Information and news about nigeria

Child Sexual Abuse in NigeriaChild sexual abuse in Nigeria is rampant and as high as one in four girls and one in 10 boys. Cece Yara is an organization dedicated to preventing and ending the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The words, Cece Yara, are from the Hausa language which means “save the child” and truly encompasses the mission of the foundation.

The Mission

The Cece Yara Foundation is an NGO with a mission to prevent the sexual abuse of children and provide emergency assistance and care. Bola Tinubu, a child activist and lawyer, founded the organization and she believes in protecting the safety of all children. The Foundation works in coordination with counselors, law enforcement and educators to ensure that every child lives with innocence and safety throughout their life.

Child sexual abuse is still a silent issue in Nigeria and there are many myths surrounding it. The Foundation also works to correct these myths and educate the public on how rampant the sexual abuse of children actually is. The organization believes that educating adults is the first step in preventing this abuse. Cece Yara ensures that every adult in a child’s life is aware of the signs of sexual abuse in a child and how to prevent it or even intervene.

Cece Yara also provides counseling services and a child forensic interview. The interview is a structured conversation between a counselor and a child to teach the child how to recount an incident of sexual abuse. Many children are afraid to come forward about abuse either because they are ashamed or confused. The forensic interview allows them to feel safe enough to get the help they desperately need.

Nigeria’s First Child Helpline

The Cece Yara Foundation has recently implemented the first child helpline in Nigeria. The helpline is available 24 hours a day and has professionals, trained on how to talk to children, answering the line. There are two lines; Cece Yara offers one free for children and the other paid for adults. This line serves to provide immediate help and assistance to a Nigerian child suffering from sexual abuse.

Child Abuse and Poverty

Children in developing nations are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation compared to those living in high-income countries due to the stress associated with poor living conditions. Alleviating poverty can have a significant impact on the rate of child abuse in an impoverished region.

The Cece Yara Foundation has been able to help 2,000 children in Nigeria since its launch in 2016. It has had a tremendous impact on the lives of Nigerian children who have suffered or are suffering from sexual abuse. The Cece Yara Foundation is fighting for a future that is safe for the children of Nigeria.

– Olivia Halliburton
Photo: Pixabay

sustainable agriculture in NigeriaThe country of Nigeria is located on the Gulf of Guinea on the western side of Africa. Two major rivers run through the country. The Benue River is located on the east and it flows into the western river, the Niger River. With two large rivers flowing through their sub-Sharan climate, one might presume that agriculture would be a major source of income for the country. However, this is yet not the case.

Agriculture in Nigeria

Agriculture and, more recently, sustainable agriculture in Nigeria is an industry that employs most of the country’s population. The number of people employed in this sector is around 70 percent. However, it only makes up 22 percent of the nation’s GDP. This is indicated mostly through Nigeria’s unemployment rate that sits at 70 percent. Things may change soon. Various initiatives, speeches, articles and organizations in Nigeria all point to a bright future for sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and especially the future for the younger generations working for it.

Ade Adefeko’s Speech

In 2018, Ade Adefeko gave a speech to the Franco-Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an economic body set-up to aid business relations between ex-French colonies and France. Adefeko, who is currently Head of Corporate and Government Relations at OLAM Nigeria, outlined many important factors that hinder the growth of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. He pointed especially to a lack of government funding. The funding has lowered down to just 1 percent of the total budget in 2018 from previously recorded 5 percent in 2008.

He also blames the lack of mechanization and techniques. Techniques are especially important for sustainable agriculture. Access to irrigation system is very hard for small farmers in Nigeria. This is rather odd having in mind that there is plenty of water from Nigeria’s rivers. To simplify his solution for the problem in two parts, Ade Adefeko would like to see a streamlined approach of land and water distribution from the government.

OLAM’s Role in Sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria

He would also like to see his employer OLAM, an international agricultural organization that supports sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and all around the globe, take even more active role in aiding Nigeria’s government and people. He would like to see OLAM continue to help the government store any excess crop yield. The other part of his suggestion is educating farmers so that they are more productive and can sell their crops more efficiently. Ade Adefeko and OLAM are not the only ones who see education of the population as the best way to understand the importance of sustainable agriculture in Nigeria and to provide solutions for this issue.

