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THE STATES

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Adamawa

 

The Adamawa Government said it would promote health

tourism by inaugurating Adamawa-German Diagnosis Centre at Yola in 2013.

Governor Murtala Nyako made this known in Yola while receiving a traditional ruler, the Gang Wari of Ganye, Alhaji Umaru Sanda, who paid him homage.

Nyako said that the development would not only improve health service delivery in the state, but also generate revenue and reduce high cost of foreign health tourism.

“Latest high medical facilities including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and laboratory diagnostics facilities are provided at the centre and will start operation very soon,” Nyako said.

 

Bauchi

 

Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State has described the

death of the Emir of Dukku, Alhaji Haruna Rashid as a great loss not only to Dukku, Gombe State, but to the northern Nigeria as a whole.

He said that the late Emir had contributed immensely to the peace and unity of the region and the country as a whole while he was alive.

In a statement, Yuguda said that the fatherly advise of the octogenarian monarch would be missed by all.

“At times like this when the country is going through political transformation, advise from elder statesman like the late Emir was needed in order to shape the political future of the country.’’

 

Ekiti

 

One Emmanuel Ene last Thursday appeared before an Ado-

Ekiti Magistrates’ Court charged with stealing jewellery and money belonging to one Ojo Oke at Anisulowo Hotel, Ado-Ekiti, in Ekiti State.

Police prosecutor, Caleb Leranmo told the court that the accused committed the offence on November 30.

“The accused stole jewellery worth N1 million, 25 pounds sterling and 400 dollars, property of Ojo Oke, in the hotel.

Counsel to the accused, Mr Emmanuel Adedeji, prayed the court to grant his client bail, saying that he would not jump bail.

 

FCT

 

The Police in Abuja last Thursday arraigned a commercial

bus preacher, Chukwuemeka Okere, 36, before a Karu Senior Magistrates’ Court for alleged cheating and being in possession of stolen items.

Police prosecutor, Eze Okechuckwu told the court that on December 10, Okere, who resides in Nyanya Gwandara area of Abuja, lured Zamani Zuneya of Garki II, Abuja, to a hill in Kubwa under the pretence of preaching to her.

“While praying for Zuneya on the hill, he stole her bag containing two cell phones and N15,000.

“During police investigation, one of the cell phones was recovered from the accused,” he told the court.

 

Gombe

 

The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) in Gombe

recently said that four persons died in an accident during Christmas celebrations in the state.

The Gombe State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Kuteb Galadima, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen.

Galadima, who attributed the accident to over-speeding, stated that it occurred on Christmas Day at Lafiyawo Village in the Akko Local Government Area of the state.

Galadima explained that the accident involved a Peugeot 406 car with the registration number: RBC 861 AA, which hit a tree a few kilometres outside the state capital.

 

Kaduna

 

The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Kaduna

State, recently pledged to support Governor Mukhtar Yero in the restoration of peace and unity in the state.

A delegation of the party, comprising the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Sen. Sani Saleh, its state Chairman, Alhaji Ahmadu Yaro and other members gave the pledge while on condolence visit to the governor in Kaduna.

Saleh said the visit was to commiserate with the family and people in the state over the “sudden and shocking” demise of the late governor.

 

Kogi

 

The Legal Aid Council said that it provided free

legal representation to 5,063 persons in Kogi between 1993 and 2012.

A Senior Legal Officer in the council, Mrs Flora Imo, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen last Thursday in Lokoja.

She said that the free legal representation was in criminal and civil cases in High Courts and Magistrates’ Courts spread across the state.

The officer said that the council had also offered free legal advise to people and facilitated granting of bail to a number of suspects.

 

Kwara

 

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin,

Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, recently said the institution would integrate sign-language into its academic system.

Ambali said this when staff and students of the Centre for Supportive Services for the Deaf (CSSD) visited him as part of activities to mark the International Day for the Disabled.

The vice-chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services, Prof. Yisa Fakunle, said the university was doing what it could to support the centre.

Ambali, who gave an assurance that the university would ensure effective functioning of the centre’s equipment, said the introduction of sign-language was to foster effective lecture delivery.

 

Lagos

 

An economist, Dr Henry Boyo, recently advised

the Federal Government to pursue people-oriented policies in 2013 to reduce cost of living of Nigerians.

Boyo, the Chief Executive of Technol Systems Ltd., told newsmen in Lagos that many of the economic policies of government in 2012 were “not too people friendly“.

“The monetary profile of any country depends on its monetary policy model.

“In 2012, inflation ate up substantial part of people’s earnings in Nigeria, “ he said.

 

Niger

 

Governor  Babangida Aliyu of Niger State said the secu

rity threat by the Boko Haram group in the northern part of the country had stalled development in the region.

Aliyu made the remark during an interactive session with journalists at his residence in Minna.

He said that insecurity caused by the sect in the North had made it difficult for investors to invest in the region for fear of losing their investments.

