UNICEF Commends Army For Adequate Security Cover

A representative of the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), Mohammed Fall, has said a more secure environment provided by the Nigerian Army, has helped them in no small measure to achieve their mandate.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations (7 Division), Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Samuel.

Mr Fall made the position known when he led some officials of the UNICEF on a “thank you” visit to the Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu.

The UNICEF representative noted that the secured environment provided by the military had paved way for them and other humanitarian agencies to fulfil their mandate.

He then reiterated their commitment to providing critical assistance to children caught up in the conflict in northeast Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the GOC applauded the level of synergy existing between the Nigerian Army and the UNICEF, and indeed other agencies.

He went on to inform the visiting team that a school that caters for over 5,000 pupils in Bakassi IDP Camp was built by the Division with the provision of educational and clothing materials.

Furthermore, he assured them of safety, protection and continuous collaboration in the discharge of their duties.

Osun State has the ‘highest rate’ of circumcised women in Nigeria – UNICEF

Nearly eight in 10 women have undergone circumcision in Osun, according to UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).


The statistics of Ebonyi was also rated next to Osun, with Ekiti coming third, Imo, fourth, and Oyo, 5th.


“FGM comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other cutting of or injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women,” UNICEF said.


The organisation called on governments at all levels, civil society organisations, and traditional and religious leaders to come together to end the scourge of female genital mutilation in Nigeria.


Mohammed Fall, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said there is no benefit to mutilating or cutting any girl as it causes severe physical and psychological harm.


The organisation said it is working with federal and state governments in southern states where the practice is most prevalent, training partners, creating awareness at all levels and working with communities to convince practitioners and community members to promote an end to the practice.


“We applaud the progress that has been made in Nigeria, but there is still a long way to go. Even though this practice has persisted for over a thousand years, our evidence tells us that with collective action, it can end in one generation,”said Mohamed Fall.


“It violates a woman’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and even – in some cases – the right to life.”

UNICEF begs Trump to consider 28 million refugees

UNICEF has asked President Donald Trump to open the US to the 28 million children who have been displaced by the conflicts in their countries.


The organisation made this appeal following Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban refugees from seven war- torn countries.


“The needs of refugees have never been greater,” UNICEF said.


“Worldwide 28 million children have been uprooted by conflict, driven from their homes by violence and terror. They need our help.


“The United States has a long and proud tradition of protecting children fleeing war and persecution. We trust that this support will continue and that the recent measures will prove to be temporary. All refugee children need our support.”


UNICEF said it is committed to working with governments and other partners around the world to help some of the most vulnerable children everywhere, from Syria to Yemen to South Sudan.


Trump temporarily banned immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, and indefinitely stopped Syrian refugees from coming to the United States.


Source: The Cable

UNICEF to vaccinate 4.7m children in the North-East

The federal government in partnership with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has commenced the vaccination of 4.7 million children in response to an outbreak of measles in the north-east.

In a statement on Thursday, UNICEF said Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which have been hard to access since the emergence of Boko Haram, will be covered in the campaign.

“Security has improved in some areas so we have acted quickly to access places we could not previously reach and protect children from the spread of a very dangerous disease”, said Mohamed Fall, UNICEF representative in Nigeria.

“We are still extremely concerned about children living in large areas of Borno state that are not yet accessible.”

“In 2016, there were approximately 25,000 cases of measles among children in Nigeria; 97 percent of the cases were in children under the age of 10 and at least a hundred children died.”

Explaining the outbreak, UNICEF said “measles infections tend to increase during the first half of the year because of higher temperatures”.

It lamented the low coverage of measles vaccination across Nigeria, saying only a little over 50 percent of children were being reached.

“Worse, children are particularly vulnerable in areas affected by conflict as the risks for malnourished children who have weakened immunity are further heightened,” UNICEF said.

“The conflict and resulting displacement have left more than 4.4 million children in Nigeria in need of humanitarian assistance, with an estimated 450,000 children likely to suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition in 2017.”

The vaccination will also include vitamin A supplement for children under five to boost their immunity as well as de-worming tablets, according to the agency.

“The campaign is part of UNICEF’s wider emergency health response in the three northeast Nigerian states. In partnership with Nigerian authorities, UNICEF has provided primary health care services for both internally displaced persons and the vulnerable host communities within which they have sought shelter,” the statement read.


Source: The Cable

Borno government, UNICEF open school for 4000 displaced kids

Borno State government has in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) established a temporary learning centre for over 4000 displaced children from Mafa and Jere local government areas of the state.

The school is expected to host the multitude of children that were forced by Boko Haram insurgency to abandon their classes in the past six years.

Mafa local government area is about 45km away from Maiduguri. It is one of the most attacked areas in Borno State.

Most of the children, aged between three and 15, were either forced out of schools or have not had the opportunity to be enrolled.

PREMIUM TIMES visited the newly opened IDP camp schools located in Muna Custom area, at the outskirts of Maiduguri, where the apparently enthusiastic children were seen reciting the English letters and alphabets.

