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Economy

Group lauds Kaduna Gov’t over palliatives to 32,000 households

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The Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) has commended Kaduna Government for the distribution of N352 million worth of food items to 32,000 vulnerable households in the state.

Chairperson of the coalition, Ms. Jessica Bartholomew, said in a statement in Kaduna on Saturday, that the measure would significantly reduce hunger among vulnerable households caused by the Coronavirus lockdown.

Bartholomew recalled that the state government had in April,  distributed N500 million worth of food items to low income households in nine Local Government Areas of the state to cushion the effects of the lockdown.

“And on Friday,  the government announced the commencement of the second round of the distribution to 32,000 vulnerable households in the remaining 14 LGAs. This is quite commendable.

“This do not only show the responsiveness of the government, but its resolve to ensure that the vulnerable population are  supported to improve their resilience to the current hardship and hunger,” she said.

She also commended the state government for addressing some of the concerns raised by the coalition, particularly the  involvement of party officials and other anomalies that characterised the distribution in the pilot LGAs.

She lauded  the government for providing detailed information on the exercise to help civil society organisations and the media to adequately monitor the distribution to ensure transparency and accountability.

According to her, disclosing what each benefiting vulnerable households is expected to receive, will prevent the committee members from indulging in sharp practices and short changing  the beneficiaries of their entitlements.

“The pilot distribution was marred by poor planning by the cluster committees, as the food items were either hijacked by politicians or shared among people not in need.

“People living with disabilities were largely schemed out of the process, while the distribution was not orderly in some locations, leading to complete disregard to social distancing.

“But we are glad that some of our recommendations are  considered in the second round of the exercise with steps taken to improve the process,” she said.

Bartholomew  commended the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Malam Balarabe Abbas, who doubled as Chairman of COVID-19 Relief Distribution Committee for  steps taken to make the process as transparent as possible.

“The SSG equally said that lessons learnt from the pilot exercise have been incorporated in the second phase of the exercise, so as to accommodate more of the target group. This is laudable,” she added.

She also called for collaboration  with the coalition in the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP) to complement government’s efforts  in all social protection interventions in the state.

She urged the state government to strengthen feedback and complaint mechanism for timely response to complaints by beneficiaries and concerns from civil society organisations.

The chairperson added that KADSPAC would monitor the exercise in all LGAs to ensure transparency and accountability as well as generate feedback on citizen’s satisfaction.

“We want to believe that the new approach will ensure that no one is left behind, especially the targeted poor and the vulnerable, including the socially excluded groups.

“These groups include the disabled, aged, people living with ,  mothers and children suffering from malnutrition among others,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls  that the SSG  in a statement on Friday, explained that a package of food items per benefiting household cost N11, 000.

He added that the package comprised of 10 kilogramme (kg) of Rice or Spaghetti, 5.0 kg of beans, 10 kg of Semovita or cassava flakes (Garri) and a carton of noodles and  three litres of vegetable oil.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

 

 

Health

COVID -19: Youth group inaugurates e-clinic in Kano

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A youth group, known as COVID-19 Relief Alliance (CORA) has inaugurated an e-clinic to cater for the health needs of the people of Kano State during the COVID -19 pandemic.

Dr Khalid Umar, Head of the Project, launched the e-clinic at the Centre for Infectious Disease and Research, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, on Monday.

He said the initiative was carried out in collaboration with the teaching hospital and Private Health Instructions Management Agency of the state government.

He said the aim of the project was to carter for outpatients in the state thereby reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19.

According to Umar, the e-clinic operates through a 24/7 toll-free line that enables residents to consult highly trained and experienced physicians via voice or video call during and after the pandemic.

The director, Center for Infectious Disease and Research, Prof. Isa Abubakar, said the e-clinic would reduce the number of people who visited hospitals as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“Patients can now consult a physician at the comfort of their homes with a voice or video, which is toll free.

