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After 10 years polio-free, 2 unconfirmed cases reported in Kogi

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Two unconfirmed cases of the polio virus have been reported in Kogi State after being polio-free for 10 years.

Dr Abubakar Yakubu, Executive Director, Kogi Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KSPHCDA), disclosed this on Friday at a stakeholders meeting with the Social Mobilisation Committee (SMC) for National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) in Lokoja.

Yakubu said that the two cases of polio virus were reported in Ankpa and Dekina local government areas (LGAs) of Kogi, saying however, that they were yet to be confirmed.

“Kogi State has been polio-free for more than 10 years now, but unfortunately we are beginning to get some very discouraging signals.

“In fact, recently there were unconfirmed reports yet, of polio virus in Ankpa and Dekina LGAs of Kogi State; although it has not been confirmed.

“’But we have dispatched a team of experts to take samples of those cases and carry out appropriate investigations; the team is already on that task.

“This is why we need to intensify our social mobilisation and campaign, especially for this NIPDs, that is centered on polio vaccination for our children and some other commodities,” Yakubu said.

He, therefore, appealed to all the SMC members drawn from various fields and organisations, to take the assignment very seriously.

“The health of our children, mothers and us, is very important to everybody, including the leader of our state, Gov. Yahaya Bello.

“I want to believe that whatever role we play; we are doing it in the interest of our children, mothers, and the state at large. I pray that God will help us achieve this goal,” Yakubu said.

On his part, Mr Adolphus Okoro, Technical Assistant, National Emergency Routine Immunisation Coordination Centre (NERICC) NPHCDA, Abuja, urged Kogi government to strengthen the SMC to function maximally for effective mobilisation and service delivery across the state.

Mr Olorumaiye Theophilus, the Programme Director, SERICC, said some vaccines would be introduced to children at nine months immunisation during the NIPDs to prevent meningitis.

Responding, a member of the SMC, Mr Titus Alonge, of the Teens Education Development & Information Initiative Nigeria (TEDiiN) an NGO, advised the state to carry members of the SMC along in all its operations.

Mrs Abo Amodu, Social Mobilisation Focal Person KSPHCDA, assured the SMC members of adequate involvement in their activities henceforth.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the house-to-house immunisation for children from age 0-59 months, would last for four days between July 20 and 23, across the 21 LGAs of Kogi.

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Commissioners: Keep off Government House unless invited, warns Gov. Zulum

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Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno has warned the newly appointed commissioners to stay away from Government House, unless invited.

Zulum issued the warning at inauguration of the 22 newly appointed commissioners on Wednesday in Maiduguri.

He advised the commissioners should be at their respective offices and work in accordance with their constitutional mandates.

Zulum said that: “You should operate from your various ministries of assignment and not frequenting the Government House, except on invitations or emergencies.

“We should work assiduously to bridge the gap between our politicians and the civil servants, as well as followers so that together, working in harmony and understanding, we achieve our vision of a stronger and more prosperous state.’’

Zulum admonished the commissioners against truancy, adding that he had directed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chief of Staff (CoS) Government House, to ensure effective monitoring and supervision of the commissioners, warning that defaulters will be sanctioned.

He enjoined the commissioners to brace up to the task and prepare to work in each and every part of the state.

Besides, Zulum advised the commissioners to run an open door policy to enable them to serve the people better and contribute to the sustainable social and economic development of the state.

The governor further directed the commissioners to declare their assets with the Code of Conduct Bureau, stressing that his administration accorded priority to transparency, probity and prudent financial management of public fund.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that those sworn-in as commissioners included Messrs Abdulrahaman Abdulkarim, Abbakar Lawan, Adamu Lawan, Babagana Banki, Mustapha Fanarambe, Yerima Kareto, Abubakar Hassan, Ali Abatcha and Sugun Mai-Mele as well as Mrs Inna Galadima.

Others are Alhaji Mohammed Kauji; Dr Toma Rangiya, Dr Salisu Kwaya-Bura, Mr Bello Ayuba, Alhaji Yerima Saleh, Mr Yuguda Vungas, Alhaji Musa Kubo, Mr Sunday Gadzama, Mr Kaka-Shehu Lawan, Fanta Baba-Shehu and Malam Mohammed Bulama.

