President Jonathan Swears-In Eight New Ministers

president-jonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan has sworn in the eight  Ministers recently confirmed by the Senate before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

The President assigned portfolios to them as follows: Senator Patricia Akwashiki (Minister of Information), Prof. Nicholas Ada (Minister of State, Foreign Affairs I), Senator Musiliu Obanikoro (Minister of State, Foreign Affairs II), Col. Augustine Akobundu, (Rtd.) (Minister of State for Defence), Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo (Minister of State for Health), Mrs. Hauwa Bappa (Minister of State, Niger Delta Affairs), Mr. Kenneth Kobani (Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment), and Senator Joel Ikeya (Minister of Labour and Productivity).

President Jonathan also named the Minister of State, Health, Khaliru Alhassan, as the Minister of Health.

Mr Alhassan has been acting as Supervising Minister of Health since Prof. Onyebuchi Ckukwu resigned in 2014.

In his address, after the swearing in ceremony, the President told the new Ministers to brace up for the challenges that comes with being sworn in at an injury time such as now.

Libya Crisis: Warplane Strikes At Zintan Airport

Libya-AirportA war plane has launched air strikes on a western  town in Libya allied with the internationally recognized government on Tuesday, in what officials described as an attack by the rival government controlling Tripoli.

Libya is increasingly divided, with the Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni’s recognised government, and his allies locked in a conflict with a rival faction that took over the capital and established its own self-declared government.

“The military jet attacked, hitting the airport in the western town of Zintan in the mountains near the Tunisian border,” Airport official from Zintan said, adding that limited damage was caused near the runway while there were no casualties.

But an air strike by the rival Tripoli government would be an escalation of its war with Thinni’s forces which had been operating out of the east.

Zintan airport said in a statement that “A warplane conducted an air strike on the airport of Zintan while passengers were about to depart. “Two flights were canceled for security.”

Defense officials from Thinni’s government accused the Tripoli faction of carrying out the attack.

There was no immediate response from the Tripoli authorities.

Four years after the NATO-backed war toppled Gaddafi, Western governments fear Libya is sliding deeper into war as the rival factions battle for control and the country’s oil wealth.

U.N. peace talks among key factions has made little concrete progress. But negotiations are expected to continue this month in an attempt to form a united government and end hostilities.

Nigeria, US To Finance Pharmaceutical Warehouse In Abuja

Tablets and pillsNigeria and the United States are collaborating in the construction of a pharmaceutical warehouse in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Supervising Minister of Health, Mr Khaliru Alhassan, announced the US financial assistance on Tuesday.

Mr alhassan said the project, when completed, would reduce wastages and improve supplies of medical consumables to government hospitals across the nation.

“Nigeria will be saving a lot of money and this will  in ensure that our drugs are warehoused and are in one place,” he said.

The project, which is code-named “Warehouse In a Box” is expected to be completed within five months.

The development is in line with the National Drug Policy that stipulates that all medicines meant for the public should pass through the National Warehousing System for proper storage and maintenance of quality.

This has almost been impossible since 1945, as the Federal Medical Stores in Oshodi in Lagos State has been the only major warehouse doing this job.

However, if words are matched with actions, the $10 million jointly financed project by the Nigerian and the United States to float the “warehouse in a box” project in Abuja, would boost warehousing of drugs in Nigeria.

Bearing in mind that the current administration has barely three months to go, the Director, US Mission in Nigeria, Michael Harvey, said it would take charge of the project implementation to ensure its completion.

Three modern warehouses are expected be built and completed in July.

Health Workers Strike Commences In Some Parts Of Nigeria

Doctors_Strike_In_Nigeria2Health officials in some parts of Nigeria have started complying with the directive by the Joint Health Workers Association to embark on strike till the Federal Government implements agreements reached with the union two months ago.

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the action has paralysed activities at the Federal Medical Centre in Idi Aba area of the city.

Patients who thronged the institution for medical attention were turned back as a result of the action over, among other things, the non promotion of their members from salary 14-15 CONHSS, immediate release of circular on adjustment of salary since January 2014 and the release of circular on extension of retirement age to be backdated to February 2014.

However, an attempt to get the reaction of the hospitals management on this development proved abortive

While in the north western city of Kaduna, workers at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, also joined in the nationwide strike.

Though, workers at the centre had been on strike since last week, they resolved to join in the nationwide strike which commenced on Thursday.

Briefing reporters in Kaduna on Thursday, Secretary of the Union, Musa Lawal, said they would not call-off the strike until all their local and national demands were met by both the hospital management and Federal Government.

He directed members to stay back at home and disregard any call from the management.

He called on patients to look for alternative medical services, as the workers would not be available to attend to their needs. He said the union had served the hospital management a notice of the strike.

Apart from the National Eye Centre, which commenced full strike on Thursday, government hospitals in Kaduna such as the Barau Dikko Memorial Hospital, Yusuf Dantosho Hospital, Tudun Wada and National Ear Care Centre offered skeletal medical services to patients.

In the same vein, the Cross River State chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union’s Assembly of healthcare professionals have joined their counterparts nationwide to embark on the strike.

Speaking at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, State Chairman of the Union said the strike became necessary following Federal Government’s negligence to keeping to the request of the union as agreed between the two parties.

He added that all members would remain at home until they received directives from above to act otherwise.

FG Says Health Workers’ Strike ‘Unnecessary’

The Federal Government of Nigeria has described the industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Union as unjustifiable, unnecessary and unfortunate.

The supervising Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, on Thursday stated the government’s position on the matter at a news conference held in Abuja.

Dr. Alhassan said the decision of Health Workers’ executive to embark on strike was unnecessary because there were ongoing negotiations between the union and the government.

The Minister also said the call for strike suggested that there could be more to the incessant strikes by the union than what it was clamouring for.

Senate Confirms 11 Nominees As Ministers

The Nigerian Senate has confirmed eleven out of 11 nominees forwarded to the legislature by President Goodluck Jonathan as ministers.

The  ministers are Musiliu Obanikoro, Mohammed Wakil, Ambassador Aminu Wali, Mrs Akon Eyakenyi, Mrs Lawrencia Mallam, General Aliu Gusau Mohammed (Rtd), Mr Boni Haruna, as well as Dr Khaliru Alhassan, Alhaji Abduljelili Adesiyan, Asabe Ahmed and Dr Tammy Danagogo.

The screening of the 12th nominee, Hadjia Jamilla Salik from Kano State was deferred.

However, there was stiff opposition from lawmakers from Osun State over the confirmation of Abduljelili Adesiyan.

A lawmaker from Osun State, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, said that all three lawmakers from Osun State unanimously rejected the nominee on the basis of a credibility crisis, having been once accused of involvement in the murder of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige.

Mr Adesiyan, had told the Senate during screening that he had been wrongfully accused of having a hand in the murder of late Bola Ige, who was assassinated in his Bodija home, in Ibadan, Oyo State on December 23, 2001.