The Federal Government, yesterday, lamented the low response of people to HIV/AIDS testing, appealing to citizens to embrace it.
This was as it disclosed that a number of measures have been put in place to empower poor women in rural communities living with the disease.
The Director-General of the National Agency for Control of AIDS, Dr Gambo Aliyu, speaking at the 2020 World AIDS Day celebration in Abuja, also regretted that the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the HIV/AIDS programmes in the country.
Aliyu, who identified stigma and discrimination as major causes of low response to testing, vowed that his organisation would be at the forefront of the fight against such issues.
Speaking further at the event with the theme: “United to End AIDS in the Midst of Covid-19: Get Tested”, the NACA boss said:”This is very important because this year’s HIV/AIDS response is different and it is different because of Covid-19.”
Aliyu said the agency was scrutinizing its data to find out the real impact of Covid-19 on the people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
“We have had and we have seen the impacts of Covid-19 on HIV programme. Even though we are scrutinizing our data to find out the real impact of Covid-19 on the people living with HIV/AIDS.
“But one thing that we know without even looking at our data is, we know that in terms of dare economic realities, Covid-19 has a negative impact or adverse impact compared to other average population and because of that, recently, we launched a project in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs,” he said.
“This project is basically PPE but not PPE that you see but the PPE to protect and empower people living with HIV/AIDS,” he added.
According to him, indigent women living in rural communities “find it difficult to go to facilities to collect medication.
“They also find it difficult to earn living and we are focusing on women simply because we know that in terms of equality when it comes to business and when it comes to empowerment, women are disadvantaged.
“And because of that, we want to, first of all, take care of women living with HIV/ AIDS before we focus our attention on men. And in the next couple of months, you will see us out in the community,” he explained.
He said: “As early as this week, we are flagging off this project to empower women living with HIV AIDS who are indigent. We will teach them how to do small businesses at the community level and give them seed money to initiate those businesses.
“This NACA is determined to continue until the end of the year and in 2021, to make sure that we reach the most disadvantaged living with HIV AIDS across the country and empower them,” he stressed.
He appealed to the private sector to join in the government’s efforts to see this through.
“We are calling on the private sector to join us in this effort just as they joined us last two years in our efforts to find a solution to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country. We were very grateful to the private sector for coming out with this initiative with such fund,” he said.
The NACA boss thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the agency so far, saying his organisation has not had it so good as now.
Hear him: “In terms of government’s commitment, we are very grateful to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for funding NACA with the kind of funding that we haven’t seen in recent years and for keeping to his pledge of putting 100,000 people living with HIV AIDS on treatment within domestic resources.
“So, together, we will fight and together, we will be out in the community to fight stigma and discrimination, to make sure that people have the courage and confidence to get tested for HIV.
“For, it is only when people agree to get tested that our dream will be realized. Without testing, there is no way that we can identify individuals that are out there and living with HIV/AIDS,” he said, adding: “I want everyone here to take this message to the lowest community that you can have access to and that message is ‘get tested and get tested’ now.”
Recall that every year; the global community, including Nigeria celebrates World AIDS Day to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic.
The occasion presents an opportunity to support people living with HIV/AIDS and also the people affected by HIV/AIDS.
This year’s theme of the celebration is, “Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility”.
However, in Nigeria, the theme is, “United to End AIDS in the Midst of Covid-19: Get Tested.”
I’ll Provide Solid Representation, If Elected -Banigo
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has assured the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023.
Banigo gave this assurance when leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party had a meeting with her, at the Government House in Port Harcourt to map out campaign strategies, yesterday.
The deputy governor said, she was excited that the meeting was held for the stakeholders to understand themselves, to ensure the party wins at the elections in 2023, adding that by the grace of God the local government area would be better than what it is now, if she emerges as the Rivers West senator.
In a related development, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is the Rivers West Senatorial District Candidate of the PDP in the upcoming polls, has also met with leaders of the PDP in Ahoada East Local Government Area, where she urged them to reach out to their constituents and encourage the collection of PVCs.
“We must realize that with this new Electoral Act, the votes will surly count, as this 2023 election is not going to be like the previous elections, there will be a difference, people should not be afraid to pick up their cards and vote, they should not be lackadaisical about it, they should keep their cards safe and on the day of election they should come up and cast their vote, because this time every vote will count”.
She said the campaigns would be unit based and urged them to reach out to those in their units.
