Aisha Buhari vows to tackle health challenges of women, children

Wife of the President, Her Excellency Mrs. Aisha Buhari has reiterated her commitment to tackling health challenges affecting women and children in the country.

Hajia Buhari who stated this while commissioning a borehole donated by her project Future Assured to Gofinda community near the FCT called on Nigerians to ensure that they use clean and safe drinking water in order to avoid water borne diseases.

Mrs. Buhari enjoined communities to take charge of their health by promoting filtering in areas where clean water is a huge challenge.

The first lady who was represented by the former Deputy Governor of Plateau State Mrs. Pauline Tallen urged organisations and philanthropic individuals to replicate her gesture in other communities saying it is the surest way of improving the health of communities.

She also called on Gofinda community to protect the borehole from vandalism.

Responding, the village head of the community Mr. Tukura Ismail lauded the gesture of the first lady and further commended her philanthropic gestures in poor and distant communities across country especially in the area of healthcare services

Tukura said his community will make the best use of the new borehole.

Also speaking, the youth leader of the community Tukura Al Mustapha said before construction of the borehole they had to walk long distances daily to fetch water from a stagnant lake, which exposed them to water borne diseases.

Mustapha further assured Mrs. Buhari that the borehole would be well protected.

It was learnt the new set brings to four, the total number of boreholes so far donated by Future Assured, the initiative of the wife of the president in her drive towards reducing medical challenges affecting women, new-born, children and adolescents in the country.


Polio: UNICEF tasks immunisation workers on record keeping

The United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has called on immunisation personnel in Jigawa to ensure proper record keeping of children inoculated in the ongoing polio vaccination.

UNICEF Representative in Jigawa, Hassan Kano, made the call at the immunisation de-briefing meeting on Tuesday in Kafinhausa Local Government area.

Kano also called on vaccinators to be dedicated and ensure effective management of vaccines to facilitate total eradication of polio disease.

He said that it was imperative for immunisation workers to ensure proper house marking and fill relevant forms after administering polio vaccines to children.

The UNICEF official said that such records were necessary to ensure effective coverage and guide the agency in mapping out strategies for upcoming exercises.

“You must double your efforts and commitments in order to achieve total eradication of polio disease,” Kano said.

He also urged parents to present their children for immunisation to protect them against diseases.

In his remarks, the council Secretary, Adamu Bare, urged community leaders to monitor and mobilise participation in the exercise.

Bare reiterated the government’s commitments to enhance healthcare delivery at the grassroots.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that over 88, 000 were being inoculated against poliomyelitis and other child killer diseases in the area.

NAN reports that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency had supplied 90, 000 doses of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV), and deployed over 500 health personnel to facilitate smooth conduct of the exercise.

We will resist attempts to pad 2017 budget – Senator Na’Allah

Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Bala Na’Allah, on Tuesday, declared that any attempt to pad the 2017 budget will be strongly resisted.

He said that the National Assembly would not permit any padding in the budget.

Senator Na’Allah said this when the Rector and officials of the Nigerian Aviation College of Technology, appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to defend the agency’s 2017 budget.

Last year, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumunin Jibrin accused the leadership of the House of padding the budget.

Na’Allah said anything not captured in the original 2017 budget document submitted to the National Assembly should be resubmitted in the supplementary budget of the Federal Government.

According to him, “We will not add anything that was not added in the original budget. If you want to increase the budgetary allocation, you have to send a supplementary budget. If we do that, you will accuse us of budget padding. We will not allow it.

“We want to ensure that public money is spend judiciously. We want to be sure that whatever we are approving for anything is what will buy the same thing. We have looked at your budget. We will do everything possible to give you what you want.

“We will also take out some money which we think you do not need. Since you are refleeting, you must tell us what your intentions are and what you intend to do with the old ones. Next week Thursday, we are going to the aviation college to see the state of the runway to see what is happening there.”

Southern Kaduna Crisis: Senate committee visits El-Rufai

Members of the Senate Adhoc Committee on the crisis in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country were in Kaduna on Tuesday on a fact finding mission.

The six-man delegation led by its Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya visited Governor Nasir El-Rufai to help find a lasting solution.

According to Senator Gaya, the committee was set up by the senate to investigate and unravel remote and immediate causes of the frequent attacks as well as find solution to the crises rocking Southern Kaduna.

