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Bauchi

The Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA) has commenced investigations into the activities of a HIV positive herbalist allegedly spreading the virus to his female clients.

The harbalist had been sentenced to 24 years imprisonment by a Bauchi Shari’ah Court for allegedly spreading the virus.

Dr Rilwanu Muhammad, the Executive Secretary of the agency, told newsmen in Bauchi on Friday that the agency was disturbed by the development.

Sheikh Aliyu Sa’idu, a commissioner in the Bauchi State Shari’ah Commission, alleged that the convict, Magaji Ali, had been spreading HIV by luring his female clients into sex as part of the love potion to make their husbands love them.

The Islamic scholar alleged that “the herbalist not only sleeps with them, but also collects N5,000 as service charge and possibly infects them before delivering the love potion”.

He made the allegation in a lecture organised by the Islamic Health Students Association of Nigeria, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Gombe branch.

FCT

Nigeria’s achievements in the health sector would be showcased during the forthcoming meeting of World Health Assembly, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Minister of Health, has said.

The Minister was speaking to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja at a briefing on the forthcoming assembly scheduled for Geneva, Switzerland from May 17 to May 21

“The meeting is an opportunity for us to showcase what we have achieved in the health sector since the last meeting.

“It will also allow the World Health Organisation (WHO) to understand the peculiar problems of some countries and to also decide how those countries could be helped,” he said.

He said that Nigeria had made a lot of achievements in eradicating guinea worm.

“We have continued to sustain the zero reporting of guinea worm. In the past fifteen months, Nigeria has not recorded a single case of guinea worm,” he said.

On polio, Chukwu said that the country has recorded only three cases this year.

“Since the beginning of this year, we have not recorded more than three cases of polio. The recent one was recorded last week.

“If you compare that with the 360 cases recorded between January and May last year, you will know that this is something encouraging,” he said.

The Minister, who said that a report on Nigeria’s performance in the health sector would be issued during the assembly, said that some protocols and resolutions would be adopted at the meeting.

 Jigawa

The Jigawa Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Muktari Birniwa, says the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) established in Maigatari Local Government Area of the state is fully operational.

Birniwa, who disclosed this in an interview with newsmen  on Wednesday in Dutse, said the state government had renovated all dilapidated buildings around the site.

He said that access roads, electricity, water and communications facilities were provided in the zone for effective and efficient commercial activities in the area.

The commissioner stated that two major firms were presently operating in the EPPS, including the state owned Tricycle Assembly Plant and Gum Arabic Company which were meant to export finished products to other parts of the world.

“Some American investors had visited the zone and did feasibility studies and indicated their interest to invest in the area,” he said.

Biennia stated that some companies had requested the government to establish immigration office in the area, to regulate and check the influx of people who would be doing business in the zone.

Kebbi

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved the release of N91.7 million for the Kebbi Community-Based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (CBARDP).

Dr. Usman Shehu, the Programme Manager, Kebbi Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, disclosed this in a statement in Birnin Kebbi on Friday.

The statement said the fund would be utilised to build the capacity of rural communities for the period April 2010 to March 2013.

It said the three tiers of government and benefitting communities would contribute counterpart fund totalling N506 million.

“The approval was sequel to the mid-term review meeting between IFAD and the CBARDP officials on impact of the programme.

“The review indicated that the programmme had impacted positively on the social, economic and environmental aspects as it had improved the livelihoods and living conditions of the targeted communities”, it stated.

Kaduna

Farmers in Zaria and its environs have expressed concern over the delay in fertiliser distribution for the 2010 farming season.

Investigations revealed that farmers in the area had already started clearing their farmlands in readiness for planting.

 A farmer, Alhaji Aliyu Africana, noted that the commodity usually arrived when farmers had already resorted to other alternatives.

  “Most of us do not wait for the official fertiliser rather, we procure the commodity at the black market for use as at and when due.

  “Nevertheless, I want to appeal to the state government to expedite action toward ensuring the availability of the commodity in good time”, Africana said.

  Another farmer, Mahmud Alfa, noted that the delay was a source of worry not only to  farmers but also to the society at large, as it might lead to poor yield.

He urged the state government to distribute the commodity to encourage farmers.

Niger

One person died in a communal clash over farmland between Gbasua and Ndafu communities in Mokwa Local Government Area of Niger on Wednesday, witnesses said.

Ten other persons suffered injuries in the clash, while a house was burnt and agricultural products destroyed, witnesses told newsmen in Minna.

Sources say that the dispute over the land began some years ago when a member of one of the communities allegedly encroached on the land leading to a protest from members of the other community.

Ondo

A driver attached to Mr Kole Bolodeoku, a member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, committed suicide on Thursday.

The lifeless body of the driver, who was simply identified as Dayo, was found hanging in his room at Fanibi layout, Akure.

