From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has reiterated the need for regular hand-washing with soap as the most affordable and effective way of preventing the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and pneumonia.
He said Nigeria loses over 150,000 children to diarrhea every year, largely caused by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices.
In a media briefing to commemorate the 2016 Global Hand-washing Day, the minister said, due to poor hygiene and sanitation, 1.7 million children reportedly die from diarrhea and pneumonia globally each year, while 242 million school days are missed due to diarrhea. Also, he said an estimated 15 per cent of patients globally develop one or more infections in hospital.
The minister noted that the theme of this year’s Global Hand-washing Day, “Make Hand Washing a Habit,” was aimed at engaging children as agents of change and catching them young through behavioural change.
According to him, hand-washing was a choice that everyone could make multiple times a day in order to create a healthier environment.
Adamu further disclosed that a recent survey conducted by UNICEF in six states suggests that an average of 82 per cent of people wash their hands before eating, while only 53 per cent wash their hands with soap after defecation.
He expressed satisfaction over the premium place by the current administration on water and sanitation, which led to the endorsement of a new policy on water, aimed at addressing challenges in accessing water, sanitation and hygiene across the country.
EDUCATION: Adult illiteracy hits 50 million in Nigeria –FG
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Education authorities yesterday said that the illiteracy level among Nigerian adults has hit 50 million. The federal government also expressed the belief that the slow pace of national development was caused by high illiteracy in the country.
Speaking at the commemoration of the International Literacy Day, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy (NMEC), Prof. Abba Haladu, acknowledged the progress that has been recorded in the last five decades by the ministry of education, as regards the fight against illiteracy.
Haladu said: “But even at that, there’s still at least 758 million illiterate adults in the world and about two-thirds of them are women. The problem has remained one of Nigeria’s greatest obstacles to development.
“In fact, UNESCO 2016 contends that as other regions of the world are recording progress in the fight against illiteracy, sub-Saharan Africa, in which Nigeria has the highest number of population, is, unfortunately, experiencing rising absolute numbers of non-literate adults.”
He urged state and local governments, non-governmental organisations and the organised private sector, to ensure that necessary material support to eradicate illiteracy is provided.
EDUCATION: Criticism of varsities unfair, unjustified– NUC
From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Universities Commission (NUC) has expressed discontent with criticism of Nigerian universities over poor showing in global rankings, declaring that variables, parameters and indicators used in such rankings were outside its control.
The commission further clarified that it had not, in the last 15 years, embarked on any ranking exercise of Nigerian universities, contrary to speculations in the media.
According to the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, who spoke in Abuja, shortly after meeting with vice chancellors, uninformed criticism does more harm than good to the university system.
He said: “We, the managers of the universities, are satisfied with the quality of our degrees and graduates. This is justified in the academic performance of our graduates, irrespective of their class of degree, whenever they travel abroad for their masters, and return with distinctions or merits.”
He expressed regret that whereas the positive things happening in the Nigerian university system were largely under-reported, the negative ones, like when a few semi-illiterates that graduated either through cheating or other forms of corruption and cannot defend their certificates, dominate the air waves.
Rasheed, however, said that the comprehensive review of the of the entire university curriculum (the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards) scheduled for next year would put an end to the spurious claims and insinuations about the academic standing and quality of Nigerian universities.
INFORMATION : FG to rake in $1b from spectrum sales
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has said it would generate $1 billion from the sale of spectrum and ensure that the on-going digital switchover from analogue broadcasting is self-funding.
It also said the broadcast industry and digital economy in the country would grow by $1 billion per annum through increased advertising, Nollywood income and value added services.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this at the 11th edition of International Conference of African Broadcasters (AFRICAST), in Abuja, explained that digitisation would offer uncountable opportunities for jobs, especially for young Nigerians, who form the majority of the demographics in the broadcast industry and other ancillary industries.
The minister noted that the use of set-top boxes in about 24 million households would eliminate any form of piracy, and invariably rake in an additional $250 million annually for Nollywood.
Mohammed further noted that an independent signal distribution operator, Independent Television Services (ITS) Limited, has been created out of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
He expressed optimism that the transmission companies would create jobs for thousands of Nigerian engineers, in line with government’s deliberate regulatory policy measures to indigenise the entire management and operational structure of the switchover for the future development of the Nigerian broadcast industry.
He, however, warned that the evolution of new broadcast platform would be a threat to traditional broadcast platforms and channels with its attendant implications.
Source: Today Trending News