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2023: Buhari Restates Commitment To INEC’s Independence, Credible Polls

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Ahead of the 2023 general election, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), would be given a free hand to discharge its constitutional responsibilities.
The president also reiterated the commitment of his administration to ensure that the commission delivers peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible elections in the elections.
Speaking, last Wednesday night in Lisbon, at a meeting with representatives of Nigerians living in Portugal, the president said with the conclusion of the political parties primaries, all eyes are now on the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
He said, ‘‘We also look forward to a smooth transition to the next government. As I have said before, our administration will not compromise on doing the right things and the welfare of Nigerians, home and abroad.”
Citing the last gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ekiti states, the president noted that the administration has proven consistently its zero tolerance for interference in elections and insistence that Nigerians should be allowed to vote for the party and candidate of their choice.
The president also used the occasion to caution against the use of social media to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance, urging the Diaspora to always promote Nigeria’s unity.
According to him, “The world is a global village and technology has shrunk the world even more. Although you reside beyond Nigeria’s boundaries you can engage easily with the country. In fact, we see the impact of that engagement clearly on social media.
“This platform has empowered Nigerians in the diaspora and given you great influence. As we have seen, however, social media can be a force for good as well as a force for evil.
“Many countries, including our own have had to take strong measures against some social media platforms to curb their excesses and prevent them from destabilising our societies.
“I, therefore, call upon you to use social media responsibly. We all want the best for our country and people, so let us strive to build, unite and prosper our nation and people and not to insult and incite from a safe and anonymous distance.”
Buhari expressed delight in the successful involvement of Diaspora in various fields such as agriculture, health care, education, ICT, and the food industry in Nigeria.
He noted that many countries, including Nigeria, have shown that their Diaspora can be a veritable engine for growth and development.
Acknowledging the huge contribution the Diaspora have made to Nigeria’s economy, the president said: “In every field of human endeavour, be it the creative industries, sports, health, academia, Nigerians in the Diaspora have thrived and leveraged on their skills to raise our country’s profile higher, economically, socially, technologically and culturally.
“It is for these reasons that this government established the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) to facilitate and support your engagement with our country for a win-win outcome in our effort to keep Nigerians united at home and abroad.
“You must continue to be our ambassadors-at-large in your comportment, actions and character.
“‘You must excel and be the best in all your endeavours. While here, you must also not forget home as you are the example we want to project to the rest of the world.”
The Nigerian leader assured the meeting coordinated by Chairman, NIDCOM, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, that the Federal Government would continue to do everything possible to catalyse development in various fields of the economy.
He also encouraged them to key into the programmes of NiDCOM, so as to contribute to initiatives such as the Nigerian Diaspora Investment Trust Fund.
Nigerian Ambassador to Portugal, Alex Enan Kefas, told Buhari that records indicate that there are some 3,000 Nigerians living in the country, who are generally well behaved and living peacefully among themselves and the host authorities.
The ambassador informed the president of the recent arrest and detention of about 13 Nigerians for alleged offences of money laundering and cybercrime.
He explained that the Embassy conducted a consular visit to the prison which revealed that the arrests were “disproportionate and unjust” as many of them were innocent of the allegations.
He said the mission was trying its best to ensure the release of the innocent to enable them to reunite with their families.
At the meeting with the Diaspora, a Nigerian professional footballer, Saviour Godwin, who plays for Portuguese side Casa Pia, presented a jersey to Buhari.

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FG Adopts Innovative Approach To Fund Climate Change Mitigation

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The Federal Government has adopted innovative approach, including carbon tax, to fund the mitigation of the impact of climate change in the country.
The Director-General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr SalisuDahiru, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos.
Dahiru spoke on the sidelines of a technical workshop on Agro Climate Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) project, yesterday.
Dahiru said that President MuhammaduBuhari, in creating the council, adopted an innovative approach because the council was going to be the main vehicle that would drive his climate change policy and agenda.
“So, he decided to adopt an innovative approach that will provide sufficient funding and in a timely manner.
“This is to ensure that the council is able to operate, function and discharge responsibilities with little hindrance.
“So, two things are associated with the funding; the major funding source will be the budget.
“But within the Act establishing the council, there is going to be the introduction of Carbon Tax,” Dahiru said.
The DG said that carbon tax was done all over the world because of the grave existential threat of climate change.
“If we do not deal with climate change, climate change will deal with all of us.
“So, this carbon tax will have to come in because that’s the only way that we can clean up our environment and refresh the air,” Dahiru said.
He said that there would be the establishment of a climate change fund, where the government, the private sector and development partners would make contributions.
Dahiru said that another way the council hoped to raise fund was through the establishment of a Redd Plus registry.
“We can demonstrate through the Redd Plus programme, which is called reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
“If we show that we are no longer cutting down the forests, that we are conserving the forest, then, we will be eligible to be paid carbon credits.
“This is calculated based on how much emissions we have prevented from going to the atmosphere as a result of conserving the forest that will also be fed into the funding of the activities of the council.
“And then we will also have this support from the International Organisation for Climate Change.
He said “we are able to do clean projects; projects that will add to our ability to fulfill our obligations under the nationally determined contributions to climate change mitigation in the world”.
“Then development partners under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will provide additional support to the country,” Dahiru said.