Most of the children who were rescued from remote villages never had any contact with agencies like schools and hospitals.

Lawan Sale, the education secretary of Mafa Local government and one of the local education secretaries in charge of managing the schools, said giving the kids a space to learn comes as a huge relief.

“The partnership with UNICEF to develop and educate our displaced children will go a long way in shaping and securing the future of troubled state,” he said.

“We have no excuse other than providing qualitative teachers to teach the thousands of children in the new camp schools, because 95 percent of the children in this school particularly come from Mafa local government which is just 45km away from Maiduguri, Borno state.”

Chester Shaba, an Education Specialist for UNICEF at the Maiduguri field office, said the idea about UNICEF collaborating with the state government to provide temporary learning space for the kids was like an afterthought.

“Initially we did not consider it necessary because the children are in the camp on temporary bases,” he said.

“But now that we see that they will be here for a long time, they need to be provided with all their rights; and one of their basic rights is the right to education.

“We anticipate registering over 4000 children; right now, in just two days, we have reached a target of over 2000 children.”

He said while UNICEF takes charge of opening the schools, the state government, through the State Universal Education Board (SUBEB), shoulders the task deploying qualified teachers to assist military educators that initiated the learning center in the first place.

Mr. Chester said the need to build more classrooms becomes imperative as the kids have already overcrowded the ten makeshift classrooms.

Jam-packed in the improvised classes and seated on plastic mats that were spread on dusty floors, most of the children, without shoes on their legs, saw themselves as future doctor and teachers.

“I want to be a teacher like her,” Fanna Alhaji said, pointing at her female tutor.

Asked why she wanted to become a teacher, the 10-year-old girl said she just wanted to be like the female teacher, Aishatu Abubakar, who was loaned from the Borno state UBE.

Another child, Yarka Bachilla, a boy, said he had never been to a western or Quranic school before Boko Haram sent him and his family fleeing their razed community, Zengede, in Mafa local government. But he wants to be a doctor.

According to the International Organization on Migration (IOM) data, at least 2.1 million persons, mostly women and children, in northeast Nigeria have been displaced by the six years of Boko Haram’s insurgency.

A UNICEF record indicate that of 1.4 million children have been displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, which has denied them access to education for years.

Boko Haram: UN fires back at Borno governor over allegations on misuse of funds

Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator to Nigeria, has refuted Borno Gov. Kashim Shettima’s allegations of under-performance and misuse of funds against UN agencies in the North-East.

Mr. Kallon said during a courtesy visit to the Executive Director of Victims Support Fund (VSF), Sunday Ochoche, on Wednesday in Abuja, that UN agencies had scaled up their presence and assistance in the area.

According to him, UN agencies have currently reached over 2 million people with humanitarian assistance as against barely 100,000 people as at October 2016.

“The challenges are enormous but there has been a lot of progress on humanitarian response since October 2016 when I assumed duty as the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP resident Representative to Nigeria.

“Before I came, the international community was barely reaching 100,000; however, in December, humanitarian assistance was reaching over 1 million families,” he said.

“Presently, humanitarian assistance is reaching about two million people in the North-East; there has been a huge progress so far.

“The UN system is an accountable system and if we receive a request from the Governor of Borno on what we are bringing in and what is being spent we would give that information.

“Such information is not hidden.’’

Mr. Shettima had on Tuesday attacked UN organisations and over 100 nongovernmental in the north-east, accusing them of misusing funds meant for people displaced by Boko Haram crisis.

He singled out UNICEF for rebuke, but also praised eight organisations for their efforts.

On allegations of misuse of funds, the UNDP representative described it as unfair as the operations in the North-East were being executed at a cost which must be met.

He explained that respective UN agencies had the moral obligation of ensuring the security and safety of its staff in the country.

The UNDP Chief therefore advised the Federal Government and relevant authorities at all levels no to politicise the role and response of the UN and international communities in the North-East.

Mr. Kallon advised government agencies to ensure the accountability of government funds being contributed to the efforts in the North-East.

According to him, his principal goal is to ensure coordination among stakeholders in the field through effective synergy.

He applauded VSF for its role in the reconstruction efforts in the North-East towards rebuilding public and personal structures as well as rebuilding lives and livelihoods.

Mr. Kallon said the UN had launched a humanitarian response plan, where it is requesting a million dollars to provide humanitarian assistance to over 5.6 million people affected by the conflict in North-East.

Responding, Mr. Ochoche thanked the UNDP chief for his efforts so far since he assumed duty.

He said the challenges in the North-East were beyond one agency or government to manage, adding that partnership and collaboration were inevitable moving forward.

Mr. Ochoche said the fund was focusing on addressing the crises around health, social services, education and economic empowerment of women.

According to him, VSF has been supporting the safe return of IDPs and rehabilitating those trapped in Boko Haram enclaves back to their communities.

Mr. Ochehe urged Kallon to collaborate with the state government as Shettima’s allegations could be due to a mild miscommunication.

