Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has urged the church and its leaders to check the excesses of pilgrims that travel to Jerusalem for pilgrimage.
This has become necessary because of the unhealthy behaviour of some of them while in the holy land.
Governor Amaechi, who was speaking when a delegation of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission led by His Grace, Nicholas Okoh paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, noted that the attitude of some pilgrims while in Jerusalem were capable of denting the image of the country.
Represented by his deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, the Governor regretted a situation whereby pilgrims abandoned their primary purpose of spiritual rebirth and took to immoral and unruly behaviours.
It is quite regrettable that so many that go to Jerusalem for pilgrimage do not know what they are there for, he said, pointing out that “we give them opportunities to go and by the time they come back, we hear disheartening reports about them, the amount of misbehaviour, the amount of jamboree, the story we hear is close to not knowing God. So the church must sit up”, he declared.
The governor noted that government in the past nine years had been making consistent efforts to send citizens to the holy land for spiritual rebirth despite the cost involved, because of its importance to God, saying “we believe it is the right thing to do”.
He commended the Anglican Communion in Nigeria for dissociating itself from the issue of gay bishops, describing it as absurd in the eyes of God and man.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, His Grace, Nicholas Okoh, had told the governor that the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission was gearing efforts toward reshaping pilgrimage to make it have real spiritual dimension.
Nicholas Okoh, the Primate-elect of the Anglican Communion pointed out that Jerusalem pilgrimage would no longer be seen as a jamboree, saying “we want to make it purely spiritual as all pilgrims will go through spiritual orientation.
According to him, “we want a situation where people will bring spiritual value into pilgrimage and make it help our country”.
Health: Association Urges Govt, Stakeholders For Improved Partnership
The Association of Civil Societies in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN) has called on government and relevant stakeholders at all levels, including the media, to support CBOs working on the AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (ATM) project to ensure its success in selected five Local Government Areas of Rivers State.
Making the call recently at its 5th monthly media briefing, the State ACOMIN Chairman, Pastor John Ihua-Maduenyi, said this is to further enhance the successes recorded so far by the CBOs working on the project in the various LGAs.
“As a follow up, we call on the government and all relevant stakeholders at all levels to support the Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) implementing this (ATM) project in the State towards improving health outcomes”, he stated.
The ATM project, funded by Global Fund (GF), is aimed at identifying gaps in ATM in Primary Healthcare facilities in identified LGAs and make communities take ownership of the facilities by closing such gaps.
“The impact of COVID-19 on HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria could be minimised by maintaining these core services.
“A recent report from Global Fund highlights the urgent need to scale-up adaptive measures to continue HIV, TB and Malaria services, to ramp up delivery of critical supplies for COVID-19 response and prevent healthcare systems from collapse”, the ACOMIN boss said.
Ihua-Maduenyi disclosed that as part of national effort to address the ATM challenges in Nigeria, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) engaged ACOMIN, in collaboration with Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) and TB Network, under the Global Fund COVID-19RM/RSSH Grant to implement the Civil Society component of the project.
“The implementation of the grant has started in 18 Global Fund-supported states, namely: Ogun, Delta, Ekiti, Lagos, Cross River, Rivers, FCT, Edo, Anambra, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa (C19RM), Nasarawa, Plateau, Jigawa (RSSH), Kwara, Ondo and Oyo. The project covers five LGAs in eache state. In Rivers State, the selected LGAs are PHALGA, Obio/Akpor, Eleme, Tai, and Khana”, he siad.
The challenges encountered in the health facilities during the implementation of the project in the five LGAs include: unavailability of malaria drugs and Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITN). Where they are available, the cost is beyond the reach of the poor.
There is inadequate medical personnel, especially in Tai and Khana LGAs, due to insecurity; there is lack of water and electricity in some of the facilities; and identified poor attitude of health workers towards patients.
Also noticed were inadequate or damaged seats for patients, especially in Ebubu Health Center and Elelenwo Model Primary Health Center (MPHC); lack of toilet facility in Millennium Health Center in Tai LGA, Ebubu Health Center in Eleme; and no staff quarters in Millennium Health Center.
Meanwhile, the ACOMIN boss noted, through advocacy to decision makers at the National, State, LGA, and community levels, that the community-centered initiative implemented by ACOMIN has yeilded some positive results.
They include: donation of seats and repair of damaged seats; repair of broken down power generators; donation of cartons of hand gloves, face masks, and surgical gowns at Ogale Health Center in Eleme; donation of Sumo pump for water supply at Bori PHC; and reconnection of electricity to MPHC facilities in Elelenwo and Bunu, in Tai LGA.
Others are: staffing of medical personnels (labouratory technicians) in MPHC Tai; repair of broken down gate; and improved relationship between health workers and patients.
Speaking at the occasion, the Programme Manager, Rivers State Agency for the Control of AIDS (RIVSACA), Dr. Francis Naaziga, commended the CBOs involved in the project, saying, “we commend all your efforts. However, there’s still plenty to be done”.
On her part, the Focal Person on HIV/AIDS at the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board (RSPHCMB), Dr. Mekele Igwe, assured on the support of the Board.
By: Soibi Max-Alalibo
Butchers’ Union Inaugurates New Leadership ln Rivers
The National Butchers’ Union (NBU) has inaugurated a new leadership in the state with Comrade Abeeb Akanfe as chairman.
Performing the inauguration recently in Port Harcourt, President of the group, Dr. John Osamede, enjoined the new executive to work together in one accord and ensure they build a formidable National Butchers’ Union in the oil-rich state.
Osamede also admonished them to put the interest of the group first before their own, and ensure growth and progress of the union in Rivers State, stressing that the body can only succeed when they work together in harmony as an indivisible entity.
The butchers’ union boss further urged the team to work in tandem with government and other civil society organisations (CSOs) and security agencies, among other sectors, irrespective of political affiliations if they must succeed.
He noted that the union over the years, had suffered setback because of leadership crisis that had rocked the union under the watch of previous administrations.
Osamede, however, expressed the hope that the new executive would take Rivers State chapter of the union to better and purposeful heights based on their desire to close ranks to work for the union’s repositioning.
The group leader also cautioned the new executive to eschew acts capable of truncating the image of the union but rather work to ensure that the body was in one accord.
According to him, the union cannot make any progress in an atmosphere of rancour and acrimony.
Osademe while congratulating the new executive on their well-deserved victory at the polls, warned against unnecessary suspension of members without due process, adding that no member of the union should be suspended without approval by the national body.
On non-chalant behaviour of members, Osamede urged members to always pay and clear their levies as at when due for the overall development of the union.
Responding on behalf of the new executive, Chairman of the National Butchers’ Union, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Abeeb Akanfe, commended members of the union for finding them worthy to pilot the affairs of the body in Rivers State, and pledged not to disappoint but to build better development bridges for the good of all and sundry.
Akanfe used the opportunity to call on all hands to be on deck for the team to succeed in the assignment under his administration.
He expressed optimism that with him and the entire executive council, the union would face brighter future for the good of all.
By: Bethel Toby
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