KONGONET tasks government on making available Covid-19 vaccines, calls for re-constitution of  KOSACA board

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The Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), has said that there is the need for Government to make available enough COVID-19 vaccines for those willing to take it, especially the frontline health workers.

In a statement by Idris Ozovehe Muraina and Mrs. Henry Hellen, chairman and secretary of KONGONET respectively, to highlight their first quarterly report, equally said there is need for Ministry of Health to re- constitute the board of the Kogi State Agency for the Control of AIDS (KOSACA).

The statement also called on the State Governor to speedily assent to the VAPP bill into law as well as gazette it and support it’s implementations.

They said the State Government should establish communication medium with the Civil Society Networks in the state to ensure holistic development.

It added that there is need for a concise, participatory Youth and Women in Agriculture policy to harness the numerical number of these groups in improving the state food security and alleviating the daunting poverty in our communities.

While calling the State Government immediately gazette Disability law of the state and ensure effective implementation, KONGONET stressed that the ministry of education should investigate and bring to book those private school owners who exploited parents under the pretence of complying to the ministry’s strategies of regularizing school calendar.

“That the non- payment of full salaries to basic education teachers across local government areas of the state and non maintenance of basic school infrastructures should be addressed.

Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET) is a coalition of Civil Society Networks championing the promotion of participatory democracy, good governance and network coordination in Kogi State through advocacy and policy influencing for the well-being of Kogites.

Highlight of events in the quarter
Kogi State witnessed yet another event filled quarter, the long awaited Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill has finally been passed by the Kogi State House of assembly currently awaiting the Executive Governor’s assent into law and as well as gazetting.

Three (3) months after the conduct of Kogi State council elections, Kogi State citizens are yet to sight the council’s election results break down, while adhoc staffs in the said election are just getting paid of their allowances.

Kogi State, specifically the state capital is still neck –deep in social amenities challenge, e.g Road network, water supply, Street lights etc.

The swift response by the Public Defender and Citizen’s Rights Commission (PDCRC), the Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) Kogi State and the state ministry of women and affairs social development to rescue a widow in Olamaboro local government area from public ridicule is well commended.

The Kogi State government signed off on grants and loans on behalf of Kogites from World Bank. However, KONGONET is not aware of any public hearing organized in respect to the borrowings.

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Finally, the government of Kogi State yielded to the cry of citizens to follow up on the rehabilitation and construction of the notorious felele junction road which has claimed several lives, work in progress.

An assessment and press –release issued by the Executive Director Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) titled “The Negative Effects on Food Inflation in Kogi State” indicates a sudden trajectory increase in food commodities in Kogi State.

Within the reporting quarter, another press –release made available to the media houses in Kogi State in commemoration of World TB Day titled “The Clock is Ticking” by Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) claimed that four (4) local government areas in Kogi State namely Ankpa, Dekina, Ofu and Olamaboro are at the verge of Tuberculosis outbreak while explaining the sudden spike in the prevalence of Multi- Drug Resistant TB (MDR- TB) in the said local government areas.

The special Intervention by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kogi State towards upgrading the Maternity ward in the State Specialist Hospital to mark the International Women Day added, value to maternal and child health services in the state.

Health Issues:
Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), observed that Kogi state is the only state that has not commenced the roll out of COVID-19 vaccination due to her citizens at the end of March, 2021 and this will have serious implications to health issues in the State if not timely addressed by the State Government. NAIIS survey has clearly shown a drop in Kogi State HIV prevalence to 0.9 % and focus is currently targeted at Key populations (MSM, PWID, and Transgender). Unavailability of Test Kits has been a major issue, the new PEPFAR direction is on Community Led Monitoring (CLM) for service monitoring. Network of People Living With HIV/AIDs in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) and Initiative for Health and Social Development (IHSD) are the only CSOs presently implementing community level interventions in the State with support from Center for Integrated Health Program (CIHP).

The most challenging issue is that the State has still not re- organize the State Agency for the Control of AIDS (KOSACA) Governing Board and this has hampered resources allocation to the body, several attempts made to the State Ministry of Health had proven abortive.

