Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Power supply, insecurity, illicit charges, pose challenge to vaccine delivery by Bukola Adebayo

The fight to ensure that all the 40 million Nigerian children are covered under the national immunisation programme of the Federal Government may be a tall dream, according to investigations by our correspondent who visited some health centres in Lagos and Kwara states.
Mothers, health workers and experts have expressed disappointment and mixed feelings concerning how vaccines were being delivered and their availability to children in the country.
Our correspondent who had to disguise as a parent in search of a centre to obtain vaccination for herself and her baby got the shock of her life when she visited a primary health centre in Ogbondoroko, a village in the outskirts of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Though located in a village whose residents are mostly farmers, petty traders and cattle rearers, the health centre, painted a bright yellow and green had just been renovated and one would expect that the services provided should be at par with its physical outlook.

When our correspondent asked if she could get her baby immunised at the centre, the nurse on duty simply told her that she would have to wait for another month, as the clinic had just finished a round of immunization exercise.
“You should have come last Friday, we do it once every month .That is the only time you will get it here. There is no consistent power supply here, so we cannot afford to keep the vaccines in the proper condition for long; that is why you won’t get it on any other day,” the nurse said casually.
Asked what measures were being taken to ensure that babies born before the earmarked day were vaccinated according to the timetable, one of the health workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to speak, said those who could not wait had to take their babies to the health centre in neigbouring villages.
As the correspondent was leaving, the attendant also advised her concerning what to expect during the next visit.
In the native Yoruba language, she said, “You won’t pay much, it is almost free here; you will pay like N100 for each vaccine your baby gets. Again, we are trying to manage syringe for injections here. We don’t have enough. So, if your baby is going to take more than one vaccine, you will buy syringe.”

When our correspondent asked if she could take the yellow fever vaccine at the centre, the nurse said, “We only have Petavalent and OPV ( oral polio vaccine).We don’t have yellow fever vaccine here, as nobody really requests for it.”
One of the mothers who spoke to our correspondent also said she took the other vaccines that were lacking at the health centre in the community when she had the opportunity to go trading in neigbouring villages.
Also in the Yoruba dialect, she said, “Any one that they mark that they do not have on the card, I will note it and take it with me on the market day in Afon, the next village to us. For the one they do not have, we (mothers) that had children around the same time organise ourselves and go to Child/Maternity Centre in Balogun-Fulani, Ilorin, where they have all the vaccines. We will stay for two days. We get them immunised on the one hand, and trade on the other hand.”

Mothers in the cities are also not exempted from this scarcity of some particular vaccines. Investigations by our correspondent revealed that some health centres in Lagos State have run out of Meningococcal vaccine.
A mother who spoke with our correspondent at the Iloro Health Centre, Agege, Lagos, said she had just been referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, to get her baby vaccinated.
She said, “I have been to four health centres in the past three months to get the meningitis immunisation for my baby, but none of them has the vaccine.”
She also called on government to quickly address the scarcity of some vaccines on the immunisation schedule to help mothers complete the dosage as scheduled in the timetable as at when due.
The mother also called on government to stop all levies attached to immunisation to encourage more mothers to come to health centres to immunise their babies.
Agbeja said, “Some mothers will rather use local agbo (herbal concoction) of N20, which they believe is potent, than pay N70 for each vaccine they give their babies at the health centres. We complained, the state government got wind of it and pasted phone numbers on the hospital’s walls for mothers to call and report any official who demands payment from patients.
“They’ve reduced it to N50 now; they even give receipt for it. Government should please look into this and make it totally free.”

It is not a strange thing for mothers to go from one centre to another trying to get their children vaccinated in many communities in Nigeria. In fact, the farther you are to the city, the more difficult it is for a baby to complete the vaccine schedule for children.
Incidences of vaccine shortage, scarcity and lack of consumables for its delivery occur every day in Nigeria and this continues to pose major challenges to the delivery of childhood vaccines in the country.

