, he represents the best of all worlds. He’s an excellent leader for a global organization with grassroots sensibilities, and we’re very proud that he emerged from within Ford’s own pool of talent.” Mr. Walker’s appointment follows a broad national and international search that began when Mr. Ubiñas announced in March that he would step down after nearly six years of service. “Our search included an extraordinarily high number of strong candidates and we are extremely grateful for the feedback, recommendations and ideas we received from across the world,” Hirano Inouye said. Mr. Walker was recruited by Ubiñas in 2010 to serve as vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression, one of the foundation’s three major programming areas. Immediately prior to joining Ford, Mr. Walker was vice president for foundation initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he oversaw the execution of a broad range of programs in the United States and internationally. Prior to joining Rockefeller in 2002, Mr. Walker served as chief operating officer of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, a leading community organization in Harlem. There he guided efforts to develop housing for low and moderate-income families, was involved in two of Harlem's largest privately financed commercial projects in 30 years, and led the development of the first public school built in New York City by a community
Onigbinde, Ashoka Fellow & Founder, BudgIT. Other speakers included: O’ Seun Odewale, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University & Personal Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State who spoke on (Personal Leadership through Influence: Who/What Influences You?) and (Restoring Institutional Leadership through Responsibility & Professionalism) was discussed by Emilia Asim-Ita, Senior Consultant, Strategy & External Relations, ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited. Sharing practical examples of personal experience, the speakers inspired attendees at the event to be prepared to identify and take up an opportunity in time. The Career Day was aimed at inspiring and empowering young people in choosing the right career paths and making informed decisions. It was also aimed at providing a platform for young Nigerians and graduates who are; seeking to enter the job market, at the start of their career or aspiring to be entrepreneurs, to learn from accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals (home and abroad) that have made major achievements in different sectors in the society. Other highlights of the event included a Q&A interactive session where participants asked speakers a variety of questions on the personal journeys and decisions of the speakers. The Bridge Leadership Foundation, founded in 2011, TBLF is a Leadership and Mentoring Foundation committed to building generations of young people to become compassionate, entrepreneurial and engaged citizens, and who are empowered to take responsibility for their own lives and for making a difference in the world.
… Darren Walker as the 10th President
organization. “Leading this institution is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am so very honored and humbled,” Mr. Walker told Ford staff this morning. “I pledge to work with energy and integrity, to lead while listening and learning, and to give my all in service of our mission: to build a world that is fairer and more just.” Mr. Walker is a 1982 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, and a 1986 graduate of its School of Law. He has taught housing, law and urban development at the NYU School of Law and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and is a fellow of the Institute for Urban Design. Deeply engaged in community affairs and widely respected for his gifts of both substance and style, he is a member of the boards of the Arcus Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Friends of the High Line, the New
the resolution as it would be an opportunity for “social perverts to further mess up the lives of our young girls. “It is expected that the Senate will use the opportunity offered by this constitutional amendment to legislate on those issues that will bring Nigeria into compliance with global trends. “Trends that will ensure compulsory education for all children, particularly the girls who are most vulnerable. “This in turn will greatly influence and reduce the alarming trend of those factors that are implications of early marriage, particularly cases of Vesico Vagina Fistula, which is common in Nigeria. “Our demand is that the National Assembly should formally include the minimum universal age of 18 for marriage in its amendment of the
York City Ballet, and the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He began his career in 1986 at the international law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. In 1988 he joined the Union Bank of Switzerland, where he spent seven years in its capital markets division. After leaving UBS, Mr. Walker worked for a year as a full-time volunteer at The Children's Storefront, an elementary school serving lowincome families in Harlem. Mr. Ubiñas has served as Ford Foundation president since 2008, when he succeeded Susan Berresford. “Luis leaves behind an institution that is even more focused in pursuit of its mission, operationally efficient and strong, and filled with remarkable people and purpose,” Ms. Hirano Inouye said. “Thanks to Luis, we’re wellpositioned for a new generation of accomplishment, and Darren is the ideal leader
to guide us into that future.” Mr. Ubiñas led the foundation through the global economic crisis and the overhaul of its investment strategy to protect the institution’s long-term financial health. He also shaped a strategic and focused set of programs, and played a key role in launching new work on climate change, child marriage and a reimagining of the school day. During his tenure, the foundation also supported major new initiatives in global human rights, the arts, market-based approaches to overcoming poverty, and the deepening of democracy around the world. “I am delighted that the Board has selected Darren as my successor,” said Mr. Ubiñas. “Darren will lead the foundation with thoughtfulness, style and energy. I know that under his leadership the core social justice values this organizations stands for will continue to be strong.”
