Oyo governor–elect, Makinde unveils plan on agric - Mega Icon Magazine
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Oyo governor–elect, Makinde unveils plan on agric

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Oyo state governor-elect, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde on Monday pledged to give agricultural development priority attention when he is sworn-in on the 29th May, 2019.

The governor-elect gave this assurance at the opening of a two-day workshop on Human Resource Development of Rural Farmers through Innovative Information Technology held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

The two-day workshop organized by Dr. Lilian Otaye-Ebede and Dr. Olatunde Durowoju on behalf of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) forms part of the remit of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) to tackle the challenges faced by developing countries. It was attended by various stakeholders including farmers, farm owners, extension agents, academics, members of research institutions, advocacy groups and other relevant stakeholders who converged at IITA, Ibadan to discuss the challenges affecting the effective and efficient dissemination of information on innovative technologies to farmers, especially rural farmers.

One of the key themes that emerged from deliberations in the workshop was a need to urgently assess extension services through public and/or private partnerships in order to ameliorate the lack of funds and capacity that have plagued that sector of the value chain.

Another important theme that emerged was the need to have pressure groups/lobbyists from different stakeholder committees that will advocate for investment in agricultural support services both from public and private establishments. More importantly, the stakeholders felt the context of the farmers should be considered when designing and disseminating new technologies. Therefore, farmers should be engaged from the idea generation phase all through to the prototype testing phase.

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Engr Makinde,  who declared the workshop open, said he was surprised at the level of poverty of people in the rural areas of Oyo State during his campaign before his election. He wondered what had happened to the extension systems of transferring improved technologies to farmers in rural areas of the State. He promised to pay serious attention to the plight of rural farmers “because without food security no country can claim to be totally independent,” he said.

Presenting a paper on the occasion, the governor-elect  noted that agricultural information generation and dissemination were necessary for the development of agriculture.

He lauded the sponsors – Liverpool John Moores University for developing such an initiative and for working in collaboration with IITA and Practical Action Consulting in delivering this important project.

The PDP chieftain added that it would be the priority of the next administration under his leadership in the state to proffer solutions to the challenges of poor farmers in the rural areas.

“The obvious manpower and infrastructural needs of the  Extension Services Department of our Ministry of Agriculture shall be addressed with utmost urgency, poor rural roads, power and water  supply are issues that shall be addressed equally and  simultaneously if we want free flow of information dissemination in rural agriculture,” he emphasized.

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Makinde concluded that there must be a regular forum for the town and the gown to meet under his administration to bring the benefits of agricultural research institutes, universities and all other agro-allied institutions in Oyo State to bear on the farmers to help solve the problems of food insecurity. 

In his own address, the Director for West Africa at IITA, Dr Robert Asiedu pledged the commitment of IITA to work with the state and Liverpool John Moores University to help improve agriculture and the livelihoods of farmers in the state in particular, and Nigeria in general.

He explained that as an institution, IITA had set for itself the goal of taking “11 million people out of poverty and reclaiming 7.5 million hectares of degraded land,” and that to achieve that goal required partnership with state and non-state actors.

 

 

By Idowu Ayodele

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29 million babies born into conflict in 2018 – UNICEF

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More than 29 million babies were born into conflict-affected areas in 2018, UNICEF said today.

Armed violence across countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen meant that, throughout last year, more than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, often in deeply unsafe, and highly stressful environments.

“Every parent should be able to cherish their baby’s first moments, but for the millions of families living through conflict, the reality is far bleaker,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In countries around the world, violent conflict has severely limited access to essential services for parents and their babies. Millions of families lack access to nutritious food, safe water, sanitation, or a secure and healthy environment to grow and bond. Along with the immediate, obvious dangers, the long-term impacts of such a start in life are potentially catastrophic.”

When young children experience prolonged or repeated adverse and traumatic events, the brain’s stress management system is activated without relief causing ‘toxic stress’. Over time, stress chemicals break down existing neural connections and inhibit new ones from forming, leading to lasting consequences for children’s learning, behaviour, and physical and mental health.

Examples of the impact of conflict on babies and young children – given by UNICEF staff working in conflict zones – include:

  • “Some of the young children we see shake with fear, uncontrollably, for hours on end. They don’t sleep. You can hear them whimpering, it’s not a usual cry but a cold, weak whimper. Others are so malnourished and traumatized they detach emotionally from the world and people around them, causing them to become vacant and making it impossible for them to interact with their families,” UNICEF worker in Yemen.
  • “My son, five-year-old Heraab, finds himself in a community where he is constantly exposed to the sounds of explosions, smell of smoke, accompanied by the regular shrieking of sirens, be it police or ambulance, or the persistent honking of cars and motorbikes rushing the injured to hospital.  He shudders and wakes up at night if a truck passes by with speed, sometimes shaking the windows of our house, thinking it must be another attack,” UNICEF worker in Afghanistan.
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  • “Some of the children are scared and look very anxious, others are very aggressive. They are frightened of visitors and flee when they see visiting vehicles coming. The cars remind them of fighting, war weaponry they need to flee from,” UNICEF worker in Somalia.

