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Corruption: Our Books Are Open For Probe-NSITF

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Management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) has said that its financial transactions are open and that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) are free to investigate them in the feelings of any form of allegation against the Fund.
This is sequel to the alleged request of some unidentified staff of the Fund calling for the probe of the organization by the anti-graft agencies over the recent report by the ICPC that stated that about 52 agencies of government including NSITF were identified as high corruption risks.
Management of the NSITF has invited the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to investigate its books if they feel that there is any form of allegation against the Fund,
A Statement signed by the Ijeoma Oji-Okoronkwo, General Manager/Head Corporate Affairs, NSITF, Ijeoma Oji-Okoronkwo, and titled ‘ Alleged High Corruption Risks’: NSITF Calls for System Study, Commits to Transparency and Accountability, said that the allegation of corruption against the organisation was taken out of context to suit a negative purpose, describing it as unfounded and an attempt to distract the management from its commitments to carrying out its mandates.
The statement  said that the Fund would continue to work tirelessly to ensure that its operations were conducted with the highest level of integrity and transparency.
“As of date we have fully paid adequate monetary compensations to workers  who suffer workplace or any other type of accidents in the course of work.
“Organisations with such work place patients have had such medical Bills paid or reimbursed appropriately by NSITF and victims given Prosthesis where necessary by our claims and Compensation Department in consonance with the Employees Compensation Act(ECA)2010 which is our operational Law.
“Same goes for our family welfare package for the Family defendants if the accident results in the death of the Employee- the family bread winner. All organizations that are up to date in their contributions can attest to these facts”, it stated.
According to the statement, “Our attention is drawn to the purported call by some staff of the Fund allegedly requesting an immediate probe of the agency by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
“This call is based on a breakdown of the ICPC info graph showing that 52 agencies which includes NSITF, National Broadcasting Commission, Federal Civil Service Commission, Court of Appeal, National Hospital and several other Government agencies, were identified as non-responsive implying that these agencies did not respond to enquiries on them.
“The ICPC consequently marked them as “High Corruption Risk HCR” and were “flagged for the attention of the public and for further inquiries and actions.
“The allegation of corruption against the Fund which  was taken out of context to suit a negative purpose is therefore unfounded and an attempt to distract the management from its commitments to carrying out its mandates.

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Stakeholders Seek Improved Commitment To  Neglected Tropical Diseases’ Treatment

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The need for improved zeal for political commitment, through high-level advocacy and awareness creation for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) visibility has been stressed.
The  Zonal Coordinator, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), Federal Ministry of Health, Department of Public Health, NTDs Control/Elimination Programme, North East Zone, Hauwa Abubakar, made the call in a keynote address to mark the 2023 World NTD Day with the theme: Invest in Neglected Tropical Disease #ACT NOW #ACT TOGETHER held at Dajin village in Tafawa Balewa LGA, Bauchi State.
Abubakar stated that in a bid to pay attention to the Neglected Tropical Diseases, there  is need for solicitation for counterpart support, through resource mobilization.
She said there should be a strengthening integration and inter-sectoral collaboration between NTDs- WASH by active involvement of Line Ministries such as Environment, Water Resources, Education, Information, National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSF) and others.
According to her, concerned agencies should strive for an there should be an all-inclusive agenda including Persons with Disabilities in implementation while calling for the release of more funds by Funders and Government in order to scale up MMDP interventions to other endemic LGAs.
She added that there should be sensitization of Communities for Behavioral change communication (BCC) across the LGAs in the state for Hygiene sustainability.
“It is important to mention that NTDs activities in Bauchi State had recorded tremendous achievements ranging from Trachoma elimination in Trachoma endemic LGAs, Passed several Pre- Transmission assessment surveys conducted over the years, in Lymphatic filariasis interventions, Conducted Epidemiological surveys for Onchocerciasis interventions,” Hauwa stated.
”Akl endemic LGAs for Schistosomiasis has migrated to ward level in terms of treatment, to enhance Schistosomiasis paradigm shift for elimination as recommended by World Health Organization.
“And more interestingly, the state had scaled up to MMDP interventions, and these included, TT surgeries in all endemic LGAs, Hydrocele surgeries and Lymphoedema Management in some LGAs, Snakebite awareness creation and Management and Yaw’s identification and Management, all with support from Mission to Save the Helpless (MITOSATH) and Health and Development Support (HANDS)”, she said.

