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ASR Africa Partners USAID’s HIV, Tuberculosis Control Efforts In Nigeria …As US CDC Pushes To Achieve, Sustain HIV Epidemic Mitigation

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has accepted a contribution from a leading Nigerian philanthropic organisation, Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa), to partner on tuberculosis (TB) control and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention efforts in Nigeria.
ASR Africa will provide critical inputs, valued at $500,000, to the national TB and GBV responses.
A statement signed by the US Mission in Nigeria last Thursday, said “These contributions will expand the impact of USAID’s current programs, implemented through local Nigerian organisations.
“Specifically, ASR Africa’s contribution will provide: 11 loop-mediated isothermal amplification diagnostic machines, also known as TB-LAMPs, with laboratory reagents and consumables; renovation of 10 Tuberculosis Directly Observed Therapy or DOT centres; and approximately 1,200 dignity kits for survivors of gender-based violence across selected states in Nigeria.
“The TB-LAMP diagnostic machines will enable 11 facilities to effectively diagnose TB, which continues to be a challenge in under-resourced health facilities.
“All individuals diagnosed with these machines will be placed on treatment for TB at the TB DOT centres that will be renovated by ASR Africa.
“The contribution of dignity kits will also strengthen services for survivors of gender-based violence, including medical and psycho-social services, at Sexual Assault Rescue Centres, also known as SARCs, that are supported through USAID’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme”, the statement said.
As part of USAID’s efforts to deepen private sector involvement in Nigeria, the agency engages with private sector partners in the country to mobilise resources to reduce disease burden and ensure a better quality of life for those affected.
“The private sector holds immense potential to bring about sustainable development results,” HIV/AIDS and TB Office Director USAID/Nigeria, Rachel Goldstein, said at the gift acceptance meeting in Abuja.
“Each of ASR Africa’s contributions will amplify the impact of USAID’s development programming in Nigeria while demonstrating the opportunity for public-private partnerships to effectively address unmet development needs.”
Presenting the donation letter, Managing Director of ASR Africa, Ubon Udoh, said “ASR Africa is committed to the development of Nigeria’s healthcare sector. The end-to-end diagnosis to treatment partnership with USAID will provide additional capacity and expand ongoing efforts aimed at tackling tuberculosis and HIV across Nigeria.”
USAID has partnered with the government of Nigeria on the tuberculosis response since 2000, and the HIV response since 2003.
Through these efforts, USAID has contributed to a reduction in tuberculosis related deaths, by nearly 50percent.
Through PEPFAR, USAID is now providing comprehensive life–saving HIV treatment services for over 663,000 people and procuring and delivering medicines for over 1.9million Nigerians on antiretroviral treatment.
Similarly, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) have hosted federal and state ministries of health, Government of Nigeria health agency leadership, and HIV programme implementing partners to review President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme accomplishments from the last five years in US CDC-supported states and chart a way forward for the coming five years to help Nigeria reach and sustain epidemic control.
In her welcome remarks, US CDC Country Director, Dr. Mary Boyd, commended states and partners for their collaborative work in attaining quality care for every patient while also accelerating treatment coverage in the country.
The surge in the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) identified and beginning treatment in recent years has moved Nigeria closer to HIV epidemic control than ever before.
As of June 2022, US CDC supported comprehensive HIV services for about 1.2million PLHIV in Abia, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Katsina, Kogi, Nasarawa, Rivers, Gombe, and the Federal Capital Territory.
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, also spoke, emphasising the U.S. Government’s commitment to supporting partners, and expressing her belief that epidemic control would be achieved in Nigeria.
Day one of the two-day programme included overview presentations from implementing partners Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, APIN Public Health Initiatives, and the Centre for Integrated Health Programmes.
Day two brought discussion of a roadmap for future activities that will create dynamic, equitable, and resilient treatment programs.
Integration of the National Clinical Mentorship Programme into the health sector for sustainability and state ownership was also highlighted.
Across both days, awards were presented to individuals, states, and partners who excelled in specific areas of programming and leadership.
Throughout the newly launched program cycle, US CDC will continue to host programmatic review meetings with partners to ensure that high-quality HIV programs are sustained and that free, life-saving care is available to every Nigerian who needs it.
US CDC Nigeria is the country office of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, with a vision of public health excellence for healthy Nigerians.
The office supports the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, its department, agencies, state ministries of health, and several key partners in developing, implementing, and evaluating disease response efforts and programs that contribute to strengthened public health infrastructure in Nigeria.