Cross River Harnesses Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) through Local Content Development
constitution and make contrary actions Give us laws that support Child Education, punishable. “This is a challenging moment for voices of courage to speak out loud and not marriage – Okei-Odumakin clear to stop this perversion by preventing
uman rights activist and President of the Campaign for Democracy and Executive Director of WOMEN ARISE, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, on Monday said that the Senate’s recent resolution on child marriage violated decency. Widespread condemnation has greeted an amendment that would allow girls under 18 to get married. The Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution, through a voice vote on July 16, resolved to alter Section 29(A) of the constitution. The Senate has, however, deleted age specification, saying a woman was deemed to be of age once she was married, irrespective of her age. In an interview with NAN, Odumakin urged Nigerians to reject
this legislation from coming to reality.” Also, Amy Oyekunle, the Executive Director, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, said it would be an injustice against Nigerian women and girls if section 29 (4)(b) is kept. According to Oyekunle, the section creates loopholes within which Nigeria could continue to discriminate against half of the population. She said: “The Senate should adjust the resolution and not cause confusion among Nigerians.” In the same vein, Deola Abioge, a lawyer, called for the deletion of the section, which deemed a girl under the age of 18 ripe for marriage. Abioge said: “If a girl can get married under the age of 18,what the Senate is saying is that she also has a right to vote.”
The Impact Of HIV/AIDS On Children In Nigeria By Faith Lannap
uman Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(HIV/AIDS) is reversing many of the hard-won development gains in many sub – Saharan countries including Nigeria and leaving populations more vulnerable to poverty, malnutrition, ill health, and mortality especially infant mortality. The adverse effects of the AIDS epidemic are felt most severely in some of the world’s poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where one of its consequences has been an upsurge in the number of children orphaned as a result of death of both parent due to complication from AID. HIV/AIDS not only orphans children but also makes children more vulnerable in a number of ways. The epidemic influences child survival both directly through mother-to-child transmission and indirectly through diverting resources and attention away from children to the care and treatment of a sick parent. In several sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria, infant and child mortality rates have already risen substantially and are expected to increase further in the coming years. (Ainsworth, Beegle, &Koda, 2005; NDHS, 2008)In addition, HIV/AIDS importantly affects children’s life and the families of children’s caregivers. Children of HIV-positive parents suffer from the trauma of sickness and eventual death of a parent and associated hardships. The burden of caring for a sick parent often falls on children, and many are forced to drop out of school and take on adult roles as a result (NSAA, 2008). Parental HIV-related illness and death often substantially diminish household resources due to treatment costs and job loss, which often affect children’s health care, education and nutritional status. Information obtained from the Anti-Natal Care surveys shows that nationally, there is a significant reduction in the HIV prevalence from 5.8% in 2001 to 4.1% in 2010 and the fact that incidence (determined from the HIV prevalence of the 15-24 age group) also decreased over time from 6% in 2001 to 4.1% in 2010, strongly
suggests that the decline observed in the national HIV prevalence is real (ANC, 2010). However, HIV continues to weigh heavily on maternal and child mortality in countries like Nigeria, with the highest figure of new HIV infection among children (60,000 new cases) in 2012 and an estimate of 17.5 million orphans and vulnerable children in the country out of which 7.3 million were orphaned by various causes and 2.23 million were orphaned by HIV/AIDS and about 260,000 children livi ng with HIV/AIDS (AN C, 2010; NSAA, 2008; UNAIDS, 2013). I n Nigeria 10.7% of the 69 million children are vulnerabl e (UNICEF, 2007) 10% of children are orphaned (7% in North-west to 17% in South-East), 10% in rural, 11% in urban. Benue state has the highest prevalence of orphans (25%), followed by AkwaIbom (22%); while Niger state has the lowest (2.7%). Benue state has the highest prevalence of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) aged 6-17yrs (49%), followed by Imo (45%), and Rivers (41%); with Kwara having the lowest (9%) (NSAA, 2008).One of the important challenges in countries like Nigeria that have increased number of children infected or affected with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, is the need to assist families and communities to care for these children. (Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), 2008) The situation of OVC in Nigeria remains highly deplorable as many of them are in abject poverty deprived of even the basic necessities of life: dignified and
sustainable access to food and nutrition, acceptable living conditions, psychosocial resources critical to development and health, legal and social protection, educational resources, wages/income, and affordable health care (NASS, 2008). In Nigeria the response to the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) crisis has been initially driven by communities as well as CBOs, FBOs & NGOs, which provide the initial safety net to affected children, outside immediate families. The Federal Government of Nigeria has initiated a number of policy frameworks directed at improving the situation of orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs). These include the passage of the Child Rights Act (2003), which inc orporates the UN Conv ention on the Rights of t h e Child, and the developm ent of a five-year National Action Plan on Orphans and Vulnerable Children ( F M WA & S D , 2 0 0 6 ) . N o n G o v e r n m e n t a lO rg a n i z a t i o n s a n d Donor Agencies such as the Global Fund, USAID, CDCetchave made significant contributions to the responses on the OVC burden in Nigeria. Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) an indigenous non-profit organisation is a Principal Recipient under the Global Fund grant to Nigeria since 2007 responsible for the OVC Component of the grant. Some of the key achievements made by ARFH on the OVC component include: Supporting efforts by the governments to protect the most vulnerable children through improved policies and enhanced technical capacity in the response to OVC burden in the country, Mobilized and support communities to identify, locate, and protect
