2017 Budget: House Decries Low Allocation To Health Sector

House of Representatives, Health, 2017 budgetThe House of Representatives has faulted the allocation of 304 billion naira to the health sector in the 2017 budget.

The Chairman of House Committee on Health Services, Chike Okafor, expressed his disapproval for the allocation on Monday at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The lawmaker was speaking at a meeting of lawmakers, health workers and representatives of donor agencies, where they discussed how to ensure the speedy revitalisation of primary healthcare centres across Nigeria.

Representative Okafor said that the funds allocated to the Ministry of Health would not in any way address the needs in the sector.

He highlighted the Federal Government’s revitalisation programme of about 1,000 primary healthcare centres as one of the needs in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, and the Deputy Director of Family Health Department at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ovuoraye John, commended the revitalisation programme.

They stated that the programme would address the challenges of manpower and equipment faced by the centres.

The experts, however, said that the programme must be backed by support from both the Federal Government and international agencies.

Other participants noted that although there was 80% improvement in terms of capital expenditure of the 2017 budget compared to that of 2016, the proposed health budget was cumulatively lower than that of 2016 due to naira devaluation.

President Buhari Proceeds On 10-Day Leave

Muhammadu Buhari, FRNNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has left the country for the United Kingdom to proceed on his annual vacation.

He is expected to resume work on February 6, 2017.

According to a press statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, “During the vacation, the President will also undergo routine medical check-ups.

“In line with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara have been duly communicated”.

While away, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will perform the functions of the Office of the President.

This is the third time the President will be going on leave since he assumed office.

In February 2016, he was away for five days and in June of the same year, he was away for 10 days.

Aregbesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On Recession

Argebesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On RecessionGovernor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has tasked radio stations on the urgent need to use their platforms to educate Nigerians on the implications of the economic recession in the country.

Aregbesola specifically said radio broadcasters have great roles to play in doing this as well as promoting the peace of the society by discouraging hate messages and promoting those that enhance communal peace and stability.

The Governor stated this at the official commissioning of Oodua FM, established by a former member of the House of Representatives and an actor, Mr Rotimi Makinde in Ile-Ife over the weekend.

He said the disturbing war carnage scenes beamed into homes daily by foreign channels should be enough lesson for all, that promoting hate messages is inimical to peace.

He then asked journalists to dedicate themselves to peace and do away with divisive issues in discharging their duties.

Aregbesola said radio stations must at this time of hardship do all they can to support the government’s efforts in promoting innovative and technology-based ideas to move the nation forward.

In his words, “my advice for the owner and the entire management of this station is to use the medium wisely to promote peaceful coexistence among the people in Yoruba land and Nigeria as a whole.

“Please do not politicise your activities at this radio station. Let this establishment be for the promotion of the highest values and ethos of Yoruba people.

“Strive to let this station be for the promotion of peace, harmony, love and affection among Nigerians especially Yoruba people.

“Shun any divisive tendency and use this station for educational purpose. Use it to promote our culture and balanced entertainment.

“Also, use this station to promote industry, productivity and efficiency as these, would go a long way in rescuing our society from the current recession we are all in.

The governor furthermore, condemned in its entirety the manner in which some broadcast media houses have been bastardizing the profession on self-serving interests.

He stressed that if not that his government’s programs and policies resonated with the people, one of the osun-based radio stations whose name he chose not to mention, would have thrown the state into confusion through its hate messages.

“The time has come for journalists to be at the forefront of nation building and do away with subjectivity, favoritism and personal emotions,” Aregbesola said.

Ahead Of U.S Election: Trump And Clinton Fight To Win Florida

hillary-clinton-donald-trump-debateRepublican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton entered the last three days of campaigning in the U.S. presidential election with competing events on Saturday in Florida, a swing state that could prove decisive in Tuesday’s vote.

Clinton and Trump are making their closing arguments to American voters, crisscrossing the United States in hopes of convincing last-minute undecided voters and rallying their bases to turn out enthusiastically on Election Day.

Opinion polls show Clinton still holds advantages in states that could be critical in deciding the election, but her lead has narrowed after a revelation a week ago that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into a new trove of emails as part of its probe into her handling of classified information while she was secretary of state.

The state opinion polls have found Florida as one of the most competitive among the swing states – those that are hotly contested because their voters can swing either to Republicans or Democrats. The 2000 presidential election was decided in Florida after a dispute over votes and recounting of ballots went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

The Real Clear Politics average of Florida opinion polls found Clinton with a lead of about 1 percentage point – indicating the race there is a virtual tie.

Trump held a morning rally in Tampa, Florida, where he continued to criticize Clinton for supporting the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in the wake of announcement that premiums are going to rise next year.

“It’s not going to matter because if we win I’m throwing it out anyway,” Trump said.