Shettima asks UNICEF to leave Borno, accuses it of exploiting IDPs

Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, has accused UNICEF and some aids group in north-east of spending money meant for the victims of Boko Haram insurgency.

Telling the aid agencies “exploiting” the crisis to leave the region, Shettima told journalists in Maiduguri, the state’s capital, that only eight of 126 registered agencies in the state had “truly assisted” internally displaced persons (IDPs).

He listed the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Danish Refugee Council among the few organisations that were doing a good job.

UNICEF recently launched a campaign to raise N1 billion for those facing starvation in the region.

According to the organisation, over five million people in the crisis-torn region are starving, while 100,000 children are at risk of dying.


But President Muhammadu Buhari accused the UNICEF of exaggerating the crisis in the state in order to more funds.

Boko Haram: Governor Shettima lambasts UNICEF, 126 other ‘nonperforming’ NGOs

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno has advised all “nonperforming” United Nations agencies, including UNICEF, and 126 other nongovernmental organisations to leave the state for alleged failure to justify the funds they claim to be expending on persons displaced by Boko Haram insurgency.

Short of calling the groups thieves, the governor said most of the NGOs were using funds released to them for servicing only their overheads and personnel costs.

He accused them of enriching selves in the name of providing service to victims of Boko Haram in his state.

Mr. Shettima said of the 126 NGOs that have mobilised to the state, only about eight were actually providing humanitarian services to the displaced persons.

He specifically singled out UN agencies for bashing when he said they were in the habit of using large portion of the money meant for providing for IDPs to fund their logistic needs.

The governor said he would no longer tolerate the presence of NGOs that were in the habit of “using the name of Borno to make money and enrich themselves”.

The governor said the UN system would announce millions of dollars as intervention for victims of Boko Haram, but more than half of what was released would end up being used for recurrent spending of the humanitarian agencies.

Mr. Shettima said he was fed-up hearing the UN’s rhetoric and had decided to take tackle his problems on his own.

“We have the list of all NGOs operating in this state; apart from the officially functioning NGOs,” he said.

“Some of the United Nations agencies are doing their best in their own way of doing things; but to me I am not satisfied.

“The huge chunk of what they are budgeting for Borno goes to service their overheads. I, as a governor don’t ride in bullet proof cars; but they spend more than $50, 000 buying bullet proof cars for themselves.

“They will construct five toilets in Gwoza and fly in helicopters more than seven times to inspect the toilets.

“We are in the post-conflict phase of insurgency era where we are concentrating on recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation. But the foreign NGOs have near fixation on the IDP camps.

He however singled out some few NGOs for commendation.

“The World Food Programme is doing a very good job,” he said.

“The ICRC is doing a very good job. We also appreciate the efforts of the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Danish Refugee council. The International Organisation for Migration is doing a good job. The UNHCR is also doing a good job.

“Apart from these eight NGOs, the rest of them are merely existing. I have a list of 126 NGOs in Borno state.

“But we hardly know what the UN agencies are doing. We only see them in some white flashy bullet proof jeeps; apart from that, we hardly see their visible impacts. But particularly the UNICEF, considering the huge quantum of funds at their disposal, they are not really trying.

“We have become a cash cow; and people are smiling their ways to the banks from the agony of our people. This is unacceptable. People that are really ready to work are very much welcome here. But people that are here on to use us to make money, may as well leave. We don’t need them, since they are only he to use us to make money.”

UNICEF wants more technology start-ups in Nigeria.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has adopted a venture capital approach to source solutions through its innovation fund, urging more technology start-ups to utilize opportunities next year.


The UNICEF Communication Officer, Lagos, Blessing Ejiofor, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure yesterday, announced its first portfolio of investments in open source technology solutions.


Ejiofor added that the investment included tools that improve connectivity, real-time data collection, identity technology and learning.


According to her, the approach would proffer solutions for transportation, identity, wearable technology, finance, and personal data.


“The UNICEF Innovation Fund is a new way of doing business at the UN; combining the approach of Silicon Valley venture funds with the needs of UNICEF programme countries.

“Using UNICEF’s 190 offices and 12,000 staff, the Fund will help us source and support companies that might be overlooked by traditional investment vehicles. The Fund allows us to prototype technology solutions, as well as expand our networks of open source collaborators to improve children’s lives.”


Aside announcing the first investments by UNICEF, the Communication Officer disclosed further that it has also opened the next round of applications from technology start-ups.


She said the first portfolio of investments included the following five start-ups from Nicaragua, Bangladesh, South Africa, Pakistan Cambodia; with an eye to investing in 20-40 additional companies in 2017.


“UNICEF Innovation Fund is inviting technology start-ups to apply for investment and become part of this growing portfolio of open source solutions. The next round of applications for investment from the Fund is now open. “

UNICEF puts five Anambra LGs under surveillance for Lassa fever

The United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) has said it is monitoring five local government areas in Anambra State for any incident of Lassa fever.


According to the organization,the action became necessary following the recent outbreak of Lassa fever in the state, claiming three lives.


