High level consultations intensify as the OCI Foundation visits Rev PAM of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) and other stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria (August 18th, 2020)

High level consultations intensify as the OCI Foundation visits Rev PAM of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) and other stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria (August 18th, 2020)

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As part of consultations ahead of the national roll-out of the Arm our Youths (ArOY) Health Campaign, a delegation of the OCI Foundation, led by its National Champion, Rev Dr Austin Epunam (who is also a Christian Pilgrim Presidential Award Winner and the President/Founder of the Sweet Home Africa Humanitarian Foundation, SHAHF), officially visited the newly-appointed Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Rev Yakubu Pam (JP). Rev Pam was recently appointed to the position by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).

Also in attendance at the meeting, which was held on Tuesday, August the 18th, 2020, at the headquarters of the NCPC in Abuja, Nigeria, were the OCI Foundation’s Legal Adviser (and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onitsha Branch, Nigeria), Barr Onyechi Ononye, as well as the Foundation’s Admin Officer-III, Ms Felicia Dagu. Barr Ogochukwu Ezeugwu of the Brekete Family 101.1FM, a Nigerian-based reality radio and television program focused on human rights, was also among the OCI Foundation’s delegation.

The OCI delegation with Rev Pam (Middle)

Following a welcome speech by Rev Pam, the OCI Foundation’s representatives shared their vision and desire to partner with the Commission in its quest to advance its anti-cancer message to Nigerians. The Foundation re-affirmed its interest in assisting at-risk Nigerian (and African) youths in curbing breast and cervical cancers. Discussions on areas of private pilgrims sponsorships were also discussed, an aspect which has been championed by Rev Epunam over several years.

In her contribution, Barr Ezeugwu laid emphasis on the need for the rich to sponsor the poor for Christian pilgrimages, and pledged that the visiting delegation will do all it can to make Rev Pam’s tenure a successful one.

Responding, Rev Pam thanked the delegation for their visit and helpful ideas, and promised that, under his leadership, the NCPC will operate an open door policy that will accommodate genuine partners. He pledged to get back to the OCI Foundation’s delegation as soon as their official letter has been studied by the Commission.

In other meetings, the OCI Foundation also engaged Mr Omang David, the Team Leader of “Edu Radio”, an Educational Radio outfit in Abuja, Nigeria (see pictures immediately below), as well as Hon Mrs Agatha Manafa of the Anambra State Liaison Office, Abuja, Nigeria (see picture above).

For the records, the ArOY Campaign is a novel, Harvard-endorsed, WHO-supported, and evidence-based health promotion initiative of the OCI Foundation, which is being introduced across all senior secondary schools in Nigeria as a way of tackling breast and cervical cancers. In September 2019, it was rolled out across all the 261 senior secondary schools in Anambra State of Nigeria, and a similar event, scheduled for Benue State in May 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  All of Nigeria’s 36 states (and the FCT) are expected to benefit from the ArOY campaign on or before the end of 2025, and the ongoing consultations are part of this whole process.

The ArOY Health Campaign has the support of the, NextGenU.org (the World’s first online University), the United States Centers for Disease Control (U.S. CDC) and the University of British Columbia, Canada (ranked 45th in the world, according to the 2021 QS World University Ranking). Experts from these institutions, along with others from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) and the Griffith University (Australia), will work with the OCI Foundation and the Nigerian Government on the roll-out, implementation and monitoring of the ArOY project. In addition, the prestigious Harvard Medical School, USA, of which Dr Chris Ifediora (the Founder of the OCI Foundation) is an Alumnus of, had earlier endorsed the Campaign, and made significant contributions to the Campaign’s design ahead of its roll out in Anambra State last year.

A number of other reputable Nigerian institutions partnering the OCI Foundation on this initiative include the Innoson Group, the NYSC (National Office), the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (Nigeria), Nollywood Nigeria, the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), Silk Road Restaurant (Abuja), and the Post Primary Schools Service Commission, PPSSC (Anambra state), among others.

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