The Ministry of Environment on Tuesday advised the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) in the ministry to ensure that the award and execution of contracts followed laid down rules and regulations.
Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State in the ministry gave the advice during the inauguration and induction of the unit on Tuesday in Abuja.
The unit is made up of nine committee members drawn from the procurement and other departments of the ministry.
Ikeazor also advised the committee to be tactful and courageous in monitoring projects, especially in relation to the implementation of the 2020 budget.
The minister urged the ACTU members to promote transparency and accountability in conducting government activities effectively without witch-hunting staffers of the ministry.
According to her, one of the visions of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is to fight corruption.
She added that the inauguration of the unit could not have come at a better time even though “it came rather late”.
“This ministry is a major organ through which government policies are formulated and implemented and it becomes appropriate to ensure that we are part of its repositioning and transformation for effective service delivery to Nigeria citizens.
“I am glad that members of the procurement department are part of the committee because most corruption cases emanating in the ministries come through procurement,’’ she said.
Ikeazor urged the committee to be proactive in sensitising staffers of the ministry to ACTU’s role and also in giving credible information to the unit.
She promised that the ministry would give the committee adequate support to enable it to carry out its mandate.
She also praised the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for assisting her former office, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) to achieve a milestone.
“We are all aware of the enormous pension frauds that have been going on in Nigeria. I want to say ICPC has helped to reduce it,” she said.
Mrs Ibukun Odusote, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry said that corruption in various forms had eaten deep into the “fabric of the civil service” and the country in general.
Odusote who was represented by Mr Yakubu Mijiyawa, the Director of Finance in the ministry said that corruption was responsible for the slow-paced development in the public service and the country.
“I am most delighted that though the inauguration is coming late, considering the time ACTU has existed in the ministry, this milestone achievement will enable the ministry to contribute its own quota to the success of the fight against corruption.
“I am aware that the non-inauguration of ACTU in the ministry has greatly hampered the unit from executing its mandate effectively and efficiently hence my insistence on this being done to set the unit on the proper footing,’’ she said.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC Chairman said that the commission had a three-pronged approach to fighting corruption, namely: enforcement, prevention, and education.
Owasanoye, represented by Mr Abbia Udofia, the Director, Corruption and Monitoring Department, ICPC said that in giving effect to its preventive mandate, the commission established the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) in 2001.
He said that ACTU was established in collaboration with the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCFS) to serve as an internal regulatory mechanism to identify lapses in operational systems, among others.
The chairman said, “the commission has also initiated the Constituency Project Tracking Group (CPTG) aimed at tracking projects approved by the National Assembly to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) MDAs.
“This group revealed that billions of naira have been allocated by the Federal Government for zonal intervention projects over the past 10 years but a large amount of that figure cannot be accounted for as some contractors have failed to execute their projects while other poorly executed the projects.”
According to him, ACTU is not meant to challenge the authority of the management or to displace existing operations but to complement them especially in the areas of instilling discipline and integrity.
(Edited & Vetted By: Emmanuel Yashim)
COVID-19: Minister advises Nigerians on adopting guidelines to curb spread
Mr Rotiba Gabriel of the Ministry’s Press Unit said in a statement that Tallen made the appeal when the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) paid her a courtesy visit in Abuja.
The group was led by Salute Nigeria Initiative and Police Campaign Against Cultism and other Vices (POCACOV)
The minister stressed the need for parents, most especially women to wash their hands, use face mask and follow the rule of proper hygiene.
She also advised them to boost the immune system of the family in other to remain safe from COVID-19.
She commended the efforts of the Presidential Task-force on COVID-19 and others for all the proactive measures to keep Nigeria safe from the pandemic.
Tallen, noted that the increasing cases of rape and killings, especially during the COVID-19 was worrisome.
She called on all stakeholders to strive towards ridding the society of the menace and ensuring perpetrators were reported to authorities for prosecution.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr Chielo Ojirika, stressed the need to educate women on the measures to protect the family against the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
Ojirika, disclosed that the group was working on producing a campaign video on COVID-19 to educate more Nigerians to observe good hygiene practices.
He further condemned the rates of rape and other forms of violence against women and children, calling for incarceration as the major punishment for rapists which would deter others.
Minister donates 20 wheelchairs to persons living with disabilities
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has donated 20 wheelchairs to persons living with disabilities at Karamajiji Disabled Colony in Abuja, as part of activities to mark her golden jubilee.
Aliyu made the disclosure in a statement issued by her Special Assistant on Media, Austine Elemue, on Saturday in Abuja.
The minister, who celebrated her 50 birthday with 65 orphanage homes across the six Area Councils of FCT, said her decision was to appreciate Allah’s kindness and mercies upon her life,
Aliyu, who was accompanied by her husband, Alhaji Tijjani Aliyu and the wife of the FCT Permanent Secretary, Lady Pamela Ohaa, said that there was no better way to appreciate God than to show love to the less privileged.
She said that children in the orphanage homes should be the collective responsibility of wealthy members of the society.
The minister commended the efforts of the FCT Social Development Secretariat in ensuring that the children were groomed to face future challenges like other children in the society.
She also used the occasion to challenge the children to aspire for any leadership position in the country while praying that God would grant each and everyone of them their heart desires.
“Let me start by sincerely apologising to you. You have been under this sun for a very long time.
“I had other pressing issues and I want to be physically present to make you happy. Today is my 50th birthday as you have been told.
“This is a surprise birthday organised by my well-wishers, my indefatigable Team Ramatu, who have identified with me come rain, come shine.
