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Only investment in education will guarantee brighter future in Northern Nigeria – AG






By Hassana Yakubu

Kaduna, Jan. 16, 2019 (NNN) Plateau State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Clement Dakas has called for greater investment in education to guarantee brighter future for young men and women in Northern Nigeria and end restiveness.

Dakas said on Wednesday in Kaduna during the annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture that the region must collectively confront its challenge to arrest growing unrests and criminality.

He said, “if we want a bright future for our children and other generations to come to reality, we must make greater investments in the education of our young men and women.

“For us in the northern part of the country, there is a greater challenge when its comes to girl child education”.

He noted that in the past 53 years since the assassination of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Northern region has transformed into the poverty capital of Nigeria.

“What will Sir Ahmadu Bello think about some of the very tragic developments that are unfolding from Benue, Plateau, Zamfara and Sokoto which are literally under siege”.

Dakas also expressed dismay on the State of the economy of the region, saying, “what will he think about the subject of corruption, the lack of will power from political leaders and also the state of social economic relations in the region.

“I am tempted to think he will unfortunately not want to be associated with the current situation in the region.

“If people die, we often say let him rest in peace, but if you are a leader of standing of Sir Ahmadu Bello who had the previlege of being the first and only premier of northern Nigeria and given his vision for northern Nigeria, he wouldn’t be happy”.

He stressed the need for political leaders in the North to salvage the situation by emulating the legacies of the late Sardauna and advance the economic, social and political interest of the North above their selfish interests.

The commissioner added that the leaders must mentor younger generation of Northerners to chart new course to extricate the region from its present state of underdevelopment.

He expressed sadness that other regions view the North as dragging the Country backward, saying that current leaders must do things differently to advance the future of the region.

He lamented that, though Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation was established in collaboration with Northern Governors Forum, not a single governor was present at the event meant to celebrate the late premier.

On his part, the Chairman, Board of Trustee, Ahmadu Bello Foundation, Alhaji Babangida Aliyu said the aim of the event was to remind Nigerians on the good deeds of the late premier to serve as inspiration to younger generation.

Aliyu said “the remembrance of the premier who died in the past 53 years is because of the role he played as a leader in the areas of security and welfare of his people. We are experiencing set backs today due to lack of adherance to his legacies”.

While relating to the topic, Aliyu noted that the search for adequate and right system of government was to help in bringing out the strength and weakness of the present Constitutions and  make amends.

“It’s often said that in the parliamentary system, the party is important and has decisive factor at all times unlike the presidential system where elections is relegated and candidates become more important “.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the foundation will be honouring some distinguished Nigerians in line with the ideals of late icon Sir Ahmadu Bello.

Those to be honoured include, retired
Justice Muhammed Lawal-Uwais, Iman Alhaji Abdullahi, Archbishop Josiah Idewo-Fearon, Dr Lateef Sheik and Chief of Moroa, Dr Tagwai Sambo.(NNN)


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COVID-19: Global solidarity only hope for humanity, says Buhari



President Muhammadu Buhari says global solidarity is the hope for humanity to reverse the devastations of COVID-19 to the human race.

The president stated this during a virtual meeting tagged, ”High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and beyond”, on Thursday in Abuja.

He also renewed the appeal for debt cancellation for African countries at the event convened by Canada, Jamaica and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Buhari called on developed countries and international financial institutions to cancel the debts of ”needy countries” especially in Africa to enable them reverse the devastations of COVID-19.

The Nigerian leader also urged major nations to provide free additional resources through an international consensus to assist poor countries fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The president, however, cautioned major nations against adopting a ”me first” and ”every man for himself” attitude, warning that “the consequences for all of us in the 21st century can only be imagined’’.

”The world has changed through COVID-19 and so must the global financing architecture for development financing and the response to the current pandemic.

“There is an urgent need for weak and needy countries especially those of Africa, to receive a fresh reprieve.

”This is a historic plague affecting every corner of the globe. In the circumstances, the response needed must be global, unconditional, comprehensive and rapid.

“Debts must be forgiven and cancelled. Free additional resources are needed urgently through an international consensus to enable poor countries work to reverse the devastations of COVID-19 to the human race.

”Rising now and standing together in true global solidarity to my mind is the only hope for humanity, the best approach to safeguarding the 2030 SDGs and the only way we can build back for more resilient economies and societies.”

The President also used the occasion to apprise the international community on the devastating impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy, the health sector and efforts by his government to mitigate the crisis.

For Nigeria, the shocks are multiple, including the sharp decline in international oil prices which has negatively impacted revenues and growth, worsened external and domestic positions, and further increased banking sector vulnerabilities, resulting in enormous human and economic toll on the country.

