Rape: North East Speakers Seek VAPP Passage [LEADERSHIP]

Speakers of North East Houses of Assembly have canvassed for the passage and assent of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP), with a view to putting an end to the intractable rape cases.

Speaker of Bauchi State House of Assembly Abubakar Sulieman, who spoke in Gombe on behalf of Conference of North-east Speakers, opined that gender-based violence was both human rights violation and a threat to life and public health.

Suleiman dropped the hint at a roundtable meeting with lawmakers in the North-east held in Gombe and organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), with support from African Women Development Fund (AWDF).

The Bauchi speaker said: that, “Research has shown that women and girls are exposed to high level of sexual violence, rape, defilement, domestic violence, transactional sex, sexual exploitation and abuse, with little opportunity to seek for justice”.

“In Nigeria, our value system is changing and the inequality in the society manifests itself in prevalence of violence against women and girls”.

“Due to the weakened social structures, laws and policies against

violence and against women and girls are either absent or where

available, implementation is weak.”

He noted that the prevalence of violence against women and girls, had

made it expedient to make use of the constitution to protect people

from violence.

Similarly, Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and

Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode stressed the

importance of the bill, saying that when passed in all the states in the

region, the bill would address the issues encountered by both women

and girls in the region.

“Alarmingly, as at 2020, the incidences of rape and sexual assault do

not seem to be subsiding.

“Recent data from the Inspector General of Police showed that over 700

cases of rape was treated and convicted.

“One reason for poor reportage is the stigma and shame associated with

being a victim of rape.

“Most women and girls prefer to conceal rape cases to save themselves

from shame and public embarrassment.

“I believe this is the best time for distinguished speakers to act and

support the passage of the VAPP bills.

“Our gathering today has this aim and I sincerely wish we will move it

forward from here” Akiyode added.

Anti-corruption War No Respecter Of Personality, Party Affiliation– FG [LEADERSHIP]

The federal government declared yesterday that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will not sacrifice its fight against corruption on the altar of party affiliation, position in government or any other consideration.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who made government’s position known noted that the anti-graft war was aimed at fishing out corrupt elements who have looted the nation dry.

He said if the nation’s anti-corruption czar could be investigated, then the fight against corruption was neither waning nor fake.

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the minister revealed that the present administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile cases, and recovered funds in excess of N800 billion, besides forfeiture of ill-gotten properties.

“Our fight against corruption is blind to party affiliation, position in government and any other consideration. If the nation’s anti-corruption Czar can be investigated, then the fight against corruption cannot be deemed to be fake, neither can it be said to be waning,’’ he said.

Noting that the fight against corruption was not about loot recovery or convictions alone, he pointed out that the current administration was putting in place enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.”

The minister explained that the revelations of the past few weeks, especially the investigation of the head of the nation’s anti-corruption agency, have shown that the Buhari administration was not ready to sweep any allegation of graft under the carpet because there is no sacred cow in the anti-graft war.

“Our fight against corruption is alive and well,” Mohammed said.

The minister however flayed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for accusing the Buhari administration of graft, noting that the party had promoted corruption as a creed when it was the ruling the country.

He slammed the opposition for trying to frustrate the probe into the looting at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), just as he accused the party of embezzling the commission’s funds through dubious jobs.

On 80th Birthday, Gowon Extols Adelusi-Adeluyi’s Role During Civil War [LEADERSHIP]

Former military head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has praised Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, a former minister of health, for his contribution to the peace and unity of Nigeria, singling out the role he played in creating global understanding of the crisis in Nigeria during the civil war.

Gowon, in a congratulatory letter to Adelusi-Adeluyi marking his attainment of the age of 80, welcomed the philanthropist, pharmacist and founder of Juli Plc, to the club of octogenarians.

Reminiscing on when the first met, Gowon said, “You will recall that our paths crossed about 1968 when, as the Secretary General of the Coordinating Secretariat of University Student Unions worldwide (COSEC), based in Holland, you led an 8-member youth delegation to visit me in Dodan Barracks, Lagos.

“That war-time courtesy visit helped to create better global understanding of the crisis in Nigeria. I will always be grateful to you for that service in aid of the unity of our Fatherland.

“You have been consistent in your contribution to the peace, unity and progress of Nigeria in every capacity in which you were called upon to serve your nation.”

The former Head of State said, “Please accept our sincere best wishes, though the protocols of social distancing and safe keeping during the current coronavirus pandemic prevent my wife and I from joining you and Julia to celebrate a well-deserved birthday.

