P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Living http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:30:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.1 Ondo bans ‘ogogoro’, the local gin production http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/25/ondo-bans-ogogoro-the-local-gin-production/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/25/ondo-bans-ogogoro-the-local-gin-production/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 19:45:03 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=237478 Ogpgoro being sold in various bottles

Ogpgoro being sold in various bottles

The Ondo state Government, west of Nigeria has banned the production and consumption of locally-made gin, commonly called `ogogoro` in the state.

The ban was reminiscent of the colonial and post colonial time when the gin was declared illegal. Dr. Tai Solarin, the educationist and founder of Mayflower School in IKenne in Ogun state, led a campaign for the lifting of the ban in the 70s.

This time around, the Ondo state government is slamming a ban as a result of the recent health hazards associated with its consumption.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, announced the ban at a news conference in Akure on Saturday.

The commissioner attributed the ban to the outbreak of an unknown disease two weeks ago in Irele Local Government Area of the state.

“Our clinical analysis reveals the fact that there were no known viruses, while toxicology reports have confirmed our prime suspicion of methanol poisoning.

“We have reviewed our strategies and embarked on sensitisation to let people know that locally-made gin is prohibited.

“We will also embark on searches because this batch of methanol-containing gin must have gone round because 4 cases: 2 alive and 2 dead have been found in Odigbo Local Government Area,“ he said.

Adeyanju said that stakeholders such as religious leaders, transporters, youths, market women, and the relevant association would be informed of the development.

He said, “We will start with the entire South Senatorial District, then move to the Central Senatorial District.

According to the commissioner, the unknown disease has so far claimed 23 lives with ten other people receiving treatment.

“Two of them have regained their sights and are back home.

“We appeal to the general public to desist from drinking the gin until we are able to identify the source of contamination or find out how the methanol got into the drinks,“ he said.

The commissioner said that the state government was working closely with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control and the National Orientation Agency to sensitise members of the public to the dangers of consuming such drinks.

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Ado-Ekiti woman delivers twins after waiting for 14 years http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/20/ado-ekiti-woman-delivers-twins-after-waiting-for-14-years/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/20/ado-ekiti-woman-delivers-twins-after-waiting-for-14-years/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:01:16 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236841 Mrs. Roseline Akinsola> Photo credit: Facebook Page

Mrs. Roseline Akinsola> Photo credit: Facebook Page

Mrs Roseline Akinsola, 50, on Monday delivered a set of twins after 14 years of childlessness.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akinsola, who works at the Ekiti State Christian Pilgrims Board, was full of praises to God for answering her prayers.

The mother of two girls, who weighed 4.2kg and 2.3kg, advised other couples in need of children not to lose hope.

Akinsola, who on her Facebook page, says she hails from Ilawe-Ekiti, in an interview with NAN, expressed gratitude to God for giving her the children after several years.

” I thank God for the new name he has given to me; before, I was being called “Iya Iyanu’’ without a child, but today, my name has changed to “Mummy Twins.’’

“Many of my colleagues, friends and neighbours mocked and sidelined me, but because I stood firm on the words of God, He answered my prayers.

Illustration: a set of twins

Illustration: a set of twins

“I thank my husband, who inspite of the troubles and problems from family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours still believe in me and God.

“He stood by me like a father in all ways and also believed in God all through the crisis. I also thank my siblings who stood by me in prayers for years.

“Let me thank God for all those who stood by me in prayers and encouraged me not to desist from serving God.

“These children are indeed signs that God never forgets his own people who diligently seek him and believe in his words, ” she said.

The father of the twins,Babatunde,49, also expressed gratitude to God for the children.

“We fast, pray and cry unto God for the fruits of the womb for years, but I am happy that today, God has finally fulfilled his promise to my family.

“I thank members of our church under the callings of Pastor and Mrs David Ajileye for their prayers and care for my family,’’ the happy father, who is also a civil servant, said.

Ajileye, who is the General Overseer of the Way of Life Bible Church, Ado-Ekiti, thanked God for his blessings in the lives of the couple.

“We have known the couple for over 15 years and they have been steadfast and faithful in serving God inspite of the challenges they were facing.

“For years, I and my wife have been praying to God to give the couple the fruit of the womb; I am so happy that the lord has answered their prayers.

“The church witnessed a similar miracle in 2013 when a couple, members of our church delivered a set of twins, a boy and a girl after 31 years of childlessness,’’ he said.

He advised the couple to teach and train the children in the ways of the lord.

NAN reports that the mother and the twins were in good health as at press time. (NAN)
DJ/KOLE/OJO

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Young researchers design tool that helps the blind to see http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/young-researchers-design-tool-that-helps-the-blind-to-see/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/young-researchers-design-tool-that-helps-the-blind-to-see/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:44:57 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236406 Saverio Murgia, CEO of Horus Technology Company

Saverio Murgia, CEO of Horus Technology Company

A young team of Ligurian researchers, almost all of them under 25, have designed one of many new generation devices that gives sight to the blind.

Saverio Murgia, the Engineer and CEO of Horus Technology Company, explained on Thursday in Genoa that the device could considerably improve the lives of those who have major vision problems.

“It is similar to a pair of glasses, but one wears it the other way around,” he said.

“In practice, however, it is a new invention made in Liguria, which could radically change the lives of people who are blind or have poor eyesight,” he added.

Murgia said the device, called “Horus”, would be available to buy from the beginning of 2016.

A very young team of Ligurian researchers designed it, almost all of them under 25, and in recent months they have already won a flood of recognition, both in Italy and internationally.

He said anyone who wears it, through vocal assistance, to read any kind of text, recognise people, and most importantly, to identify objects.

Murgia said using a small camera the device can decipher the world that surrounds an individual with vision problems.

“It is a digital device that can be carried in one’s pocket like a simple mobile phone, and can decipher images and transform them into words that are immediately communicated to the device’s user,” he said.

He said “Horus” would have a purchase price that would be within everyone’s reach.

“In the coming months the product will be commercialised first in Italy and then abroad, since we are already receiving many requests especially from France, Holland, Poland, Canada and Japan,” he said.

Murgia said the device has already been tested with excellent results by blind people and individuals with poor vision.

He warned that the function of the device does not rely on internet access, because the device works solely on the basis of images that come from the outside world.

Murgia said for the invention, in a couple of weeks, in Padua, the group of researchers would receive a prize at MIT Technology Review Italy, as one of the most innovative companies among the 10 that have obtained the highest score in Italy.

He said in conclusion, it was an indication that in spite of everything, development was possible in Italy.

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Nigeria: $60m required for measles pre-elimination campaign http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/nigeria-60m-required-for-measles-pre-elimination-campaign/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/16/nigeria-60m-required-for-measles-pre-elimination-campaign/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 05:23:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=236328 President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

Over 60 million dollars would be required by Nigeria to prosecute the proposed first and second phases of the national measles elimination programme, said a report.

NAN reports that the exercise is expected to cover not less than 54 million persons nationwide.

This is contained in the report of the first 2015 meeting of the Inter-agency Coordinating Committee (ICC) obtained by NAN in Abuja on Wednesday.

The report was presented to the committee by Dr Nneka Onwu, Head, Supplementary Immunisation Activities at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The report indicated that GAVI, an international non-governmental organisation, and other partners were expected to provide over 20 million dollars out of the needed sum for the exercise.

It said the first phase of the follow up campaign in the 19 northern states and the FCT was being planned for Sept. 2015.

