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NIS: Usaid, Health Body Seek Crsg’s Support

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The representatives of USAID and Health Finance and Governance Project, Nigeria have sought the support of the Cross Rivers State Ministry of Information and Orientation to create massive awareness on the forthcoming Health Insurance Scheme through various media outfits in the State.
The Cross River State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Rosemary Archibong, who spoke with the visiting team to the State appreciated the encomiums poured on the ministry and commended the Health Finance and Governance team for their commitment towards the proposed take-off of the Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme.
She thanked the team for the effective and laudable partnership with the ministry in projecting the outstanding vision of Prof. Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River State whose visions are so large, citing an instance on a recent event in Nassarawa State where Cross River stood amongst the best three states in the federation that were applauded for their effort in universal health coverage.
The commissioner informed the visitors that the governor had some projects running and ongoing like the largest Floor Garment Factory consisting of a huge number of female employees; the solar farm from where energy will be distributed to the populace; among others.
Barrister Archibong also added that the Canadian Government had come to partner with the state to establish a Canadian School in Obudu, pointing out that the present Cross River State Health Insurance Scheme popularly called AyadeCare is to render free access to the least citizen as well as those in the rural areas who cannot afford quality healthcare.
She maintained that the HIS  which had been passed into law by the State House of Assembly would hopefully get to the implementation stage to ensure that Cross Riverians and all residents have access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Commenting, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Orientation, Mr. Aye Henshaw II, informed that a media training had been carried out for members of the press, stating that major news outfits in the state are under the supervision of the Ministry and this would be capitalized on to create awareness on AyadeCare.
According to him, messages are designed for jingles and flyers which will be translated into different local languages in the state while also interfacing through the social media platform to ensure that there is adequate media coverage that will create the necessary awareness.
Senior Analyst, Technical Project Officer Leah Taub, offered her support to the development of the advocacy strategy and also help to increase Health insurance in most community members as well as advocate for quality healthcare for Nigerians. Miss Taub commended the Commissioner, Permanent Secretary and Management Staff of the Ministry for the team spirit and passion towards the forthcoming scheme.
The Knowledge Management and Communication Officer, Mr. Somto Mbelu stated that the role of the media in disseminating information towards creating awareness for the project cannot be left out as communication is key to the success of the program which is why the team thought it wise to work with the Ministry of Information and Orientation in order to get the media and communication advocacy strategy on point in view of when the scheme proposed to give quality and affordable healthcare to everyone including those in the rural and remote areas of the State would commence.

Consequently, the Ministry of Information and Orientation guided the USAID, Health Finance and Governance Project Nigeria team on advocacy visit to major media outfit in the State to create awareness for the forthcoming health scheme that would enable all to have access to quality healthcare.

Speaking during the visit to HIT FM Calabar, the General Manager, Mr. Patrick Ugbe stated that there are various programs running on HIT FM and that for the team to achieve their objective of creating awareness, they must pick the program that is more suitable, pointing out that people often feel that Government schemes are ways government extort money from people.

He emphasized that the team is embarking on creating awareness to wade off the mistrust that people have when Government schemes are mentioned is in course, adding that if the team believes in the spirit of advocacy and media to get to their core target, then HIT FM is positioned to do that, informing that once audience know that something is for their good, they will buy into the idea.

In the same vein, the acting General Manager Canaan City Radio (FRCN) Calabar, Mr. Effiom Archibong informed the visiting team that although a training had been conducted for Journalists in the State by the Ministry of Information and Orientation in partnership with Health Finance and Governance to create awareness of the scheme, future training of such magnitude should include broadcasters and programmers as well, noting that the scheme is important and should be keyed into by everyone since no one can envisage when to fall ill.

NTA General Manager, Mr. Peter Ngbeken, applauded the scheme, stating that he is a beneficiary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and that NTA has different avenues to showcase various program  be it local, national or international as the air wave is open, noting that other States in Nigeria ought to be aware of what is going on in Cross River State and expressed  his readiness to work with the healthcare team.

The General Manager, Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), Dr. (Mrs.) Teresa Essien stated that CRBC has been publicizing Ayade Care right from inception to the floor of the House of Assembly, adding that the scheme is critical because health issues associated with poverty is very challenging.

She explained that people do not tend to fall ill but illness will still come up and there will be the challenge of people trying to get money to pay hospital bills, maintaining that Ayade Care is what many Cross Riverians are hopeful will solve their health challenges to a great extent and promised that the Health Scheme would be aired on Thursday’s segments in the station.

Also speaking the General Manager, Cross River State Newspaper Corporation, Mr. Emma Akpong stated that the team has made no mistake by coming to the Newspaper Corporation with their message, adding that as a State Government outfit, it is their mandate to get information across the State and beyond.

He assured that the Newspaper corporation would do its best to ensure that Cross Riverians are properly enlightened on what the team is doing because  as she puts it, publicity remains the integral part of any development project.

Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Project N’Delta Group Chides Akpabio Over Delayed NDDC Board

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Project Niger Delta, PND, a non-governmental organisation in Niger Delta, has rebuked the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator
Godswill Akpabio, over the delayed inauguration of the substantive board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
According to the group, the continued delayed in inaugurating the board of the NDDC is” deliberately orchestrated by the Minister for selfish political gains against the collective demands of the Niger Delta people.”
PND in a statement by its Executive Director and National Coordinator, Comrade Prince Timipre Ebebi, said the people of the region are not happy with the procrastination of the inauguration of the board six months after the minister’s promise.
While calling for the immediate inauguration of the NDDC board, Ebebi recalled that the minister had promised that the board will be
inaugurated by July 2021, regretting that the minister was taking the stakeholders and people of the region for granted.
He warned that if the board is not inaugurated soonest, the group will mobilise youths of the region against the Minister and Interim
Administrator and flayed the non-chalant attitude of youths groups in the region particularly the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC.
He called on the leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, the Ijaw National Congress,INC, and other ethnic groups in the region to
rise and speak out against the perceived injustice meted out to the people of the region through the failure in inaugurating a substantive
board for the NDDC.
He said: “Since December 22, 2020, Mr.Effiong Akwa has been appointed by Mr President through the lobbying of Sen. Godswill Akpabio as
Interim Administrator of NDDC and the duo hail from Akwa-Ibom, since then the collective prosperity and federal government developmental
incentives to the region are being managed by one lion family led by Sen. Godswill Akpabio and our resources are being used for personal
gains despite our consistent appeal and peaceful resolution, the minister has paid deaf ears.
“We at PND hereby call on Sen Akpabio not to take us for granted and expedite actions to inaugurate the board for the benefit of all,
anything less than that, we shall mobilise Niger Delta youths against him and the Interim Administrator for sabotaging the collective
interest of the Niger Delta people.
“Project Niger Delta also query the nonchalant attitude of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, led by Comrade Timothy Igbifa, for its long
silence and also call on the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress, INC, led by Prof. Benjamin Okaba to continue to speak against the apparent leadership failure of Sen.Godswill Akpabio in relation to the handling of the NDDC matters.
“In the same vein we are also calling on Pa E. K Clark led Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, to speak out against the further delay in the inauguration of the NDDC board, because as it stands NDDC belongs to only Akwa-Ibom State, while Cross River, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Abia and Imo states are being denied their representation to fast track development in their states thereby defeating the purpose
for the establishment of the commission.”

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VC Tasks Alumni On Varsity’s Dev

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The Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, has urged alumni of the university to contribute to the growth and development of the university.
Okogbute, who gave the charge while commissioning bus stands built in the university campus by the 1998/99 Set of the school in Port Harcourt recently, said for any university to develop, the alumni must play significant roles.
While thanking the 1998/99 Set for the bold initiative, the Vice Chancellor called on other sets of the university to follow the good examples set by the alumni, as well as to always synergise to accomplish set goals.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman of the 1998/99 Set of the university, Mr Christopher Hart assured that the two bus stands built by the set for the university would stand the test of time, contending that the gesture was the beginning of many more projects to be constructed by the group for the institution.
According to him, the bus stands can be dismantled and re-assembled at will and equally have the capacity to boost security.
Hart noted that members of the 1998/99 Set of the university are doing pretty well in their respective careers and endeavours, even as, according to him, the present Accountant-General of the State is a member of the set.
He commended the present administration of the university for the giant strides it has recorded so far, and urged it to re-double its efforts to truly re-position the institution.

By: Emeka Igbe

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Niger Delta

Scramble For Gold In Edo: Uneasy Calm As Illegal Northern Miners Troop In

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The sleepy community known as Dagbala in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, has been in the news for the wrong reasons for over a year as activities of alleged illegal gold miners deepened and created security breach in the area, forcing the state government to ban all forms of mining there.
According to reports, the issue, which has emboldened illegal miners to flood the area, is the dispute over the ownership of the mining site at Oketegbe in the community by different families and those who are also positing that, irrespective of the ownership of the land, the entire community should be the beneficiary since the environmental impact the mining sites would bring would be borne by the entire community.
Report further revealed that apart from claims and counter-claims, there have been attacks targeting locals which have led to residents raising concerns in an area grappling with kidnapping and other crimes before government slammed the ban.
It is observed that even though the decision has brought relative peace to the community, it has also denied miners with licenses access to their sites to carry out legitimate businesses.
Meanwhile, some of the contending families are already in court while some stakeholders in Dagbala are trying to adopt alternative dispute resolution mechanisms where all parties are expected to make sacrifices for the good of all.
Recall that In February 2021, there was tension in the area over influx of persons mostly suspected to be of northern Nigeria extraction who were into mining of gold and most of them believed to be without licenses.
The small community was overrun by these ‘foreigners’ who were also accused of luring women into amorous relationships. Loads of sophisticated arms and dynamites were purportedly imported into the community at night by the miners without any community member knowing about it.
Some of the vehicles used to ferry these items into the community allegedly had government plate numbers which made their movements easy.
Some illegal miners were recently arrested at the site and they confessed that they were from different parts of the country, including Kogi, Taraba and the Federal Capital territory and that they had waiting buyers to take the raw gold from them for processing.
In the face of all these, there is the allegation of cover-up by security agencies and officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.

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