“These days people are afraid to go to hospitals because of the pandemic. This technology will go a long way in helping the less privileged and poor ones in the society,” he said.

Abubakar commended the eight NGOs for the initiative.‎

Head of Mobilisation of CORA, Bashir Suaid, said the organisation received about 4,000 calls and distributed palliative to 1,450 people during a10-day test run.

He identified the NGOs that formed the alliance as the Arewa Young Entrepreneurs Initiative, Minds in Making, Orphans and Women Support Group, and Teens Development Initiative.

Others, he said, are: Angels of Hope, Jamar Health Foundation, Hope for Healthy Society and the Exceptional Girls Network. (NAN)


Edited By: Chidi Opara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19 : Oyetola commends group for donating protective items to Osun

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Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, on Monday, commended Al-Azeez Medical Venture, a Pharmaceutical Company for donating protective items to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

The medical consumable donated include 1,800 liquid soap, 300 bottles of hand sanitiser, Two gallons of hand washing liquid and 200 pieces of hand gloves.

Oyetola, represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamatu, said the gesture by the group was laudable, saying it would be of great benefits to citizens.

” I want to appreciate Al- Azeez medical ventures for giving back to the system at this period of global pandemic of COVID- 19 which is commendable.

” Health financing takes a lot of funds and the state government is doing its best with the limited resources available to tackle the Coronavirus,” he said.

According to him, the state government will  continue to engage stakeholders in the health sector in fighting the pandemic ravaging the entire world.

“We shall continue to synergies with your venture and other phamarceutical companies for the health benefit of residents, ” he said.

In his remarks,  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Al-Alzeez Medical Ventures Ltd,  Dr Adebayo Adedokun, said the state government had performed creditably, especially in the health sector.

Adedokun lauded frontline health workers for their relentless effort in the fight against COVID -19.

“We donated these items to support the government of Osun when we realised that government has done a lot within its powers and the limited available resources to curb the spread of Coronavirus .

“As an indigene of Osun, we will continue to assist and support the government in whatever way for the benefit and well-being of the people,”  Adedokun said .

He, therefore, commended the government for being  proactive with the measures put in place to contain the spread of the pandemic, saying the measures had assisted in reducing the number of cases in the state.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

COVID-19: Group urges Bauchi govt. to increase allocation to agric sector

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A group of NGOs under the aegis of Bauchi State Public Financing in Agriculture Budget Committee has urged the state government to increase its allocation to agriculture due to the effects of COVID-19 to boost farming.

Mrs Tabawa Atiku, the chairperson of the committee, made the appeal at a news conference on Monday in Bauchi.

Atiku said in view of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, little allocation to the agricultural sector would not help farmers in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NGOs are: Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative (FAWOYDI), with the support Actionaid Nigeria.

Others are: Rahma Women Development Programme (RAHMA), Media, Women Empowerment Initiative Nigeria (WEIN), Bauchi State Network of Civil Society and Association of Small scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN).

Atiku said the N8.9 billion budgeted for agriculture by the state government, out of the total budget of N167 billion for 2020 was below the 10 per cent recommended by the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

She noted that the allocation for the agricultural sector was just 5.34 per cent, which was far less than the Malabo Declaration of 2014.

“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider it to assist more farmers in this farming season.

“We are also appealing to the government to make provisions for credit and loan schemes to assist farmers, if we must avert the looming food crisis occasioned by COVID-19,” she said.

Atiku solicited prompt release of the funds and involvement of smallholder women farmers and other key stakeholders in the budgeting process.

She urged the government to establish a local produce buying and transportation network for smallholder farmers to ensure food supply and income generation.

According to her, the partial lockdown has made it difficult for farmers to access markets to sell their produce,” she said.


Edited By: Joe Idika/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

 

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Judiciary

Group asks court to compel DSS, IGP to investigate Omo-Agege

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The Incorporated Trustees of Empowerment for Unemployed Youths Initiative on Monday, asked the Federal High Court, Abuja to compel the Director- General,  Department of  State Services, (DSS) and the Inspector- General of Police to investigate  the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

The group wants the security agencies to investigate Omo-Agege over his alleged conviction in the United States in November 1995.

