Cross River State officially launches EU SIGN Project

Cross river, EU SIGNThe Cross River state government has officially launched the European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria, (EU SIGN) project, in Calabar, the state capital.

The health initiative, was witnessed by stakeholders in the health sector and representatives from the EU.

The project according to the Deputy Governor of the State, Professor Ivara Esu, has contributed greatly to the eradication of many preventable deaths among pregnant women and children, under the ages of five.

Immunization of children has over many decades, served as a single most important way parents can protect their children from serious diseases.

This perhaps, underscores the reason why the Cross River state government is leaving no stone unturned, towards ensuring that vaccines are readily available at health centers across the state, where women can take their children to, for immunization.

Cross River state is one of the 23 beneficiary states in Nigeria and the progress according to the government, is phenomenal.

The deputy governor expressed gratitude to the EU team, for all the support it has given to immunization governance in the state, which includes providing equipment and facilities to care for the vulnerable across the 18 local government areas of the state.

He also re-iterated the government’s effort to continue offering effective health care to women and children, especially those in the rural communities.

The Mr Esu who represented the governor, further appealed to the EU to complete all on-going projects in the state.

“I use these opportunity to urge the EU-SIGN to complete all on-going projects in the State such as our cold room and cold store system.”

Head of EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Michel Arrion, equally commended the state government for its commitment shown from the inception of the project since 2011 to its winding down in 2018.

He also commended the government for its ‘primary healthcare under one roof’ initiative, designed to promote efficient delivery and streamlining services, which are key to the EU-SIGN objective.

“Government has done well in trying as much as possible to strengthen the health care system, through the establishment of the ‘primary health care under one roof’ initiative, and we are very happy with that”.

“I will say, Cross River state is one of the states that we collaborate with and it has demonstrated reform mindedness, we are very happy to collaborate with the state.

“We are not only collaborating in the area of health and nutrition but also areas of micro project and water sanitation,” he added.

The EU had earmarked over 60 million Euros for the project, which according him has been worth it.

Also speaking, the Director General of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, sued for the full implementation of the ‘primary healthcare under one roof’ initiative, to enhance service delivery to the people.

Niger Delta Violence: Osinbajo Meets With Six State Governors

Osinbajo, Niger DeltaThe Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is meeting with some state governors and security chiefs at the Presidential Villa. 

Discussions are focused on ending cases of attacks by militants on oil installations in the Niger Delta region.

Some of the governors in attendance include; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State.

Others are the governors of Baylesa, Mr Seriake Dickson, and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.

Apart from the governors, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the Inspector General of Police are also in attendance.

The Federal Government is set to de-escalate military operations in the Niger Delta region to pave way for dialogue with the militant groups.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, had earlier said that a committee, which will be coordinated by the office of the National Security Adviser has been set up for the dialogue.

It will include the Petroleum Minister himself, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru, select thoughts leaders and influential individuals from the Niger Delta region.

FG Engaging Niger Delta Leaders To Address Oil Installations Attacks

Yemi Osinbajo on Niger Delta Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the government is engaging leaders and people of the Niger Delta to address the spate of attacks on oil installations in the area.

The Vice President made the statement on Monday at the Presidential Villa during a meeting with a delegation of the European Union led by the EU Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers have carried out series of attacks on oil installations in the region, ending exploration at some cases.

Professor Osinbajo said the attacks amounted to economic sabotage.

In a statement by his spokesman, Laolu Akande, he further said that besides reaching out to the people in the area, the government was also beefing up security.

According to him, the focus of the Buhari presidency “is to ensure that the man on the street in the Niger Delta receives the benefit from all that is available there”.

The Vice President also asked the leaders in the region to be accountable to the people.

Professor Osinbajo pointed out that the government was working round the clock to minimise the losses arising from the attacks.

“We are talking, we are ensuring that we minimise losses and we are stepping up security.

“We are also engaging the international oil companies to see what options exist,” the Vice President further stated.

On economic issues, the Vice President restated the government’s commitment to driving its diversification policy and encouraged investors from European countries to take advantage of the situation especially in the agro-allied and processing industry.

He restated the determination of the administration to ensure that the ease of doing business ranking in Nigeria moved up by at least 20 steps in the World Bank rating.

“The President has approved the composition of a Presidential Commission on the matter to be chaired by himself, the Vice President, and Industry, Trade and Investment Minister, Dr. Okey Enelamah as Vice Chairman.

“In the next few months, we should be seeing some changes,” he promised.

On the recent released list of recovered funds from individuals that had looted the nation’s funds without their names, Professor Osinbajo explained that releasing the names of the persons may jeopardise ongoing investigations.

Earlier, Ambassador Arrion said he came to hold consultations with the Vice President as a follow-up on President Buhari’s meeting with EU leaders during his visit to the continent.

He told the Vice President that “Nigeria has a huge market we can invest in. It is also a place we can export from”.