The report said the second phase of the campaign which would expectedly be conducted in October, this year, would cover the remaining 17 southern states of the federation.

It also said the campaign would cover over 54 million people within the age bracket of nine months to 10 years.

It said the decision to step up Nigeria’s campaign against measles was in line with the country’s commitment to the global community plan to achieve measles elimination by 2020.

The report said the Federal Government acknowledged the need to achieve pre-elimination and elimination targets by 2015 and 2020.

The report put the total suspected measles cases in 651 local government areas in 36 states and the FCT at 9,290.

According to the report, there are 4,494 confirmed cases from 317 local government areas and 67 deaths caused by measles, while the age group of most affected children was nine to 59 months.

It said the NPHDCA and other stakeholders had adopted a vaccination strategy that entailed fixed and mobile equipment, utilising established polio structures in security compromised areas.

The ICC said in the report that the overall goal of the project was to eliminate the disease in the country while the objective was to minimise outbreaks.

According to the report, the objectives of the proposed measles campaign include minimising outbreaks by ensuring the highest quality coverage of 95 per cent in all the 774 local government areas in the country.

NAN also reports that the follow up campaign for the elimination of measles was recommended by a technical advisory group constituted by the federal government.

The last measles Supplementary Immunisation Activities was conducted in 2013 following the recommendation of the group.

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Housemaid Demands N15m For Kidnapped Kids http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/10/housemaid-demands-n15m-for-kidnapped-kids/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/04/10/housemaid-demands-n15m-for-kidnapped-kids/#comments Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:19:07 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=235776 Cyriacus Izuekwe

The police have now confirmed that the three children declared missing by their parents, Mr and Mrs Leke Orekoya, on 7 April, were actually abducted by their housemaid who is now demanding for N15m ransom for their release.

The housemaid, Mary Akinloye, a 23-year-old indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State, who was contracted via an online sales and classified portal, OLX, made away with them 24 hours after she was employed in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.

It was reported that the family was contacted on Thursday, April 9, by the suspect and others, who were suspected to be members of her gang and  demanded for the money for their release.

The four children, Demola, 6 years old; Adedamola, 4 years old and 11-month old Aderomola, were reported to have gone missing when the house maid  made away with them.

The missing kids

The missing kids

According to the mother of the children, Adebisi, she and her husband had put up a request on the portal requesting for a nanny when the maid who was taking care of the kids suddenly stopped coming to work.

Adebisi said they had someone, a woman who was taking care of the kids before and the woman did not show up on Saturday and Sunday and they urgently needed someone to assist because they were going to resume work on Monday.

“We were disturbed and that was why I posted the information on OLX. She (Mary) called us and said she was interested. She said she was 23 years.”

Adebisi said they agreed to employ her in the interim because they did not like the fact that she was young.

She said they agreed to collect between N10, 000 to N15,000 unlike their former nanny who collected N25,000.

“I left her at home that morning (Wednesday) around 7.30 a.m. It was around 1p.m. that my eldest son called me and said she had taken his siblings away.

“He said Mary told him they were going out to buy some things. She took the 11 month old Aderomola on her back and held the others by the hand. She has since not returned.”

The father of the abducted children,, Leke, also said: “The girl gave us the contacts of relatives and we spoke with two people she introduced to us as her brother and sister.”

He said they confirmed that they were her relatives and gave them vague description of where they lived in Ikorodu.

“We agreed to do proper documentation this week. It was  less than 24 hours after that she went away with the kids.

“She never gave us an idea that she was on an evil mission. Her spoken English was fluent. She said she had a National Diploma and just wanted to make some money so she could return to school.”

A distraught Mrs Orekoya wondered how the woman she decided to help turned to hurt her.

“I just want to appeal to them to return my children; we do not have that kind of money. I wonder what they are giving the 11-month old baby to eat since Wednesday,” she said.

Mrs Orekoya, who works in a bank, urged the police to help recover her children.

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Lagos To Experience 260 Days Of Rainfall http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/lagos-to-experience-260-days-of-rainfall/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/lagos-to-experience-260-days-of-rainfall/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:54:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234126 Kazeem Ugbodaga

Tunji Bello, Commissioner of Environment

Tunji Bello, Commissioner of Environment

Lagos State is to experience 260 days of rainfall this year, says the state government, with the maximum annual rainfall predicted to be 1,824mm.

Lagos Commissioner for the Environment, Tunji Bello disclosed this on Tuesday at a news conference on the 2015 Seasonal Rainfall Pfrediction held in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

According to Bello, it has been predicted that Lagos State shall experience a rainy season of between 245 and 260 days, with the maximum annual rainfall predicted to be around 1,824mm, explaining that this maximum rainfall would be experienced within and around Marina area of Lagos Island.

He added that in general, this year’s rainfall has been predicted to have a delay onset of about 2-13 days, with Lagos, Ondo, Ogun and some other states expected to have more pronounced delay onset by 8-13 days.

“An early cessation of rainfall is predicted for most part of the country. However, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ondo, Akue, among others are predicted to have later than normal cessation as they would experience more growing season.

“In Lagos, onset dates range between 26 March and 2 April, while the season ending is predicted to range between 3 and 11 December, 2015. NIMET’s day and night temperature derivations in the month of March shows that the northern part of the country is expected to be colder during the day while the south will be warmer,” he said.

The commissioner noted that it was equally predicted that the southern states would be warmer than normal at night, saying, however, that Lagos Island and its immediate environs would be colder than normal.

“Warmer than normal day and night temperature are predicted for most part of the country in the month of April. The little dry season is predicted to occur between 15 July and 31 August, 2015 in most part of the country. However, in comparison to August 2014, this year is expected and predicted to be drier,” he added.

Bello explained that among the new ways of improving the content of this year’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, was the malaria forecast, which predicted warmer than normal and high humidity at different times across the country.

He said this high temperature and humidity were favourable conditions for the growth of pest, vectors and spreading of diseases, saying that the higher the temperature and humidity, the more rapid the life cycles of mosquitoes and frequencies in mosquitoes bites, urging the public to be well prepared.

“Lagos State is expected to be moderately affected by mosquitoes, nevertheless, it is of utmost importance that Lagosians keep their environment clean to minimise the effects of mosquitoes,” he advised.

He warned Lagosians against indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places and ensured daily cleaning and evacuation of silted drains around homes and premises, urging Lagosians to report cases of drainage blockages, dumping of refuse into canals and other unauthorised places to the government for prompt action.

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Angelina Jolie removes ovaries over cancer fears http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/angelina-jolie-removes-ovaries-over-cancer-fears/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/angelina-jolie-removes-ovaries-over-cancer-fears/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 09:27:31 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234072 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday that she has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed over fears of a hereditary form of cancer, following her double mastectomy two years ago.

The actress, who has lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to the disease, said she had the procedure last week after results from a blood test raised fears that she may be in the early stages of cancer.

Although later tests showed that wasn’t the case, Jolie said she chose to go ahead with the surgery because of her family history and because she carries a gene mutation that had given her a 50 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer, the same mutation that put her at 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer.

“I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this,” Jolie wrote in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, the same way she announced her double mastectomy two years ago.

“A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery,” said Jolie, who is married to fellow Hollywood heavyweight Brad Pitt.

“In my case, the Eastern and Western doctors I met agreed that surgery to remove my tubes and ovaries was the best option, because on top of the BRCA gene, three women in my family have died from cancer,” she wrote.

