Osinbajo Tasks Nigerians On Water Sanitation And Hygiene

Osinbajo Tasks Nigerians On Water Sanitation And Hygiene The Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has tasked all key players in the water sector to join forces to ensure success in the achievement of the country’s water sanitation targets.

Unveiling the country’s policy documents on water sanitation and irrigation in Abuja, Professor Osinbajo said that improving water sanitation and hygiene in all parts of the country would improve the living conditions of the people.

“Despite the fact that we all seem to agree that water is life and critical to human existence, it is amazing how lightly we take issues of water management.

“Excess water or insufficient water not properly managed is devastating to both man and environment,” he said.

Professor Osinbajo said that although the country has achieved 69% success on water supply and 29% on sanitation, 66 million Nigerians without access to safe water and 110 million without adequate sanitation resulting to high rate of child mortality is a trend Nigeria must change.

“It is also a well-known fact that Nigeria did not achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals – MDGs for water and sanitation.

“Some of the reasons adduced for this include primarily, the lack of effective coordination among stakeholders and the inability to harness the required funds.

“There are about 66 million Nigerians without access to safe water and 110 million without adequate sanitation. Consequently, about 150,000 children under the age of 5 die annually from diarrhea-related diseases that are mostly traceable to unsafe drinking water.

“The situation is even more depressing in the rural areas where polluted ponds and streams remain the only source of water for drinking and other household chores.

“This trend must change,” he said.

Medical Association Tasks Govt. On Improved Healthcare Delivery

medical doctorsThe Nigerian Medical Association, Imo State Chapter, has urged both the Federal and State governments to be more committed to creating programmes and policies that would aid effective delivery of quality healthcare for the people.

The chairman of the association in Imo State, Dr. Darlington Akukwu, made the demand during the official flag-off of free medical outreach and services to the people of Ehime Mbano, Ihitte Uboma and Obowo Local Government area of Imo state.

While lauding the initiative by the government, the NMA chairman says it is necessary for the government to put in place a permanent structure that would enhance quality healthcare delivery.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Isaac Oyewole, has said that the Federal Government, through the Millennium Development Goals office, have contributed meaningfully to ensuring quality healthcare delivery.

Over 3,000 indigenes of the area benefited from the free medical services, as about 200 health workers including doctors and nurses have been drafted to carry out this assignment.

The Minister, who was represented by a Director from the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Christopher Ugboko, said the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health and the Millennium Development Goals office has done a lot in delivery quality healthcare to Nigerians even though the government will still do more for the people.

The government says ongoing discussion with the country director of UNICEF, shows that the agency is willing to partner with the Imo State government to ensure that the free medical outreach is replicated across the 27 local government areas of Imo state.

While commending the initiative, the NMA chairman urged the government to invest more in the health sector and put in place a permanent and lasting structure that would be to the benefit of the people.

UK’s DFID Official Asks Buhari To Build An Inclusive Society

Sina Fagbenro-ByronThe incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to focus on building an inclusive society that will reduce poverty in Nigeria and promote development.

A Regional Director of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Mr Sina Fagbenro-Byron, gave the advice on Friday while giving his opinion on the expectations from the incoming administration.

Mr Fagbenro-Byron’s said the Buhari’s administration is expected to focus on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set for the 2016 to 2030 period.

“We had the MDGs with a new set of sustainable development goals within 2016 to 2030. Some of the goals are to deal with poverty, ensure that things are inclusive, deal with diversities and potential conflict.

“Buhari tends to create a sought of calm environment. They should learn a lesson from the past government,” he said, pointing out that for the administration to be able to deliver good governance, it would need some elements of capability and capacity.

He emphasised the need for the administration to go beyond party’s campaign promises and set out a plan of actualising them.

“They should have a clear vision. It behoves on the new administration to look at what strengths they have.

“For the first time, we are actually having a leadership that determined in clear terms where we are going.

“We must demonstrate love for each other to be able to move the nation forward. We must pull out visions from the abstract to actual national development plans that could be measured, with visible indicators and build an inclusive society. Nigeria has a massive population and the mass of its population and diversity must be adequately managed.

