The Federal Government said it would again set aside the sum of N500bn in the 2017 budget for its social intervention programme.
The amount when added to the N500bn earlier approved for the same purpose this year would bring the total budgetary allocation for programme to N1tn in two years.
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, gave the figure on Monday while speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on the national nutrition week.
She lamented that despite the commitment of the Federal Government to nutrition, malnutrition was still a major challenge to national development.
She added that while it would be difficult for the government alone to address the issue owing to funding constraints, it would use the instrumentality of the budget in channelling funds to the intervention programme.
She said, “The 2017 budget that is currently being drawn also has a clear commitment to continue with all of the social intervention programmes that have started in 2016 and the school feeding programme is a significant component of it.
“In the 2017 budget, the Federal Government is also putting aside N500bn for social intervention programmes just as we did in 2016.”
She said in a bid to draw more attention to the issue of malnutrition, the Federal Government would today (Tuesday) launch the revised National Policy on Food and Nutrition.
The policy, according to her, will help in reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition by 50 per cent by 2025, increase exclusive breastfeeding rate from 17 per cent in 2013 to 65 per cent by 2025; and reduce stunting rate among under-five children from 37 per cent in 2013 to 10 per cent in 2025.
Others are increasing the proportion of children who receive deworming tablets from 13.4 per cent to 50 per cent; reduction in anaemia among pregnant women from 67 per cent to 33 per cent; and increasing access to potable water from 49 per cent to 85 per cent.
Also speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, described the malnutrition problem facing the country as huge, adding that the government was determined to address it with the policy on food and nutrition.
He said, currently, about 265,000 people were malnourished in Borno; 45,000 in Lagos while Kano had about 460,000.
He said, “Malnutrition is a problem of lifestyle and we need to change our lifestyle. We need to address the issue of breastfeeding because a child that you don’t breastfeed for six months will be malnourished.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Fatimah Mede, said about 2.5 million people were suffering from malnutrition with the North-East having the risk of losing the highest number of people.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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