As 20 melhores universidades de IA formam a primeira turma de Ph.D.

101 formandos impulsionam o ecossistema de IA dos Emirados Árabes Unidos com avanços em pesquisa, desenvolvimento e aplicações comerciais – criando um centro tecnológico de IA do Sul Global

ABU DHABI, Emirados Árabes Unidos, June 08, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sua Alteza Xeque Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Príncipe Herdeiro de Abu Dhabi e Presidente do Conselho Executivo de Abu Dhabi, participou da cerimônia de formatura de 2024 da Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) em 6 de junho, na qual foram diplomados 101 alunos de 22 países, que receberam títulos de pós-graduação nas principais áreas de IA, incluindo visão computacional (CV), aprendizado de máquina (ML) e processamento de linguagem natural (NLP).

O evento também contou com a presença de Sua Excelência o Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Ministro da Indústria e Tecnologia Avançada dos Emirados Árabes Unidos e Presidente Fundador do Conselho de Administração da MBZUAI, além de outras autoridades.

“Antes de muitos outros países reconhecerem seu potencial, as políticas lideradas pelo governo incentivaram a expansão da IA nos Emirados Árabes Unidos”, disse o Dr. Al Jaber. “Essas políticas promoveram o sucesso de empresas como a G42 e grandes modelos de linguagem como a Falcon. Consequentemente, esse pequeno país está criando um ecossistema de alto nível para talentos e empreendedorismo em IA. Estamos atraindo grandes investimentos de proeminentes empresas de tecnologia, como a Microsoft, e emergindo como um importante centro de inovação e aplicação de IA.”

O Dr. Al Jaber observou que o crescimento da IA é uma das três megatendências que moldam o futuro, juntamente com o ritmo acelerado da transição energética e a ascensão dos mercados emergentes e do Sul Global: “A crescente experiência da turma de 2024 será fundamental para solucionar alguns dos desafios mais urgentes do mundo. Na verdade, se quisermos atingir as metas ambiciosas do histórico Consenso dos Emirados Árabes Unidos, acordado na COP28 em dezembro em Dubai, a IA deve ter um papel crítico.”

A terceira e maior formatura da MBZUAI celebrou o primeiro Ph.D. da universidade em ML, além de mestres em ML (55), CV (28) e PNL (12), contando com alunos provenientes de países como Emirados Árabes Unidos, Canadá, Reino Unido, França, Índia, Vietnã, Paquistão, Etiópia e Sri Lanka.

O presidente da MBZUAI e professor universitário, Eric Xing, disse: “A turma de 2024 da MBZUAI é composta pelos futuros líderes de tecnologia, inovação e criatividade, e está preparada para aceitar a responsabilidade inerente à administração de algo tão poderoso e transformador. Eles nos deixam com o conhecimento, as habilidades e uma profunda compreensão da oportunidade que têm diante de si – a chance de moldar um futuro em que a IA sirva à humanidade com compaixão e padrões éticos inabaláveis – estão prontos para enfrentar os maiores desafios do mundo atual.”

Cinco anos depois de sua criação, a MBZUAI é hoje reconhecida como uma das 100 melhores universidades do mundo em ciência da computação e está classificada entre as 20 melhores por suas especializações em IA, CV, ML, PNL e robótica (CSRankings).

Para se candidatar à admissão, acesse mbzuai.ac.ae ou entre em contato com admission@mbzuai.ac.ae. Para comunicação social, entre em contato com:

Amy Rogers, Senior Communications Specialist da MBZUAI
media@mbzuai.ac.ae

Roger Field/Aya Hassan
mbzuai@wallispr.com

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L’université classée parmi les 20 premières dans le domaine de l’IA décerne le diplôme de Ph.D. à sa première promotion

Au total, 101 diplômés dynamisent l’écosystème de recherche, de développement et d’applications commerciales de l’IA aux Émirats arabes unis, créant ainsi un pôle technologique de l’IA dans le Sud global

ABU DHABI, Émirats arabes unis, 08 juin 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Son Altesse Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prince héritier d’Abu Dhabi et Président du Conseil exécutif d’Abu Dhabi, ont assisté le 6 juin à la cérémonie de remise des diplômes 2024 de l’Université Mohamed bin Zayed d’intelligence artificielle (MBZUAI), récompensant 101 diplômés originaires de 22 pays, qui ont obtenu des diplômes de troisième cycle dans des domaines clés de l’IA, notamment la vision artificielle (CV), l’apprentissage automatique (ML) et le traitement du langage naturel (NLP).

