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I am Funmi Falobi, Development Journalist, PR professional, Social Entrepreneur and lead contributor/Editor, Social Development News. Beyond journalism, I am also passionate about advancing social causes and empowerment, especially for children, youth and women.

Understanding malnutrition

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization. The double burden of malnutrition consists of both under-nutrition and overweight and obesity, as well as diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Under-nutrition manifests in four broad forms: wasting, stunting, underweight, and micronutrient deficiencies.

  • Wasting is defined as low weight-for-height. It often indicates recent and severe weight loss, although it can also persist for a long time. It usually occurs when a person has not had food of adequate quality and quantity and/or they have had frequent or prolonged illnesses. Wasting in children is associated with a higher risk of death if not treated properly.
  • Stunting is defined as low height-for-age. It is the result of chronic or recurrent under-nutrition, usually associated with poverty, poor maternal health and nutrition, frequent illness and/or inappropriate feeding and care in early life. Stunting prevents children from reaching their physical and cognitive potential.
  • Underweight is defined as low weight-for-age. A child who is underweight may be stunted, wasted or both.
  • Micronutrient deficiencies are a lack of vitamins and minerals that are essential for body functions such as producing enzymes, hormones and other substances needed for growth and development.

Bimbo Mustapha, B.sc /MSc (HUMAN NUTRITION AND DIETETICS) is a Nutrition Expert. She is the lead Contributor @ Lagos-based Bimsol Nutrition Blog and offers counselling sessions to clients on nutrition and healthy lifestyles issues.

Email: bimbomustapha12@gmail.com

Tel: +234 7063847952

Wellness of the Boy-Child takes centre stage as ISISD commemorates Boys Day

By sdnonline

As boy-child advocates and related stakeholders’ gear up to commemorate the World Day of the Boy Child (WDBC), also known as the International Day of the Boy Child, on May 16, a lead partner of the WDBC forum in Nigeria, the Initiative for Social Impact and Sustainable Development (ISISD) has called on governments, organisations and individuals to work toward the well-being of the boy child in order to secure the lives of the future leaders.

The call by ISISD was predicated on the need for parents, guardians, care- givers, teachers and all stakeholders associated with upbringing of the boy-child to pay attention to emerging issues that affect the mental being of Boys, in line with the commemoration of WDBC globally on May 16 under the theme, “Boys and Mental Health.”

According to ISISD Coordinator, Funmi Falobi, who is also a West Africa Ambassador of WDBC, the day, which is observed across several countries globally as International Day of the Boy Child was founded in 2018 by Dr. Jerome Teelucksingh, a university lecturer from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, to focus on boys and their well-being, their needs to feel happy, healthy, and valued within family and community.

According to Mrs. Falobi, there is the need to focus on the mental health of the boy child if we want to live in a secure environment. She noted that “well trained boys with good mental health will not abuse girls and cause problem whether now or in future in the society, making all of us safe”, and that it was therefore imperative that the wholesome development of the boy child cannot be left unattended, in order to have a secure society.

“With what is happening around us today, we cannot afford to leave the boy child behind. Boys have their challenges and as families, governments and institutions, we must look into the welfare and mental wellness of the boys if we want our society to be safe.

“When we look into the challenges boy child faces and provide support system, they grow up to become responsible males that would protect the girl child and ensure good governance in the society,” she added.

Founder’s Speexh

In his address ahead WDBC commemorative events, WDBC founder, Dr. Teelucksingh said the day provides a rare opportunity for individuals, organisations, and institutions to improve the manner in which they protect the boys and reclaim the heritage.

” Our boys reflect our heritage and serve as one of the links to the past and the present that intersects with the future of our families, communities and world.

“Boys are fragile and vulnerable. Somewhere along the journey from boyhood to manhood, boys are socialised not to express the natural and spontaneous reactions to spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological pain, disappointment, and rejection. They are socialised to equate strength and masculinity with suppressing their natural and spontaneous reaction to pain, disappointment, and rejection; not asking for help; and shunning vulnerability” he said.
He added that when boys shun the realities of their vulnerabilities, “boys are suicidal, slowly descending into the deep dark abyss of depression, and consumed by low self-esteem and repressed emotions”.

2023 events

Meanwhile, as part of the WDBC events in Nigeria, ISISD in partnership with Igbobi College, Yaba (ICY) shall hold a forum with ICY boys to provide mentoring and orientation for the boys on the need to guard their mental health, as well as boost their self-esteem in handling challenges in the journey from teenage hood to adulthood.
Principal, Igbobi College Yaba, Rev. Adedotun Akanbi said the school is grooming boys that would grow up to become responsible men that would protect our girls.