The five local government areas are Orumba North, Nnewi, Ayamelum, Anaocha and Anambra West.


UNICEF Communications Officer in Anambra State, Chineze Ileka said the organization will educate and enlighten citizens on Lassa fever.


Ileka said the people should ensure rats were not found in human surroundings, keep the surroundings clean; dispose wastes properly; cover food items; throw away foods partly eaten by rats; avoid eating rats and avoid contact with Lassa patients or the corpses of victims.

UNICEF laments poor child rights act compliance, sensitive-budgeting.

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), has decried the increasing occurrences of child abuse and violence against children in the country, attributing it to poor child-sensitive budgeting of government at all levels.

UNICEF Communications Officer, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, made the disclosure recently at an advocacy meeting held in Ibadan, Oyo State, which it organised was for scaling up of mass communication training institutions, and mainstreaming child rights report curriculum in the country.

According to her, the one-day event, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, was necessary to get more teachers and media practitioners involved in the protection of the child’s rights.

Ejiofor said that as a matter of profession, the inclusion of the child rights reportage into mass communication training, and mainstreaming it in their (schools’) curriculum would end abuse and violence against children.

She attributed the series of abuses meted to children in the country to the passiveness of government at all levels to implement the Children Rights Convention (CRC), which she said deprived them of their survival, development, protection and participation rights.

UNICEF’s Communication Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, who gave a lecture on child rights reporting in the country, noted that the training would lead to more communication training institutions teaching child rights reporting.

The two speakers tasked mass media practitioners and institutions to place more emphasis on ending Violence Against Children (VAC), by ensuring that young journalists in their institutions show more interest in the reportage.

Professor Emeritus, Prof. Pai Obanya, who was a resource person at the advocacy meeting, faulted government policies on child rights act, describing them as mere cosmetics.

“It doesn’t pay to just say you have a policy on something without specifically putting resources aside for it. It relates to taking into account what the declaration says about right to life, protection, health nutrition and self-actualisation.

“Nigeria has a problem of, first of all, not ratifying enough and when it ratifies, it doesn’t really sensitise the populace to know what it is all about. And on the part of government, we have not fully implemented the international agreement we entered into on the child’s right,” he said.

Though he mentioned that a few governments in the federation have openly ratified it, he regretted that on ground, we don’t see this happening because if it was happening, we wouldn’t have 10 million children out of school.

UNICEF Urges FG To Rehabilitate Released Chibok Girls

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to provide intensive support for the 21 released Chibok girls to safeguard their future.

The group made the call in a statement signed by Mr Gianfranco Rotigliano, its Country Representative and made available to newsmen in Maiduguri.

“The release is a great news and we are delighted to see the girls back with their families. “But we must keep pressing for all the women and children held by Boko Haram to be freed.

“And we must bear in mind that all of those who have been held by Boko Haram will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable trauma they have suffered,”

Rotigliano said. He also said that the more than 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014 were among thousands of women and girls that UNICEF estimated had been held and subjected to violence by the group. “UNICEF has supported hundreds of women and girls who have already been released or escaped from Boko Haram.

“The girls’ report that they have been subjected to rape – frequently in the form of forced marriages – beatings, intimidation and starvation during their captivity. Many returned pregnant or with babies as a result of rape.

“When they do reach safety, girls who have been held by Boko Haram are often ill, malnourished, traumatised and exhausted.

“They are in need of medical attention and psychosocial support so that they can begin to come to terms with their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities.

“Frequently, returning to their families and communities is the beginning of a new ordeal for the girls, as the sexual violence they have suffered often results in stigmatisation.

“People are also often afraid that the girls have been indoctrinated by Boko Haram and that they pose a threat to their communities. “The use by Boko Haram of children – mostly girls – as so called ‘suicide bombers’ has fueled such fears.

“Children born as a result of the sexual violence are at even greater risk of rejection, abandonment and violence.

“Since January, UNICEF and its partner International Alert have been providing psychosocial support for women and girls who have experienced sexual violence in the hands of Boko Haram.

“UNICEF and International Alert are also working with affected communities through a network of trained religious and community leaders to promote acceptance and to address negative perceptions that hamper the reintegration of women and girls who have suffered such violence.

“Funding from the Swedish International Development Agency and the UK Department for International Development has so far this year enabled UNICEF to provide a comprehensive programme of reintegration assistance to more than 750 women and girls subjected to Boko Haram-related sexual violence.

“With such large numbers of women and girls having been held by the group, however, the long-term provision of much-needed support remains heavily underfunded,’’ the UNICEF official said.



UNICEF Commends Plateau For Working To End Violence Against Children

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has commended the Plateau Government for inaugurating an action plan to end violence against children in the state.

The UNICEF Communication Officer in Bauchi, Mr Samuel Kaalu, announced this in a statement issued in Jos on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Plateau became the fourth state in Nigeria to inaugurate such campaign on Sept. 29.Inaugurations of similar action plan across the country are responses to a report of a survey conducted in 2014 by the National Population Commission (NPC) with support from UNICEF and other agencies.