Her doctors said that she should have the preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in her female relatives.

“My mother’s ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I’m 39.”

Jolie said that she had been preparing for the possibility of ovary removal ever since her double mastectomy.

But two weeks ago, she said, she got a call from a doctor who said her blood test results had “a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.”

She was told to see a surgeon immediately.

– ‘Knowledge is power’ –

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren,” Jolie wrote.

“I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.”

She went to see a surgeon, the same one who had treated her mother and whom she last saw on the day that her mother died.

The examination and ultrasound were regular, so she waited for five days, saying she tried to stay calm and focused as she attended her children’s soccer game and went about her daily life. Then scan results came back clean.

“To my relief, I still had the option of removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes and I chose to do it,” she said.

The surgery has put the mother of six into menopause.

“I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.

“It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”

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Jonathan: We’ll set up 6 referral hospitals http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/jonathan-well-set-up-6-referral-hospitals/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/24/jonathan-well-set-up-6-referral-hospitals/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:40:33 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=234052 President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Isa Yuguda during his visit to Bauchi State

President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Isa Yuguda during his visit to Bauchi State

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said that the Federal Government would set up a referral hospital in each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

Jonathan, who stated this while inaugurating a 400-bed capacity Specialists’ Hospital in Bauchi, said the effort was to discourage medical tourism abroad.

“As a Federal Government, we have plans to set up referral hospital in each of the six geo-political zones in the country.

“When established, Nigerians will go to these zones for medical attention, instead of going outside the country,” he said.

He added that the federal government would also set up a technical team to come up with strategies on how to properly manage hospitals in the country.

“I have gone to quite a number of states and the state governments have built very good hospitals with modern equipment.

“But equipment without proper management cannot help,” he said.

He said his administration would discuss with professional practitioners on how Nigeria would manage its health system to meet global standards.

He commended Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi for his initiative in establishing a standard hospital g and promised to work with the state to move the health sector forward.

According to him, the specialist hospital is well equipped to provide world class medical care to patients.

He reiterated his administration’s commitment to strengthen the health sector in the country for quality healthcare delivery and to also curb incessant strike in the nation’s hospitals.

“As a government, we will do our best to come out with programmes and policies that will make doctors earn commensurate wages so that they will be stable and do the work they are paid to do, “the president said.

Earlier, Yuguda had explained that the construction of the hospital was awarded in 2012 at the cost of N2.5 billion, following the transfer of the former Bauchi Specialists’ Hospital to the Fedral Government and upgraded to a Teaching Hospital.

He said that the hospital represented a critical investment in the lives of the people, adding that it was initiated to discourage people traveling abroad medical attention.

“Our goal is to assemble multidisciplinary team in the state, with the hope that all the medical resources in this hospital would be accessible to those who cannot afford them, “ Yuguda said.

He said that his administration had so far constructed and fully equipped 13 hospitals, bringing the total number of general hospitals in the state to 25.

He added that the number of primary health care facilities had also been increased from 881 in 2007, to 1,200 currently.

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Eating Disorders and Pregnancy – A Guide http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/18/eating-disorders-and-pregnancy-a-guide/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/18/eating-disorders-and-pregnancy-a-guide/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 05:38:25 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=233524 Pregnant

Eating disorders are often portrayed as an exclusively Western disease yet recent studies indicate that many women in Nigeria also suffer from anorexia and bulimia (as many as 58% in the female student population). Eating disorders can fall into one of four categories: anorexia nervosa (in which women tend to count calories obsessively and starve themselves); bulimia nervosa (in which bingeing is followed by purging), binge eating disorder (where bingeing is not followed by purging) and EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified, in which women have a problematic relationship with food, without falling into one of the stated categories).

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental condition, indicating its seriousness and the need for greater awareness and prevention. The case is particularly worrisome in pregnant women, since during pregnancy, women are required to consume a greater number of calories to meet the nutritional needs of their baby. Women who have struggled with eating disorders in the past, or who are struggling with a disorder during pregnancy, can find it very hard to reconcile the ambivalent feelings they have about being pregnant. On the one hand, they are happy to bring a new life into the world; on the other hand, the sensation that they are losing control over their body shape and the amount of weight they are gaining, can be devastating.

There are serious risks associated with eating disorders during pregnancy – everything from preeclampsia right through to pre-term delivery and even miscarriage. The problem extends beyond birth, since women with eating disorders also have higher rates of postpartum depression and breastfeeding issues.

The good news is that women who have recovered from an eating disorder can have a healthy pregnancy if they are able to maintain a normal weight throughout the pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have suffered from an eating disorder, ensure that you see your health care provider and a nutritionist, as well as a therapist, to address any underlying issues related to food and body image which may resurface during your pregnancy. Even before your pregnancy, you should schedule a prenatal visit to establish goals for healthy weight gain. Make sure you are guided by professionals who specialize in eating disorders.

By Melissa Davis

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Children wasting away as hunger hits 200,000 in Madagascar http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/11/children-wasting-away-as-hunger-hits-200000-in-madagascar/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/11/children-wasting-away-as-hunger-hits-200000-in-madagascar/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 06:00:38 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232808 FILE PHOTO: Katy Perry demonstrating to children how to wash their hands at the Sahavola pre-school in Madagascar

FILE PHOTO: Katy Perry demonstrating to children how to wash their hands at the Sahavola pre-school in Madagascar

Clutching a small bag of corn in one hand, six-year-old Haova Toboha scratches the ground with the other in hopes of turning up stray kernels left from a UN food handout.

“I found these and I’ll add them to the corn given to my parents” by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), said the little girl with the plastic bag in the village of Berano, southern Madagascar.

In villages across the southern part of the world’s fourth biggest island, a months-long drought ravaged last season’s crops.

People are famished, children are wasting away.

WFP rations currently are keeping some 120,000 people alive in the wake of the October-through-February drought that destroyed the harvest in a country where one of every two toddlers under three suffer retarded growth due to inadequate diets.

With food increasingly scarce due to the lack of rain, the UN food agency has launched an appeal to donors to help rebuild food stocks. “We need support now,” said the deputy WFP representative to the Indian Ocean island, Fatima Sow Sidibe.

People are not only being forced “to use their food reserves, they’re also using up their own physical reserves,” she said.

Unlike 1991, when hundreds of people died of hunger in the region, experts say the situation cannot yet be described as “famine.”

“In those days people would leave the village in search of water and die on the way there,” said Bertrand Randrianarivo, who was born in the south and has worked in the area with non-governmental organisations since 2001.

“Drought comes every five or six years,” he said, saying the largely isolated region needs to build water catchment systems and improve its links with the rest of the island. Donors were ready to invest in such projects but had been discouraged by the stance of the nation’s successive leaders.

– At least 16 children dead –

While the WFP sees the latest drought as causing acute food insecurity rather than famine, the villagers themselves say they are wasting away.

Raharisoa, a terrifyingly thin woman of 25, sits on the ground. Her two-year-old daughter died of hunger in December.

“We couldn’t look after our child,” she sighs. “Because of the famine, the adults are weak and cannot take care of the little ones.”

“In December, four children died in our village because of the famine,” said Masy, a healthcare worker in Berano.

In the neighbouring village of Imongy, the head of the area’s Health Centre, Marc Andriakotonindrina, says a dozen children died of hunger in December, according to information collected by local health-workers.