YISA and its Mission

The Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) Nigeria is taking a very active role in helping men, women, children and senior citizens to become better acquainted with sustainable agriculture. YISA’s mission is to take sustainable agriculture to the next step and to make it profitable. The organization’s goal is to make students of agriculture in Nigeria business savvy. They also want to rebrand agriculture and make it a popular and productive vocation. YISA runs five major programs that push this agenda in Nigeria. These programmes are designed to educate, corrects, encourage, inspire and motivate young people.

The push for sustainable Agriculture in Nigeria may eventually find itself at the precipice of an important decision. Should the people use the new found power for the country, keeping it home and small, or do they give it completely to large agriculture firms? Both of these choices have positives and negatives. The important thing is that sustainable agriculture in Nigeria can become so successful that it can make that choice for itself one day.

– Nicholas Anthony DeMarco
Photo: Flickr

Polio Eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria - The Final ThreePoliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. It is a devastating disease that primarily impacts children and it can survive in the wild, but not for long without a human host. There is no cure, therefore, immunization is the foundation for eradication efforts. Today, polio is almost entirely eradicated from the planet.

Global immunization campaigns have made terrific progress in decreasing wild poliovirus (WPV) cases by over 99 percent in the past 30 years, down from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 29 reported cases in 2018. While more work needs to be done, the world is closing in on the virus and all eyes are on polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria- the three final endemic countries. In the text below, the status of polio in these three countries is presented.

Polio Eradication in Afghanistan

Between the three countries listed above, in 2018 the most global polio cases were reported in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is the only endemic country not currently battling vaccine-derived polio, a form that can paralyze, in addition to WPV, which is a victory. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), in conjunction with Afghanistan’s Emergency Operation Centres, has dedicated continuing high-priority surveillance and instituted an aggressive immunization campaign to eradicate WPV in order to protect those most affected.

In November 2018, the country concluded an immunization campaign that targeted over five million children in the highest-risk provinces. These accomplishments are impressive, but at the same time fragile, because every single child must be vaccinated in this rapidly growing country. The Emergency Operation Centres are continuing to work under a National Emergency Action Plan and with local communities to ensure that all children are consistently reached now and in the future.

Polio Eradication in Pakistan

Polio could be eliminated from Pakistan this year, with continued strategic implementation. A vaccination campaign in December reached nearly 40 million children and the number of reported cases in the country is the lowest it has ever been. The race to the finish line requires continued focus on immunity gaps in high-risk and mobile communities, especially those that are close to the places where the virus is still indigenous, as well as continued accountability and high childhood vaccination rates.

Additionally, several of the endemic polio regions remain on the border with Afghanistan, which will require the two countries to continue addressing these WPV strongholds together. This region highlights the continued global threat of a virus that transcends geopolitical boundaries.

Polio Eradication in Nigeria

While WPV has never stopped circulating in Nigeria, there have not been any WPV cases since 2016. This is a terrific start towards wild polio eradication, but Nigeria has seen years without a WPV outbreak in the past only to see it return. The country is also managing continued vaccine-derived outbreaks. While immunization is paramount to eradication, some forms of the vaccine can infect patients and cause an outbreak. Though this adds a complex level to eradication strategies, immunization remains the most viable solution.

Currently, a variety of innovative solutions are underway to reach children in high-risk areas, including international immunization campaigns in the Lake Chad Basin whenever security permits, market vaccinations and seeking out nomadic communities. Similar to Afghanistan and Pakistan, continued efforts remain focused on closing immunity gaps, vaccinating all children and working with the country’s neighbors, but additional support for political and financial commitment is needed in Nigeria.

Going Forward

Wild polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria is almost complete, but there are several challenges facing major vaccination efforts. In order to achieve elimination, every single child needs to be immunized. Even one unvaccinated child leaves the entire world at risk of infection.

There are, however, real challenges to this seemingly straightforward goal. Barriers like reaching children in mobile populations or in active conflict zones require international political coordination and more resources for mobile and stationary vaccination teams. Another major barrier is vaccine-derived polio cases, which threaten populations that don’t currently see polio in the wild. Research into the implications of adjusting the vaccine are underway and seek to address eliminating the spread of vaccine-derived infection.