”We have been proactive in implementing a number of strong measures, including fiscal, monetary and structural policies, and a multi-front response to the health crisis created by COVID-19 which captures all tiers of Government as well as the private sector.

”Our objective is to revert to the government’s planned medium-term fiscal consolidation path once the crisis is over. Our strategy for macroeconomic stability is anchored on our home-grown Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP),” he said.

Buhari said Nigeria had revised its 2020 budget downwards.

He said the country had shifted emphasis to response activities towards bridging the critical gaps in the health infrastructures to strengthen national response to COVID-19 and other diseases.

On demographics and health, the President told the meeting that with an estimated population of 200 million and a large segment of economically vulnerable population, Nigeria had a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

”This level of disease burden, coupled with poverty level and Nigeria’s weak system; the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly jeopardizing and reversing the gains already made by the Government and its partners including in such other areas as outbreaks of Lassa and yellow fevers and measles,’’ he said.

Nigeria recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Feb, 27, 2020.

Since then, the country has seen a steady increase in the number of cases, with 8,733 confirmed cases, out of which 2,501 have been discharged and 254 deaths reported across 35 states as at May 27.

More than 50 Heads of State and Government as well as heads of international organisations participated in the High-Level Event on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and beyond.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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NSSP: Only community-based vulnerable households will benefit from pro-poor intervention – official



The Coordinating Office of the National Social Safety-Net Programme (NSSP) said on Thursday that only identified poor and vulnerable households in communities would benefits from government’s pro-poor interventions.

Mr Dahiru Soba, Head, Monitoring and Evaluation and Managing Information System, State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU), Kaduna State, said this in Kafanchan while speaking at a three-day capacity building training on Community-Based Targeting process.

The training was organised by the Office of the Focal Person, National Social Investment Programme and the State Operations Coordinating Unit, in collaboration with National Social Safety-net Coordinating Office (NASSCO).

He said that the Federal Government had set up the NASSP to enable the  effective identification and targeting of vulnerable households in the country with a view to supporting them.

According to him, the Federal Government, through NASSCO, is building the National Social Register (NSR) of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHH), through geographic targeting, community-based targeting and proxy mean test mechanism.

“This is for reliability and to ensure that resources go to the intended beneficiaries.

“The geographic targeting of PVHHs involves the use of poverty map across states for a basis for the classification, ranking and selection of participating local government areas.

“Also, the community-based targeting allows the community to identify, validate and select specific members that meet criteria of PVHHs to be enrolled in the NSR.

“On the other hand, the proxy mean test allows ranking of households based on pre-determined criteria from the poor to the poorest for targeted interventions like the cash transfer programme,” Soba said.

He further said that 95 enumerators and community-based targeting teams in five Local Government Areas  from Kaduna South Senatorial Zone, were participating in the training.

The SUCO boss identified the LGAs as Jema’a, Kaura, Jaba, Zangon Kataf  and Kagarko.

He noted that the objective of the raining was to improve the knowledge of the participants on social protection and build their capacity on community-based targeting process.

Earlier, Mr John Samson, one of the facilitators, observed that economic growth in the country had not translated to diversified income for poor families.

Samson said that social protection was one way of bridging the inequality gap, by ensuring that resources were spread evenly among the people and across the country.

He explained that social protection comprised all policies and programmes formulated to prevent and reduce poverty, as well as socio-economic shocks of individuals and households.

“It also involves enhancing the social status and rights of the marginalised, the deprived and the vulnerable households and their inhabitants,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the training was conducted with strict compliance to safety measures against Coronavirus, particularly the use of face mask, social distancing, and hand sanitizer.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)


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Interview: A community with shared future the only right choice in COVID-19 fight: British business leader




China has remained consistent in building a community with a shared future for mankind, which is fully reflected in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain’s 48 Group Club, said recently.

“Despite the pressure internationally, China‘s diplomatic policies remain consistent, which impress me most,” Perry, a recipient of the China Reform Friendship Medal in 2018 for his outstanding contributions to improving China-Britain ties, told Xinhua.

He made the remarks after Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a news conference on China‘s foreign policy and foreign relations on May 24 on the sidelines of the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress, China‘s top legislature.

China‘s interest lies in the alignment of its interest with its global philosophy, which is about nations working together,” Perry said.

China supports the understanding of the virus and has managed it in a very practical way, he said, adding that China has shared information with relevant countries and regions and helped other countries to fight COVID-19.

By attaching great importance to openness, transparency and responsibility, China has acted as a responsible country and its actions are completely aligned with the concept of a community with a shared destiny, he said.

“Coronavirus is a global crisis that no country is immune from. It has proved that building a community with a shared future for mankind is the only right choice to win the battle,” he noted.

In Perry’s eyes, the concept of a community with a shared future has also been reflected in China‘s support implementing the Belt and Road Initiative. “China has helped Asia to become a continent that can link to Europe, Africa and the Middle East by land,” he noted.