The survey revealed high prevalence of violence against children in Nigeria, which necessitated the inauguration of the National Action Plan on violence against children in September 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Kaalu said the UNICEF would also render all the needed support to the Plateau government to reduce violence against children both in the state and the entire country.

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75,000 Children Could Die In Nigeria In 2017 – UNICEF

U.N. Children’s Fund warns that about 75,000 children will die next year in Nigeria. The horrible prediction is based on famine-like conditions created by Boko Haram if donors don’t respond quickly. The Fund stresses that’s far more than the 20,000 people killed in the seven-year Islamic uprising.

Arjan de Wagt, nutrition chief for UNICEF in Nigeria, notes that the severity of malnutrition levels and high number of children facing death make the humanitarian crisis confronting northeastern Nigeria perhaps the worst in the world.

De Wagt explains that most severely malnourished children die of secondary illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections.

The expert says: “But with famine, you actually die of hunger. Globally, you just don’t see this. You have to go back to places like Somalia five years ago to see these kinds of levels. Nearly 260,000 people died in Somalia between 2010 and 2012 from severe drought aggravated by war.”

On Thursday UNICEF doubled the amount of its appeal for Nigeria, saying $115 million is needed to save children. However, only $24 million has been raised so far.

Speaking about the whole society De Wagt stressed: “Of 4 million people in desperate need of food are about 2.2 million people trapped in areas where Boko Haram is operating or in newly liberated areas that still are too dangerous to reach by road. Among them, 65,000 are living in famine-like conditions.”

In their turn aid group Doctors Without Borders states: “The crisis has reached catastrophic levels for people who have sought refuge in towns controlled by the military but who are entirely reliant on outside aid that does not reach them”.

However, de Wagt admits that the agency continues to deliver some therapeutic food by helicopter and to train local health workers to treat malnourished children living in dangerous areas.

Doctors Without Borders state that the highest levels of starving children are in camps in Maiduguri, the northeastern city free of conflict where aid workers have been active for two years: “The mortality rate is five times higher than what is considered an emergency, with the main cause being hunger”.

UNICEF: 50 Million Children Uprooted by Crises

War and poverty have forced 50 million children around the world from their homes, according to UNICEF.

Up to 28 million of the children have been uprooted by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life, says a report released by the UN agency.

The report, entitled Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children, also says that the number of child refugees has more than doubled in the past 10 years from four million to 8.2 million.

UNICEF describes the children as some of the most vulnerable people on earth and gives warning that if governments do not act, the numbers are likely to grow.

Whether it is from war, violence, poverty or climate change, the youngsters have been uprooted by crises they are not responsible for, or have little influence over, says UNICEF.

The report, published on Tuesday, says that children make up about a third of the world’s population as of 2015 and accounted for nearly half of all refugees.

Speaking in Geneva, Ted Chaiban, UNICEF director of programmes, said: “What’s important is that these children on the move are children. And they should be treated as children.

“They deserve to be protected. They need access to services, such as education.”

According to the report, there were 10 million child refugees and one million child asylum seekers whose status had not yet been determined.

The remaining 17 million children displaced by conflict remained within their home countries’ borders.

The report said 45 percent of the children refugees came from just two countries, Syria and Afghanistan.

Increasingly, these children are travelling alone, with 100,000 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in 78 countries in 2015, three times the number in 2014, the report found.

Because these children often lack documents, they are especially vulnerable.

The report estimates another 20 million children are migrants, driven from their homes by poverty and gang violence among other things.

Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks including drowning during sea crossings, malnourishment, dehydration, kidnapping, rape and murder.

When they arrive in other countries they often face discrimination and xenophobia, the report stated.

“The world hears the stories of child refugees one child at a time and the world is able to bring support to that child, but when we talk about millions it provokes incredible outrage and underscores the need to address the growing problem,” said Emily Garin, the UNICEF report’s author.

The report calls on the international community to provide protection, education and health services to these children and asks governments to address the root causes contributing to the large-scale movements of refugees and migrants.

UNICEF Raises Fresh Concern Over Malnutrition In South West

The united Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has raised fresh concerns over the rising cases of malnutrition in the South West geo-political zone of the country, attributing it to poor Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF).

According to UNICEF Communications Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, the belief that malnutrition is most pronounced in the northern part of the country was nothing but misleading. He stated this yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State at the opening of a two-day media dialogue on child malnutrition titled: “Good nutrition, invest more.”

Njoku, quoting a 2013 survey, declared that the South West has 22 per cent stunted children under the age of five, saying malnutrition is a national problem, which requires urgent intervention.The UNICEF official who narrated his Owerri hometown experience in Imo State revealed that 13 per cent of children born to rich families also suffer malnutrition.

The Communications Officer of UNICEF, Mrs. Blessing Ejiofor, said the Media Coalition Against Malnutrition (MECHAM) is driven to create opportunities for media advocacy on child nutrition through sensitisation.

“It also provides media partners with the knowledge and materials to support advocacy for child nutrition and acquaint the media the situation in Nigeria with particular reference to child malnutrition,” she said.