Nigeria continues to witness outbreaks of diseases that children had been vaccinated against. That is why Nigeria, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in the world that still record polio infections.
According to reports, no fewer than 4,000 children were infected and 36 killed in the recent measles outbreak in 12 states in northern part of Nigeria, including Niger, Kebbi, Katsina and Bauchi states. Kaduna alone recorded 500 measles infections in children, according to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Though the national routine immunisation programme has eight vaccines on its schedule, which are BCG,DPT ( Dipheteria-pertusis-tetanus), Hib (Haemophilius Influenza type B, Hepatitis B, oral polio, measles, yellow fever, meningiccocal, Human Papilloma vaccines, children are still dying of these preventable diseases.
The importance of vaccination in the reduction of communicable childhood diseases cannot be overemphasised.

A Professor of Virology, Oyewole Tomori, defined a vaccine as a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. It stimulates the body’s immune system to recognise some diseases as foreign and destroy it.
Tomori, who is also the National President, Nigerian Academy of Science, stated that Nigerian leaders had only been paying lip service to issues of health — a situation said was responsible for the “mediocre performance” in health care delivery and a near absence of accountability in national programmes of government for her citizens. “These are the factors responsible for the irregularities in vaccine coverage in the country” Tomori said.
He said it was shameful that Nigeria relied more on international funding and pressure before it could care for her children.

Tomori noted that government had not charted a way to ensure the eradication of polio until Bill Gates Foundation, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund intervened.
“I do not think it is Bill Gates, WHO or UNICEF that should teach us how to eradicate polio or take care of our children, because they were not there when we were having them. When flooding occurred last year, the President rose up to raise money for the cause. What has he done for polio? Why should we wait for Gates or Rotary International to bring money or rate our vaccine coverage before we do something?” he asked.
Tomori harped on the fact that Nigeria was drawing the world back in polio eradication and charged government to proffer home-based solution to insecurity and the perceived increasing resistance to vaccination, especially in the northern Nigeria.
He is of the view that government should embark on massive anti-polio lobby campaign to prevent the recurrence of the recent killings of nine polio vaccinators and three doctors in Kano.

“If we are not careful, it will escalate. Anybody has a right to oppose vaccine uptake for their child. Government must engage them in the North; lobby them before it escalates. You can shout from the rooftop in Aso Rock, it is the people that will decide whether to vaccinate their children or not.
“Nigeria is drawing the world back in polio eradication; it is now a global problem because as long as one child is infected, others in the world are at risk,” he said.
Tomori noted that uneven funding of some vaccines, year in, year out, could affect availability and also result in shortage of some.
He said, “We should expect that there will be measles outbreaks in 2013 because the government did not talk about it in 2012. Its vaccination rate has dropped. The issue of which vaccine gets which funding has been politicised.”
The renowned virologist said that apart from availability, another factor that has been understated in vaccination programmes and a reason why the nation’s children get infected and even die of diseases they have been vaccinated against was the handling of vaccines.

Tomori said, “A vaccine is effective when properly used at the right time and the right way. The rules of hygiene must be strictly adhered to. Most of the adverse effects of vaccines we see are actually due to poor handling, not as a result of taking the vaccine.
He said further, “The challenges facing vaccine delivery are multifaceted. Now, 66 million doses of measles vaccines have been provided to curtail further outbreaks, whether the syringes that will be used to deliver it will be there is what I do not know.”
To move from the 69 per cent coverage rate to the expected 80 per cent, which the nation used to have, Tomori charged government at all levels to engage all its population and put in place high quality health care delivery.
He stated, “We must recognise that every Nigerian has a role to play in protecting our children and that population is not a major challenge. China and India, which are 10 times much larger than Nigeria, have eradicated polio. So, what is population? Population should be leadership.”

Also, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, at a press briefing on Monday stated that the country, through the health ministry, was working tirelessly towards re-invigorating the delivery and availability of vaccines for diseases such as the yellow fever, polio and measles across the country, especially in the North, to avert outbreaks.
Chukwu, however, noted that insecurity in the North was a major challenge affecting all sectors in the region and not just health. He said the government would take care of the situation by engaging all stakeholders, especially in endemic areas.
He said, “The President is beefing up all security measures in the North; we hope this will also affect the health sector. So, with time, health workers will be safer to discharge their duties. We are working towards improving health care delivery in the North.”