“The deliverance of governance is a two-way thing. Nigerians must support our government to be able to achieve set goals. We should have a clear mind. It starts with what the government must do and what we must do together.

“It is not easy but you can deliberately achieve it,” Mr Fagbenro-Byron stressed.

He decried the poor study of history in Nigeria, stressing that there was no way the nation could give proper orientation to its young ones without history.

“When you do not teach history you don’t learn lesson. Orientation starts with the body language of our leaders and good communication with the people.

“I will like to see a team that is ready to go. I will like to see a people that is paying attention to its government a government that will focus basically on what it is saying,” he said, giving his expectations from the incoming government.

Science and Technology Minister Advocates Proper Funding In Technology Development

Bulama MinisterThe Minister of Science and Technology, Dr ‎Abdul Bulama, has appealed to African leaders to ensure adequate funding and policies that would develop science and technology in the continent.

The Minister told a gathering of experts on science and technology in Abuja that achieving the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 by developing countries is directly linked to its focus on the adoption of new technologies and innovation.

The need to address critical issues related to healthcare, food security, water safety and environmental sustainability brought the experts from the African continent together, and the Minister noted that while Africa is endowed with human and natural resources, its ability to convert all of these into wealth, which is in science and technology is said to be underutilized.

“Developing countries stand to gain high rewards from new technology required in achieving the sustainable development goals. The low performance of these countries in attaining MDGs is largely due to low application of technology”, he said.

He called on African governments to redouble their efforts in achieving technological growth.

The Minister of Information Technology, Dr Mobola Johnson, also told the gathering that technology remains central to any nation’s development. She listed measures taken by Government to transform the sector.

“We are supporting the development of innovation in Nigeria by facilitating innovation hubs similar to the technology incubation centres we have in Science and Technology in Nigeria.

“There are two innovation hubs right now, one is in Lagos and one is in Calabar, and basically what we do is that we support young software entrepreneurs who have good software ideas but are unable to take them any further for whatever reason; either lack of capital or lack of support or mentorship, internet bandwidth, and all those kinds of things.”

However, for some other experts, funding of innovative technology alone would not help in achieving results but ideas backed with political will.

Government Promises Free Healthcare For Schools

PupilsThe Federal Government has concluded arrangements to ensure that as from September 2014, all pupils in primary schools across the country would have unlimited access to healthcare delivery services at no cost, in a concerted effort to reduce infants and maternal mortality rate in the country.

Beyond this, Nigeria is also set to be the first in the world to begin the practice of full deployment of mobile insurance scheme starting from next week Monday in Lagos, Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr Femi Thomas, disclosed this to Cross River State Governor, Liyel Imoke, during a courtesy call at the Government House in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Dr Femi Thomas said that he was in the state to sensitize the various stakeholders of the new programmes introduced in the scheme, for them to be more aware and in turn prepare to accommodate this development.

He maintained that the scheme has also being expanded to accommodate pregnant women and children, as well as the vulnerable in the state alongside flexible payment plans for other users of the scheme.

Responding, Governor Liyel Imoke said that one of the key challenges of healthcare delivery in the country has been the cost, but with the insurance scheme and its new packages, access to qualitative treatment would become possible.

Governor Imoke noted that the new plans by the scheme would lead to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Nigeria, and urged the Federal Government to guard against fraudulent actions.


Anambra Primary Schools Get 5 Billion Naira For Facility Upgrade

The Anambra State Government has released another 5billion Naira for continued rehabilitation of both public and mission schools in the state.

This comes one week after the presentation of 5billion Naira Conditional Grant Scheme for accelerated execution of projects in various Local Government Areas of the state, towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

In a ceremony at the Women Development Center, Awka, the State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, who presented the cheque alongside the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr. Suleman Dikko, announced that his administration though gradually coming to an end, would ensure total transformation of the education sector in the state.

When in 2011, Anambra State Governor handed over schools previously owned by missions back to them; he resolved to provide continued financial resources to assist in the renovation and reconstruction of the dilapidated buildings in those schools.

