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Nine-year-old amputee to model at Paris Fashion Week

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Nine-year-old Daisy-May Demetre, whose legs were amputated due to a birth defect, will become the first double amputee to walk the runway in Paris Fashion Week on Friday.

Daisy-May will model for children’s wear label Lulu et Gigi inside the Eiffel Tower.

Born in Birmingham, Britain, Daisy-May’s lower legs were amputated due to fibular hemimelia – a lack or shortening of the calf bone – when she was 18 months old.

She started modelling for UK clothing brands a year ago and has walked at the London Kids’ Fashion Week in February and at the New York Fashion Week earlier this month.

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“Here to make history, that’s what we do,” she said on her Instagram account, which showed a picture of Daisy-May and her father Alex in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Daisy-May uses carbon blades for running and on the catwalk – she even did a cartwheel in them at the London show – but for school, she has a different set of prosthetic legs.

She told Reuters Television she loves putting pretty clothes on and posing for the camera.

“I get my hair done, then I get my make-up done and then I put my dress on, and my legs, and I get on the catwalk. Sometimes I do not even feel different,” she said.

Her father Alex Demetre said he had taken to drinking and gambling after she was born and even had suicidal thoughts worrying about how her handicap was going to affect her life.

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After seeing a TV show about fashion, he proposed modelling to her and since then she has worked for several major UK clothing retailers as well as for sports brand Nike Inc.

“When she was born, we thought it was going to be the end of the world. How people were going to look at her and perceive her, like boyfriends, and husbands.

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“Now I see that she was a gift. Her disability is an actual gift and she wears that gift with pride. It does not hold her back in any way,” he said.

Lulu et Gigi founder Eni Hegedus-Buiron said she had no second thoughts about hiring an amputee to model her luxury children’s clothing, which can cost as much as $2,600 for a “Princess and the Pea Gown”.

“We bring her among the other girls. We have a curvy teen model. We have models with Down syndrome. Inclusion is for all different children,” she said.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Eminent scientists, journalists form coalition for deregistration of paraquat in Nigeria

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A group of eminent researchers and journalists have formed a Coalition Against Paraquat (CAP), to sustain advocacy against paraquat importation and use in Nigeria, as concerns mount over the safety of the toxic herbicide.

Godwin Atser, Digital Extension and Advisory Services of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in a statement issued to newsmen made this known on Monday in Abuja.

The coalition comprises nine scientists and media practitioners with a wealth of experience in advocacy and a deep understanding of paraquat.

The statement quoted Prof. Johnson Ekpere, a member of the coalition as saying: “The group’s main role is to act as a watchdog and sustain advocacy efforts while supporting the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to follow through with its paraquat deregistration plans.’’

Dr Bukar Usman, Director, Veterinary Medicine and Allied Products of NAFDAC, had earlier released a gradual phase-out plan for paraquat

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Usman, who announced the plan, disclosed that the agency had stopped new registration of paraquat and those already in the process could only get two years instead of the usual five years.

“By the end of December, NAFDAC will no longer process the renewal of registration of the product, while the total ban will be concluded by 2024,” he said.

Explore, speaking on behalf of the group said it also planned to “contribute to awareness creation and advocacy; to the development of target information kits; meeting public and private sector influencers and opinion leaders to ensure that paraquat is finally off the shelf in Nigeria.”

He called for the deregistration of paraquat became heightened in December 2019, when commissioners for agriculture, permanent secretaries in the ministries of agriculture and other stakeholders urged NAFDAC to put the product out of the Nigerian market.

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He added that maintaining such concerns as raised about the product was too grave to be ignored.

The statement said weed scientists under the aegis of Weed Science Society of Nigeria (WSSN) rising from their its 47th Annual Conference also added their voice to the calls, stressing that safer and more effective alternatives to paraquat abounded.

Members of the coalition include Prof. Johnson Ekpere, former Executive Secretary, Scientific, Technical and Research Commission, Organisation of African Unity (OAU/STRC), now African Union (AU); Prof. Mohammed Kuta Yahaya, a professor of Agricultural Extension and Development Communication.

Others include Ms Ayoola Kassim, an award-winning producer at Channels Television; Prof. Simon Irtwange: Chairman, Technical Committee on Nigeria Yam Export Programme, FMARD, and Prof. Lateef SanniPresident, International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC).

Other members are: Prof. Udensi Udensi, a weed scientist and agronomist at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Ms. Grace Yussuf, Deputy Editor-In-Chief in charge of the Agriculture and Environment Desk, the Newsmen among others

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The statement quoted a report titled: “The Rural Appraisal on the use of Paraquat in Nigeria”, authored by Prof. Udensi, who is a weed scientist, describing paraquat as “one of the most highly acute toxic herbicides being marketed in the last 60 years.”

He said: “Paraquat remains one of the pesticides responsible for more fatal poisonings than any other pesticide substances.”

“Workers who are exposed to paraquat over a long period have been found to be at an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life.

“Scientists have listed safe and effective alternatives to paraquat to include glufosinate-ammonium commonly traded as Lifeline, Slasha Gold, Basta, and Fascinate,’’ the statement said. 

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Enugu: NGO records 227 sexual, GBV incidences in three months

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An Enugu-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Women Aid Collective (WACOL), says it recorded no fewer than 227 sexual and gender-based violence within the last three months.

Its founder, Prof. Joy Ezilo, who briefed newsmen on the NGO’s activities on Monday in Enugu, listed the cases to include rape, defilement, incest, harmful cultural practices, malicious damage to property, child abuse and trafficking.

Others included physical and emotional abuses, early and forced marriage, forceful ejection and abandonment of spouse, and discrimination on grounds of sex and custody.

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The founder said that 81 of such cases were recorded in April, 72 in May, while 74 cases were recorded in June.

She said that 26 cases of rape, defilement, and incest were reported to WACOL within the period under review, adding that the NGO had taken measures to ensure that the victims got justice.

The university don said that one of such cases involved a 12-year-old girl raped by a 43-year old man.

Another case, he said, involved a 10-year-old housemaid who was allegedly raped by the husband of the woman she was living with at Agbani village in Nkanu West Local Government Area.

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She said that the Police Command in the state had commenced an investigation into the cases with some nearing completion.

Ezilo said that one of the cases being investigated involved a 16-year-old girl from Ebonyi, who reported her father for allegedly forcing her to marry a 40-year old man in exchange for “basic family sustenance” during the recent lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.

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“The girl was visibly shaken by the ordeal in the hands of her father who refused to accept the suitor she preferred,” she said.

Ezilo also spoke of an 87-year-old widow from Akegbe Ugwu, Enugu State, whose two brothers-in-law attempted to stop her from inheriting her husband’s landed property.

The founder regretted that such abuses were becoming even more common “in spite of enabling laws which prescribe severe sanctions”.

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New Registrar of Federal Poly, Nasarawa, assumes duty

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Nasarawa (Nasarawa State) The newly appointed Registrar of the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, Alhaji Munir Ahmad, has formally assumed duty.

The Rector of the polytechnic, Malam Abdullahi Alhassan, stated this in a statement made available to the Newsmen in Nasarawa on Monday.

Alhassan said that the new registrar was the Deputy Registrar, Federal College of Education, Zaria, before his new appointment.

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He stated that Ahmad, who was born in 1971 at Kwarbai in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State, received his primary school education in Zaria from 1977 to 1982.

He added that Ahmad attended Alhudahuda College, Zaria from 1982 to 1988, and then proceeded to the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, between 1990 and 1992.

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The rector added that the new registrar had attended several courses in Management, Administration, and Corporate Executives at home and overseas.

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