Son Excellence Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, ministre de l’Industrie et des technologies avancées des Émirats arabes unis et président fondateur du conseil d’administration du MBZUAI, a également assisté à l’événement, parmi d’autres dignitaires.

« Les politiques gouvernementales ont encouragé la promotion de l’IA aux Émirats arabes unis avant que de nombreux autres pays n’en reconnaissent le potentiel », a déclaré Dr Al Jaber. « Elles ont favorisé le succès d’entreprises comme G42 et de grands modèles de langage comme Falcon, et permis à ce petit pays de créer un écosystème de classe mondiale pour les talents et l’esprit d’entreprise dans le domaine de l’IA. Nous attirons des investissements importants de la part de leaders technologiques tels que Microsoft et devenons un centre important pour l’innovation et l’application de l’IA. »

Dr Al Jaber a souligné que l’essor de l’IA est l’une des trois grandes tendances qui déterminent l’avenir, avec l’accélération du rythme de la transition énergétique et la montée en puissance des marchés émergents et du Sud global : « L’expertise croissante de la promotion 2024 permettra de trouver des solutions aux défis les plus pressants du monde. En effet, si nous voulons atteindre les objectifs ambitieux du consensus historique des Émirats arabes unis adopté lors de la COP28 en décembre à Dubaï, l’IA doit jouer un rôle essentiel. »

À l’occasion de sa troisième et plus grande cérémonie de remise des diplômes, l’université MBZUAI a décerné ses premiers diplômes de doctorat (Ph.D.), ainsi que des maîtrises en apprentissage automatique (55), vision artificielle (28) et traitement du langage naturel (12), aux étudiants originaires de pays tels que les Émirats arabes unis, le Canada, le Royaume-Uni, la France, l’Inde, le Vietnam, le Pakistan, l’Éthiopie et le Sri Lanka.

Eric Xing, Président de MBZUAI et professeur d’université, a ajouté : « La promotion 2024 de MBZUAI comprend les futurs leaders de la technologie, de l’innovation et de la créativité, préparés pour accepter la responsabilité qui accompagne la gestion d’une révolution aussi puissante et transformatrice. Ils nous quittent avec les connaissances, les compétences et une compréhension profonde de l’opportunité qui s’offre à eux, la chance de façonner un avenir où l’IA sert l’humanité avec compassion selon des normes éthiques inébranlables, et ils sont prêts à relever les plus grands défis auxquels notre monde est confronté aujourd’hui. »

Cinq ans après sa création, MBZUAI est aujourd’hui reconnue comme l’une des 100 meilleures universités d’informatique au monde et se classe parmi les 20 premières pour ses spécialisations en IA, CV, ML, NLP et robotique (CSRankings).

Pour présenter une demande d’admission, consultez le site mbzuai.ac.ae ou contactez admission@mbzuai.ac.ae. Pour les demandes médias, veuillez contacter :

Amy Rogers, Chargée de communication principale de MBZUAI
media@mbzuai.ac.ae

Roger Field/Aya Hassan
mbzuai@wallispr.com

Une photo accompagnant le présent communiqué est disponible sur https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bdfc68d2-c10f-449c-85d5-dd39d3b960bd

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Runsewe hails Oboh, Nigeria’s female golf sensation, on U.S. invitational triumph


The President, Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, OON has commended Nigeria’s female golf sensation, Georgia Oboh, on her recent victory at the John Shippen Women’s Invitational in Michigan, U.S.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 23-year-old Oboh, on Wednesday, captured the 2024 John Shippen Women’s Invitational and earned exemptions to compete in two LPGA tournaments – the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and the Dow Championship.

Oboh will tee it up alongside the world’s best female golfers at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give starting June 13, after shooting 69-70-139 on the same course Tuesday and Wednesday to earn a three-stroke victory at the SHIPPEN event.

Runsewe, who gave the commendation in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said that Oboh’s victory was an inspiration to other children back home and a testament to the fact that hard work pays

‘Congratulations to our very own Georgia Oboh on your well-deserved victory at the John Shippen Women’s Invitation
al at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan

‘Your victory is indeed a fulcrum of great possibilities and renewed hope for Nigeria and Nigerians.