OVCs and provide both immediate and longterm socioeconomic assistance to vulnerable households and Ensuring OVC access to core services including education, vocational training, prevention, treatment, care, psychosocial support, targeted food and nutrition, protection, birth registration and other resources. Recommendation: 1. The Nigeria government efforts should be gear towards the scale up of Prevention of Mother-to-ChildTransmission to reduce and possibly eliminate new HIV infections among childrenand ensure that their mothers are kept alive:reducing new HIV infection among women, increased access to antiretroviral medicines for pregnant and breastfeeding womenliving with HIV and availability of HIV voluntary counselling and testing are key to reducing new HIV infection among children and keeping their mothers alive. 2. Strengthening the social welfare workforce to increase the human resources that serve children and complement the health systems is a key strategy the Nigerian government canuse to reduce the burden of OVC in-country.. 3. Assembling the relevant available data on OVC in one place, and acknowledging the gaps that still exist in our knowledge, will assist policy makers and program implementers to make evidencebased decisions about how best to direct funding and program activities and maximize positive outcomes for children and their caretakers. With the increasing burden of OVC in Nigeria, there is need for a systematic national response for vulnerable children especially those made vulnerable by HIV&AIDS, this can be achieve through enhanced systems and structures for inclusive social protection. FaithLannap is a Public Health and Social Development program specialist with extensive experience in HIV Prevention, Care and Support and Child Protection. Faith Works as a Programme Officer at Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH)
Megacity, cremation and the environment By Greg Odogwu
o be candid, what I see in the new Lagos State Cremation law is that not only has it defined the state as a true megacity, but it marks a threshold in our peculiar materialistic socio-cultural milieu into that era when we shall gradually come round to appreciate the ephemeralness of life, and that, for sure, all that we maim and maul to acquire here are only earthly appurtenances which will one day all go up in smoke. It is in the nature of man to cling to earthly acquisitions; and this has accordingly inspired many civilisations into the practice of various material-friendly transition philosophies. For instance, the Egyptian pyramids were basically constructed to preserve the material wellbeing of the elites even in the life beyond. Over here, kings used to be buried with live servants in order to ensure that they continued to extract the willy-nilly kowtow of the less fortunate even in the hereafter. Even today, in some parts of Nigeria, burials are so elaborate, flamboyant and expensive that it seems there is a general tacit acknowledgement that the more materialistic the burial is, the more the dead finds an exalted place in the ethereal realm. Nevertheless, as an environmentalist I must acknowledge that cremation – the burning of a corpse until only ashes are left – is not environment-friendly. Depending on the facility used for the process, cremation emits nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, mercury, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride, other heavy metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants or POP. Granted, conventional burial is not that eco-friendly either, considering the lumber used to make coffins, the toxic finishes applied on them, and the concrete-punctuated cemeteries that must be maintained with pesticides, weed killers and extensive manufacturing; but burning of corpse is significantly a more eco-destroyer. In fact, considering the new cremation law in Lagos, I am worried that the Western World, in search of more eco-friendly and energy efficient ways of getting rid of corpses, would now dump their old, energy-guzzling, hazardous cremation machines on us hapless Nigerian citizens, just as they dump many other ‘tokunbo’ gadgets and items on a daily basis. As you read this piece, there is a new
invention used for getting rid of human remains which usage is spreading in Europe and America. This machine, known as the Resomator, dissolves bodies instead of burning them. The liquidation unit works by using heated alkaline water to dissolve bodies, producing a third less greenhouse gas emissions than cremation and also uses only a seventh of the energy utilised in cremation. Furthermore, it allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal. Amalgam is the substance which contains mercury, used to fill holes in the teeth, and which emits the hazardous mercury into the atmosphere as corpses are cremated. To illustrate, in the United Kingdom, mercury that is burnt in cremation has been blamed for an astounding 16 percent of airborne mercury emissions. As a result, over there and in many other Western nations, crematoriums are installing filtration systems to extract the mercury before they melt into the atmosphere. Now, consider for a moment the possibility that many Nigerian cremation practitioners, when they start practising here, will not bother to install mercury filtration equipment in order to save cost, knowing full well that our lax regulatory environment will allow them to get away with any untoward practice.
