Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), yesterday, said that the Federal Government has concluded plans to reform the healthcare system of the Nigerian armed forces.
The reformation, which include the construction of a state of the art military hospital, according to Magashi, would go a long way to cater the health needs of wounded soldiers, veterans, members of their families and the general public.
Magashi, made this known in his keynote address at the Needs Assessment and Strategic Review Project Kick-Off Workshop on Reforming Military Health Services held in Nigeria held in Abuja.
He reiterated the need for a coordinated and unified armed forces healthcare delivery system to tackle the enormous health challenges.
The minister while noting that the healthcare system was an important component of the reform of the ministry and the armed forces approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the ministry has resolved to review the armed forces health system, identify gaps and reposition it to better service delivery.
He said that as obtainable in other parts of the world, the new Ministry of Defence “will have a mix of military and civilian personnel working together in an integrated manner to provide multi-disciplinary advice and expertise for an effective management of the ministry by the Honourable Minister of Defence”.
“The armed forces health system is bedevilled with numerous challenges necessitating the need to engage a consultant to carry out a comprehensive needs assessment.
“The essence is to review the state of our facilities, dearth in medical personnel, inadequate equipment and parallel health care delivery services with a view to upgrading our facilities, recruiting more personnel and to boost the morale of our armed forces and civilians alike.
“My vision is to put in place mechanisms that will lead to the establishment of a world class military hospital akin to Walter Reed Military Hospital in the USA.
“It will successfully manage officers and soldiers injured in battle as well as provide serving personnel, veterans, their families and indeed Nigerians quality healthcare services’’.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ibrahim Kana, while noting that a number of military hospitals across the countryrequires overhaul and reform in terms of facilities and manpower, said that the Nigerian military Health Management Organisation (HMO) had been in the forefront of providing universal health coverage to both serving and retired personnel.
Kana, who said there were gaps that exist despite of the successes so far recorded bythe military in healthcare delivery, said, “Now we are focusing on operational efficiency in order for us to reposition, the armed forces health facilities for optimal performance.
“We want to see a situation whereby we begin to go back to the olden days where we have the core medical, whereby the armed forces actually recruit medical students and other students from the university so they can begin to condition their minds.
“So when they graduate, they go to the academy, get trained and fall into service with their uniforms. That is our vision again as part of the reform,’’.
The permanent secretary, who commended the armed forces for playing an active role at ensuring effective healthcare delivery in the country during COVID-19 crisis, noted the role of the Nigerian Air Force who provided oxygen and emergency ventilator to medical facilities across the country for COVID-19 patients.
He said that the Nigerian army was also involved in providing free medical services across the country during the pandemic while the Nigerian army has also been offering free surgical services, particularly in hard to reach areas.
He said, “We know for some time now the country has been bedevilled by insurgency, banditry, and other all forms of insecurity, thereby making it difficult for people in rural areas, and in particular in those areas to access healthcare.
“The Nigerian armed forces being what they are, actually rose to the equation again to continue to provide services, including health services.
“Nigerian Armed Forces Medical Services did not only limit its services to military alone, they have continued to provide services civilians during the peacekeeping operations’’.
Earlier in his address, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, who while noting that the reformation plan of the ministry aligned with the vision of the armed forces to enhance the morale component of war fighting, said the initiative would go a long way in stabilising the society.
The CDS, who said that healthcare and emotional wellbeing of personnel remained critical to the moral component, noted that the project was long overdue especially when the armed forces have been engaged in internal security operations for decades, adding that the impact of these operations on personnel was unimaginable.
He said “And I think that at the conclusion of this project, the impact and value that it will bring to the wellbeing of members of the armed forces is better imagine.
“I believe this project ought to have been yesterday,the intention is to optimize medical management of our armed forces”.
The workshop which held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, was attended by foreign partners, including the representatives of the US Embassy, World Bank, Uk foreign office as well as service chiefs, of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Tai APC Collapses As Hundreds Return To PDP …Say They Were Blinded By Fake Promises
Over 500 former members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Tai Local Government Area have returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The returnees led by the first PDP Chairman of the area, Hon Peter Gwezia, announced their return to the PDP, last Saturday, during the GDI’s sensitisation programme for the collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) at the Council Secretariat, Saakpenwa.
Speaking on behalf of the rest of the returnees while renouncing membership of the APC, Hon Peter Gwezia, said he and other APC members decided to leave the party due to failure of leadership.
While promising to work for the success of the PDP in the 2023 election, Gwezia said the APC lacked ideas, and was like a vehicle without engine, could not take them to their desired destination, hence their decision to leave the party.
In his remarks, Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon Chukwuemeka Aaron, who received the returnees on behalf of the Chairman, PDP Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor, assured them of equal treatment, saying there are no new members in the party.
