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150 Children Stranded As FCTA Demolishes Church, Orphanage, School

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration has demolished the Divine Words of Jesus Christ Church, including a school and orphanage in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja, despite a pending suit before a Federal Capital Territory High Court.
The demolition of the orphanage by the Department of Development Control officials has, however, rendered 150 orphans homeless.
Five buildings comprising a church, orphanage, school and staff quarters were pulled down by the FCT officials on Tuesday.
Our correspondent gathered that the land on which the buildings were constructed had been a subject of litigation between the orphanage proprietress who is also the General Overseer of the Words of Jesus Christ Church, Bishop Victoria Ezemoka and her brother-in-law, GoddifulEzegwo.
Ezemoka, a widow, explained to newsmen on Wednesday that the case over the ownership of the land was yet to be determined by the court, adding that the case was instituted in 2013.

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Senate Rejects Bill Establishing South-South Commission

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Senators yesterday unanimously voted to reject a bill seeking to establish the South-South Development Commission.
The lawmakers, after an extensive deliberation on the bill, stood it down following stiff opposition from Northern Senators.
Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, stepped down the bill when he sensed that the mood in the Senate did not support it.
The bill which was sponsored by Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong (APC, Cross River -South) titled, “A Bill for an Act to Establish the South-South Development Commission charged with the responsibility to receive and manage funds from the Federation Account Allocation and other sources, donations, grants, and for the integration, development, resolution of infrastructural deficit, militancy, communal crises as well as tackle ecological, environmental problems; and for related matters.”
No sooner had the lead to the debate was read by the Senator representing Bayelsa East, Benson Agadaga on behalf of Ekpeyong, the bill was immediately opposed by two senators from the North who spoke after him.
The opposing senators are Adamu Aliero (PDP, Kebbi-Central) and Abdul Ningi (PDP, Bauchi-Central).
They said the proposed commission was a duplication of the existing Niger Delta Development Commission, advising the Senate to drop it.
Aliero, who was a former governor of Kebbi State, said the sponsor appeared to want to play on the intelligence of senators by bringing such a bill to the floor.
Aliero argued that the South-South and the Niger Delta areas already had a fully-funded government agency and a ministry to oversee development in the zone, adding that the proposed SSDC really duplicate their functions.
He recalled how the administration of the late President Umar Yar’Adua in 2007 created the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in addition to the already existing NDDC.
“I feel no need to support the second reading of this bill, which will make the Senate a laughing stock. It will amount to duplication,” he added.
Senator Abdul Ningi, who also opposed the bill, expressed his love for the people of the South-South.
Ningi told the session how he frequently visited the region and had always supported any initiative to uplift the zone.
He, however, said he opposed the SSDC bill because the functions spelt out for it were the same as those being handled by the NDDC.
“When you take the NDDC law and this bill and compare them, they are the same. It is important that this bill is stood down for further consultation,” he stated.
Akpabio quickly called for the votes to step down the bill, which was unanimously endorsed by senators.
Recall that the Senate on April 4, passed the North Central Development Commission (NCDC) Bill, while on April 16, it also passed the North-West Development Commission (NWDC) Bill.
While the NCDC Bill, which began its journey in the 9th Senate, was sponsored by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue -South), the NWDC Bill was sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano-North) and a host of other colleagues.
The Red Chamber had earlier in February passed the South East Development Commission Bill.

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Shettima Seeks Urgent Innovation On Nigeria’s Economic, Financial Inclusion

