FG Signs Seventy Million Euro EU Support For Health

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union (EU) on 70 million Euro support to Revamp Nigeria’s health sector.

According to the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, the fund will be used to strengthen the nation’s already weak health system and eradicate polio.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Michel Arrion emphasised the need to concentrate on reducing the nation’s burden of maternal child mortality.

Nigeria’s health sector has been grappled with inadequate financing as the National budgetary allocation fluctuates between 4.6 and 5.4 percent since 2011.

However, the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar spoke on behalf of benefiting states, advocating for the building of internal capacity in the states rather than waste the money on consultants.

Besides strengthening the already weak health care system in the country, 2.7 million children under five years of age and 850 pregnant women are expected to benefit from this funding in Adamawa, Bauchi, and Kebbi states.

European Union To Expand Cooperation With Nigeria

European Union, Ogbonnaya Onu, Science and technology
Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu

The European Union has announced plans to expand its partnership with Nigeria beyond the traditional field of aids and donations to mutually beneficial cooperation.

The head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ambassador, Michel Arrion, told the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, that the EU is looking at new areas and sectors that will ensure relevant contribution to the partnership between the regional block and Nigeria.

The new areas include energy, transport, science and technology and climate change.

The Minister of Science and Technology welcomed the expanded ties and requested that the extended cooperation include training and research, to help Nigeria move away from a resource based and commodities dependent economy.

The Minister also hosted the Portuguese Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Teresa Ribeiro and her delegation whose interest also lies within the expansion of economic and cultural ties with Nigeria, as well as on a convention that will eliminate double taxation in the area of business and investment between both countries.

The visit to the Minster was the second time Ambassador Arrion would officially visit the ministry and the Minister considered it a welcome development especially as Nigeria diversifies its economy.

EU Urges West Africa To Encourage Intra-migration

Michel-Arrion-European-Union-EUThe European Union (EU) is asking West African countries to encourage intra-migration among member states instead of migrating to Europe.

The leader of an EU delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Michel Arrion, said this at a meeting with the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, Mrs Abike Dabiri Erewa.

Speaking on Friday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Mr Arrion pointed out that there were more economic opportunities for educated people in Africa than Europe.

In her remark, Mrs Abike Dabiri urged Nigerians in the diaspora to join forces with President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade.

Anambra Govt. Seeks Developmental Intervention From EU

Obiano-Anambr-euAnambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has appealed to the European Union (EU) Delegation Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS), Michel Arrion, to bring intervention programmes to the state in the areas of girl child education, flood and power.

The appeal was made during the visit of the Ambassador to Anambra State, to seek out new areas of collaboration with the state government, as well as find out how the existing EU programmes in the state have been faring.

Governor Obiano noted that already, EU intervention programmes were on in two Local Government Areas and reported that they were thriving very well. He requested for its extension to other Local Government Areas.

The Ambassador on his part, announced the EU’s plan to undertake a five-year period programme in the state.

Mr Arrion also appealed to the state and the various communities where EU projects are located to take ownership of them for sustainability.

The Governor had on Wednesday mapped out 28 camps where Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) will take refuge in the event of the impending flood announced by the government.

EU, UNODC, NDLEA Seek Regional Cooperation Against Narcotics

NDLEA_NewThe European Union (EU) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are working with the Nigerian government to improve regional and international cooperation in drug control in order to strengthen regional and international cooperation in the fight against narcotic drugs.

This was made known during the visit of the EU Ambassador, Michel Arrion and country representative of UNODC, Ms. Mariam Sissoko to the NDLEA Headquarters in Lagos.

The EU Ambassador stressed the need to curtail the activities of drug syndicates through collaboration, adding that EU is providing funds for Project NGAV 16 – Response To Drugs and Related Organised Crime.

“At inter-continental level, the European Union finances a number of projects as part of the Cocaine Route Programme. The Cocaine Route programme with a budget of over 30 million Euros, covers 36 countries of which half are in Africa, essentially West-Africa, five in the Caribbean countries and the remaining in Latin and Central America” Arrion stated.

UNODC Country representative, Sissoko said that her office is working with the NDLEA to tackle the drug menace.

“We are working with the NDLEA to assist the Agency progress towards an intelligence-led organization equipped to deal with the challenges of the ever changing drug industry. We commend the Chairman and senior management of the NDLEA for decisively embarking on the change management process that is required to strengthen the intelligence-based response of NDLEA to drug matters”, she said.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade, who received the delegation said that regional and international cooperation is vital to global success in narcotic control.
He also noted that “drug trafficking like terrorism and arms smuggling represents a growing threat to global peace and security. Many lives are being lost on a daily basis around the world. Activities of drug cartels have turned the world into a global village thus making international partnership amongst drug law officers, donors and international institutions inevitable.

“This project demonstrates EU’s willingness to assist countries in the implementation of international drug conventions. It will also provide appropriate framework for regional drug control programmes. The challenges posed by illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse are enormous. We therefore believe that through shared responsibility, greater progress will be made in addressing the illicit drug phenomenon”.

Giade said the project will enhance technical and operational capacity in front line Agencies leading to targeted interventions on drugs and organized related crimes in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, adding that “it will help to manage drug abuse counseling, drug treatment and rehabilitation through the creation of a reliable network of quality drug treatment service providers”.

He also noted that the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019, a policy document for drug control is almost finalized. The master plan contains new ideas and new control approaches which will be implemented in the next four years.

The EU has procured 100 desktop computers for the smooth takeoff of a Data Exchange Centre, which will help to establish an evidence based approach in addressing the challenges of illicit drugs in the country.

Under the project an institutional assessment of the Agency was conducted which recommended capacity building and improved funding as the way forward for the Agency.

Fashola Advocates Regional Integration As Model For Global Development

Babatunde-Fashola-EGHINBETI2014Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday reiterated his call for regional integration as a development model across the globe.

Hosting the Head of European Union delegation in Nigeria, Mr. Michel Arrion at the State House, Marina, Fashola stressed the need for cooperation among nations of the world saying such would produce amazing results if well managed.

The Governor told his guest, “It is interesting that you hold the view that regional integration will soon catch up with the rest of the world. Well size is important, collaboration is also important and team work can produce amazing result”.

He, however, noted that the success of such collaboration would depend largely on the integrating nations playing their individual roles well and acting in the interest of the team adding that such arrangements sometimes run into murky waters when some of the collaborating nations feel that others are not playing their own roles well.

“I know that in some of these arrangements some people are feeling that they are doing more than they should and some are feeling that they are doing less than they should”, the Governor said adding that such notions create domestic problems for some of them.

Using the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as an example of regional integration, the Governor noted that “I should know because Nigeria is not just a member of the ECOWAS but she is a driver of ECOWAS itself. The integration of West African States is not without its own problems and of course its own benefits” insisting that it is a model in the making; there is nothing in the world which is perfect”.

Welcoming the envoy to the State, he promised that his administration would do whatever they could to assist him during his tenure to make his assignment “much more successful, much more enjoyable and much more eventful” adding that “we look forward to doing business with you”.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the diplomat had told the Governor that he was in Lagos to explore means of fostering greater relationships between the State and the EU noting that he has some experience in West African affairs having served over the years in countries such as Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia.

Mr. Michel Arrion, who said he was ready to share with Lagos the experiences of the European Union, which he described as “the most achieved integration union in the world”, said regional integration represents the future for many regions across the globe.