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Kano legislators and the need for social protection

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By Abbas Yushau Yusuf

Social protection is defined by the united nations as a way of designing programs that address inequality, extreme poverty, malnutrition, disease and other social problems that retard human progress.

Some northwestern states of Nigeria have been rated by international agencies among states that are ravaged by extreme poverty and malnutrition, those suffering from extreme poverty include women and children that nurse from infancy to weaning stage.

States like Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa and Katsina are among the Northwestern states that need serious intervention on social protection.

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How will social protection work in these three key states of the North-Western part of Nigeria? Policy makers are the most important component in ensuring social protection in Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara and the rest of the northwestern states for the purpose of reducing extreme poverty and malnutrition.

Around September 2019 Action Against Hunger (AAH) had in conjunction with Save the Children inaugurated the child grant development program with the sole aim of addressing acute malnutrition in Kano and Jigawa states.

It has been observed that the first one thousand days of a child is very important in making a child well nourished as he starts growing into a complete human being.

Poverty is in most instances worsened by deliberate neglect or the difficulty men face in providing good food that will help nursing mothers to breastfeed their infant children with nutritious milk.

Question of sustainability

Since social protection programs are meant to impact on the people at the grassroots, particularly those suffering from extreme poverty, Kano state policy makers and the rest of the states including Jigawa and Katsina have key roles to play.

The question is: can our policymakers sustain the efforts of Save the Children and Action Against Hunger in implementing social protection?

Section 14 of the 1999 constitution said security and welfare of the people are the primary responsibilities of government. The above quoted section is under fundamental objectives and directive principles of states policy.

One of the main pillars of democracy is the legislature. That was why during the military intervention in Nigerian politics, the first thing the military men did after carrying out a coup was to suspend the Nigerian constitution and issued a decree that effectively scrapped the Nigerian legislature.

With uninterrupted 20 years of Nigerian democracy the legislative arm of government is expected to be significant in providing good governance.

The national and state assemblies can make state and federal executives execute policies for the electorate to feel the impact of governance including social protection.

State assemblies are the legislators that are very close to the people and in good positions to understand the needs of the society.

Sometimes governors bring their bills to state assemblies and those bills are passed in a haste to please the governors.

There are tons of bills state legislators are supposed to pass in order to fulfill campaign promises to the electorate.

Kano is the most populous state in Nigeria and to address malnutrition and extreme poverty among women folk, there is great need for the state’s legislators to pass a bill for social protection where large chunk of funds will be allocated to the sector in a yearly budget to mitigate extreme poverty and malnutrition in the swing state.

The media and the civil society must contribute in making Kano legislators initiate a bill on social protection and pass it to the state governor for assent.

The state legislators should not serve as rubber stamps that are there to do the biddings of the executive instead of satisfying the need of the electorate through social protection.

If the time of the donor agencies elapsed those responsible will continue with social protection in addressing extreme poverty.

How other nations are fighting extreme poverty

Nigerians appreciate everything foreign more especially in developing and developed nations of the world like India, America ,Germany , England and these countries arrest extreme poverty through social protection. It is not because there are no poor people in these countries or because there are no people ridden with poverty but they fight it through social protection.

If advanced countries should remove social protection strategies from their policies, extreme poverty will abound. Since government can not cater for the whole population on employment, social protection becomes necessary.

The taxes they collect from their populace are used to implement poverty-fighting strategies like social protection.

What Kano legislators should do

For Kano legislators to write their name in gold, social protection bill should come in so that huge financial resources that are being diverted can be used to ensure social protection in Kano, whose population is growing without control.

If a relatively smaller state like Jigawa, with far less financial resources than Kano, can allocate N1.2 billion in its annual budget for social protection why not Kano, the commercial nerve center of Northern Nigeria?

Abbas Yushau Yusuf, a journalist based in Kano can be reached at abyushau2@gmail.com

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Opinion: Kano’s shoddy border closure: A personal experience

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By Rauf Musa

I took a very important trip to Kano on Saturday, April 4, 2020 and in the course of this trip I observed some anomalies in the way security and health officials implement the movement restriction directive issued by the Kano state government, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Despite all the media hype Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje created last week, when he was captured on video turning back a truckload of travelers coming into Kano, the state remains largely insecure and porous.

It seems that Kariya village, about 75 kilometers to the entry point to Kano state, is the only point where travelers coming from Kaduna axis are stopped for checks, just before Kwanar Dangora.

