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Canadian Governor-General, Payette, Ambode commission $4.5m Ebola biobank

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Canadian Governor General, Julie Payette, and Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has commissioned $4.5 million biobank laboratory, designed to diagnose and manage Ebola, Lassa Fever outbreak and other infectious disease.

While commissioning the biological containment laboratory, tagged, Lagos State Biobank, LSB at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, on Tuesday, they argued that outbreak of any infectious disease including Ebola, in Lagos considering it’s population could spell doom if such facility isn’t provided urgently.

On reason the Canadian Government chose Lagos, Payette stressed that the achievement recorded by the state in 2014 tackling Ebola virus was responsible for the partnership on the project.

“And Canada is very glad to have filled that gap with you with this laboratory and Bio-bank. We will continue to collaborate with you.”

She noted that the facility will assist to “prevent, detect and respond to about the worst calamities possible outcomes that could happen.

“The incidence of infectious disease if not contained could do so much damage and could ravage so many lives.

“It is not important, it is absolutely  essential to have a facility like this to make sure that never happens.

“As serious as the outbreak of Ebola was here in Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa, it could not have been much worse,” Payette added.

Earlier, Ambode explained that the fund expended on the project which commenced in 2016, was provided by both government to boost prevention of public infectious diseases.

According to him, the Canadian government was responsible for the project design and construction while the state funded the community engagement, training of personnel, maintenance and environmental impact assessment for the facility.

He described the partnership as an effective collaboration which the state government was very proud that the Canadian government lead in this part.

“Lagos is excited over the project. It is a perfect example by a forwarding looking governments through partnership.”

On the facility, the governor stated that the biobank was designed for the management and control of infectious disease in the country.

“It will help to promote and diagnose public health diseases and boost clinical management of infectious disease outbreak in Lagos.”

Ambode added that the Lagos State Biobank would help Fast-track global and local research on infectious diseases.

“It will help to launch the state into a new frontier in research and development in various area of need especially in the diagnostic kits and production of vaccines for containment of infectious disease,” he added.

Earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, hinted that the facility was one of the recommendations made by the committee inaugurated by the former Governor, Babatunde Fashola, after the state was declared Ebola free in October 2014.

Representative of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Adebayo Adeniji, disclosed that Ebola virus outbreak made the Federal Government realise the importance of collaboration with other countries on disease control.

Buhari calls for end to terrorism financing

By Zulaykha Abodunrin with Agency Report,

President Muhammadu Buhari has maintained that concerted efforts must be made to not only dismantle the network between transnational organised crimes and terrorist organisations, but also to block the payment of ransom to terrorist groups.

He, therefore called for resolute and coordinated initiatives by developing an AU data base of persons or groups and entities involved in terrorist acts for use by law enforcement agents.

Buhari who spoke on the topic, “Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Combat the Transnational Threat to Terrorism” at the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday, called for the curbing of the flow of terrorism financing.

While recalling the UN Resolution 1373 which stressed that “any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts should be brought to justice”, he said Nigeria remained committed to supporting counter terrorism efforts within the African Union and the United Nations and believes that the timely establishment of this tool at the continental level will be strategic in this fight.

President Buhari expressed Nigeria’s grave concern over the increasing threats posed by transnational terrorism and the attendant humanitarian crisis while condemning the continued activities of the terrorist groups in Africa, and around the world and called for more concerted action by the African body and the international community to address the global scourge.

According to him, in doing that, the conditions that are conducive to the spread of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism must first be addressed.

He added that collaborative measures must be taken to disrupt the recruitment of terrorists, their financing networks and the movement of foreign fighters, he further disclosed that Nigeria had enacted domestic anti-terrorism laws that also deal with related issues such as kidnapping, drug peddling and gun-running.

“Terrorism cannot be defeated only through military force and law enforcement measures. We need to adopt a multifaceted approach of good governance, economic development and creation of job opportunities for our youth. Linking terrorist activities to climate change, it is important to take global action to support the recharging of the Lake Chad Basin which had shrunk by over 80 per cent.

“This had impacted negatively on the livelihood of millions of people in the countries of the Basin. There is considerable evidence that the environmental state of the Lake contributed to the radicalisation of jobless youth who joined Boko Haram,’’ he further stated.

In their submissions, the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, also agreed on the real threat of transnational terrorism.

The African leaders therefore stressed the need for global efforts to curb the negative trend.

Army 81 Division installs new GOC

By Zulaykha Abodunrin,

Maj.-Gen. Enebong Udoh, Friday, emerged the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army.

Udoh’s predecessor, Maj.-Gen. Peter Dauke, handed over the division’s flag to the new GOC after signing the handing and taking over notes at a brief ceremony held at the Division’s Headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos.

In his address, outgoing Dauke thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for the opportunity given to him to serve in the division.

He said, “I had an interesting time working with the commanders, staff and officers of the division. I give God the glory for the peaceful environment within my seven month stay. We were able to overcome every challenge that crossed our path and I want to enjoin everyone to cooperate with the new GOC,” he said.

Earlier, the new GOC said he would do everything in his powers to improve on what his predecessor did.

Until his posting to 81 Division, Udoh was the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army. The outgoing GOC is now the Deputy Commandant at the National Defence College, Abuja.

George Weah assumes office as Liberia’s 24th president

By Zulaykha Abodunrin,

Ex-football striker, George Weah, on Monday was sworn into office as the 24th President of the Republic of Liberia.

The 35,000 capacity Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia played host to the landmark event as Weah took his oath of office at 12 noon.

Not less than eight African Heads of States, including President Muhammadu Buhari represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and international and local football celebrities witnessed the ceremony.

More details later…

No inauguration, appointees in endless wait 3 weeks after Buhari’s controversial mass appointments

By Abdulwaheed Usamah, 

While controversy that melted with President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of over 1,400 chairmen and members of government parastatals and agencies and that of ghost names discovered, was almost subsiding, the appointees have silently continued grumbling over the endless wait for inauguration into office, three weeks after the presidency made the announcement.

Their un-publicised dissatisfaction on how their inauguration has been handled, despite the presidency’s mandate that their resumption into office should be with immediate effect, may have been kept away from the ears of authority due to ways at which the president has been handling issues lately.

What may have led to the delay, three weeks after the list of appointees was released, sources at the presidency who confided in The Guild,  said that there could be foul play within the cabal at the state house who may be manipulating process, and trying so slow down the system in order to favor special appointees.

They said that even though the Secretary to Government of the Federation, in charge of the list and other processes, were reviewing the appointment and other raised errors that led to recent controversy and criticism of the government, they were unclear over what could be causing the delay.

The sources revealed that none of the appointees have officially been written as confirmation of their appointments and time of inauguration, and that in-activeness of the office in charge of the appointment have given those on the list unnecessary concerns.

It would be recalled  Buhari  approved the constitution of the governing boards of agencies and Parastatals, under ministries, as well as the appointment of eminently qualified Nigerians to fill the board positions, numbering 209 Chairmen and 1258 members recently

The president, through a statement, considered the approval for the constitution of the boards as well as the appointments, very necessary, so as to provide a proper governance and oversight structure for government agencies and parastatals.

According to him, the constitution of the boards with the appointments, is a demonstration of the present government’s efforts aimed at building strong institutions of governance, and by extension, improving the quality of policy formulation and supervision.

“While these appointments represent a substantial number of hitherto pending board appointments, more appointments are still being processed and will be released in due course.

“The appointments take immediate effect and honorable ministers are advised to inaugurate the boards after letters of appointment have been issued,” he declared.

But a development contrary to the president’s order was what the appointees who spoke to The Guild alleged they have been even though they, in totality, refused to bare their minds.

Reaching out to few names, among those on the list who spoke out over their dissatisfaction about the delay in their inauguration weeks after their names were announced as chairmen and board members of various agencies and parastatals, The Guild gathered reactions on human factors alleged as what could be the cause of the delay in letting the appointees into office.

One of the appointees who spoke to The Guild under anonymity due to sensitivity of the issue, said that there was need for the president to address those working in his office on their approach towards the country’s matter.

He claimed that there was politics ongoing among the people and offices in charge of carrying out several functions particularly that of their appointment and inauguration which ought to have been held days after the announcements.

To him, those who are occupying top positions in the government have hijacked the system and that they have been feeding names of those considered as special appointees, especially in the petroleum ministry, revenue mobilisation and allocation committee.

He stated that there were confusing directives between the president, SGF, and especially the permanent secretary as were various parastatals that have never been constituted which had been being claimed to have been inaugurated.

“I understand that there is a lot of politics going on there; how can the president make pronouncement and its not followed.

“By now were are supposed to have inaugurated into the various offices and I learned that some parastals had dead people’s names.

“I am of opinion that, those parastatals who do not have issues should be inaugurated but I don’t know what is happening now and we cannot cry out on our own and a lot of us are silently condemning the delay, but cannot publicly attack government on the issue”, he said.

Another appointee stated that the office of the SGF was yet to write him and other appointees to confirm their appointment and that it means any thing could happen since there was no evidence to prove they were beneficiaries on the lists.

When asked on what could be the cause of the delay from assuming office, he said there is need to address Nigerians on its reason after declaring publicly that the appointment was with immediate effect.

“I have been redundant since the list of appointment came out and there have not been a form of communication from the side of the government so as to clear the air on what could be the cause of delay.

“My findings from sources within the government discovered that the review of the list was on going, but then the office in charge should not be silent and keep the appointments on suspense”.

But to another appointee, the government would contact the appointees once it is done with processes and finished with the needful, that there was no need for him to investigate whatever maybe happening at the presidency on the appointment.

“We all know that some ghost names were discovered on the list after it was released and that there was need for the government to address the lacuna”, he explained.

 

 

 

 

 

Buhari congratulates ex-commonwealth SG on 85th birthday

By Balogun Alabi,

President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated with the former commonwealth secretary general, Anyaoku, on his 85th birthday,as well as congratulated friends and family of the man.

Buhari described the former SG as a highly resourceful diplomat and elder statesman whose resume on international diplomacy and community development continued to inspire and instruct on the power of discipline, focus and knowledge.

The president felicitated with Anyaoku, noting that he was only African Secretary General of the commonwealth, affirming that the elder states man contributed seminally to Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.

According to Buhari, the 85 year old combined his thorough understanding of peculiarities of the political structures, with his office and international network of friends, in order to garner support for the country’s transition.

In a statement made available to journalists on Tuesday through the president’s special adviser, Femi Adeshina, Buhari commended Anyaoku over his unwavering patriotism and commitment to the unity and progress of the country as he continues to contribute to national affairs.

Adeshina quoted the president as saying that the celebrant had supported presidency through formal and informal advice, including chairing the meeting that led to the adoption of the Abuja Accord.

“The meeting by which all the presidential candidates in 2015 committed themselves and their political parties to non-violent campaigns and acceptance of the results in good faith,” he said.

However, president buhari prayed that God granted Anyaoku, the Ichie Adazie of Obosi kingdom, longer life and more fruitful years to serve Nigeria.

Buhari charges Aare Ona Kakanfo, Gani Adams on Nigeria’s unity

Adewunmi Abodunrin with Agency Report,

President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams to use his new position as Aare Ona Kakanfo to pursue worthy goals of security, peace and national unity.

He made the charge through a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, while congratulating Adams on his investiture as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo scheduled for Saturday.
Commending the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi III, on the appointment of a new Aare Ona Kakanfo, Buhari further urged the new Kakanfo to bring quintessential courage, wisdom and astuteness to bear on his new office, for a more secured life for the weak, vulnerable and voiceless in the country.

The statement read in part, “President Buhari charges Otunba Adams to use the new position to pursue worthy goals of security, peace and national unity. The President commends the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, on the appointment of a new Aare Ona Kakanfo, who will assist him in the arduous task of leading the illustrious Yoruba people.

“President Buhari urges the new Kakanfo to bring quintessential courage, wisdom and astuteness to bear on his new office, for a more secure life for the weak, vulnerable and voiceless in the country. The President prays that the Almighty God will grant the Aare Ona Kakanfo a favourable reign,” it stated.

Ganiyu Adams is a Nigerian social activist and politician who leads a faction of the Oodua Peoples Congress, a secessionist and nationalist organisation based in Nigeria, which supports a sovereign state for the Yoruba people.

Edo records highest number of Libyan returnees

By Balogun Alabi,

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has disclosed that Edo State has the highest number of returnees of about 533, out of evacuated stranded Nigerians in Libya, adding that Delta State has 128, while Yobe State has 28.

It stressed further that other number of returnees included Ogun states and Imo states which had 25 each, Ondo State with 17 and Oyo state has 15, stressing that other states who recorded no returnees were Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Taraba, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger State.

However, the agency explained that 27 states have had their indigenes returned, while nine states and Federal Capital Territory(FCT) were yet to record any returnees.

Also, NAPTIP noted that nine pregnant women and five babies were among 972 returnees that have been repatriated.

During a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, NAPTIP Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed that it had arrested two suspected traffickers among Nigerian returnees repatriated from Libya.

Okah-Donli said that the two suspects were currently undergoing investigation, although, one of the suspected traffickers; a female, was transferred to NAPTIP’s Lagos Zonal command for questioning.

She disclosed that the agency had set up a task force to fish out those involved in the trafficking or smuggling of Nigerians, assuring that they would be prosecuted accordingly.

The DG, hinted that about 40 personnel of her agency, including, counselors, caregivers, investigators and public enlightenment officers, have been deployed to provide various services to the returnees at the Port Harcourt’s camp.

She further commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his concern and the bold step in the evacuation of the trapped Nigerians in Libya.

“This will go into history as the biggest evacuation of Nigerians ever by a Nigerian Government. It shows the great interest of the President in the protection of the lives of Nigerian citizens no matter where they are across the globe and irrespective of their immigration status” she said.

Russia 2018: Federal Government to spend three billion Naira on Eagles

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup billed for June 2018 in Russia, Nigeria’s Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, has disclosed that the Federal Government will spend about 3 billion Naira on the Super Eagles.

Addressing State House correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister said the budget for the competition had been sent to the president for a special intervention.

Dalung said parts of the funds would be needed for training, stressing that his ministry would ensure that the government makes the money available.

The minister also stated that a very strong federal government’s delegation would be mobilized to Russia to support the Eagles and intimidate the team’s opponents.

Dalung stated: “When you have a problem, for you to successfully address your problem, you have to review the history of your problem. One of the challenges we have been having in sports administration, especially competition is the welfare of the players and the officiating team and we intend to set a new approach to the question of welfare.

“By March, we intend to start paying the players their allowances, camping allowances upfront. Now, that will go a long way to boost the morale of the players and confidence too. The new method of governance in football has taken the pattern of change. We will also ensure that there is unity within the football family. Because unity too is a key factor going by some of the reports we had in the past where poor performances were attributable to lack of unity between the family, the technical team, the officials and the players. This unity has to be promoted.

Nigeria is drawn alongside Croatia, Iceland, and familiar foe, Argentina, in Group D.

Buhari charges minimum wage committee on moderate workers’ salary

By Abolaji Adebayo

President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the newly inaugurated 30-man Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee to come up with a fair and decent wage for the workers, saying the workers deserved remuneration that would sustain them in the new economic situation of the country.

Inaugurating the committee in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Buhari said that re-negotiation of a new national minimum wage had become imperative because the existing minimum wage instrument had since expired.

The President submitted on Monday that it was in recognition of the need to ensure a fair and decent living wage that the Federal Government put in motion necessary mechanisms to inaugurate a large committee with a big task of fine-tuning the agitation and demand of the workers on their remunerations.

“You are all aware that during the period following the increase in petrol pump price in May 2016, a technical committee was established to examine and make recommendations to government, the measures to be adopted to cushion the envisaged painful effects of the increase on workers and the Nigerian populace at large.

“During the deliberations of the technical committee, which comprised government and organized labour, the need for the review of the national minimum wage was highlighted and recommendation to set up a committee to look into the level of minimum wage was made accordingly,’’ Buhari said.

The president noted that the subject of a national minimum wage for the federation was within the Exclusive Legislative List of the 1999 Constitution.

He, therefore, enjoined the committee members to “go above the basic social protection floor for all Nigerian workers, based on the ability of each tier of government to pay.

“I say this because minimum wage is the minimum amount of compensation an employee must receive for putting in his or her labour and as such should be anchored on social justice and equity.’’

Buhari also told the members to amicably consider the issue of a national minimum wage and all matters ancillary to it with thoroughness and concern, not only for the welfare of the nation’s workforce but the likely effects on the country’s economy.

He expressed his optimism that the outcome of the deliberations of the committee would be consensual and generally acceptable.

According to him, government’s decision after considering the final recommendation will be sent as an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for it to undergo appropriate legislative scrutiny before passage into law.

He noted that the membership of the committee, state governors and private sector employers were part of this process.

This, as he said, would ensure ease of implementation of a new minimum wage nationwide.

The president also expressed hope that the principles of full consultation with social partners and their direct participation would be utilized by the committee, bearing in mind the core provisions of the International Labour Organisation’s Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 and Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention No. 26.

“Accordingly, conditions of genuine social dialogue should prevail in the spirit of tripartism and collective bargaining agreements.’’

Buhari further told the committee members “to collectively bargain in good faith, have mutual recognition for each other and always in a spirit of give and take.’’

According to him, the committee is expected to complete its deliberations and submit its report and recommendations as soon as possible to enable other requisite machinery to be set in motion for the implementation of a new national minimum wage.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, lauded the president for inaugurating the committee, expressing hope that the committee would perform its duties diligently.

The committee has a former Head of Service and Minister of Housing, Ms. Ama Pepple as Chairman, while Ngige is to serve as Deputy Chairman.

The Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Mr Richard Egbule, is to serve as the secretary of the committee.