A  motion ex parte filed by the group further  prayed the court to order Omo-Agege to step down from office as deputy senate president pending the completion of the investigation.

Counsel to the group, Mr Edward Omaga said his client asked the deputy senate president to step down to allow for transparent and fair investigation and to also prevent him from interfering with the investigation.

The group also prayed the court to declare that refusal of the DSS  and the IGP to investigate Omo-Agege would be deemed unjustifiable, wrongful and tantamount to dereliction of duties under the relevant laws that established them.

According to Omaga,  in the affidavit attached to the motion exparte,  until the DSS and the IGP are compelled by an order of the court, they will continue to refuse to investigate Omo-Agege.

The plaintiff said in the suit that it was convinced that any action or inaction of persons occupying elective and appointive position would have a direct impact on the overwhelming unemployed youths in the country.

No date has, however been fixed for hearing in the suit.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Foreign

Possible second wave of COVID-19 may hit harder in Finland: policy group

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The societal and economic repercussions of a possible second COVID-19 wave may be more serious in Finland, a Finnish governmental policy group warned on Monday in a report.

In the report, the group, headed by Martti Hetemaki, the Permanent State Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Finance, noted that Finland will be weaker in encountering the second wave due to the impact of the first wave.

It urged that the “epidemiological response should be as efficient as in the first wave” while the economic impact should be kept smaller.

The group noted that in responding this past winter, some responsibilities “fell between administrative branches,” which brought inefficiencies to curbing COVID-19. And to avoid this in the future, all levels of administration should be included in future planning.

The group warned that if the crisis lingers on, not all enterprises can be saved, and Finland should choose those that are nationally essential when giving public assistance.

It underlined “green recovery” and the promotion of carbon neutrality. “Finland is worth aiming at being a front runner in climate action, as innovations there could improve exports.”

The group also acknowledged that it is not realistic to correct the fiscal sustainability deficit created by the COVID-19 response within a few years.

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland has to date confirmed a total of 6,885 COVID-19 infections, of which 26 cases were new. The death toll rose to 318, while at least 5,500 people have recovered.

From Monday, restaurants and cafes throughout the country started to reopen, while a special law restricts the opening hours and limits the number of customers at a time to half the normal capacity. These temporary rules will remain in force until the end of October.

(XINHUA)

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General news

APC primary: Steer clear of Ondo politics, group tells Gov. Fayemi

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A group, Ondo State Progressives Network, has urged Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti to steer clear of the July 20 All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the state.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Tunde Ajayi, made the call in a statement on Monday in Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there had been calls for  Direct Primary to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu by opposing camps within the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Ajayi said that there have been pressure on the leadership of the APC to impose indirect mode of primary against the wishes of majority of the party member in the state.

“The attention of the Ondo State Progressives Network has been drawn to series of moves to lure some national leaders of the APC and some governors to mount pressure on the national working committee to announce an indirect primaries for the election.

“The Network, therefore, advise that  leaders of the party in Ondo State and at the national level should be allowed to act appropriately.

“The group also condemn any move which will thwart the unity of the party in the state,” he said.

The coordinator advised Akeredolu to adopt the party’s leadership process rather than seeking to get an indirect primary process.

“We further appeal to the leadership of the party and members of the national working committee not to be intimidated.

“Only a direct primary process in the party’s guber primary can restore the hope of APC faithful in the state and move the party to the next level,” Ajayi said.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, earlier in a statement, said that the governor was not afraid of direct primary.

“First and foremost, we have not come out as a government that we are opposed to direct primary; neither had the governor expressed aversion to  same.

“We’re not afraid of any mode of primary. I will want the public to know that the call for direct primary is to put out narrative that the governor is opposed to direct primary. In fact, we’ll even prefer a direct primary.