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On that particular spot are personnel of the police, Civil defence, Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) and some health workers. The place was very chaotic and disorganized.

Even though these agents are doing their best to do their jobs, nothing suggests that travelers could not come into Kano.

Drivers of commercial vehicles simply drop their passengers before reaching the check point, where motorcycle riders are readily waiting to pick them and cross the checkpoint with them.

Thereafter, the travelers would simply rejoin their respective vehicles and proceed with their trip right into the heart of the city, with brazen impunity.

At the checkpoint, I noticed only ONE health worker, who appeared to be overwhelmed and confused as he tried to check the body temperature of a horde of travelers.

As for drivers of trailers and articulated vehicles, they pass freely without undergoing any checks!  These vehicles mostly carry non-essential items such as building materials.

The entire scene depicts total derailment from what was intended to be achieved.

From that village, travelers continue their movement freely into Kano without any other checkpoint. It was business as usual.

Even though, to this moment, there was no recorded outbreak of the COVID-19 in our dear state, but there is absence of vigorous campaign in the media on the looming danger in our horizon.

Our people need rigorous sensitisation and awareness on COVID 19 pandemic, at least on basic precautions.

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NCC alerts Nigerians on fake website advertising fraudulent internet claims

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has caution telecoms consumers on the fraudulent message being spread on the internet by a fraudulent website.

A statement issued by the Deputy Manager Online Media and Special Publication, NCC, Kunle Azeez said the fake website (https://covid-19-fg-grant.blogspot.com/?=1) is asking Nigerian citizens to apply for a free internet bundle ostensibly being given by the Nigerian government in collaboration with NCC.

“Nigerian government, in collaboration with NCC, is offering all Nigerian citizens up to 20GB of data to stay at home and get up-to-date information in a bid to counter the spread of COVID-19. All Nigeria citizens are entitled to free Internet connection to stay at home safely and enjoy the Internet in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. The free Internet package is available to everyone starting from Friday, 27th March, 2020,” the deceptive website claims in its message.

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“The website suspiciously asks Nigerians to apply for the free Internet by clicking a web link, which automatically takes them to a webpage with a dialogue box where they are expected to fill in their bio data and other demographics.

The NCC stated that neither the Nigerian government nor the Commission has issued such a message to Nigerian citizens.

The Commission strongly advised Nigerians and all telecom consumers to beware of this fraudulent, false and spurious claim. The general public should discountenance the falsehood which has gained traction by the rise in tempo of its circulation.

The NCC cautioned that the message should be disregarded in its entirety as the said website is a sham and a total deception to dupe Nigerians of their hard-earned money, and to harness personal data for fraudulent purposes.

Consistent with the consumer-centric policy of NCC, the Commission wishes to sensitise Nigerians to the antics of cyber criminals, who will want to take advantage of this challenging period of a rampaging pandemic, and the stay-at-home directive of the government to scam telecom consumers and the general public.

The NCC, therefore, uses this opportunity to reiterate its commitment towards deepening access to telecoms services and its dedication to strengthening the protective measures it has instituted to safeguard the rights of over 128 million internet users across mobile networks in Nigeria.

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No licence has been issued for 5G in Nigeria – Pantami

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami says the federal government has not granted the fifth generation (5G) license to any telecoms operators in Nigeria.

In a statement sent to KANO FOCUS on Saturday, Mr Pantami said no license has been issued for the deployment of 5G in the country.

The minister noted that as chairman of the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC), the council has not deliberated on or released any bulk frequency spectrum for the deployment of 5G.

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He recalled that a 3-month study trial has commenced on the 25th of November, 2019 in order to critically review and study the health and security implications of deploying 5G in Nigeria.

“As part of the study trial process, I directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure that a team of experts, security agencies and other stakeholders fully participate in the trial process and my office also invited these agencies to participate in the trial; and the trial process has been concluded and the study and reporting process is currently ongoing.

“His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, places a premium on the welfare, health and security of Nigerians. As such, our desire for technological advancement will never be at the expense of the health and welfare of our citizens,” he assured.

Mr Pantami revealed that he has directed the NCC to engage citizens on any questions or concerns they may have regarding 5G, as government will not act on the speculations only, but rather we will take an informed decision on 5G after due consultation with experts and the public.

The minister assured Nigerians that government will always take the welfare, health and security of the public into account while considering the deployment of any technology.

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