A source said that the deceased was hail and hearty the previous day and had planned to drive his boss to the House on Thursday for a mourning session in honour of late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Efforts to speak with Bolodeoku, who represents Ese-Odo  constituency, proved abortive as he appeared too confused to talk.

Other residents in the area also wore mournful looks and refused to speak on the development.

Mr Adeniran Aremu, the state Police Public Relations Officer, who confirmed receiving a report of the the incident, said that  investigation had commenced.

“It is true that Honourable Bolodeoku’s driver hanged himself early this morning and the command has swung into action to unravel the circumstance surrounding the death of the driver,’’ he said.

Oyo

 The Oyo State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Oyedemi Muslim, on Thursday in Ibadan warned residents against  unauthorised cutting of  roads.

Muslim gave the warning while briefing newsmen on activities to mark the third anniversary of  Gov. Adebayo Alao-Akala’s government.

The commissioner also said anybody caught dumping refuse on the roads would be prosecuted.

He said government would no longer tolerate the blockage of  drains with refuse.

Muslim further warned those washing vehicles on roads to desist forthwith as they would be arrested and prosecuted.

Other offences, according to the commissioner, include road side trading and hawking, illegal construction on road set backs and dumping of  construction materials on roads.

He said those who illegally park or abandon  their faulty vehicles on the roads would not be spared.

Plateau

As part of its peace-building efforts, the Military Special Task Force maintaining security in Plateau has commenced the provision of free medical services and water supply to communities in Jos.

 The areas benefitting include Tudun Wada, Dogon Dutse, Dutse Uku, Rikkos and Angwan Rukuba areas.

It was gathered that no fewer than 500 patients are being treated daily in these areas by the Medical Corps of the 3 Armoured Division Hospital of the Nigerian Army, Jos.

 Similarly, the Nigerian Army water tankers supply water in these areas which had suffered acute water scarcity for years.

 Residents of these areas were seen trooping out to take advantage of these services, while people from other parts of the city also come, especially, for medical services.

 Speaking to newsmen, on Friday, in Jos, the Commander of the hospital,  Maj. Folarin Orolugbagbe, said the exercise was in the spirit of  “civil-military cooperation”.

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NHRC Seeks Prioritisation Of Children’s Rights In National, State Budgets

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The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, has called for the prioritisation of child rights issues in both the national and state budgets.
Ojukwu, represented by Abdulrahman Yakubu,  director, political and civil education rights in the commission made the call in Abuja at an event organised by the commission to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the African Child  (DAC), celebrated every June 16.
He also called for alignment of national implementation plans of the Child’s Rights Act with international action plans like the Agenda 2040 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda to ensure a more holistic and measurable implementation outcome
“While progress has been made on the implementation of the Child’s Rights Act and Laws across the   states that have adopted it, challenges bordering on non-prioritisation of child rights in the budget, poverty.
“Harmful traditional practices, inadequate access to educational and health services, armed conflicts and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to slow down process across all sectors.
“I call on all concerned Ministry , Departments and Agencies and child-focused organisations to explore  new tools and innovations like technology and social media to accelerate the implementation of child-based laws and policies in the country,” he said.
He also called for the adoption and implementation of measures to ensure universal health coverage, access to quality health-care services for all while closing all gender and vulnerability gaps.
Ojukwu also called for equal access to compulsory and quality education to all children, including children in rural communities, the girl child, children living with disabilities, children in conflict and humanity settings.
“We must address the root cause of conflict and engage early warning mechanisms to eliminate the impact of armed conflicts on children” he said.
The executive secretary said the DAC serves as a strong advocacy and sensitization tool for implementation of children’s rights.
“Beyond honouring the memory of the fallen heroes, the DAC celebration calls for introspection and self-assessment by the AU member states on the level of child rights implementation in respective countries.
The theme for the 2021 DAC celebration as selected by the African committee of Experts on the Rights and welfare of the child, he said, 30 years after the adoption of the charter: accelerate the implementation of the Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children.
In a goodwill message, the Country Representative of UN  Women Nigeria, Ms Comfort Lamptey called for education-in-emergencies in Borno,  Yobe and Adamawa.
The country representative, represented by Patience Ekeoba,  National Programme Officer,  UN Women Nigeria,  Lamptey said that children of these three conflict affected states need education -in-emergencies.
“ In the north east of Nigeria, 2. 8 million children need education -in-emergencies support. No fewer than 802 schools remained closed and 497 classrooms are listed as destroyed with another 1, 392 damaged but repairable in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“In addition to this,  the COVID-19,  insecurity and humanitarian crisis and other prevailing challenges have presented new and additional challenges,” she said
“A lot of countries in Africa have robust legal frameworks policies,  conventions and other frameworks that guarantee the rights of the child,” she added.