A pre-WDBC virtual event which shall have Dr. Teelucksingh as one of the special guests is also billed for 8pm Nigeria time on Sunday, May 14, 2023 of which interested stakeholders could pre-register @ http://www.bit.ly/MAY16-WDBC to join the discourse on a range of issues around the theme, Boys and Mental Health.

Imposition of N5M Fine on Channels TV by NBC: Arbitrariness Taken Too Far

By sdnonline

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and International Press Centre (IPC) have said for the umpteenth time, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has acted arbitrarily in the purported exercise of its powers as the regulatory authority for the broadcast sector in Nigeria.

On March 31st, it was announced that NBC had slammed a fine of N5m on Channels Television, based on the claim that it violated the Nigeria Broadcasting Code because of the interview the station’s Seun Okinbaloye had with the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Datti Ahmed on March 22, 2023.

In the said interview Mr. Ahmed expressed strong opposition to the swearing-in of the President Elect, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, on May 29, 2023, weightily alleging that it would be tantamount to the end of democracy.

In a joint press statement signed by the Executive Directors of MRA and IPC, Mr. Edetaen Ojo and Mr. Lanre Arogundade respectively, although the NBC did not disclose the material fact in its announcement of the sanction, the regulatory body apparently acted on a widely publicised petition addressed to it by Mr. Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, in which he demanded that the station be punished over the interview in question. The petition was published by many news mediums on March 30th, 2023.

Barely 24 hours later, the NBC struck. Against the well-established principle of natural justice, which, among others, make fair hearing sacrosanct, NBC did not avail Channels TV the opportunity of putting forward its defense against Mr. Onanuga’s allegations before slamming the hefty fine.

“Assuming without conceding that Channels TV erred in the management of the said interview, it was still pertinent for the NBC to have heard their side of the story. In failing to do so, the NBC acted unfairly and unjustly as it based its heavy-handed decision on the claims of one side only, ” the joint statement remarked.

NBC has in this instance again exercised quasi-judicial powers injudiciously, by constituting itself to the prosecutor and the judge over a case brought before it by a third party. In previous instances, it has also additionally been the accuser.

The statement said, “It must be stressed that Mr. Onanuga is not just anybody. He speaks for the in-coming president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Ordinarily, this should have informed the need for the NBC to act more cautiously instead of exposing itself to the accusation that it has become the ruling government or ruling party’s willing tool to suppress press freedom.”

Even if, as the NBC claims, it acted based on its own observation, it was still imperative for it to allow Channels Television to respond to the allegations, especially since that made it the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge.

“We wish to reiterate that the fundamental principles that ought to guide the regulation of broadcasting and related activities are the ones that advance the public interest and are investment friendly both of which have been discarded in the handling of the petition.

“We urge the NBC to desist from walking this path, which undermines its credibility and independence and weakens the broadcast sector as a result. Well call on the commission to immediately reverse the hastily imposed fine and give Channels TV the deserved opportunity to defend itself,” the statement said.

Drought: U.S. provides over $331m additional humanitarian assistance to Ethiopians

By sdnonline

Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 announced that the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional $319 million in lifesaving humanitarian assistance for the people of Ethiopia and $12 million through the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to support refugees, asylum-seekers, and people affected by conflict and drought.

Communities across southern and southeastern Ethiopia face a potential sixth consecutive below-average rainy season from March-May 2023, which threatens to further exacerbate the suffering of millions already reeling from the effects of unprecedented drought. At the same time, the country is grappling with insecurity and recovering from the hostilities in northern Ethiopia’s Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions. Combined, the conflict and historic drought have generated catastrophic levels of need, leaving at least 20 million people requiring humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia. Ongoing drought worsens growing food insecurity, crop and livestock losses further devastate livelihoods, and limited access to safe water creates a breeding ground for disease.

Today’s announcement will allow USAID partners to provide critical aid for more than five million people across Ethiopia. This includes emergency food assistance to severely food insecure families; nutritional support to prevent and treat malnutrition among pregnant and lactating women and children under five; farming and agricultural support to prevent crop and livestock losses; urgent health treatment; clean water to prevent disease outbreaks often prevalent during drought; and support to protect women and children from a higher risk of violence as a result of this ongoing emergency. The $12 million in additional funding from PRM will help provide lifesaving assistance for the more than 888,000 refugees and asylum-seekers currently living in Ethiopia.

The United States remains the single largest humanitarian donor to Ethiopia, providing more than $1.8 billion in life saving assistance since fiscal year 2022. But, it will not be enough to address the staggering level of needs. Even if adequate rains occur in 2023, recovery from a drought of this magnitude will take years. The United States has stepped up to meet the majority of immediate funding gaps to save lives now, but we need other donors to mobilize to reach Ethiopia’s most vulnerable communities.