“These children showed no sign of sickness, they simply lost weight bit by bit until their demise,” he added.

The drought destroyed all of the crops growing in southern Madagascar and efforts by farmers to replant were to no avail, simply reducing seed stocks and food supplies.

When the rain finally came in February it was far too late.

The government says 200,000 to 350,000 people are suffering from hunger in the low-income nation of 22 million people, which is ranked 155th of 187 countries on the UNDP’s Human Development Index.

More than 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

In the last weeks, WFP rations have enabled 120,000 people to get regular meals.

And while Agriculture Minister Roland Ravatomanga has pledged to distribute food aid to drought-struck areas, this would have to come on top of the government’s efforts to find help for flood victims.

Torrential rain late last month that caused flooding and mudslides left 22 people dead and drove more than 63,000 from their homes in the capital, Antananarivo.

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Telling kids they’re special may foster narcissism http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/09/telling-kids-theyre-special-may-foster-narcissism/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/03/09/telling-kids-theyre-special-may-foster-narcissism/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 16:13:04 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=232676 FILE PHOTO: Pupils of the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, Maiduguri

FILE PHOTO: Pupils of the Future Prowess Islamic Foundation School, Maiduguri

Children who are told they are special by their parents are more likely to become narcissists, according to a study Monday that aimed to uncover the origins of extreme selfishness.

The research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal, is based on 565 children in the Netherlands who were surveyed over the course of a year and a half, along with their parents.

Children whose parents described them as “more special than other children” and as kids who “deserve something extra in life” were more likely to score higher on tests of narcissism than peers who were not lauded in this way.

Researchers also measured how much parents overvalued their children by asking how much they agreed with statements like: “My child is a great example for other children to follow.”

The children were between seven and 11 when they entered the study. They and their parents were surveyed four different times, with each session six months apart.

“Children believe it when their parents tell them that they are more special than others,” said study co-author Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“That may not be good for them or for society.”

Parental warmth and encouragement may be a better strategy than inflating the ego, the study found.

Youths who said they were often told they were loved by their parents were more likely to show high self-esteem but not narcissism.

Children with high self-esteem did not see themselves as more special than others, but agreed with statements that they were happy with themselves and liked themselves as they were.

“People with high self-esteem think they’re as good as others, whereas narcissists think they’re better than others,” Bushman said.

Lead author Eddie Brummelman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, said parents probably mean well by telling their children they are special, but the study showed this practice fosters narcissism, not high self-esteem.

“Rather than raising self-esteem, overvaluing practices may inadvertently raise levels of narcissism,” Brummelman said.

Parents are not solely to blame for narcissism in their children, the study authors said.

“Like other personality traits, it is partly the result of genetics and the temperamental traits of the children themselves,” said the study.

But Bushman, a father of three, said his own research has made him more aware of the words he chooses when he deals with his children.

“When I first started doing this research in the 1990s, I used to think my children should be treated like they were extra-special. I’m careful not to do that now,” he said.

“It is important to express warmth to your children because that may promote self-esteem, but overvaluing them may promote higher narcissism.”

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Nigerian Sex Slave Dies In B/Faso http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/27/nigerian-sex-slave-dies-in-bfaso/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/27/nigerian-sex-slave-dies-in-bfaso/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:30:06 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=231552 Simon Ateba

A Nigerian sex slave who was trafficked to the West African country of Burkina Faso has been found dead barely a month after an investigative report exposed the awful conditions she and other Nigerian girls are subjected to in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.

Our investigative correspondent travelled to Ouagadougou early in January to unravel the booming human trafficking business in the landlocked country.

What he discovered was a sophisticated human trafficking ring that takes girls all the way from Nigeria with the false promises of making their lives better in Europe via Burkina Faso.

The victim, known as Gift, was sold the same promises but ended up working as a sex slave in ‘Bar Dancing Petit Ouaga’, a brothel in Toudoubweogo village in Ouagadougou.

•The late Gift

•The late Gift

Our correspondent met her on 12 January this year during his investigation but she was found dead mid February.

In the report ( http://thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2015/02/09/human-trafficking-the-burkina-faso-ring/), Gift who hailed from Edo State in Nigeria, narrated how she had travelled with someone for three days to get to Burkina Faso in April 2014.

But, instead of going straight to Ouagadougou, she travelled first to Dori where gold is being mined manually. Dori is about 271 kilometres from Ouagadougou.

She claimed she was 18 years old but she appeared younger than that.   Most girls who are trafficked are taught to say they are 18 years and above.

During the conversation with our correspondent Gift expressed hope that once she had paid the traffickers some money, she would be free to move on with her life.

But she died a week ago, two activists said, just like many other trafficked Nigerian girls who have died there far away from their family members, and not close to their dream lives.

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2015 Hajj: Ogun begins sale of forms http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/19/2015-hajj-ogun-begins-sale-of-forms/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/19/2015-hajj-ogun-begins-sale-of-forms/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 08:42:51 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=230495 Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State

The Ogun Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board on Wednesday said it has commenced the sale of forms for 2015 Hajj to prospective Muslim pilgrims from the state.

The Secretary of the Board, Alhaji Sefiu Rasheed, made this known in a statement issued in Abeokuta.

He stated that the application form was N5,000, along with two passport size photographs for endorsement.

He noted that intending pilgrims should make an initial deposit of N600,000 on or before March 13 and obtain an official receipt from the Finance and Accounts Department of the Board’s Secretariat, Block B, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

He warned that unruly actions by pilgrims could attract necessary sanctions and urged intending pilgrims for 2015 to prepare themselves properly.

Rasheed said laboratory investigations shall be conducted on all prospective pilgrims by the board’s approved laboratory services at the cost of N2,700 each.

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Almost 200 whales stranded on New Zealand beach http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/13/almost-200-whales-stranded-on-new-zealand-beach/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/02/13/almost-200-whales-stranded-on-new-zealand-beach/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 07:57:59 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=229773 FILE PHOTO: Volunteers pour buckets of water over live pilot whales found stranded on remote Ocean Beach on New Zealand's Stewart Island

FILE PHOTO: Volunteers pour buckets of water over live pilot whales found stranded on remote Ocean Beach on New Zealand’s Stewart Island

Almost 200 pilot whales stranded themselves Friday on a New Zealand beach renowned as a deathtrap for the marine mammals, conservation officials said.

At least 24 whales from the pod of 198 that beached themselves at Farewell Spit had died and rescue workers were trying to refloat the survivors, the Department of Conservation (DOC) said.

“Re-floating stranded whales is a difficult and potentially dangerous job… community group Project Jonah has 140 volunteers in the Golden Bay area who are trained to do this and we’re working alongside them,” DOC spokesman Andrew Lamason said.

He said if the re-float attempt late Friday failed then the rescuers would have to wait 24 hours for another high tide before trying again.

Farewell Spit beach, at the northern tip of the South Island, has been the scene of many mass pilot whale strandings over the years.

There have been at least eight in the past decade, including two within the space of a week in January last year, although the latest stranding is one of the largest.

Pilot whales grow up to six metres (20 feet) long and are the most common species of whale in New Zealand waters.

Scientists are unclear why they strand themselves in large groups, with some speculating healthy whales beach themselves while trying to help sick or disorientated family members that are stranded.

Others believe the topography of certain places like Farewell Spit somehow scrambles the whales’ sonar navigation, causing them to beach.