“But let me be quite upfront with you: it is not a class of tired old people as many persons tend to believe. As you will soon see, it is the decade in which your workload will significantly increase more out of love of country than love of self.”

The former head of state added that the occasion “avails me a unique opportunity to use some of your words, not against you, but to return the favor of the kind words you spoke about me when I attained the 80th birthday landmark a few years ago”.

“To paraphrase: It is hard to believe that Prince Julius-Adelusi-Adeluyi is already 80, given the spring in your steps. But you have been able to go through life’s experiences and remain well-balanced, largely owing to the robust support you enjoy from your wife Julia, who, like Caesar’s wife, has always been above board in all her transactions.”

Massive floods coming to Lagos, others, agency warns [THE NATION]

MASSIVE floods will sweep through many parts of the country between September and October, a Federal Government agency warned on Tuesday.

The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), which gave the red alert, advised residents of flood-prone areas to begin relocation because heavy rains will precipitate the flooding leading to destruction of property and likely loss of lives.

Director-General of the agency, Mr. Clement Nze, explained that 275 local government areas of the 774  will be moderately hit by the flood while 102 councils will be worse-hit.

Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Kogi are on top of the list of states to witness major flooding.

The others are Ogun, Ekiti, Kwara,  Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina,  Kebbi, Nasarawa,  Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe  and Zamfara states.

All the local government areas in Lagos, except Epe  and many parts of Ogun State, will be badly affected, the agency added.

NIHASA said governors of the states had been advised to begin immediate evacuation of residents in areas to be affected.

The NIHSA DG blamed the construction of houses on flood plains for the heavy flooding experienced in some parts of Abuja five days ago.

According to him, some lives and property were lost at  ”the Sunday Adewusi Estate in the  Dei Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) because it  was built on a flood plain.” The estate is owned by the police.

Nze  said what was required before now across the country was   proper drainage and demolition of structures on flood plains.

He said the flooding   experienced so far in parts of the country was as a result of constant rainfall. He warned that the effect of any nation  in the Niger Basin releasing  water from its dam(s) might be too devastating for Nigeria, if nothing was done now.

He said: “The month of June is usually the period of effective rainfalls and the beginning of a new hydrological year in the River Niger Basin which covers nine countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Cote D’ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

“Nigeria is downstream of all the countries in this basin. The months of July, August, September, and October are also known as JASO months signifying heavy rainfall, flooding, and flood disasters in most parts of the country. The floods are often aggravated by the trans-boundary inflow of rivers Niger and Benue from outside the country before they empty into the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria.

Buhari’s anti-graft war on course, says Fed Govt [THE NATION]

THE anti-graft war of President Muhammadu Buhari is on course, the Federal Government reiterated on Tuesday.

It said the President Muhammadu will not resign because of the alleged infractions in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The government described the call for Buhari’s resignation by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as infantile.

According to it, the development in the identified agencies shows that there is no sacred cow in the fight against graft.

“Unlike the PDP, the APC government will not cover up for anyone,” the government said it was illogical to conclude that the anti-corruption war was waning because of the alleged isolated corrupt practices in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

According to the government, the war against graft is blind to party affiliation, position in government and any other consideration.

Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed stated the government position at a briefing in Abuja against the backdrop of insinuations that the Buhari administration was losing grip on the war against corruption.

The minister said although the allegation of corrupt practices in NDDC was not new, the Buhari administration put up a faster speed in addressing it.

Mohammed said: “As you are all aware, Nigerians have recently been inundated with allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government agencies, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency, EFCC.

Buhari, Obi excited as Adesina is cleared of ethical misconduct[THE NATION]

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari and one-time Anambra State Governor Peter Obi were on Tuesday excited, following the clearance of African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina by an independent review panel.

Dr. Adesina was exonerated from 16 allegations of ethical misconduct levelled against him as the chief executive of the AfDB.

Congratulating the AfDB boss for coming out clean of all allegations, President Buhari said the bill of health given to him has validated his competence to further lead the organisation.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, the President said: “President Muhammadu Buhari warmly rejoices with President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, on the clearing of all allegations against him by an anonymous group, and further validation of his competence and integrity to lead the institution.

“President Buhari congratulates AfDB Board of Directors, the Ethics Committee and members of staff for their courage, maturity and patience in following through the process of investigations, and acceptance of Report of Panel of High-Level Independent Experts, which reviewed the Report of Ethics Committee of AfDB, and Dr Adesina’s response.

COVID-19 hazard allowance: 33 states fail to pay as 854 doctors, nurses test positive [PUNCH]

No fewer than 33 states have yet to begin the implementation of the new hazard allowance for resident doctors, despite their risk of contracting  COVID-19.