“The Elections of February 25”

OP-ED

By: Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria

The people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on February 25, but there are many angry and frustrated Nigerians as well as many who are celebrating victories they believe were hard-fought and well-earned. In the coming days, it will be important for the future of this country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course. We commend Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent statements committing to take this path, and Mr. Tinubu, who INEC declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so.

The United States is no stranger to election-related controversy and conflict. As much as it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.

It is clear that the electoral process as a whole on February 25 failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations. As I said numerous times prior to the elections, Nigeria has accomplished much in just the two-plus decades since the return to democracy, and a gradual improvement in the quality of its elections in that time constitutes one of those accomplishments. We recognize that Nigerians want that positive trend to continue, including through the use of new technology intended to make the process of reporting results more transparent. We thus reiterate our call on INEC to address promptly the challenges that can be resolved ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections, and to undertake a broader review of the problems that transpired during the last elections and what can be done to fix them. In all cases, INEC should share with the Nigerian public information about the actions it is taking.

I also want to highlight some of the remarkable results from this past election that show how Nigeria’s political landscape is indisputably changing. In more than half of the states – 20 – the winning candidate represented a different party than that of the incumbent governor. Twelve of these states are led by APC governors. For the first time, four presidential candidates won at least one state, and the top three each won 12 states based on these initial results. In the National Assembly elections, even with results still incomplete, we already know that changes are afoot: seven sitting governors lost in their attempts to win election to the Assembly; the Labor Party has won at least seven seats in the Senate; the NNPP has won at least 11 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Nigerian people have made clear their desire for responsive and inclusive governance, and we strongly support their ability to express that desire. The United States and Nigeria are the two largest presidential democracies in the world, and longtime partners. As Nigeria goes through these next weeks and months, we stand with you.

I shall be a fair leader to all Nigerians – Tinubu, President-elect

By sdnonline

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023, presidential elections has pledged that his administration would be based on the tenet of democratic principles built on fairness. He made the statement in his acceptance speech titled “Era of Renewed Hope” after he was declared winner of the presidential election in Nigeria.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the result early hour on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

18 candidates had contested for the soul of Aso Rock on Saturday, February 25, and the results as announced by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, showed that APC Bola Tinubu had the highest votes to emerge as the president-elect of Nigeria, also having satisfied the statutory requirements of wining 25 percent of votes in at least 24 States of the Federation.

In the report across the top four votes for candidates of All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Bola Tinubu of APC had 8,794,726, Atiku Abubakar of PDP had 6,984,520, Peter Obi of LP had 6,101,533 and Rabiu Kwankwaso of NNPP had 1,496,687 respectively.

In his acceptance speech, president-elect, Bola Tinubu said “I shall be a fair leader to all Nigerians.”

And to the youths of the nation, he said, “I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy and a safe nation that protects you and your future.”

Below is the full text:

March 1, 2023

My fellow Nigerians,

I am profoundly humbled that you have elected me to serve as the 16th president of our beloved republic. This is a shining moment in the life of any man and affirmation of our democratic existence. From my heart, I say thank you.

Whether you are Batified, Atikulated, Obidient, Kwankwasiyya, or have any other political affiliation, you voted for a better, more hopeful nation and I thank you for your participation and dedication to our democracy.

You decided to place your trust in the democratic vision of a Nigeria founded on shared prosperity and one nurtured by the ideals of unity, justice, peace and tolerance. Renewed hope has dawned in Nigeria.

We commend INEC for running a free and fair election. The lapses that did occur were relatively few in number and were immaterial to the final outcome. With each cycle of elections, we steadily perfect this process so vital to our democratic life.

Today, Nigeria stands tall as the giant of Africa. It shines even brighter as the continent’s biggest democracy.

I thank all who supported my campaign. From President Buhari who adeptly led my campaign as its chairman, to my Vice Presidential Candidate, Senator Kashim Shettima.

To the progressive governors of our party and this nation, to the party leadership, to our loyal party members. I owe you a debt of gratitude. To the entire campaign organization, I thank you sincerely.

I thank my loving wife and dear family whose support was ceaseless and inspiring. Without you, this victory would not be possible.

I am grateful to Almighty God. By His mercy, I was born a son of Nigeria and through His sublime purpose I find myself the victor of this election. May He grant me the wisdom and courage to lead the nation to the greatness He alone has destined for it.

