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Kogi Govt. assures NMA of continual collaboration for effective health care delivery

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The Kogi Government on Wednesday assured the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Kogi chapter, of continual cooperation and collaboration for effective health care delivery in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu, gave the assurance at the ground breaking and foundation laying ceremony of the NMA building in Lokoja, the state capital.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the NMA storey building with 300 seating capacity to be called, ”NMA House” is situated along Hassan-Katsina Road, Zone 8, Lokoja.

The commissioner, who performed the foundation laying of the building, commended the executive and entire members of the association for the project.

Audu lauded NMA for its cooperation and collaboration with the state government through the Ministry of Health, and said that the relationship had been very cordial in the recent time.

”We will continue to cooperate and collaborate in such a way that the Kogi health sector can be taken to a new height. This is a thing that truly delights my mind.

”In this kind of atmosphere, the only event that will dominate the affairs will be accomplishment like this, because with peace, there is nothing you cannot achieve,” he said.

The commissioner commended the leadership of the association for being able to begin the execution of the project which it had desired for long.

“I will notify His Excellency, Gov. Yahaya Bello, about this development because in his usual gesture, you know what can come out of such notification.

”I have been part of the foundation laying ceremony today. I also want to be part of the commissioning of the project within the next three years,” he said.

Audu restated that the state government as a matter of necessity would support the effort of the doctors while assuring them of his personal contribution to the development of the project.

The NMA Chairman, Dr Kabiru Zubair, said that the association had always dreamt of building her secretariat after many years of existence, but that had not been possible until now.

According to Zubair, the current leadership of the association has built on the achievements of the predecessor and has mobilised resources to commence the execution of the project.

”As the current exco winds down their activities, it is hoped that the subsequent exco should be able to take the project to completion.

”As we lay the foundation today, we wish to appreciate all who have contributed in one way or the other to ensure that we are able to get to this stage,” Zubair said.

Speaking, Dr Oluwamayowa Kassim, Chairman, Building Committee, thanked the commissioner for honouring the invitation.

“We believe in your word that very soon all promises made to NMA will be fulfilled,” Kassim said.

Edited By: Kabir Muhammad/Ejike Obeta
(NAN)

Stephen Adeleye: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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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General news

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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General news

Kogi Govt. initiates health insurance policy for citizens

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Kogi Government on Wednesday said it had established health insurance agency as part of its commitment to providing quality and affordable healthcare for its citizens.

The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr Kunle Aledare, said this during a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, in Lokoja.

Aledare noted that he led the management of the agency on a familiarisation visit to the information and communication ministry as part of the critical stakeholders in furtherance to the commencement of enrolment of beneficiaries.

”We are paying courtesy visit to our stakeholders before we commence enrolment,” he said.

He, therefore, solicited for the ministry’s support in the area of sensitisation on the health insurance scheme at the grassroots.

Responding, the commissioner described the health insurance as a laudable programme, saying, ”healthcare delivery is one of set goals and thematic areas of governor Bello’s administration”.

Fanwo noted that the government has the responsibility to take the chunk of the health liabilities of the people.

“Healthcare delivery is one of the cardinal goals we set to achieve and one of the thematic areas.

“People must have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

“Government has the responsibility of taking the chunk of health liabilities of the people and that is the manadate of the agency,” Fanwo said.

The Commissioner said the state government would continue to give priority attention to healthcare, noting that a larger percentage of the year 2020 Budget had been allocated to the health sector.

Fanwo commended the leadership of the new agency, saying government had no doubt in their capability at providing ever ready services to justify their given mandate.

While promising adequate sensitisation of the programme through the state owned media, the commissioner encouraged the citizens to key into the health insurance scheme and reap of its benefits.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Peter Stephen, urged the management of the agency to  collaborate with ministry for greater success.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Judiciary

Kogi tribunal dismisses SDP, Akpoti’s petition against Bello’s election

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The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, on Monday, dismissed the suit by Natasha Akpoti, Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s candidate in the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election against Gov. Yahaya Bello.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Akpoti and her party, SDP, had filed a petition, asking the tribunal to nullify the victory of Governor Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the poll and order a rerun.

