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THE STATES

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Kaduna
The vice-chancellor of Kaduna State University (KASU) has decried the non-release of the N500 million take-off grant for the development of the institution’s Kafanchan campus.
The Vice-Chancellor had told the Kaduna State governor Namadi Sambo that the development had slowed down the execution of projects for the smooth take-off of the campus.
Abdulahi said the grant was included in the 2009 budget, but had not been released, and that no single work has been done at the site.
He said the dilapidated former Government Secondary School, Kafanchan and site of the campus had been taken over by weeds, while part of it had been converted to farmland by the residents of the area.

Zamfara

The Zamfara State Government has spent N35.8 million on the rehabilitation of roads across the state.
Managing Director of Zamfara Road Maintenance Agency (ZAROMA), Alhaji Tukur Rafi who disclosed in Gusua, at a lecture on “Maintenance Culture of Public Infrastructure,” organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) said the agency had conducted a survey on the state of the roads and discovered that they were plagued by faulty designs, inadequate drainage system and pot holes.

Ajaokuta

The Federal Government of Nigeria have been commended for its resolve to complete the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line.
National President of the Association of Steel Workers, Mr Otori Maliki who made the commendation, said that the development showed government’s commitment to developing the sector.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government, through the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had recently approved N36 billion for the rehabilitation and construction of the remaining 22km rail line and six stations along the route.
According to Maliki, the Ajaokuta-Warri rail line, constructed in 1994, needs to be repaired, following vandalism and dilapidation, which occurred over time, since the project commenced.

Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has opposed the application filed by former Director-General, National Arts Gallery, Joe Musa, praying an Abuja high court to quash the corruption charges brought against him and four others.
Specifically, Musa and his co-accused were arraigned by the EFCC for alleged misappropriation of funds belonging to the National Arts Gallery.
But in an application argued by Musa’s counsel, Kolawole Olewookere, he submitted that the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against him.
Olowookere argued that “a thorough examination of the proof of evidence attached to the charge would s how that there is nothing linking the accused person to the alleged offence contained in the 12 count charge.”
In his response, counsel to the EFCC, Steve Odiase, asked the court not to grant Musa’s application, insisting that the accused had a case to answer.
Odiase argued that Musa was trying to use the court to shield himself from prosecution over the alleged fraud.
Everyone must answer for his misdeed and that is exactly what we have called the accused person to do,” he submitted.
The court will on December 10 rule on whether or not to discontinue the trial.

Kwara
The two billion naira Kwara State Advanced Diagnostics Centre (KWSADC), Ilorin, may be ready by the end of April next year, according to the state’s commissioner for health, Oladimeji Hassan.
Already, a part of the contractual agreement was sealed on Monday while parties to the pact promised the readiness of the centre “in five months” time.
The centre, when completed, would be comparable to any of its kind in the world. Services of renowned experts in diagnosis would be sought towards accurate and early detection of ailment.
Hassan spoke yesterday in Ilorin, during the opening of a seminar on emergency obstetrics care and life-saving skills for health care providers, organised by university of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

Kogi
The Kogi State House of Assembly has put on hold the job of four local government council chairmen for two months for failure to comply with the state’s financial regulations.
Investigations have shown that the decision of the House was sequel to the adoption of a report from the office of the state’s Auditor-General for local governments.
The report which was presented by the House Committee Chairman on Finance and Appropriation, Alhaji Abdullahi Ali, accused the chairmen of failing to submit their reports from 2006 to 2008 for which they were initially queried on.

Yobe

At least, 1,200 plots recently allocated for commercial and residential purposes in Damaturu and Potiskum towns have been revoked by the Yobe State government.
The commissioner for lands and survey, Alhaji Samaila Gadaka who announced the revocation in a statement in Damaturu, said the revocation was with immediate effect.
He stated that the state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam approved the revocation, following the detection of massive irregularities in the allocation.
The statement also said that the affected plots were allocated without adherence to due process and advised those who had commenced development on them to stop work with immediate effect.

Minna

The chairman, Global 2000 and former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) has declared Nigeria free from the guinea worm disease scourge.
The former head of state who disclosed this in Minna, Niger State during a courtesy call on Governor Babangida Aliyu, said the country had been rid of the disease through the combined efforts of the Federal, State and local governments, as well as those of Global 2000.
Gowon recalled that that former president of the United States (US), Jimmy Carter invited him in 1987 to join in the fight against the scourge of the disease, through is non-Governmental Organisation, Global 2000.
He stated “the number of people afflicted by the disease stood at 650,000 for a long time, which did not go up or down, showing its seriousness on the health of our people in 21 states.”
The Global 200 chairman further stated that the situation was very pathetic, as the disease afflicted both the old, the productive group and the children, reducing their capacities to engage in productive venture.
He said Global 2000, through the various state governments in the affected states, began massive public enlightenment and provisions of good drinking water to the endemic areas.
Gowon, noting that boreholes, local drugs and filtration clothes were provided, posited that the efforts yielded fruits, as the country had been rid of the disease.