A resource person from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Mrs. Ogunbunmi Omotayo noted that, “Nigeria has the highest number of stunted children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa and second highest in the world with 37 percent of all children stunted, 18 percent wasting and 29 per cent underweight.”

She explained further that infant mortality rate is 69/100 live births and children under five years have 128/1,000 live births, while only 17 per cent are exclusively breast-fed.

Nutrition Specialist, Mrs. Ada Ezeogu lamented that the Nigeria Nutrition Indices (2013) disclosed that only 17 per cent of Nigerians engage in exclusive breast feeding, which is far below the 50 per cent international standard.

Ezeogu affirmed that malnutrition is not all about food but inadequate care, knowledge, food insecurity, unsanitary environment and other factors, which are highly manifest in the six states of the South West.

22% Of Children Under Five In South West Suffer Stunted Growth- UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) raised fresh concerns in Monday over the prevalence and effect of malnutrition in the South-West geo-political zone of the country, stating that 22 per cent of children under five years in the zone have stunted growth.

The UNICEF Communication Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, gave the figure in an opening remark at a media dialogue organised by the UNICEF for select journalists in some states of the South- West.

He added that it was erroneous to believe that malnutrition is prevalent only in the Northern states.

Quoting a 2013 survey, Njoku said survey had shown that malnutrition is prevalent among children of the rich people of the South West under the age of five, saying malnutrition is a national problem and harped on the need to share responsibilities in investing in simple cost interventions.

Njoku, who narrated his Owerri hometown experience in the South Eastern part, Imo State, revealed that 13% of children born to rich families also suffer malnutrition in the geo-political zone.

A resource person from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Mrs Ogunbumi Omotayo, noted: “Nigeria has the highest number of stunted children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa and second highest in the world with 37% of all children stunted, 18% wasting and 29% underweight.”

Read More: thisdaylive

772,224 Displaced Children Live In IDP Camps – UNICEF

No fewer than 772,224 children registered by National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are living at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the northeast.

Mr Olusoji Adeniyi, UNICEE Emergency Specialist, disclosed this on Tuesday at a workshop on emergency preparedness organized by the fund for stakeholders in Kaduna.

“Out of the number, 50 per cent of the children have no family tracing, which was causing more concern on child protection.”

Adeniyi said some of the children were traumatized and required psycho-social attention and support to appropriately reintegrate them into the society.

“Most of the children are lost out because they have lost very precious parts of their lives as a result of insurgency,” he said.

He said the situation called for collective action from all concerned as the “children are the responsibility of everyone everywhere”.

“So, we must join hands in saving their lives and guaranteeing their future,” he stressed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organized by UNICEF to create awareness among stakeholders on the importance of emergency preparedness, child rights and protection

UNICEF Raises Alarm Over Number Of Child Suicide Bombers

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised alarm over the increase in the number of children involved in suicide attacks in some West African countries.

The agency described those involved in the attacks as victims deceived into the act.

This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja and signed by UNICEF Regional Director for West/Central Africa, Mr Manuel Fontaine.

According to the statement, the affected countries are Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger with majority of them as females.

“The number of children involved in suicide attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger has risen sharply over the past years, from four in 2014 to 44 in 2015.

“More than 75 per cent of the children involved in the attacks were girls.

“These children are victims, not perpetrators, who are being deceived and forced to carry out deadly acts of violence in Nigeria and in neighbouring countries,” it said.

In the data released by UNICEF in the statement, Cameroon recorded the highest number of suicide attacks involving 21 children, followed by Nigeria with 17 children and Chad two between January 2014 and February 2016.

It added that the frequency of all suicide bombings increased from 32 in 2014 to 151 in 2015.

According to the statement, in 2015, 89 of the attacks were carried out in Nigeria, 39 in Cameroon, 16 in Chad and seven in Niger.

It added that the calculated use of children coerced into carrying bombs had created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.

The statement said it had devastating consequences for girls who had survived captivity and sexual violence by Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria.

In addition, it said children who escaped from or were released by armed groups were often seen as potential security threats.

“Children born as a result of sexual violence also encounter stigma and discrimination in their villages, host communities, and in camps for internally displaced persons.’

“As suicide attacks involving children become common place, some communities are starting to see children as threats to their safety.
“This suspicion towards children can have destructive consequences,” it said.

The statement, however, said UNICEF was partnering with communities affected by terrorism and insecurity to fight stigmatisation against children, survivors of violence towards better environment.

Credit: NAN

US To Give $600m As Assistance To Nigeria This Year – John Kerry

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, says the US government will be giving $600 million as assistance to Nigeria this year. He said this while speaking at the opening session of the U.S- Nigeria Bi-National Commission meeting in Washington DC yesterday March 30th.