Furthermore, let us also consider that chemicals are used in cremation. This is so as to decompose the body or to ensure that they are dissolved to ashes, as we all know that burning alone cannot achieve that effect. So, remembering a news report I read recently wherein it was stated that over 22,000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides that have been banned worldwide by the United Nations, its agencies, international and government institutions are found in Nigeria, endangering the lives of human beings, animal and the ecosystem, I cannot help but shudder at the thought that all sorts of unwholesome cremation chemicals would definitely find their way into our shores when cremation goes mainstream. Not to talk of the scattering of the ashes of the cremated deceased. In fact, in some parts of the world, there is a call for the ban on cremation, as the scattering of ashes are hazardous to the eco system. This is what informed the evolving business for what is known as green cremation, as I mentioned in the foregoing paragraph. Lagos State is no doubt a growing global state which accommodates all the spectra of human civilisation by virtue of its natural status as a megacity. Many people argue that it is the decreasing land space for burial sites that inspired this new law. To be sure, Governor Tunde Raji Fashola said that cremation is voluntary, and enacted to provide more choices in a growing global state and accommodate the different beliefs of residents. He also said that the law also empowers medical practitioners, with government approval, to cremate abandoned and unclaimed corpses after a reasonable period of time has been given as notice. However, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for Lagos State, Adeola Ipaye, had stressed that residents still have to meet certain conditions before they can be allowed to cremate. He said the act must be performed in a licensed crematorium after the deceased must have indicated in his will that he would prefer such. But being aware of how things are done in Nigeria, I am sure that a lot of contractors shall rush in to
lobby the government to give them approval to import and install the crematorium facilities; then they will stampede this government, or maybe the next regime, into making some aspects of the cremation law compulsory so as to ensure the survival of their new cremation business. My thought on this is simple. The Lagos State Government must ensure that all loose ends are adequately tied up in this new law. It has already shown a determination to abide by international best practices in other environment-related matters. Let the law remain voluntary as it is presently. Furthermore, if cremation must be done, let it be green – no other mode will suffice. We cannot afford open – and unprofessional – carbon-spitting corpse-burning. This will not only spoil the environment, but will assault our sensibilities as a people; the culture shock engendered by cremation has to be eased into our socio-cultural environment with tact and taste. Apart from catering for other religions like Hinduism, Buddhism etc that cremate as a matter of faith, I believe that Lagos has come of age as a global player where citizens should have a plethora of socio-cultural choices before them. We must remember that the many crematoriums in the developed world, and other megacities, were not established because of the demands of the prevalent religions, but are just catering to the divergent tastes and demands of the citizenry. After all, many of them are not religious by any means. Cremation, like burial at sea for example, is just like any other way of corpse disposal; in fact, many say it is less costly and uncomplicated. Tupac Shakur, the late popular American rap musician was cremated by virtue of the choice he made and transmitted to his family while living. In any case, in certain areas of our country with a high water table, burials by interment can contaminate water. The chemicals used for embalmment and other processes will easily find itself back into the soil and water. Then, for those that are apprehensive that they will lose their bodies when they are burnt – forget that they are also lost when buried! – I can only ask them: I thought the Holy Book promised us brand new bodies in the afterlife, and not these imperfect ones? Culled from Punch Newspapers
Nigeria: 14th less peaceful country in the world- GPI by Tayo Elegbede
igeria has been ranked 148 out of the 162 countries evaluated on the reduction of violence and insecurity between 2012 and 2013 by the Global Peace Index. This rating earns Nigeria the 14th less peaceful country in the world in the rank of countries like Chad, Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Pakistan amongst other conflict ridden states. According to the publisher of the Index, Institute for Economics and PeaceIEP, “The world has become a less peaceful place”. The 2013 Index ranked 162 countries by measuring security in society, the extent of conflict and the degree of militarization and this year's report reinforced a longerterm pattern they have noted revealing that since 2008, level of peace have fallen by 5 percent. The report highlighted that while the number and intensity of internal conflicts have risen in recent years, hostility between states has fallen. In Nigeria, this is evident in the multitude of mindless killings and bombings in the North, untamed manhunt and kidnapping in the South, endless violence in the East and gross human molestation and abuse of fundamental rights in the West. From 2007 to date, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the index, signifying worsening state of the nation in terms of peace and security in the past six years. The country ranked 117th out of 121 in 2007; 129th out of 140 in 2008; 129th out of 144 in 2009; 137th out of 149 in 2010; 142nd out of 153 in 2011; 146 out of 158 in 2012. Recently, A New York-based Human Rights Watch said about 3,600 deaths have been recorded since a radical sect dubbed Boko Haram began violent operations in the Northern region of the country in 2009 just as government has embarked on waging war against the insurgents through an emergency rule. With this rating as the 14th less peaceful country in the world, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the world’s eighth largest oil producer has so much to contend in order to achieve its developmental goals. The global outlook indicated a dramatic rise in the number of homicides and more countries, 59, increasing their military expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic products (GDP) were the key drivers in making the world a less peaceful place, according to the 2013 GPI. This year’s findings were said to underline a six-year trend showing a deterioration of five per cent in global peace. It indicated that 110 countries have seen their score deteriorate while only 48 became more peaceful. The economic impact of this five per cent loss in peace came at a cost to the global economy of US$473 billion last year, or the equivalent to almost four times Official Development Assistance (ODAs) in 2012, it unveiled. The sharp increase in the number of homicides - up eight per cent over the last year – can be almost entirely attributed to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa with, for example, the homicide rate in Honduras further increasing by almost 10 per 100,000 people - becoming the highest in the world at 92 homicides per 100,000 people, the 2013 GPI revealed. Steve Killelea, founder and Executive Chairman of the GPI, was quoted to have said that, “The migration of populations to urban areas in developing countries has been a key driver in the rise of homicides worldwide. This has also led to an increase in violent crime. It is essential for the police to gain the trust of those living in city slums, to achieve this; addressing police corruption would be a first important step”. Tayo Elegbede is a Freelance Journalist with Local and International news firms. Twitter @tayojet1