Taraba

The wife of the president, Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua has urged policy makers to bring to bare issues that would reduce child and maternal mortality rate in the country.
The First Lady who made the call during her one-day advocacy visit to Taraba State, also recalled that statistics have shown that Nigeria has a very high child and maternal health problems in the world.
Turai pointed out that the North-East zone where Taraba state falls into, has the highest maternal mortality rate when compared with other geo-political regions in the country.
She said the advocacy visit is to sensitise policy makers, women folk and the public of the need to ensure that pregnancy and delivery do not pose threat to lives of mothers and the new born.
According to her, the visit was also to encourage children to develop full potential to contribute to the nation’s socio-economic development, and called on policy makers, royal fathers, religious leaders and parliamentarians in the country to support policies and laws that could promote good health for women and children in the country.
The first lady, who commended the effort of the federal government in the implementation of the Integrated Maternal new born and child health strategy, said it is a key government initiative towards ensuring universal coverage of maternal newborn and child health intervention in the country.
She also commended the debt relief funded maternal and child health progress and the midwifery service scheme launched recently in Abuja.

Borno
The cholera outbreaks in Biu and Gwoza, Borno State, have spread to Maiduguri, the state capital and the neigbouring Jeve Local Council killing six people, including two children.
Also, three persons have been confirmed dead and several others hospitalised as a result of cholera outbreak in Karim-Lamido Local Council of Taraba State.
The spread of the water borne disease, according to Director of Disease Control in the Borno State Ministry of Health, Dr. Abubakar Sadik, was caused by drinking of contaminated water and poor personal hygiene.
The fresh outbreak brought to a total 78 those who have lost their lives, as 72 cholera patients last month died in Gwoza, Dikwa and Madube, a border community with Adamawa State.
Confirming the fresh outbreak, health commissioner, Zubairu Maina, told The Tide that in Biu alone, about 65 people were killed at the cholera treatment centre.

Oyo

The peace deal brokered among People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains in Oyo State by the Senator Ike Nwachukwu-led committee may have collapsed followed renewed disagreements over alleged dissolution of the state party executive.
Although the Nwachukwu committee was silent on the status of the controversial party executives allegedly handpicked by the late Oyo PDP chieftain, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, it however set up a 19-member harmonisation committee to oversee the affairs of the party along with a newly constituted elders council.
But while the duo of Senator Lekan Balogun and Senator leader Teslim Folarin maintained that the state party executive council stands dissolved, former Governor Kolapo Ishola and the state secretary of PDP, Bashiru Akanbi, said the executive remained intact.
Balogun argued that since there was no party executive in place in the first instance, there was nothing to dissolve by the peace panel.
His words: “first, there was an injunction restraining the conduct of the congress that purportedly gave birth to this illegal executive, an injunction that the powers that be at that time ignored which rendered whatever they did at the so-called congress a nullity and was reechoed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) letter of July 23, 2008 confirming this illegal status.

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SON Destroys Substandard Tyres, Cables, Others In Lagos 

