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Jonathan: Nigeria Ripe For G-20 Membership …Says No Party Sentiment in 2011 Elections



President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday, that Nigeria has stabilised and ready to take its rightful place in the comity of nations, especially the G20.

The President stated this in his keynote address at the business meeting of the G20 Summit holding in Toronto, Canada.

Jonathan said Nigeria has made significant impact on peace and security on the African continent and the world at large.

“Nigeria has always played an important role on the international stage and we are still committed to this.

“We have contributed in no small measure to a more peaceful and secured world.

“It is important to the world that Nigeria rises to play its historic and valued role in humanity’s search for a more peaceful world,’’ he said.

Jonathan told the gathering that Nigeria was on the path of economic liberation, which is the foundation for prosperity and economic consolidation.

The President reiterated government’s commitment to partner with the private sector and hoped for a mutually beneficial relationship with the participants.

Highlighting the business potentials in the country, the President said Nigeria delivered some of the highest returns on investment in the world.

“This is not the time to sit back and await further development because you may lose the opportunity of being a pioneer investor,’’ he said.

The President said government was also committed to conducting credible election to ensure good governance and a predictable and stable business environment.

He said the nation’s power sector was also undergoing far-reaching reform to remove barriers to investment.

Jonathan added that Nigeria’s banking and finance regulatory environment has met the best international practices.

He said that Nigeria also has strong anti-money laundering laws.

Our  correspondent reports that Jonathan is in Canada on the invitation of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper for the G-8 Summit and the G20 Business Leaders Conference.

Meanwhile,President Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated his commitment to the conduct of credible general elections in 2011, devoid of political sentiments.

Jonathan assured the Nigerian community in Canada at a meeting on Wednesday night in Toronto that the best candidates elected by the people would emerge as leaders.

The president arrived in Canada Wednesday evening for the G-8 Summit and the G-20 Business Leaders Conference.

“We want the best; anybody who wants to contest the elections must work hard.

“When we nominated Prof. Attahiru Jega as the Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, some members of our party came to me asking, ‘Jonathan do you really want PDP to win these elections?’

“They said the nominee is a radical who will not succumb to any pressure.

“I told them, ‘we must work hard and as well present the best candidates because there will be no room for manipulations’.

“Whoever emerges as winners of the elections at the federal and state levels, irrespective of party affiliation, shall be declared,” Jonathan said.

The president further said the Electoral Offences Tribunal would be put in place to punish electoral offenders irrespective of status or party affiliation.

To guard against rigging, he said election results would be declared at the polling units, leaving no room for manipulations at the collation centres.

Jonathan said the current Constitution Amendment so far had not accommodated Nigerians living abroad for them to vote at their countries of abode, but promised that by 2015, the issue would be taken care of.

He said he was impressed with the calibre of Nigerians in Canada and encouraged them to mobilise themselves for the development of their fatherland.

The Chairman of the Canada chapter of the Nigeria in Diaspora Organisation, Dr Ola Kazeem, said they were equally impressed with the way the president had so far directed the affairs of the country.

In his remarks, the Rev. Walter Macklean of Canada, who is the Chairman of Friends of Nigeria in Canada, congratulated Jonathan on his assumption of office and charged his administration to take the issue of electricity seriously.

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Substance Abuse Becoming Thing Of Concern -Odu



Rivers State Deputy Governor, Prof. Ngozi Nma Odu, has lauded the important role pharmacists play in the wellbeing of the society.
Odu gave this commendation while playing host to members of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch at the Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The deputy governor said while others are sleeping, pharmacists work hard “to ensure we all live in a better society, especially when you talk about the dangers of substance abuse.”
Odu stressed that, “It is really becoming a thing of great concern because of the level of children getting involved in this thing. It is even coming down to primary schools which now increases the burden of what you are doing, so we appreciate you for what you are doing for the society which we all are living in.”
The deputy governor extolled the lady pharmacists for the scholarship scheme they were sponsoring, noting that it was “amazing because when you change the narrative of somebody’s life, you become what they call a destiny helper.”
The deputy governor added, “So, for me, it is something I would encourage. Even the Bible says when you do it for them you have done unto God. It is a thing we get a lot of blessings out off, you may not see it now but some day it will definitely come.”
She expressed gratitude to them for their support for the Fubara-led administration which according to her has continued to spur them into action.
“Let me thank you for upholding the governor and myself in prayers, because without prayers we won’t be here, many people have prayed and God has heard, please do not stop, even for good governance, we need God to grant us the wisdom and knowledge of what to do”, she said.
In her remarks, Chairman of the Rivers State Branch of Association of Lady Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ebelechukwu Odom, said they were at the Government House to identify with the Governor Fubara-led administration in the ongoing restructuring of the state, and pledged their allegiance and unflinching support to the administration.
She assured that they would utilize the competences of Lady Pharmacists in Rivers State and synergize with partners for improvement in health, education, research development and socio-economic wellbeing of humanity through relevant and appropriate interventions, projects and programmes.

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RSG Denies Rumours Of Cholera Outbreak In Soku



The Rivers State Government says it is not aware of any cholera outbreak in Soku community in the Akuku Toru Local Government Area of the State.
This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt by the State Ministry of Health.
According to the statement signed by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, the clarification was necessary following numerous enquiries from the media over a purported outbreak of cholera in Soku community.
The statement read in part, “The Rivers State Ministry of Health has received numerous enquiries from the Press regarding an alleged outbreak of cholera in Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area.
“Public health teams dispatched to investigate these alleged cases and deaths have so far received no confirmation of such.”
While describing cholera as a waterborne infectious disease, the commissioner said that the disease is notifiable, warranting escalating reports from disease surveillance and notification officers at the community level.
The statement clarified that the ongoing medical outreach in Soku community is in no way related to any outbreak of cholera.
“Outreaches have always been a way of getting accessible health care to underserved and vulnerable population, however, all such outreach activities must be conducted with approval from and in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and as such no entity should be conducting outreaches outside the coordination of the ministry”, it warned.
The ministry further said that all infectious diseases of this nature are reported, managed and escalated by the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oreh said the statement should serve as a strong warning to anyone conducting or planning health activities without due recourse to the Rivers State Ministry of Health.
She added that any such activities found to be carried out without the knowledge and clearance of the State Ministry of Health will be fully investigated and dealt with in order to ensure the protection of the lives of the people.
“Therefore, the general public and members of the Press are advised to disregard the rumours making the round on an ongoing outbreak of cholera and the death of some citizens of Soku community in Akuku Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State as it is presently unfounded, misguided and capable of causing panic amongst citizens and residents.
“The general public is thus urged to remain calm and rest assured that the Rivers State Ministry of Health will continue to be a veritable source of public health information in the state”, the statement concluded.

John Bibor

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Bill On State Police Scales Second Reading



The House of Representatives, yesterday, passed for second reading a bill to provide for the establishment of state police in the country.
Sponsored by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Benjamin Kalu and 14 others, the bill seeks to alter the relevant Sections of the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for states to establish their own policing outfits.
As lawmakers took turns to contribute to the debate on the floor of the House during yesterday’s plenary, Kalu who stood in for the Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, urged members to look beyond political ambitions and think about the safety of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Also speaking, Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) said, “It is the job of the police to maintain law and order. We have a population of over 200m people but we have a police strength that is less than 400,000. State Police should be created to address the internal security challenges of Nigeria.”

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