“Make sure you have unit executives in each of the wards, so we can have a door to door campaign”, Banigo said.
In his remarks at the meetings, the Vice Chairman of the Rivers West Senatorial District of the PDP, Dr. Nname Robinson Ewor, said there is a need for members of the PDP to go out and establish their presence in all units’ wards and constituencies, stressing that the nature of this upcoming election would be different from previous elections.
Ariolu, Others Welcome Ex-Deputy Guber Candidate To PDP
Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has led other party faithful, including Chairman of PDP, Ward 6, Kingsley Nna; Chairman of PDP, Ward 9, Collins Wobo Chukwu; and Obio/Akpor PDP Secretary, Kingman Ogbonna; to receive a bigwig and stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Rumuogba in Ward 6, Chief Williams Igwe, into the PDP.
Receiving the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the Obio/Akpor PDP Secretariat, Rumueme, Ariolu expressed delight over his decampment from the APC to the PDP, describing it as an indication that the party was waxing stronger.
Ariolu, who was greeted with euphoria by the LGA PDP Chairman, Chidi Amadi, who also welcomed the former deputy governorship candidate at the secretariat, promised to work closely with Igwe to build the party ahead of the forthcoming election.
He pointed out that the foundation of the PDP was built on togetherness, stating that collectively, the party would achieve more.
Ariolu thanked Igwe for wholeheartedly accepting to come back to the party.
According to him, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has separated governance from politics following his relentless battle to promote the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP in Obio/Akpor, Chidi Amadi, said the reception of Igwewas a fulfilment of an age-long dream, and a welcome development for members of the party, expressing joy over the event.
He further commended Ariolu for his strong support and leadership towards the sustenance and growth of the party.
In his remark, Chief Williams Igwe affirmed his loyalty and commitment to the PDP in its quest to oust the APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
He described the reception as a homecoming for himself and his supporters who would be formally received at a formal event which would be organised by the state party chairman, adding that PDP remains a major political party which will unite the nation.
He added that his decision to defect to the party was well-thought-out, and called on others to join hands with the Rivers State Government to rebuild the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
According to him, he believed that it was time for him to cross over to join hands with the Rivers State governor in moving the state forward.
The former Deputy Governorship Candidate was also received by PDP Chieftain, Barrister Temple Ejekwu; Obio/Akpor PDP Woman Leader,Gloria Wonodi; Barrister Kelvin Akani; and members of Obio/Akpor PDP Executive.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NNPC Posts N674bn Profit
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has declared a profit after tax of N674billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The profit represented a growth of 134.84per cent when compared with N287billion profit in 2020 which was recorded under the old Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, said this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja.
“NNPC progressed to a new performance level, from N287billion profit in 2020 to a N674billion profit after tax in 2021 climbing higher by 134.8per cent year on year profit growth,’’ he said.
Kyari also said that it recorded an increase in total assets from N15.86trillion in 2020 to N16.27trillion in 2021.
Speaking on the group’s financial position, Kyari said the corporation’s total liabilities decreased by 8.3per cent to N13.46trillion during the review period from N14.68trillion in 2020.
The GCEO said its shareholders funds position rose N2.81trillion representing 144per cent year-on-year.
“The performance would have been greater if the operations in the year under review were free from incessant vandalism, crude oil and products theft, among others.
“Details of the performance of NNPC and the respective subsidiaries as well as that of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) will be published on our website www.nnpcgroup.com for stakeholder’s perusal.
“We look forward to achieving greater performance to support our growth aspirations and to create more value for our stakeholders as we drive full commercial operations under NNPC Ltd.,’’ he said.
He recalled that in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the publication of the 2020 NNPC Group Audited Financial Statement, in which NNPC declared a profit after tax of N287billion for the first time in 44 years.
Kyari said that in spite of the challenging operating environment, it strongly believed that the corporation had the potential to sustainably deliver better value to it esteemed shareholders.
He said it sought to become a dynamic global energy company of choice to its customers, partners and over 200million shareholders comprising of all Nigerians.
Kyari noted that the corporation in 2019 rolled out deliberate policies and initiatives aimed at reducing costs and eliminating losses while adopting technology to entrench transparency, accountability and performance excellence (TAPE) across its various functions.
He said the NNPC had recorded significant improvement over the past three years, turning up the curve from losses to profits.
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