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Abuja

In an effort to reduce maternal mortality in the country, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has provided “mama kits’ for pregnant woman to encourage ante-natal attendance.

Mama kits contain hospital requirements for expectant mothers.

The Executive Director of the agency, Dr Ado Mohammed, said this during an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

“That also encourages them. The kits has the normal materials that a woman brings when she is coming to deliver.”

Mohammed said facilities that used to witness three birth per month now record 40 births per month while in some facilities about 100 attend ante-natal care in a month.

He said the development had renewed confidence in the health system.

Mohammed added that a lot had been achieved as more women now attend ante natal care and also demanded for services in terms of skilled attendant.

According to the director, the remarkable achievement is that 1,000 facilities have midwives running 24-hour service.

 

Adamawa

Alhaji Musa Dantakarda, a PDP stalwart in Mubi, Adamawa, on Sunday called on opposition parties to support the new Murtala Nyako administration to enable it transform the state.

Reacting to Nyako’s victory at the Feb.4, governorship election, Dantakarda said that would also enable the governor continue with the sound programmes initiated in the last four years.

Dantakarda, who was the Chairman of the Nyako campaign organisation, said in Mubi that such cooperation would assist in building a new Adamawa.

“The parties and their candidates should support the PDP administration to work for the progress of our people.

“Adamawa should be our first priority and we must work together as one for the common good of the state,” Dantakarda said.

According to him, the PDP’s victory at the polls has shown the confidence the electorate reposed in its ability to transform the socio-economic condition of the state.

 

Borno

Women came out in large numbers to vote for candidates of their choice in Saturday’s by-election in Konduga constituency of Borno House of Assembly.

Our correspondent reports that the women, mainly housewives, began trooping to polling units as early as 7.30 a.m., outnumbering the men.

Some women, interviewed by our correspondent, attributed the women’s large turnout to the economic situation in the country.

“We came out because we are tired of being left behind. We want to effect a change by ourselves.

“We want to make sure that we elect a candidate that we can trust and who can make life better for us,” Mrs Yagunsu Umar, a voter, said.

Umar said she was mobilised by a women group that went from house to houses to sensitise women on the need to excercise their franchise.

 

FCT

The Secretary of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Health and Human Services Secretariat, in Abuja Dr Ademola Onakomaiya has on Sunday warned the public against patronising fake medical personnel in some hospitals in the territory.

He told newsmen while parading a suspected fake medical personnel at the secretariat in Abuja on Sunday that most people posing as medical personnel were fake, especially in private hospitals.

The secretary said the secretariat was, through the Private Health Establishment Registration and Monitoring Committee, monitoring and regulating the activities of private health care providers in the FCT.

He said it was in the course of duty that the secretarial staff discovered an unqualified medical care provider in a private hospital in Kubwa.

“The 45-year-old man who was parading himself as an optometrist in a hospital was apprehended by our monitoring team.

 

Kebbi

The Kebbi Government spent N9.2 million on the purchase of forms for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, organised by Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, a statement said in Birnin Kebbi on Sunday.

The statement, issued by Alhaji Abubakar Mua’zu, the Press Secretary to the Governor, said the 2000 forms would be distributed free to encourage good performance among students in public examinations.

It said the forms would be issued to qualified students in six education centers, who possessed a minimum of five credits in the Senior School Certificate Examinations.

The statement, said the gesture was in line with the policy of the state government to encourage students to acquire tertiary education.

 

Kaduna

Sen. Mohammed Sani-Sale said on Sunday that the just concluded by-election into the House of Representatives in Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State was marked with intimidation.

He told Journalists in Zaria that the by-election was not conducted freely and fairly considering the illegality surrounding it.

Sani-Sale, an ex-army general, who represents Kaduna Central on the platform of CPC said, “I want to press my utmost disappointment over what happened during the by-election. I thought we are matured enough to conduct ourselves well, what I saw we had not learnt any lesson from the past.

“The mass disorderliness among the electorate and the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fully prepare for the election has shown that we still have a long way to go. I therefore call for outright cancelation of the election,” he added.

 

Kogi

Kogi State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has honoured six journalists and two corporate organisations with awards for excellent performance.

Our correspondent reports that the awards were given in Lokoja on Saturday during the maiden edition of the state NUJ end of year/New Year get together ceremony to take stock of the previous year and plan for the New Year.

The awardees are Mr Timothy Yusuf of NTA, Mr Abel Ada-Musa and Mr James Oyewole, both of Graphic newspaper and Alhaji Yekini Jimoh of the Tribune newspaper.

Others are Mr Mike Abu of the Post newspaper, a Lokoja-based fortnight tabloid, and the state correspondent of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Kola Adeyemi.

Kogi Broadcasting Corporation (Radio Kogi FM 94) and FRCN Prime FM 101.5, Lokoja, received the corporate award.

Speaking at the ceremony, chairman of the council, Malam Ali Atabor, said the union decided to honour the journalists as a way of celebrating and recognising excellence as well as good conduct and character of members.

 

Lagos

An actor, Nobert Young, says the lack of professionalism is the bane of the motion picture industry in Nigeria.

Young also identified tribalism, favouratism and mediocrity, among others, as factors militating the growth of the industry.

He made the observation in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos on Sunday, saying, “an otherwise very big industry, very big money-making industry, but people because of their mediocrity will not let it grow.

“If the professionals are handling this industry do you know how much we are talking about here, billions of naira?”

He decried the absence of control in the industry, saying “everybody comes in to do what he likes.

“You can’t tell a man that he doesn’t have talent because whatever he produces, there is always a market for it.

“He may not hit the target but he will make some money from whatever he produces. So, it is up to the viewing public to choose what to buy.”

Young suggested that the personnel involved in creating story lines, scripts, acting and directing of films be trained and retrained in order to get the desired change in the industry.

 

Ogun

The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs Adejoke Orelope- Adefulire, has called for collaboration with religious bodies and well-meaning organisations to tackle youth restiveness and juvenile delinquencies.

Orelope-Adefulire made the call at the 2012 Hope Day of the Habitation of Hope, a care ministry founded by Pastor (Mrs) Folu Adeboye, the wife of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

“Government alone cannot fight the scourge,’’ Orelope-Adefulire said.

She said that governments, at all levels, were committed to taking disadvantaged children off the streets and providing them with an enabling environment to develop their talents.

“Our people look up to their spiritual heads for guidance and direction, and it is only appropriate to also put in place other measures beyond preaching the gospel or ministering, through which lives can be changed and more souls can be saved,’’ she stated.

 

Taraba

The police in Jalingo have intercepted a vehicle allegedly conveying a consignment of arms and ammunition between Zakibiam in Benue and Wukari in Taraba State.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Ibiang Mbasieke, told newsmen that the vehicle, a Toyota Carina E with Registration No. AA775ABE, was intercepted at a stop and search check-point near Wukari on Friday.

He said nine single-barreled guns, two locally made revolver pistols and one long range gun as well as several rounds of ammunition and cartridges were found in the car.

Mbasieke explained that the driver and one other occupant were arrested by the police, while investigations continue in the matter.

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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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