“I am not satisfied with the slow pace of development in the northern region, but under my leadership as chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, we have given the region good leadership.

 

Osun

 

The Osun Commissioner for Health, Mrs Temitope Ilori,

says the state government has invited a team of ophthalmologists from Saudi-Arabia to carry out free eye surgery in the state.

Ilori, who announced this last Thursday at the treatment centre at the Osun State University Teaching Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo, said more than 2,000 people had been registered for the exercise.

She explained that the team would comprise of 20 experts from Saudi-Arabia and indigenous medical doctors on the ground.

The commissioner urged residents to register their names and ensure they were screened so as to ascertain their day of appointment and the condition of their visual problems.

 

Oyo

 

The Oyo State Government has collaborated with the Uni

versity of Ibadan on joint inspection of all public schools in the state.

The inspection is to ensure quality control, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Adetokunbo Fayokun, has said.

Fayokun, in a statement issued in Ibadan said that the state had begun to reap the dividends of the education summit organised earlier in the year.

She said that some of the recommendations made by the summit had been implemented, adding that there was improvement in the education sector in the state.

 

Plateau

 

Senator. Gyang Pwajok (PDP- Plateau North), has filed an

appeal at the Court of Appeal, Abuja, against the December 20, nullification of his election by an Abuja Federal High Court.

The Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, while delivering judgment in a matter filed by the Congress for Progress Change (CPC) against INEC and PDP, had nullified the October  6 by-elections and asked Pwajok to “stop parading’’ himself as senator.

The CPC had approached the court to determine whether the first respondent, INEC, had the power to reject the names of its candidate for the by-election.

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Increasing SSBs Tax ‘ll Encourage Healthy Lifestyle -Experts

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The Executive Secretary, Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme, Dr Vetty Agala, has said that an increase in Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) tax will encourage heathy lifestyle, thereby reducing the 30 percent death rates associated with the consumption of SSBs.

 

Agala stated this at a two-day training programme organised to create awareness on the negative effect of excessive consumption of SSBs, organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Port Harcourt.

 

She said it was necessary for the people to prioritize their health.

 

“Increase in SSBs tax will reduce the intake of SSBs consumption that is currently the cause of 30 per cent of deaths.

 

“The desire of the Rivers State Government is to protect her citizens by bringing up policies and various interventions and programmes such as innovative financing that help protect the health of communities,’ she added.

 

Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, noted that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have become a public health concern globally and across the nation.

 

Dr Oreh, who was represented by the State Epidemiologist, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeoma Nwadiutor, revealed that the staggering rate of 41 million people are lost to NCDs annually, and that NCDs in Nigeria account for 30% of deaths.

 

“With this data, it is, therefore, paramount to address the root causes of these preventable illnesses”, she said.

 

The commissioner maintained that NCDs are known to result from long-term effects of unhealthy lifestyle and diets, leading to disability adjusted lifestyle years (DALYs).

 

“Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or carbonated drinks also known as soft drinks, are non-alcoholic beverages that contain excessive amount of sugar.

 

“The sugar in these drinks is absorbed by the blood stream, thereby causing a spike in the blood sugar level, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including obesity and other NCDs.

 

“Obesity is a predisposing factor for diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. It often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities,” Dr Oreh added.

 

On his part, a public health scientist, Dr Francis Fagbule, advised parents to give their children balanced diet, adding that excessive intake of SSBs add no value to the health of their children.

 

Fagbule stressed that parents who can not avoid to give their children SSBs can give, but not in excess, adding that excessive consumption of SSBs makes children obsessed and fatigued.

 

“You are not adding anything useful to your children when you give them SSBs. You can only help your children to have balance diet. Give SSBs if you cannot avoid it completely, but don’t let it be in excess because excessive consumption of them makes children obsessed and fatigued”, he said.

 

Earlier, the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, had stated that the training programme was aimed at equipping journalists with the necessary information to create awareness and drive the campaign against excessive consumption of SSBs.

 

Oluwafemi noted that the training would provide a comprehensive overview of SSB consumption patterns, their profound health implications, fiscal considerations and policy recommendations to address the growing health and economic challenges stemming from SSB consumption in the country.

 

He expressed worry that sugar sweetened beverages have gained prominence in Nigeria and have become a significant public health concern in the country, stressing that excessive consumption of SSBs leads to obesity, diabetes and other health challenges.

 

“The high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases highlight a health crisis in Nigeria, with over 11 million Nigerians currently living with diabetes.

 

“Nigeria’s status as the fourth-largest of soft drinks globally is concerning and is a looming health epidemic if not addressed promptly. The adverse effects of these preventable diseases on productivity, revenue loss, and human lives underscore the urgency for effective policy solutions,” Oluwafemi said.