Trump will also campaign Saturday in North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado. Trump told the crowd he will also hold a campaign event in Minnesota this weekend, although one had not previously been scheduled. His campaign confirmed a rally scheduled for Wisconsin on Sunday has been canceled. Minnesota has not voted for a Republican since 1984.

Doctors Strike: Patients Plead For End To Industrial Action

Health-workers-strikePatients at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State have called on the Federal Government and doctors to come to an agreement and call off the strike.

Channels Television, during a visit to the hospital, noticed that the usual hustle and bustle was absent, as only the Consultants, Senior Officers and Youth Corp Members were working and the orthopedic ward was occupied with patients, most of whom were accident victims.

The industrial action embarked upon by Resident doctors and the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has resulted in paralytic service at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State.

Nevertheless, the patients expressed satisfaction on the services at the hospital in spite of the strike.

They also appealed to the Federal Government and the striking workers of the hospital to agree so that the industrial action may end and full services returned.

The acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Iliasu Ahmed, informed that the hospital has been receiving referrals from other hospitals from within and outside the state.

He added that the few medical personnel have been working hard to cope with the influx of patients.

Their plea came barely 24 hours before the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) called off the nationwide strike.

National President of the Association, Mohammed Askira, made the announcement during a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Saturday, June 25.

While stating that it’s decision was borne out of the need of alleviating the plight of Nigerians, who have been unable to access medical services during the period, he said official duties for the doctors will begin on Monday, June 27.

NSCDC Arrests Four Suspected Pipeline Vandals In Kogi

NSCDCThe Kogi State command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC) has nabbed four suspected petroleum pipeline vandals in Lokoja the state capital.

The State Commandant, Ochogwu Micheal, while parading the four suspects before pressmen at the command headquarters in Lokoja, said that they were arrested with crude oil by his anti vandal team while on patrol.

The State Commandant of the NSCDC, Mr Micheal stated that the suspects were arrested while transporting the crude oil to their illegal refinery.

The suspects, who were mainly youths, were arrested with over 20,000 liters of crude oil which was stolen from an NNPC pipeline that was being used for illicit operations.

Items recovered from the suspects include one speed boat, two boat engines, one pumping machine and three pieces of hose.

The State Commandant has warned parents to watch over their children to know the activities they engage in and what they do for a living.

NEMA Releases IDP Figures In North East

Agatu-IDPsA total of 1, 934, 765 displaced persons are currently living in formal camps, host communities and satellite camps in liberated communities as a result of insurgency in North Eastern States of Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi and Adamawa.

This was disclosed by Yola Camp Coordinator, Saad Bello, who took the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samanthan Power, round the facilities at Malkohi IDP Camp in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

He said there were 32 formal camps in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States with a total of 189, 783 IDPs.

Borno has 19 camps with 150, 858 IDPs; Yobe has 9 camps with 31, 988 IDPs and Adamawa 4 camps with 6, 937 IDPs.

The Camp Coordinator added that there were 14 satellite camps in liberated communities, mainly in Borno State with 216, 184 IDPs. The camps with the highest population are Ngala with 70, 505; Dikwa 53, 636; Bama 27, 000 and Damboa/Sabon Gari 25, 311.

Saad said host communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States have a total of 1, 391, 613 IDPs. Borno state has the highest with 1, 158, 362, followed by Adamawa with 125, 689 and Yobe 107, 562.

“Federal Government through the coordinating agency, NEMA and relevant line Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been trying to meet the needs of the IDPs in the provision of food, nutrition, non-food items (NFIs), temporary shelter, medicament, psycho-social therapy, security and protection”, he said.

He added that as the government continued in it’s efforts to meet the needs of the IDPs, more support is critically required for the IDPs across the three identified kinds of camps before they return back to their communities.

The U.S. Ambassador to UN, Samanthan Power, who led a high level delegation from US to the Malkohi IDPs camp and host communities told them that they were there to determine what more could be done to defeat Boko haram so that they can return back to their communities.

“I know how difficult these last years have been for you and on behalf of President Barack Obama, I express my sympathy and my condolences for all you have lost and our resolve to try to make things better together”, she said.

Presidency, Ministers Mourn Ocholi

James OcholiThe Presidential Villa has been in a sober mood as more reactions continue to pour in following the death of the Minister of State for Labour, Barrister James Ocholi, his wife and son, who were involved in a ghastly motor accident on Sunday.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, described him as a fabulous human being and one of the friendliest in the cabinet.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina described the death as a terrible tragedy.

He said that as an active member of the Federal Executive Council, the late Ocholi will be accorded the full honours when the council sits on Wednesday.

He said that the President misses Barrister Ocholi who he reposed implicit confidence in because of the role he played during the presidential election that brought President Buhari to power.

