Senate President, David Mark, on Monday denied an allegation that the National Assembly was bribed to pass the tobacco control bill.
He spoke while opening a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Health.
Mark said no senator could collect any bribe because of the sensitive nature of the bill.
He said, “Every senator will answer his name. It is not a bill that will call for a voice vote. Everyone will be made to say yes or no so that the public will know where we stand on the issue.
“For a serious bill like this to go through the next reading, people will have to really say where they stand.
“We must begin to accept that Nigerian legislators are patriotic. They don’t need to be bribed before they do their job.
There is much rumor in air. If you have a strong case make your case, when you fail to make your case, then you go with the excuse that people have been bribed.
“Any bill that comes here will pass through the normal process.”
Urging the committee to be fair to opinions from the stakeholders at the public hearing before reading a conclusion on the bill, Mark said. “We stand between health and economy; that is the truth of the matter on the ground. People who are against it are worried about the impact on the health of Nigerians. People who are for it are saying that the nation stands to benefit from it.
“The simple question is when do you begin to worry about economy? Is it when you are dead or when you are alive?
“I admit that there are lobbyists on both sides. No doubt about that. The manufactures are lobbying many people in the country. They have a strong lobbying group all over the world.
“The key issues are health versus economy. How many jobs can we provide from the tobacco industry? How many people are going to lose their jobs if the tobacco industries are not producing?
“If the tobacco industries here close down, will it stop Nigerians from smoking, is one thing, getting the industry going so that people can be gainfully employed is another thing.”
The British American Tobacco (BAT), represented by its Head of Regulatory Affairs, Mr Tony Okwoju, said the regulation was meant to reduce the impact of smoking on public health.
But the said regulation should not be used to “force law-abiding businesses out of operation and leaving the market at the mercy of smugglers”.
The representative of the World Health Organisaton (WHO), Dr Soyinka, said the industry had impacted negatively on the nation’s health.
Tobacco farmers Associations from Oyo and Abia states said about 500,000 Nigerians would lose their jobs if tobacco is banned in the country.
The committee chairman, Senator Iyabo Obansanjo Bello said: “There is no doubt about the health effects of tobacco.
“The world has come to a consensus that there are some detrimental health effects of tobacco.”
NDIC Assures Depositors Of Prompt Payment
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has assured depositors of banks in-liquidation of speedy and prompt payment of their insured sums in the event of banks’ failure.
Deputy Director, Bank Examination Department of the Corporation, Mr Daniel Udechukwu, gave the assurance at the NDIC-Financial Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) workshop in Owerri on Wednesday.
Udechukwu said the corporation had exhibited this speed in the payment of depositors of some micro-finance banks currently in-liquidation.
According to him, recent development have demanded for more tactical approaches for distress resolution and the corporation is working to meet international standards.
“When some of these micro-finance banks went into liquidation, NDIC swung into action.
“For some of the areas, I monitored, I told the depositors that NDIC will pay them their insured sums soon but they did not believe.
“Within one to two weeks after our visit, they started receiving credit alert of their money. They inturn started calling us to thank the NDIC.
“The media have a role to play in telling these depositors that NDIC has changed. Our word is our bond. NDIC is no longer the old one, things have really changed”, he said.
Udechukwu listed some bank resolution options used by regulatory authorities to include purchase and assumption, liquidation, deposit transfer, bridge bank, merger and acquisition, among others.
Experts Recommend Multidisciplinary Approach To End Bullying, Burnout
Prof. Alfred Makanjuola of Department of Behavioural Sciences, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), has advocated multidisciplinary approach in management of bullying and burnout among medical practitioners.
Makanjuola made the recommendation in Ilorin during his paper presentation at the 40th Annual General Meeting/Sir Aderibigbe Scientific Conference of the the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD-UITH).
His presentation was entitled: “Multidimensional Implications of Bullying and Burnout among Medical Practitioners in Nigeria”.
He stated that workplace bullying and burnout are two conditions commonly faced, most especially by medical students and medical practitioners undergoing their residency.
The expert described bullying as the ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationship through repeated verbal, physical and social behaviour that can cause social and psychological harm.
“It is repeatedly done overtime to humiliate or undermine a group of workers”, he said.
According to him, those who face bullying are systematically exposed to humiliation, hostile and aggressive behaviour for at least once a week or six months.
Noting that doctors who are bullied perceive to see themselves at the receiving end, Makanjuola said bullying include belittling, insults, threat, physical abuse, gossips and spreading rumours.
He observed that bullying is so negative that it can precipitate burnout and stress among medical practitioners.
He also said it can lead to feeling of energy depletion, low personal accomplishment and increased mental distancing.
The Consultant Psychiatrist stated that consequences of bullying and burnout can pose psychological stress, low performance and low confidence, among others.
He, therefore, advised government and relevant stakeholders to evolve comprehensive mental healthcare system.
“There is need for training support and welfare for staff and need for institutionalisation of mentoring system”, he said.
Makanjuola, therefore, called for conflict de-escalation/resolution skills ajd mechanism and early identification of work bullying and burnout.
Similarly in her presentation, Prof. Aishat Bolakale, a Consultant Paediatrician of the Department of Paediatrics, University of Ilorin, decried the increase in the rate of assault on healthcare workers in Nigeria.
Bolakale spoke on the sub-theme: “The Looming Increase in the Rate of Assault on the Health Workers; The Role of Government”.
Mrs Nwifuru Urges GBV Survivors To Speak Up
Wife of the Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs MaryMaudline Nwifuru, says she will provide justice to survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other harmful practices against women.
She gave the assurance on Wednesday during an event to commemorate the 2023 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, held in Abakaliki.
The programme, with the theme, “Unite! Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls”, was organised by USAID Momentum Country and Global Leadership (MCGL) in collaboration with the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
The governor’s wife, who led a sensitisation road work to various areas in the state capital, said the current administration, led by her husband, Francis, had declared war and zero tolerance on GBV.
She added that the development called for collective action to address the root cause of the menace and proffer a sustainable solution to the menace.
She explained that her pet project, “Better Health for Rural Women, Children and Internally Displaced Persons Foundation (BERWO)”, would address challenging harmful gender norms, promote healthy relationship, constant education, strengthen laws and policies that would protect Women’s rights.
“As we unite to end violence against the vulnerable groups, the theme shows the urgent need to invest, prevent and combat the deeply rooted issues of the trend”, Nwifuru said.
In her advocacy visit to the State House of Assembly, she explained the need to review the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) to effect positive change in the society.
Mr Moses Odunwa, Speaker of the House, expressed readiness to amend and implement the law to ensure proper eradication of the practice in the state.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Dr Robinson Onoh, assured support in providing personnel at GBV and administrative centres in the fight to stop the trend.
Onoh commended Nwifuru for commissioning the centres, which would empower the facilities to join her and other partners in the fight against the menace.
The State Public Relations Officer, GBV Taskforce, Mrs Goodness Mbaja, stated that the commemoration of the 2023 edition of 16 days, was a global awareness to end violence against vulnerable persons and promised not to relent in the continuous sensitisation and eradication of GBV in the state.