It will not be possible to eradicate every disease with vaccination. Polio is one of the ones that can be. As global health efforts target polio eradication in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, the world will likely be able to list polio next to smallpox and rinderpest on the coveted list of globally eradicated diseases.

– Sarah Fodero

Photo: Flickr

Conflict in NigeriaModern Nigeria arose in 1914  from two British Colonies, one predominantly Muslim and the other predominantly Christian. The difference in religion translated to different political beliefs, causing tension between the two populations. The resulting violence and constant tensions between different ethnic groups have caused disunity in Nigeria, making it vulnerable to the threat of different extremist groups, most infamous being Boko Haram.

Boko Haram Role in Conflict in Nigeria

Boko Haram, a major source of conflict in Nigeria, was first created in 2002, driven by existing beliefs that Islamic, Sharia law should be enforced. The group has used various tactics including suicide bombing, terrorizing public places, and kidnapping to push for their goal. The violence and fear they have spread have intensified the existing 53.5 percent poverty rate in Nigeria.

The crisis has displaced more than 2 million Nigerians and has left 228,000 refugees without a home. Nigerians facing conflict and displacement consequently have restricted access to food as there are 4.5 million people that are food insecure. Although the effects of conflict in Nigeria do depend on the area, with the North region of the country having generally more dramatic effects because of the presence of Boko Haram, the problems are present in the whole country. Blocked access to health care affects up to 11 percent of the population while restricted education affects up to 26 percent.

Health and Education Issues

As of 2017, Boko Haram destroyed 788 health facilities in Northeast Nigeria, leaving Borno state with 40 percent of its facilities lost. To make matters worse, 30 percent of Borno’s doctors have left the state in fear of the violence. Displacement brings health care concerns as well, with crowding increasing the risks of diseases in a country with a history of polio. The lack of health care facilities means that in the case of a disease outbreak, vaccines may not be fully distributed.

A similar situation exists for schools, with 57 percent in Borno not being in a condition to reopen, and 1,400 schools destroyed in this region. Children are also vulnerable to being used as suicide bombers, especially girls. The constant threat of violence, hunger and poverty prevents children from progressing and becoming educated, posing dangerous long-term effects for current and next generations.

Effects on Agriculture

The disunity and conflict spill over to the agricultural sector, sector that employs 70 percent of the total labor force. Pastoral farmers are moving south because of the threat of Boko Haram in the north, along with pressures of drought and limited space, create tension with existing sedentary farmers in the south. These often violent conflicts have killed 2,500 people in 2016 alone and have led to an annual loss of around $13.7 billion to the country.

It also forced the displacement of 62,000 people between 2015 and 2017, leaving them with restricted access to food and shelter and amplifying existing poverty in Nigeria. An end to these conflicts could potentially increase family income in the country up to almost 210 percent. With the majority of Nigerians depending on farming for their livelihood, it is evident that conflict Nigeria is worsening poverty.

The UNHCR in partnership with 70 organizations is working towards alleviating the effects of the conflict in Nigeria. They have offered child violence protection, gender-based violence protection, economic support and other services to around 180,000 people. With a focus on displaced people, the UNHCR has increased protection in displacement camps, making a safe place for those affected by the conflict.

Evidently, these conflicts are damaging the lives already impoverished people in the country, restricting their already limited access to food, education and health care services. Various organizations are fighting against these effects in order to hopefully improve the conditions of people affected by the conflict in Nigeria.

Massarath Fatima
Photo: Flickr

Reducing Poverty in NigeriaNigeria has recently overtaken India as the poverty capital of the world. Ranking lists like the Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) and the Human Capital Index (HCI) place Nigeria at the bottom or very close to the bottom. The country has the highest number of people in extreme poverty in the world, at 86.9 million people.

However, this is not stopping Nigeria’s population from growing. According to the most recent estimates, Nigeria is predicted to become the third largest populated country in the world by 2050. The poverty rate is expected to increase exponentially if something does not change soon. Fortunately enough, the causes of Nigeria’s high poverty rate have been identified. If changed, the improvement in the following categories can bring hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria.

Improving Education

Data from October 2018, Nigeria has the greatest number of children that are out of school. The number increased from 10.5 million to 13.2 million. There was an attempt by the government to increase school attendance, but the children were forced to return to the streets because they could not survive while in school.

