The Government of the Netherlands seeks to support Nigeria in strengthening its healthcare systems, to foster investments in Nigeria’s health sector and transfer capacity, expertise and best practices in line with its trade and aid policies.
The Consulate of the Kingdom of Netherlands, made this known, last Saturday, in a statement at a three-day fact-finding mission for Nigerian delegates in the Netherlands.
The delegation included private sector healthcare providers, financial investors and public sector officials.
The visit was organised by the Consulate of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Lagos, in collaboration with PharmAccess Foundation, the implementing partner for the Government of the Netherlands health-related activities.
According to the Consul General of the Netherlands in Lagos, Michel Deelen, it was the first health mission organised by the Consulate, which brought together leaders to meet and interact with Dutch health entrepreneurs.
He said the mission aimed at fostering investments in the Nigerian health sector and to transfer capacity, expertise and best practices.
“We aim to improve sustainable business partnerships between the Netherlands and Nigeria in key sectors like renewable energy, circular economy, agriculture and health.
“We understand the importance of authentic partnerships and aim to reap shared benefits from matchmaking opportunities in Nigeria and the Netherlands,” he said.
The Director, International Entrepreneurship at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marc Hasselaar, provided insights into the drafting of a new global health strategy.
He stated that the world economies had become more globalised and individual countries were proposing new guidelines to strengthen national and global health security.
“The Government of the Netherlands, as part of its global development goals, has established a policy directive to structure the support it provides to the healthcare sector, globally to ensure that its global health efforts are more strategic.
“The recently published Dutch Global Health Strategy 2023-2030: ‘Working together for health worldwide,’ aims to contribute in a coordinated and targeted way to improving public health around the world.
Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands, Leonie Van der Stijl, who joined the mission, also noted that healthcare challenges had become increasingly global, multidimensional and complex.
“The Dutch Global Health Strategy focuses on strengthening global health architecture and systems, especially for primary care and sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights.
“As Africa’s biggest economy, the state of affairs in Nigeria often reflects issues and opportunities that exist across the continent. That is why this mission is so important,” Leonie said.
Furthermore, a representative of PharmAcces Nigeria, Mr Njide Ndile, shared findings from the Nigeria Health Sector Market Study.
“The objectives of the study include: to provide deeper insights into the opportunities in Nigeria’s health sector and to position Dutch firms as Nigeria’s innovative partners for Life-Science-Health (LSH) opportunities.
“There are opportunities to leverage investments through funders such as Invest international, who also support and fund governments for systems building, in addition to making access available to the private sector,” he said.
Commenting on the report, Managing Partner and CEO of FIT Consult Limited, Loretta Aniagolu, stated that the study provided by PharmAccess Foundation was very useful in validating their own studies, particularly the breakdown of the expenditure of each state on overseas and private healthcare treatment.
“The report is scheduled to be disseminated in December, 2022, and it will provide deeper insights into the market entry strategies for Dutch companies looking to leverage investment opportunities in Nigeria’s health sector,” it said.
The delegation went on site visits to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
The Chief Executive Officer of Delft Imaging,Guido Geerts, brought the delegates up to speed on some of the innovative solutions they had developed, using digital x-rays and CAD4TB to improve TB screening, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
“Delft Imaging Systems, established in 1925, has a long history of developing innovative imaging solutions that improve the quality of people,” Geerts said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 245,000 Nigerians die from tuberculosis (TB) and about 590,000 new cases occur every year.
At the Philips Innovation Centre in Eindhoven, the latest consumer healthcare products were showcased and the Nigerian delegation took part in live demonstrations of some of the medical equipment.
Philips Indirect Channel Manager, West Africa,Edward Mwingi, said that Philips had been developing innovative healthcare solutions across the continuum of care, from health living, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and home-care.
“We saw how easy it is to deploy technologies that will guarantee our nation’s health in future. This is not limited to equipment; we also have innovative software and financing solutions that address our current needs in Nigeria.
“Functional healthcare systems cannot operate in isolation and to deliver the maximum benefit, they need to work effectively as part of a wider ecosystem that includes a well-trained workforce, funding to pay for health services, diagnostics and therapeutics.”
During the visit to Invest International, which had a shareholding that included the Dutch Ministry of Finance (51percent) and FMO (49percent), a triple-A bank, the delegation learned how the organisation supported in making investments feasible for Dutch solutions that addressed global challenges.
Senior Business Developer for Child Health and Innovation for Development,Yvette Fleming, and her team, also enlightened the delegates on how the organisation was finding smart solutions to complex issues.
