From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Ms Ene Obi
The Board of Trustees of ActionAid Nigeria has called on the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) to ensure that its multifaceted approach to registration and administration of the COVID19 vaccine be inclusive, recognising citizens in excluded communities.
Lola Ayanda, Communications Coordinator, said ActionAid Nigeria, after a virtual meeting to review the State of the Nation, also called on the National Orientation Agency to work with other stakeholders to eliminate perceived myths about the COVID19 vaccine.
They further recommended the overhauling and restructuring of the nation’s security architecture to create real changes in such areas as funding, equipment, accountability and boosting the morale of the men in the field among others.
The Board noted that community ownership is key to winning the battle against insecurity as evidenced by ActionAid Nigeria Community Action Response Teams (CARTs) piloted in 24 communities in Kogi and Nasarawa states.
“To reduce poverty, governments at all levels should prioritise policies relevant to specific communities; COVID-19, conflicts and climate crisis should be carefully considered to successfully reduce poverty in Nigeria. Anticorruption rhetorics should be matched with action. We call on the federal government, anti-corruption agencies to ensure the implementation of emergency fund management protocols and bring defaulters to book.
“We admonish federal and state governments to expedite actions to make local government councils autonomous to fast-track rural development, strengthen agriculture, create employment, and reduce rural-urban migration.
“To reduce Nigeria’s debt profile, the government must urgently close all leakages along the revenue collection value chain, swiftly reduce the cost of governance at all levels of the polity and expedite the process of diversifying the economy.
“The Board of Trustees of ActionAid Nigeria following its 43rd meeting held virtually has deemed it fit as citizens of the nation and as active agents of change to make the following comments, observations, and recommendations on the State of the Nation.
“While we recognise the efforts by the current administration to move the country forward, particularly at an unprecedented time when the world is battling a pandemic, our observations are as follow:
“Negative myths about the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines have continued to thrive. The call for registration for vaccination has been met with mixed reactions. Some Nigerians are still unaware of COVID-19 vaccination despite the online registration portal, and house to house registration for administration of the doses of the vaccine set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Kidnapping, especially of school children is gradually becoming a norm in the country as insecurity is still on the rise, with many records of banditry, insurgency and killings, especially in the North West, North East and North Central Nigeria.
“The rising cases of abduction of school children is alarming and will further disparage stakeholders’ efforts at reducing the rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria, particularly, the girl-child. Schools are now seemingly unsafe for girls and give parents undue justification to force their girl-child into early marriage.
“Tackling poverty requires a multidimensional approach and considerations. Implementing interventionist programs to reduce poverty is difficult when violence is on the rise across Nigeria. In addition, poverty alleviation schemes put in place by the government have been rendered ineffective largely due to corruption, uneven distribution, and lack of accountability.
“While other African countries spend an average of 17% of their revenue on debt servicing, Nigeria is currently servicing debts with 50% of its revenue. Despite the huge borrowings, there are not enough infrastructure to show for it as many Nigerians remain poor.