According to the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Uju Okeke, the Governor further embarked on procurement of school buses, laptops and instructional materials, and presently, over 250,000 laptops and over 400 buses have been distributed to schools. All those the commissioner said were geared towards producing high quality brains and better leaders of tomorrow.

While the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleman Dikko, maintained that the educational policy of Anambra State was one to be copied because of its direct impact, the Country Director of United Nations International Children’s Education Fund, UNICEF, Charles Nzuki, urged all to invest in education.

While over 1.6billion Naira went to the Catholic mission primary schools, over 1.1billion Naira went to the Anglican; another 2.3billion Naira went to the public schools, the State Governor, before the disbursement of the cheques, said that he was not yet done with the educational transformation of the state.

UNICEF has selected Anambra State out of the states in the South East of Nigeria for Private Public Partnership, PPP, which will be launched in March 2014.

Okonjo-Iweala Expresses Concern Over Eradication of Poverty

The Minister for Finance and Co-Chair of the Global Partnership, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has expressed concern over the progress made by developing countries to eradicate poverty and make the voices of poor people heard.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala spoke at a meeting to strategize on ways to ensure developing countries use domestic resources to tackle poverty at the grassroots.

She noted that in spite of on-going discussions and preparations towards an inclusive development, post-2015 agenda remains the big concern for governments especially ahead of the first high-level meeting for global partnership in Mexico.

The meeting, attended by representatives of developed and developing countries, top government officials, was aimed at strategizing towards enhancing development effectiveness among countries and develop domestic resources.

Citing the fact that the Millennium Development Goals deadline of 2015 is fast approaching, stakeholders agreed that phenomenal gains have been made but were quick to note that poverty and inequality in broad dimensions remained the critical challenge.

The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, and Indonesian Minister of State for National Development, Armida Alisjahbahna, agreed that as the global community strives to maximize progress and carving out new agenda for inclusive and sustainable development in post 2015, stakeholders of the global partnership for effective development are not relenting in their efforts.

They, however, warned that if governments of developing countries do not effectively mobilize domestic resources to support the much needed development with poverty eradication at its core, there would be serious consequences.

However, many countries would be looking forward to the first high level meeting of the Global Partnership to resolve key challenges impeding growth.

Gov. Obi Boosts 2013 MDG Projects With 5 Billion Naira

Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi, alongside the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Dr Precious Gbeneol has commenced the implementation activities for the 2013 MDGs Conditional Grants Scheme in Anambra State.

Launching the scheme at the Women Development Center in Awka, the State Governor handed over a cheque of 5billion Naira from Anambra State Government to the MDG Office in the state, for accelerated implementation of projects in the areas of water, health, agriculture and education.

Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning and officer in charge of MDGs in the state, Professor Stella Okunna, highlighted the implication of the final push in the state MDG Projects.

The Millennium Development Goals, partnership between the Federal and the State Government started in 2007 to jointly fund development projects, aimed at fast-tracking the achievement of the development goals in Nigeria.

Already, the Local Government Areas have been included in the partnership and under the 2011 round of the MDG and the Conditional Grants Scheme, CGS, a total funding of 600 million Naira was disbursed to three local government areas with 50% counterpart funding from State and Local Government.

A total of 304 projects across water, health and education were delivered in the three local councils. In 2012, the Local Government MDG Implementation areas got to 14 and about 1.6 billion Naira was utilised. The Governor lent credence to those facts and maintained that an increased effort in 2014 would be experienced.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Precious Gbeneol, announced additional eight Local Government Areas to be included in the MDG scheme in Anambra to further scale up the intervention.

The 2013 MDG Conditional Grants Scheme interventions for 2013 include Abattoirs, regional large water schemes, medical staff quarters, boreholes and other small town projects.

Corruption To Be Blamed For Failure To Meet MDGs – Suraj

An anti-corruption activist, Olanrewaju Suraj, has blamed Nigeria’s poor assessment in achieving the Millennium Development Goals on political corruption which the citizenry allowed to fester.

“The bane of Nigeria’s crisis is political corruption and political corruption is why we could not meet the MDGs,” he said.

