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We will conduct free, fair LG elections, says PLASIEC



The Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) has promised to be impartial to all the Political Parties during the conduct of the Local Government elections in the state. Chairman of the Commission Mr. Fabian Ntung stated this during a day Youth Workshop on strengthening Citizens Engagement in Electoral Processes in Nigeria Organised by Community Action for Popular Participation and Action Aid held at Country Home Hotel Jos. Ntung, who was represented by the commissioner in charge of Electoral and Field Operations, Patrick Mamgin, said they were ready to conduct free and fair elections in all the 17 local government areas of the state.

“We will be free and fair electoral body without changing the peoples’ candidates and we will be unbiased to all the political parties, and political parties have a role to play to ensure they strengthen the electoral processes,” he said. The PLASIEC chairman debunks rumours of postponement of the elections to 2018, saying as soon as the conflicting Local Government Laws of 2005 and 2007 before the state House of Assembly are amended they will release the guidelines for elections.

“The two conflicting laws are being harmonised to have a single tenure so as to run the councils, because without the amendment any governor who comes can decides on which one to use and governor Lalong has made it clear that he doesn’t want caretaker members to run the local government anymore, so surely we will conduct elections soon,” he added.

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How to check cancer in children, by Nwobi



That one’s child is sick is worrisome enough, but that the child has cancer is dreadful news no parent ever wished to hear. In an interview with Dr. Nneka Nwobi, founder of Children Living with Cancer Foundation, she said that the best way to avoid the dreadful news is for parents to be alert and do regular check up for their children. Oluwatosin Omoniyi writes


What is the progress made so far on Children living with cancer?
We are in a better place than last year. We are in a better place in the sense that things are looking up. Nigeria is out of “recession” and we are hoping that corporate bodies, individuals would continue to help in getting us the medicines and facilities we need. The test we need and equipments we need to get better chances of cure for these children
Last year was horrible. People did not donate. Just very few people donated and we have an anonymous donor.

I don’t know who the person is but the person is always giving us money. After every two weeks, he or she drops money into our account. I don’t know who the person is but I’m most grateful because those monies come in at very crucial periods.

We owed the pharmacy that supplies us drugs last year. At least we were able to clear off that debt. Things are looking up and we are hoping that as the year goes on we will have better response from the public, from corporate bodies, individuals and religious bodies.

What really could be the factors responsible for cancer in children?
Unfortunately, it is not as well known as adult cancer. For adult cancer, they will say lifestyle -related but it is not lifestyle related in children. The youngest I have heard about was nine weeks old. The baby had muscle cancer.
When you see a child like that, you start wondering what type of life style would a nine week old baby have apart from being on breast milk but then you think about how does a child get formed. It is from the ova and the sperm of the parents. Therefore, if there is a genetic manipulation or if the genes making the ova and sperm are distorted, the child can come down with it during the formation.

Because you know, these ova and sperm would make the cells organs in the child. So, If there’s anything wrong with the sperm and the ovum, definitely the child may be affected but then again, there is a correlation with some ailments such as down syndrome and leukemia. A child that was conceived in a place where there is nuclear reaction like the Hiroshima nuclear explosion, people living under high-tension wire, it is postulated that such people may come down with a cancer.

High-tension wires emit rays and those rays can cause a distortion in the genes. Like any other radiation, it emits rays constantly, even when women go for mammogram and stuffs like that there are precautions to be taken because the rays are not our best friends

Would you say that the lifestyle of the parent possibly contribute to the cancer status of their children?
I will not say lifestyle. Well, lifestyle in a way because what they are trying to make us believe is that all refined things we consume have to do with our health in one way or the other. Refined things like sugar are called killer. They are still working on that to know the relationship between refined sugar and cancer.

What I know is that we do not allow children on treatment to take much processed food especially those white sugar. Also refined foods such as poundo yam have chemicals that are used to preserve them and these chemicals have their effects on the body.

For you to keep juice for more than two days, it would ferment and to prevent that fermentation, you must preserve it one way or the other, what effect does that preservation have on you, that you know? It’s about discipline and mindset.

What are the precautionary methods parents need to take?
Know your child; know what is normal so that when there is anything out of the norm you can track it fast. Go for necessary checks during the baby period, the preschool check such as 1-year and the 5-year check. I was in a school and I asked the children if they have had X-ray’s done and none of them had done that. In most public schools, we usually have an entry medicine check and we do that at intervals but we have deviated so much from the norm.

Normally, while you are in school, you should have checks and when you are through with a session, there should be another check before you enter the next class and in between, they should be checked because if that is done, there is a possibility of knowing whatever is wrong with them on time.

Knowing your children health status is key. We had a parent who didn’t know that her child had a lump in the abdomen. It was a tailor who felt the lump, and for a tailor to feel that, it meant it was a big one.
As parents, you wake up very early and you leave the house, by the time you come back, the child is already sleeping, You don’t know what’s wrong with the child. No time spent with them to know what is wrong with them. I will advise parents to ask their children questions habitually.
Abroad, a test is conducted, pre-natal diagnosis to know if a child is predisposed to have cancer but we do not do it here. We do not even do the basic ones. The cancer tests help us discover quickly certain markers of cancer. If a child has those markers, it means the child would be followed up. It doesn’t mean that the child has cancer, it just means that there is a possibility of having cancer. All these things are things to keep in mind.