The Secretary of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, Dr Bilqis Mohammed, in a WhatsApp message sent to   one of our correspondents, listed states that had started paying the   allowance as  Lagos, Ogun, Nasarawa and Enugu.

But there was confusion over the payment of the hazard allowance in Ogun State. Contrary to the claim of the national body, the NARD in the state-owned Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Sagamu   said its members were not being paid hazard allowance.

But the Enugu State branch of the association  confirmed to The PUNCH that its members had started receiving the allowance.

Also on Tuesday,   the number of nurses and resident doctors, who had contracted COVID-19, rose to 854.

The NARD secretary said while   319 resident doctors had contracted COVID-19,  14 of them had died of the virus.

The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives said 535 of its members had contracted the deadly virus.

Recall that the  Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, had, on April 27 at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the Federal Government had approved a special incentive which included hazard allowance, insurance and tax rebates for health workers.

Mamora said, “The Federal Government agreed to shelve the payment of the existing N5,000 hazard allowance, which had been in existence since 1991. In its place, a special COVlD-19 hazard and inducement allowance of 50 per cent of the consolidated basic salary is to be paid to all health workers in all the Federal Government teaching hospitals and federal medical centres and her designated COVlD-19 centres and primary health care centres to last for the first three months in the first instance.

“Forty per cent of consolidated basic salary would be paid as special COVlD-19 hazard and inducement allowance to health workers at special non-public hospitals and clinics in the federal ministries, departments and agencies for same three months’ period.”

Resident doctors had in June embarked on a strike to protest the non-implementation of the hazard allowance despite the agreement they signed with the Federal Government.

On Saturday, the NARD gave government an August 17  deadline to meet its demand.

The NARD National President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, in an interview with The PUNCH, said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government tricked resident doctors to call off their recent strike with the hope that the hazard allowance would be paid.

He said, “The Federal Government paid two months allowance during the strike.  Some of our members got it. Some did not get it. Immediately we called off the strike, they stopped the payment of the allowance.

“We are even more concerned about the Federal Government because we know if they start paying, the states would obey too.”

Netherlands, Switzerland to repatriate $200m Malabu deal cash –AGF [PUNCH]

Nigeria is awaiting the return of $200m from the Netherlands and Switzerland from the Oil Prospecting Licence 245 deal, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported on Tuesday that Malami said this while declaring open a capacity building workshop and interactive session with judiciary correspondents in Abuja.

Shell and Eni jointly acquired the rights to OPL 245, a Nigerian offshore oil block, for about $1.3bn but the deal had spawned legal cases spanning several countries.

Malami, who gave a scorecard of his ministry in the past one year, said due to the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration, the ministry facilitated the recovery of $62bn arrears from oil companies as part of the Federation Government’s Production Sharing Agreement.

“Also recovered within the period is the sum of $311m from the US and New Jersey, in the third phase of Abacha loot and another $6.3m Abacha loot from the Republic of Northern Ireland,” he was quoted as saying.

Malami said the money had been paid into the federal government treasury for utility development such as Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Kano Abuja Expressway and the second Niger Bridge in line with agreement reached with the foreign partners.

COVID-19: Nigerian-trained US doctor shocks the world with Hydroxychloroquine cure claim [SUN]

Nigerian–trained doctor based in the United States, Stella Immanuel, claimed she has treated over 350 COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.

In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the suspension of its solidarity trial of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The agency cited a study published by The Lancet, which had examined the effects of the use of hydroxychloroquine alone or when used with a macrolide, and reported a higher mortality rate.

France, Italy and Belgium have also stopped the use of the drug to treat their COVID-19 patients.

However, speaking at a press conference at Washington DC on Monday,  flanked by a group of American doctors known as America’s Frontline Doctors, Immanuel, Cameroonian-born US citizen, listed drugs used to cure COVID-19 as hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and zithromax.

“I went to medical school in West Africa, Nigeria, where I took care of malaria patients, treated them with hydroxychloroquine and stuff like that. So, I’m used to these medications,” she said.

“I’m here because I have personally treated over 350 patients with COVID-19. Patients that have diabetes, patients that have high blood pressure, patients that have asthma, old people. I think my oldest patients are 92. We have not lost one patient.

“And the result has been the same. I put them on hydroxychloroquine, I put them on zinc, I put them on Zithromax, and they’re all well. For the past few months, after taking care of over 350 patients, we’ve not lost one. Not a diabetic, not somebody with high blood pressure, not somebody with asthma, not an old person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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