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Ekweremadu Case: Ukpo’s 21, Not 15, Prosecution Tells Court …Again, Accused Remanded Till Aug 4

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The Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom, yesterday, ruled that the kidney donor in Ekweremadu’s case, David Ukpo,was not a minor.
The prosecutors told the Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom hearing the case of alleged organ trafficking involving the former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, that the kidney donor, was actually 21 years old and not a minor.
Prosecutors were said to have told the court that all the available evidence provided by the Nigerian showed that the said donor was actually 21 years old and not 15 years old as widely reported.
Both Ekweremadu and his wife appeared in the court, yesterday, and they pleaded not guilty to the charge of organ harvesting while the case has been transferred to the Central Criminal Court, and adjourned till August 4, 2022.
They have also been ordered to be remanded in custody till the adjourned date.
With the ruling, respite is underway for Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, despite the fact that they would be remanded in custody until the next hearing on August 4.
The focal point of the Ekweremadus’ legal predicament is majorly around Ukpo’s age debate – the allegation that they brought a 15-year-old child (a minor) to the UK to harvest his organs.
With the controversies surrounding Ukpo’s age addressed by the fresh ruling, the coast is a bit clear, and supporters of the former deputy Senate president who have been in the background, would now be more encouraged to show open solidarity.
Meanwhile, some members of the Senate and delegates from the Nigeria High Commission were present at the hearing in the UK, yesterday.
Those who attended include, former National Publicity Secretary for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisah Metuh; former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnanya Abaribe, former Senate President, David Mark, and former Minister of State for Education, Hon Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
The Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs arrived the Westminster court in the UK for the trial of former deputy Senate president, who is involved in an “organ harvest” case.
The London Metropolitan Police arrested and charged Ekweremadu, senator representing Enugu West, and his wife to court for allegedly bringing a child to the UK for organ harvesting.
The UK authorities said the “child” had “been safeguarded”, while the police said their operatives “are working closely with partners on continued support”.
The Senate had resolved to send a delegation to the UK to ascertain the particulars of the case.

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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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