The high number of children out of school is accompanied by the high fertility rate in the country. In 2016, the birth rate was estimated to be around six children for each mother and usually, these mothers first started having children around the age of 18. Having so many children, it is hard to put them all in school because of the education costs. It is no surprise that many children go without education and many families prefer that they do things that can bring money to the family, or help gather food. To make things even worse, the children who go out in the streets to make a living are often exposed to sex trafficking, drug trafficking and other violent activities.

The Nigerian government is reluctant to start more education funding in the hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria. The big problem is that there is a lack of data that shows them what to do and how to fix the system. Punch Newspapers, a Nigerian newsletter, urges the wealthy in the country, and elsewhere, to help fund the program that will be focused on collecting data, program that will be jointly funded by different organizations and the government.

Cash Transfers’ Role in Reducing Poverty in Nigeria

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) released a report in 2016 that showed that cash transfers, direct transfer payments of money to eligible people, can show direct growth in the economy, school attendance, health care and dietary diversity. The ODI determined that cash transfers, when invested correctly, can lead to an increased amount of income in the future. For example, if families invest money they receive from the government into agriculture, education, or beginning a new business, they would have the confidence to continue their prospects once the cash transfers end.

However, once the cash transfers end, the progress typically stops too. As Quartz Africa states, the cash transfers are great for temporary benefits and giving citizens hope, but with the loss of transfers from the government, some families revert to the way they were before. Therefore, this should be a good example for the government to see how important it is for their intervention.

Development of Agriculture

Nigeria faced an economic decline due to the decline in oil and natural gas prices, country’s main export products. However, due to the big dependence on oil and gas, agriculture growth in the country is out of great importance. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is conducting research on how to renew agricultural success. In their report on growing the agricultural sector, CSIS claims that this is a very important sector to grow because of its potential to feed the country as well as provide jobs and stability to the extremely impoverished.

The agriculture sector already employs 70 percent of the country’s population, but by expanding it, the country can provide even more specialized jobs that will allow people to move through the job ladders. One of the main reasons this has not flourished as expected is because the farmers have a hard time accessing loans to get the right machines required to run a successful farm. The other issue stems from a lukewarm commitment from the government that also leads to a lack of research into the potential for agriculture. CSIS plans to put the work and money into Nigeria to help this sector growth.

Cash transfers feed into the ability to pursue education, which will further the growth of economy and society. Not only that, but the bigger step in cash transfers can be long-term loans to farmers so that the agricultural sector can further develop.

There are also other steps and means that can help bring Nigeria out of extreme poverty, but the development of agriculture and education with the help of the government seem to be three pillars of success. As long as people recognize the steps that need to be taken to improve the situation, hope for reducing poverty in Nigeria remains.

Miranda Garbaciak
Photo: Flickr

Cooling in Developing CountriesCooling in developing countries is a major problem that affects health, disease treatments and hunger.

Many developing countries do not have access to electricity and consequently do not have proper cooling systems either.

Lack of cooling makes it difficult for fresh produce to last, leading to massive food waste. An average of 23 percent of food production in developing countries is lost because of poor refrigeration.

Cooling in India

In India, around 70 percent of people do not have refrigerators. With 43 percent of rural and 13 percent of urban households not receiving enough electricity to maintain a fridge, access to cooling for the public is limited.

This makes it difficult for people to store food for long periods of time and puts more strain on women, who traditionally have to cook for their families.

A lack of refrigeration is present in the food industry as well, where only 4 percent of produce is refrigerated during transport, causing losses of $4.5 billion each year.

This poses a huge risk to India’s growing food sector, especially as it moves towards perishables and limits India’s ability to accommodate its growing food demand.

Although the country has more arable farmland than most countries, India’s domestic production is expected to meet only 59 percent of its demand in 2030.

One of the reasons for this inefficiency is because farmers cannot store their food for long periods of time, leading to around 40 percent of agriculture production to go to waste. With many farmers being considered food insecure, poor access to cooling proves to be a major roadblock in reducing hunger.

The lack of cooling is also dangerous for vaccines since 20 percent of health care products and 25 percent of vaccines are damaged due to poor cooling systems in the country.