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June 12: DSS Issues Stern Warning Against Protest

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned individuals and groups planning to stage protests on June 12, Democracy Day, to desist from any violent or disruptive actions.
The warning was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, yesterday.
The Service said it has received intelligence on plans to incite violence and disrupt public order during the protests.
The security agency vowed to maintain public safety and national security and urged citizens to resist any persuasions to engage in lawless acts.
The DSS also encouraged disgruntled persons to channel their grievances through appropriate channels and procedures.
Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to plans by certain individuals and groups to stage physical protests in some parts of the country on 12th June 2024. These protests are designed with sinister objectives to coincide with the Democracy Day Celebration.
“While citizens may have the rights of assembly and expression, such freedoms should not be used to undermine public safety and national security. The determination by some non-state actors to incite mass disaffection through demonstrations that may turn violent will not be tolerated.
“Citizens are, therefore, called upon to resist any persuasions to be lawless or cause disorder and anarchy in the nation. Displeased persons are rather encouraged to appropriately channel their grievances through the right channels and procedures.
“The Service, while felicitating the government and citizens on this auspicious occasion of celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy, calls for continued patriotism, unity and commitment to building a Nigeria of our collective dream.
“The Service will sustain collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, including sister security agencies, to maintain the peace as well as protect lives and property across the nation. Law-abiding citizens are enjoined to go about their businesses without fear.”

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Court’s CTC Validates Our Position On Amaewhule, Others -Rivers AG …Advises Media Against Misinterpretation Of Judgements

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The Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Dagogo Israel Iboroma, SAN, has said that the State High Court neither declared nor affirmed Martin Amaewhule as Speaker of the House of Assembly, stressing that the certified true copy (CTC) of court judgment validates the government’s position.
Mr Iboroma also urged media practitioners to desist from giving interpretations to court judgments by fiat, emotional or other shades of persuasions.
Rather, he advised that they should first obtain the judgement in order to read it thoroughly to gain proper understanding or at best, seek competent legal advice before going to press.
Mr Iboroma gave the advice yesterday night while briefing newsmen after obtaining the certified true copy (CTC) of the Monday court judgment in Port Harcourt.
The briefing was to restate his earlier position that there was no court ruling that ever declared or affirmed Martin Amaewhule and 26 others as members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rivers State House of Assembly.
Iboroma said: “Yesterday (Monday), I briefed the press and made the point that there is a misrepresentation of the judgment of the High Court of Rivers State in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024 in social, print, and electronic media.
“My position has been confirmed and vindicated by the Certified True Copy of the court order in Suit No. DHC/20/CS/2024.”
Mr Iboroma stated that a court order embodied the enforceable decisions of a court, adding that in this case in focus, the enforceable orders of the court will necessarily entail the specific pronouncements of the court.
He listed the three orders of the court in the judgment to include: “That this Suit be and is hereby dismissed/struck out for want of jurisdiction.
“That the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be and is hereby joined as 4th defendant.
“That the claimants’ case be and is hereby dismissed for lacking in merit.”
Mr Iboroma further said: “Contrary to the false claims and misrepresentation in social, print and electronic media, the court did not make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule is the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, neither did it make a declaration that Martin Amaewhule and 26 others are members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“If it were so, it would have been embodied in the court orders which have been circulated to you all and displayed by me here for the purpose of clarity.”
Mr Iboroma regretted that by the deliberate misrepresentation of yesterday (Monday), the court was painted in bad light and the public misled with such misinformation.
He said: “Whatever finding of fact that is not included in the court order is an Obiter Dictum, which has no binding force.
“Once again, I respectively urge the media to desist from giving any interpretation to any judgement without first reading the content of the judgement and seeking legal advice,” the attorney-general added.

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Sexual Harassment: Minister Drags Perm Sec Before Head Of Service

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, has formally lodged a complaint with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation regarding allegations of sexual harassment levelled against the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Ibrahim Lamuwa.
In a letter addressed to the HOCSF dated May 27, 2024, Tuggar expressed his concern over the serious nature of the allegation levelled against the permanent secretary by Mrs Simisola Ajayi.
He emphasised the importance of addressing the matter urgently and thoroughly.
The letter was titled, “Re: Official Complaint Regarding Sexual Harassment Of Mrs Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi By Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa (Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Foreign Affairs.
It read, “I am compelled to write to inform you of a formal complaint against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ibrahim Adamu Lamuwa, on allegations of sexual harassment.
“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly,”
The letter included an attachment of the complaint received via email, and Tuggar assured the HOCSF his full cooperation in the investigation.
“May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” he added.
Ajayi, had a petition dated May 29, 2024, addressed to Tuggar, accused the permanent secretary of serial sexual harrasment.
Ajayi, through her lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), called for a thorough investigation into the actions of Amb. Lamuwa.
The petition, signed by Adebayo A. Oniyelu LP of Falana & Falana’s, was titled “Request For An Investigation Of Amb. Ibrahim Lamuwa’s Conducts Of Sexual Harassment At The Place Of Work, Abuse Of Office, Official Intimidation And Discrimination.”
According to the petition, Ajayi narrated multiple instances of harassment allegedly by Lamuwa, which have created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment.
She claimed for instance that during a policy retreat on October 7, 2023, Lamuwa allegedly made inappropriate advances towards her, suggesting she joined him in his hotel room.
He reportedly continued with inappropriate remarks throughout the retreat.
She also cited an incident on November 10, 2023, where Lamuwa allegedly invited Ajayi to travel to Hong Kong, promising significant personal benefits from the trip.

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