Reps To Investigate State House Clinic Over Aisha Buhari’s Claims

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate allegations of the deplorable condition of the State House Medical Centre.

The lawmakers also said they would probe the alleged deductions from the salaries and allowances of medical staff at the hospital.

READ ALSOAisha Buhari Calls For Probe Of State House Medical Centre

This comes three days after the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, called for a probe into how the budget for the medical centre is being utilised.

Mrs Buhari had on Monday decried the “lack of facilities”, including syringes despite the huge budgetary allocation and ongoing construction at the hospital.

The allegations, however, led to the motion sponsored on Thursday in Abuja by one of the lawmakers representing Akwa Ibom State at the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly.

Honourable Henry Archibong told the House at plenary that despite the allocation of almost N9 billion in the last three years, the State House Clinic does not have adequate facilities and equipment to cater to patients.

On Wednesday last week, the management of the hospital has also said it would seek the commercialisation of the centre to boost its revenue and augment the appropriation it receives from the government in the quest for a better qualitative service.

Buhari Meets With Three Northern Governors

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday held a meeting the three governors from the Northern region of the country.

The governors include Yobe State Ibrahim Geidam, Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal and Jigawa State, Badaru Abubakar.

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FG To Commercialise State House Medical Centre

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The management of the State House Medical Centre is seeking to be commercialised to offer qualitative and efficient services.

The hospital currently offers free medical services to patients at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Permanent Secretary, State House, Mr Jalal Arabi, revealed the decision on Wednesday in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Information at the State House, Atta Esa.

According to the statement, Arabi was reacting to a recent report on the state of the medical centre.

He said the management would “among other things seek the commercialisation of the centre to boost its revenue and augment the appropriation it receives from the government in the quest for a better qualitative service”.

The Permanent Secretary noted that the hospital is the only health centre in Abuja where patients are not required to pay for consultation.

He compared the facility to other government hospitals in the nation’s capital, saying the free services they offer were already affecting the grant they receive from the government.

“In other government hospitals in Abuja, patients are required to pay for consultation, treatment, laboratory tests and others but that has not been the case with the State House Medical Centre.

“The centre offers free services; nobody pays a kobo for hospital card, consultations or prescriptions and this has taken a toll on the subvention the centre receives from the government.

“We have some of the best equipment in the country. For instance, to maintain the MRI and other scan machines, we spend close to N2 million monthly; yet we do not charge a dime for those who require MRI scans in the clinic,” Arabi said.

He was, however, hopeful that the decision would ensure that those eligible to use the clinic are NHIS compliant whose Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) are domiciled in the centre.

‘‘We have already created a NHIS desk at the clinic where patients will be required to authenticate their profile. If their HMOs are registered in other hospitals they will be required to transfer to the centre.

‘‘This is another way through which we can boost revenue generation at the hospital and this has started yielding results because the stark reality is there is no free lunch anywhere,” he said.

Gowon Visits President Buhari At The Villa

Yakubu Gowon Visits Muhammadu Buhari At The Villa Former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), says the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigeria, after receiving medical attention in the United Kingdom has proven critics wrong on the President’s state of health.

General Gowon said this during an interview with State House correspondents after a private meeting with President Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.

The former Military Head of State who also came to pay a welcome visit to the President from his medical vacation, said “the other thing is to thank him very much indeed for ringing me when he was in London, to commiserate with me on the death of my sister and this was rarely very gracious of him.

“I’m sure that also helped to make Nigerians to rejoice, especially those who are sending all those unfortunate messages about him. It was a good thing that was done and Nigerians know that yes he’s still well and for him to be able to ring.

“This is rarely the purpose of what brought me here and then to encourage him to continue to his work to the best of his ability”.

He then wished President Buhari well as he braces up to tackle the challenges confronting the country.

State House Says 5.196b Naira Released From Its 2016 Budget

Jalal Arabi, State House, 2016 Budget
State House Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi

The State House says it has received a total of 5.196 billion naira as capital release from the 2016 budget amounting to 47.5% of its budget.

This was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Jalal Arabi, who said the released amount of 4.8 billion naira (93.1%) has so far been expended on the projects for which the funds were tied and released.

A balance of 5.745 billion naira representing 52.5% is yet to be released.

Mr Arabi also disclosed that for the 2017 budget, the State House had reprioritised projects in the medical centre and suspended most of its capital expenditure proposals at the moment.

However, he said that the State House would take advantage of the supplementary budget window when necessary.

The Permanent Secretary made the disclosure on Thursday at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties who were on an oversight visit to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The committee was inaugurated by the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, and has Representative Nasiru Daura as its chairman.

Mr Arabi said that the 2017 budget has been reviewed downwards to 13,567,979,278.72 naira for 2017 from 16,563,395,992.00 naira.

He noted that all allocations for the 2016 recurrent expenditure had been received up to and including the month of December 2016, adding that the capital releases were made for three out of five subheads in the State House budget.

Earlier, Representative Daura said that the lawmakers were at the State House to determine the level of implementation of the 2016 budget, and also on a fact finding mission to inspect completed and ongoing projects at the Presidential Villa.