‘We believe in you to keep the Nigerian flag flying high and keep doing your very best, to ensure that you represent our dear country as a good ambassador of the game of golf,’ he said.

NAN also reports that another Nigerian female pro golfer, Anita Uwadia, tied for third position with Ashley Shaw of U.S. in the same tournament, making it the first time in an international professional ladies’ golf tournament where two Nigerians made the top three.

The NGF president noted that the performance of the girls was a very rare one and not a mean feat.

He added that they had both distinguished themselves as the very first Nigerians and one of the few black professional female golfers on the top stage.

He said that the federation would continue to support the golfers, to ensure that they reach their full potential as they continue to make the country proud
and showcase themselves to the world.

He also advised parents to always support and encourage their children to start playing golf at an early age, adding that it was a sport they could be engaged in for the rest of their lives.

‘Hand your child a golf club, and you might be surprised what happens.

‘Your child might not be the next Tiger Woods, but golf can make a big impact in a young life.

‘Kids can benefit from the sport mentally, physically, and emotionally. The sport can set them up for success as they get older.

‘Many of the skills learned on the course translate to real life,’ he said.

NAN also reports that Oboh and her chosen partner will compete in the Dow Championship starting June 27 in Midland, Michigan.

The John Shippen Women’s Invitational which Oboh and Uwadia were part of is a series of competitions created to provide playing opportunities on the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour for the top Black amateur and professional women and men golfers.

The events are named after John Shippen, Jr., who wa
s both the first American-born golf professional and the country’s first Black golf professional.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

NTF committed to promoting gender equality in tennis participation, officiating –President


President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Ifedayo Akindoju, says the federation is committed to promoting gender equality with regards to the participation and officiating of tennis events in the country.

He made the remarks while declaring a maiden International Tennis Federation’s Advantage All workshop open on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association (NTUA) made history on Friday in Abuja.

This followed the successful hosting of its maiden International Tennis Federation’s Advantage All programme, thus setting the pace for other African countries.

The workshop was organised by the NTF, in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation ( ITF), with no fewer than 20 female tennis officials from across the country in participation.

It aims to further deepen the domestication of the initiative which the country formally signed into in 2021 at the Annual General Meeting of ITF in Glasgow, Scotland.

Akindoju extolled the milestones bein
g recorded by the Officiating Department of the Federation, noting that officiating in Nigeria had advanced beyond imagination ‘as ladies in tennis officiating have done so well.

‘What we are witnessing here today is another landmark to show that ladies are very interested in sports and in tennis in particular.

‘As a Federation, we are promoting gender fairness, gender equality in terms of opportunities and participation, and have put in place a well monitored and guided mechanism to ensure that no body is treated unfairly’, Akindoju said.

Acting Chairman of NTUA, Rose Abu, encouraged the participants to make adequate use of the opportunity to develop and sharpen their officiating knowledge and skills.

Abu thanked the ITF for endorsing the event, and commended the effort and commitment of the President of NTF and the country’s Officiating Manager, Kehinde Ijaola, for making the day a reality.

Gold Badge Chair Umpire and an Advantage All Global Ambassador, Eva Asderaki-Moore led a plethora of virtual inte
rnational goodwill messages from female tennis Umpires across the world to the participants.

With the theme, Tennis Officiating: Place, Value Of Women In Officiating And Empowerment, the workshop had series of paper presentations on topical issues.

NAN also reports that a minute silence was earlier observed in honour of the immediate past Nigeria’s Advantage All Ambassador and one of the country’s finest tennis officials, late Arinola Isa-Banire who died in July 2023.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

I-G tasks regional police chiefs on collaboration to tackle insecurity


The Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has called on West African police chiefs to collaborate and devise innovative ways to tackle emerging complex security challenges facing the ECOWAS bloc.

Egbetokun made this known at a meeting of the West African Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO) technical sub-committee on training and operations in Abuja.

He said that the West African subregion had in recent times been confronted with complex national security challenges, which had been accentuating transnational crimes.

‘The activities of these cybercriminals has imposed on us all the additional burden of developing our national security capacity to dominate cyberspace and deny criminals the liberty to operate in our overriding national and regional security interests.

‘The differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems continue to hinder effective law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives among member states.

