The anti-corruption civil society organisations (CSOs) comprising ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), and Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), under the auspices of Upright For Nigeria and Stand Against Corruption campaign, yesterday, called on the federal and state governments to publish names of palliative beneficiaries.
The call was contained in a statement issued and signed, yesterday, by Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, whose organisation is the lead organisation making the demand.
The group emphasised need for government to differentiate between the Social Investment Programme (SIP), including the CCT and the COVID-19 emergency relief fund, and make beneficiaries public for transparency sake.
According to the group, information imbalance between governments and citizens on the CCT which started in 2018 and other palliative measures specifically donated for Covid-19 may lead to corruption.
The statement reads in part: “The Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) is an ongoing government initiative to take care of the poorest of the poor in the country. We must therefore not confuse the CCT with the COVID-19 palliative funds. The government must ensure that the two are separated and Nigerians know exactly what they are benefiting from.
“The President’s directive for an increase in the number of beneficiaries on the Conditional Cash Transfer(CCT) register from 2.5 million to 3.5 million is a welcomed development, but there is currently a disconnect and information imbalance between the governments and citizens on the Social Investment Programme (SIP), including the CCT and the COVID-19 emergency relief fund.
“Since February 27, 2020, when the first COVID-19 case came into Nigeria, there have been several donations from governments and corporate bodies towards combating the pandemic and alleviating the sufferings which would be occasioned by a nationwide lockdown.
“The consortium demands that all governments must disclose to the citizens the value of money received for the COVID-19 donations and publish the list of beneficiaries of the palliative measures.
“Establish a toll-free line for citizens to call and report any act of corruption regarding the palliative distribution. Government should ensure the law is applied where any official is found to be corrupt in the management of the COVID-19 palliative funds.”
Meanwhile, the group commended the federal and state governments for their immediate response to the needs of the citizens and called for more action towards reaching Nigerians who have been hit by the COVID-19 lockdown.
However, the group also pointed out that the various task forces on COVID-19 inaugurated by the federal and state governments do not include CSOs, hence demanded for inclusion of CSOs in the task force.
“Demand inclusion of citizens and members of the civil society in the Federal and State Government Task Force Committees on the implementation of the emergency palliative programmes across the country.
“Inclusion of citizens’ group made up of notable members of communities like traditional or religious leaders and ward committees to be part of the committee and task force for implementation”, it added.
RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics
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
FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms
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.
Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC
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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