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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

Monarch Tasks NDDC  On Due Process

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The Mingi of Nembe Kindom and former Minister for Petroleum Resources, His Royal Majesty, King Edmund Dakoru, has called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to follow due process in all its activities for the development of the region.
He said he was not interested in who was right or wrong, but only cared about the development of the region through due process. 
The Nembe monarch in Bayelsa State disclosed this while speaking to aviation correspondents last Friday, shortly on arrival from Abuja.
He noted that the Niger Delta people had become enemies to themselves even when the creation of the NDDC itself had not yielded the desired development in the region.
He said that the setting up of the board of the commission was long overdue since two years ago.
“The question is, are we getting enough from both NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs? The answer is No, we are not getting enough.
“It is ourselves that is our own enemies, and we later turn to blame other people. They have given us NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta, and what have we actually done with it.
“We are not getting enough from the establishment of the commission and the ministry because we are not following the enabling law, and in years to come, they will say: “We gave you NDDC and Ministry of Niger Delta, and what have you done with them”, Dakoru said.
On the regulation of the social media, especially the Twitter, the former minister frowned at the way it is being currently used by the citizenry, and said there was nothing wrong if government in its wisdom decides to regulate it.
According to him, government in every nation has the right to decide what is good for its own citizens.
“Government is doing what it is supposed to do to protect the social reputation of the people by regulating the social media and the unnecessary spread of lies.
“It is not about the social media itself, but the way people use it is the issue, and if government in its own wisdom decides to regulate it, I do not think that there is anything to question”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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Niger Delta

Diri Promises Bayelsans Better Deal

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, Saturday re-echoed his administration’s readiness towards bettering the lots of the state through developmental projects and policies.
Governor Diri stated this in Yenagoa, during a live broadcast on radio stations across the state to commemorate this year’s June 12 Democracy Day celebration which was monitored by The Tide.
In a statement made available to newsmen by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, shortly after the broadcast, the governor was quoted saying:
“Democracy was about the people, Nigeria had come a long way with 22 years of uninterrupted civilian rule. We’ve also observed that the nation’s Democratic journey had not been very smooth but it’s worth celebrating. The urban renewal programme and other projects as well as policies of the prosperity administration were part of the efforts to accord the state a facelift, making it better and more attractive to tourists and investors”.
Speaking against the backdrop of the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in the state capital, the governor stated that it was in line with his administration’s urban renewal policy, noting however, that since the demolition commenced, sanity had been restored in some of the major markets in the state, regretting that the shanties in such areas were hide-outs for criminals.
In the same vein, governor Diri has made clarifications on the Federal Government’s infrastructure development refund to the state.
He said the actual amount the state received was N27.5 billion and not N38.4 billion as was earlier speculated, just as he explained that the total refund due the state was N38.4 billion.
Diri however maintained that the Federal Government has said the release would not be possible in the next four years and therefore offered the state a second option of a discounted amount of N27.5 billion through the Debt Management Office, DMO which he said the state has since received last December, 2020.
“The Federal Government infrastructural refund had been committed to constructing critical capital projects; the Yenagoa- Oporoma road in the state’s Central Senatorial district, the Sagbama-Ekeremor road in the Western district,and the AIT-Igbogene ring road project were being constructed, with the refund”, he said.
“We’re also constructing the dualised Glory Drive-Onopa road, the Nembe unity bridge and we’ve done and will continue to do the installation of street lights in the state capital and other projects”, he added.
On open grazing, Diri maintained that he was not counteracting the Federal Government’s stance on resuscitating grazing routes, saying that his administration has, however, put in place a legal framework to ban open grazing.
Diri mentioned that the southern governors had adopted same instrument as part of measures to forestall, farmers/herders fracases.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Police Nab 126 Suspected Criminals In C’River

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The Cross River State Police Command has arrested 126 suspected criminals in the Northern and Central Senatorial districts of the state.
Sixty-eight suspects were arrested in the Northern senatorial district while 58 were arrested in the central senatorial district of the state.
Speaking to journalists in Calabar, the State Commissioner of Police, CP Sikiru Akande, said “My officers who are in the central senatorial district have carried out similar operations and they have 58 different suspects while those in the North have about 68 different suspects
“In the Southern senatorial district, we have 109 criminals arrested from different areas. We want to restore peace which is the mandates of the current police administration and we are to use all tactics to ensure that peace is restored in our region”
CP Akande said in every armed robbery, there is cultism, in every kidnap, there is cultism, cultism emboldens the heart to do and undo and in most cases, these people use cultism for nefarious activity because cultism is an impressive instrument in the society
Following the arrests of many suspects, The Police boss said efforts are on top gear to curb cell congestion, especially as the courts are still on strike.
He said, “We are going to use the opportunity to screen them to the last person so that if it is possible for us, we put of the fire that is likely to come from that area
“We will profile them and send them back to their different communities to police the place Now that we have their pictures, now that we have their fingerprints, anything that happens in that area, they will be held responsible
“We have a template, criminals before now don’t have identities, now they do, we are going to profile them we are going to send them back to their community with a digital monitoring capacity. What we want to do is that we want to use them as forces against future criminality because what we have now is a large number of people from different parts of the city.
‘If anything happens in their areas, they are going to be the first suspect to be pick up. If they don’t want to suffer, they will maintain peace. The numbers of creeks created by these individuals are too much. Those who stay around these areas, when they see strange face say something” he stated.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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