The team shared an example of how they were finding solutions to nutrition and creating employment opportunities, with flying foods: insects for food.
“We have been supporting organisations in Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria through the farming crickets.
“They can be eaten as a snack, ground into powder and added to porridge, bread and cookies.
“The cool bricks an efficient construction material that is environmentally friendly is used to build houses.
“The Nigerian construction material market would be a viable destination for the cool bricks, as the market for environmentally-friendly building materials is still in its infancy,” she said.
Innovations in bioengineering were presented at TU Delft, the oldest and largest Dutch public technical university in the Netherlands.
Viable opportunities were discussed for collaboration in relevant research and development with institutions in Nigeria.
The university has existing partnerships with the University of Lagos and University of Ibadan.
Researchers at the university presented diagnostic innovations that could address neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in low-resource settings.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, expressed appreciation to the Netherlands Government, adding that future fact-finding missions should include visits to pharmaceutical companies.
“The need for public-private partnership solutions, with counterpart funding are some of the financing solutions that need to be explored.
He also explained that in Lagos, they were pushing to ensure they smart working, leveraging on multiple sources of funding to deliver one standard of healthcare, benchmarked against international standards.
15 Judges Face Probe Over Alleged Misconduct
No fewer than 15 Judges of the Federal and State High Courts are in trouble over alleged misconduct occasioned by petitions from individuals and corporate bodies.
Already, the National Judicial Council (NJC) has set up high-powered probe panels to investigate alleged gross misconduct allegations brought against them.
The probe panels are to determine the culpability of the judges in the various petitions filed against them.
However, the NJC did not name the judges to be probed, their divisions and specific nature of their alleged offences.
It, however, revealed that the council dismissed petitions against 51 judicial officers of the Federal and State High Courts for either lack of merit, being subjudice, or being matters for appeal or that the concerned judge had retired from service.
A statement by the NJC issued by Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, last Friday, in Abuja, confirmed that the decision to investigate the alleged erring judges was taken at the council’s 99th meeting presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
The decision, the NJC said, was sequel to the submission of recommendations of three Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committees, which considered 66 petitions forwarded to them by the council from all over the federation.
The statement explained that the council was formally presented with the reviewed Judicial Information Technology Policy, which established the general requirements and responsibilities for the Nigerian Judiciary systems and information.
“The policy provides for guidance of Courts and Judicial Bodies in protecting Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability (CIA) of Judiciary function and process.
“It also stipulates guidance for acceptable use of system, services and technologies as well as provisions for secure storage of judicial data and recovery processes in the event of emergencies or distress.
“Similarly, it further provides guidelines and incident management policies, including Data Centre deployment and use policies.
“The scope is intended for all Courts and Judicial Bodies in Nigeria, including staff of the Nigerian Judiciary, employed or contracted to any Judicial Body handling information that is generated, received, stored, transmitted, or printed.
“It encompasses all personal or Judiciary identifiable data held in their Courts and Judicial Bodies’ systems and process, including supporting mechanisms and technologies for managing such data at rest or in transit.
“All staff are expected to comply with the policy and associated standard protocols and procedures that have been put in place to support the document.
“The policy is applicable to all courts unit, departments of all Judicial Bodies in the Nigerian Judiciary.
“Council noted appointments of judicial officers recommended for appointment at the last meeting who have been sworn–in as Judges of Federal and State High Courts.
“Reports from Standing and ad-hoc Committees of the Council were also presented at the Meeting as well as notifications of retirement of 16 judges and notification of death of a judge from the Federal and State High Courts,” the NJC said.
Expose Govs Pilfering LG Funds, Wike Dares Buhari
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has dissociated himself from state governors who dip their hands into local government funds received from the Federation Account.
Wike was reacting to the accusation by President Muhammadu Buhari that governors had continued to deliberately deplete remittances released to various LG councils in their states.
The Rivers State governor, who spoke at the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads in Rumueme Kingdom of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, last Friday, said the generalisation done by Buhari was unfair.
The governor stated that since 2015, he has never had any reason to tamper with local government funds.
He, therefore, challenged Mr President, as a true leader, to tell Nigerians those governors pilfering council funds.
“You said the governors are taking local government funds. I want to say in the name of almighty God, I have never touched local government funds one day.
“I have never, and I have no reason to do that. So, Mr. President, tell us who are those people. You know them, tell us. It is not good to make class defamation by saying governors. Please, I am not one of those governors.