School Girl Abducted In Sokoto Released

sokotoThe school girl, Patience Paul who was abducted in Sokoto State and converted to Islam has been rescued.

The father of the girl, Mr Adaji Paul, an indigene of Ochobo in Ohimini Local Government Area of Benue State, revealed that his daughter had been missing since August 12, 2015.

Mr Isaac Paul in a press statement commended the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, the Sultanate Council, Commissioner of Police and all those involved in the search for his sister.

He disclosed that those who had a hand in his sister’s abduction have all been arrested and are at the Sokoto State Criminal Investigation Department.


Obiano Inspects Flyover Bridge Projects, Assures Completion In April

Obiano-Second-Niger-BridgeThe Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has assured citizens in Anambra that all the three flyover bridge projects in Awka will be completed by April this year.

He gave the assurance during his tour to the  three flyover bridges at Kwata junction where he expressed satisfaction over the quality of work done and the pace at which the contracting firm is pursuing the project in order to deliver on record time.

The bridge when completed will not only ease traffic but will also enhance the aesthetics of the capital city, encourage tourism and boost the state’s economic status.

Governor Obiano also inspected the ongoing coshed Rice Farm road in Anaku and expressed hope that the challenges of last year experienced by the investing firm, coshed farms, other farmers in the area in accessing their farms and evacuating their produce will be tackled as the contractor handling the project has been urged to expedite action towards accelerated construction before the rains come.

The contractor handling the project also allayed fears of any challenge and said major work on the swamp will begin next week.

The governor impulsively patronized a fish seller in the vicinity while making inquiries on how to improve fish drying in the area for surplus production and attainment of fish sufficiency and affordability for all.

Three Killed In Suspected Islamist Attack In Northern Kenya

boko haram captureAt least three men were killed in a village in Kenya’s coastal Lamu county in the early hours of Sunday during a raid by al Shabaab Islamist militants, police and the group said.

Gunmen speaking Somali came to Pandanguo village searching for men, a survivor said. They interrogated those they found and killed some, he said from a local hospital.

The village sits about 40 km (25 miles) inland from the Indian Ocean town of Lamu, which is popular with Western tourists, and is 100 km from the border with Somalia.

“They asked me questions in the Somali language. When I struggled to respond, they shot me but hit my hand,” said the victim, who asked not to be named.

Al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said in a statement the group was behind the Lamu attack.

Al Shaabab has said in the past its frequent attacks in Kenya are punishment for Kenya sending its troops into Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping force.

In 2014, at least 60 people were killed in the area in a spate of attacks that targeted non-Muslim men. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for those attacks.

Like the attack on Sunday, those attacks took place inland from the coast.

Ethiopia Seeks Donor Support To Meet Drought Needs

ethopiaEthiopia urged international donors on Sunday to offer aid promptly for relief operations to support 10.2 million people critically short of food, and said it was committed to allocating as much of its own funds as necessary.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen was speaking beside U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during a tour of an area where one of the worst droughts in decades has left children malnourished, killed livestock and damaged livelihoods.

The relief operation by the government, World Food Programme (WFP) and charities needs $1.4 billion this year. The government says donors have covered about 30 percent so far. The WFP says $500 million is needed to continue operations beyond April.

“Our government is committed to allocating the budget and mobilizing resources to the target groups,” Demeke told reporters at a food and cash distribution point in Ogolcho, a region south of the capital Addis Ababa.

“The action of the international community is very critical and that should be on time,” he added.

The drought is as severe in some areas as the one in 1984, when conflict and failed rains caused a famine that killed a million people. Ethiopia now has one Africa’s fastest growing economies, but the crisis is still straining the nation.

The government spent $272 million last year on relief and has allocated $109 million so far this year, a hefty burden in a country which remains one of the poorest in Africa per capita and where many people rely on subsistence farming.

Before flying by helicopter to Ogolcho, Ban met in Addis Ababa with government officials, U.N. agency staff and representatives of donors, such as the European Union and the United States, both major contributors.

“We are doing all we can, mobilizing necessary funding,” Ban said, praising the government for taking the lead while noting that “they have limited resources.”

Ban, in Ethiopia for an African Union summit that ended on Sunday, toured a small health post in the Ogolcho area where children are checked for malnourishment.

Ogolcho is in Ziway Dudga district, where the main harvest almost completely failed last year. More than 65 percent of the district’s population is dependent on relief food assistance. The north and east of Ethiopia have also been badly hit.

Ban was shown a site where food and cash transfers are made under one of Ethiopia’s flagship development initiatives, the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), through which about 7.9 million people around the nation who are deemed chronically food insecure receive support in return for community work.

The program was started more than a decade ago, and experts say the crisis would have been far greater without it.