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Nigeria Has Global Highest HIV-Infected Babies — Health Minister

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The Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, has said that Nigeria has the highest number of babies infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, adding that the Federal Government would therefore sustain HIV prevention and treatment activities nationwide.

The minister noted that the government would commit “sufficient resources to both HIV prevention and treatment in order to stay on track to end the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome by 2030.

Mamora stated these in Abuja on Thursday at the launching of the Faith-based Action for Scaling up of Testing and Treatment for Epidemic Response project in Nigeria.

The project is sponsored by the Catholic Relief Services and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

The minister said, “Over the years, the government has put in place several response mechanisms towards reducing the burden of HIV and AIDS in the country, as evidenced by the reduction in the HIV prevalence from the 3.1 per cent to 1.4 in the last survey.

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“It has been discovered that majority of children infected with the HIV are living in sub-Saharan Africa with Nigeria having more HIV infected babies than anywhere else in the world. HIV prevention and treatment activities must therefore be sustained and the momentum increased if the country and the world at large are to stay on track to end AIDS by 2030.

“This launch of the Catholic Relief Services’ FASTER project is at the right time to bridge the identified gaps, especially in pediatric HIV diagnosis and treatment. The six priority actions of the project are as follows; streamline regulatory approval, integrate service delivery, expand diagnostic platforms, evaluate and expand on novel HIV testing approaches, implement validated HIV risk screening checklist and optimise paediatric Anti-Retroviral Therapy.”

The project director in Nigeria, Dr Emeka Anoje, said the programme being implemented in the seven states of Rivers, Benue, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“The project is designed to accelerate progress in pediatric HIV diagnosis and treatment in countries that have high unmet need for child and adolescent antiretroviral therapy. These countries include Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia,” Anoje added.

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Inside Nigeria

Nigerian Army Warns Foreign Agencies Against Meddling In Fight Against Boko Haram

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The Nigerian army has warned foreign agencies and countries against interfering in the fight against Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).

In a statement released on Monday January 20 by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the largest component of the Nigerian Armed Forces insisted that its fight against insurgency has recorded significant success.

Though no name was mentioned in the statement, foreign agencies, countries and individuals were warned against actions and utterances which will not restore peace in the country.

The statement read:

“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has reassured Nigerians that the Counter Insurgency operations in the North East and indeed other ongoing operations against our common enemies across the country are still on course with current indicators revealing tremendous successes across the various theatres of operation.

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“After a careful review of the Nigerian Army operations in the North East, it is pertinent to state that Headquarters Nigerian Army has gladly observed the renewed zeal and determination by troops to take the counter-insurgency operations to its logical conclusion with outcomes favourable to Nigeria and Nigerians as evident in the recent decimation of many Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province criminals, including some of their top commanders amidst several arrests of the insurgents’ logistic suppliers and collaborators, numerous capture of the criminals’ arms and ammunition as well as rescue of many captives from the bondage of the insurgents.

“To this end, all local and foreign interests are advised to exhibit more commitment and restraint on issues of our national security and avoid taking sides. Furthermore, all actions and utterances must be tailored towards supporting the national cause with a view to restoring peace and tranquillity to our beloved country.

“Additionally, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai unequivocally assures troops that their sacrifices and that of our fallen colleagues will never be in vain as he reiterates the unreserved commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend our country and her citizens no matter the prize or odds. The recent moribund activity of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province insurgents is synonymous with the kicks of a dying horse gasping for the last breath.

“The Chief of Army Staff also warned all enemies of Nigeria and Nigerians who take delight in the sufferings of our innocent citizens that the day of reckoning is at their door steps. All well-meaning Nigerians especially those in the North East and friends of Nigeria elsewhere are enjoined to fully support the counter insurgency operations as well as the fight against all forms of criminality across the nation”

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Atiku Throws His Weight Behind Establishment Of Amotekun

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has backed the establishment of Amotekun, the South-West security outfit which in the last few days has ignited controversy.

According to the former Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the “current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.”

Atiku Abubakar further stated that a centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with the security challenges witnessed across Nigeria, hence the need for state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.

His statement reads in full:

As enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the primary responsibility of government, at any level, is the protection of lives and property of the citizen.

