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Sanusi Assures On Better Second Term For Makinde

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Renowned billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Chief Dotun Sanusi, has said Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, would do better in his second term to lift the state’s economy.
Sanusi told newsmen at the International Conference Centre of University of Ibadan, after the presentation of Certificates of Return to newly elected political office holders, midweek.
The Tide source reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had presented certificates to Makinde and the newly elected 32 House of Assembly members at the colourful event.
Sanusi, who is also the Otun-Apesinola of Ibadanland, and Chairman, Ilaji Hotels and Sports Resort, said Makinde would improve the lives of the people.
He said the Governor’s qualities as the best man for the job earned him overwhelming, landmark and unprecedented victory in the just-concluded governorship election.
“As you all know, one good term deserves another. Governor Seyi Makinde has done so well since he took over the reins of governance about 46 months ago.
“He has shown capacity, character and courage in leadership to merit second term in office. I have come to once again felicitate him as he receives his Certificate of Return.
“I am congratulating the governor and all his associates, including members of his family, on this momentous and joyous occasion”, he said.
Sanusi said the people had spoken with their votes by re-electing the governor for another term of four years.
He urged all and sundry to support as well as cooperate with the governor to succeed in the onerous task of governing the state.
According to him, Makinde will hit the ground running and deliver on all his campaign promises to the people.
Earlier, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Adeniran Tella, appreciated relevant stakeholders for their support before, during and after the general elections.
He appealed to the elected leaders to use their renewed mandate to reawaken the confidence of the electorate on their voting exercise.

The source reports that Sanusi had, on March 21, hosted a victory party at Ilaji Stadium and Sports Resort, which was attended by the governor, deputy governor, PDP leaders, traditional rulers and religious leaders, among others.
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’82,000 Nigerian women die yearly from pregnancy-related complications’

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said about 82,000 Nigerian women die yearly from complications from pregnancy or childbirth in the country.

It broke it down to 225 women dying every day from maternal mortality, which requires urgent action from the Federal Government and all stakeholders to halt the menace in the country.

The UNICEF Chief of Health in Nigeria, Dr Eduardo Celades, disclosed these in Lagos on Wednesday, at a three-Day Media Dialogue on COVID-19 and Routine Immunization, organised by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture.

The Tide’s source reports that Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth.

From 2000 to 2020, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 34 per cent – from 342 deaths to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UN inter-agency estimates.

On the other hand, the global humanitarian intervention agency revealed that the country was now witnessing eight million childbirths yearly, expressing worry that the situation was not commensurate with healthcare indices in the country.

The source recalled that the new death rate arising from pregnancy-related complications doubled the figure released by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) in March 2022, when it said at least 40,000 women in the country lose their lives to pregnancy-related issues annually.

It also said over one million children, under the age of five, also die as a result of losing their mothers to pregnancy delivery complications.

Speaking at the media dialogue, Celades said Nigeria has a very high rate of maternal mortality at the moment, stating that the global maternal mortality report from 2000 to 2020, was recently launched as the source.

According to him, the new figures which he said were received, will help UNICEF in its response to health challenges in the country.

He said: “In the last few months and weeks, we got new data. The report is telling us that the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is very high. About 82,000 are estimated to die every year from maternal mortality.

“What we are doing is to strengthen primary health care in the country.

“We hope that the data would help us in our response and the response with the government in Nigeria.

“The other one is the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), an analysis where there is the main issue and how we can face them.

“The other new data is the global maternal mortality trends, 2000 to 2020. This is a new report that was launched a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to share that with you because we think this could influence how we work and define how we work with the government so that we can all align and we can have a common narrative.

“We think that this is the new way of working. We are learning and we are trying to innovate. Nigeria is one of the most complex countries in the world in terms of public health issues facing it.

“It is the second country in the world with more zero-dose children–the ones that have not had any single vaccine. It is the country in the world with high maternal mortality.

“Last year was the biggest outbreak in the world and Nigeria has an extremely weak health system. So, we are trying to think from different angles because we at UNICEF and the UN cannot move alone. To do that, we need the government to work with journalists and social media influencers to make the change that is needed”.

He said that UNICEF is planning to launch antigenes virus vaccines in the country soon, noting that the vaccine would immunise children against some childhood diseases.

He said that the country is moving towards the attainment of SDG three, but, its current pace is insufficient to meet the targets.

“Maternal mortality is not going down. Maternal mortality is the same. We have seen that it has reduced by about 12 per cent in the last 20 years but it is not enough if we want to achieve the target.

“So, from UNICEF, our main approach is to try to accelerate interventions to make an impact. Now, we have seven more years to 2030 and we are halfway. If we continue like this, some donors will leave in the next few years, so we have a window of opportunities”,  he explained.

He called for an increase in effective investments in primary healthcare, at the state level as well as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The second one is that now, we have a very powerful tool to get Universal Health Coverage, (UHC). To reduce maternal mortality, we must focus on National Health Insurance. So I appeal for expansion of the National Health Insurance as much as we can.