Lekki Bird Club Visit to Majek Farm in Lagos

Lekki Bird Club members made a visit to Majek Farm, a 20hectares urban forest, which have somewhat become a refuge for Hooded Vultures (Necrosyrtes monachus), thanks to the giant Ekki Trees (Lophira alata).

Around 6:30am, a handful of team members had already converged at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC). By 6:45am they left for the Majek Farm, which was another 25km east of the LCC.

They arrived 7:05am and waited for our Forest Guide (Francis) for another 5mins before the team started birding at around 7:10am.

They had barely taken first steps when the harsh and rasping calls from some noisy group of Red-vented Malimbes greeted us. The group consisted of male and female individuals moving in-and-out of a tree canopy. The malimbes were later joined by a pair of both Green-headed Sunbird and African Green-Pigeon.

Calls from the African Thrush truncated our attention as we later trailed the high-pitched whistles of some Pied Hornbills to a tree top. On the almost leafless tree, a pair of Splendid Glossy Starling and about six Piping Hornbills, we identified.

The group was still trying to make out the identity of some juvenile raptors (Common Kestrel) on the same tree when the first Hooded Vulture flew past the horizon.They tried to follow it but it eventually disappeared from within the scope of our binoculars.

As they continued towards the forest some species were identified by sound. They include Speckled Tinkerbird, White-spotted Flufftail, Green Hylia, Blue-spotted Wood Dove and the Laughing Dove.

They then took delight in the motherliness and tenderness of a female raptor feeding her young. And while waiting for it to give a good pose for our paparazzi, it didn’t. As if echoing their thoughts, a male Lizard Buzzard soon appeared and perched on a concrete slab about 15meters from them, and gave them another 15seconds for photo taking and admiration.

Later spotted were two Hooded Vultures at the top of an Ekki Tree (Lophira alata). Then again was counted about fifteen individuals of Hooded Vultures, including juveniles, on a single Lophira alata tree.

The Majek Farm and indeed the whole of Lagos are outside the normal range of these species! This colony of Hooded Vultures, albeit small, gives a soothing relief from the plummeting population of Nigerian vultures in recent years.

The LBC members continued towards the forest where some species were identified by sound. They include Speckled Tinkerbird, White-spotted Flufftail, Green Hylia, Blue-spotted Wood Dove and the Laughing Dove.

Then took delight in the motherliness and tenderness of a female raptor feeding her young. And while the LBC members waited for it to give a good pose for our paparazzi, it didn’t.

Away from the vultures, the team observed a noisy party of Swamp Palm Bulbuls and Spotted Greenbul. Other species encountered include the Bronze Mannikins, Black-and-white Mannikins, Little Bee-eater, Variable Sunbird, Olive-bellied Sunbird, Black Kite, Didric Cuckoo and Yellowbill.

The Lekki Bird Club Members rounded-off the birding with a group photograph around 10:15am.

Species Checklist (32 species)
Red-vented Malimbe (Malimbus scutatus) Green-headed Sunbird (Nectarinia verticalis) Variable Sunbird (Nectarinia venusta) Olive-bellied Sunbird (Nectarinia chloropygia) African Thrush (Turdus pelios)
African Pied Hornbill (Tockus fasciatus)
Piping Hornbill (Bycanistes fistulator)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
Black Kite – yellow bill (Milvus migrans)
African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus)
Lizard Buzzard (Kaupifalco monogrammicus) Speckled Tinkerbird (Pogoniulus scolopaceus) White-spotted Flufftail (Sarothrura pulchra) Splendid Glossy-Starling (Lamprotornis splendidus) Green Hylia (Hylia prasina)
African Green-Pigeon (Treron calvus) Blue-spotted Wood Dove (Turtur afer)
Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis) Swamp Palm Bulbul (Thescelocichla leucopleura) Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus)
Spotted Greenbul (Ixonotus guttatus) Yellowbill (Ceuthmochares aereus)
Didric Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius)
Bronze Mannikin (Lonchura cucullata) Black-and-white Mannikin (Lonchura bicolor) Little Bee-eater (Merops pusillus)
African Palm Swift (Cypsiurus parvus) Woodland Kingfisher (Halcyon senegalensis) Pied Crow (Corvus albus)
Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Group Photo

Source: Lekki Bird Club, Lagos

AfDB Renews Support of Climate Change Resilience with Additional Resources from Least Developed Countries Fund

The African Development Bank renewed its support for climate change resilience in Madagascar, Benin and Angola in accessing US $17.8 million of adaptation finance in the form of grants from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) during the second quarter of 2013. It follows the approval last March of US $18.6 million for three water and sanitation projects.

