Kogi State governor, Mr. Idris Wada has commended Ecobank Nigeria and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) for their support towards the eradication of the deadly HIV/AIDS disease from the country.

A statement from the bank quoted the governor to have said this at the ground- breaking ceremony for the building of the ‘Youth Friendly’ centre at the Kogi State University, Anyigba.

The centre is designed to engage students in recreational activities, while providing a setting for dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS in a non-threatening manner.

It also provides a unique opportunity for students to go for HIV counseling and testing in a ‘friendly’ environment. The centre has four sections; games bay, library with HIV/AIDS material, internet cafe/CD and video room and allied services section.

The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Idris Omede, said the decision of Ecobank to finance the centre was commendable, stressing that it would go a long way to checkmate the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the state and the country.

“This Ecobank-NACA initiative is commendable. This will complement our efforts at tackling the scourge of the disease in the state. The disease has both social and economic impacts and there is need to scale up interventions to reduce new infections and minimize effects of the virus. The government is firmly in support of projects such as this to check the epidemic.”

In his address, Deputy Managing Director, Tony Okpanachi, said the vision of the centre stemmed from the desire to use all available opportunity to give back and contribute effectively towards the society in which the bank operates.

He added: “We believe young people need a friendly, non-threatening environment that would offer recreational facilities and at the same time provide free guidance and counselling and access to information on reproductive health issues and HIV/AIDS.”

He explained that the centres, which have already been established in seven tertiary institutions in the country are designed to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS, assuring that the centre in Kogi State University will be completed on schedule.

Vice Chancellor, Kogi State University, Anyigba, Prof. Hassan Isah, assured that the centre will be beneficial to the University Community which harbours about 25, 000 youths, assuring that the facility will be put to good use. “We are deeply elated that Ecobank and NACA selected our school for this project and indeed the first state university to be selected in the country. Our obligations which includes the provision of guidance counsellors, centre administrator, volunteer peer educators, cleaners and security personnels will be honoured to the letter, while financial obligations to ensure a proper take off and functioning of the centre, will be pursued with vigour.”

Director General, NACA, Prof. John Idoko who was represented by Director, Partnerships Coordination, Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan said: “We will provide oversight functions for the centre, to ensure adherence to standards, aside from being responsible for providing the technical assistance and capacity building for the staff of the centre, as well as the facilitation of relevant materials. The centre will also provide counselling and guidance on HIV/AIDS, career, emotional issues and all that.”

Group to Hold International Food Show

The launch of the international trade show tagged “Agrofood & Plastprintpack Nigeria,” will hold between April 28th and 30th in Lagos.

A statement from the organisers explained that more than 80 notable international technology leaders from 21 countries are expected to display latest technologies and solutions for the Nigerian agro-food industry.

The event is officially supported by the European Union, the Institute of Packaging Nigeria (IOPN), the foreign trade chambers of Austria, France and Germany and by giz.

“The exhibitors come from Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom,” it added.

Commenting on the event, the President, Institute of Packaging, Nigeria, Mr Mike Adekola said the presence of his at the event would be ideal for visitors who need a global understanding of the food value chain in Nigeria, from the field to the final consumer including farmers, suppliers, transporters, processors, among others.

To the Head of Delegation and Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, European suppliers can assist the Nigerian agro-food industry with machinery, equipment and technological know-how meeting a high degree of food safety and compliance with international hygienic standards.

News Reporter