Once stranded, the whales are vulnerable to dehydration and sunburn until rescuers can use the high tide to move their massive weight back into deeper water.

Once refloated, the whales often simply swim back ashore and have to be euthanised.

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Pope Francis urges parents to stop breeding like rabbits http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/19/pope-francis-urges-parents-to-stop-breeding-like-rabbits/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/19/pope-francis-urges-parents-to-stop-breeding-like-rabbits/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 22:12:59 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=227014 Pope Francis: candid advice to parents

Pope Francis: candid advice to parents

Pope Francis appealed Monday for responsible parenting and said that good Catholics should not have to breed “like rabbits”.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics said he defends the Church’s teaching against artificial contraception but claimed that didn’t mean “Christians should have children one after the other.”

He told journalists on his flight back from his visit to the Philippines that he once asked a mother of seven children — all born through caesarian section — who was pregnant with her eighth if she wanted to “leave behind seven young orphans”.

“She said, ‘I trust in God.’ But God gave us the means to be responsible,” the pope said. “Some think, and excuse the term, that to be good Catholics, they must be like rabbits.”

Francis said creating new life was “part of the sacrament of marriage” and in Manila had strongly defended his predecessor Paul VI’s outlawing of artificial contraception for Catholics in 1968.

“Paul VI was worried by the growth of neo-Malthusianism” (which advocates restricting the number of children the poor can have) which tried “put a control on humanity… he was a prophet,” he said.

“The key teaching of the Church is responsible parenthood. And how do we get that? By dialogue. There are marriage groups in the Church, experts and pastors,” he added.

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Teenage pregnancy, cause of mortality among girls – Expert http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/11/teenage-pregnancy-cause-of-mortality-among-girls-expert/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/11/teenage-pregnancy-cause-of-mortality-among-girls-expert/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 16:28:16 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225870 FILE PHOTO: Maternal Mortality Rate

FILE PHOTO: Maternal Mortality Rate

Prof. Oladapo Ladipo, the President of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), on Sunday warned against teenage pregnancy.

He said this was often the cause of mortality among girls.

Ladipo told NAN in Lagos that teenage pregnancy could predispose the girl-child to devastating reproductive health outcomes.

He also said that early marriage and early pregnancy were capable of exposing girls to devastating social, educational, economic and health challenges.

“Many of this girl-child getting pregnant have one major disadvantage of poor reproductive outcome.

“They are the ones that will suffer anaemia, pregnancy induced hypertension and obstructed labour.

“And if they do not die in the process, they are left with Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) or Rectovagina Fistula. They will be draining urine continuously or faeces continuously from their lower genital tract.

“This is a tragedy that should never be allowed to happen,” he said.

Ladipo said that teenage pregnancy could be reduced by investing in child survival and health programmes as well as giving priority to free and quality education for all.

He called on government at all levels to place high priority on girl-child education to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies in the country.

“Girl-child marriage and early pregnancy initiation is one of the things that need to be discouraged because the mortality is high in this group.

“The girl-child should be allowed to complete her secondary school education.

“Education of the children in this country should be free and compulsory to the secondary school level. If we do that, it’s another way of reducing high maternal mortality and morbidity among Nigerian girls,” he said.

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Mo Abudu Is Forbes Africa’s Most Successful Woman http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/09/mo-abudu-is-forbes-africas-most-successful-woman/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/01/09/mo-abudu-is-forbes-africas-most-successful-woman/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:17:59 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=225675 Funsho Arogundade

Mo Abudu, executive chairman and CEO of Ebony Life TV, Africa’s first global black entertainment and lifestyle network, has been announced by Forbes as Africa’s Most Successful Woman of The Year.

Abudu joins other notable African women who have been listed in the past. They are Divine Ndhlukula, Founder and Managing Director of SECURICO, one of Zimbabwe’s largest security companies, and Khanyi Dhlomo, a 36- year-old South African media mogul, unconventional visionary, and a builder of big dreams.

•Mo Abudu

•Mo Abudu

Mo, who has been described by international news outlets as ‘Africa’s Africa’, said she is keen in her resolve to rewrite Africa’s story.

In a recent interview with Forbes, she recounted her entrepreneurial journey and reflected on the lessons she has learned along the way.

Speaking on her entrepreneurial journey and lessons she has learned along the way, Mo said: “This kind of afro-pessimism simply fuelled a burning, deep-seated desire in my subconscious to one day help to rewrite the African story; to get people to talk about the issues that affect our society and to tell the African narrative in a contemporary and interesting way; to change the perception the world had of us; to let the world know that in spite of our challenges as a developing continent, Africans are not a bunch of savages but mostly a breed of gifted and remarkable people.”

Mo was also recently honoured with a Doctorate degree by Babcock University.

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View from abroad: Nigeria’s super rich and their $2m fairy wedding http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/view-from-abroad-nigerias-super-rich-and-their-2m-fairy-wedding/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/28/view-from-abroad-nigerias-super-rich-and-their-2m-fairy-wedding/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 06:13:10 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=224246 One of the fairy tale weddings in Nigeria

One of the fairy tale weddings in Nigeria

Illusionists flown in from Spain, flowers imported from France, or an R&B superstar flown in from the United States. No request seems to be out of line to Nigeria’s rich when it comes to the most beautiful day of their life. And don’t even mention the b-word – budget, that is – ’cause whatever the bride wants, the bride gets.
Due to its oil reserves, gas, telecom and rising entertainment industry, Nigeria may consider itself Africa’s largest economy as of early 2014. But natural resources and Nollywood aside, there’s another million dollar business out there giving the national GPD a major boost: the wedding events business.

The West African nation may be home to the majority of Africa’s billionaires, but there’s no shortage of millionaires either. “Our core clientèle is mainly made up by millionaires. They will not hesitate to spend the money in order to get what they want. If they need to fly in an artist from America, or a decorator from Dubai or London, they will do so,” says Funke Bucknor, founder of Nigeria’s leading wedding and events company, Zapphaire events.

Bucknor is a brand. Apart from her wedding planning duties, she’s published a book titled The Essential Bridal Hand book, and in the first quarter of 2015 her very own TV show will start airing on a national TV network.
She founded her wedding planning business twelve years ago and was amongst the first to do so. Today, her profession which seemed unnecessary to many locals over a decade ago, has become an essential to the moneyed Nigerian bride that wants her wedding to be the talk of town. Or perhaps it is better to say her weddings.
‘Cause one wedding alone just doesn’t cut it. First there is the traditional wedding – the only wedding recognized by the family – followed by the white wedding, which is similar to that which we know in the West. As for the latter, the destination wedding is all the rage. “Dubai and London are the most popular destinations, followed by Cape Town, Seychelles and the Maldives. Florence in currently growing in popularity,” Bucknor adds.

In 2013 research company Euromint showed how Nigeria had world’s fastest growing rate of champagne consumption, second only to France, while ahead of other lucrative markets including the US and China. Lagos-based beauty-queen-turned-event-planner, Elohor Aisien, concurs. “Nigerians love champagne, so the most money will be spent on drinks as well as food. On Nigerian weddings there’s food from 2pm till midnight.” Given that the average Nigerian wedding will easily have around 1000 guests, whereas the bigger wedding will have between 2000 and 3000 guests, the choice of champagne is a crucial one. “Old money Nigerians may keep things more subtle, new money Nigerians are more concerned with letting people know that they’ve arrived. Magnums of Dom Pérignon will often be their drink of choice. In a way it’s become this competition amongst brides. They’ll ask me: ‘How many bottles did she have? I need more,’” 33-year-old Aisien says.