Gaya, who blamed politicians and ethnic groups for using the crisis for political gain, said part of the mission of the Adhoc committee was to interact, discuss with government, stakeholders, community leaders, security agencies and other relevant bodies that will contribute to bringing lasting peace in the area.

Addressing the Senate delegation, Kaduna Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, commended the members of committee for the visit.

He said part of reasons Southern Kaduna crisis had continued unabated was because those involved had neither been punished nor prosecuted in the last 35 years.

He stressed, ”Anyone involved in the crisis, no matter how highly placed would be arrested and prosecuted.

”I am the Governor of Kaduna state; if you break the law you will be punished, the entire Kaduna city has been divided and there is need to regain the confidence.

“I am not an ethnic jingoist or a religious bigot, so those who alleged that I am sponsoring Southern Kaduna crisis are just mischievous, no Governor wants crisis in his state.”

On efforts made to ensure peace and security in Kaduna, El-Rufai said the state government had so far committed about 4 billion naira in funding security agencies in the state.

He added that the government bought even bullet proof vests and would continue to do more in order to ensure peace reigns in the state.

Governor El-Rufai called for additional support for security agencies in the budget, suggesting, “There is also need for training and retraining of security agencies, and the purchase of additional security equipment.”

He informed the Senate Ad hoc Committee that when his government came in power in 2015, it met three main problems on ground: cattle rustling, urban gang and communal killings.

On finding lasting solution to the Southern Kaduna crises, the Governor promised to do whatever it takes to deploy resources to facilitate the take-off of the proposed military garrison in the area as soon as possible.

”Let people know that there are always consequences for insecurity, and this crisis would have consequences, economic, political, development and even social.

“People are making money from the crisis and politicizing it for political gains, so we hope this committee will see the reality on ground and not what is been bandied around mainly on the social media”, he added.

Reps seek approval for increase of fuel price by N5

Nigerians may have to pay N5 extra for petroleum products, if the House of Representatives signs the current National Roads Fund Bill into law.

A technical committee set up by the House Committee on Works, headed by Toby Okechukwu, made the recommendation.

The objective of the National Road Fund is to generate revenue for routine and periodic maintenance works on Nigerian roads.

The committee recommended “fuel levy of N5 chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into Nigeria and on locally refined petroleum products.”

10% of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any federal road designated as a toll, was also recommended as toll fees; inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5% deductible from the fare paid by passengers, as well as surcharge of 0.5% chargeable on the assessed value of any imported vehicle into the country.

The fund will be managed by a governing board, with a managing director as the head of the fund.

Suspended Ondo Speaker, Akindele denies misappropriating N15m

Jumoke Akindele, the suspended Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, on Tuesday said she did not misappropriate N15 million as alleged by some of her colleagues.

Akindele, who was reportedly suspended on Friday by 14 lawmakers, said in a statement in Akure that although she was a signatory to the House schedule, she was not a signatory to the cheques.

“I wish to place it on record that though I am the signatory to the schedule, I am not a signatory to the cheques of the House.

“I did sign the schedule in line with the budget passed by the House so that I do not hold up the business of the House in the likely event that I do not return from my journey early enough.

“Most certainly, I did not speak with the Director of Finance and Administration on the issue of cheques or any other matter at all, and I also did not speak with the Clerk.

“I did not ask the Pay Master, Mr Makanjuola Adeshina, who was unfortunately brutalised by some of my colleagues to bring any funds to my House,” she said.

She said she was in Lagos on Friday and received a call that some 13 members allegedly removed the leadership of the House “on the puerile and baseless claim of fraud or financial impropriety.’’

Akindele explained further that the Pay Master was the lawful custodian of all unspent funds of the House and he was only acting in his official capacity as such.

The suspended speaker further said the money in question was meant for some projects in the House as passed in the budget and approved by the proper authority.

She alleged that some PDP caucus members seemed more interested in proving their loyalty to the incoming administration in the state.

“They are actively working hand in hand with their APC counterparts to destabilise what would have been one of the most peaceful transitions ever.

“They are desirous of becoming speaker and deputy speaker at all cost and are therefore playing to the gallery to show they are “disenchanted” with the outgoing governor,” she stated.

Akindele further stated that she was not desperate and was actually set to resign since the emergence of the governor from the North District and the Deputy Governor from the South District.

“We are a people with an age long tradition that demands that the Speaker must, of necessity, emerge from the Central District of Ondo State.