What is the survival chance for children living with cancer?
Abroad, we have 80-90 per cent of survival, cure rates. Here in Nigeria we have less than 20 per cent. It is very dismal. A while ago, we were

looking at 25 per cent cure rates by 2025 but white men are already making us feel that we cannot achieve it. We have to take care of ourselves, for instance chemotherapy drug is not produced in Nigeria and whenever we want to use it, we get it abroad which is more costly.
For example in India, when they had the right to produce the drug, the cost rates dropped. A drug they were buying at $3, came down to $1. That could be because the government key into that course. Our government too should key into it, the government should encourage pharmaceutical companies to produce cancer drugs in Nigeria. Not many people use cancer drugs, it’s not very popular, even when we are looking for it here it’s not very easy to come by. All those are things one should look at when we are talking about survival rates.

When we are talking about cancer drugs, how accessible is it for children living with cancer?
It is not cheap and we have very few companies bringing them in and of course they too have to make their profits and sometimes, not all the medicines produced in India are acceptable in our teaching hospitals and because it is cheaper people go for the Indian made chemotherapy drugs than the England made chemotherapy drugs.

What is the difference between Indian-made- chemotherapy and US or Britain-made chemotherapy drugs?
Sometimes some doctors just prefer the England-made ones above the Indian-made drugs. It is a thing of mentality. Some of the Indian made chemotherapy drugs may not enhance healing the way you want it to. Some of the doctors ask specifically for British made drugs and we go for that.

Would you say that childhood cancer is on the increase in Nigeria ?
I want to believe that there is more awareness for now. More people are bringing in their children and more children are dying from cancer. They are now coming out because when we started, we used to have families hide their children. We used to have families send the children to the village. One of the parents we had, the child was 14-years old, had a large, massive tumor, they sent the child to the maternal grandmother place, the child stayed there until the woman died. The mother of the child went home to bury her own mother brought back the child to Lagos and the father refused to have that child in his house. Even when the boy needed blood, he refused to let the boy’s siblings donate blood to the boy.

At a point, the tumor was so much that the boy could not eat. He had a muscle tumor so it was compressing his airways, the esophagus, so he had to eat through tubes and of course there was no way that child was going to survive for long but you see that brokenness in him. Knowing that your father has rejected you is something that no child should go through, even when the child does not belong to the man.
We’ve had some crazy family set-ups that one father asked us to pay for the DNA test because he was not sure that the child was his.

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Attack: My men acted in self-defence, says NSCDC Commandant



Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), yesterday said its officials deployed to protect oil facilities in Ikarama community shot in self-defence when attacked by community youths. NSCDC Commandant in the state, Godwin Nwachukwu, said the operation was within the rules of engagement of the corps. He added that the command had acted in response to reports of increased sabotage of oil facilities and deployed men to arrest suspects behind the vandalism.

He said members of the community had ambushed men of the NSCDC, who were on their legitimate duties at the oilfields. “My men acted in selfdefence, and it is our mandate to protect oil facilities, they were attacked and the metal bridge that serves as exit was demobilised to trap my men.

“In an effort to escape, my men fired some shots in the air to scare them away, no one was shot,” he declared. Reacting to reports that NSCDC operatives allegedly shot a neighbourhood watch member in Ikarama, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa, Nwachukwu said the command arrested and questioned a woman who was with a suspect. “My men went to arrest a suspect who escaped, so they arrested the woman who was with him, we interrogated her and released her,” he said It will be recalled that the incident occurred in the early hours of Tuesday.

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Ex-IGP, Onovo, lauds Ugwuanyi’s visionary leadership



Former Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo has extolled leadership virtues of Enugu state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, describing him as a visionary and “wonderful” leader, whose style of politics was sincere, inclusive and resultoriented. Speaking at a flag off ceremony of the construction work on the all-important Ogonogoeji- Ndiagu-Akpugo rural road, from Atavu Bailey Bridge to Afor Onovo, which had attracted many leaders of “Nkanuland”, Onovo expressed delight that after years of neglect by past administrations, Ugwuanyi was able to remember the people of the area by commencing work on the road.

The former IGP, who applauded Ugwuanyi for keeping faith with his promise to construct the road shortly after he inspected it, regretted that the road had not witnessed any development in the past. Besides, he commended the governor for his commitment to good governance, transparency, accountability, peace, justice and fair play, noting that the governor was able to utilize the lean resources of the state to pay workers’ salaries and retirees’ pensions and still execute massive development projects across the three senatorial districts of the state, especially in the rural areas.

This, Onovo among others said had earned Enugu state the enviable status of “the safest state in the country”, saying “I am happy to be here to identify with you, Your Excellency.” Also speaking, Chairman of Nkanu West Local Government Area, Hon. Henry Okenwa also thanked Ugwuanyi for numerous development projects his administration was executing in the council especially the Agbani- Amurri road, which was witnessing development for the first time in the past 100 years.

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