Her wedding and events planning company Privé Luxury – founded in 2012 – might be a newbie to the scene, but Elohor may already consider offspring of Nigerian royalty, and the country’s leading female recording artist amongst her clients. “I did the wedding of Reukayat Indimi, who comes from a royal Nigerian family, which hails from the north of the country. According to northern tradition, the bride can’t leave the house during the month leading up to the wedding. Since the bride didn’t have her wedding dress yet, I flew into London with a model who fitted several dresses for her. Elie Saab is a popular choice of wedding dress amongst Nigerians, whereas most grooms I work with want a Tom Ford total look. Vera Wang is also very much in demand, since it fits well on the Nigerian body type,” Elohor says, who may also tick the box that says “celebrity wedding”. In 2013 Privé Luxury planned one of Nigeria’s most talked-about weddings, twhich ended up being broadcast on a local TV network. It was when Nigeria’s leading female recording artist Tiwa Savage, exchanged vows with husband Tee Billz. Their destination wedding was held at Dubai’s Armani Hotel, part of world’s tallest man-made structure, the Burj Khalifa.”I have a good relationship with the Armani Hotel in Dubai, they love Nigerian weddings,”Aisien concludes.

Some might argue that it is morally wrong for a country in which some have to live on a dollar a day, to add value to how many liters of DP are flowing at a wedding. Others however, claim that if it wasn’t for lavish Nigerian weddings, there would be no Nigerian economy. “I appreciate them spending this money, cause without these weddings I don’t know where the Nigerian economy would be,” says Weruche Majekodunmi, founder of Newton & David, a local company specialized in event design and décor. “The weddings keep our economy going. Normally the rich Nigerians will spend their money abroad, whenever they go shopping. Thanks to the wedding industry the money is being invested back into our economy. Jobs of caterers, tailors, carpenters and upholsterers are being sustained. Prior to these major weddings, the profession of make-up artist wasn’t even considered a full-time job,” she explains.

Weruche started working with flowers at church as a hobby, around 25 years ago. It was at a time in which Nigerians paid little to no attention, to the decoration of their wedding venue. “Up to fifteen years ago, some weddings wouldn’t even have a table cloth on the tables and they wouldn’t have any flowers except for the bridal bouquet. Nowadays Nigerian weddings will feature expensive flowers from France, silk table cloth and lots of crystal. A lot of the elite Nigerian kids have been educated abroad, so they’re used to the international standard when it comes to detail. They’ve become accustomed to a certain standard, so to import something isn’t unusual to them” the décor specialist slash wedding planner explains. Currently trending amongst the international kids is the flower wall, which surged in popularity after Kim Kardashian’s marriage to Kanye West.

Weruche goes on saying, “It has happened three times in the last five years that I’ve organized a wedding that cost over $2 million. They spent the most on food, Cristal champagne, entertainment and gifts to their guests. At one wedding all the invitees got their wedding outfit with their invitation. At another wedding they handed out microwave ovens, smart phones and rice cookers, to all of their guests. At some other weddings they’ll fly in their guests and arrange their accommodation in case they decide to get married overseas. You must understand, that our reasoning is different from that in the West.”

Culled from www.forbes.com

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Why Cost Of Accommodation Is High —Survey http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/22/why-cost-of-accommodation-is-high-survey/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/22/why-cost-of-accommodation-is-high-survey/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 12:24:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223637 Stakeholders in the housing sector have blamed the soaring prices of locally-produced and imported building materials for the high cost of accommodation in major cities nationwide.

They disclosed in separate interviews that the instability in the price of building materials was responsible for the high cost of accommodation in the country.

The stakeholders, including professionals in the housing sector and estate developers, urged the Federal Government to provide tax relief for local manufacturers and importers of building materials in order to reduce the high cost of accommodation in major cities.

Mr. Ayo Adejumo, Executive Secretary, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), said Nigerians would continue to pay more for accommodation in major cities until the cost of building materials was subsidised through tax holiday.

According to him, if the government can grant tax holiday to the producers of building materials, it will go a long way in reducing the cost of building houses in the country.

Ayo Adejumo

Ayo Adejumo

Adejumo also urged government to provide enabling environment for the private estate developers to strive by providing them with proper incentives, credits and mortgages.

Mr. Danjuma Abalaka, the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Institute of Building, however, attributed the ugly trend to lack of effective legislation guiding activities in the housing sector.

Abalaka said the non-passage of the Building Code by the National Assembly had made it difficult for effective regulation of the activities of operators in the housing sector.

“The institute has a bill on building code, which has been at the National Assembly for so long. “If the bill can be passed, it will help to regulate and monitor the activities of both professionals and private developers.

“So, it is when this law is in place that the issue of high rent can be checked.

“NIOB has been tasking government to industrialise the country so that the cost of most of the building materials will be affordable. The Ajaokuta Steel Company is still lying fallow after so many years.

“High cost of building materials and reinforcements is another problem confronting people who plan to build their own houses.

“If the government can revitalise our industrial base, the cost of building materials will come down and many people would be able to build their own houses.”

Abalaka also explained that many completed housing estates remained unoccupied because of the high rent attached to them as against the meagre income of the average Nigerian worker.

He said that an average Nigerian worker must contend with the lack of access to affordable land and mortgage facilities.

“The inaccessibility of land has been a major hindrance to Nigerians having their own houses. In Abuja, the cost of buying a land is much more than building a house.

“Civil servants cannot afford the houses due to their meagre earnings. It is also difficult for them to access mortgage loans.

“The high cost of rent makes it difficult for people to purchase these houses. The percentage of workers that can access mortgage is very appalling.”

Abalaka stressed the need for the government to evolve a clear housing policy to regulate the activities of private estate developers in the country.

Mr. Gandu Zakari, a Quantity Surveyor, attributed the high cost of rent and phenomenon of unoccupied estates to corrupt tendencies of some Nigerians.

“Some people embezzle money and due to the Central Bank Cash Transaction limit policy, it makes it impossible to lodge certain amount of money without drawing attention.

“So, they invest in property with pseudo names with no plans to rent or make the rents affordable.

Zakari suggested the introduction Property Tax, whereby anyone who has more than two houses would be made to pay higher tax on such properties.

“This will help to check the rate at which people acquire property greedily,” he said.

He further suggested that unoccupied housing estates whose ownerships could not be properly ascertained should be confiscated by the government and auctioned.

“Some people acquire properties they do not even need. It is just sheer greed,” he said.

Mr. Emmanuel Okafor, a civil servant, expressed sadness about the whole situation.

“I do not think the government has the civil servants in their plan for housing; if they do, the process of acquiring housing loans should be made more civil service-friendly, since they know how much they pay us,” he said.

Mr. Kashim Ali, the President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), however, urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration to fast-track the development of infrastructure in the satellite towns to check the high cost of accommodation in the nation’s capital.

He attributed the prohibitive cost of rented accommodation in the FCT to the high cost of land and building materials.

Ali said that massive development of the satellite towns would provide the people access to buy land to build their own houses.

“In Abuja, there should be more efforts in the development of satellite towns. Government should embark on massive development of infrastructure in the satellite towns.

“That way, people will have access to land and people can easily buy plots of land to build their own houses.