In a message to commemorate the 2013 World Anti-corruption Day, on Monday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “corruption is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and needs to be taken into account in defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Suraj blamed the government for lacking a clear cut plan in putting an end to corruption.

“Corruption has crippled the government’s efforts in achieving success in the MDGs. Corruption thrives because moral values are not well promoted in schools,” he stressed.

“It boils down to the government,” he said and added that “the erosion of the culture of the people and our tradition to uphold and appreciate our values in terms of promoting it on the part of the government.

“Rarely would you see a clear defined agenda or programme of action to continue sustaining the values of the people.”

He decried the absence of basic moral instruction in primary and secondary schools across the nation.

The failure of government to provide basic social amenities for the people is the vacuum criminals take advantage of by providing succor for the people.

As part of this year’s activities, each country is expected to showcase what it has been doing to mitigate encumbrances to the achievement of the MDGs but Nigeria has not been able to achieve much despite the fact that the problems and solutions have been identified.

He however stressed that the citizenry should be held accountable for the failures experienced.

“We need to stop lamenting and we need to stop blaming the government for many of these anomalies,” he said and added that “the people will need to start taking responsibilities for our failure to ask the appropriate questions, to stand up when it is right to say no this cannot continue.”

He blamed the citizenry for allowing charlatans to attain leadership positions.


Governor Obi Flags Of Multiple Road Projects

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi has flagged off the construction of the 2 bridges across the popular Agulu Lake in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The project which will gulp a total cost of 2billion Naira is being handled by 2 different construction companies, with March 2014 fixed for completion.

In addition to the bridges, over 5 road construction projects in various communities have also been flagged of.

Mr. Peter Obi said the flag off of many projects is part of the final launch towards the realization of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, MDG in Anambra State.

The Governor also flagged off the Ekwulobia – Ezinifite road which is a 7 kilometre stretch, costing 800 million Naira. The State Commissioner for Works, Calistus Ilozumba said the contractors have been fully mobilized.

The flag off ceremony had a large turnout of Agulu people in attendance.

Oyo Orders 20,000 YES-O Cadets To Re-Apply

The Oyo state government has ordered all the 20,000 cadets of the Youth Empowerment Scheme of Oyo State (YES-O) to re-apply for the scheme.

In a statement issued by the Chairman of Oyo State Agency for Youth Development, Mr. Gbenga Olayemi in Ibadan yesterday, the directive for the cadets to re-apply was borne out of the need for the state government to re-invigorate the scheme for optimum performance.

It would be recalled that the YES-O scheme was inaugurated by the state governor on December 1st, 2011, with a total of 20,000 youths offered employment.

Although the scheme was aimed at serving as a stop-gap for most of the unemployed youths, a number of them have since been given permanent employment by the state government in various ministries, and agencies.

Some of them have also been made to undergo a three-month specialized training in different vocations such as Auto-tronics, tie and dye, tiling and interlocking, food processing and graphic arts with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF),while others have been trained in Agro-allied business by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Governor Ajimobi had, however, at various times, expressed displeasure at the conduct of some YES-O cadets, saying that his office had been inundated with the report of harassment and extortion of members of the public by the cadets.

He also said that he was aware of the clandestine acts by the opposition in infiltrating the scheme with a view to making use of some officials in dealing with innocent members of the public so as to discredit the scheme.

Olayemi directed all the cadets, who are to be demobilized immediately, to re-apply from their respective ward/local government, adding that criteria for fresh recruitment would include educational qualifications and physical fitness, among others.

Nigeria Meets One MDG Target, Ahead Of Deadline

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has announced that Nigeria has met the target in the fight against hunger, ahead of the 2015 deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

This was revealed by the FAO Director-General, José da Silva, in a statement, where he revealed that Nigeria is among 38 countries that have met the targets by reducing the number of people living below $1 a day by half.

This makes Nigeria one of the countries that have met MDG number one.

However, it is not clear where the country stands with regard to MDG target 1.b which stipulates achieving “full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people”.

According to the statement, the progress of the affected countries was measured between 1990 to 1992 and 2010 to 2012.