Agricultural Intervention Issues:
The Analysis of the 2021 Agriculture Budget by the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) Committee with support from PIBCID/ActionAid Nigeria shows a decline in the allocated funds to the Agricultural sector. More worrisome is the observed consistent denial of funds to women in Agriculture, even though it is captured in the state budget every year. Small Scale Women Farmer Organization in Nigeria (SWOFON) Kogi State branch held a press –conference to issue a statement over the 2021 Kogi State budget and the located funds to the agricultural sector.

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SWOFON Kogi State opined that “In Kogi State year 2021 budget, Agriculture sector yet again got the least allocation compared to other major sectors that drives the social-economic development of the State such as Education, Health; Agriculture received the least at 6.58% compare to 28.89% for Education, 31.14% for Health”
SWOFON Kogi State concluded that if Agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the new direction blueprint of the Government of the State, then allocations to the sector is grossly inadequate.

The national project on Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) under the support and coordination of ActionAid Nigeria recently rounded up with words to the state and federal government to take responsibility and ensure farmers are supported to ensure food availability and security all year round.

In Kogi State rains are approaching, no major attempt observed in regards to farm clearing by the state ministry of Agriculture and her agencies. A press –release made available to pressmen in the state by the Executive Director of Initiative for Grassroot Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) collaborate the concerns of SWOFON Kogi State, as the statement indicates a trajectory increase in consumer goods across the state.

We hope Kogi State Government will as a matter of urgency implement the recommendations as contained in the press statement issued by SWOFON to ensure improved agricultural productivity across the State.

Education Sector:
The Kogi State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology held a Strategic Planning which ended with review of Ten (10) year strategic plan with full representation of KONGONET, this is commendable.

Within the reporting period, the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) lamented over the continuous reduction in the quality of basic education across the state once again. The coalition through her state coordinator said the state had completely neglected the welfares of primary school teachers, non- payment of full salaries to basic education teachers across local government areas of the state and non –maintenance of basic school infrastructures.

The coalition called on the state and local government to immediately resolve the above challenges and safe the future of Kogi State children.
The coordinator of Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AONN) also raised concerns on the rise in the rate of school dropout due to the shrinked academic calendar from the usual 10 to 12 weeks per term to 6 to 8 weeks which has implications on parent/guardians meeting up the demand for school levies.

Social Welfare Issues:
Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kogi State within the reporting quarter made a huge progress in civil resolution of domestic violence, women abuse and child custody cases across the state and as well concluded her training of 40 paralegal officers including three (3) Civil Society Organizations who will assist to provide legal aids across communities in the state.

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The Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AONN) urgently calls on the Hon. Commissioner of Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to partner with the coalition towards resolution of female trafficking issues currently rising in the State.

The civil society world in Kogi State celebrates the state government for pronouncing the band of street hawking of school child age during school hours, this is a welcome development. The Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AONN) hope this pronouncement will be implemented to the fullest for both parties (Government and the citizens).

Paramilitary:
The conduct of consultative meeting/focus group discussion on police reforms by the National Human Right commission (NHRC) was a welcomed development and well appreciated as it gives rooms for citizens inputs on the reform.

Recommendations:
There is the need for Government to make available COVID 19 vaccines for those willing to take it, especially the frontline health workers.

There is need for Ministry of Health to re- constitute the board of the Kogi State Agency for the Control of AIDS (KOSACA).

There is need for the State Governor to speedily assent the VAPP bill into law as well as gazette it and support it implementations.

The State Government should establish communication medium with the Civil Society Networks in the state to ensure holistic development.

There is need for a concise, participatory Youth and Women in Agriculture policy to harness the numerical number of these groups in improving the state food security and alleviating the daunting poverty in our communities.

The State Government should immediately gazette Disability law of the state and ensure effective implementation.

That the ministry of education should investigate and bring to book those private school owners who exploited parents under the pretence of complying to the ministry’s strategies of regularizing school calendar.

That the non- payment of full salaries to basic education teachers across local government areas of the state and non maintenance of basic school infrastructures should be addressed.

Hon. Commissioner of Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to partner with AONN to ensure safety and stop child trafficking in Kogi State.

In conclusion:
Kogi NGO Network (KONGONET) will consistently support laudable initiatives of government to ameliorate the suffering of Kogites and ensure the state upholds the tenets of democracy and fair play in her administration of our collective resources. On behalf of Kogi State Civil Society Groups, we appreciate the Kogi state house of assembly for passing the VAPP Bill.

God Bless Kogi State.




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