“I sustained this position because I owe it to Nigerians worried of the dangerous precedent that may be created if fraud, forgery and forceful takeover of this nature is allowed to prevail.

“It is disheartening that some of my honourable colleagues forged the signatures of five members to make up their list.

“The members whose signatures were forged have strenuously asserted that their signatures were forged and have stood with the leadership of the House since the beginning,” she said.

Akindele said change was inevitable and may even be desirable, adding that the house leaders could not be removed by no fewer than 18 members in accordance with the law

She expressed her sympathy with the workers, promising that all justifiable grievances would be addressed while taking the blame for the crisis and pleading for forgiveness.

“I remain loyal to my party, the PDP, and I consider it a solemn duty to work with any government, outgoing or incoming, regardless of the political party that births it as long as it works for the interest of the people.

“To my colleagues, let me state that the most difficult job is to lead one’s peers who are as entitled to one’s position as oneself

“I, therefore, call that we come together and ensure that we do the desirable as guided by the dictates of our oath of office,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Majority Leader were suspended for allegedly withdrawing N15 million from the House account without parliamentary approval.

NAN reports that 14 of 26 members, including the Speaker, Deputy speaker, and Majority Leader, attended a press briefing where the suspension was made public.

NAN also reports that the suspension process was carried out on Friday by 14 lawmakers, made up of five All Progressive Congress (APC) and nine PDP members.

Bode Adeyelu, the Clerk of the House, and the mace were present at the process.

Mr Malachi Coker, representing Ilaje 2 Constituency, was sworn in by the clerk as the Acting Speaker while Mr Ayodele Arowele, representing Owo 1 Constituency emerged Acting Deputy Speaker,

Mr Olamide George, the member representing Akure North was sworn in as Acting Majority Leader.

Kogi people suffering under Bello, Faleke tells Presidency

A member of the House of Representatives and former contender of Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello’s position, Hon. James Falake, on Tuesday led a delegation of Kogi State indigenes to the Presidency to pass a vote of no confidence on Governor Yahaya Bello.

Faleke, who led the group comprising former ministers, former ambassadors, former National Assembly members and other critical stakeholders from the State to the office of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, said that the State has stopped working since Bello assumed office.

Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the closed door meeting, Faleke said that the Governor’s unsavory actions were inimical to the future of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

According to him, the people are dying of hunger as a result of the leadership style being adopted by Governor Bello.

He said: “We came to the presidency to let federal government know what is happening in Kogi state as regards the fortunes of the party. The way it is dwindling day by day as regards the civil servants, the welfare of the people and their relationship with the state government.

“We have come to let the presidency know so that when elections come and the party losses, no one is to be blamed. We want intervention from the federal government to find a way forward in this situation.

“The governor of the state should recognize those who work for the party and make the party to be successful. It is one thing to be victorious at the court level and another thing to carry the people along. I want to use this opportunity to urge the governor to carry the people along.

“This is the fifth time he is setting up a committee to review staff strength with so many screenings every day. People are dying. You ask people to come from the entire 21 local government to Lokoja to present their documents; some of them are dying on road accident.

“My concern is that if he is too sure, he should set up a better frame rather than this recurrent approach. For all the committees that sent report to him, he has condemned their report and he is the one that set up these committees. Now another committee has been set up again for the same purpose.

“We get calls every day for welfare from civil servants, school children that their parents have not been paid for months. So, we want him to stop this because this is not the only way to stop ghost workers and it shouldn’t be the last. I’m not against eradication of ghost workers but it shouldn’t be done to the detriment of the people,” he stated

He said that the delegation was satisfied with the response of the Acting President during the meeting.

“Of course, we are satisfied. It is a work in progress. It is not a fait accompli”, he said.

A former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Abdullahi Bello Okene said that the delegation had representatives from across the state.

“Yes of course. You can see among the delegation here are former ministers, former ambassadors, former National Assembly members across the state that are critical stakeholders. The leadership is all here cutting across the entire state”, he said.

Faleke was a running mate to late Audu Abubakar, the governorship candidate of APC that died before he was declared winner in the election that brought Bello into office as governor.

Falake had urged the courts to declare him winner of the election on the grounds that the votes cast for late Abubakar were his automatic inheritance as running mate rather than ceding it to Governor Bello who the party threw up as substitute. But the court ruled in favour of Bello.