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FG Hails Global Support For Fight Against Corruption

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The Federal Government yesterday in Lagos hailed the global endorsement of its anti-corruption fight, calling it an incentive to continue with the battle that must be won for the nation to achieve sustainable growth.
Recently, the US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for its effort at combating corruption in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told media executives that the acknowledgement of the determined effort by the government could not have come at a better time.
‘’The Federal Government is delighted that the anti-corruption war being led by President Muhammad Buhari has been acknowledged and applauded on a global stage. ‘’It is particularly gratifying that in that speech, Mr Kerry made the link between corruption and terrorism. We agree that corruption is indeed a radicaliser because it destroys faith in legitimate authority.
“Let me remind you, gentlemen, that radicalisation is a key causative factor of terrorism,’’ the minister said. Mohammed said that he would soon kick-start a series of town hall meetings across the country to take the sensitization campaign, which he launched in Abuja last Monday, directly to Nigerians.
The town hall meetings, he said, would be in addition to using the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the relevant units of the Ministry of Information and Culture to reach every part of the country.
‘’We know that those who stole us dry are powerful. They have newspapers, radio and television stations and an army of supporters to continuously deride the government’s war against corruption. “But we are undaunted and will not relent until corruption is also decimated,’’ the minister said. Mohammadu said that corruption was responsible for the endemic poverty in the country today, noting that whereas Nigeria’s national budget has increased from just over N900 billion in 1999 to over N6 trillion in 2016, poverty has also increased almost by the same proportion.
‘’The reason is not far-fetched: Appropriated funds have mostly ended up in the pockets of a few looters,’’ he said. ‘’When the money meant to construct roads is looted, the end result is that the roads are not built and the people suffer and even die in avoidable road accidents.
“When the money meant to provide electricity is looted, we all are perpetually sentenced to darkness. When the money meant for healthcare is pocketed by a few, we are unable to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
These are the costs of corruption,’’ he said. According to Mohammed, whereas the sum of N51.829 billion was appropriated for 1,278 projects in the Zonal Intervention Projects for 2015, a total of 21 individuals and companies benefited from the ‘Dasukigate’ to the tune of N54.659 billion.
“The implication is that the amount received by 21 individuals and companies is more than the 2015 Zonal Intervention Project budget by N2.829 billion!
‘’Furthermore, the value of what the beneficiaries of ‘Dasukigate’ contributed to development is zero, compared to how the lives of Nigerians would have been transformed, poverty reduced and livelihoods improved, by the Zonal Intervention Projects which – as we have shown – would have cost N2.829 billion less than ‘Dasukigate’,’’ the Minister said.
He said that contrary to what was being said in certain circles— that the government was dwelling too much on the war against corruption to the detriment of other areas of governance— enough time could not be devoted to the fight.
‘’The situation is very grim indeed, as far as corruption is concerned. That is why the Federal Government is embarking on this sensitization Campaign. “Our approach – which is to count the cost of corruption – is not to vilify anyone but to use facts and figures to give Nigerians a sense of what corruption has done to their lives,’’ the Minister said.

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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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