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Kogi, Bayelsa Guber: PDP assures members of reconciliation

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all aggrieved members in Kogi and Bayelsa are appeased before the states’ elections.

The party, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday in Abuja said it would ensure that the elections were faced as a big family.

Ologbondiyan said that PDP members and supporters had nothing to fear as reconciliatory efforts in the aftermath of the governorship primary elections in the two states were yielding immense results.

He said that the effort was further strengthening the party’s structures and formation as one big, united and formidable family.

Ologbondiyan said that the party was poised for sweeping victory in the Nov. 16 elections, saying its grassroots structure had been activated in the two states ahead of the elections.

“The party commends the understanding and the spirit of sportsmanship being exhibited by critical stakeholders in the two states as well as their commitment towards the success of the party at the elections.

“The PDP notes that it has already galvanized all segments of the voting population across the two states, which are known strongholds of the party.”

Ologbondiyan said that no forces could stop PDP coast to victory in the elections.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the PDP and APC are the strongest contenders  for the plum positions in both states.

While Bayelsa Gov. Seriake Dickson is finishing his two-year tenure in the predominantly PDP state, his colleague of APC in Kogi, Gov. Yahaya Bello, is running for a second term.

OBE/JNEO/DCU

Edited by Josephine Obute/Donald Ugwu

Defence/Security

Police kill two kidnappers in Kogi

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The Police Command in Kogi has confirmed the killing of two kidnap suspects during a gun duel with some of its operatives .

The command’s spokesman , DSP William Aya, who made the confirmation in a statement in Lokoja on Wednesday said the suspects were killed in Idah.

Aya said that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Idah, CSP Ibrahim Jauro, had on June 2 received distress calls that a gang of armed robbers/kidnappers was blocking the Bishop Road junction, a major spot in Idah town.

He said that members of the gang also believed to be cultists were engaged by a team of policemen promptly dispatched to the scene by the DPO.

He said in the course of the gun duel, the suspects succumbed to the superior fire power of the police by fleeing the spot with bullet wounds.

According to the statement , the policemen complemented by naval and civil defence personnel pursued the robbers and in the process, two bodies were recovered .

Aya said those killed included one Onucha Opia, a notorious kidnapper in Idah and its environs  and one Danlami Shuaib.

“The duo of Onucha and Shuaibu were found dead along Ona road and Old Union Bank junction in Idah,respectively.

” Meanwhile , their corpses have been taken to General Hospital morgue while efforts are on top gear to arrest Aminu Opia and other members of the gang,” he said.

He said that one locally made gun with four expended cartridges were recovered from the scene.


Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Politics

Tackle COVID-19 in Kogi: Rep tells governor

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A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Yusuf, (PDP-Kogi) has urged Gov. Yaya Bello to take responsibility and tackle COVID-19 head on in Kogi. 

In a statement issued on Sunday Yusuf stressed the need to stop the back and forth ruse between the governor and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Yusuf who represents Ujumu/Bunu/Kabba Federal Constituency of Kogi,  said that the “shenanigans as playing the ostrich cannot save Kogi from the pandemic”.

It would  be recalled that the NCDC  on Saturday, May 30, 2020, confirmed that Kogi had two COVID-19 positive cases.

The state government has, however, distanced itself from the report, accusing the NDDC of forcing confirmed COVID-19 cases on the state.

Yusuf said that it was necessary to accept the result so that the NCDC and other relevant bodies could swiftly commence efforts to help nip the problem in the bud.

The Rep also stated that the government of Kogi had yet to give any palliative to citizens since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Kogi must now rise up against COVID-19 and immediately cease to play the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the sand at the approach of danger.

“Whatever palliative the people have received either came from National Assembly members, State Assembly, community development association or private individuals.

“Even the food items sent from the Federal Government has not been shared, no single test centre.

“I am sure many would  have died of COVID-19 without knowing and many would have  been healed without knowing,” he said.

The lawmaker called on all parties to rise beyond the divides of politics, faith and ethnicity for an effective war against the pandemic.

According to him, this is so that all men, women and children of Kogi  can live long and attain their productive lives without undue mourning.

He commended the family of the Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheikh Ahmad Ejibunu, for the timely alert.

Yusuf said the family’s consideration for others made  them to stand out as true sons and daughters of Kabba.

The Rep said that the virus had ravaged all parts of the world, with more than 100,000 persons said to have lost their lives in the U.S. which had some of the world’s best medical systems.