 

The Tide reports that CAPPA is a pan-African non-governmental organisation that works to advance human rights, challenges corporate abuse of natural resources and builds community power for inclusive development and participatory governance.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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95% Of Small Businesses Should Be Off Tax – Oyedele

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The Federal Government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 per cent of the informal sector of the economy in the country.
Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said this at the closing session of the committee on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this would be achieved through the exemption of businesses earning N25 million a year or less from the various taxes hindering their progress over time.
‘’So, we think that 95 per cent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff.
‘’We’re using data to inform our decisions. Currently, if you earn N25 million a year or less, you don’t have to pay company income tax, you don’t have to worry about VAT.
‘’We think that the informal sector are people who are trying to earn legitimate living, we should allow them be and support them to grow to a point where they can then have the ability to pay taxes,” he said.
Oyedele said the new reforms being proposed would focus on the top 5 per cent of that sector, the middle class and the elite for taxes.
He said the committee was drafting the laws to effect the necessary changes in the fiscal policy and tax reform ecosystem of the country.
According to the chairman, the new laws will ensure that reviews become sustained by all governments coming in, adding that: “we don’t want this whole effort to go down the drain, after one or two years.”
On compliance, he urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the government in implementing a new fiscal and tax policy that would be used for the general good of the citizens.
‘’We think that the days of being above the law in paying taxes are over. The same thing we’re saying to our leaders, whether they are elected or appointed.
‘’We think they have to lead by example by showing that they have paid the taxes, not only on time, but correctly to the lawful authorities as contained in the various laws,” he said.
He said explained that some of the taxes complained about by Nigerians were those already in the constitution, which the committee had looked at and called for their review.
Oyedele said the committee report would be made to pass through the normal process of legislation in order to give it the full legal backing.
‘’So, our expectation is, as we progress now from ideation, proposal to implementation, you’ll see less and less of those issues and then you’ll see harmony in the direction of the fiscal system.
‘’Not only in the number of taxes we collect, you will also see an improvement in how those monies are being spent.
‘’In terms of priority of spending, in terms of the efficiency of spending and in terms of focusing on what impacts on the lives of majority of our population that live in multi-dimensional poverty,” he said.
Oyedele added that the committee had been working with the sub-nationals and the local government councils in its task of harmonising the taxes into a single digit in the country.
‘’So, we’re convinced, and that’s what the data tells us, that the right path we need to follow, is the path where we repeal many of these taxes, harmonise whatever is left.
‘’We think we can keep that within single digit across local government, state and federal government combined, and then improve the efficiency of collecting those taxes.
‘’We are also very convinced that we need to increase the threshold of exemption for small businesses, for low income earners because if you can’t make ends meet, the last thing you want is someone asking you to pay tax.
‘’We think in fact, when our nation gets to the level we need to be, we should be able to even add money to those who have very little or nothing,” said Oyedele.
At the ceremony, Vice-President Kashim Shettima restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to revitalise revenue generation in the country.
“Our aim remains the revitalisation of revenue generation in Nigeria, while sustaining an investment-friendly and globally competitive business environment.
“Contrary to speculations in some quarters, we are not here to frustrate any sector of our economy but to create an administrative system that ensures the benefits of a thriving tax system for all our citizens,” he said.
He said the dynamics of the nation’s fiscal landscape prompted the Tinubu administration to pause and reconsider the direction it was going.
“I am confident that both the Federal and State Governments stand ready to ensure the effective implementation of your reform proposals.
“We shall provide the institutional framework to guarantee the adoption of the consensus of this committee, aligning them with our economic agenda,”said Shettima.

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138.9m Nigerians Need Interventions Against Tropical Diseases -WHO

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Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 138.9 million Nigerians require interventions against Neglected Tropical Diseases.
This is according to the latest epidemiological and programmatic data for 2022, which were gathered, compiled, and analysed in 2023, and obtained from the WHO on Saturday.
The body also said NTDs are endemic in Nigeria as it ranks first in the African region and second globally after India.
WHO defined NTDs as a diverse group of conditions of parasitic, bacterial, viral, fungal, and non-communicable origin, noting that there are more than 15 NTDs in Nigeria.
The report stated, “They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity. People affected by disabilities and impairments caused by NTDs often experience stigma within their communities, hindering their access to needed care and leading to social isolation.
“Nigeria is endemic for several NTDs. The only disease eliminated was dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease) in 2013. The population requiring interventions against NTDs was approximately 138.9 million in 2022, ranking first in the African region and second globally after India.
“This includes 138.9 million requiring treatment for lymphatic filariasis through mass drug administration; 48.7 million requiring treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases through mass drug administration; and 43.5 million requiring treatment for onchocerciasis through mass drug administration.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had in 2023 said it would eradicate NTDs in the country by 2027.
The Director of the WHO Global Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, Dr Ibrahima Fall, said, “With a renewed focus on strategic priorities addressing advocacy for action, partnership, costing and accelerated implementation, technical gaps including research and development and leadership.
“We must intensify our collective action to address the deep-rooted inequalities that fuel the transmission of NTDs in the populations where they persist.”

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