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Lagos Metropolis, on Wednesday, witnessed mass destruction of substandard electric cables, engine oil, LPG cylinders, stuffed new tyres, unapproved cigarettes and low grade roofing sheets by the Standard Organization Of Nigeria (SON).
Director General, SON, Farouk Salim, while destroying the substandard products, Wednesday, noted that the substandard products affected the nation’s economy negatively.
Mr Salim revealed that all the products destroyed were imported into the country and smuggled through the ports.
He, therefore, called for the return of SON to the ports to help minimise the damage done by substandard products to the nation’s economy.
According to him, the burning of the substandard products is to assure Nigerians that SON is actually destroying them after obtaining a court order to that effect.
“Most of these substandard products were captured in the market where they are ready to be sold to customers and the unfortunate thing is that they passed through our ports.
“It will be much easier for these substandard products to be detected if our employees are at the source of the import of these products”, he said.
Salim regretted that SON was not always invited for joint inspection, adding that invitations for joint inspection are rare and far between.
“I guarantee you that if our officers have opportunity to inspect these products, the moment they look at it from experience, they will be able to detect the substandard goods.
“Don’t forget that officers of the customs service are trained to check for duty, they have no idea of how to detect substandard products easily, and our personnel are trained on how to check these products”, he said.
The SON boss denied that its officers had no unfettered access as stipulated by the constitution.
“Unless the law is changed by the National Assembly, signed by the president, the law says SON must and should be at the port, not at the discretion of any organisation”, he said.
Assistant Chief Scientific Officer and Sector Head (Domestic Rubber), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Lagos Liaison Office, Bisiriyu Adesewa said NESREA was present to ensure proper disposal of the products.
“We appreciate SON for ensuring that substandard products don’t enter the market, but we are particular about what happens to these things after the destruction.
“We understand that most of them are going to recycling companies and the only one not recyclable for now is the oil and we will link SON with a facility that can help them dispose it so that there will be zero waste.
“The disposal process here is in line with our rules and regulations. The first thing is to dismantle and seperate them, which they have already done, next is the recycling”, she said.
Also, Head, Federal Competition and Consumption Protection Commission (FCCPC), Lagos Office, Susie Onwuka, said the commission had a Memorandum of Understanding with SON and different sector regulators on removal of substandard goods from the market.
She commended SON for the massive seizures, noting that more work needs to be done.
The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Annex, Alagbon, Lagos, Lawrence Iwodi, said the police was working with SON to ensure that standard was met in relation to goods imported into the country.

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Healthcare: Osinbajo Calls For Improvement, Cooperation Among West African States 

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on West African countries to improve their levels of cooperation to better address problems of healthcare access and out-of-school children, among other human development indices.
Osinbajo said this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday, when he received the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Mr Nuno Nabiam, ahead of yesterday’s ECOWAS Integrated Regional Human Capital Development Forum hosted by the National Economic Council.
According to a statement signed late Wednesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President thanked Mr Nabiam for honouring the invitation to attend the conference, saying, “The Human Capital Development meeting is very important, it is an opportunity to share experience and help each other”.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that Nigeria’s “National Economic Council has done a lot of work on Human Capital Development, focusing on various challenges including questions around out-of-school and healthcare access” and would “significantly improve the human development indices in West Africa”.
He, however, acknowledged that the indices show that a lot more work still needed to be done.
The Vice President commended President Umaro Embalo of Guinea Bissau for his strong support for Nigeria, describing him as a very good friend of President Muhammadu Buhari and the country.
He noted that Guinea Bissau and President Embalo had always supported Nigeria internationally and congratulated the country for recently warding off a coup détat that would have ousted his government.
On his part, the Prime Minister extolled the leadership qualities of President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo, stating, “What the President of Nigeria and Vice President are doing inspires us too”.

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Fuel Scarcity: Stop Panic Buying, IPMAN Tells Nigerians

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has backtracked on the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petroleum.
The Association advised Nigerians to stop panic buying, saying its members would sell petrol at government approved price of N165 per litre.
President of the Association, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, spoke at a press conference on Wednesday against the backdrop of earlier indications by petroleum dealers that the pump price of N165 per litre was no longer sustainable.
The Tide recalls that the IPMAN Secretary in Lagos State, Mr Akeem Balogun, had on Monday, declared a PMS pump price of N180 per litre.
But Okoronkwo at the press briefing, reversed the declaration and urged members of IPMAN to maintain the “status quo ante” of N165 per litre.
He said the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and the Petroleum Products Marketers Company (PPMC) had released petroleum products from their tank farms that could sustain the nation for the next 32 days, hence, there was no need for panic buying.
According to him, “The status quo ante must be maintained moving forward since the NNPC and the PPMC have responded positively by releasing products from their tank farms that can sustain the product needs of the country for 32 days”.
Explaining why the IPMAN Secretary in Lagos arrived at N180 per litre on Monday, the President said: “The decision was taken because its members could no longer operate at a loss.
“While the government had fixed N165 per litre as the pump price of petrol, the current realities in the market showed that the minimum the product should be retailed at the stations should be N180.
“I told you the cost of doing business has changed and my members in Lagos before they did what they did, they called me and told me that they are now getting this product at N162 to N165 per litre with transportation another N8.00, aggregating to about N170 to N173, even the N10.00 which is supposed to be our gain has been eroded, what do we do?
“Now you know and I know that it is only NNPC that imports this product into Nigeria. Some of these tank farm owners who have gone to collect this product, don’t blame them because the cost of doing business has also changed.
“It became so difficult for them to sell at N148.17, but yesterday (Wednesday), I want to tell you that NNPC and PPMC went to their tank farms and released products.

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