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Breastfeeding: Kaduna state government implements six-month paid maternity leave for working mothers

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The Kaduna government has commenced the implementation of six-month paid maternity leave for working mothers in the state’s civil service.

In a statement to commemorate World Breastfeeding Week, Hadiza Balarabe, deputy governor of the state, said maternity leave duration was also extended from three to six months.

The Nigerian labour act allows lactating mothers to take three months’ leave while they are entitled to at least 50 percent of their monthly wages during the period.

But stakeholders over the years, have been advocating for an extension to six-month paid maternity leave to support nursing mothers in achieving optimal breastfeeding.

In 2018, we reported that the federal government increased maternity leave for women from 12 to 16 weeks.

World Breastfeeding Week is marked annually from August 1st to 7th to address issues of poor early breast milk initiation and exclusive practices.

Balarabe said the 2021 multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS) showed only 41.1 percent of children are exclusively breastfed in Kaduna.

She said optimal breastfeeding has enormous health benefits but is often hindered by workplace challenges for nursing mothers.

“Achievements so far recorded in support of nutrition interventions include pronouncement and implementation of a six-month paid maternity leave (extended from the earlier three months) for mothers working in the state civil service,” the statement reads.

“This has already taken effect across all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) with the hope that all others even in the private and federal sectors in the state will follow suit.

“I also have reports of a few MDAs in Kaduna that are yet to align to this six months maternity leave policy. This is not acceptable and will be dealt with soon enough.

“Establishment of creches across MDAs (ministry of human services and social development as well as the planning and budget commission) to support lactating mothers to continue breastfeeding their infants, even after the maternity leave and they resume work.

“This will lead to increased productivity of the working-class mother. The state has also commenced plans on how to expand the creation of these creches across other MDAs.

“The state government has established nutrition corners across 23 LGAs to provide nutrition counselling and practical demonstrations on how to adequately prepare food and feed infants aged six to 59 months.”

The deputy governor called on stakeholders at all levels, including public health experts and managers to provide a safe workplace environment for lactating mothers.

“It is imperative for government at all levels to focus on ensuring pregnant women and caregivers of children less than two years of age benefit from social protection measures to support appropriate, respectful, and safe maternity services and recommended infant and young child feeding practices in Nigeria,” she added.

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Cholera patients in Eti-Osa LGA took unregistered tiger nut drink, says Lagos state government

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The Lagos state government says patients who contracted cholera in Eti-Osa LGA had an unregistered tiger nut drink.

Eti-Osa is the epicentre of the latest cholera outbreak in Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city and commercial capital.

As of June 21, Lagos had recorded 24 deaths and 35 confirmed cholera cases.

Speaking in an interview with Punch on Saturday, Kemi Ogunyemi, special adviser to the Lagos state governor on health, said when the government noticed a spike in suspected cholera cases in Eti-Osa LGA, it visited the neighbourhood for a firsthand assessment.

Ogunyemi said a survey showed that people who visited hospitals all said they had consumed a particular tiger nut drink.

She said officials were then dispatched to find the drink in other to test samples for cholera.

“We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” she said.

“There was a phone number and a name on the bottle, and we started tracing. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19.

“We combed the area to ask people where they got the drinks from. We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found empty ones, which were of no use because we could not test them. The phone number on the bottle was not reachable.

“Cholera is also water-borne, so we took samples of the water to test it. The bottom line is that we took stool samples because different things cause diarrhoea.

“It could be anything else. We found out that it was confirmed cholera, specifically Vibrio cholera subtype 01, which is the most infectious and aggressive type.

“There are different types, but we identified this one. In Lagos Island, Eti-osa, and Kosofe, we recorded the highest number of cases that went to the hospital.

“I’m not talking about reported cases. These are the people who did the right thing by going to the hospital to complain of symptoms, and they were treated. That’s when we were alerted.”

Ogunyemi added that the government has ramped up sensitisation and awareness to ensure that the outbreak does not morph into an epidemic.

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Immigration service warns Nigerians against fake employment letters

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The Nigerian Immigration Service has raised the alarm over fake and invalid employment letters in circulation purportedly issued by the service.

The NIS made this known in a statement by its Public Relations Officer (SPRO), Mr Kenneth Udo, in Abuja.

Udo warned desperate job seekers to exercise caution so as not to fall victim to the fraudsters.

According to him, the fraudulent letters falsely claim that the recipients have been offered employment with the NIS.

He said “The Service categorically denies any involvement in this fraudulent scheme and refutes the misinformation being spread on social media platforms regarding an ongoing recruitment/replacement exercise.

“The NIS shall continue to ensure that any unscrupulous elements engaging in this criminality will be made to face the wrath of the law.

“The public is hereby advised to report these scammers to the nearest NIS office or law enforcement agencies.

“The Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment exercise is exclusively advertised through reputable national dailies, television broadcasts, and our official website, http://www.immigration.gov.ng.

Udo said that the Service was resolutely committed to safeguarding the interest of Nigerians and upholding the integrity of its recruitment processes.

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Court orders final forfeiture of N12bn properties linked to Emefiele

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A federal high court in Lagos has ordered the final forfeiture of properties worth N12.18 billion.

The properties were linked to Godwin Emefiele, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The court ordered the final forfeiture of the properties after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a motion to that effect.

Chukwujekwu Aneke, the judge, had ordered an interim forfeiture of the properties on June 5.

The properties are located in upmarket areas of the federal capital territory (FCT).

Aneke ordered the anti-graft agency to publish the order in a national newspaper, for any interested party to show cause why the final order of forfeiture should not be made.

The properties were listed by the EFCC in two schedules — A and B.

The judge said: “Having carefully considered the application and submission of counsel, it is hereby ordered as follows: that a final forfeiture order of this honorable court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule A herein which were traced and reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.

“That a final forfeiture order of this Honourable Court is hereby made forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria, properties contained in Schedule B herein which properties were traced to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities.”

Emefiele is facing multiple counts of fraud and abuse of office.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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