The Federal government in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has began birth registration in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The exercise which began on Monday in Abuja and being carried out by the National Population Commission (NPC) has so far registered no fewer than 970 births in two IDP camps in the FCT, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN also reports that the exercise which moved on Tuesday to an IDP camp in Kuchingoro and billed for Wednesday in another camp in Durumi, had children as young as three days and older than 15 years being registered.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday at the Durumi Camp, Mr Temidayo Matthew, Director Civil registration and vital statistics, NPC, said the exercise was part of efforts to end statelessness.
He said that the focus for the commission was to ensure that all children were registered adding that the target was to reach 25 million children by 2025.
“This exercise is very important to the government and to the populace. For a while now we have been having the problem of statelessness and we need to address this problem.
“The immediate antidote to solving this problem is getting children registered at birth.
“Any child that is registered at birth and given a certificate, that certificate gives that child an identity and nationality.
“Whether is it an IDP camp, a refugee camp or a remote area, in as much as a child is born in Nigeria it is our responsibility to register that child.
“We are not even stopping at this, we are trying to raise a compendium of IDP Camps, not just in Abuja; where ever they are, we must get those children captured.
He said that although the commission’s intervention in IDPs and remote communities was majorly in the North East, efforts were in top gear to reach other such camps and communities.
He pointed out that the major challenges of registration were religious, cultural and traditional.
On the cultural challenge, he explained that in most parts of Nigeria, a child was not named at birth but from eight days to over 40 days after, decrying that many times parents, especially in rural areas, did not return to register such children.
He said that in many of the rural areas, there were neither access roads nor health facilities making it even more difficult for the commission’s staff members to reach the population.
He commended the efforts of the population commission and the UNHCR that gave information about the existence of such camps at the heart of the FCT.
“We have just developed a roadmap; by year 2025 we are going to get 25 million children registered and that will be just 80 per cent of the unregistered children.
“The subsequent year, we intend clearing the 20 per cent remaining.
“I am happy to let you know that the commission has started the process of automating and digitising our registration processes.
“This will make it easier,” he said.
The UNHCR’s Chief of Mission, John McKissick, commended Nigeria for taking the lead at ensuring an end to statelessness in Africa.
He said that it was gladdening that on the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on reduction of statelessness, Nigeria was making giant strands at registering births that were unregistered.
He commended the nation for waiving the requirement that registrations be done within 60 days of birth, adding that the initiative would greatly advance UNHCR’s 10-year plan to reduce statelessness by 2024.
“I think this is a great initiative, that on the 60th anniversary of the 1961 convention on reduction of statelessness, we are here in Abuja registering children that are at risk of statelessness.
“I want to congratulate Nigeria for signing those two conventions: the 1954 Convention on the status of homeless persons and the 1961 Convention on the reduction of statelessness.
“It is so important that Nigeria has signed and is a leader in Africa in terms of signing conventions dealing with human rights and statelessness.
“Getting rid of statelessness is a human right of all Nigerians, so I congratulate Nigeria.
“The one thing I will call on the country to do is to also domesticate the legislation so that what they have signed onto in the convention is also national law,” he said.
He said that many of the children who were now being registered, had parents who were unregistered, explaining that the team had to interview the parents in order to register them.
A high point of the event was the identification of Mrs Liyatu Ayuba, a Traditional Birth Attendant, who claimed to have delivered over 185 babies at the Durumi camp in the last five years.
Mrs Ayuba, who is also the Woman Leader at the camp, told NAN that when she arrived the camp she met women who were in danger – not getting antenatal care or even safe child bearing.
She said that in her five years of rendering assistance at the camp, at no cost, she had neither lost any baby nor mother adding that in spite of their nonchalance, she ensured that pregnant women went for ante natal care.
“So far, I have delivered 185 children in this camp and a few settlements around this camp. This camp alone we delivered 108, but others around us came here to get delivered.
“Since I started, no mother or baby has died in this IDP Camp. God has been answering my prayers and that is what makes me happy,” she said. (NAN)
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.
This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.
Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.
According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.
He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.
Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market
…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill for second reading
The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission .
Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .
He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .
But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .
Therefore according to him, ” the objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria; to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.
“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.
He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .
Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos and Akwa- Ibom States .
” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .
” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .
” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the proposed commission” he said .
Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .
Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .
Barau Offsets Postgraduate Student’s Cancer Treatment Bills
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, has paid the medical and surgery bills of Abdurrabah Idris Yahaya, a 30-year-old Kano State indigene and M.Sc. student who has been battling cancer.
Abdurrabah, a resident of Bankaura/S.Doka area of Ungogo Local Government of Kano State, who had been receiving treatment from home, went viral on social media, seeking assistance following medical doctors’ advice that he undergo surgery.
Worried by Abdurrabah’s situation and the urgency of the doctors’ advice, the Deputy Senate President sent a delegation with the sum of N1.45 million to offset his medical and surgery bills.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Professor Muhammad Ibn Abdullahi, Senator Barau expressed concern over the health condition of the student who is a beneficiary of his Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme.
While urging the patient and his family to remain prayerful, as every illness is the will of Allah, Senator Barau prayed for the quick recovery of the student.
“The Deputy President of the Senate is deeply worried since he heard about the situation of this young, talented man’s health. As such, he sent us the sum of N1,450,000 as required by the doctors for his surgery.
“Strengthen your faith in Almighty God, Abdurrabah will be okay by the grace of Allah,” he said.
He reiterated the commitment of Senator Barau to supporting people in education, health, and other areas for the development of society irrespective of their constituents, region, or state.
While appreciating the Senator, the mother of the patient, Malama Halima Haruna, who could not hold back her tears, said she had no words other than prayers for the Senator.
Speaking on her behalf, Abdurrabah’s elder sister, Nafisa Idris Yahaya, said they had been pleading for support from people, but Senator Barau has, by his financial assistance, wiped away their tears.
“We received the sum of N1,450,000 from the Deputy President of the Senate. In the past, Senator Barau had paid for his scholarship for a master’s degree. Here he is again, assisting our family. We have been looking for where to get money for the surgery, but today is our happiest day. We appreciate him for this. May Almighty Allah reward him abundantly,” she said.
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