He observed that the visit would help to correct the ongoing misinformation about State House, as well as curb corruption and ensure that Nigeria comes out of recession.

President Buhari Pledges Continued Support For Guinea Bissau

Muhammadu Buhari, Guinea BissauPresident Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday affirmed that as the Chairman of ECOWAS Contact Group on Guinea Bissau, he would do his best to ensure that the country does not relapse into crisis.

The President made the declaration on Wednesday at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau, Umar El-Mukhtar Sissoco-Embola, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He expressed satisfaction on the gradual return of normalcy to the West African country.

In a statement by his spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, President Buhari assured Mr Sissoco-Embola of Nigeria’s continued support to political stability in Guinea Bissau.

He, however, urged the leaders to work hard to reach a lasting solution to the political crisis in the country.

The President further congratulated the new Prime Minister on his appointment and asked him to put the interest of the country and its people ahead of everything else.

In his remarks, the visiting minister Sissoco described President Buhari as his role model, adding that his country would continue to thank the government and people of Nigeria for standing by them in their moment of crisis.

He also pledged his country’s commitment to improving ties with Nigeria.

Dalung Says VOA Interview Was Edited Out of Context

solomon-dalungNigeria’s Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, has cleared the air on his interview with the Voice of America, Hausa Service where he was reported to have said the Super Eagles do not need to attend the 2018 World Cup since they can’t win the trophy.

Mr Dalung said that the interview which he granted four months ago was misinterpreted, insisting  he has total confidence in the team to pick the sole tick in their group for Russia 2018.

He said that the interview was edited midway into a more comprehensive conversation and the act has sent a misconception about his commitment to the ongoing World Cup campaign.

“The statement was taken out of context. It was part of a comprehensive interview I granted four months ago when I was reacting to the status of African nations in global competitions and also football administration globally. Where do we stand?

“The question also was that whether Nigeria or any African country is likely going to host the World Cup. My reaction was what was captured.

“Unfortunately, the interview did not avail those who listened the complete narrative so that they can benefit from the background with which the response was taken,” he explained.

He maintained that the Nigerian government and the Ministry of Sport remain committed to ensuring that Nigeria re-positions itself as a global player in football and lead other African countries to the top of the game.

He urged Nigerians to support the Super Eagles to ensure that they do not lose the momentum that is in their favour in the 2018 World Cup qualifying series.

He added that his selfless contributions so far in Super Eagles’s quest for qualification, particularly ahead of the away win in Zambia, contradicts the impression that he was not in support of the team.

Nigeria-Benin Republic Ties Exemplary – President Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria, Benin RepublicPresident Muhammadu Buhari has described the security and economic cooperation between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin as very beneficial to both countries.

The President on Thursday in Abuja noted that it should serve as a model for other countries.

He made the remarks when he received the outgoing Ambassador of Benin to Nigeria, Mr Mouftaou Laleye, at the State House in the Federal Capital Territory.

President Buhari promised to improve the historic relations between both countries on other key strategic areas for the benefit of their citizens.

He said that he was very pleased with people-to-people integration between Nigeria and Benin, adding that his administration would continue to pursue and promote friendly relations with neighbouring countries.

“I don’t take neighbourliness lightly, to promote mutual interests, both strategic and tactical, you have no option but to cultivate good relations with your neighbours.

“Our countries and our two peoples have no alternative but to remain close,” the President said.

He commended the outgoing ambassador for working hard to improve relations between both countries in the past eight years.

He described Mr Laleye’s long period of service in Nigeria as a mark of the confidence reposed on him by his country’s leaders.

In his remarks, the Ambassador attributed his success to the strong support he got from Nigeria’s past and present leaders.

He commended President Buhari for stabilising relations between Nigeria and Benin, a relationship he described as brotherly.

President Buhari Meets With Gowon

Buhari GowonPresident Muhammadu Buhari has met behind closed doors with a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) at the Presidential Villa.

The meeting was held inside the President’s office for about 30 minutes.

The former military leader did not speak to reporters after the meeting.

The meeting of the two leaders was the second one in two months. The first was in August, just before the former head of state travelled abroad.

Among other matters, the August meeting focused on the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption campaign, which the former leader expressed support for.

In a chat with newsmen after the meeting, he encouraged the Nigerian leader to deal with the situation which he said had created serious setback to Nigeria nationally and internationally.

He also expressed delight at the Federal Government’s determination so far in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents and efforts to rescue the missing Chibok girls.

General Gowon said at the time that the government would soon get credible information that would lead to the rescue of the girls abducted in April 2014 from their school’s dormitory in Borno State.

He urged Nigerians to be patient with the President who he said took over power at a time Nigeria was witnessing dwindling crude oil price.

It was the same month that President Buhari agreed to the idea of swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls and just as Gowon predicted, the government went on to secure the release of 21 of the abducted Chibok girls.

The release was the outcome of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Boko Haram, brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss Government.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also said his government would sustain efforts to free the remaining girls, kidnapped by the jihadist group.