Both the Vice President and the European Union Envoy also discussed the EU trade deal with ECOWAS, the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, which was also one of the main issues tabled at the meeting of West African leaders over the weekend in Dakar.


Over 10 Nations Support Nigeria’s Northeast Rehabilitation Project

IDPs-Camp-Bomb in northeast NigeriaNigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has welcomed the offer of support from Ambassadors from several nations who are based in the country in the rehabilitation of the nation’s devastated northeast.

In a meeting on Monday with several Ambassadors, heads of mission and diplomats from the United States, Japan, Turkey, Canada, Australia and eight European nations, the Vice President thanked the envoys and their countries for their attention to matters of the north-east.

He also commended them and the so many international bodies and agencies who have acted and expressed their wishes to offer assistance.

‘The Critical Issue’

The Vice President said the issue of the rehabilitation of the northeast was a “matter close to the president’s heart”.

A statement by the Vice President spokesman, Laolu Akande, said Professor Osinbajo also pointed out that he was also very active in the overall coordination of the efforts.

According to him, the coordination of the rehabilitation plans is now the critical issue, expressing the expectation that the envoys would work with the Presidential Committee on the North-East (PCNI) headed by General T.Y. Danjuma.

He explained that the PCNI was now the new structure President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place to coordinate the efforts, clarifying that the PCNI now encompasses the Presidential Initiative on the North East, which was the former body in place.

According to the statement, the PCNI now also includes the Victims Support Fund, VSF, headed by Danjuma and Safe Schools Initiative formerly in the federal Finance Ministry.

“Like-Minded Ambassadors”

Professor Osinbajo added that his office would actively and directly be involved in overseeing the new structure in addition to his office’s responsibility to supervise the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, another active agency in the process.

The group of ambassadors called “Like-Minded Ambassadors on support for the North-East” was led to the meeting with the Vice President by the United States Ambassador, Mr James Entwistle, who expressed the interest of the international community to partner with the Federal Government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North East zone of the country destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“The group was at the State House to meet with the Vice President, to compare notes and make sure that we understand each other on the scope and size of humanitarian challenges and how we can coordinate when the time comes for the internally displaced to go home,” the United States Ambassador to Nigeria told reporters.

He also said the group had come to discuss the upcoming workshops and seminars and for the diplomats representing different countries to know areas where they could help, as some of them were already helping.

The Ambassador/Head of the European Union Delegation in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, also said that the EU had set aside a trust fund he described as a basket fund, from which funds would be drawn to offer assistance, especially in addressing the root causes of crisis in the Sahel region.

The EU nations represented at the meeting include Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands and Norway.

North-east Insurgency: Kano Enrols Affected Children In Special Schools

special education programmeAbout 100 children from Borno State, whose parents were either killed or displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east have been enrolled into the Kano State Special Education Programme.

Under the programme, Kano State will take care of their education from primary to tertiary level.

During a special guidance and counselling held for the children at the state government house, Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso urged wealthy individuals in the state to help cater for the needs of the kids.

For over eight years, the Boko Haram terrorists have killed thousands of people in the north-east region of Africa’s most populous nation and some other states in northern Nigeria. The attacks have left thousands of children displaced and their parents are no where to be found.

Authorities do not even know their names, hence, one of them was named after the Kano State governor, Musa Kwankwanso.

According to governor Kwankwanso, the children are the responsibility of any responsible democratic government.

It is expected that the Kano government under the Special Education Programme, will feed, cloth and shelter the kids. It will also cater for their health care needs.

However, if the parents or kinsmen of the children are found and fit to take full responsibility of their children, they would be allowed to leave. But the governor stressed that the decision would be that of the child to make.

Meanwhile, Governor Kwankwanso said the government would soon resume the search for other children whose parents were either killed or displaced, to add to the school which was not named for security reasons.

The EU had earlier on Friday announced a grant of $325 million, to support children who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.

Borno Insurgency: EU Grants $325mln To Support Affected Children

Internally_displaced_persons_2The European Union (EU) has announced a grant of $325 million, to support children who have been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno State.

Announcing the grant at a meeting in Abuja on Friday, the Head of the European Delegation in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, said the one year support would provide psychological first aid services to 45,000 children in the state.

Mr Arrion observed that the psychological needs of the children was a vital component of the EU humanitarian support.

Several children in the nation’s north-east have been affected by the over five years’ insurgency that has claimed over 13,000 lives. While some have lost their parents to bomb blasts and attacks by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group others have been deprived access to education, after their schools were razed by the dissident group.

The Nigerian government had established a Safe School Initiative to provide a safe studying environment for children with adequate protection from terrorists’ attacks.

The EU’s grant would further deepen the government’s efforts to cater for children in the region that that has witnessed less cases of terror attacks in the last two months.

Counter-terrorism efforts have increased against the Boko Haram sect after the oil-rich nation postponed its general elections on February 7. Nigerian troops, aided by troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, have reclaimed Yobe and Adamawa States from the terrorists and are making efforts to chase the dissidents out of their strong hold, Borno State.