“Our development assistance this year will top $600 million, and we are working closely with your leaders – the leaders of your health ministry – to halt the misery that is spread by HIV/AIDS, by malaria, and by TB. Our Power Africa Initiative is aimed at strengthening the energy sector, where shortage in electricity has frustrated the population and impeded growth” he said

Malnutrition: Nigeria To Lose 300,000 Children In 2016 – UNICEF

It is feared that Nigeria stands to loose a total number of 300,000 children within the ages of 0-5 years to acute malnutrition in 2016 if drastic measures are not swiftly put in place to tackle the menace.

Zakari Fusheni, a nutrition specialist in UNICEF Abuja office, on Wednesday disclosed this at a retreat on malnutrition with the theme: “Malnutrition: the major cause of under five-5 mobility and mortality in Kaduna state: call for action” which was organized by the Kaduna state ministry of local government, health and human services, in collaboration with UNICEF Kaduna field office, also disclosed that over 1.6 million Nigerian children are malnourished.

He said policies need to be put in place to prevent children from dying as malnutrition is beyond poverty and educational status, with more emphasis on the enlightenment of mothers.

“Over 1.6 million Nigerian children are suffering from acute malnutrition and this means that the children are nine times likely to die than normal children and if nothing is done about it, we will likely loose 300,000 of these children.”

“So what it means also is that we need to get the interventions right, and we need to treat them because they need attention. UNICEF has been working with the government in providing ready to use therapeutic foods and this is very important for the children so that they can be treated of severe malnutrition.”

“Nigeria is trying but still has a long way to go because we still have a standing rate ?of about 30% -47% in acute malnutrition which is still quite high compared to other countries. This calls for more efforts.

“If you look at breast feeding which is important for the survival of the child in the first six months, we still have it at low rate especially in the north. Most of the states have less than 10% in breast feeding rate and it’s not good for the children because it is their first food.”

“Nigeria knows what the problems and solutions are; we just need to come together because nutrition goes beyond poverty and even beyond educational status. In rich homes, there are still presentations of malnutrition. It also has to do with how it is been tackled, using the multi- sectoral approach.”

Credit: Leadership

UNICEF Signs 1.3 Billion Naira MoU With Niger State

The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), Kaduna Field Office has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger State government on the provision of basic necessities of life for children and women in the state.

The Chief Field Officer of UNICEF in Kaduna, Mr Utpal Moitra, made the disclosure in Minna after the signing of the MoU.

He said that the Joint Work Plan for 2016 ensured that government and UNICEF shared commitment to accountability and transparency of the programme.

“The joint partnership is about joint commitment, sharing commitment and working together so as to deliver benefits to the large number of children and women in Niger state,” he said.

Moitra, who oversees three states including Niger State, stated that the cost of 1.3 billion Naira has been shared with UNICEF contributing 60% while the state government would provide 40% counterpart fund.

He explained that the agreement was reached following the continued partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and UNICEF as well as the states which include Niger State.

He informed that the major areas of priority in the MoU were education, health, water sanitation, nutrition and a host of others which would have direct benefits and bring development to the people of Niger State.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello signed the MoU on behalf of Niger State, while the Chief of Field Office, Mr Utpal Mostra, signed on behalf of UNICEF.

Governor Bello appreciated the partnership and promised to be supportive in the fulfilment of the state’s part of the agreement as quickly as possible.

Credit: ChannelsTv

66m Nigerians Have No Access To Safe Water- UNICEF

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 66 million people in Nigeria do not have access to safe water, while over 110 million lacked access to improved sanitation. As a result, about 150,000 children under the age of five are estimated to die annually largely due to diarrhea related diseases that are mostly associated with unsafe drinking water.

A publication by UNICEF estimates that in Africa alone people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking to collect water, this process has been said to deeply eat into the time which girl children are supposed to spend in schools.

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10.5m Children Out Of School In Nigeria – UNICEF

Jean Gough, Country Director, United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that no fewer than 10.5 million Nigerian children are out of school.

Gough stated this on Tuesday in Bauchi while exchanging views with Gov. Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State at the Government House.
She said that UNICEF was collaborating with some stakeholders to strengthen the newly-introduced Quranic School System to reduce the number of out-of-school children.

She disclosed that the fund had concluded plan to tackle the issue of child malnutrition in the state as it had discovered that 90 per cent of child diseases was as a result of malnutrition.

Gough also announced that UN body would curb public defecation, especially with more than 2,000 communities in the state defecating in open places.
“We intend to ensure that before I leave the country, at least one local government area in Bauchi state is public-defecation free.

“We will also work in collaboration with the state government to boost water and sanitation towards the supply of adequate and portable drinking water.
“I will, therefore, want to appeal to the state government to pay its counterpart fund to enable us execute some of the projects,” she said.

Read Moreleadership

UNICEF Says Nearly A Million Children ‘Severely Affected’ In Nepal

Nearly a million children have been “severely affected” by a severe earthquake in Nepal that has killed more than 3,200 people, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, as rescue and aid workers struggle to cope.

With hundreds of thousands of Nepalis sleeping out in tents or in the open, UNICEF said its relief workers were watching for waterborne and infectious diseases. “What we know that at this point is there are nearly a million children who are severely affected. Our biggest concern for them right now is going to be access to clean water and sanitation, we know that water and food is running out,” UNICEF’s Christopher Tidey said by telephone.