Although air conditioning ownership has gone up from 2 million in 2006 to 5 million households in 2011, that number still only represents around 3 percent of Indian households. Restricted energy access prevents many from being able to purchase air conditioners.

Still, the Indian cooling industry is expected to grow up to 25 percent each year, showing that progress is being made for cooling in developing countries.

The government is making changes and has taken an initiative through the National Cooling Action Plan.

A major focus of the 2018 plan is household air conditioners. As more and more people purchase them, energy efficiency and environmental consciousness have become increasingly important.

The action plan discusses ways to reduce the energy intake of air conditioners so that poorer families with lower access to energy can afford to maintain them. Another approach is cool roofs that encourage using certain materials to reduce the amount of heat that gets trapped inside a building.

With cool roofs being cheaper and advantageous for India’s rising temperatures, more cities are implementing them as a viable cooling method.

The Case of Nigeria

Nigeria similarly faces rising temperatures and low access to electricity, both which contribute to unsatisfied demand for cooling devices.

Over 50 million rural and 44 million urban Nigerians do not have adequate access to electricity and, consequently, refrigeration. Restricted cold food storage continues to the agriculture sector, where 36.7 percent of production goes to waste due to a lack of cooling.

With food and vaccines at risk of spoiling, Nigeria’s defense against hunger and disease is impaired. Nigeria’s history of disease outbreaks and high rates of poverty make this issue critical.

In response to these potential and immediate effects of the lack of cooling, the first National Food Safety Policy was adopted in 2013. One of its goals is to reduce food waste, which it addressed through improving cold chain efficiency.

Corresponding to the goals set in the policy, the Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) works towards economic development in Nigeria. In order to expand trade, NEXTT analyzes the inefficiencies in Nigeria’s existing cold chain.

Through projects like these, cooling in developing countries is making progress.

Cooling in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, cooling is especially important for almost 50 percent of the population that are farmers. While many of them farm mainly for their own families, they do sell any surplus.

However, their sales are limited by how long their product lasts without a refrigerator, causing around 50 percent of production to spoil before being sold.

A Bangladeshi food company, Golden Harvest, dealt with this problem firsthand when most of the food they bought from farmers was spoiled. As a result, their own perishable products were unable to sell because of the unreliability of local farmers.

In response, they partnered with USAID to establish the first integrated cold chain system in Bangladesh. USAID helped to provide farmers with education related to maximizing their yields and gave technical assistance with Golden Harvest’s projects.

Golden Harvest has since invested in numerous refrigerated trucks, freezers and cold storage units. As the company grows, it continues to provide a foundation for the cold chain in Bangladesh.

Cooling in developing countries is no doubt urgent issue, especially with rising global temperatures.

Food insecurity, vaccine distribution and poverty are all exacerbated by poor cooling systems.

For many countries, access to refrigeration is vital to the advancement of their respective food industries, especially as the total population constantly increases in those countries.

Still, numerous projects are implemented towards improving the issue of low access to cooling in developing countries, showing hope that the situation will soon be resolved.

– Massarath Fatima
Photo: Pixabay

Poverty in NigeriaNigeria is currently experiencing extreme global poverty. According to the World Poverty Clock, the poverty rate in Nigeria is 44.4 percent out of a population of about 198 million.

ActionAid Fights Poverty in Nigeria

As poverty continues to rise in Nigeria, there is definitely hope for a better future. ActionAid, a global humanitarian organization, is trying to eradicate poverty in Nigeria and continuing their service despite the growing statistics.

ActionAid in Nigeria seeks equal rights for all genders, social justice and fight the growing epidemic of poverty. It is hoping to create a world where Nigeria’s population doesn’t have to suffer anymore. They work with communities, social movements and the poor in order to provide aid needed in the country.

ActionAid’s Work in Nigeria

ActionAid’s programs involve health, education, food and agriculture, human security in conflict and emergencies, women’s rights and democratic governments. These projects are needed to ensure a better future in Nigeria.

ActionAid has been continuing their work in Nigeria, including their aid and assistance in 2018. According to Vanguard, in October 2018, ActionAid is finding ways to help displaced persons in Nigeria. It has donated about N3million toward relief materials. This donation will help many of those in the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons camp who have suffered the herdsmen crisis.

