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Boko haram Devastation: Aftermath of WHO, UN, battle cholera, malaria in Northeast’s ‘war zones’

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Boko haram Devastation: Aftermath of WHO, UN, battle cholera, malaria in Northeast’s ‘war zones’

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Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri

Before the Boko Haram insurgency hit the northeast states of Nigeria, life was normal for the millions of Nigerians now living in camps. But they were forced to flee their homes leaving the dead behind and taking refuge in unsure clusters of tents. But then, the insurgents would not let them be.

Land mines and explosives buried by the insurgents in the ground in vast swaths of the territory once controlled by them are yet to be located, exhumed and deactivated.

Today, the presence of the explosive ordinances make accessibility to camps in such areas difficult and risky for humanitarian workers or even military personnel. Indeed, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in those camps are the hard-to-reach people.

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Some of the settlements now harbouring the victims are ‘domiciled’ in difficult terrains with little
or no access to water and medical facilities. Previously existing makeshift healthcare centres in the
refuge areas had been torched by the insurgents, leaving the people vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

One of these vulnerable persons is Saratu Mohammed, whose greatest nightmare is how to save
her one-month-old baby boy. She had lost the first child a year earlier at Barkam, a remote village in
Bayo Local Government Area in the southern part of Borno State.

At first, she appeared unwilling to discuss her past but she said the presence of health workers encouraged her to speak out.

“Three days after I was delivered at home in this village, a year ago, I lost our first baby,” she began her story in a rather pensive mood. There was a big silence around the small home that housed
the family of three. “My husband and I were very curious about my pregnancy because of my previous experience,” she added.

Barkam is a small, rocky community tucked away from basic amenities and the savanna nature
of most communities in southern Borno. There is no clinic or any health facility. Indigenes and residents rely on bicycle or motorcycle for transportation. The only road to the area is a footpath carved out of rocks and stones, making the one hour journey to the village by motorbike a tedious one.

So when Saratu went into labour early May, she said the task of getting her to the nearest primary health centre, located 14 kilometres away at Bayo, the local government headquarters, by her husband on his bicycle, was backbreaking.

“Unfortunately when we got there, there was no health worker except the labour ward attendant who was at work because he lived in the premises of the health facility,” she said.

Thankfully, she delivered safely, though the fear of losing the second baby still lived with her, especially with no vaccination to build the child’s resistance to minor ailments like malaria and
diarrhea.

The intervention by the World Health Organization (WHO) mobile health team for the hard-to-reach areas however allayed Saratu’s fear as her son was vaccinated by the team during one of the visits to Barkam. Other community members were also treated.

Second “attack” after Boko Haram

Many of the people that fled their homes into locations far from their communities had heaved a
sigh of relief having survived the Boko Haram onslaught. But hardly had they settled down in their
new “homes” than diseases broke out, claiming lives in some cases.

The population in these settlements increased daily as hundreds of people fled their homes in
search of refuge.

The camps holding the IDPs are generally crowded, having little or no facilities and of very poor
hygiene. Officials from the state health services said they could not access such areas because the
roads were unsafe and accessing people there became difficult.

Consequently, outbreaks of malaria, diarrhea and cholera have become prevalent in such settlements, the reason for which the WHO launched the mobile health team for hard-to-reach areas. The target, according to WHO officials, is to give medical services to locals.

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“This is why WHO developed the mobile health services with qualified workers to take health services to people, including IDPs difficult to reach. They can’t come out of their environment either because of security situation around them or the difficulty in the terrain.

Examples are Barkam or Gwoza. Our team took the vaccination to her and treated other community
members of minor ailments like malaria,” WHO Mobile Team Coordinator, Mrs Saratu Ayuba,
told Sunday Sun.

She said the organization constituted 113 mobile teams for Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states,
reaching the communities with canoes, bicycles, motorbikes, and donkey or sometimes trekking
some kilometers.

“In the beginning, it was a team recruited to intensify routine immunization against polio where there were no health facilities but we later found out thousands of people were there in the communities with more health issues. WHO then scaled up the teams to move into settlements in 25 accessible LGAs.  We were touched by the challenges as in most cases there are no hospitals, drugs or health workers to support them,” she explained.

The risky journey

The journey to Kukawa, Borno’s troubled town near Lake Chad by a WHO mobile team was a risky one. Kukawa, about 183 kilometres to Maiduguri, Borno’s capital is located along the Nigeria-Chad border.

It was once under Boko Haram siege until 2016 when military forces liberated it. But then, security is still a big issue here as the insurgents were yet to be completely cleared from the area. In the last three months,

Boko Haram has attacked military bases around the Lake Chad area. The state Ministry of Health had reported outbreak of acute water diarrhea – a milder condition than diarrhea at Kukawa. Within days, WHO and other health organizations moved into the area to step up treatment of patients. Sadly.

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The post Boko haram Devastation: Aftermath of WHO, UN, battle cholera, malaria in Northeast’s ‘war zones’ appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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