INTERVIEW We are leading advocacy initiative to reduce Maternal Mortality in Lagos state. causes? Out of 100 percent Maternal Deaths in the world, Nigeria constitutes 10 percent and that out of every 100,000 women in Nigeria, every 545 die as a result of pregnancy in a year. “In 2010, Lagos state Government carried out a survey on the real cause(s) of maternal death, the result revealed that Alimosho Local Government Area tops the list with a total of 826 deaths followed by Ibeju-Lekki LGA with a total of 758. The lowest is in Lagos Island LGA with a total of 110. Dr Akinola also said that records reveal that in Nigeria today, about 145 women die on daily basis as a result of pregnancy. Out of every 40 pregnant women in Lagos State, one will die during gestation, childbirth or during six weeks after the end of pregnancy or delivery. Source: 2011 study by Campaign against Unwanted Pregnancy (CAUP) on behalf of LSMoH 90% of these deaths occur as a result of delivery by unskilled birth attendants, haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labor and malaria. Childbirth is part of human survival and should be an event for the mother to celebrate. In Nigeria, for every 1,000 new born babies, 90 to 100 die within the first week of life mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery reflecting the intimate link between survival of the newborn and the quality of maternal care and providing justification for the integration of maternal, newborn and child health interventions. The main causes of neonatal deaths are birth asphyxia, premature birth and severe infections including neonatal tetanus. Children also die from largely preventable communicable diseases compounded by malnutrition. These children do not need to die as over half of them could be saved by low cost, evidence based, cost effective interventions such as routine immunizations, the administration of oral rehydration therapy as indicated, appropriate antibiotic use, nutrient supplementation, the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and improved breast feeding practices. What policies are identifiable to be put in place by government to reduce this? Preparations and activities for the Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction Programme commenced in the year 2008 prior to the release of the National Demographic Health Survey
Report which indicated that the Maternal Mortality Rate in the State was 545 per 100,0000 live births. To provide evidential basis for the deployment of interventions and baseline information against which to bench the impact of these interventions, the State with support from the Development Partners commissioned studies including UNFPA supported Baseline survey on Maternal Health activities in 32 secondary and primary health facilities in 10 supported LGAs, State wide community based maternal mortality rate assessment by LGAs and JICA supported survey on Maternal Health activities in 15 supported LGAs/LCDA. With a view to reversing the unacceptably high Maternal Mortality Rate Indices in Lagos State, the Ministry of Health in the year 2009, inaugurated a Maternal Mortality Reduction Advisory Committee made up of relevant stakeholders; Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Nigeria (SOGON), Lagos S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y Te a c h i n g H o s p i t a l (LASUTH), Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), National Association of Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Lagos State Board of Traditional Medicine (LSTMB), Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Lagos State Blood transfusion Committee, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board and officials in the Ministry of Health to map out strategies for the reduction of maternal mortality in the State. This led to development of a 5-year work-plan aimed at accelerating reduction in maternal mortality from a holistic perspective in the context of the peculiarities of the State based on the following strategies: To embark on advocacy and sensitization campaigns at the community level., Infrastructural development including provision of emergency obstetric equipment and basic obstetric drugs (misoprostol and magnesium sulphate) for Public health facilities., Capacity building of health workers on Maternal and Child Health interventions and Public Enlightenment and Health Promotion activities including provision of radio jingles, documentaries, and Information, Education and communication materials on maternal and child health interventions. Others are Strengthening of referral system and quality of
service by provision of ambulances and establishment of quality assurance mechanism, Monitoring and evaluation of Maternal and child health activities and Equity and sustainability including alternative financing and community based health insurance scheme. Your organization is developing a framework for Lagos state what has happened so far? The Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) evolved in 2007 from engagement with LASG and the Membership comprises of major CS networks and Coalitions in Lagos State LACSOP operates as issue-led partnership and has Improved voice and accountability in governance as well as Improved government response to citizens demand. Also we have ensured Inclusive & participatory planning in governance, Support better service delivery at the LGA level and legislative process in Lagos State The Community Health Sector Forum (CHEF) is the Independent Watchdog System which was made public by the Hon Commissioner for Health at the 1st General Assembly meeting (Dec. 2011) where the operational plan was been harmonized and subsequently inaugurated on February 22 2012, at the 2nd General Assembly Following the Executive Technical Session with the Civil society partners for the independent Watch dog system on the 9th of May 2012 chaired by the Honourable Commissioner of Health, a few technical sessions have been held by SMOH and LASCOP supported by PATHS2 to further agree on the detailed modalities for this initiatives particularly at the Local Government levels. There have also been two technical sessions on the 11th & 26th of June 2012 between LACSOP, the Community Coalition and members of the Lagos State Community Development Council to develop the proposed strategy at the local government and community levels. In all of these we have helped to Support health systems, health sector donor intervention with a view to repositioning government and development partners’ assistance coordination in Lagos state and systematically conducted community priority health needs assessments with a view to providing useful evidence for