• Madagascar will receive US $6.2 million to promote climate change adaptation by ensuring (a) that agricultural water infrastructure planned with African Development Fund support is modified so as to be resilient in the face of climate change; (b) that the vulnerability of the agriculture catchment to cyclones and flooding is reduced, and (c) that local agricultural livelihoods are adapted to climate change through water management and health interventions.

• Benin will receive US $7.2 million to allow flood control and climate resilience of agriculture infrastructures in Oueme Valley. Under this project, flooding risk mapping and climate resilient agriculture infrastructures like dykes will be promoted along with flood resistant grain storage systems.

• Angola will receive US $4.4 million to increase the scope of the four pilot demonstration centres to climate change technology for sustainable development.

The Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), hosted under the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has approved financing totaling US $17.8 million for three agriculture and natural resource management projects. These projects aim at increasing the adaptation capacities of three African countries.

This approval represents a major step forward in the engagement of the African Development Bank to support to make African countries’ resilience to climate change.

The LDCF was established under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to finance the preparation and implementation of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).

Orange Launches the Third Edition of Orange African Social Venture Prize

Following on from the success of the first two programmes, run in 2011 and 2012, Orange is launching the third Orange African Social Venture Prize. The project promotes social innovations in support of development that use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Orange, which is present in 18 African countries and boasts over 70 million customers, is seeking to become a major player in the economic and social development of every one of these countries. The Group has decided to contribute to the development of the local markets for new technologies through its ‘Orange for Development’ programme and to propose innovative solutions which meet the needs of the local population. In this context, and as part of its innovation strategy as well as its Corporate Social Responsibility policy, that the Group has decided to launch the Orange African Social Venture Prize.

The call for projects has received more than 1,000 applications over the past two years, a figure that reflects a true entrepreneurial spirit and the potential for telecommunications on the African continent.

Encouraging the use of ICTs for development
This year, the Orange African Social Venture Prize will once again reward three entrepreneurs or start-ups offering products or services that make innovative use of ICTs to meet the needs of people on the African continent in fields as varied as healthcare, agriculture, education, energy, industry and trade.

For example, the prizewinning projects in 2012 involved mobile technology used to assist traders in food products in Ivory Coast (Vivuus Limited), a system launched in Kenya to improve the treatment of waste (Takachar) and the creation of an e-commerce site to allow people in the Senegalese diaspora to shop online for their families in Dakar.

This year, internet users will once again be able to vote online for their favourite project using the Orange portal in Africa The project voted “online favourite” will be submitted directly to the jury along with the other finalists’ projects preselected by the experts and will therefore have the maximum possible chance of being among the three winners of the 2013 Awards. In 2012, the Egyptian start-up “Innovative Electronic Employment Platform” won the prize with more than 50,000 votes.

Supporting social entrepreneurs
Orange has committed to providing financial support and placing its expertise at the service of the entrepreneurs who win the competition. In addition to prize money ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 Euros, the three winners will also receive support from professional entrepreneurs and ICT experts for a period of six months. In another new initiative this year, the project submitted by the winner of the first prize will be patented by Orange in the country where it is deployed.

Who can take part?
Any entrepreneur aged 21 or over, or company that has existed for less than three years at the time of the competition, regardless of nationality, can enter the awards free of charge. The projects submitted must have plans to deploy their service in at least one of the African countries where Orange is present and make innovative use of information and communication technologies to contribute to improving the living conditions of people in those countries.

Applications may be submitted between 14 May and 20 September 2013 using the Orange portal in Africa:

Ban Ki-Moon makes Youth Priority for Development Plan

Youth participation in the online survey conducted by the Inter‐agency Network on Youth Development (IANYD) in July‐August 2012 to obtain inputs to the development of the UN System‐wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth‐SWAP)had Over 13,500 respondents from 186 countries participated which proved invaluable to the development of the Plan.

