Niger State Commissioner of Tertiary Healthcare, Dr. Bello Tukur, has described malaria and typhoid fever, as the two major causes of high maternal and child mortality rates as well as of deaths in the nation's population, particularly in rural areas.
Dr. Bello Tukur stated this when he received the state delegation team of "Zero Malaria Starts With Me," which paid him an advocacy visit in his office at the ministry recently.
He stated that the ministry will do what is necessary to support the team and will start by ensuring that all the team’s expenditures are adequately captured in the budgets of the ministry.
While pointing out that doing so will enable both the team and state government to achieve the desired goals of eliminating the scourge in the state, he noted that the present administration was determined to fulfill most of its campaign promises in the area of health services to the populace.
The commissioner therefore observed the need for the extension of the team's presence in the local government areas and the satellite communities in order for the team to achieve its objectives.
Speaking on the death toll on maternal and child mortality rates, the commissioner appealed to the state malaria team, especially the state media, which were fully involved in sensitising pregnant women on the importance of going for antenatal care through their respective mediums, and called on the general public not to misunderstand the existence of the two ministries because separation was targeted at providing health services to the citizenry.
Earlier in his address, the District Head of Maikunkele and Chairman Zero Malaria Starts With Me, Alhaji Suleiman Abdullahi Dada, informed the commissioner that the advocacy visit was not only aimed to familiarise themselves with the ministry but to also notify the ministry of the team's existence and directions for the challenging tasks ahead.
The team's chairman therefore appealed to the commissioners of the two ministries about the need for them not to just financially support the team's assignment but also to take ownership of the enormous responsibility attached to the team.
Also in his contribution, the head of ACOMIN, Mr. Kalyanje Olasulanmi, noted that the scourge of malaria was enormous and therefore the state government had to accord the team the needed attention.
He further requested the establishment of a task force team that will take charge of the misuse of the treated mosquito nets across the state.
Highlights of the advocacy visit included a group photograph and the exchange of contacts.
Niger State Government has denied recent reports that said it was against the wearing of hijab by teachers and students in the state.
At a meeting with principals, headmasters, and other critical stakeholders in the education sector last Saturday, the State Commissioner of Education, Hajiya Hadiza, was quoted as saying 'she'sees no reason why a female teacher will wear a hijab and be comfortable with her teaching'.
But the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago, Mal. Bologi Ibrahim, said the commissioner's statement was contextual and did not reflect the position of the state government on the use of hijab by women in any field of endeavour.
The CPS disclosed that the commissioner's meeting with the principals, headmasters, and other stakeholders was organised to sensitise them on the strategic plans of the Bago-led administration to boost education as well as the upcoming screening and competency test for teachers in the state.
He said the state government was not, and has never been, against the wearing of hijab, stressing that the commissioner's statement must have been misconstrued.
Mal. Bologi stated that the wearing of hijab was a religious obligation and that the Supreme Court had, in June last year, ruled that the constitution allows Muslim students and, by implications, teachers to wear hijab.
"Niger State is a law-abiding state. Since the Nigerian Constitution allowed Muslim students and teachers to wear the hijab, the state government has the responsibility to ensure that the rights of the citizens are protected," he further stated.
He also confirmed that the commissioner has since disowned the story banning the use of long hijab in public schools, stressing that it was the unfortunate handiwork of mischief makers.
The CPS noted that the commissioner, as a Muslim, was not unaware of the importance of hijab and could not have been an impediment to its use.
He urged Nigerians to disregard the said media report in circulation, stressing that it was just a calculated attempt targeted to discredit the commissioner as an individual and put the government in bad light.