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Court Rejects EFCC’s Request To Amend Charge In Ex-NNPC GMD’s Trial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to amend its charge in the $9.8million, £74,000 fraud trial of an ex-Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling, yesterday, held that granting the application by the EFCC would amount to varying a subsisting judgment given by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on April 24, 2020, where it, among others, ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to counts three and four of the six counts originally contained in the charge on which he was arraigned.
Justice Mohammed was emphatic that allowing the prosecution (the EFCC) to amend the charge was tantamount to disobeying the subsisting order made by the Court of Appeal in its judgment of April 24, 2020.
The EFCC claimed that its operatives, acting on a tip-off, raided Yakubu’s house located on Chikun Road, Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna State on February 3, 2017, and recovered the $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash kept in a fire proof safe.
It arraigned Yakubu on March 16, 2017, on a six-count charge relating to money laundering offences.
He was among others, accused of failing to make full disclosure of assets, receiving cash without going through a financial institution, which borders on money laundering and intent to avoid a lawful transaction under law, transported at various times to Kaduna, the aggregate sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.
The prosecution closed its case on October 17, 2018, after calling seven witnesses.
The seventh prosecution witness, an operative of the EFCC, Suleiman Mohammed, spoke about how his team recovered the $9,772,000 and £74,000 cash in Yabubu’s house in Kaduna, which was later deposited in CBN in Kano.
At the closure of the prosecution’s case, Yakubu made a no-case submission, which Justice Mohammed, in a ruling on May 16, 2019, partially upheld by striking out two of the six counts contained in the charge and ordered Yakubu to enter defence in relation to the remaining four counts.
The judge was of the view that the prosecution failed to prove counts five and six of the charge, which related to allegation of unlawful transportation of the money.
“Even though I am tempted to discharge the defendant on counts one to four, I am, however, constrained to ask the defendant to explain how he came about the monies recovered from his house.
“Fortified with my position, the defendant is hereby ordered to enter his defence in respect of counts one to four,” Justice Mohammed said in the May 16, 2019, ruling.
Dissatisfied, Yakubu challenged the decision at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which, in a ruling on April 24, 2020, upheld Justice Mohammed’s ruling and proceeded to strike out two more counts – one and two – in the charge.
The Court of Appeal, then, ordered Yakubu to enter his defence in respect of the remaining two counts – three and four.
Proceedings later resumed at the Federal High Court, with the defendant commencing his defence as ordered by the Court of Appeal.
But, on March 10 this year, the prosecution applied for leave to amend its charge, arguing among others, that the law allows the prosecution to amend charge at any stage of the proceedings before judgment.
The defence countered, arguing that the Court of Appeal, in its judgment of April 24, 2020, made an order to guide further proceedings in the trial.
It noted that the Court of Appeal ordered that the defendant was only to enter defence in relation to counts three and four in respect of which a prima facie case was established.
The defence urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application for amendment and allow the defendant to continue with his defence, a prayer Justice Mohammed granted in his ruling, yesterday.
When the judge ended the ruling, yesterday, the defence indicated its intention to proceed with its case, but the court elected to adjourn till June 30 following plea by the prosecution for an adjournment on the grounds that the lead prosecuting lawyer was not immediately available.

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Economist Challenges W’Bank’s Prediction On Nigeria’s Inflation Rate

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An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has queried World Bank’s prediction that Nigeria’s inflation rate is expected to rise to fifth highest in Sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021.
Ekpo, a professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, questioned the prediction in an interview with The Tide source yesterday in Lagos.
Recall the bank’s Lead Economist for Nigeria, Macro Hernandez while presenting its six-monthly update on development in Nigeria on Tuesday, said Nigeria was lagging the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, with food inflation.
Hernandez included heightened insecurity and stalled reforms as slowing growth and increasing poverty.
The professor said: “First of all, we need to examine the methodology the World Bank used to arrive at the conclusion because we know that inflation has declined slightly.”
Ekpo, also Chairman, Foundation for Economic Research and Training in Lagos, said, however, that if government could solve the insecurity problems limiting economic growth and increase Agricultural production, the prediction might not hold.
According to him, there are countries with double digits inflation and still doing well.
“This means you can have inflation and yet your GDP is growing, so, it’s when you have what we call run-away or hyper inflation that is when you get worried.
“Run-away inflation means that prices are increasing everyday or every month without control,” he said.
On predictions that the inflation would push seven million more Nigerians into poverty due to falling purchasing power, Ekpo gave a suggestion to the federal government to stem it.
He urged the Federal Government to seriously implement the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy Programme and the Economic Sustainability Plan documents.
“I cannot fault them on this one because already, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said about 85 million Nigerians are living in poverty.
“So, World Bank just saying that confirms what our own NBS has already said.
“Now, if the government implements the National Poverty Reduction initiative document as well as the Economic Sustainability plan seriously, then we can begin to reduce the poverty rate.

“Then the economy must grow double digits, that is, 10 per cent and above for us to see reduction in poverty and more jobs creation as well, because poverty is linked to unemployment,” he added.

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