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Vice-President Kashim Shettima yesterday emphasised the urgent need for financial innovation to drive Nigeria’s economic and financial inclusion agenda.
Shettima said that the call is in line with the commitment of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration to bringing over 30 million unbanked Nigerians into the formal financial sector.
The vice-president made the call via a video high-level policy dialogue between the Nigerian government and private sector stakeholders held in Washington DC, the United States capital.
The dialogue brought together government officials, regulators, law enforcement agencies, and fintech industry leaders at the George Washington University.
It aims to leverage innovative approaches to drive a sustainable and inclusive financial system in Nigeria.
The dialogue also focused on addressing critical challenges in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem, including regulatory oversight, security concerns, and trust issues that have hindered the widespread adoption of innovative financial solutions.
Participants explored strategies to enhance interagency collaboration and strengthen the overall effectiveness of the financial services sector.
The vice-president highlighted Tinubu’s commitment to bringing over 30 million unbanked Nigerians into the formal financial sector in line with the administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
“We must develop a sustainable collaboration approach that will facilitate the adoption of inclusive payment to achieve our objective of economic and financial inclusion,” he said.
Earlier, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia, sad the Office of the vice president gave priority to economic and financial inclusion.
Hadejia said it was expected that each agency of government would continue to play their statutory role collaboratively to achieve the set objective.
Also, Philip Ikeazor, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in charge of Financial System Stability, stressed the need for ongoing collaboration among all players to achieve the objectives of the Aso Accord on Economic and Financial Inclusion.
The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Abdullahi, proposed “a Digital-first approach and the need to fuse Digital Literacy with Financial literacy as a means to address trust issues affecting the inclusive payment ecosystem.”
The General Manager, Moniepoint, Tosin Eniolorunda, said that addressing trust issues that have slowed down the adoption of innovative Fintech solutions for economic and financial inclusion could be addressed through public-private collaborations.
Dr Nurudeen Zauro, the Technical Advisor to the President on Economic and Financial Inclusion, explained the gathering would eventually evolve into a mechanism that would provide relevant information to the Office of the vice-president.
This, according to him, will facilitate effective decision-making for economic and financial inclusion.
The high-level engagement resulted in various recommendations covering rules, infrastructure, and coordination, with a focus on implementable actions and clear accountabilities.
Other speakers at the event included Inspector-General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun; and the Executive Director of the Center for Curriculum Development and Learning (CCDL) at George Washington University, Prof. Pape Cisse.
Others are the assistant Vice-President at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Mr Reginald Emordi; Regional Director for Africa at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Mr Lars Benson, among others

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We’ll Support IMAM Services To Improve Malnourished Children’s Health -Fubara 

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has reiterated his administration’s commitment to prioritize healthcare services in the state, especially primary healthcare.

This, he noted, is geared towards ensuring that Rivers people get the best of healthcare services they deserve to improve their quality of life, particularly in addressing the impact of the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) programme on moderately and severely malnourished children in the State.

Fubara, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary,  Nelson Chukwudi, disclosed this when he paid an unscheduled inspection visit to the Degema Zonal Hospital in Degema Local Government Area of the State.

The governor accompanied by the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh; the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Anthony Soberekon; and the Chief Medical Director, Rivers State Hospitals Management Board, Dr Bright Ogbonda; also visited the Model Primary Healthcare Centre (MPHC), Degema.

He interfaced with the Matron in-charge of the Primary Healthcare Centre, Matron Florence Kalio, staff who were on duty, members of the Ward Development Committee (WDC), and patients.

Fubara sought to know the challenges faced by the staff of the centre while noting the impact of the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) programme on moderately and severely malnourished children in the area.

The centre is one of the six IMAM sites established by the Rivers State Government across the state in January, 2024, to address the healthcare needs of the people in the rural communities.

The governor said, “I have listened to you with rapt attention and have ascertained the challenges you face in the discharge of your duties.

“I want to assure you of the commitment of our administration to give Rivers people the best of healthcare services they need.

“In fact, I want to inform you that health is of utmost priority in our administration. We are prioritizing healthcare, especially primary healthcare, and we will do everything within our powers to ensure that you have what you need to provide the services needed by the people.”

In her remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Chidinma Oreh, lauded Fubara for his commitment towards ensuring the provision of universal healthcare services to Rivers people, emphasising that the administration’s huge investment in the sector was a testament to its desire to put the wellbeing of the people first, and also catalyse the overall development of the State.

Dr Oreh explained that the IMAM programme was established by the Rivers State Government, in collaboration with key national and  international partners, to address core healthcare needs of malnourished children across the state, among others.

She noted that the governor’s efforts in supporting the centre will no doubt strengthen the health sector, and the State’s economy with the aim of achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on healthcare.

Earlier, Matron in-charge of the Primary Healthcare Centre, Matron Florence Kalio, had explained that the services provided have helped address the challenges faced by the most vulnerable people in the target areas of the healthcare centre.

She specifically noted the intervention the centre has made in antenatal, delivery, newborn care, immunisation, deworming, infant and child growth monitoring, nutrition supplementation, family planning, and reproductive health services.

Kalio emphasised that the centre has also provided excellent services in the areas of cervical cancer screening, HIV testing, birth registration, health promotion, and diagnosis of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and commended the Governor for the support given to the centre to enable it deliver on its mandate to the people of the area.

The MPHC, Degema, caters for the healthcare needs of the diverse riverine population in the Kalabari axis of Rivers State, providing wide range of healthcare services, including  antenatal, delivery, newborn care, immunisation, deworming, infant and child growth monitoring, nutrition supplementation, family planning and reproductive health services.

It further provides services covering cervical cancer screening, HIV testing, birth registration, health promotion, and diagnosis of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

These services are intended to address the majority of healthcare needs required at the rural level in order to significantly improve population health outcomes such as maternal, newborn, infant, and child mortality rates in the State.

The MPHC services also strive to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Highlight of the visit was the signing of the Register of the centre by the Governor.

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