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The Guild of Medical Directors (GMD) has restated its commitment to collaborate with government to build world class hospitals in Nigeria to reduce foreign medical trips by Nigerians.

The GMD is a body of medical doctors who own and run private hospitals and clinics in Nigeria.

The new President of the guild, Dr Tony Phillips, made the pledge in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the activities of the body.

Phillips recalled that at the guild’s last general conference held in November, 2012, it stated that 60 per cent of healthcare delivery in Africa was provided by the private sector.

 

Jigawa

The new president of Royal Equestrian Club of Nigeria, Alhaji Ahmed Mohammed-Sani, has mandated the club to encourage the game of horse racing in the northern part of the country.

Mohammed-Sani, who is also the Emir of Gumel, Jigawa, gave the charge while inaugurating the horse racing club last Sunday in Gumel.

He said that with the mandate, the club would promote horse racing in the area.

the president explained that a similar club was formed in the past with the same goal to develop the game of horse racing.

 

Kano

The Legal Aid Council, Kano State Office, and Northern Nigeria Flour Mills have sponsored skills training for 27 inmates of Kano Prison preparatory to their release.

The Kano State Coordinator of the council, Alhaji Abubakar Umar, said in Kano that the inmates were trained in baking and textile technology, known as tie and dye.

“We are trying to make sure that inmates are trained in various trades to enable them be self-reliant after reuniting with their families.

“The council is also making effort to see that the state government gives the trainees capital to start their own businesses when they return home,’’ Umar told newsmen.

 

Kebbi

The Kebbi State government said that it had concluded plans for the payment of N18,000 minimum wage to workers.

The State Head of Service, Alhaji Buhari Jega, said this after a meeting with officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Birnin Kebbi.

He called on the labour leaders and stakeholders to present a workable payment timetable for implementation.

Jega, commended the state NLC and entire workforce for their patience and understanding over the implementation of a uniform minimum wage.

 

Kogi

Nineteen awaiting trial inmates remanded in the six Federal Prison formations in Kogi State have regained their freedom folllowing the intervention of the state Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah.

Ajanah, who spoke in Idah at the end of his two-week prison decongestion tour, also granted conditional bail to 12 inmates.

The chief judge told newsmen that the unconditional release of the inmates was not a grant of amnesty or pardon.

He said that some of the inmates were unjustly and unconstitutionally incarcerated for allegedly belonging to faceless gangs of thieves without concrete charges.

 

Kwara

The Kwara State Government has approved the establishment of Public-Private-Partnership Office (PPP) to encourage investors and promote job creation.

The Commissioner for Finance and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Communications, Dr Muideen Akorede, said this in Ilorin at a post-executive council news briefing.

Akorede explained that the framework of the office of the PPP was the engagement of the private sector investors in key sectors of the state’s economy.

He mentioned human capital development, economic development and infrastructure as key areas of interest to the government.

 

Lagos

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the Nigeria Police the judiciary and prisons should be reformed to reflect modern standards obtainable in developed countries.

Obasanjo was quoted as saying this at his investiture as the Life Grand Patron of the Prison Rehabilitation Mission International (PREMI) by its Chairman, Oba Adedapo Tejuosho, the Osile Oke Ona in Abeokuta.

The former president further said that the ill-treatment of citizens of any country could best be known through visitations to their prison yards.

‘’If reformation must to be achieved in Nigerian prisons, these three public sectors namely the police, the judiciary, and the prison must be seriously reformed.

 

Nasarawa

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nasarawa Command, said last Sunday that it had arrested two men for stealing 43 iron doors and four windows at the Karu International Market, Karu.

The state Commandant, Mr Andekin Amos-Musa, who disclosed this to newsmen in Lafia, said that the arrest was made possible by officers of the Karu Division, following a tip-off by a good Samaritan.

Amos-Musa said that the suspects were arrested while trying to sell the stolen items to a trader at the scraps market, Mararaba.

The commandant said that the complainant, who is also a contractor in the market, had earlier reported the incident at the Karu Divisional Office of NSCDC before the arrest was made.

 

Ogun

The wife of the Ogun State governor, Mrs Funsho Amosun,  has called on women in the state to support moves to end violence against the female gender.

Amosun made the call in Abeokuta during the 2013 International Women’s Day celebration, with the theme: “Time For Action To End Violence Against Women’’.

The wife of the Ogun governor expressed regrets about violence against women and described it as a major challenge confronting womanhood.

Millions of women and girls suffer from violence both in times of peace and war.

 

Oyo

A Federal High Court in Ibadan last Friday sentenced a 20-year-old tailor turned drug trafficker, Fatai Adetoro, to seven months imprisonment for being in possession of 800g of cannabis.

Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo found Adetoro guilty of the crime and sentenced him to imprisonment at the Oyo prison without an option of fine.

The judge said that her decision followed the evidence before her and the guilty plea of the convict and ordered that the sentence was to commence from the day he was arrested.

“I have, however, considered that the convict is a first time offender and that he had undergone counselling from the NDLEA,’’ she said.

 

Sokoto

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria dropped from 704 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 487 per 100,000 live births in 2011.

The minister spoke in Sokoto recently during the inauguration of Kwannawa Primary Health Centre (PHC) to symbolise the inauguration of 230 such projects executed by Sokoto State Government.

The minister said there was also a decline in the mortality rate of children aged below five years to 141 per 1000 in 2011.

He said that the progress toward improving maternal and child health in realisation of MDGs 4 and 5 could not be sustained without giving primary healthcare the attention it deserved.

 

Taraba

Alhaji Ibrahim El-Sudi, representing Gashaka, Kurmi and Sardauna Federal Constituency of Taraba in the House of Representatives, has appealed to aggrieved members of the PDP in the state to unite.

El-Sudi told newsmen in Jalingo on Monday that a divided party could not win election in a competitive political arena.

He wondered why members of the PDP would engage in internal crisis when opposition political parties were forming strong alliance ahead of 2015 general elections.

“Our party is in control in the state but we cannot continue to be strong when divided.

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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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