According to him, in Kogi where the number of available hospital beds and other resources are limited, our best chance is to prevent a spread.

He called for proper and timely sensitisation to observing social distancing, hand-washing, testing and other suggestions from the NCDC.

Yusuf said  being positive is not a death sentence saying that out of 9,302 confirmed cases in the country 2,697 cases had been discharged.

He said that 261 deaths had  been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Kogi primary healthcare launches website to boost service delivery

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The Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KGSPHCDA) said it had established a Website that would provide quality and effective healthcare delivery for citizens at the grassroots.

Dr Abubakar Yakubu, the Executive Director, KGSPHCDA, who disclosed this in a statement in Lokoja, named the website as ”www.ksphcda.org”.

According to Yakubu, the creation of a website is part of deliberate effort of KGSPHCDA to deepen synergy between the agency, community and  development partners within and outside the state.

”Our intension is to make the website current, relevant and interactive so that local, national and international partners can be abreast of our activities.

”This will help our partners to make informed contributions to the consolidation and expansion of the modest achievement recorded in the last two and a half years and beyond,” Yakubu said.

He noted that the agency had intensified Routine Immunisation (IR) campaign through the Inauguration of State Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (SERICC) in the State and LERICC at the LGA Level.

He added that KGSPHCDA held its maiden news conference in 2018 where the agency unveiled plans to the world.

”This interactive session has gone a long way to cement the cordial relationship between the agency and the press thereby, helping to create public awareness about the activities of PHCDA in the state.

”Others are successful conduct of Baseline Survey of Primary Health Care facilities, which enables the agency and Ministry of Health to have accurate data for policy formulation and implementation in the state.

”There is support for 300 health care facilities to conduct outreach, fixed and mobile sessions to strengthen immunisation services in the state.

”Also, acquisition and furnishing of befitting new office complex for the agency,  which has created conducive working atmosphere for staff and development partners,” he said.

Yakubu added that the agency had also expanded the state’s cold store and installation of 100KVA solar energy project ready for commissioning at the cost of N67 million.

”In addition, signing of the agency’s Amendment Bill into Law by the executive governor whose significance is the aspect that incorporates PHCUOR in our edict.

”The commencement of and operationalisation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in Kogi with the approval of N100 million counter-part fund and effective pre- implementation plans for BHCPF in the state,” he stated.

The agency executive director expressed  gratitude to Gov. Yahaya Bello and his Deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, for their unflinching support.

”We consider the governor as the father of Primary Healthcare in the state because he has the singular honour of reviving the agency from its comatose state prior to my appointment in October 2017,” he said.

Yakubu commended the development partners who had been standing behind them, noting that the agency’s achievement would not have been possible without them.

He also praised the press for being instrumental to the agency’s activities through news coverage.

He commended the management and staff of the agency for their dedication and commitment to the goals.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/ Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Agriculture

Women farmers solicit review of Kogi 2020 budget to accommodate credit, inputs

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Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has urged the Kogi Government to review its 2020 budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, to accommodate credit and loan facilities to farmers.

Hajia Safiya Yahaya, Coordinator of  SWOFON in Kogi made the call at a news conference organised in collaboration with the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) Committee on Friday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PFA is a programme of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and supported by ActionAid Nigeria, to address issues of budgetary allocations in the agriculture sector.

Yahaya said that the appeal had become necessary to avert the looming food crisis arising from the effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hindering farming activities.

The Coordinator said the organisation had observed that there was no provision for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in the state, adding that the situation was critical, as farmers could barely access Federal assistance and credit as a result of the pandemic.

“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider, so as 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 during this farming season, if we must avert the looming food crisis,” she said.

Also, Mrs Inkpi Ali, Programme Officer with PIBCID, said Nigeria was a signatory to the Maputo Declaration of 2003, with a commitment to provide at least 10 per cent of its annual budget to agriculture.

Ali, however, regretted that since the declaration by the 13 African countries, Nigeria and its state components, had not met the 10 per cent commitment, with Kogi committing only 4.6 per cent to the Agriculture sector in its 2020 budget.

“If agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the ‘New Direction’ blueprint of the state government, then allocations to the sector which has been grossly inadequate should be improved upon,” she stated.

Mrs Esther Audu, Assistant Public Relations Officer of SWOFON in the state, noted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on all spheres of human endeavour including food reserves.

“If this is not properly addressed the hunger virus that is coming will be more than the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” she warned.