“For those who clamour for direct primary, the message to them is that Akeredolu is more prepared for any mode of primary than those who clamour for it,” Ojogo said.



Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Metro

COVID-19: Catholic bishops appeal to bilateral and multilateral groups on economic recovery

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Catholic bishops in Africa under the aegis of Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have  raised concerns on the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and appealed to bilateral and multilateral groups on fashioning out sustainable economic recovery measures .

This is contained in a statement signed by the president SECAM, Cardinal Philippe Quedraogo, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria .

SECAM is the continental body of all the Catholic bishops from the English, French and Portuguese speaking regions of Africa.

The bishops, in the statement, said that Africa was currently low on resources in the fight against the pandemic.

They said that the lack of safety kits for those working in the informal sector had caused them to suspend their activities due to the lockdown.

The catholic bishops in the statement, pleaded for the massive cancellation of debts of African countries to enable them revive their economies.

“Undoubtedly, initiatives have already been taken in the management of the impact of the pandemic but substantial aid needs to be given to some countries to support the establishment of quality health systems.

“Also, to promote the emergence of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) aimed at easing unemployment problem; and to support food security.

“Africa is a major supplier of raw materials to industrialized countries.

“Therefore, we call upon large companies which exploit these raw materials to make significant contributions to the host countries to enable them provide basic social services to citizens in need.

“Since a race is currently engaged in developed countries to find a remedy for COVID-19, business communities and pharmaceutical companies should not exploit the situation to make profit but join in efforts to care for the vulnerable,”  the statement said.

SECAM also called on the African Union to sensitize member countries on contributing to the creation of a Solidarity Fund, which could be used to improve the health of the populations.

“We urge African leaders to ensure that the limited available resources be used to assist those who really need help, especially, the poorest of the poor.

“Resources should not end in the pockets of the politically connected through corrupt practices.

“The church institutions directly involved in this fight should also remain steadfast and work with other non-religious institutions in the promotion of good heath for all people of Africa and Madagascar.”

It  reiterated in the statement that no country had been  spared from the ills of the pandemic, including developed countries where the health systems and facilities are known to be efficient.

In addition, the group said that the rate of spread was such that one could expect an explosion of cases of contamination in places where social distancing measures are difficult to adhere to.

“We have seen that in an effort to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, most governments have adopted drastic measures such as the closure of borders and lockdowns

“In Africa, the measures have been more or less followed, but its application has been difficult for most people who struggle every day for survival by carrying out activities in the informal sector.

“Judging from its devastating effects, it can be said without doubt that the consequences of the pandemic are tragic.

“On the economic level, recession is evident due to the shutdown of activities, especially, in key production sectors, the tourism sector, air transport and the hotel industry.

“The social explosion is to be feared in many countries, and in particular, Africa that is already burdened with debt and where unemployment continues to impoverish the populations,” read the statement.

According to the bishops, for those in the grip of anguish, it is easy to believe that the pandemic is a punishment from God.

They said that even a sift through the scriptures revealed that God is the creator of the world and is not only in full control of creation, but also cannot turn against his own creation.

“Being created in the image and likeness of God implies that there is an imprint of God in each person and COVID-19 cannot separate anyone from the love of God.

“In these days of the pandemic, the Holy Spirit is working through frontline workers who are risking their lives to save others, including priests who are trying to help and support everyone.

“The tool we urgently need is prayer for God to deepen our faith and trust in him.

“Faith and prayer are equally part of Africa’s spiritual heritage, which can assist us to find meaning in life and they are similarly pillars for building “a civilization of love”.

“We appreciate the efforts that have been made by the respective governments to contain the brutal spread of the virus on the continent.

“We also thank all the health professionals and religious nuns who have shown extraordinary dedication to alleviating the suffering of the sick,” they said.

The bishops also called on Africans to reactivate the value of solidarity that had been shapong  societies to better face the impact of the pandemic and to be able to turn their  economies around.