“So, Mr President, please, spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity Governors are not part of them. We have integrity. And do us a favour to announce all those state governors that are taking local government money because you have the records.”
Wike emphasised that when he was a council chairman under the administration of Dr. Peter Odili, the governor then never touched their funds, adding that that was an example he had continued to practice.
He noted that ordinarily, most of the road projects his administration had constructed should have been done by local government councils, but quickly stressed that he has never asked any council for partnership to fund any project.
“When I was chairman of local government under Dr. Peter Odili, he never touched one Naira of local government funds. When I was chairman, nobody touched my funds, and I see no reason why I will begin to touch other people’s funds.”
Wike explained that his administration had also given optimal consideration to the payment of pension and gratuity.
According to him, over N3billion was spent monthly by the state government to cater for that concern.
Commenting on the Mgbuosimini roads, Wike said the inauguration event was remarkable because he had always enjoyed over 98percent support from the Rumueme Kingdom.
“In Rumueme Kingdom, I have always had 98percent support. And I have told them, there is nothing within my powers that I can do, and I will not do for them.”
The governor recounted that he had sited Dr. Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School, the Judges’ Quarters, relocated the state’s abattoir from Trans Amadi to the Rumueme Kingdom, as well as elevated the traditional stool to first class status.
“It is the benefit and dividend of democracy. So, you have done well for me. I will never turn my back against you. Rumueme people, God will continue to bless you for all you have done for me in my political career.”
Wike also spoke about the employment into the state civil service soon, and assured Rumueme people of filling their quota.
The governor also urged them to extend their support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and all senatorial, House of Representatives and State Assembly candidates of the party in the 2023 elections.
Performing the inauguration of Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads, Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, aligned with Wike that Buhari should name the governors misappropriating local government council funds.
He noted that by delivering such road project to the community, Wike had improved the wellbeing of the people.
“Governor Wike, I want to thank you for setting the pace in project execution. God will bless you. Like has been said, the essence of government, apart from providing security for life and property, is to ensure welfare, which you are doing here.”
Ortom mentioned that commissioning of projects was one virtue he learnt from Wike.
This, he said, has helped him to be more visible and seen to be a governor who delivers projects too.
“One thing that I can say, amongst others, that I have learned from my brother, the governor of Rivers State, is his commissioning of projects. Because if you don’t do it, your enemies will go out there to say this is the project they had done.
“And this is the blackmail that I faced back home in Benue State until Wike told me that look, you have to start commissioning projects.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. Dakorinima Alabo George-Kelly, said the Mgbuosimini Ring and internal roads project was approximately 6km long, with an average width of 7.3meters and 8km of drains length, with 100millimetre asphaltic thickness.
George-Kelly emphasised that the roads were built to last for a long time, and offers such benefits of improving the value of property in the area, ease traffic flow and serve as an alternate traffic route for the people.
In his address, Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Barrister George Ariolu, recalled that before the roads were reconstructed, most businesses and tenants left the community because of the deplorable condition of the roads.
He noted that the situation now, was a return of the bustling commercial activities and delightful socio-cultural life.
Speaking on behalf of the contractor, Ferotex Construction Company, Mr. Jack Afara, said the roads had been done with highest standard of road construction.
He thanked the Rivers State governor for entrusting the company with the project, and several others.
RVHA Passes 2023 Appropriation Bill Of N555bn
Less than two weeks after the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, presented the 2023 Budget, the state House of Assembly has passed the 2023 Appropriation Bill after it was adjusted from about N550billion to over N555billion.
The Speaker of the House and who also chairs House Committee on Supplies, Hon Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, during a debate on the bill, last Friday, granted leave to adjust the budget estimate after scrutinising the report submitted by the Chairman, House Committee of Appropriation, Hon. Enemi Alabo George, to accommodate some items not captured in the budget, which include registration of West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for students of Rivers origin and the take off of the Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute.
The Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule, representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 1, who led the debate on the report of the House Committee on Appropriation, said the House was empowered to make adjustments, where necessary, in the appropriation estimate before passage.
Also, member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 2 and Chairman, House Committee on Works, Hon Michael Chinda, in his submission, said during the budget defense with MDAs, it was observed that some of the projects listed in the budget by the Ministry of Works in the last budget had not been awarded, and advised that such projects should be awarded or be removed totally from the 2023 budget estimate.
While ruling on the debate, Ibani, said that the budget would enhance more projects for the people of the state.
All members voted for the passage of the budget while the House adjourned sitting to Tuesday.
By: Ike Wigodo
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