“At the same time, it is promoting economic development with good infrastructure through these new opening areas of the world,” he said.

In addition, Perry said, if the global economy moves away from the trend towards globalization and multilateralism, it may fall into a prolonged recession.

The year 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the European Union (EU). Regarding the China-EU cooperation, Perry said the two sides have broad consensus in terms of international trade order, responding to climate change, and maintaining multilateralism.

They have also demonstrated healthy cooperation in the fight against COVID-19, he added.

“In the post-epidemic era, a stronger cooperation between the two sides is required to facilitate a quick economic recovery,” Perry said.


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COVID – 19: Only 8 patients out of 73 still active in Zamfara – Matawalle



Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says only eight patients out of the 73 confirmed coronavirus cases recorded in the state are still at the isolation center.

Matawalle made this known on Sunday at a gathering in Maradun where he went to celebrate the Sallah break.

The governor congratulated health workers in the  state for successfully tracking and treating those infected with the virus, and expressed happiness that there were no new case in the state.

“We lost five persons to the pandemic but others survived at the isolation and were later discharged to reunite with their families in good health.

“This remarkable feat have been possible due to the effort of our medical team, our efforts in meeting all the required preventive standards and the cooperation of the good people of the state in adhering to preventive guidelines.

“I want to reiterate that COVID-19 is real, still on the rampage and dangerous  to human lives,  so we must all join hands to sustain the measures that are truncating fast spread of the disease in our communities, so that together we can defeat the pandemic.”

He appealed to the people to always check their COVID-19 status at centres located across the 14 local government areas of the state.

“My administration has recently set up a zero contact sample collection and testing center of the virus at the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital, Gusau, which is one of its type in the whole country in our effort to quickly know any carrier of the disease and save many lives in good time.

“The center will offer services to even our neighbouring state so that we can contain the inter-state  spread of this virus,” he added.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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COVID-19: Safety rules compliance, only way out- Methodist Archbishop  



The Chairman of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Enugu State, Most Rev Christopher Edeh reiterates that observation of all precautionary measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the only way to combat the virus.

Edeh, who is also the Archbishop of Methodist church, Enugu Diocese,  said this during a sensitization tagged ‘Wear Your Face Mask’ in Enugu on Sunday.

The cleric urged christian faithful to ensure they wore face masks and maintain physical distancing in public places including churches, markets, offices and other crowded places.

He also advised church leaders not to allow anyone enter worship places without masks, washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers.

According to him, coronavirus is real and the only way we can fight this evil scourge is by complying to all the hygiene protocols from the federal government and other relevant agencies.

”Please stay at home if you are not on essential duties, wear your face masks when leaving your house and maintain physical distancing as well as washing your hands all the time.

”It’s cheaper and safer to follow the rules than contracting the disease and spending all you have to save your life,” the archbishop said.

The cleric used the occasion to distribute face masks to some churches he visited including Central Methodist Church, Uwani, Baptist Church, New Haven and some Anglican churches in the metropolis.

The CCN comprises Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, Qua Iboe and United Evangelical churches.


Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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Interview: Int’l collaboration “the only way” to address COVID-19 crisis, says UK scholar




International collaboration is “the only way” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as sharing best practice, data and helping less developed countries are vital to address the global crisis, a British scholar has said.

“I think collaboration with all countries is the only way to look at this, and that is coordination with all countries globally: sharing best practice, sharing systems, sharing accurate and timely and transparent data and information and that’s the most important thing,” said Mark Eccleston-Turner, a lecturer in law at Keele University, in an interview with Xinhua.

Specializing in the field of international law and infectious diseases, he said Britain, and other Western countries, should also look to help other countries strengthen their health systems to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, as opposed to adopting a unilateral approach.

Whereas Britain, China and the European Union (EU), among others, have agreed to a collaborative global effort to combat the coronavirus, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently cut its funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and reconsider the U.S. membership in the organization.

Eccleston-Turner believes the United States move would be a huge blow for any sign of international collaboration in the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s a big blow to multilateralism. It’s a big blow to collaboration. When you look at something like a pandemic of this sorts, it’s a public health emergency of international concern and what that means is it’s an extraordinary event which warrants a coordinated international response.”

The World Health Assembly (WHA), decision-making body of the WHO, opened its first-ever virtual session on Monday, calling for unity, a stronger WHO role and equity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the WHA, EU, Britain, China and others have endorsed the principle of making any COVID-19 vaccine produced in the near future globally accessible.

Eccleston-Turner said that is a very good thing, and it was fundamental that if Britain had successfully developed a vaccine, it would make it available for all.