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Nigeria Losses 400,000 Barrels Daily To Oil Theft, FG Laments

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has affirmed that the country loses 400,000 barrels of crude daily via oil theft.
Sylva stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, at the Government House, Owerri.
He described the development as a “national emergency”.
Sylva regretted that the nation had fallen short of OPEC daily quota, from 1.8million barrels to 1.4million barrels, due to crude theft.
The minister warned that such a huge economic loss was capable of crippling the nation’s economy if not given the seriousness it deserved.
He expressed concern that the menace had persisted, in spite of the efforts by the federal and state governments to arrest it.
Sylva said the problem of crude theft could not be handled in Abuja alone.
“It is a national emergency because the theft has grown wings and reached a very bad crescendo.
“This is because the thefts are taking place in the communities that host the oil pipelines.
“As a result, it has become necessary to involve the stakeholders, especially the host communities.
“And because of the height and orchestrated nature of the menace, Nigeria could not take the advantage and opportunities that abound in the gas production.
“This is because no investor would want to invest where there is incessant insecurity and vandalism of the infrastructure,” he said.
The minister, therefore, appealed to the stakeholders to collaborate to solve the problem.

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We’ve Disbursed N100bn To Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, Buhari Boasts

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government has disbursed a total of N100billion to indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare investors as loans to expand their capital base and boost local production of medicines and medical consumables.
Buhari said this, yesterday, while receiving the new executive members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The president said the loan was extended through the Central Bank of Nigeria’s support to the private pharmaceutical sector.
He added that the Health Sector Reform Committee chaired by Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, was currently exploring models for revitalising the nation’s healthcare system, in ways that improve quality of care and the benefit package to care providers.
On brain drain in the health sector, the president said he has directed the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to look into ways of turning “brain drain” to “brain gain” by engaging top Nigerian medical experts in the Diaspora in knowledge and skills repatriation.
He urged the NMA and other stakeholders in the health sector to support initiatives by the Federal Government and work with the committees set up to chart a fast track to a health system that best meets the needs of Nigerians in the 21st Century.
The president also commended the association, which is the umbrella body of all medical practitioners in Nigeria, for consistently choosing peaceful resolution of differences on matters pertinent to the National health system.
“I commend our medical professionals for their contribution to Nigeria’s exemplary management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the control of malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis, and other feats also achieved by Nigerian doctors in the Diaspora.
“Our response to COVID-19 pandemic has been praised internationally and your members are key parts of this success.
“I recall that in the last quarter of 2021, the immediate past NMA Executives visited me and presented recommendations for the health sector, which included, the review and amendment of NHIS Act; upgrading and equipping existing health institutions; loans to fund hospital equipment; the repeal and re-enactment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Act; and Appeal for more funding for the four newly established Universities of Medical Sciences.
“I am pleased to inform you that most of these recommendations have been addressed, whilst further action is being taken to study those involving cross-cutting administrative processes with legal implications,” Buhari was quoted as saying in a statement issued, yesterday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
Buhari further congratulated former NMA President, Dr.Osahon Enabulele, on his emergence as the president-elect of the World Medical Association, the first Nigerian to hold the position.
While wishing him a successful tenure, the president expressed hope that Enabulele would use his position to support improvement in health care delivery in Nigeria and lower income countries.üÿ
He also wished the new executive members of NMA a successful tenure, urging them to earnestly continue to serve as arbiters of peace and progress.
The Minister of Health, Dr OsagieEhanire, who led the medical practitioners to the meeting, affirmed that the doctors have been good partners with his ministry, helping to regulate the health profession as well as stressing quality service delivery.
In his remarks, the NMA President, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, said the new National Officers Committee (NOC) was elected on May 21, 2022.
Ojinmah commended Buhari for his “steadfast war against corruption, assent to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) Act which will improve the health indices of our nation, the constitution of the Health Reform Committee under Vice President YemiOsinbajo, and the various infrastructural projects embarked upon by the Buhari administration.”
He, however, enjoined the president to ensure full and appropriate implementation of the NHIA Act, provision of “adequate work equipment, conducive work environment and necessary budget support”, as well as elongation of the retirement age for medical consultants to 70 years and 65 years for non-consultant doctors and other healthcare workers.
Others include implementation of the hazard allowance circularised in December 2021 with the arrears as well as the setting up of a Health Bank.
The NMA president also requested a representation of the Federal Government at the inauguration of Enabulele in Berlin, Germany, later in the year.

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