Niger Steps Up Action To Promote Breastfeeding

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Governor Sani Bello of Niger State
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government is to raise a committee to help in deconstructing any myth that has been responsible for the poor response to exclusive breastfeeding by lactating mothers across the state. 
The target is to educate and enlighten women particularly those of child bearing age on the health benefits of breastfeeding for children between the first six months and one year.
The government said it is worried that despite efforts by medics at educating lactating mothers on the desirability for mothers to give breastmilk to their infants, exclusive breastfeeding was still being shunned by most mothers especially young and elite mothers and the working class women in the state.
The state government said plans were underway to scale up sensitization of women, lactating mothers in particular on how to overcome such myths and beliefs associated with breastfeeding which have been discouraging women from embracing exclusive breastfeeding of their babies for at least six months.
 
Commissioner for Health and Health Services in the state, Dr. Mustapha Mohammed Jibrin disclosed that government was worried about the increasing falsehood over breastfeeding and was committed to reverse the trend for the health benefits to both mothers and infants.
“Most women, especially the elites due to superstition or for social considerations outrightly refuse to breastfeed their new born babies to prevent their breasts from sagging without knowing that doing so have dire negative consequences on the baby’s growth and development” he noted.
 
He debunked such beliefs that the woman’s breast sags as a result of breastfeeding just as he added that breastfeeding helps both the lactating mothers as much as it helps the child to grow healthily.
Dr. Jibrin spoke at a press conference to commemorate the 2018 World Breastfeeding Week in Minna. He added that apart from looking malnourished, babies who did not get adequate breast milk were easy prey to infectious diseases.
 
The commissioner noted with regrets that while prominent woman in other climes proudly celebrate breastfeeding of their babies, many working class women in Nigeria lay premium on the physical appearance of their breasts above the value of breast milk to their babies.
“Today, most of our educated women prefer to preserve their breasts so as not to loose the shape and it’s turgidity or firmness of the breast” against the purpose for which God created it for”.
 
Dr. Jibrin said the state government wants to ensure that fewer cases of malnourished infants were recorded in the state hence the emphasis on breastfeeding campaign and adequate care of all infants.
He said the state was stepping up action plans to educate women of child bearing age on the importance of exclusive breast feeding for six months and or complimenting breastfeeding up to two years.
 
Dr. Jibrin stressed that babies who are adequately fortified with breast milk always stand out amongst their peers with high Intelligent Quotient (IQ), mental and physical growth and wellness. He said the state government was going embark on enlightenment campaigns to promote breast milk as foundation before other food supplements and infants formula.
 
He solicited for the support of traditional rulers, religious leaders, women groups and the media in the campaign to encourage women to embrace breastfeeding and desuade women and particularly nursing mothers who objects to exclusive breastfeeding of their infant babies.
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Gov Sani Bello Raises Alarm Over Tree Felling For Charcoal.

By; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna
Unless urgent and decisive actions are taken against charcoal making business in parts of Niger state, the brisk business of tree felling for charcoal could throw Niger state into grave environmental dangers.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello projected that in the next five to ten years, if deliberate and conscientious efforts are not put in place, tree felling, especially of vital economic trees by loggers who are into charcoal making could spell doom for Niger state.
Tree felling has continued in the bushes and forests across Niger state despite the existence of the law against tree felling in the state.
The development is made worst by the reckless felling of economic trees such as the Shea nuts trees, locus bean trees, mango trees, cashew nuts trees, silk trees and the mahogany trees amongst other highly prized trees by loggers and charcoal merchants.
Most of the trees felled are burnt to get charcoal for wood fuel purpose. The charcoals are sold to merchants who transport them across the country’s border for hard currencies.
The trend has become a brisk business that is undermining the state government’s policy on agriculture as many locals are now involved in the menace of tree felling and charcoal merchandise as against farming and food production.
 Across the state, there are now heaps and pyramids of sacks of charcoal for sale to merchants and other wholesale buyers for resale within and outside the state.
The state governor said at the  flag off ceremony of promotion of cashew tree planting in Nigeria held in Bida. He said the situation had so degenerated that the state may soon declare a state of emergency against tree felling.
He regretted that despite government’s strong stance on tree felling, the development was on the increase hence something serious needs to be done to arrest the sad development.
Governor Sani Bello warned that felling of economic trees was a dangerous thing to do even as he mooted that the state government would soon convene an expanded security meeting of stakeholders over the development to further caution on the dangers of cutting down economic trees.
He enlisted the support of traditional institutions in the state, the political class and the elites to drum up the message against tree felling for fuel wood or any other purpose.
He directed local government areas across the state to clear 50 acres of land for cashew planting in their respective areas.
Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibrin said in his message at the occasion that cashew nuts have become the rave of global agro allied economy as cashew nuts are hot cakes in the international markets.
The Etsu Nupe and Chairman, Niger state council of traditional rulers, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, announced the readiness of the Edu Soko Farms Ltd in Bida to donate 250,000 cashew seedlings to the state government for replanting as parts of strategies to encourage cashew tree forest in the state.

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