It was yet another big day in the OCI Foundation’s novel quest to arm every Nigerian with the tools required to fight breast and cervical cancers, as a Bill seeking to include relevant teachings into the curriculum of all senior secondary schools in Nigeria, scaled through Public Hearing.
The Bill is being sponsored by Hon Dr Tanko Sununu (the Chief Sponsor and Chairman, House Committee on Health Care Services) and Hon Prof Julius Ihonvbere (the Co-Sponsor and Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education). It also has the support of the Distinguished Sen Dr Ifeanyi Uba of the Nigerian Senate.
The public hearings for this Bill, which was declared open by the Speaker of the Nigerian House Of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (represented by the Deputy House Leader, Hon Peterson Akpatason), were held on Thursday, September 29th, and Friday September 30th, 2022, at the at the Nigerian National Assembly (NASS). The Bill had already scaled through First (Thursday, March 31, 2022). and Second (Wednesday, July 20, 2022) hearings at the floor of the Nigerian House of Representatives.
This anti-cancer Bill is part of the OCI Foundation’s “ARM OUR YOUTHS (ArOY) ANTI-CANCER HEALTH CAMPAIGN”, a novel initiative targeting youths in NIGERIAN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS and the NATIONAL YOUTHS SERVICE CORPS (NYSC) SCHEME.
The ArOY Health Campaign is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, and, when fully passed into law and implemented, the provisions of this Bill can change the narrative against breast and cervical cancers in Nigeria and the developing world. The OCI Foundation intends to extend this Bill to the rest of Africa through the relevant arms of the African Union, AU.
The ArOY Health Campaign enjoys the support of the Nigerian First Lady, Her Excellency, DR AISHA BUHARI, whose NGO, the FUTURE ASSURED FOUNDATION, is supportive of the anti-cancer Bill.
Already, in partnership with Nigerian National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), the OCI Foundation is annually delivering the same anti-cancer campaign to hundreds of thousands of Nigerian fresh graduates (youth corps members) in all the 37 NYSC orientation camps in Nigeria (the 36 states plus the FCT).
Success at the just-concluded Public Heating will be followed by the Third (Final) Reading on the floor of the Nigerian House of Representatives. Once passed there, the Bill will then be transmitted to the Nigerian Senate for harmonization. Thereafter, it goes to the Nigerian President, His Excellency, Mohammadu BUHARI, for signing into law.
With the near-universal endorsement of all stakeholders present at the Public Hearing (listed below), the OCI Foundation is optimistic that the dream to empower Nigerian youths against breast and cervical cancers in all the senior secondary schools across the country, will soon become a reality. The Foundation is deeply thankful to Hon Dr Tanko and Hon Prof Julius Ihonvbere, the Chief and Co-sponsors of the Bill, respectively.
Alongside the Nigerian First Lady, other partners to the ArOY Health Campaign Bill include the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS), the Nigerian First Ladies Against Cancer (FLAC), the Sweet Home Africa Humanitarian Foundation (SHAHF), the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), and the Amity Global Network/Alex Reports.
Other Nigerian institutions and partners of the OCI Foundation that are supportive of the Bill include the National Research and Educational Council (NERDC), the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA), the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA), the Ifeanyi Uba Foundation, Breast Without Spots (BWS), the Regamos Foundation, the Excellent Leadership NGO.
Most of the organisations mentioned above were present at the Public Hearing. Also present were the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), the Federal Ministry of Education (FMOE), and some representatives of two senior secondary schools in Abuja (Start Rite School AND Early Heights College).