‘Our security reality continually deepens the need to comm
it to regional collaboration, towards dissecting the pattern and trend of crimes on the one hand, and towards pulling together and supporting each other in bridging our national security gaps,’ he said.

According to him, these challenges have been posing significant threats to the national security order of member states, as well as regional peace and social economic profile.

Egbetokun enumerated such crimes to include traditional crimes of stealing, cross border robberies, human goods, drugs trafficking, small arms and light weapons smuggling, banditry, terrorism, as well as other non-state actors.

He further said that cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes were now emerging as bigger challenges to the subregion’s security.

The I-G said that a critical hindrance to effective regional law enforcement operations and criminal justice delivery initiatives was the differences in legal frameworks and legislative systems among member states.

‘The situation calls for a collective review of the multivarious legal f
ramework and regulates law enforcement and criminal justice delivery system.

‘It also calls for a stronger operational partnership that will encourage the evolution of workable protocol that will engender stronger operational integration amongst security forces and border management agencies within the sub region,’ Egbetokun said.

Also speaking, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Amb. Abdel-Fatah Musah, said that the fast evolution of information technology had further sophisticated the platforms and tactics used by criminal networks against targets.

Represented by Dr Abdourahmane Dieng, the Permanent Secretary, WAPCCO, Musah said that crime and criminality continued to pose a big threat to lives and property in the subregion, thereby creating an unconditional environment for meaningful development.

The commissioner said that security and law enforcement agents in the region had for so many years focused on territorial, aerial and maritime borders as key points for close survei
llance against crime.

‘However, with the dynamic availability and capacity of cyberspace, which transcends beyond geographical borders, criminality has become more efficient, faster and safer for criminals to execute.

‘Therefore, our mandate is to increase our capacity on the fight against transnational border crime of all forms which include employing training and operational strategies.

‘The illicit traffic and proliferation of small arms and light weapons, human smuggling activities, armed robbery, illicit migration, child trafficking and labor, kidnapping, abduction, maritime piracy are but a few of the main highlights trending in our region,’ Musah said.

He, therefore, urged the participants to share, inform, exchange and discuss issues and activities surrounding training and operations in their respective member states with a view to coming up with joint strategies on security personnel’s training and operations.

The Director, Interpol Regional Bureau, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Paule Ouedrago, said the
transnational dimension of the crimes required collaboration between countries, adding that the Regional Office would support the efforts through international police cooperation.

She called for the strengthening of collaboration between the Permanent Secretariat of the Committee of Police Chiefs and her office in the organisation and implementation of police training and operations.

‘This is how, together, we will succeed in dismantling and disrupting the criminal networks that undermine the tireless development efforts,’Ouedrago added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Ningo Prampram Assembly marks tree planting exercise with 2000 seedlings

The Ningo Prampram District Assembly (NiPDA) in the Greater Accra Region has participated in the 2024 National Tree Planting exercise with 2000 seedlings of different species across communities in the area.

The exercise commenced with a short ceremony at the Prampram Senior High School, where stakeholders, including Mr Tetteh Al Latif Amanor, the District Chief Executive (DCE), planted some of the trees within the institution’s premises.

Mr Amanor, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said the tree planting exercise had come to stay and urged Ghanaians to embrace the move and plant trees to safeguard the environment.

He said most countries, including Ghana, were battling with the issue of climate change, and the one surest way to win the battle was to plant trees to restore what had been lost over the years through human activities.

The DCE stated that discussing ways to combat climate change was more theoretical while planting trees demonstrated the practical aspect of how the fight could be
won.

He said Ningo-Prampram had arable land, and it was the duty of the residents within the district to protect the environment and make it friendly for generations.

Mr Amanor indicated that illegal sand winning was a challenge confronting the district and advised that people involved in such illegalities must desist from such acts.

Mr Peter Djan, the Headmaster of Prampram Senior High School, expressed gratitude to the District Assembly for planting trees in the school. 

He said this would contribute to sustaining and maintaining green environments, and it would be prudent for citizens to become environmental stewards.

He appealed to the authorities to consider planting trees at the various institutions dotted across the district to beautify and enhance their environment.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Imam urges Muslims to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha within budget

Malam Abdul Rakib Abubakar, an Imam at the Ashaiman Newtown Junction Mosque, has urged Muslims to celebrate the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha festival within their means, especially within the present challenging economic period. 