 “About 100 more (girls) are still in the hands of the terrorists,” Buhari told reporters in Berlin after a meeting with German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. “We hope we’ll get some … intelligence to go about securing the balance.”

Chibok Girls Rescue: Buhari Commends Red Cross’ Role

muhammadu-buhari-commends-red-cross-chibok-girlsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the role played by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the release of the 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls.

The President, however, urged the group to sustain its humanitarian interest in Nigeria.

He made the remarks on Monday at a meeting with the ICRC President, Mr Peter Maurer, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Nigeria’s Biggest Problem

Buhari said his administration was prepared to continue talks with the Boko Haram insurgents,” as long as they agree to involve international agencies like ICRC.

“We’ve seen the result of recent talks, 21 of the Chibok girls are back,” the President said, referring to the role played by ICRC in providing immediate humanitarian assistance to the girls who had spent over 900 days in the hands of their abductors.

He pointed out that Nigeria’s biggest problem was perhaps, the issue of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

President Buhari also noted that there were over two million of them, “made up of over 60% women and children.

“About 60% of the children don’t know their parents, or where they come from.

“It is weighing heavily on government,” he stated.


Difficult Time For Nigeria

President Buhari said rebuilding destroyed infrastructure was a priority of the government, adding that the G7 had equally indicated support, which Nigeria heartily welcomed.

“We appreciate all your efforts.

“I am pleased you recognised that our military is cooperating with civil authorities and respecting humanitarian issues.

“It is a difficult time for Nigeria.

“About 27 of our 36 states couldn’t pay salaries when we came last year and we are still struggling with that.

“But we will get out of it,” the optimistic President said.

In his remarks, Mr Maurer said the ICRC’s operation in the Lake Chad region was the second largest in the world, after Syria.

He identified the nutritional, health, water and sanitation issues in the Northeast region, in addition to rebuilding of infrastructure.

“We are ready to engage and play supportive role in responding to crisis in Nigeria.

“Security is a lot better than it was a year ago, but humanitarian problems are serious and don’t disappear so quickly,” Maurer pointed out.

The ICRC President commended Nigeria for granting increased access to detainees and exchanges with the Armed Forces.

He said the detention facilities had improved, citing the cases of better health conditions and fewer deaths recorded.

Nigeria Will Keep Faith With ECOWAS Bank – President Buhari

Buhari-Mamma-Ecowas BankPresident Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will fulfill its obligations to the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

The President made the pledged despite the nation’s economic downturn caused largely by fallen prices of oil in the international market.

He said on Monday when he received the President of EBID, Mr Bashir Mamma, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital: “We may be limping because of fallen oil prices, but we will fulfill our commitments to the bank.

“We may have fallen behind, but we will live up very soon.

President Buhari shakes hand with Mr Mamma

“We will maintain the objectives of setting up the bank, which is to help our less financially endowed neighbours,” President Buhari said.

On his part, Mr Mamma disclosed that EBID is the financing arm of ECOWAS.

He said the ECOWAS bank has been existing for about 30 years and was initially set up as a fund, “to help less developed West African states, but we now cover all parts of the sub-region”.

The EBID President added that the bank set up Ecobank and has also established an airline, after the national airlines of most member countries collapsed.

Dalung Says Siasia Has Not Resigned, Gernot Rohr’s Appointment Unofficial

Solomon Dalung, Samson Siasia, Gernot RohrThe Minister of Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, says he has not been officially informed of the appointment of a new foreign coach for the Super Eagles by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The NFF had in early August, appointed a German, Gernot Rohr, to manage the Eagles, despite Mr Dalung’s preference for a local coach.

He claimed that Coach Samson Siasia, who led the Nigeria’s U-23 football team to win a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, had not resigned, contrary to media reports, although his contract with the NFF had lapsed.

Siasia had told reporters that he had on August 27 resigned as the coach of Nigeria’s U-23 football team because of what he describes as “a disrespectful system”.

Mr Dalung’s frowned at the treatment meted to Siasia by the NFF, alleging that they withdrew his official car in Abuja while he was battling to secure a medal for Nigeria in Rio.

While hinting that he had met with Siasia on Monday, he said Nigeria needed him ‎in football development.

Samson Siasia
Coach Samson Siasia

The Sports Minister further pointed out that even if the NFF would not re-engage him, the Federation should at least, give him some peace of mind to enable him make his contributions in a personal capacity.

He noted that it would be sad to have such coach leave Nigeria for another country out of frustration, just like many athletes did as witnessed during the Rio Olympics.

Abysmal Outing Of Team Nigeria

Dalung also cleared the air on the $390,000 donation to Siasia and his team by a Japanese surgeon, saying that after he met the donor in Rio, he was convinced there were no strings like match-fixing attached to the donation.

He attributed the abysmal outing of the Nigerian Olympic contingent to late release of funds and inability to develop home-grown talents.

The Minister emphasised the need for the National Sports Commission which he said was unfortunately scrapped by a government committee that recommended merger of ministries.‎

He was at the State House on Tuesday in Abuja to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s outing at the ‎just concluded Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Since Team Nigeria were able to win bronze medal in football, Mr Dalung urged the President to host the team.