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APC States Consider 6 Months Maternity Leave, Exclusive Breastfeeding

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States controlled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) have proposed to implement six months maternity leave as well as exclusive breastfeeding in a move to promote a framework for promoting child nutrition.

The proposal was contained in a communique issued Thursday in Abuja at the end of a virtual meeting of Secretaries to State Governments of APC-controlled states held under the auspices of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).

The meeting which had as its theme, ‘Developing Common Policy Initiatives on Maternal & Child Nutrition Promotion in APC States’, had the overarching objective of identifying salient and common initiatives of Maternal and Child Nutrition that can be replicated across all the APC-controlled States.

Co-Chairman of PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee, governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau state declared the meeting open, while governor Mohammed Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa state, declared it close.

In the communique signed by Alhaji Adamu Fanini and Prof. Danladi Atu, SSGs of Jigawa and Plateau states respectively, participants said “in view of the importance of parental support for children at birth and the health of the nursing parents, the meeting recommended that APC controlled states should prioritise implementation of 180 days (6 months) maternity leave for women.

“The meeting observed the importance of exclusive breastfeeding to the growth and general health of a child and therefore recommended that APC controlled states should encourage and support women to practice six months exclusive breastfeeding for children from birth.”

The meeting equally noted the importance of information and how it affects the attitudes of citizens towards issues of nutrition. It therefore urged APC-controlled states to design a special communication strategy to raise public awareness on malnutrition and its consequences.

“The meeting observed that there is no institutional framework for the implementation of programmes on food and nutrition in some states and therefore resolved that APC controlled states should set up State Committees on Food and Nutrition to relate with all FG programmes on Food and Nutrition and coordinate PGF’s implementation framework on child Nutrition in APC controlled state.

“The meeting equally encouraged each APC controlled state to continually give Status Report on what currently obtains in their state with a view to creating a template that reflects the current status of each APC state on Child Nutrition and each SGS should nominate the focal person for their state to relate with the PGF Secretariat on the implementation”, the communique stated further.

The meeting also adopted the PGF Secretariat’s proposal for follow up meetings with Commissioners of Health, Education and Agriculture of APC controlled States in order to develop sectoral work plans for the implementation of the approved framework on “Promoting Child Nutrition in APC states, Challenges and Opportunities for Action.”

The meeting held following the Progressive Governors’ approval of the framework which was recommended by the 9th Meeting of Secretaries to Governments of APC Controlled States held in April 2020.

The meeting had reviewed the current status of child and maternal nutrition in APC states and considered implementation proposal by the PGF Secretariat.

Participants therefore agreed to continually share information, ideas and knowledge through its quarterly meetings and the PGF Secretariat to promote synergy across member-States and facilitate greater cooperation for uniform or common policy initiatives geared towards sustainable development.

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Buhari Seeks Senate Approval for Fresh N2.3trn External Loan

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The President, Muhammadu Buhari , has asked the Senate to approve another N2.3trillion ($6.18bn) external loan.

This is contained in a letter addressed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and read at plenary on Tuesday.

Buhari said the proposed loan which is equivalent to N2.3trillion is to finance the 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion.

Buhari said the loan would enable the Federal Government to fund critical infrastructural projects in transportation, health, and education among others.

This is coming barely a month after the Senate approved the sum of $1.5bn and €995 million external borrowings for the Federal Government.

The loans were part of the $5.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings Buhari had, in May 2020, asked the Red Chamber to approve to finance various priority projects of the federal government and to support the state governments facing fiscal challenges.

Details later…

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Armed Thugs Disrupt NLC Protest in Kaduna, Wabba Accuses El-Rufai

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The protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress on Tuesday turned violent as armed thugs attacked the workers, throwing stones at them.

The workers had converged at the popular NEPA roundabout in the Kaduna capital city to continue the day two of their protest when the thugs invaded the area and started throwing stones and other dangerous weapons at them.

The attack forced many of the protesters to scamper for safety.

It is not known who actually sent the thugs, but the NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba has pointed accusing fingers at the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

Speaking with newsmen amid the protest, Wabba said he informed the DSS after he received earlier information of the plan to disrupt the protest.

“Today is a very sad moment in the history of democracy in Nigeria. Early in the morning today, we got credible information that El-Rufai has hired one Alhaji Hassan and some thugs to come and attack us.

“While we are here, they came but thank God we have chased them away because we have the number. We are not thugs And We Are Not Using Thugs we are Nigerian workers,” Wabba told Channels Television.

The armed thugs were dispersed by security operatives with teargas.

Wabba is leading day two of the NLC protest despite being declared wanted by the Kaduna State government.

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Nigeria Receives £4.2m Ibori Loot

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Nigeria has received the £4.2million seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori from the United Kingdom.

This is according to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this on Tuesday via a statement issued by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

He confirmed that the “Federal Government of Nigeria has received GBP 4,214,017.66 of the loot associated with the family members of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.”

According to the statement, “the amount has been credited into the designated Federal Government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of 10th May 2021.”

Malami was said to have signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the Ibori loot on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Minister said the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public-oriented projects.

On May 3, Malami had announced that the United Kingdom would repatriate the looted fund to Nigeria any moment from now.

He had explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was working tirelessly to ensure the return of looted Nigerian assets kept outside the country’s territorial boundaries, adding that that the Federal Government of Nigeria was in touch with the UK government on the matter.

“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks.

“There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds,” he said.

He noted that the Federal Government is working assiduously to make sure that the transfer goes through successfully.

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