effective planning and support the implementation of an efficient people-centred health care delivery. How have you mobilized for this task and what actually prompted the action? The fact that out of every 40 pregnant women in Lagos State, one will die during gestation, childbirth or during six weeks after the end of pregnancy or delivery.(Source: 2011 study by Campaign Against Unwanted Pregnancy (CAUP) on behalf of LSMoH) was the overriding motivation to support LASG’s MMR programme. We were requested in January 2013 by the Hon Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris to conduct an Independent Assessment of the progress of the MMR in focal PHCs in the 20LGAs of Lagos State. The research was to determine whether PHCs are equipped to provide the best services to their clients women. We Conducted an in-depth assessment and analysis of the capacity of 20 PHCs to provide maternal health services and obtained client satisfaction measures of target population. We also engaged health related civil society organizations in the data collection processes. What level of cooperation are you getting from government and what are we going to start seeing from now? The Leadership of the Lagos State Ministry of Health under the guidance of Dr Jide Idris has been very open to citizens’ participation and partnership in addressing the challenges at the PHCs. For instance, the First Lagos State General Assembly Of The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) In The Health Sector was held On 15th May, 2013 at the Lagos Chamber Of Commerce & Industries (LCCI). The General Assembly was meant to sensitize the CSO practitioners and gain their buy-in to be part of the Community Health Sector Forum (CHSF). The Honourable Commissioner had remarked in response to complaints about the attitude of PHC staff, that there was no gainsaying that the PHCs staff are not doing well at all, but hopefully things will improve with the strategies at hand. He had further mentioned that the CSOs are to be independent monitors in order to be able to give feedback to the Ministry of Health so that they will know how well PHCs are doing, what is happening and know where
Page 7 they are faltering and need improvement; In addition, there are now various Health Sector Technical Working Groups (6) in all and some CSOs have been chosen to be part of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs). What target do you want to achieve from this campaign and what are your short, medium and long term strategies?. The Maternal Mortality Advocacy Team made up of various CSOs working in the Health Sector in Lagos State met recently and identified the following MMR Advocacy Priorities for Lagos State from the findings of the Independent Assessment on MMR: A significant proportion of PHCs are unable to manage patients with Post Partum Haemorrhage so we are proposing strategic intervention to develop a policy that provides incentives for additional skilled health workers to accept postings to “hard to reach” settings and which will also promote regular in-service training to existing staff. We will also ensure budgetary provision for Needed tools, blood supply and equipment (minor surgicals, Anti shock garment, etc) Necessary support services (Ambulance/Generator fuelling and maintenance, PHCN Bill Payment) and Training and Incentive policy implementation as above. Also we are working to ensure that Existing Basic Emergency Obstetric Care equipment and essential drug supply is maldistributed (underutilized in areas and nonexistent in others). The policy will help to Promotes and Monitor usage of Basic Emergency Obstetric Care equipment and essential drugs in facilities, . Provide Budgetary Allocation for Building the capacity of existing health workers to use the equipment and Purchase of adequate supply of essential drugs at LG Level. Relationship between health workers and patients is poor so we are working to ensure the development of Service Chart for patients at Health Facility level and Strengthen Complaints or Reporting Feedback mechanism. There is limited access to services by people with the following disability clusters – Mentally Ill, Deaf, Blind, Wheel-chair bound, Physically challenged, Living with Leprosy) so we are working on Proposed strategic interventions to ensure Implementation of existing Special Peoples Law of 2011, Expand provisions in the law to include more inclusive access in health programming around the six disability clusters.
CSR REPORT Malnutrition high in North – FG Micro-Work Platform Opportunities In Nigeria, the roundtable was the potential for By Wairimu Kagondu income generation through micro-work or
he Federal Government has disclosed that the northern region is worst hit with the menace of malnutrition which mostly affected children under the age of five. The Minister for Health Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu in a keynote address at the second Shared Value Media Workshop organised by Nestle Nigeria Plc in Lagos said the North West has 53 percentt of Stunting and wasting in the country while North Central has 44 percent , North East 49 percent , South West 31 percent while South- South accounted for 31 percent with South East recording 22 percent. The Minster who was represented by Deputy Director/Head, Nutrition Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu said it was really unfortunate that despite the fact that most of the food being consumed in Nigeria are being produced from northern Nigeria, yet the region has the highest number of malnourished children in the country. "The FAO has said that there is enough food that can feed the seven billion world population, yet over one billion people are still suffering from malnutrition. In Nigeria, most of the food we consume are produced from the northern part of the country, yet the region has highest number of malnourished children under the age of five” he said. He lamented that about 41 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five suffer from stunted growth with 14 percent suffering from wasting while 23 percent are suffering from
underweight and added that the problem of malnutrition has been less noticed because when doctors write their post-death reports, they hardly attribute it to malnutrition. According to the minister, "When doctors write their reports after a child's death they fail to attribute it to malnutrition but will only indicate missiles, malaria, and pneumonia as sources of death. This continues to undermine the ravaging effect of malnutrition which often gives birth to some of these stories’. He said the federal government is putting policies and guidelines in place to address the issue of malnutrition in the country and said that efforts are on to review the National policy on Food and Nutrition. Declaring the workshop open, Managing Director and Chief Executive Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon Said one third of pre-school children were deficient in Vitamin A, while more than three quarters of young children and pregnant women sufferer iron deficiency. Gordhon said his company has taken certain steps aimed at addressing the public health problem and help reduce risk of under-nutrition and this included the micronutrient fortification of its products. He said the company also helps farmers to rub profitable farms while developing a sustainable supply chain for grains. “We trained 2,500 farmers through capacity building programmes; we purchased 8,000 tonnes of maize, 5,900 tonnes of sorghum and 5,000 tonnes of soybeans from farmers in Nigeria”, he added.