A total of 3,218 people were confirmed killed in Saturday’s 7.9 magnitude quake, a police official said on Monday, the worst in Nepal since 1934 when 8,500 died. More than 6,500 were injured.


Addressing Nutritional Needs for Child Development – @Lanre_Olagunju

Malnutrition in its different forms is the biggest cause of under-5 mortality in Africa, it accounts for almost half of all child deaths. Around the world a total of 162 million children under five years are stunted and approximately 52 million children suffer from wasting – a debilitating disease caused by extreme low energy intake, resulting in muscle and fat tissue wasting away.

In 2010, while delivering her speech titled “Change a Life Change the Future”, Hilary Clinton emphasized that improved nutrition during the first 24 months of life provides the child with a valuable “1000 day window of opportunity” for lifelong health and development. Nutritionists and scientists agree, and have shown that tackling malnutrition in children requires dedicated action to improve nutrition from pregnancy to 2 years of age. This implies that solving health problems related to a nutritional deficit will also require that pregnant mothers eat nutritious food at the right time and in the right quantity so that children get a good start in life.

The early days of a child’s life represent a key opportunity to ensure that a path to healthy living is guaranteed. Nutrition officer Dr. Abimbola Ajayi, former Deputy Director of Lagos State Ministry of Health on Nutrition and now a gubernatorial candidate running for Lagos, with over 27 years of post doctoral experience in Human Nutrition explained that “child nutrition is fundamental to a child’s wellbeing, far beyond how many development experts look at it.”

She illustrated her thesis saying that “in a third-world country like Nigeria where over 100 million people live far beyond the poverty line, feeding at all is a major issue, let alone expecting the poor to have appropriate nutrition. Malnourished adults can’t but give birth to malnourished children and sadly that’s how poverty strengthens, the cycle continues.”

Malnutrition can have such serious side effects as slowing brain development Dr. Ajayi explained, “after the age of 3 any delay in brain development or any other adverse effect of malnourishment on a child’s mental development becomes irreversible”.

However, there is a safe and nourishing way to ensure healthy development of a child –breastfeeding “Breastfeeding a child until the age of three will ensure that a child’s mental development is perfect, such that the child’s mental capability puts him/her on a level playing ground with any child in the world” says Dr. Ajayi. However, she was quick to identify why breastfeeding hasn’t yielded the phenomenal results in improving child malnutrition that it’s capable of … she asks “how many women feed their kids till age 3 to make ample use of this natural provision?”

Abimbola feels strongly that the Non-Governmental-Organisations can’t do it all, that the responsibility for feeding the populace lies predominantly with the government. She recognizes UNICEF as the main institution working and making major impact in combating child malnutrition but according to Abimbola many of UNICEF’s contributions fail due to lack of continuity, mainly as a result of inadequate backing from the government. The inability of government to put the right personnel forward to head nutrition projects or departments remains a huge challenge. In her opinion it is an error having medical doctors or those in medical professions head nutrition projects, and these decisions ensure that the projects don’t achieve their main goals “put a nutritionist where a nutritionist is needed and not a medical doctor” Abimbola reiterated.

She concluded “it is the main responsibility of the government to cater for its citizen’s nutritional nourishment” because “nutrition plays a major role in national development”. Good nutrition contributes to children’s mental development and, when people fall ill due to a lack of adequate nutrition, the government will inevitably end up spending more money on her citizens in a medical setting.

***This piece was first published on carmma.org but it has been republished with the permission of the author.

Lanre Olagunju is an hydrologist turned freelance journalist. An alumnus of American College of Journalism, he blogs for the African Union  on the Campaign On Accelerated Reduction Of Maternal, Newborn And Child Mortality In Africa. Follow @Lanre_Olagunju on Twitter.

Views expressed above are solely that of the author and not of Omojuwa.com or its associates.

ISIS New Video Shows Training of Child Soldiers in Iraq (Viewer Discretion)

The ISIS Takfiri militants have posted a new propaganda video online which shows young boys undergoing military training to become militants.

The footage, which emerged on YouTube and other sites on Monday, depicts three dozen boys learning martial arts, how to disarm or capture an enemy fighter, and how to bear brute force.

The video shows that physical abuse of children by their instructors is part of their training with an adult trainer punching and kicking boys in their sides, legs, and abdomens while they recoil.


The newly released footage came after its first part appeared online in October.

According to the descriptions of both videos, the training camps are located somewhere in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, which borders Syria.

There have been reports about the presence of at least five youth training camps in the Syrian province of Raqqa and one specifically for children under 16 in the town of Tabqa.

On November 23, Laurent Chapuis, the UNICEF regional child protection adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, said that children as young as 10 years old are being used by the ISIS.

Citing hundreds of interviews with people who fled or are living in ISIS-controlled areas, a UN panel of experts, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, also said that the Takfiri group “prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty, adherence to their ideology and a cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life.”

Credit: Press TV