“We must invest in the most vulnerable. We appeal to the state governments to allocate resources and with partners we will allocate enough resources to that.

“Our third appeal is to target the most vulnerable, those women who don’t have access in the most hard-to-reach areas and in the more inaccessible places. We need to invest in getting into these areas”, he said.

He disclosed that UNICEF was working in collaboration with the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch what he described as Leadership Challenge.

“The challenge is called the Primary Healthcare Leadership Challenge and the idea is to recognize and reward state governments that are investing more in primary health care.

The launch, he said, would attract different categories of awards with US$200 million as the highest to states that would win from the six geopolitical zones of the country.
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Reps Urge FG To Revisit School Feeding Programme

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to revisit the school feeding programme, suspended over sundry controversies.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was a pilot programme launched in 2004 targeting 12 states to provide a nutritious midday meal to public primary school pupils in the country:
In 2016, the programme was relaunched nationally, targeting public primary school children using locally sourced ingredients to improve health, stimulate agricultural production, and boost smallholder farmers’ income.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on January 12, 2024, suspended all programmes of the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks.
The four programmes administered by NSIPA are N- the Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Special Duties and Finance to invite the Ministers of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Education, and Finance to revisit the program and propose solutions for its future success.”
The House, while adopting a motion on “Urgent call to revisit school feeding policy” moved by the member representing Tarauni Federal Constituency, Kano State, Mr Muktar Zakari, noted that the philosophy behind the NHGSFP is to encourage enrollment into the public primary schools, address childhood hunger pangs, and improve their ability to concentrate, learn, and increase school attendance.
The lawmaker, a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party, lamented that “The suspension of the NHGSFP by the current administration is unsettling for several reasons, namely reduced school enrollment and attendance, compromised health and cognitive development of the children, and disruption of the income of smallholder farmers.”
He also said “Addressing the programme’s challenges is crucial, but a complete suspension may cause more harm,” noting that “It is important to find alternative solutions or efficient implementation of the NHGSFP to ensure Nigerian children continue to benefit from this important initiative.”
In his words, “The cancellation of the programme is causing an upsurge in the number of out-of-school children, posing a threat to the country’s future and leading to a high rate of crimes, insecurity, and unemployment.”

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Kogi Lauds Appeal Court’s Verdict On Ododo’s Victory

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The Kogi State Government has hailed the verdict of the Appeal Court, Abuja that yesterday uAtiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomypheld the victory of the state governor, Usman Ododo.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, made the government’s position known in an interview with journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Fanwo described the judgment as “sound,” adding that the it represents “echoes of the indisputable victory” of the governor at the poll.
He said the governor remains unwavering in his faith in the judiciary.
The conmissioner said, “Today’s judgment represents echoes of our victory on November 11, 2023. We campaigned round the state and worked hard to reassure the people that our party is the most reliable to take the state forward.
“November 11 will continue to be remembered in Kogi as the day that Kogites across the senatorial districts united to speak with one voice, birthing a resounding victory for the incumbent governor.
“Today’s verdict has offered another great opportunity for those who lost at the poll and in the courts to join the governor in moving the state forward.”
Fanwo said the court case did not in any way slow governance down as the governor has continued to “roll up his sleeves and deliver democracy dividends to the great people of the state.
“The jubilation that greeted the verdict affirming the victory of the Chief Servant of Kogi is a demonstration of the triumph of the people’s will.”
He urged the people of the state to continue to support the governor to make the state the Confluence of Excellence.

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Insecurity: Reps Want Modern Technology Deployed In Nation’s Borders

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The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy modern technology to secure the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion on “Need to employ the use of modern technology to secure the nation’s borders,” sponsored by the member representing Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Obiageli Orogbu at Thursday’s plenary.
Consequently, the Reps mandated “The Nigeria Customs Service to beef up the nation’s border security with modern technological gadgets.”
It also directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Customs and Excise to “Interface with the relevant agencies of the executive arm to ensure implementation and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.”
Leading the debate, Orogbu said that there are over 320 illegal routes into Nigeria “That serves as horrendous channels for the influx of inadmissible aliens and goods.
“Nigeria at the moment lacks sufficient security personnel to safeguard the existing illegal routes across the borders. These unmanned routes provide avenues for insecurity, proliferation of arms, and dumping of unwholesome goods into the country;
“The porous borders have provided an impetus to the thriving drug and human trafficking routes all over the country.”
Justifying the significance of the motion, the Labour Party chieftain noted that, “Border policing has since shifted from the mundane use of only human beings to the deployment of sophisticated electronic based equipment for potency.
“The deployment of technologies like electronic sensors, video monitors, and night vision scopes to detect illegal entries has proved more effective in western countries than human security.
“Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, (drones) and dark fighter cameras are available to further enhance border controls,” she added.

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