he Rockefeller Foundation recently convened a roundtable discussion in Lagos, Nigeria to discuss the job creation opportunities for t h e c o u n t r y ’s h i g h p o t e n t i a l b u t disadvantaged youth through ICT enabled work.This was the third in a series of roundtables that we are convening in each of our six target countries to help identify innovative ways to tackle youth unemployment as part of the Foundation’s recently launched Digital Jobs Africa initiative. The roundtable brought together key players in Nigeria’s ICT and youth development sectors including technology companies, such as Microsoft, local and international outsourcing companies such as ConSol, Customer Contact Solutions and Interra, representatives from the Ministry of Communication Technology and not-forprofits involved in skills building and training for youth such as the Paradigm Development Initiative and LEAP Africa. Participants deliberated on how to tackle the country’s youth unemployment challenge by leveraging the ICT sector. Nigeria’s youth unemployment problem is on an entirely different scale than other
African countries, due to its size. Current youth unemployment is estimated at 50%, with some 5 million youth coming of age every year and only 1.8 million of whom find work. At the same time the country is seeing growth in sectors which have significant opportunities for creating digital jobs such as the services sector which has been growing at an average a rate of 12.5% per year since 2005 and is now estimated to be worth $130 billion about 30% of the country’s overall economic output. It was encouraging to hear how Nigerian outsourcing companies have been able to grow business and workforce demonstrating the overall potential for the digital economy. Participants discussed the importance of emphasizing the role of entrepreneurship for job creation so that Nigerian youth were equipped not only to think of themselves as employees but also as entrepreneurs who could create jobs for other Nigerian youth. Participants also identified digital work opportunities in currently growing sectors such as banking and telecom as well as emerging sectors such as the online retail market and the rapidly growing entertainment industry. One emerging opportunity discussed at
online work. This kind of digital work consists of large scale digital projects which are broken down into a series of small tasks which are completed over the internet. These include tasks as simple as labeling photos or writing product descriptions to more complex tasks such as software development and video production. The term Micro-work was coined by Leila Janah whose organization Samasource is a Rockefeller Foundation grantee. Workers complete tasks online and receive payment for those tasks allowing them to earn an income while gaining skills. Over the past few years the number of online work platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Crowd Flower and Cloud Factory has increased. The potential to address unemployment by directing these opportunities to disadvantaged youth with high potential will be a focal point of the Rockefeller Foundation’s work. In Nigeria, a survey of three micro-work platforms ODesk and ELance and Mobile Works showed that there were over 10,000 Nigerian workers accessing online work on these platforms. Participants at the roundtable discussed how this opportunity could be scaled for increased job creation by addressing barriers such as online payment methods and awareness raising among young people. Participants also discussed how the current model could better target high potential but disadvantaged youth and how it could be improved to ensure that workers gained not only technical but also soft skills required to prepare them for a rapidly changing global workplace.Stay tuned as the implementation of Nigeria’s new broadband deployment strategy presented in early June could put the country at the forefront of Africa’s digital revolution creating jobs for millions of Nigerian youth.
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Issue 1 - August 2013
Dr. Ibrahim Shema, Governor, Katsina State for NLI Guest Speaker Forum 2013 edition. The Guest Speaker Forum is NLI’s unique contribution to national development through experiential learning from accomplished Nigerians; this year edition is upcoming up on August, 19th 2013 at Jupiter Hall, Four Points by Sheraton Oniru, Victoria Island Lagos, starting by 12:30pm. This particular activity is designed as a twohour monthly event: 30-minute presentation by the guest speaker and another 90 minutes of discussion to provide an opportunity for experiential learning. Using topical case studies and/or personal experiences, accomplished leaders will be invited as “guest speakers” to address a group of Associates. The Guest Speaker for this year is Dr. Ibrahim Shema, Executive Governor of Katsina State, will the guest and his presentation is to emphasize on building blocks for effective leadership; character and psychology of a leader; responsibility of a leader and accountable leadership. While the guests would be able to engage the Speakers on potentially untested, unconventional, and new leadership ideas.
Title: Generations’ Power: For You, Everyone and Forever
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ABOUT THE BOOK Genre: Inspirational & Empowerment Date of Publication: March 2013(ISBN: 978-1-62212-697-2) No of Pages: 233 Publisher: The Book, ‘Generations’ Power (Premier Edition)’, is edited and published by Strategic Book Publishing and Rights (SBPRA) Co, LLC, Houston Texas, USA.SBPRA is a major and renowned book publishing and marketing synergy in the world. This book is beyond business and personal, and meant for keep for generations to come. You will be inspired to find and climb the ladders of f o r e v e r greatness, overcoming t h e unavoidable challenges to f i n d t h e inspiration needed to achieve our very best. So get fired up and read the book that will fulfill your greatness and be your life changer. The Power is within YOU!