“I want to tell you that you will grow up to 50 years and beyond by God’s grace. You are future leaders of this nation.
“Among you are members of House of Representatives, Senators, Ministers, Governors, even President of this country.
“I say this in the presence of God today that among you, we have president, governors and ministers of tomorrow,” Aliyu said.
In his remark, Alhaji Tijjani Aliyu, while thanking Allah for the life of his wife and career progression, called on the men folks to encourage their wives in any chosen career.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, for recognising the contributions of FCT Minister of State in nation building.
He described President Buhari as a godfather, saying that politics and giving to humanity had been the hallmark of the FCT Minister of State.
“I want to use this opportunity to welcome my dear wife to the rank of those who can talk with the elders
“We have come a very long way. Each and every person has chosen a career.
“Politics and giving to humanity is her own aspiration and by the grace of God, she has not looked back since she started.
“We thank God for what Allah has done for us till this date and I want to use this opportunity to send a very powerful message to my male folks that a woman you have in your house is not a piece of luggage.
“She is a partner that must be encouraged to aspire even beyond yourself because at the end of the day, this partnership do not know who God will call first,’’ Aliyu said.
He urged men to give their wives the best support to aspire even to be president.
“I wish to thank each and every one of you who have stood by her solidly. I have noticed it, starting from President Buhari.
“Those of you who have watched her progress from the beginning; the person of Ramatu does not have a godfather,’’ he said.
Responding, Mr Kuta Gabriel, the Vice President of Coalition of Orphanage and Children Homes in Nigeria (COCHIN), thanked the FCT Minister of State for the gesture.
The items donated to the 65 orphanage homes are noodles, spaghetti, assorted drinks and beverages.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Democracy Day: Healthy democracy guarantees greater nation – Minister
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of 2020 Democracy Day.
Sylva believes that a healthy democracy guarantees a greater nation.
He made this known in a statement signed by his media aide, Julius Bokoru, on Friday in Abuja.
The minister described June 12 as a moment of national pride and introspection, noting that a virile democracy was a veritable platform for entrenching national integration and greatness.
He acknowledged that Nigeria’s democracy has had its share of hiccups and setbacks, but expressed optimism that the country would come out stronger and better.
Sylva advised Nigerians on the need to guard the hard earned democracy jealously and shun deeds capable of undermining it.
He praised the people for embracing democracy, their love for country and sense of patriotism.
The minister also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the tenets and values of democracy.
He said this had enhanced and strengthened the current democratic experience.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Minister warns hospitals against rejection of patients during emergency
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has warned management of hospitals across Nigeria against rejection of patients, saying it is unethical.
Ehanire, who gave the warning on Thursday in Abuja, at the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 press briefing, said such erring hospitals should be reported.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister made the remarks, while answering questions on the issue of some hospitals rejecting patients in their facilities.
Ehanire said: “It is unethical to reject patients, who come to the hospital for treatment, such offenders should be reported.
“I also want to call on all healthcare facilities not to reject persons seeking medical help, especially in an emergency situation.
“It is unethical to reject such a persons in distress.
“I also urge citizens to go to the hospitals when not feeling well, and to cooperate with medical personnel by giving accurate information, especially with regard to their travel history,” he said.
Ehanire, however, said it was possible that there was a new strain of the Coronavirus, adding that research was in progress.
“We have learnt, for example, that patients are most infectious during the asymptomatic stage, and spread the virus, even, if they do not look or feel ill, or before their symptoms appear.
“We also learnt that patients with no COVID-19 symptoms may no longer be infectious after 14 days, even, if PCR tests identify RNA evidence of virus in them.
“Global experience is that up to 45 per cent of infected people may have no symptoms at all.
“In Nigeria, the proportion of confirmed cases that are symptomatic compared to asymptomatic is 39 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively.
“This means that if 10 persons are able to infect you with COVID-19, four of them will look very well indeed.
“Another three or four will have mild symptoms that can be trivialised, even by healthcare workers, which may explain the initial relatively high rate of infection among them,” he explained.
The minister said that the cheapest and easiest way to protect oneself was with a mask, adding, “in this case, a cloth mask would do”.
He said that this was why the ministry would continue to urge citizens to adhere strictly to wearing of a nose mask when outside their homes and observe other non-pharmaceutical measures.
The minister said this was so, especially now that confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country continue to rise.
Ehanire said that the ministry has no room for complacency or over-confidence, and need to be ready for any sudden shift in fortune.
He said that the ministry, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has activated additional laboratories in Akwa Ibom, Jigawa and Oyo States, bringing the total number of laboratories in the network to 33.
“More are being prepared as we work toward a target of, at least, one molecular laboratory per state. Optimisation of laboratories is ongoing in other states.
“We have commenced planning for targeted community sensitisation activities in 20 high burden Local Government Areas and workshop on Infection Prevention and Control on COVID-19 for healthcare workers in public and private hospitals in the FCT,” the minister said.
He, however, disclosed that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Health and the Speaker, House of Representatives have been engaging the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to address the their grievances.
“We also had conversation with Ministry of Finance agencies and health-related associations, which addressed the issues of welfare and allowances to the frontline health workers.
“Complaints on non-availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been addressed with the supply of materials to states, and separately to the Federal Medical Centres.
“The disengaged resident doctors at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital have been recalled by the Board of Governors.
“I am confident that resident doctors will show understanding and reciprocate the government’s efforts on the assurance that their grievances shall be addressed,” the minister said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)