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J.T. Useni says Nigeria can’t afford to abondone zoning now

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The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Candidate in the 2019 general elections in Plateau, Sen. Jeremiah Useni, says Nigeria cannot not afford to abandon zoning now in her Democratic persuits.

Useni made the remark while in audience with some party officials, elders, and stakeholders from Zawan district of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau.

” Nigeria is not yet mature politically to jettison the zoning arrangement that has been producing leaderships at different levels of society and from diverse communities.

“Rotational leadership is best for us for now. It gives people the freedom and opportunity to be involved in establishing and running the government of their choice at different levels.

“Nigeria is not yet ripe to have leaders produced from only one area all the time and so deny others. Even in the days of military rule, leadership was always balanced to give fair representation to all parts of the country.

“If you allow only specific areas to produce leaderships, it will breed bitterness, hatred and crisis because many communities will feel left out in the running of their own affairs,” he said.

The retired Army General appealed to the Zawan delegation to stay united, work hard and pray for the victory of the PDP in all the tribunals.

“When we receive positive judgement at the tribunal, we will set up a government that will be inclusive and correct the many imbalances in our representations. We must unite the people of Plateau in our governance,” he said.

Earlier, leader of the delegation, Mr James Stephen-Pam, said that they were in Useni’s residence to show support, solidarity and to pray with him for victory at the election petition Tribunal.

Stephen-Pam stated that PDP leaders, supporters and stakeholders in Zawan had full confidence in Useni’s leadership and ” that is why the party supported you fully during the primaries as well as giving the highest number of votes among all the districts in Jos South in the general elections.”

Edited by Abdullahi Yusuf

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Costain bus stop relocated over Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway construction

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reports.

The NAN correspondents, who monitored the relocation on Wednesday, report that commercial buses were no longer allowed to load and offload passengers at the usual bus stop.

NAN also reports that the relocation was occasioned by the ongoing construction of the new Costain Bridge, as part of the LagosIbadan standard rail project.

The newly-reappointed Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, had, in November 2017, announced that Jibowu and Costain bridges would be demolished to give way for the laying of tracks of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railways.

NAN also reports that the relocation has disorganised both traffic and commercial activities at the usual bus stop.

The development had made commercial bus operators and tricycles plying Ojuelegba, Lawanson, Onipanu, Palm Groove, Ikeja, Ojota, Ketu and Mile 12, Ikorodu en route Costain to be finding their base in the new place.

As commuters were seen moving up and down, trying to locate where to board buses to their different destinations, commercial transporters were busy using bells to call passengers.

Petty traders were also seen around the place arranging for where to display their goods, with welders busy constructing a shed at the temporary bus stop.

Speaking with NAN, Mr Uguchukwu Ogbonna, a commercial bus driver, said that the relocation was not a bad idea, adding however that many commuters and transport operators had yet to adapt to it.

Ogbonna said that this had resulted in commercial bus drivers exerting extra time and energy to get their buses loaded.

Another commercial bus operator, Mr Jimoh Alao, said: “It is good. With time, both passengers and transport operators will get used to the new bus stop and there will not be any stress again,”

Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Inauguration: New ministers upbeat on performance

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The new ministers, who were sworn-in by President Muhammadu Buhari, have expressed optimism on delivering on their mandates.

Some of the ministers spoke with State House correspondents after their inauguration on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Sen. Chris Ngige, who was returned as the Minister of Labour and Employment, said that it was a good home coming for him as he hoped for better working relations with labour unions.

“I expect better work; I will align with labour in their legitimate struggles.

“There is no job that does not have hazards; what happened at the last moment was part of the hazards of the job.

“There is nothing like crisis; we are a family; we had family disagreement and we have resolved them; we are in good term,’’ he said.

On the stalemate about the implementation of the minimum wage, Ngige said it would be resolved immediately.

He however explained that there were intricacies of minimum wage negotiations which would be sorted out.

“We know what a good template will be for government at federal, states and local governments, and for the workers themselves; we want them to smile; so, we must do something that put smile on their faces.