“I want to welcome you all and to say that in PDP and GDI where you are today, no person is new. We all have equal status, we all have equal rights. Some of the people that were with you there doing the jamboree that came back today, they are commissioners; they have gone to the National Assembly, become chairmen of councils.
“So, having seen what our leader, Chief Nyesom Wike has done in Rivers State, and in Tai, and what your chairman of council is doing in Tai, they have come back to take their rightful position. We want to thank all of you, and to say that the party chairman and the chairman of council will integrate you into the activities of GDI”.
Also speaking, GDI President-General, Chief Bright Amaewhule, said the performance of the present administration in the state was enough testimony for any Rivers son or daughter to reckon that PDP was the only party which had their interest at heart.
Amaewhule said that of the candidates lined up for the governorship seat in the state, only the PDP Governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, was competent and qualified to give the state good governance from day one.
He, therefore, challenged eligible voters who have not collected their PVCs to do so as soon as possible, and prepare to cast their votes for the right party which was a master of good governance and quality projects’ delivery in the state come 2023.
The returnees, alongside GDI members from the 10 wards of Tai, including youths, women and students groups, later engaged in a wild gyration, turning the entire arena into dance frenzy.
The event also featured solidarity speeches from stakeholders among them former and current National and State Assembly members, former and serving council chairmen, former commissioners, party stalwarts, and captains of industry, among others.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
MOSOP Tasks SPDC On Fresh Oil Spill
Factional President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, has called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (Shell) Joint Venture (JV), the oil and gas multinational company, to take full responsibility and appropriate action to curb a fresh oil spill in Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke, who noted that the spill was first noticed in the community early last week, blamed Shell for the spill and urged the Dutch multinational to alleviate its impact on the community, curtail its spread and commence proper remediation and compensation in accordance with global best practices.
The MOSOP leader noted that the oil spills from the Trans Niger Pipeline operated by the Shell JV, suddenly erupted within the residential area of the community, alleging that it must have been caused by equipment failure.
He observed that although the cause of the spills, which was occurring 11years after the release of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reports, was yet to be ascertained, the spills have affected residential areas and community dwellers have been asked by the MOSOP to evacuate the area, to avoid causality in case of a fire.
“This massive spill is occurring 11 years after the UNEP released a damning report exposing Shell’s devastation of the Ogoni environment.
“We have communicated with community leaders to cooperate with investigations and ensure that every detail about this spill is communicated to our secretariat as soon as possible”, he said.On his part, Executive Director, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said, “the cause of the crude oil spill which occurred inside the community where people live is not yet known at this time.”
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
Nigeria’s Freedom Of Expression Attracting Global Attention, Buhari Claims
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday, said it was instructive that Nigeria was attracting positive international attention as a country that promoted media freedom and freedom of expression.
He said this was premised on the government’s understanding of the important roles that information literacy and media education played in sustainable development.
According to a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said this while pledging his “full support” for three major international events scheduled to hold in Nigeria in October and November 2022.
They include: the 2022 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Global Media, Information Literacy Week in Abuja, in October, the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry in Lagos, as well as the second Global Association of Literary Festivals Conference, Abeokuta, in November.
In the statement titled ‘President Buhari pledges support as Nigeria hosts major cultural, tourism and literary events,’ he said the global events were opportunities to showcase the nation’s rich heritage in culture, arts, tourism and entertainment as well as advancements on media freedom.
Earlier, the Minister of Information ad Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that hosting the 2022 UNESCO Global Media, Information Literacy Week, would help to address the rising spate of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Expressing his delight to welcome international visitors to Nigeria, Buhari urged citizens to leverage the events to exhibit the values “that make us a unique, friendly and peace-loving people.”
The statement read in part, “Welcoming the decision by the UNESCO’s World Tourism Organisation and the Global Association of Literary Festivals to grant Nigeria the right to host these separate historic events, the President assures all relevant stakeholders and participants of the warmth and hospitality of the people of Nigeria.
“On the MIL Week, Buhari notes that it is instructive that Nigeria is attracting positive international attention as a country that promotes media freedom and freedom of expression, recognising the important roles information literacy and media education play in sustainable development.
“On the first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry, the President says the rapid growth of Nigeria’s film, fashion, music, and the Information and Communications Technology sector, and the increase in international appeal and acceptance would continue to spur government to devote more resources to the sector.”
Among other initiatives, Buhari noted that the Creative Industry Financing Initiative, established by his administration and managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had provided single-digit financing to many young Nigerians in the fields of fashion, film, music and information technology.
He noted that the $100 million re-development of the National Theatre, Lagos, into a world-class creative park is also ongoing, following the handover of the facility to the CBN and the Bankers Committee.
The President, therefore, expressed confidence that the literary world would find many good things to celebrate about Nigeria when they meet in the historic city of Abeokuta, homeland and birthplace of one of Nigeria’s finest literary icons and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka.
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