Abubakar congratulated all the stakeholders and Partner NGOs particularly the MITOSATH and HANDS for their continued campaign and support towards NTDs elimination in Bauchi State and in Nigeria at large.

She also appreciated the NTDs control team in the state for not only taking charge of ownership but its tireless effort in NTDs elimination processes.

In her remarks, the Programme Manager, MITOSATH, Esther Ijeoma, lamented that NTDs have continued to suffer from a lack of attention from the government and other agencies saying that her NGO would continue to lend a helping hand in giving attention to the NTDs.

Ijeoma commended Bauchi State Government through the BASPHCDA for its support in making drugs available for victims in all PHCs across the state.

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Minister Tasks NIS Officers On Maintenance Culture

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Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has charged officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Lagos Command, to embrace high maintenance culture, serene work environment and transparent service delivery to persons seeking their services.
Aregbesola gave the charge  during the commissioning of the new Alimosho Front Desk Passport Office, in Lagos, Monday.
Describing the complex as one of the massive edifices of the NIS, Aregbesola said the event was part of government’s commitment to providing conducive environment for the workforce to enhance productivity.
The Minister urged the officers and men of the Service to show gratitude by improving in their service to Nigerians.
He said, “there can be no alternative to motivating workers. If you want good service, efficiency and quality performance, the work environment must be attractive and motivating.
“Whoever leaves his house to such work environment that motivates his spirit, no matter his personal challenges, the ambiance of the work environment can motivate him to do more than expected of him.”
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Tayo Ayinde, commended the Minister for coming to commission the complex, describing the gesture as a demonstration of strong commitment and leadership of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
In his address, the Comptroller General of NIS, Isah Idris, noted that the complex used to be the Headquarters of NIS until 1990 when the Federal Government directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to move to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while the space served as the Zonal headquarters for Zone ‘A’ before same was relocated to Ikeja.
Idris described the new front desk office as timely in the largest local council in the country adding that it would help to decongest traffic in Ikoyi, Alausa and FESTAC passport offices.
Also Speaking, Chairman of Alimosho Local Council, Jelili Sulaimon,  described the complex as a laudable project and a game-changer for the residents.

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Enugu CSOs Hail INEC Over PVC Collection Extension

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Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Enugu State have lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for listening to the cry of Nigerians to extend the distribution of the ongoing Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) nationwide.
The CSOs gave the commendation in separate interviews with newsmen  on the numerous benefits of the extension in Enugu, Monday.
Chairman of Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO), Anambra,  Vincent Ezekwueme, said the extension was more beneficial to those in the Southeast due to the numerous sit-at-home orders by agitating groups.
He said INEC officials should address all the complaints, difficulties, predicaments and lamentations encountered by prospective voters, especially those in the Southeast.
Ezekwueme urged Nigerians to utilise this unique opportunity provided by the extension to collect their PVCs and be alive to their civic rights and responsibilities.
He further called on Nigerians to report to security agents anyone demanding monetary inducements or gratifications before PVC collections.
In his words, “the Federal Government and INEC have made it clear that registration and collection of PVC is free throughout the country without exception.
“It is incumbent upon the citizens to help the government in this regard by reporting those violating government directives to the appropriate authorities.
“Remember your vote is your power; your complaints about bad leadership can only be corrected with your vote, not with destructive criticisms”.
On his part, the Executive Director, Daniel Ukwu Leadership Foundation, Comrade Daniel Ukwu described the extension of the PVC collection as a positive development, which should be lauded by all.
Ukwu, however, stressed  the need for more publicity on the PVCs collection points as some registrants might not know where to collect their PVCs since the initial locations had changed.
While commending INEC for the extension, the Executive Director, Women Centre for Self-Empowerment and Development (WOCSED), Mrs Onyeka Obi, said the development was a positive one for most Nigerian women.
Obi said: “You know most times, women do multi-tasking to ensure that they meet up with their daily demands and responsibilities.
“So you see that it is not really easy for women to spend hours waiting in queue for PVC collection without attending to other families, personal, and business demands”.
INEC extended the PVC collection to February 5 to enable more prospective voters to get their cards to vote during the elections.

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