“We are bringing a template that we will send down from the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

“We will agree on it with the Joint Negotiating Council; my permanent secretary held forth while I was away; he will brief me and we will take it from there,’’ the minister said.

On his part, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said that President Buhari had set an agenda from the 2-day retreat.

He said he would put in his best and deliver on his mandate for Nigerians.

“In line with three-point agenda of the President which of course economic development, there is a lot of potential in mineral resources which of course we can exploit further to diversify from oil.

“Also, we want to lift people out of poverty; we will begin to encourage our people to add value to the minerals instead of just sending the minerals raw like that.

“Add value to it and make money from it and of course the third agenda is anti-corruption; we will try and do this as transparently as possible,’’ he said.

For George Akume, the new Minister of Special Duties, it was a rare privilege to be selected to serve in a country of over 200 million people.

“What I have to say at this stage is that all the ministers are committed to the success of this administration.

“Nigerians are expecting so much from us; we cannot afford to fail and I believe by the grace of God, we shall not fail,’’ he said.

Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said the ministry under her would work to sustain the Nigerian economy on the part of growth.

She said that the ministry would try its best to make sure that the economy was sustained on the path of growth and prevent fiscal crisis.

Ahmed said that her focus would be on the economy.

On combining finance, budget and national planning, the minister said that she had worked with budget and national planning therefore combining both tasks would not pose a challenge to her.

“There are competent persons on both sides that will support me in my work.

“I will be co-coordinating both the budget and planning work as well as that of finance.

“So, I am sure that we are going to do well,” she said.

Buhari had during the swearing-in urged the 43 ministers to collectively build a safer, more prosperous and fair nation.

CJ/MST

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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Building collapse: Surveyors plan to end malaise

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President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr Rowland Abonta, said that the body would partner other regulatory and law enforcement agencies to end building collapse menace.

Abonta told Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Port Harcourt that institutional corruption had indeed given rise to loopholes for quackery.

According to him, quackery is an endemic problem in all professions.

“In Nigeria, quackery is not peculiar to the building industry so, as a professional body, we have solidified arrangements with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who attempt to misrepresent us are properly profiled and dealt with.

He said that this step would indeed check the activities of quarks in the building industry.

He attributed building collapse in Nigeria to activities of quarks and the use of substandard construction materials and gave the assurance that measures were being taken to end the menace.

“Again building collapse is one amongst so many national calamities we have been battling with; a situation where people rather use substandard materials for construction is disheartening.

He attributed building collapse to situations where people would refuse to engage appropriate professionals for project supervision stressing that it was a major reason for consistent building collapses in the country.

“As a body, we’ve made very frantic efforts to end the challenge of building collapse; right now there is collaboration with all professional bodies in the building industry.

“This is targeted at proffering a permanent solution to this national malaise and I’m sure that in no distant time we would stop hearing about building collapse in our country,’’ he said.

Abonta explained that as part of efforts toward improving service delivery in the industry, the professional body had floated an Association of Estate Agents of Nigeria about five years ago.

“Our intention was to bring in a number of our own graduates who couldn’t scale through professional exterminations that would have certified them as registered Estate Surveyors.

“Similarly we are looking at people in other professions who may have traded in the real estate business in a long time.’’

He said that the association decided to bring all the professional bodies together under that umbrella to regulate their activities.

Abonta said that the practitioners were trained on best practices and effective service delivery.

He said that their trainings were crowned with some form of certification, adding “who knows one day they may grow to become professional Estate Surveyors and valuers.’’

He also said that the collaboration was actually one of the community development projects embarked upon by the body.

He added that it was also one of the areas for expansion to accommodate practitioners in the real estate business.

“Rather than allowing them, continue practicing on their own and putting construction works at risk, we have provided this opportunity to make them part of us, give them the requisite training and equip them for the task in the industry.

“So far, in Lagos state close to 1,000 persons have enlisted in this training programme and in Rivers there is also a branch that has been launched with about 200 persons enlisted for the training.

“In Abuja and virtually all major cities across the country we have replicated these training institutions to enhance the building industry and check the concerns over building collapse,’’ he said.

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