According to the ActionAid Nigeria Country Director, Ene Obi, they “‘brought about 380 mattresses, 350 bags of rice, 436 packs of sanitary pads, 341 packs of diapers for babies, five sets of baby bath, five cartons of baby food and 436 packs of bar soaps for washing and personal hygiene use.'” These materials will help many who are currently displaced and are suffering poverty.

Women and Children in Nigeria

ActionAid also focuses on women and children. It has provided start-up kits to about 100 women in Nigeria. This organization provided assistance to many women in the Northeast in order to give them an opportunity to create and begin building small businesses.

According to Obi, the women are being trained to gain skills and knowledge to provide for their families by starting their own microbusinesses. Whether it’s tailoring, producing food or sewing, ActionAid is doing everything it can to make sure these women escape poverty and are able to provide food to their children.

Alleviating Poverty in Nigeria and Nonprofits

There are other organizations that are trying to end poverty in Nigeria. The MacArthur Foundation, for example, has been supporting organizations and work that has been done to eradicate inequality and the lack of education in the country. The foundation has been creating grants with the purpose of supporting higher education for girls.

The Youth Education and Leadership Initiative or YELI is an organization that wants to reduce education-related issues and challenges in Nigeria. Their goal and mission are to provide programs that enhance both primary and secondary education and help build effective leadership. This is to not only reduce poverty but also help build peace among the youth. These projects include providing the poor with small libraries, scholarships, seminars and even workshops.

Conclusion

ActionAid as well as other nonprofits are working to end poverty in Nigeria. Although poverty is becoming an increasing epidemic in the country, there is still hope for the people and the future.

– Charlene Frett

Photo: Flickr

 NigeriaAccess to safe water, sanitation and hygiene is a core necessity for human survival that a large portion of the world, especially developing countries, still struggle to meet.

In Nigeria, UNICEF reported that close to 70 million people, out of the total population of 171 million, lacked access to clean water, while 110 million lacked access to sanitation in 2013. The impact of this shortage is dire as 124,000 children under the age of five die because of diarrhea that is mainly caused by unsafe water, bad sanitation and bad hygiene. Moreover, it decreases school enrollment and disproportionately affects girls who bare the responsibility of carrying water. Finding the solution for Nigeria’s water quality is, therefore, a pressing issue that requires all responsible parties to participate.

Obstacles In Meeting Water Quality Standards

Gbenga Ashiru, the producer of Question Time, a Nigerian news program that profiles the activities and accountability portfolio of office holders, discussed the reasons behind Africa’s largest economy reaching a peak in a shortage of potable water. He dissected what he states is the “mystery” behind the Nigerian government’s, led by the Minister of Water Resources, inability to meet water demands. Ashiru highlighted the extreme water shortage and listed the shocking statistics of potable water and sanitation coverage at 7 percent and 29 percent, respectively. 

Four months ago, the Nigerian government launched the Nigerian Standard for Drinking Water Quality to revitalize the access to safe drinking water throughout the nation to achieve goal number six of the Sustainable Development Goals. At the launching ceremony, Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, asserted that finding the solution for Nigeria’s water quality issue is the current focus of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

Nigeria’s Water Act

According to UNICEF, Nigeria has indeed taken the steps to improve this pertinent issue through the development of various policies and strategies. However, a deterioration in water quality and access portrayed by a 25 percent drop of pipe borne water supply since 1990, reveals the difficulty of translating the solution to Nigeria’s water quality issues into action. 

Nigeria’s Water Act states that the Federal government of Nigeria funds 30 percent, local government funds 10 percent, while state government covers 60 percent of the funding of water projects along with the full responsibility of operation. Suleiman Adamu, in his interview with Ashiru, argues that the Water Act is neither feasible nor effective policy in meeting water and sanitation demands and calls for an amendment of this legislation as well as the gradual privatization of this sector. 

Fostering Synergy and Collaboration

Suleiman Adamu holds the state government responsible for not meeting their end of the bargain. He explains that even in cases where the federal government went beyond the 30 percent of the funding and invested in water treatment facilities, the states failed to carry out the operations. He argues that this happens due to state government officials neglecting pressing water demands that require long periods of gestation and focus on short-term projects to show results during re-election. Therefore, the solution for Nigeria’s water quality issues lies in finding the amendment of this policy that has created obstacles for the synergy in the federal, regional and local governments. 

Since water projects are a primary responsibility of state government, bringing progress at a national scale requires synergy in state and federal government. The Minister explains that the federal government will work on achieving this collaboration through advocacy and offering supervision rather than simply giving funding without aligned priorities. 

Bilen Kassie 

Photo: Flickr

History of Ebola in NigeriaThe Ebola virus is a very rare, but very deadly, disease that occurs in humans and other primates. It originates from sub-Saharan Africa where the viruses causing the disease are found. People contract it after contact with an infected person or animal, whether alive or dead. So far, there is no approved vaccine or treatment for the virus as yet, and it is currently treated by dealing with the symptoms.

The History of Ebola in Nigeria

The history of Ebola in Nigeria is, fortunately, a short one. The deadly virus found its way onto Nigerian soil on July 20, 2014, by airplane after a Liberian man infected by the virus had flown into Lagos from Monrovia. He collapsed shortly after landing and was rushed to a hospital where he was tested for malaria as well as HIV before the doctors checked for Ebola, which yielded a positive result. The man died on July 25, 2014.

Upon discovery, The Nigerian Port Health Services began performing tests and trying to trace those possibly infected. An announcement was made notifying the public of the virus’ presence and its dangers. Precautions were taken to ensure that patients of the virus be isolated and treatment facilities, also standing as quarantines, were set up in Lagos and, eventually, in Port Harcourt.

The infected man exposed 72 people to the virus at the airport and in the hospital. After his death, it was confirmed that 19 people were infected, but only seven of those people died, making the total fatality of the situation close to 40 percent.

Response to the Threat

There was a grave threat posed to the country’s well being and its population by the arrival of the virus in Lagos, the largest city in Africa and a central hub of activity, particularly because of its crowded nature. The over-population alone, without the lack of equipment and facilities, posed a major threat that the Ebola virus could spread like wildfire, wiping out millions of people in a short period of time.

Another threat posed to the country was the lack of supplies and equipment because it put the healthcare professionals at risk of contracting and even transmitting the disease while treating infected patients. However, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reacted quite quickly to the situation, and the rapid response played a big part in the speed and precision with which the disease was contained.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), along with The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF and other organizations came together to assist Nigeria in their time of crisis and provided experts who led efforts in tracing the disease as well as in assessing the risks and providing adequate medical care.

The country was officially declared Ebola-free in October of 2014 after twice the maximum incubation period of the disease had passed. Ebola takes 21 days to rear its head in victims, so WHO waited 42 days before finally declaring the country free of the disease. However, the government and health experts in WHO offices in Nigeria still remain alert since the risk of the country being hit by another outbreak through imported cases will always remain high.

Minor Improvement Needed in Nigeria’s Response to Ebola

The Nigerian government was commended for coordinating an effective response to the outbreak as the government immediately began repurposing funds and resources to the many organizations involved at the onset of the outbreak, which paved the way for the quarantine and treatment of Ebola patients.

While the government’s response was quite adept, a few issues were noted at the time that deterred the speed of elimination of the deadly virus. First, there was a delay in the arrival of resources at The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the delay in arrival meant a delay in treatment. The political leaders did not grasp the extent to which even a small outbreak of Ebola would threaten the entire country if it were exposed to the people, especially in public spaces like hospitals and airports.

Additionally, the general public, while made aware of the outbreak, did not know the specifics of the disease and as a result, the broadcasting of the existence in Ebola in the areas caused a panic even in people who were too far away from the location to be affected by it. In their ignorance, people resorted to useless and somewhat harmful methods in order to prevent the virus, such as drinking large amounts of salt water.

There was also a delay in the establishment of a working isolation ward due to the Nigerian health workers refusing to help with the Ebola patients for fear of contracting the virus. This showed a lack of information about how Ebola is transmitted and a lack of training against the virus, a problem which the country would have to fix.

Despite all the issues pointed out, the Nigerian government responded quickly and well enough to ensure that the outbreak was contained and the country was free of the disease. Their decision to use EOCs to respond to the virus ensured that the history of Ebola in Nigeria was a success story, and Nigeria stands as an example of how to deal with emergency outbreaks in the future.

– Aquillina Panashe Ngowera
Photo: Flickr