OMB/ PAD


Edited By: Peter Dada (NAN)

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Economy

FG, Siemens deal excites electricity consumer group

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The All Electricity Consumers Protection Forum says the implementation of the power supply deal between the Federal Government and Siemens can help end the country’s energy crisis.

Mr Adeola Samuel-Ilori, the National Co-ordinator of the forum, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos while reviewing performance of President Muhammadu Buhari in the power sector.

NAN recalls that the Presidency recently approved the release of fund for the first part of Phase 1 of the Presidential Power Initiative to start the pre-engineering and concession financing workstreams.

Adeola said the success of the Siemen’s deal was pivotal to Nigeria’s power sector road map aimed at improving electricity generation, transmission and distribution across the country.

He said: “The contract as signed will enhance the distribution networks and also increase generation capacity to 40,000MW.

“Another beautiful thing about the contractual agreement is the elimination of middlemen and subcontractors which characterised past government efforts and led to humongous fraud.

“The deal with Siemens is government to government tripartite agreement.

“With its vast implementation within the next two years, we should witness improvement in the sector and that will be enviable and may end Nigeria’s energy woes.”

He said that the Buhari-led administration would largely be remembered for the success or failure in the sector, and noted that its predecessors spent enormous resources on the power sector with little or no results.

“All successive governments have inherited the burden of power sector in this nation; it’s like a sore thumb in their fingers.

“Some came with genuine intention to make it better but ended up messing it up while some choose to better it but ended up bettering their pockets.

“We have had some humongous amounts expended in the past which resulted in little or no result that are beneficial to the masses,” Samuel-Ilori said.

He added that there was need for an urgent review of power privatisation process because it had failed to realise its objectives of improving electricity supply to Nigerians.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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General news

Appointments: Kwara youth group organises prayer for Profs Akanbi, Gambari, 4 others

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The Kwara Youth Unity Forum (KYUF) on Sunday in Ilorin organised special prayers for the success of six indigenes, including four Professors, from the state that recently got various appointments.

The appointees are Professors Mohammed Akanbi and Ibrahim  Gambari and four other Ilorin sons and daughter.

They offered the prayers to seek God’s blessing and protection for the beneficiaries on their appointments by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports Prof. Ibrahim Gambari was recently appointed the Chief of Staff to President Buhari while Prof. Mohammed Akanbi, was appointed the Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU).

NAN also reports that the prayer was also for Minister of State for Transport, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki; and Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’allah.

Others were Prof. Abdullahi Yusuf as Chief Medical Director of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Mr Bolakale Kawu Agaka.

The prayer was jointly organised by the National Coordinator of Kwara Youth Unity Forum (KYUF), Mr Shafi Alada; the PRO, Nigeria Legion, Kwara State chapter, Mr Omolale Olusegun.

An Islamic Cleric, Sheik Suleiman Zubair, who led the prayer thanked Allah for the appointments of the six Ilorin emirate sons and daughter,

He said that no great man would die in vain as his history would remain to judge them.

The cleric urged the youth to work assiduously for the development of their home community, wherever they might find themselves.

Zubair described them as perfect examples of silent achievers, visionary, veritable team players to be emulated by all in the Emirate and Kwara as a whole.

He therefore prayed Allah to give them good health and long life to be able to continue to serve humanity and people of Kwara.

People in attendance recited Holy Qur’an to pray to Allah for a successful tenure in office of the six personalities.

Speaking to newsmen after the prayer, convener of the event, Alada, National Coordinator of KYUF, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for finding the Ilorin Emirate sons and daughter worthy of such appointments.

Alada appreciated their contributions to the development of their immediate environment.

He described them as illustrious sons and daughter of the emirate worthy of emulation by all and sundry.

According to him, they have performed wonderfully well assisting the less privileged in the society.

He lauded their empowerment programmes for women and youths as well as job creation and educational support programmes to indigent students in the emirate.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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