 

  • “I’ve travelled to the hardest to reach areas of South Sudan to help provide humanitarian assistance to children who have been forced to flee their villages because of violence. With no basic services, no health facilities, poor sanitation, no food, and deep-set trauma, families struggle to survive. I see despair in the eyes of the children I meet. The conflict has taken away their childhood,” UNICEF worker in South Sudan.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which, among other things, governments pledged to protect and care for children affected by conflict. Yet today, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children. Hospitals, health centres and child friendly spaces – all of which provide critical services to parents and babies – have come under attack in conflicts around the world in recent years.

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Providing safe spaces for families and their young children living through conflict – where children can use play and early learning as outlets for some of the trauma they have experienced; and providing psychosocial support to children – and their families – are critical parts of UNICEF’s humanitarian response.

When caregivers are given the support they need to cope with and process trauma, they have the best possible chance of providing their young children with the nurturing care needed for healthy brain development – acting as a ‘buffer’ from the chaos around them.

“Parents who interact with their babies can help shield them from the negative neurological effects of conflict. Yet, in times of conflict, parents are frequently overwhelmed,” said Fore. “Ultimately what these families need is peace, but until then they desperately need more support to help them and their children cope with the devastation they face – 29 million new lives and futures depend on it.”

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Wanted Rwandan warlord killed by DR Congo troops

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A Rwandan Hutu rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crime charges has been shot dead by the Congolese army, DRC military spokesperson said on Wednesday in what Kigali described as “good news for peace”.

Sylvestre Mudacumura, commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), was “definitively neutralised” in DRC’s North Kivu province on Tuesday night, General Leon-Richard Kasonga said.

Mudacumura, wanted for charges including rape, torture, and pillage, was killed about 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the capital of the province Goma.

Neighbouring Rwanda welcomed the news, saying it proved DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s commitment to fighting “negative forces”.

“The death of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for peace and security in the region,” Rwandan state minister for regional affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe told AFP.

“With his genocide group, the FDLR, he was destabilising DRC, killing Congolese and Rwandans.”

The FDLR was created by Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern DRC after the genocide of Tutsis by majority Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

According to the United Nations, the force numbers between 500 and 600 active fighters.

They are scattered across the mineral-rich eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu as well as in southern Katanga, and the group is regularly accused of committing atrocities against civilians in the zones it controls.

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“His death confirms the commitment of President Felix Tshisekedi in fighting negative forces and will open a new era of good and peaceful cooperation between DRC and countries in the region,” Nduhungirehe said.

The FDLR, opposed to the current Rwandan government, has not launched any large-scale offensive in Rwanda since 2001.

– Warning to other warlords –
Eastern DRC has been torn for more than two decades by armed conflicts fed by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of a wealth of mineral resources and regional rivalries.

Mudacumura’s death “is a strong signal for other rebels,” said General Richard Kasonga, spokesman of the Congolese army, calling it a “big step” in the fight against insecurity and terrorism.

He called on “all armed groups to lay down their arms, or face the same fate as Mudacumura.”

During a visit to the region early this month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called on the rebels to disarm.

US researcher Jason Stearn said the death was “an extremely important event”, telling AFP that the FDLR is “one of the biggest armed groups in the region, even if they have diminished in capacity.”

However, Stearn, of New York University’s Congo Research Group, held out little hope for peace in a region where around 130 armed groups remain active.

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“We have seen a lot of commanders die without the groups necessarily disappearing or diminishing in force,” he said.

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Japan: OPU prominent member needs  ¥20 million for kidney transplant, seeks financial assistance

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Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), Japan chapter has disclosed that ailing member,  Mr Segun Tope Sharafa  needs ¥20 million (20,000,000 Japanese yen) to undergo kidney transplant.

The group coordinator,  Comrade Ige Rowland James in a chat with our reporter  disclosed this on Tuesday.

Comrade Ige, who betrayed emotion further described the ex-President, Yoruba Association, Japan,  Mr Sharafa as a prominent member, saying “its so sad for this kind of health challenge news of our respected member , the Baba Oodua of  Japan”.

Speaking further, he said “although Oodua Progressive Union (OPU),  Japan is new among others but  we stand like others and we never envisaged to encounter the health challenge that is facing  one of our prominent members and the union. But we decided to face the challenge as it comes because our main goal is service to  humanity which is the best work of life.

“Baba Oodua is critically ill and it has become obvious that he cannot provide the required funds to have the necessary medical attention.

“At this point, we are calling all our leaders, union, friends and family across the globe to stand by us and let show the real love and unity within us”, Ige appealed.

Mega Icon Magazine reliably gathered that Mr Sharafa is currently hospitalised in Japan due to kidney-related ailment, and urgently needed to be taken to Indian for transplant that will gulp ¥20 million.

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Also,  the OPU is organising a fund raising event on behalf of its ailing member billed for Sunday October 27th, 2019 at Arashi party room, Shinjuku, Tokyo.

 

For any enquiry or support, please contact the Coordinator or the following executives. 

Oodua Progressive Union, Japan National Coordinator, Com Ige James +81-80-5036-3437. 

Comrade Odanibe lucky 81-70-1421-1414 

Comrade Busari Jelly 81-80-5037-4712 

Comrade Adeniyi  Taiwo 81-70-7051-8154 

Comrade Akadi Micheal 81-80-4478-0665. 

 

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