Imam Abubakar, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said this was to practice restraint and avoid excessive expenditure as aligned with the principles of Islam, which advocated for balanced living and consideration for others’ welfare.

Imam Abubakar said the call to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha within budget served not only as a practical directive but also as a spiritual reminder to prioritise gratitude, generosity, and solidarity amidst challenging economic circumstances.

He said Eid-ul-Adha traditionally observed with the symbolic sacrifice of animals such as a lamb, goat, cow, or camel, could be celebrated modestly. 

He stated that the sacrifice symbolised devotion and obedience to Allah with the meat often distributed among family, friends, and the less privileged, as a gestur
e of generosity and communal unity. 

He encouraged Muslims to uphold the values of humility, generosity, and social responsibility, enriching the essence of Eid-ul-Adha for themselves and their communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Saving youths from menace of tobacco industry interference


Africa, and indeed Nigeria is known for its generally youthful population.

However, data show that these youths are endangered as the tobacco industry has targeted them for their ‘predatory’ tobacco marketing tactics to create profits, thereby breeding a new wave of addiction.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health challenges the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people around the world every year.

The 2024 WHO Global Report on Trends reveals that children are using e-cigarettes at rates higher than adults in many countries and globally an estimated 37 million youth aged 13 to 15 years use tobacco.

It revealed that 22 countries in the African region are on track to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in tobacco use by 2025. However, it emphasised that progress has been stifled by rising numbers of young tobacco smokers due to tobacco industry influence.

This year, once again, WHO and public health champions from across th
e globe have come together, leveraging the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) celebrated annually on May 31, to raise awareness about the harmful influences of the tobacco industry on youth.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day 2024 is ‘Protecting children from tobacco industry interference’. It emphasises the need to protect future generations and ensure that tobacco consumption continues to reduce.

WHO report titled ‘Hooking the next generation: how the tobacco industry captures young customers’ shockingly revealed that the industry works to reach children and youth to replace customers who quit or die.

According to the report, internal tobacco industry documents, dating as far back as the 1970s, show that tobacco companies have long considered children and youth to be ‘replacement smokers’, ‘pre-smokers’ and a critical market to sustaining their business and the future of their brands.

‘The range of products the industry uses to appeal to youth has expanded significantly, from cigarettes, cigarillos and shisha
to newer products like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and nicotine pouches.

‘Flavoured products and additives, sleek designs and child-friendly packaging and imagery make addictive products even more appealing to youth.

‘Companies rapidly launch new products that sidestep, or are not included, in current laws, and use every available means to expand their market share before regulations can catch up with them,’ it said.

The health agency revealed that the industry’s tactics include positioning many nicotine products as ‘safer’ than cigarettes, potentially distracting policy-makers and consumers from the fact that nicotine itself is addictive and harmful, particularly to children and youth.

‘For example, e-cigarettes with nicotine are highly addictive and are harmful to health.

‘While long-term health effects are not fully understood, it has been established that they generate toxic substances, some of which are known to cause cancer and some that increase the risk of heart and lung disorders.

‘Us
e of e-cigarettes can also affect brain development, potentially leading to learning and anxiety disorders for young people,’ it said.

The health agency lamented that the tobacco industry was succeeding in its efforts to create a new generation of young people who smoke, vape, suck nicotine pouches or use snuff. It noted that evidence from around the world shows an alarming uptake by children of some products, such as e-cigarettes.

‘History is repeating, as the tobacco industry tries to sell the same nicotine to our children in different packaging.

‘These industries are actively targeting schools, children and young people with new products that are essentially a candy-flavoured trap.

‘How can they talk about harm reduction when they are marketing these dangerous, highly addictive products to children?,’ Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General queried.

During a virtual World No Tobacco Day webinar with Journalists, Mr Caleb Ayong, Executive Director, Vital Voices for Africa (VVA), Togo, said tobacco
infringes upon children’s basic rights to health and welfare, noting that child labour in tobacco production persists in many parts of Africa.

Ayong emphasised that 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals would not be achieved with tobacco industry operations, noting that it portends threats to actualisation of universal health coverage, disease prevention, and mental health promotion.

‘Tobacco industry targets young people with aggressive marketing, investing billions on the advertisement of its products. It organises parties, concerts, and product placements to specifically lure young and impressionable minds to its products and activities,’ he said.