“That way, the pressure on the city centre would reduce and crash rent charges.”

He noted that most completed housing estates in Abuja were unoccupied because of the high rent demanded by the estate developers whose aim was to earn more profits from their investments.

“Some of these houses are built using bank loans. So, the owners want to pay their debt and in the process overcharge.

“They charge high rent in order to make profit from their investments. Many people cannot afford to pay the high rent, so the estates are unoccupied.

“People would not take such houses but would rather go to the outskirts of the city for similar houses that are affordable and a bit cheaper.

“The cost of construction is pretty high. The investment in the cost of land and materials translates into high rent.

“Having spent so much money in building houses, the owners expect high returns hence the high rent charges.

“Because of the level of investment they have made in the buildings, owners cannot just give them out for paltry sums, especially within the city centre,” Ali said.

The COREN president, therefore, called for adequate funding and effective monitoring of mortgage financing institutions to ensure that their services are accessible to more Nigerians.

Professor Timothy Nubi of the Department of Estate Management, University of Lagos, suggested the overhaul of the land registration system to facilitate housing development and enhance wealth generation.

Mr. Lewis Ladipo, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos branch, identified policy inconsistency as the bane of development in the housing sector in Nigeria.

“An administration that formulates a housing policy never accomplishes it,” he said.

According to him, the housing sector has been known for contributing to the economic renaissance of many countries.

“Unfortunately, in Nigeria, we have been experiencing governments that never accomplished what they set out to achieve.

“Policy inconsistency is unhealthy for the growth of any country’s housing sector,” he said. Ladipo advised the Federal Government to adopt strategies that developed nations had used to optimally provide accommodation for their citizens.

“Promoting security of tenure is a prerequisite for sustainable improvement in housing and environmental conditions.

“The federal government and local authorities should design, adopt and implement pro-poor city development strategies and ensure sufficient availability of land for housing development.”

He urged the Federal Government to pool resources together to overcome the challenges confronting its housing sector.

However, Mr. Makinde Ogunleye, a former Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), stressed the need for stakeholders to support the federal governments’ efforts to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

Ogunleye said that partnership between public and private sectors would not only guarantee availability of housing finance but would also enhance speedy housing delivery.

He said that the mortgage sector should be looked at as a value chain for the success of the partnership.

According to him, production of the building materials, creating enabling environment in the area of titling as well as ensuring vibrant primary mortgage market have to go hand-in-hand.

Ogunleye said that there would be no secondary mortgage market without a vibrant primary mortgage market.

He explained that mortgage banks were facing challenges of how to design flexible products for potential house owners to help them achieve their goals of home ownership.

“The mortgage banks need to put in place appropriate products as well as build adequate information infrastructure to be able to deliver effective mortgage banking.

“There is also the need to have the right people in terms of training and capacity in the development of the mortgage industry,” he said.

In Lagos, Mr. Chuks Omeife, the immediate past President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), described the housing situation as “very, very uncomfortable.”

“This is giving the fact that the state is overpopulated with serious deficit in housing stock.

“The challenge, however, is that the rate of housing production and the rate of population growth is opposite. While population is growing at geometrical rate, housing provision is far below expectation.

“The private sector that would have filled the gap is not producing houses that are within the reach of an average Nigerian.

“The houses obviously are grossly inadequate in all respects, including not being enough for civil servants due to the continuous growing population arising from the influx of Nigerians looking for greener pasture in Lagos.

“The measures currently put in place are far cry from what is expected. The major cause of the high cost of accommodation in Lagos is, therefore, attributable to the high deficit in housing stock in the state.”

Omeife blamed the ugly trend on the absence of effective mortgage system, adding that “this is one of the major challenges Nigerians have faced for a long time trying to acquire houses.

“It is very unfortunate that mortgage industry in the country has been haphazard and this has contributed to the problem.

“In other climes, people do not have to buy a house by cash-and-carry, mortgage is always available where individuals can purchase a house and pay over a long period.

“This is what is missing here. The recent Mortgage Refinance Company set up by the Federal Government is an initiative in the right direction and it is hoped that if this fully comes on board it will provide a relief for Nigerians in an attempt to access housing provision.

“It is expected that with the level of work done by government in the housing sector giving the various housing initiatives and partnership delivery platforms, Nigerians might start witnessing a boom in the housing sector,” he said.

But Mr. Yakubu Garba, the Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Abuja chapter, has attributed the high cost of accommodation in the FCT to insecurity in parts of the country which resulted in the influx of many people into the city.

He said that the issue of insecurity in several parts of the country had compelled many people to abandon their erstwhile places of abode for the FCT, which they perceived to be safer.

“People feel safe in Abuja. This attracts large population coming into the city, thereby causing the high rate of tenancy in Abuja.

“But there are some people who, no matter the economic situation in their place, will still choose to remain there so long as they are safe.

“But if your place is not safe, nobody wants to die. Nobody wants to stay where he is not secure. People will surely move to where there is security.

“The activities of government are happening in the centre because in the states, many people do not have the hope of making it.

“Everybody thinks that when he comes to Abuja, this is where he can get something. So, the high rent is the effect of demand and supply.

“There is high demand for housing here in Abuja because there is a huge influx of people into the city.

“Anytime we have election, new members of the National Assembly would buy houses to accommodate their personal aides and families in Abuja.

“New set of Ministers would be appointed. New set of MDs and DGs of parastatals would be appointed. Some of them may be staying outside Abuja before the appointment. This demand jacks up rent.”

Garba urged the Federal Government to embark on massive establishment of centres of economic activities across the states and zones, to discourage people from moving to Abuja.

“Let there be government activities spread across the nation everywhere. If we cannot do for each state, let the government initiate projects in each zone.

“That will attract people to go and make a living from those places. That is when the centre (Abuja) would be relieved of this onslaught; but in as much as it remains this way, the tenancy rate would continue to rise.”

He also advised the government to commence the dredging of River Niger to provide environment conducive for economic activities to spring up in Lokoja and the neighbouring states.

“That would decongest Abuja because the issue of freight loading and off-loading and clearing and forwarding would attract people and make Abuja no more attractive.

“So, the government should start looking at the potential in every zone; establish some economic activities that would attract people and when demand for housing drops in Abuja, rent will go down.”

He said that Nigerians should be empowered economically to own their houses, adding that it would be impossible for the government alone to address the housing deficit by directly building houses for the people.

In Port Harcourt, Dr Victor Obinna, a senior lecturer at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, said that there were no concrete measures in place to ease the difficulties in providing affordable housing.

“Delay in the issuance of titles and Certificate of Occupancy, minimal access to credit for private developers and failure of government to regulate rent also cause high rent,” he said.

Obinna said most of the unoccupied housing estates were privately built and the rent could not be within the reach of the poor class.

“There is no regulatory mechanism to compel private developers to rent out their houses within a given period because it is not within the purview of government,” he said.

Obinna said that most of the private developers were not abreast with the federal government policy on affordable housing which had contributed to the high cost of accommodation in major cities.

“Housing is one of the basic needs of life as good housing leads to higher productivity and self esteem, if you are well housed, you have better health,” he said.

Obinna observes that there were lots of conditions that poor people could not meet in accessing the mortgage finance funds which were also insufficient in the face of increasing demand.

He said the National Housing Fund (NHF) Act of 1992 that was designed to generate funds for channeling into the mortgage institutions had not worked very well.

Meanwhile, some residents of Port Harcourt said that the high cost of accommodation in the ‘garden city’ had deepened poverty in the state.

They said in separate interviews with NAN that if the ugly situation was not urgently addressed, some of them might be forced to relocate from the city.

NAN investigation showed that rent for one room “self-contained” apartment cost between N150, 000 and N200, 000 per annum, while a one-bedroom flat cost N250, 000 to N350, 000 per annum, depending on the location in the oil city.

Similarly, a two-bedroom flat goes for between N400, 000 and N650, 000 per annum, while a three-bedroom flat and four-bedroom bungalow cost between N800, 000 and N1.3 million per annum, respectively.

Mrs Precious Lloyd, a civil servant in Port Harcourt, said that rent in the city was fast getting out of reach of civil servants, stressing that it was now difficult for an average civil servant to live in good apartments.

She called on government to evolve policies that would control house rents and other issues associated with housing.

“Government should also have a mutual understanding with landlords to enable them collect one year rent for new tenants instead of the two-year rent that is attainable here,” she said.

In Kano, civil servants blamed the high cost of rent on the failure of the state government to regulate the activities of estate agents who deliberately jacked up the prices of rented accommodation.

“You will be surprised to know that most landlords or property owners prefer to deal with tenants through agents or touts instead of dealing with them directly.

“Such agents when they rent you a house, they have to collect administrative charges from the tenants in addition to receiving a certain per cent on total rent.

“All these if put together will lead to high cost of accommodation,” Alhaji Musa Abdullahi, a civil servant, said.

Some of the civil servants, however, blamed the high cost of accommodation in the country on the failure of the three tiers of government to come up with a sustainable housing policy.

According to them, the only solution to the problem is for the government at all levels to embark on massive construction of housing estates for low and middle level income earners in the country.

Malam Abdu Mahmud, a resident, said if the federal, state and local governments could embark on massive construction of houses for low and middle income workers, it would go a long way in reducing the high cost of accommodation.

To provide sustainable solution to the problem, Mrs Akon Eyakenyi, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, however, appealed to state governments to make plots of land available for the Federal Government’s mass housing project for Nigerian workers.

She made the call at the inauguration of the 100,000 Nationwide Workers’ Housing Scheme in Abuja.

“Evidently the support of the private sector is essential to shore up the level of investment required to meet the enormous demand for housing and provision of infrastructure, which is beyond the scope of government alone.

“Because of our firm commitment to better manage our rapidly expanding cities and our acknowledgement of housing as not only one of man’s basic needs but as a fundamental element required for the rapid growth of the economy.

“ I wish to seize this medium to appeal to all the 36 state governments to make suitable an un-encumbered land available for the expansion of this worthy scheme for the benefit of Nigerian workers nationwide,“ Eyakenyi said.

Eyakenyi said the government was working out modalities to reduce the housing deficit in the country to promote access to home ownership and affordability by giving free lands to developers.

She, therefore, urged state governments to do the same as it would help reduce the cost of houses while increasing the rate of construction of more houses to alleviate the plight of low income earners.

She commended the FCT Administration (FCTA) for providing land for the take-off of the initial 20,000 units of various types to be built and the two workers’ unions for their concerns for Nigerian workers.

The minister said the funding for the first phase of the scheme in Apo, FCT, was provided by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria through its national housing scheme.

According to her, the scheme is a veritable source for long-term financing mechanism for affordable home ownership, which calls for further strengthening and re-capitalisation of the bank to enable it to perform its function.

The Minister of FCT, Sen. Bala Mohammed, who spoke at the occasion, said the land swap initiative of the FCTA was to leverage on Public Private Partnership to provide housing for FCT residents.

Mohammed said FCTA intended to develop 15 new districts to provide housing for one million residents, create 500,000 new jobs, and reduce housing deficit in Abuja.

“It will also encourage capital inflow of above one trillion naira in the next five years; this will provide 22,000 houses for low income earners in the FCT.

“With the Goodluck Jonathan and the Sen. Bala Mohammed estates, there will be more houses.”

The FCT minister added that 1,000 hectares of land had been made available to the Ministry of Lands to provide social and affordable housing for Abuja residents.

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr Abdulwaheed Omar, and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Mr Bala Kaigama, lauded the federal government for the initiative, saying that when fully delivered, it would alleviate the plight of Nigerian workers.

They appealed to President Jonathan to ensure that the percentage of the initial deposit for the houses was reduced from 30 per cent to 10 per cent so that workers could afford the houses.

Owelle Nicholas Ukachukwu, the Chairman, Good Homes Development Co ltd., an estate developer, said the first phase of the project would be completed in May 2015.

Ukachukwu said the project would provide jobs for 10 million Nigerians and that it would be of standard quality.

NAN reports that 100,000 housing units are expected to be built for workers nationwide with Abuja accounting for 22,000 units.

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Akpabio distributes 2.7m treated mosquito nets http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/18/akpabio-distributes-2-7m-treated-mosquito-nets/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/18/akpabio-distributes-2-7m-treated-mosquito-nets/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:19:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=223316 Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom has flagged off the distribution of 2.7 million insecticide treated nets to households in the state.

Performing the flag off on Thursday in Uyo, the governor said elimination of malaria in the country demanded the concerted efforts of government and the private sector.

NAN reports that the distribution of the nets will last for five days. Akpabio, who was represented by his Health Commissioner, Dr Emem Bassey, also said his administration with the support of World Bank had commenced free distribution of malaria drugs in the state.

“Malaria is a global problem that has existed with us for ages. The unfortunate thing is that malaria does not discriminate between rich and poor and is not religion inclined.

“Akwa Ibom is a peculiar state with lots of rivers and coastline that favour mosquito breeding, thus the need to deploy all proven anti-malaria interventions.

“The state government is determined to create a favourable environment for effective use of these nets for malaria prevention and control in the state,” Akpabio said.

He urged residents of the state to ensure that all family members sleep inside the nets every night for maximum protection against malaria.

Akpabio commended the Federal Government, the Global Fund, Society for Family Health and other development partners for their efforts at eliminating malaria in Nigeria.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Mrs Stella Usah, noted that malaria was a disease of public health significance.

Usah commended government at all levels and donor partners for the resources committed over the years to reducing morbidity and mortality due to malaria.

She said the distribution of the nets in the state would help to replace the old ones earlier given out in 2010 which had lost their potency.

In his goodwill message, the State Coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Sylvester Agwai, said malaria intervention programmes had
reduced the incidence of the disease by 30 per cent globally.

Agwai said such interventions between 2000 and 2013 had reduced the incidence of malaria by 34 per cent in Africa. He, however, said achieving universal coverage of rural communities with life-saving malaria interventions was still a challenge in Nigeria and other African countries.

Agwai reiterated the commitment of WHO to the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme in the state.

Mr Emeka Okafor, who represented the Society for Family Health, said that it had been proved that sleeping inside the nets consistently reduced incidence of malaria by 50 per cent.

Okafor, who is the Deputy Director of Logistics in the organisation, said that this year’s net distribution exercise in the state was intended to reach 4.8 million people.

He explained that at least two persons were expected to sleep inside one net. Other goodwill messages were received from the Global Fund, Nigeria Inter-Faith Action Association, Malaria Action Programme and National Malaria Elimination Programme(NMEP).

The distribution exercise was carried out by the state Ministry of Health in collaboration with NMEP and the Society for Family Health.

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