According to a recent statement from the British government, the University of Oxford has agreed a global licensing agreement with AstraZeneca, a British-based pharmaceutical company, for the commercialization and manufacturing of their potential vaccine.

This means that, if the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make up to 30 million doses available by September for people in Britain, as part of an agreement to deliver 100 million doses in total, the government said.

“The agreement will deliver 100 million doses in total, ensuring that in addition to supporting our own people, we are able to make the vaccines available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

“The real point of collaboration, the real test of collaboration and a real test of the UK’s role within the global community will be what happens if we develop a vaccine,” Eccleston-Turner said.

He said there is important reasons for such collaboration.

“Number one is that a reservoir of COVID-19 anywhere in the world remains a threat to the rest of the world. Even if COVID-19 no longer exists in the UK, if it’s endemic in other regions then it can very easily come to the UK and spread through Europe again — and spread through what we think of the global north again,” said Eccleston-Turner.

Secondly, Britain has a moral duty to share the vaccine with the world, he said.

“Individuals, regardless of wherever they live in the world, need equitable access to a vaccine against the coronavirus and just because we happen to live in a country that can afford this vaccine and can develop this vaccine doesn’t mean that we should deny other people in the rest of the world this vaccine,” he said.


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Games without spectators only a short-term solution, Wenger says



Staging football matches without spectators must only be a short-term fix during the COVID-19 pandemic as the prolonged absence of fans could damage the game, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says.

The German Bundesliga became the first major football league to resume since the novel coronavirus outbreak shut down sports earlier this year.

The Bundesliga return behind closed doors is now being closely watched by other leagues.

“Will it survive long term? Will it damage the show long term without supporters? I am convinced of that,” FIFA’s head of global development Wenger said.

“You cannot imagine a whole season without any spectators. That’s why I believe it a short-term solution.

“It is still the best possible way to get a verdict for the end of the season. It’s better than any other decision.”

England’s Premier League is hopeful `Project Restart’, which envisages a return to action in June, can gain momentum after clubs hold a conference call on Monday.

The meeting is to vote on a return to group training with matches to be played in empty stadiums.

The Frenchman added that health concerns should take priority in any decision to restart play.

“We can’t be guided too much by financial reasons and take such a big gamble,” he added.

“We have to first make sure this is medically safe.”

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)


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Online health diagnosis tools only accurate around 36 pct of the time: Aussie study




Online self-diagnosis tools only get it right about once every three diagnoses given, a new study revealed on Monday, raising serious concerns for those making health decisions based on what their computers tell them.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia studied 36 international mobile and web-based symptom checkers and found that they provide an accurate diagnosis just 36 percent of the time, with 49 percent accuracy on when and where to seek health care.

With approximately 40 percent of Australians checking their health online, lead author of the research, Masters student Michella Hill from ECU said the study should make people think twice before using those tools to treat themselves.

“While it may be tempting to use these tools to find out what may be causing your symptoms, most of the time they are unreliable at best and can be dangerous at worst,” Hill said.

The research found that other major issues that need to be addressed included lack of government regulation and the concern that users were given a false sense of security despite the severely limited scope of online tools.

“We’ve all been guilty of being ‘cyberchondriacs’ and googling at the first sign of a niggle or headache,” Hill said.

“But the reality is these websites and apps should be viewed very cautiously as they do not look at the whole picture – they don’t know your medical history or other symptoms.”

“For people who lack health knowledge, they may think the advice they’re given is accurate or that their condition is not serious when it may be,” she added.

Despite the obvious conclusion that online symptom checkers can not replace real doctors, the study’s authors found that they may actually have a place in the modern health system.

“These sites are not a replacement for going to the doctor, but they can be useful in providing more information once you do have an official diagnosis,” she said.


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Remaining 5 COVID-19 patients in Laos only have light symptoms: official




The remaining five COVID-19 patients in Laos have only experienced light symptoms, according to a Lao official.

Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under Lao Ministry of Health Rattanaxay Phetsavanh told a press conference in Lao capital Vientiane on Sunday that five COVID-19 patients, who are treated in Mittaphab Hospital have light symptoms or no noticeable symptoms at all.

The five infected cases included an 18-year-old man, who was confirmed as the eighth case and treated since March 28; the 10th case, a 21-year-old woman, who was treated since April 1; the 16th case, a 23-year-old woman, who was treated since April 9; the 17th case, a 32-year-old woman, who was treated since April 11; and the 18th case, a 32-year-old woman, who was treated since April 11.

All of the patients are treated in the designated hospital – Mittaphab Hospital (Hospital 150) and living in Lao capital Vientiane.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Laos remained at 19, as no new case was confirmed for 35 consecutive days, according to reports.

As of Sunday, Laos has tested 4,562 suspected cases with 19 cases tested positive, and 14 patients have recovered.

Laos announced its first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 24.


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