He called for collaboration in shielding children from the clutches of tobacco, empower them with knowledge, and advocate for policies that prioritise their health.

According to him, journalists hold immense power to ignite change, expose industry lies, and inspire action through their reports, urging them to amplify the voices of youths, unmask tobacco
industry’s deception, and create a world where every child breathes freely.

Similarly, Philip Jakpor, Executive Director of Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI), said the media plays a strategic role in exposing the tactics of the tobacco industry through incisive reports to elicit policy level interventions

‘It is the media that must put our governments on their toes to ensure they do not shirk their primary responsibility of protecting our children,’ he said.

According to him, the MPOWER package of WHO focuses on six effective measures to reduce demand for tobacco products.

‘The W denotes the ‘Warn about the dangers of tobacco’, which is a role that the media is tasked with carrying out. The media shapes tobacco-related knowledge, opinions and influences individuals and policy-makers.

‘For signatories to the WHO-Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) mass media anti-tobacco campaigns are key components of their tobacco control programmes,’ he said.

Corroborating Jakpor, Mr Achieng Otieno,
Being Africa, Kenya, explained that the WHO-FCTC was a blueprint for governments to adopt effective tobacco control and assist curb the global tobacco epidemic.

Otieno noted that the goal of the framework was to protect the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of tobacco (and nicotine products) consumption and involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke.

‘The FCTC plays a vital role in promoting and protecting children’s rights concerning tobacco control by advocating for policies and measures to prevent tobacco use initiation, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, provide access to information and education, and safeguard public health policies from industry interference,’ Otieno said.

Besides, Mohammed Maikuri of Development Gateway, emphasised that the economic burden of smoking, including health expenditures and productivity losses, was estimated at $1.4 trillion annually, with a significant portion of this cost borne by developing countr
ies.

Maikuri said treating diseases caused by tobacco was estimated to have cost Nigeria ?526.4 billion in 2019, which was nearly one tenth of all healthcare costs in the country.

According to him, Development Gateway, in collaboration with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, supported by the Gates Foundation, leads the DaYTA (Data on Youth Tobacco in Africa) programme, focusing on addressing critical data gaps related to adolescent tobacco use in Nigeria.

He said that the initiative aims to gather comprehensive country-level data on tobacco use among young people aged 10 to 17, thereby filling critical evidence gaps and complementing existing data.

Maikuri, however, said that Nigeria’s performance got worse in a 2021 survey showing that the tobacco industry was intensifying its interference in spite of Nigeria’s tobacco control legislation and efforts.

Commenting, Ms Oluchi Robert, Tobacco Control Advocate, noted that WHO report had shown Nigeria, the world’s seventh most populated country, has bee
n recognised by major transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) as a market with enormous income potential due to its large youth population and expanding GDP.

Robert lamented that the tobacco industry in Nigeria, like in many other countries, targets children and youths through various tactics including product marketing, advertising, flavoured products and accessibility.

‘Tobacco industry covertly engages in product advertisement through product placements in movies, music videos and use of social media to reach the younger audience.

‘According to a 2020 cross-sectional study of school adolescents in Lagos, the most frequently reported channel of exposure was through product placements, with 62 per cent reporting exposure in films, TV, and videos.

‘Up to 15.2 per cent and 12.6 per cent were exposed to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) through promotional activities and sponsorships, respectively,’ she said.

She faulted the easy accessibility of tobacco products to children and youths,
through stores or online platforms.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), worried by the alarming increase in young and underage access to tobacco products, launched the ‘Don’t Burn Their Future’ campaign.

FCCPC said over 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, with more than 26,800 annual deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases.

The Commission emphasised that the campaign was a resolute move to safeguard the health and future of Nigerian youth and to curb the detrimental impact of tobacco products on society.

FCCPC underscores the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, and a prioritised healthcare system in fostering a healthier future for the youth.

Contributing, Dr Tunji Akintade, said there was a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests.

Akintade urged the government to strengthen its tobacco control policies,
improve awareness and educate the public and policymakers about the devastating health and social consequences of tobacco use.

Experts stressed that tobacco industry interference in health policy was a major reason why youth remain unprotected, or not as protected as they should be.

They urged the government to protect current and future generations and hold tobacco and related industries liable for the harm they cause.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria