LUTH Discharges Lassa Fever Patient

The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi – Araba, on Friday said that it had discharged its Lassa fever patient who had been in isolation for four weeks.

A statement which was signed by the Information Officer of LUTH said that the patient had now tested negative to the Lassa fever virus after weeks of receiving treatment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first case of Lassa fever in Lagos was diagnosed at the LUTH on Jan. 15.

It was a 25-year-old student of the Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria, Kaduna State, who had contacted the virus before he came to visit his parents at Ifako-Ijaiye area of Lagos State.

He was admitted in a private hospital at Ifako-Ijaiye on Jan. 9 and was transferred to LUTH on Jan.15 on an account of developing symptoms of fever, sore throat and body ache.

The medical personnel in LUTH had run a blood test on him of which confirmed that he had Lassa fever.

The statement said, “It is gladdening to note that the patient has fully recovered and has been discharged having tested negative for Lassa fever virus.

“When the case was reported, the Lagos State and Federal Governments were intimated and they gave a quick response by providing logistic support including providing the drug (ribavirin) for Lassa fever.

“The hospital also mobilised its team of specialists including nurses, virologists and medical microbiologists.

“The patient was managed in an Isolation Centre with other drugs and adequate infection control measures put in place.

“These included contact tracing and monitoring,’’ it said.

The statement said that the management of the hospital applauded the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and the Lagos State Government for their quick intervention.

According to it, the LUTH is probably one of the first hospitals in the South West that has successfully admitted, managed and discharged a Lassa fever patient in this current outbreak.

The statement called on multinational companies, corporate bodies and individuals to support and partner with LUTH to ensure efficient health care delivery to the country.

Aregbesola Commends Doctors At Local Govts For Commitment To Duty

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Thursday commended members of the Association of Local Government Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria, Osun Branch for demonstrating clear understanding of their duties by committing themselves to the service of saving lives.

Aregbesola, while receiving the association, chided the striking doctors, describing the boycott of work as a betrayal of their Hyppocratic Oaths.

Aregbesola said unknown to many Nigerians who listen to the doctors’ tales, the doctors collected six months full salaries without doing any work. He challenge them to tell the world whether they did not collect their salaries up until September when they went on strike.

From left- Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Chiarman Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole,during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor's Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.
From left- Deputy Governor, State of Osun, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Chiarman Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole,during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor’s Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.

The Governor lauded the association for their active service and commitment to the generality of the people in the state.

He stated that the local government health workers are not only the bedrock of any state’s healthcare sector but also the proverbial stone rejected by the builder, which however became the corner stone.

He noted that more than 90 per cent of the people pass through the doctors at the local government health care facility thereby relieving the secondary healthcare facilities of meeting the huge task of healthcare needs of millions of people.

He lamented the industrial action embarked upon by the state doctors for more than 11 months, saying but for the active commitment to service by members of the association and other medical personnel, the state’s healthcare system would by now have been compromised.

According to him,”But for your own active commitment to service to the generality of the citizenry, contrary to what we have in some section of the press, Osun does not have any feeling of the strike at all. ‎

“They have been out of work for eleven months and they have refused to tell the world that they have received their full pay for six of the eleven months. They will rather emphasize that we are owing them for the five months since September 28 for which they have not rendered any service to any one.

“We are not here to talk about them but we can not discuss your presence without bringing in our own frustration from their attitude to the profession”.

The Governor noted that medical practitioners are people, who should be imbued with extra milk of compassion and must value live and prevent loss of lives, adding that it was shocking to see those trained to save live abandoning their duty post for humanity to suffer.

Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (middle), his Deputy mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola (2nd left), Chiarman Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole (3rd right), Secretary of AMOHN, Dr. Olusegun Olaogun (right), Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti (2nd right), Head of Service, Elder Sunday Owoeye (left) and others, during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor's Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.
Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (middle), his Deputy mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola (2nd left), Chiarman Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole (3rd right), Secretary of AMOHN, Dr. Olusegun Olaogun (right), Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti (2nd right), Head of Service, Elder Sunday Owoeye (left) and others, during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor’s Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.

‎He said, “The organ which the doctors are going about what they are doing by making separate demand from government is not a recognised trade union. The secondary organ that is today leading their agitation is a clear professional body which in our constitution lacks all legal rights to negotiate wages and salary with any management.

“Putting this in context, the general medical practitioners in the state had been on strike since eleven months ago, safe all the three to four weeks they were at work after the general strike before they absconded.

“I must thank your association and through you other medical practitioners outside the recalcitrant doctors in our health centres for their support, zeal and commitment to serving our people in the health care delivery system ‎at the local and state level.

“Nobody is trying to discount the significant of doctors, but it could have been very devastating if the other health workers have joined in this unnecessary boycott of work”. ‎The Governor stressed.
‎Aregbesola restated how on assumption of office, he changed many existing traditions such as the date for payment of salaries, leave bonus, increased car loans, increased housing loans and a host of other pro-workers initiatives.
He demanded how the same doctors who were beneficiaries of his pro-workers policies would therefore want to hold the state to ransom when it is clear to all that the financial situation is not the making of the government.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the association, Dr. Fabiyi Samson, said primary healthcare is the bedrock of any state’s healthcare system.

Samson said the governor should therefore be commended for what his administration has done on the primary healthcare system.
He disclosed that Osun is second to Lagos in the provision of sound health care system in the country.

From left- Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Public Relation Officer of Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Adewale Aderibigbe, Secretary of AMOHN, Dr. Olusegun Olaogun and Chiarman of the Association, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor's Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.
From left- Governor State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Public Relation Officer of Association of Medical Officers of Health in Nigeria (AMOHN), Osun State Chapter, Dr. Adewale Aderibigbe, Secretary of AMOHN, Dr. Olusegun Olaogun and Chiarman of the Association, Dr. Fabiyi Oluwole during a Courtesy Visit to the Governor, at Governor’s Office Abere, Osogbo on 18/02/2016.

According to him, primary healthcare holds a strategic position in the healthcare ladder as more than 75 per cent of the people are attended to at the primary healthcare level.

He also called on the governor to quickly ascent to the Primary Healthcare Board Bill recently passed by the House of Assembly.

“We appreciate what you are doing in primary healthcare system at the local government level. This has helped the health status of the state appreciably. We are now the second in the whole of the country.

“This has helped in improving our healthcare system, reducing mortality rate and increasing the immunisation coverage. In the last immunisation campaign we had 100 per cent success.

Nigerian Troops Rescue 195 People, Destroy More Boko Haram Camps In Borno State

The Nigerian troops of 7 Division Garrison comprising 112 Battalion and Armed Forces Special Forces yesterday carried out a  joint clearance  patrol on suspected Boko Haram terrorists locations at Kwaptara, Mijigete, Garin Boka, Mosole, Ngubdori, Ma’asa, Dukje and Gulumba in Dikwa and Bama Local Government Areas of Borno State.

In addition, they also rescued 195 persons held hostage, recovered 300 cows, 200 sheep and 130 goats rustled by the insurgents. The troops also recovered military items such as camouflage uniforms as well as rifle magazines and grenades.

The unprecedented feat was achieved through the renewed cooperation and support of the public who provide timely information to the troops.

Consequently, we would like to thank all those good citizens who provide the timely information and enjoin all to see the fight against Boko Haram terrorists as a collective  responsibility to enable us clear the remnants of the insurgents in the north east and other parts of the country.

You are please requested to disseminate this information to the public through your medium.

Thank you for your kind cooperation.


Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman

Acting Director Army Public Relations

EFCC Traces N1trillion Loot To Jonathan’s Wife

The wife of a former president, Patience Jonathan may soon be invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to explain her role in the sourcing and disbursement of huge funds spent by the Presidency in the last two weeks before the general elections.

The fund, estimated at over a trillion naira, was routed and disbursed through the Amnesty Office to some notable politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Investigators of the disbursement noticed that the release of about 40 per cent of the funds was authorized by the former First Lady.

Also under investigation by operatives of the anti-graft agency, is the source of the funds, which has not been established due to the Amnesty office’s boss departure from the country.

According to sources, the failure of the former head of the presidential Amnesty Programme to return to the country has slowed down investigations of how the funds were sourced, “because he allegedly disbursed the bulk of the money, which was not part of the funds allocated to his office.”

It was gathered that the suspected Amnesty boss who will face 14 petitions written to the EFCC against him, left the country soon after preliminary investigations into the sourcing and disbursement of funds for the elections.

“Ordinarily, he should have been here to defend himself against the petitions, but he has refused to show up. It is highly suspected that he is not in any hospital. It was all a dummy be sold to Nigerians. He left this country as soon as he sensed the EFCC may invite him to explain his role in the funds disbursement”, a source said.

Already, some of his aides, including personal assistants and driver, have been interrogated on the matter. The investigating team would also want to ascertain his interest in an airline that operates in South Africa with about 12 aircraft.

EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujare, could not be reached for comments on the matter before Press time.
However, a source who did not want his name in print, said efforts were being made to get him back to the country for interrogation.

In the past few months, the present administration has increased the tempo of its hunt for public funds suspected to have either been looted from government coffers, especially during the immediate past administration.

Already, many serving and retired military officers, including former service chiefs as well as top politicians have been interrogated by the anti-graft agency.

Government sources have since disclosed that some of those involved have returned part of their loots in a bid to escape prosecution and public ridicule. Similarly, many push buildings belonging to some of those under investigation have been sealed in many parts of the country.

Culled From The Sun Newspaper

Osun Has Made More Than Enough Concessions For Doctors To Resume – Government

The Government of the State of Osun on Tuesday described as mere blackmail the protests by the striking doctors saying that the government has made more than enough concessions for them to have shifted their positions and reason with the government.

The Government called on well-meaning Nigerians to objectively examine the issues involved in the demands of the doctors and see whether they are in tune with the realities of the current worsening global and national economic situation and how it affects Osun.

The statement by the Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, which was endorsed by its Director, Semiu Okanlawon, said the doctors are demanding the impossible just as it said that the state under Governor Rauf Aregbesola had offered the best condition of service to all its workers including the doctors before the current financial challenges facing the entire country.

Government said in the face of the current economic realities, it remains unbelievable  that doctors would insist that they would not be bound by the payment regime agreed to by over 39,000 other workers in the state which was arrived at after a rigorous deliberation on the finances of the state within the context of the national economic realities.

The statement said that it is an open secret that Nigeria is faced with critical financial challenges which have made many obligations impossible.

It said this was why the state came up with a very transparent formulae for apportioning of its available resources adding that this was agreed to by all categories of workers in the state.

It added, “The only way labour can do without the distrust of government is by setting up a committee with the labour constituting half of the composition and government half and a neutral person jointly accepted by us to be the head of the committee to be reviewing all the revenues and using the reality of the revenue to appropriate or apportion allocation to strategic and key areas of government, which is wages and running the government. We agreed and we are running government absolutely on that basis.

“That agreement came in August and in September; the doctors said they were not in any way bound by that agreement.

“There was no way we could back down because, in the first instance, other professionals had accepted the agreement reached with labour.”

The statement said the doctors have remained recalcitrant despite all entreaties by leading lights of the medical profession, adding “they refused the popular agreement, what should government do? How can we reverse a decision accented to and agreed with by over 39,000 workers because about 200 people are dissatisfied.”

The statement accused the doctors of abandoning their work since September 28, adding that “but we paid them for that month.”

It went further, “By December, we told them they should resume work and they have remained adamant that they want to earn what we cannot afford. In the first instance, except in communist country, you cannot force anybody to work, you can’t drag workers to work under democracy. It is either you want to work or you don’t want to work. But if you cannot take what we are offering and what other workers including Doctors in Local government areas, including consultants at the state level are taking, we cannot afford it.”

The statement said there is no doubt that all aspects of life are affected in Nigeria by the crushing economic hardship.

While admitting that doctors render essential services to the society, the statement reminded Nigerians that there is no single professional in the health sector that is not essential.

It said just as the Government is committed to the welfare of doctors, it must also be committed to the welfare of other professionals in the medical line such as Pharmacists, Nurses, Radiologists, cleaners and others.

Listing its several pro-workers policies, the statement reminded all that the government ensured payment of salaries on or before 26th of every month regardless of the arrival of federal allocation.

“This state never received salary at the end of the month ever since inception. And why? Allocation always comes minimally 14 days after the month, Osun traditionally will wait till the allocation comes before salary can be paid as we are doing now. Today is 16th and January allocation has not come, and it may not come until the end of the month, before now and for 4 years, Aregbesola ensured that salaries were paid on or before every 25th of the month. Not that allocation came every 25th of every month, by my our special arrangement, we ensured that we guaranteed payment before the end of the month for 4 years. Today, it becomes useless and irrelevant and not commendable because we are challenged, not by our own fault, but by the vagaries of the economy in the world, not even in Nigeria,” the statement added.

It listed other areas such as reform in the way leave allowances were paid; increase in vehicle loans by 400 percent and the end-of-the-year allowance which were paid to workers.

It added, “We began with 10 percent to 25 percent to 50 percent and the fourth year to 100 percent. Unfortunately, but for the economic situation. We couldn’t go further. All of these is to show how workers-friendly we are.”

Ex-NAF Finance Chief Returns N84m Looted Fund

The immediate past Director of Finance and Budget of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, has reportedly refunded the sum of N84m to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has recovered.

According to Punch, a reliable source in the EFCC said that investigations revealed that the money was diverted from the account of the Air Force.

The source said the money was part of the money budgeted for the procurement of weapons.

Last week, the commission seized houses belonging to Gbadebo; the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.); and the Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun, all worth about N5bn.

The source revealed that after sealing off the houses, the EFCC continued to trace the money with a view to recovering the sums.
The source added, “After we sealed some properties last week, we continued to grill the three officers. Gbadebo finally confessed to diverting N84m into his company account. The money was swiftly recovered.

“We have also seized a large fish processing company belonging to Adigun. He also manufactures fish feeds, which he sells to end users.”

The source debunked reports making the rounds that the anti-graft agency recovered $1m from Amosu’s Badagry home when it was searched.

He explained that about $117,000 was recovered from the home of the ex-NAF boss.

The source added, “There have been reports that $1m was recovered from a soak away in Amosu’s Badagry home. This is not true.

“The actual amount recovered was about $117,000 and it was kept in a safe in the house and not in a soak away. The money is currently in our exhibit room. We also recovered N200, 000 in cash from the house.”

Explaining the modus operandi of the suspects, the EFCC detective explained that the suspects usually used their wives to carry out the shady deals.

He said before transferring money, the Air Force officers would use third parties to set up companies and bank accounts, to which their wives would be signatories.

It was learnt that the military officers would then make phantom transactions and transfer money into the bank accounts of the companies while their wives would take possession of the sums.

“Amosu’s wife, Omolara, was arrested when she came to see her husband in detention. She cooperated with us and we have also recovered money from the company. Adigun’s wife, Helen, also did the same.

“They have both been released,” the source stated.

About 11 Air Force officers are currently under investigation by the commission

The source said Adigun had been released by the EFCC but did not say whether the NAF chief was released on bail or if he had returned any money to the anti-graft agency.

However, the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, was unable to confirm the recoveries.

“The investigation into the arms scandal is still ongoing and I am not able to comment on specific recoveries,” he said.

Amosu and 10 senior officers are being probed by the EFCC as part of investigations into the $2.1bn arms scam, especially in relation to the 10 contracts of the NAF, said to be worth $930,500,690.00.

Last week, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), was detained by the anti-graft agency.

Both Badeh and Amosu are answering questions on the non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.

FG Sacks Another 18 Heads Of Federal Agencies And Parastatals

Eight months, 17 days after taking office, President Muhammadu Buhari disengaged yesterday, 26 Executive Officers of government agencies.

The action is the first to be taken as there are over 500 of such agencies.

A source said the President gave the head of the agencies time to adapt to his administration, but they failed the test of integrity, adaptability and loyalty.

“They were too deeply committed to the past,” he added.

A statement by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir David Lawal, said the President approved that the most senior officers in the sgencies should oversee the activities of the organisations pending the appointment of substantive Chief Executive Officers.

The government agencies affected include: Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Voice of Nigeria (VON), and News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Others are National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Also affected are: Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Petroleum Equalisation Fund and the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC).

Others are: Bureau of Public Procurements (BPP), Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Bank of Industry (BoI), National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Nigerian Export-Import Bank and National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP).

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed met early in the morning with the CEOs of the six information-related agencies under his ministry to announce to them the government’s decision.

These are: Directors-General of NTA, Mr. Sola Omole, FRCN (Mr. Ladan Salihu), VON (Mr Sam Worlu), NOA (Mr. Mike Omeri), NBC (Mr. Emeka Mba) and NAN Managing Director.

Omeri, at about noon, handed over to Mrs Ngozi Ekeoba, promising to forever be an advocate of the NOA’s activities.

Mrs Ekeoba is the most senior director. She is in charge of Political, Civics, Ethics and Values in the agency.

Omeri expressed his gratitude to the past and present administration for the opportunity given him to serve the nation as NOA Director General and for the support given to the agency during his tenure. Omeri was appointed as Director General of NOA on January 16, 2012.

The Nation

MURIC Condemns Distribution Of Condoms On Valentine’s Day

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AHF, on Sunday 14th February, 2016 distributed 500,000 units of condom across different locations of Abuja to commemorate Valentine’s Day. The Foundation also organized concurrent distribution in six states in Nigeria and 36 countries worldwide.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this action. It is not only misleading but wrongly timed.

Apart from the promotion of sexual licentiousness, public and indiscriminate distribution of condoms to both married and single individuals (including secondary school students) on Valentine’s Day is both a disservice to history and a dishonor to St. Valentine himself.

MURIC wishes to straighten the records in view of this crude attempt to distort history. The proper way to mark Valentine’s Day is to mount a strong campaign against premarital sex in particular and sexual promiscuity in general. This is based on the fact that St. Valentine himself died fighting against these societal evils.

Students of history will recall that Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage in the 5th century and forcefully conscripted young men into the army. Sexual recklessness followed the issuance of this decree. St. Valentine confronted the emperor’s draconian decree and joined young men and women in marriages in order to bring sanity back to society. He was subsequently arrested and executed on 14th February, 270 C. E.

It is therefore an attempt to distort history for any group to mark the day by distributing condoms. Valentine’s Day is not a day for encouraging young girls to lose their virginity. It is not a day to promote fantasies and secretive datings. All these lead to fornication, adultery and the attendant pains of abortion, teenage pregnancy, single motherhood and irresponsible parentage.

St. Valentine can be better honoured and productively remembered by mounting a campaign against premarital sex, encouraging preference for marriage to immoral relationship, showcasing the beauty of the institution of marriage as opposed to celibacy, promoting family values, and highlighting responsible parentage.

By the same token, we opine that the distribution of condoms gratis to the public as a way of fighting HIV and AIDS is sheer window-dressing. Those who are genuinely interested in stopping the AIDS scourge are advised to strike at the roots. Indecent and provocative dressing among women is at the root of sexual recklessness in society. Any country which succeeds in controlling this phenomenon will find it easy to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases to their barest minimum.

In conclusion, we remind Nigerians that every single habit in society is a parameter for judging its people, its present as well as its future. We owe it a duty to check today’s immoral practices to avoid descent into the abyss of Sodom and Gomorrah. We charge religious leaders to focus on the reorientation of moral values in general and the reengineering of sexual perceptions in particular.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Bailout: PDP Allegation Is Self-Serving; Hollow

By Semiu Okanlawon

Let the PDP wailing wailers and mischief makers save themselves the trouble on how the bailout was expended since it is beyond their comprehension. But what that demonstrates practically is that the real workers in Osun and the entire people of this state have better understanding of the workings of this government and its financial prudence.

On the receipt of the bailout funds, the modalities for the payment of the outstanding salaries were spelt out and how the state would proceed in its management of the available resources in an MOU with the Osun labour in the most transparent manner. Could the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joint Negotiating Council and the Trade Union Congress have agreed to the payment terms if the process was not transparent enough and against the interests of the Osun workers?

Today, the PDP has accused Aregbesola of paying contractors for the MKO Abiola International Airport from the bailout. This same party has suddenly forgotten that in its untidy fabrications last year, it was the contractor handling the Oba Adesoji Aderemi Second By-Pass way Slava Yeditepe it accused Aregbesola of paying. Months after, it is the contractor for the airport. Liars, they say, should have good memory.

For the first time in this country, a government put in place a committee for the allocation of available resources comprising representatives of the Labour, government and headed by one of the best and most radical labour leaders ever produced in this part of the world, Comrade Hassan Summonu.

How else does a government demonstrate good faith and openness.

The irony must not be lost on Nigerians. rather than the Aregbesola administration or any APC governor for that matter, it is the PDP that is synonymous with sleaze, and nothing demonstrates this better than the mind-blowing, hair-splitting revelations on how the PDP brought Nigeria to her knees through its Kleptomaniac bleeding of this country.

History will judge Aregbesola for taking Osun out of the woods and giving it a new life.

We have said it and we repeat that with the resources available to this government, even if the Aregbsola administration had busied itself only with provision of infrastructure such as roads and schools, he would still pass as one of the best governors in Nigeria. His achievements outside those two such as social welfare, security, health, youth employment and agriculture and tourism beat imagination and far outweigh the capacity of the Osun resources. The PDP has no moral platform to question Aregbesola. Its years of reign were marked by sleaze and poor performance.

Semiu Okanlawon is the Communications Bureau Chief, State of Osun Governor’s office.

FG, Global Partners Complete Assessment Mission In Northeast

The Federal Government, the World Bank, European Union, and the United Nations have concluded a two-week recovery and assessment mission in the Northeastern States ravaged by insurgency as part of its on-going Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA) programme.

Led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Dr. Mariam Masha, the recovery and assessment team visited Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe States during which the team actively engaged with State Governors, decision-makers as well as top government functionaries, Civil Society Organizations, Private Sector players, Traditional Rulers, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Emergency Management, Humanitarian and Relief agencies and other active partners in the recovery efforts in the affected States.

In the course of the tour in the affected areas, the team of officials visited several camps and resettlement centres for the IDPs in the different states as well as insurgency –ravaged public institutions like hospitals, markets and military formations. The team also gained first hand knowledge of human and physical conditions in the camps and resettlement centres affording them the opportunity to empathize with the people and also reassured them of the commitment of the Buhari administration towards addressing their challenges.

In furtherance of the importance of the recovery and assessment mission, the team’s top level engagements with relevant stakeholders centred on sector recovery and needs assessment strategy in the three major components of Infrastructure and social services, peace building, stability and social cohesion as well as the economic recovery of the affected people in the six States.

The field visit by the technical and humanitarian experts from these critical global institutions primarily focused on validating the processes through which data are to be collected and how to develop internationally acceptable mechanisms to maintain contact with focal points in all the States.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had last month unveiled this assessment programme which is a joint, high-level collaboration between the Government of Nigeria and development  partners – the World Bank, EU and the UN – aimed at supporting Government in its short, medium and long term efforts towards peace building and sustainable recovery in the North East region of the country.

It is a follow up to the agreements reached with the North-East states in respect of the sector and component work plans, data collection modalities and timelines and provision of quantitative and qualitative information by the States.

This assessment will also form the pivot for planning a broad-based public sector recovery programme for the NE, as well as leverage, synchronize and inform the financing initiatives and projects of Nigeria’s development partners, civil society organizations and private sector groups and organisations.

Like Osun, Like Kaduna: How School Feeding Programme Helps The Poor, Returns Kids To Schools

Parents in Kaduna have been reacting to the free school feeding recently introduced by the state government.

The feeding program for primary school pupils in the state was launched on January 19 by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

A cobbler, Kabiru Abu, said the free feeding program for primary school children has taken off the burden of providing school meal for his three children.

Mr. Abu, who works at the popular Sati market, Badarawa area of Kaduna, said his three children attend LGEA primary school in Badarawa.

“Let me tell you that this feeding program is not for the children only, it is also for us who are parents in the state,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

“I’m a cobbler who barely makes between 1000 and 1500 naira a day and I have three school children.

“Before now they will come to me every day in the market to collect money for break during school hours.

“Sometimes I do borrow to give them N20 each, but now that has been taking care of by the state government through the school feeding program.”

Mr. Abu also spoke of his children’s joy for the program.

“For me, it is like taking care of one big responsibility for five days. Every morning they do not wait for their mother to give them food anymore because they know that at 10 a.m. they will be fed in the school.

“One amazing thing that is happening now is how the children are getting more committed to learning. Any time I return home from the market, they are always in a rush to show me something they learnt from school which has never been so.

“Apart from taking off the burden of breakfast for me, my wife no longer wakes up in a rush every morning to prepare something for the children to eat or drink before they leave for school,” he said.

When asked if the government also provides school uniform and books for his children, he said, “Not yet but I have trust in this government and I am sure they will soon do that.”

“You can see that virtually all the schools in Kaduna are witnessing massive transformation. More classroom blocks are being built and renovations is taking place all over the state and the feeding of course, books is not going to be a problem, I am sure about that.

One of Mr. Abu’s wards said he is happy he does not need to go to his father’s work place to get money to buy food in school anymore.

“We do not come to Baba again because we eat well in the school and we are happy about that. They serve us with rice and beans, moi-moi, yam and egg,” the primary four pupil said.

Another parent, Zainab Sani, said she does not believe any program could benefit the poor in Kaduna better than the feeding program.

“This program came at the right time,” the widow, who resides in Kakuri area of Kaduna, said.

“I have two children who are all in primary two and my problem has always been how to provide feeding at break time.

“I am a tailor and have been struggling to provide for my orphans. My two children, Hafsat and Balki, will always return home during classes to say its break time that they need food. Sometimes they will not return to school that day again.”

She said the situation has changed since the Kaduna government began the feeding program.

“They are always in school now and will only return during closing time. It is a great initiative by the government,” she said.

Another mother, Rebecca Bitrus, shed tears while speaking about the program. Her only child, Usman, who attends LGEA school on Aliyu Makama road, Barnawa, has been returning home happy since the program began; talking about the food they are given in school.

“And for me I have no reason to worry for what to give him every morning to take to school again,” she said.

The free feeding program also seems to be achieving one of its aims of returning out of school children to schools. Nigeria has over 10 million out of school children, the largest in the world, according to the United Nations; with many of them in Northern Nigeria including Kaduna.

While speaking on the increased enrolment since the program began, a teacher said it was already leading to over congestion of schools.

Adama Mohammed, the headmistress of one of the benefitting public primary schools, said the feeding program was a success so far but the state government needed to hasten the renovation and building of new classroom blocks to reduce the number of children in the classes.

“With the increased enrolment , student population in some classes doubled and feeding in such over-populated classes could be unhygienic,” she told PREMIUM TIMES

While launching the programme in January, Governor El-Rufai said the programme would feed1.5 million pupils in the state’s public primary schools

“We are conscious that it would save parents break-time money, empower the women within the community who have been selected as the catering vendors and expand the market for farm products”.

He also said that the school feeding programme is directly creating 17,000 jobs for catering vendors, each of whom will need to employ workers to help them deliver.

“In seeking to take care of our children, we are creating jobs, boosting demand and exposing our people to new skills and hygiene standards and providing extra income.

Also responding to the issue of renovating the schools and building more classrooms blocks the governor said, “We inherited a baleful legacy of dilapidated schools, inadequate classrooms, and no furniture for 50 per cent of the pupils. The schools also often lacked water and toilet facilities.

“It is a massive commitment to fix the more than 4000 public primary schools in the state and transform them into conducive places for the delivery of quality education. We will strive to complete the rehabilitation within our term of office.”

Premium Times