The Youth‐SWAP has been endorsed by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination at its spring session on 5‐6 April 2013.

The results of the survey identified young people’s development priorities and confirmed many of the approaches adopted by the UN system to promote youth development. The survey results served as input to develop the System‐wide Action Plan on Youth.

United Nations Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon has made working with and for youth a priority of his Five‐year Action Agenda, and has called for the development of a System‐wide Action Plan on Youth (Youth‐SWAP). The Youth‐SWAP will guide the work of the whole UN system to promote young people’s human rights and development needs. It derives its mandate from the World Programme of Action for Youth and other inter‐ governmental agreements.

The survey conducted in 2012 contained questions on each of the thematic areas identified by the Secretary‐General for an Action Plan on Youth: Employment, Entrepreneurship, Political inclusion, Citizenship, Protection of rights, and Education, including Education on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

The Inter‐Agency Network on Youth Development proposed “Health” as an additional thematic area for the Youth‐ SWAP. While questions relative to health were already included in the questionnaire, this topic was considered as too important not to constitute a thematic area by itself.

Moreover, it was agreed to use the term “civic engagement” rather than “citizenship” since the former is more inclusive, and to refer to “Comprehensive Sexuality Education” (CSE) rather than “education on sexual and reproductive health”.

CSE is a broader concept and also addresses issues such as life skills. It is the concept now commonly used within the UN system.

It is understood that the thematic areas touch upon, and leverage the potential and benefits of UN work in other areas affecting youth development, such as sustainable development and climate change and culture among others. Information and communication technology (ICT) is seen as a cross‐cutting tool to accelerate progress in all areas of the Youth‐SWAP.

The Inter‐Agency Network on Youth Development is currently developing an implementation framework for the Youth‐SWAP and several regional inter‐agency networks have already started the process of developing regional implementation plans for the Youth‐SWAP.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Waste Management Campaign Kicks off in Lagos Campus

The Lagos State Chapter of the Waste Management Society of Nigeria WAMASON has launched its maiden membership for students in tertiary institution.

The launch took place at the Lagos State School for Health Technology Yaba in a hall packed filled with students from the school.

The Councillor of WAMASON Lagos Chapter Alhaji Jeleel Olubirin in an address said it was necessary to build the capacity of students studying in the field of environment and health management inorder for them to be equipped when they graduate.

Alhaji Olubirin mentioned that the registration of the students as WAMASON members would help to bridge the knowldge gap between the industry and the academia.

Further the WAMASON Councillor urged the students to take advantage of the opportunity been offered them to increase there knowledge in the area of waste management, because WAMASON affiliation to other International associations on waste management would rub off on them.

Also Alhaji Jeleel noted that the student membership initiative was focused on catching them young and assured the students that they were a lot of job opportunities within the waste management sector which is yet to be tapped into.

The Provost of the School thanked WAMASON for selecting the school as it pioneer student members, as he would ensure the students live up to the purpose of been members of WAMASON.

He expressed optimism that through the partnership, the students would be fully prepared to work within the waste management industry.

A student of the school Miss Folake Tajudeen who registered as a WAMASON member during the launch, said WAMASON would give her the opportunity to learn more about waste management.

According to her as a student studying on been a community health extension worker,which involves waste management within the community to prevent outbreak of disease, WAMASON will give her the platform to build her capacity in her chosen career.

The Public Relation Officer of WAMASON Mr. Niyi Sanyaolu explained that the student membership programme was created at identifying students who want to protect the environment and make waste management a profession.

The Student membership programme will also be launched in other higher institutions within Lagos State before the end of the year, he added.

Shut the Tobacco Industry out of Africa Tax Forum, Groups Urge FIRS

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) have called on the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and its partner, the African Tax Institute (ATI) to take immediate action to ensure that the tobacco industry and its proxies are completely barred from participating at the African Tax Forum holding this week (15th to 17th May, 2013) in Abuja.