To Google is Human by Sola Fagorusi
ntil 2001, the word Google meant nothing. Today, it is both a noun and a verb. My computer does not underline it as a spelling error. The only remotely close words to it – goggle and goggles means to stare wide-eyed and a protective eye glass respectively. There is almost nothing that Google can’t search out. It’s intriguing the even the word Google can be Googled! Google has conquered all facets of our internet lives. It is the kingpin of the new media family. Anyone today who uses the internet would have contact with one or several of Google products. The list grows a little less fast than weeds! Chrome browser, Google Calender, Google News, Google Maps, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Google+, Google Alerts, Google Scholar, Google Groups, Google Trader, Gmail, Google Hangouts, Google drive and others. The search engine which was Google’s first product and which conferred name on the company, is the world’s most patronised. The King of the internet is fast swallowing space in the technology sphere having its hands in all pies. Students and researchers would remain indebted to this tool that has changed the face of scholarship. Google, the company, today has web based products, operating systems like the Android for Smart phones, hardware like the Nexus, desktop applications like the Google toolbar and also mobile applications. Given the huge
meta-data that Google has to deal with on regular basis, it is today the biggest server company in the world. With cloud technology catching up heavily on use now, this title may hold for a very long time. Also trail blazing by Google is the Google Glass, one of the most clairvoyant and far reaching advances in the new media age. It is one of the few technologies merging strongly the activities of humans and computers and it is currently on a lone journey with no known competitor – at least known to the public. Off the record, Google is my best friend and I love the Google Doodles. Checking them out has become more of a passive obsession. Trying to imagine what the next one would be is also a game in itself. Then Google dedicated its doodle last year to the victims of Nigeria’s Dana Air Flight 992 June 3rd 2012 crash in an empathetic public relations stunt. It is rational to ask if our over-dependence on Google would not come at a cost some day. With Google as a form of transactional memory which we rely on when the need is at hand, is the human brain not becoming redundant? But then, there’s also the argument that the brain now has access to more information in lesser time than it used to previously. It is also not just about the memory, there’s also the issue of refusing to keep our hard disks and memories chips busy with information storage for later use when we are sure that all we need do is Google it when next we need it. Humanity can only hope that the internet and Google holds for as long as humans exist. To Google is human after all and possible not to Google is silly! Google is human’s all-knowing and knowledgeable oracle. Definitely more powerful than Paul the Octopus! Soon, I pre-empt that Google would be named the Parent of the Year! Young people would seem to find their answers to life and living through Google. Except you refuse to ask, that is only when Google would refuse to tell. The easy access to the internet would mean easy access to Google as well. In well developed environments, it would no longer
count to know the address and location of a friend’s place again as long as the friend can email or text the address to you. Google Map would do the ‘magic’. May the day we can’t Google again never come! Google is equally a sound test of fame. Does Google know you? If you attempt to search your name and it auto fills, then the answer is yes. The very popular and addictive website has become man’s most prominent artificial intelligence amplifying the human cause and worth. Like every other growing organisation, it has also had it shares of failed products and discontinued ones. Google Buzz and more recently Google Reader which was discontinued on July 1st, 2013 are some of the over 80 products. A number of them have been harmonised and formed into another product and a couple of others have simply been rested in Google’s rich graveyard. Knowing when to do this is one of Google’s strengths. Altavista which used to be a rival to Google at conception has faded away. Others like Bing, MSN, Lycos, Excite and Yahoo Search struggle to survive under the domineering shadow of Google the search engine. Google, like other web platforms have had a number of glitches and
reverted quickly and given Microsoft’s Internet explorer a run for its money with Google Chrome. Google has helped reduce unemployment in Nigeria and around the world. Anyone today, irrespective of age can develop an android based app, put it up on Google Play and earn from the downloads. Young people can also today put up blogs and sites and earn from their contents by placing Google AdSense on it. Its imprints in Nigeria is also bold especially with the .ng extension allowing for platforms like Google Trader which allows people list their products and services for free in localised ways. In addition, it has also saved advertisement cost for companies. Google is responsible for the upward surge in online advert patronage through her effective system, knowing from the backend exactly who wants what. Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt posits that Google’s aspiration ‘is to be your assistant, to know what you don’t know and to get that information to you in whatever way it is quickest.’ Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while still PhD students at Stanford University, it was initially called ‘Backrub’. The domain name www.google.com was
registered in 1997 while Google as a company came to be in 1998. By 2012, the company was already declaring annual revenue of about $50 billion mainly through Google AdWords with monthly unique visitor of over 1 billion. Already, 39% of the world’s population have internet access and it is predicted that internet business will grow 10 times in the next three years. Google will have a part to play in this and a commensurate profit share as well. And if you need to read this article a couple of years from now – Google it! Sola Fagorusi is a youth development advocate, freelance writer, accomplished debater cum coach. The Obafemi Awolowo University graduate has about 10 years experience in social entrepreneurship which straddles leadership, good governance cum anti-corruption and adolescent reproductive health. The Leap Africa alumnus is also a trained peer educator, a DESPLAY alumnus and co-facilitator. For 2 years now, he has been a technical consultant and lead judge on the Intra-Faith Peace Youth TV Debate Project facilitated by Youngstars Foundation and the British High Commission.