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In carrying out this function, the state employs different layers of measures to ensure effective and efficient policing.

It is without doubt that in the past decade particularly, the current policing administration in our dear country had been stretched to its limits and it is obvious that the reality of our domestic security upheaval will demand of us to recalibrate our police systems.

In the First Republic, before we gravitated too much to the center, policing was done federally with each native authority and region having some mechanisms to deal with little upsets that were the security concerns of those times.

In the present day Nigeria, there is hardly any state of the federation that does not contend with some type of security challenges.

Because our security challenges are diverse in forms and impacts, it is thus incumbent that centrally controlled police architecture cannot exclusively deal with those challenges.

Consequently, there is need for the creation of additional policing structures in the country to address the rapidly growing challenges of insecurity and crime.

The time is ripe to seriously confront the reality of insecurity in the country by addressing the urgency of introducing state police, zonal police and community policing to complement the efforts of the current federal police.

It is obvious that current levels of insecurity in the country are giving rise to major initiatives such as Amotekun and the issue need not be controversial in the first place.

The police are likely to be more effective if they constantly operate in the same local community or local government because such closeness might create a bond with the local people, thereby enabling community cooperation and participation that would engender proactive outcomes in crime prevention.

Nigeria is a vast country facing enormous security challenges and, therefore, there is the urgent need to create more security structures at the local levels to reduce the burden on the federal police.

The issue of security shouldn’t be politicised and monopolised in the face of our current alarming security challenges characterised by the fear of even travelling on our highways by the citizens who might be intercepted by kidnappers and taken hostage for ransom.

Local policing shouldn’t be mistaken for an effort to hijack the role of the federal police or a competition with the federal government.

The obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges make local policing not only desirable, but also necessary.

The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out.

It is a given perception that when people have a role in their own security, they are going to help to defeat the criminal in their tracks and that the more they are involved, the more likely they would perceive the police as their friends.

In the envisage new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.

As a matter of fact, it is refusing to adopt new ways of doing things that poses a threat to the unity of the country.

Therefore, Atiku Abubakar supports Community, State and Zonal Police to complement Federal Police to deal with insecurity in the country. It has never been this bad to the extent of threatening the unity of the country.

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Buhari Govt Has Made No Progress In Fight Against Boko Haram — EU

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European parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union has stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has made no progress in the fight against Boko Haram.

In its resolution on January 16, 2020, the group of 28 countries that operates as a cohesive economic and political block lamented over the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria.

The group which decried an alleged ill-treatment of children detained in military facilities, reminded the Nigerian government of its obligation to protect the rights of children and to ensure protection and provide care to those affected by terrorism or conflict.

It also asked the Nigerian government to allow UN’s access to its military detention facilities and to also sign a formal handover protocol to ensure that children detained by the military are quickly transferred to appropriate child protection authorities.

The parliament said it: “Deplores the terrorist attacks which have taken place in the country; reiterates its concern about the protracted crisis in Nigeria and the volatile security situation in the north-east, and strongly condemns the repeated violations of human rights, international and humanitarian law, whether based on religion or ethnicity.

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“Condemns in particular the recent increase in violence against ethnic and religious communities, including the targeting of religious institutions and worshippers.

“Deplores that progress has stalled in the fight against Boko Haram, ISWAP and the increased occurrence and severity of suicide attacks and direct attacks against military positions; recalls that Nigeria’s President Buhari was re-elected in 2019 on the promise of defeating the violent extremism promoted by Boko Haram and other terror groups, and urges the President to implement his campaign promises.

“Urges the Nigerian authorities to guarantee respect for human rights in the country, and to protect the civilian population from terrorism and violence; insists that such efforts must be conducted in full accordance with respect for human rights and the rule of law, in line with the country’s international obligations.

“Considers any form of extermination of human beings or ethnic cleansing barbaric and a crime against humanity; urges the Nigerian Government to address the root causes of violence by ensuring equal rights for all citizens and non-discrimination legislation; insists, in this regard, on the need to further promote inter-religious dialogue and the peaceful coexistence of citizens irrespective of their religion, engaging with all relevant stakeholders, including the Nigerian Inter-religious Council.”

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