At the sitting in Abuja, the three-member tribunal, led by Justice Kashim Kaigama, in the unanimous judgment, held that the petition failed woefully.

The tribunal also awarded the cost of N100,000 to be paid by each of the two petitioners to each of the three respondents in the case; the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the APC and Mr. Bello, totalling N600, 000.

NAN reports that Akpoti and her party had, in December 2019, filed their petition before the tribunal, praying for an order nullifying the election on the grounds that it was conducted substantially in contradiction to the Electoral Act and the electoral guidelines issued by INEC.

They alleged that the election was marred by corrupt practices, violence, and over-voting in all the polling units in the 21 local government areas of the state.

They also alleged that Bello and his running mate, Edward Onoja, should be disqualified to contest in the election on the grounds that Onoja gave false information in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC concerning the circumstances of his exit from the banking industry.

They alleged that while Onoja was sacked by the bank, he claimed that he retired from the service.

They also alleged that Onoja falsified his age and forged his educational certificate to aid his qualification to stand the election.

In the lead judgment, Justice Ohiamai Ovbiagele held that the petitioners failed to prove the alleged corrupt practices and falsification of results by any credible evidence.

He added that the petitioners merely dumped their exhibits on the tribunal without linking them to the petition.

He also noted that none of the petitioners’ 15 witnesses gave any evidence concerning over-voting, implying that the allegation was abandoned.

He held that testimonies by many of the witnesses were “patently hearsay devoid of any evidential value,” while those of some others were “ludicrous,” “unreliable” and “doubtful.”

“They are all doubtful illogical and some instances patently unreasonable,” the judge said.

He added that some of the witnesses, who claimed to have been eyewitnesses of violence at various polling units, failed to tender the video evidence they claimed to have and also failed to tender the voter cards, even though they claimed they voted in the election.

“Any voter without a voter card should not be taken seriously,” he said.

He described as “absurd,” the attempt by the petitioners to “to prove their petition without polling unit agents.”

Justice Ovbiagele also noted that “the pieces of evidence that emanated from the cross-examination of all the petitioners’ witnesses, like a dynamite, shattered the testimonies of these witnesses.”

The judge also dismissed the age falsification allegation on the grounds that the petitioners failed to prove that either Bello or his running mate was less than 35 years old as of Nov. 16, 2019, when the governorship election held.

The judge dismissed the petitioners’ claim that Onoja was dismissed from banking industry but falsely claimed in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC that he retired.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: NMA decries obstruction of NCDC by Kogi, Cross River govt

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The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has decried the continued obstruction of the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) by the Kogi and Cross River State Governments.

Dr Francis Faduyile, the President of the association said this in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

He said the obstruction was contrary to the NCDC Act (2018) that empowered it to “prevent, detect, monitor and control” activities and programmes for national response against infectious diseases.

Faduyile added that the act also empowered the agency and other public health emergencies to lead, develop and coordinate such activities.

The NMA president described the development as unfortunate and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the situation.

According to him, Nigeria’s acceptance of the herbal remedy from Madagascar ‘COVID Organics’ is an act of pulling all stops in search of remedial interventions in protecting the lives of citizens.

“We appreciate the concerns of our colleagues in the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and bemoan the situation where Nigeria appears to be lagging and not leading the black race’s response against the pandemic.

NMA insists that the herbal mixture undergoes due diligence based on scientific methods before authourising its use in the polity while urging the government to leapfrog the revitalization of research and production activities of our pharmaceutical industries.”

He said that the association was carefully studying the overall impact of the newly approved WHO’s home treatment policy for COVID-19 patients, while accepting the noticeable acute shortage of bed spaces available at designated centres.

Faduyile stated that the peculiarities in Nigeria should be taken into consideration, while urging the Federal Government to adapt the new regulation, stressing that Nigeria had an average of six persons per household.

The NMA president said that the country risk an explosive regime of community transmission if it adopted the guidelines completely without modifications.

Faduyile said that NMA was of the conviction that revamping abandoned General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres (PHCs) would mitigate the challenges with home treatment and acute shortage of bed spaces.

“We still maintain that isolation and treatment centres should stand alone to avoid the non-social spread of this infection especially in settings of poor hygiene practices,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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