Finally, I thank the Nigerian people for their abiding belief in our democracy. I shall be a fair leader to all Nigerians. I will be in tune with your aspirations, charge up your energies and harness your talents to deliver a nation that we can be proud of.

To my fellow candidates, former VP Atiku, former governor Kwankwaso, former governor Obi and all others, I extend the hand of friendship. This was a competitive, high-spirited campaign.

You have my utmost respect.

Political competition must now give way to political conciliation and inclusive governance.

During the election, you may have been my opponent but you were never my enemy. In my heart, you are my brothers.

Still, I know some candidates will be hard put to accept the election results. It is your right to seek legal recourse. What is neither right nor defensible is for anybody to resort to violence. Any challenge to the electoral outcome should be made in a court of law, and not in the streets.

I also ask my supporters to let peace reign and tensions fade. We ran a principled, peaceful and progressive campaign. The aftermath of our campaign must be as benign.

Yes, there are divisions amongst us that should not exist. Many people are uncertain, angry and hurt; I reach out to every one of you. Let the better aspects of our humanity step forward at this fateful moment. Let us begin to heal and bring calm to our nation.

Now, to you, the young people of this country, I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy and a safe nation that protects you and your future.

I am aware that for many of you Nigeria has become a place of abiding challenges limiting your ability to see a bright future for yourselves.

Remodeling our precious national home requires the harmonious efforts of all of us, especially the youth. Working together, we shall move this nation as never before.

My running mate, Vice President-elect Shettima, and I understand the challenges ahead. More importantly, we also understand and deeply value the talent and innate goodness of you, the Nigerian people. We pledge to listen and to do the difficult things, the big deeds, that put us on the path of irreversible progress. Hold us firmly to account, but please give us a chance first.

Together, we shall build a brighter and more productive society for today, tomorrow and for years to come.

Today, you have given me the greatest honor you can bestow on one man.

In return, I will give you my utmost as your next president and commander-in-chief. Peace, unity and prosperity shall be the cornerstones of the society we intend to build. When you gaze upon what we shall accomplish in the coming years, you shall speak with pride at being a Nigerian.

I thank you all.

God bless you all.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

When CEE- HOPE sensitises Lagos communities on dangers of FGM

By sdnonline

As part of the efforts to bring to fore the dangers of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) has urged Lagos communities to refrain from encouraging the undesirable cultural practice. This was the hallmark of seminar organised to mark the 2023 International Day of Zero Tolerance for female genital mutilation.

The seminar, which held at the International Press Centre Conference room in Ogba had participants drawn from various Lagos communities, including, Monkey Village, Makoko among others

In her welcome remarks, the Executive Director, CEE-HOPE, Betty Abah noted that in many parts of Nigeria, and other African countries, there is a culture of Female Genital Mutilation otherwise known as female circumcision.

She noted that it is human right violation that should not be encourage.
According to her:
“Why it is even more dangerous is that so many girls every year die in the process because when they cut the clitoris, some of them bleed to death and even these traditional women may use only one razor for over a hundred girls and thereby infect them. That is why the United Nations set aside the day to sensitise people against the act.”

Abah advised those present at the seminar to take the message against female genital mutilation to their various communities and also report anyone caught in the act.

Addressing the participants, Executive Director, Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), Bose Ironsi, bemoaned that Nigeria is still ranking very high in terms of prevalence of female genital mutilation.

She said that the day is celebrated globally to create awareness and sensitise the general public when it comes to the issue of female genital mutilation.

“Nigeria is still ranking very high in terms of prevalence of female genital mutilation, a lot has also been done because there are a lot of people that are no longer practicing it, but some of them have gone underground, because there is a law passed by the Federal Government. What you find out is that a lot of people are not doing it openly; they have now decided to go underground. There are a lot of sensitisation, a lot of changing the mindset as to why they are doing it.

“If you really look at why they are doing it, there is no medical reason to why they are doing it, but they are doing it because of cultural reasons. And it is against the rights of the female,” she said.

She explained that with the sensitisation, they are trying to change the mindset of people practicing it, noting that one of the main reasons for female genital mutilation is because they do not want the lady to be promiscuous.

“Circumcision has no bearing on virginity, and it even causes more harm. It has no medical reason, rather it brings a lot of pain, depression, even death. Some of them are having mental issues, some of them have bled to death, some of them are having issues with even allowing men to touch them.

“Men need to be engaged, let them be the one that will advocate that they will rather want to marry a woman that is not circumcised than marry a woman that is circumcised. If the men are saying this, then, there will be no problem,” she charged.

Some of the female participants who had been circumcised shared their gory experiences at the seminar, stating that they would not allow their girl child to go through the painful experience.