The forum, hosted by the FIRS in partnership with the African Tax Institute (ATI) and the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) will draw participants from government agencies across the continent as well as local and international tax consultants.
ERA/FoEN and CISLAC insisted that the forum as currently constituted will only serve to promote the interests of the tobacco industry.

According to the groups, the ITIC is an organization that works to promote favorable business climates for the corporate entities that it represents. Among the sponsors of the ITIC are the four largest multi-national tobacco companies in the world: British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Group, Japan Tobacco International and Phillip Morris International. In addition, representatives from these four companies sit on the ITIC Board of Directors and the tobacco companies have directly financed materials developed by ITIC regarding tobacco issues.

In the programme for the upcoming tax forum, a session will focus on combating illicit trade in tobacco products while presentations at the session and the workshop discussion will be facilitated by representatives from ITIC and the British American Tobacco (BAT).

In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN and CISLAC said BAT’s participation contravenes Article 5. 3 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which specifically requires Parties to the Treaty to protect their public health policies from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law. Nigeria ratified the FCTC, the first ever World Health Public Health Treaty in 2005 and legally bound to ensure its domestication.

“While we commend the FIRS and the ATI for coming up with this timely initiative to discuss strategies for strengthening tax administration on the continent, we strongly reject its extension of invitation to the tobacco industry. This is totally unacceptable and breaches Article 5.3 of the global treaty which is very clear on the irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and public health interests’, said CISLAC’s Executive Director, Auwal Rafsanjani.

ERA/FoEN and CISLAC/ stressed that the interests of the ITIC and BAT are in direct conflict with the goals of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the world’s first public health a treaty aimed to reduce tobacco harms, to which Nigeria is a Party.

Under the WHO FCTC, Nigeria is legally obligated to act to protect its tobacco control policies from the interests of the tobacco industry. The WHO FCTC Illicit Trade Protocol also recognizes Parties’ obligations under WHO FCTC Article 5.3. The WHO FCTC Article 5.3 Guidelines, adopted by consensus by the Conference of Parties, clarifies Nigeria’s international commitments to protect such policies from the interests of the tobacco industry by urging governments to, among other things:

· Reject partnerships and non-binding or non-enforceable agreements with the tobacco
· Reject any assistance with or any proposed tobacco control legislation or policy drafted
by or in collaboration with the tobacco industry.

ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “By this action, the FIRS may be inadvertently opening the door for the tobacco industry to pose as a responsible corporate organisation and undermine tobacco control legislation issues by luring the participants into adopting industry-developed tax stamps and so-called unique markers for tracking and tracing.

“Tobacco industry documents and reports across the globe have shown that the tobacco industry has been found complicit in the illicit trade of its own products as a strategy for opening up new markets for its deadly brands to evade taxes. The FIRS may not be aware that a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary in July 2008 titled ‘Bannatyne Takes on Tobacco’ looked at BAT’s tactics in Africa and revealed that the company is breaking rules in Nigeria, Malawi and Mauritius.

A United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) investigation on the West African illicit cigarette market in a report entitled ‘Transnational Trafficking and the Rule of Law in West Africa: A Threat Assessment’, put the value of cigarettes smuggled into Africa at US$774 million. It is therefore not the responsibility of BAT or any other tobacco company to lecture governments on taxes or tracking and tracing systems.”
The groups pointed out that the tobacco industry has consistently resisted any form of regulation and hikes in taxes to reduce the number of people smoking and as such cannot at another breath be on the table with government posing as a stakeholder in efforts at strengthening tax systems.

“The global treaty remains a guide for Parties in setting and establishing their public health agenda. We strongly believe that the FIRS can find experts in and out of government versed on issues pertaining to tax systems that can competently develop a tracking and tracing system free of the tobacco industry manipulation. We urge the FIRS to kick BAT and its allies out of the forum!!”, the groups stated.

Land of the Living Dead

Do you know people from this community can not farm,fish or even drink from this land again? Oil pollution has turned the land into "LAND OF THE LIVING DEAD".

That is how many oil polluted lands, in the oil rich Niger Delta Region looks like. No Farming!! No Fishing!! and No Drinking!!!

If it was your village, what will you do?