She, therefore, called for a re-direction of the N80 million allocation in the state’s 2020 budget for the training of Extension Officers at the Agric Training Centre, Ochaja, to procurement of inputs, including seeds and land clearing, for accelerated food production.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: CACOVID donates equipment to Kogi isolation centre

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The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Friday donated health equipment worth millions of naira to a new isolation centre created in Lokoja by the Kogi State government.

The presentation of the equipment by a representative of the CACOVID, Mr Toyin Idowu, coincided with the inauguration of the isolation centre by the state government.

Idowu said that the donation of the equipment was a joint initiative between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of private sector companies in the country.

He said that the gesture was aimed at joining hands with the federal and state governments to rid the country of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, the fight against the novel coronavirus cannot be left for government alone to handle because of its peculiar nature.

“Our resolve to wade into the crisis is to avoid untimely death of innocent Nigerians as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

Idowu said that the measure was also to prepare the state ahead of any eventuality, as it would help in tackling the disease.

“The equipment we have provided, such as Analysers, X-ray machine, oxygen cylinders, beds, mattresses, weight measuring machine, among others, are world class equipment that will go a long way in reducing the effects and spread of COVID-19 in the country,” he said.

Inaugurating  the isolation centre, the state Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, promised that the government would continue to ensure that the state remains COVID-19 free.

“We will continue to sensitise our people on the need to maintain personal hygiene and adhere to advice given by health experts and the National Centre for Disease Control,” he said.

Onoja commended CACOVID for partnering with the federal and state governments in the fight against COVID-19.

He promised that the equipment would be carefully handled and utilised for their intended purpose.

In his speech, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna, appreciated CACOVID for the kind gesture, which he described as timely.

He said that the equipment which were meant for the treatment and management of COVID-19 patients would also be useful in treating other ailments.

“This gesture is in tandem with the drive of Kogi State Government.

” We have two isolation centres already and the commissioning of this one makes it the third isolation centre we have in the state, even though , we are yet to record any case of COVID-19,” Haruna said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: FG to dispatch experts to re-engage Kogi Govt

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The Federal Government on Thursday announced that a ministerial team of experts would soon be dispatched to Kogi on a mission to engage authorities of the state, to determine material and technical needs of the state on COVID-19.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement in Abuja at a news conference by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Kogi Government had alleged refusal of NCDC officials to observe protocols in line with the containment of the coronavirus when they visited the state.

The allegation stirred up drama between the two parties as the NCDC officials left Kogi without adhering to terms and conditions, rolled out by Gov. Yahaya Bello.

Following the development, Ehanire said the committee would need to re-engage the governor and work with him and his team to create conditions with which the NCDC officials could complete their job.

The minister said that the ministry had developed key performance indicators to track surveillance, strategic activities and programmes.

He said that the ministry would also be working with states to establish protocols that would improve on communication and reporting.

Ehanire noted that the fact-finding team that was sent to Cross River had returned and that the ministry had been able to identify areas of need in the state.

He said that the state’s level of preparedness was reasonable.

“They have set up a committee on COVID-19 and have also started making face masks and Personal Protective Equipment.”

He, however, said that a new medical team had been assembled to take over the management of This Day Dome Treatment Centre.

“Surveillance, contact tracing and testing capacity is increasing in all states as more labs are being added to our network COVID-19 laboratories,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

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General news

Kogi to explore cultural diversity, tourism potential — Official

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Mr Femi Bolaji, Special Adviser to Kogi Governor on Culture and Tourism, says Kogi is ready to fully harness its cultural diversity and tourism potentials for the benefit of the people of the state.

Bolaji gave the assurance in a statement in Lokoja, to mark the ”World Cultural Day 2020”, with the theme: ”The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Cultural Day is celebrated every May 21, to encourage people around the world to come together in celebrating cultural diversity, and advocating for ways to protect and promote it in their own communities.

According to Bolaji, “culture is all that define us, knowing that culture and man cannot be separated which is why despite all the odds brought to the entire globe by COVID-19, we still live together strong and united.

”In this era of pandemic, culture will be celebrated in a grand style as we shall be getting prepared and ever ready to explore our heritage being the heart of the nation known to the world as the giant of Africa.

”The history of our nation made it known to citizen who cares to find out that the great Britain started it all from Lokoja, gave the nation the name NIGERIA after the river “Niger” (Niger Area) which is one of our numerous tourists centre of attraction.

”In our state alone, we are blessed with diverse cultural and tourism assets which are significant to the state and nation’s existence.

”Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, has the Cenotaph used in World War 2, Lord Lugard’s residence and office, the Holy Trinity School by Bishop Ajayi Crowther in 1860 (the first school in the province), the European Cemeteries, Mount Patti with a flat top where one could see the confluence point of River Niger and River Benue, and the beauty of the state capital.

”All these and more are situated in the state capital alone; now is the time to make the world see them in a grand style,” Bolaji said.

He stressed that it was very clear that Kogi remained extremely blessed by nature and the post COVID-19 era would be to fully explore those great blessings.

“To educate our people on the benefits, significance, cultural protection, generate funds, promote its culture globally and make Kogi the great state that Gov. Yahaya Adoza Bello so much desired.

”The effects brought to our cultural activities by COVID-19 cannot be over emphasized and it is a great lesson to us; surely, we shall overcome because we have always won against pandemics and other diseases like Lassa fever and the rest, thus it shows the strength and uniqueness in us.

”Our culture will win against COVID-19 pandemic, we will win because of you the great sons and daughters of Kogi State.

“Our success will be attributed to the great effort of yours and when all this is over, the whole world will hear about us and our uniqueness,” Bolaji said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Testing for COVID-19, serious challenge in Kogi – NMA

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Dr Kabir Zubair, the Chairman, Kogi chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), on Thursday, said that testing for COVID-19 had remained a serious challenge in the state.
Zubair told newsmen in Lokoja, while reacting to the report of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that only one sample had been sent in for testing by the state, which returned negative.
He said that the challenge of not testing enough had led to agitation from members of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD).
Zubair said that they were among the first set of doctors to attend to suspected cases, a number of which, he said, had been received at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, in recent times.
“Although no confirmed case has been reported in Kogi till date, a number of suspected cases have been attended to at the FMC Lokoja and members of ARD are among the first to attend to these patients,” Zubair said.

According to him, ARD is an affiliate of NMA, adding that the doctors are among the most exposed healthcare workers to patients with suspected COVID-19 in the hospital setting.
Zubair said that NMA was aware of the agitated by ARD members, saying that they were apprehensive in the last few months due to community spread of COVID-19 in the country.
He said that the FMC, Lokoja, remained the only functional tertiary health institution in the state, regularly attending to a wide range of patients.
The NMA chairman said that the fear of being exposed to patients with COVID-19 was a major concern.
“As a clinician, standard practice demands that the moment you have clinical suspicion of an infectious disease, the ideal thing is to carryout laboratory confirmation.
COVID-19 is a highly contagious infectious disease responsible for the ongoing global pandemic. In Nigeria, new cases are reported daily and community spread is accelerating.
”This is the why members of ARD are agitated, as testing for COVID-19 has remained a challenge in the state,” he said.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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General news

Kogi govt. pledges to curb violence against children

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The Kogi government has pledged to stop violence against children through a multi- sectoral approach.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, gave the pledge while receiving members of the Rehoboth Community Advancement Initiative, an NGO, who paid him a courtesy visit on Wednesday in Lokoja.
The commissioner said that the state government would no longer condone violence against children, as they were a defenceless group which the government must protect.
Fanwo said that government would adopt various methods to curb cases of violence against children, even in the rural communities.
“We have to come up with a multi-sectoral response to end violence against children, because they are a vulnerable group and yet, the most-cherished assets of the state.
“All ministries and non-governmental agencies must be involved in the campaign and sensitization, which we will take to the grassroots.
“Violence against children is a social ill that should attract the attention of all stakeholders in the society.
”It is the highest level of man’s inhumanity to man, because children constitute the defenceless demography of the society. It is, therefore, not acceptable,” he said.
Fanwo said that the Gov. Yahaya Bello-led administration would work out modalities to provide free education to the indigent children as a permanent bailout from their condition.
He also said that the state would create report centres, where cases of violence against children could easily be recorded, adding that such data base would be useful in attracting assistance from development agencies.
The commissioner said that the information sector in the state would explore all possible avenues to collaborate with agencies that would help government in the fight against the heinous crime.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Peter Stephen, commended the NGO for its commitment to ending violence against children.
He said that the ministry would deploy all its technicalities to support programmes on the safety of the people.
Earlier, the Executive Director of the NGO, Mr Nathaniel Abaniwo, said that Nigeria ranked very high on issues of physical and mental violence against children.
He called for collaboration with government to reduce the unfortunate trend in the society.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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