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Government, Health

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria today departed Abuja for UK to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021 to 2025.


The President’s spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement on Monday, said the President will also spend a few days for an earlier scheduled medical check-up.


He said the summit would be co-hosted by the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson, and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.


According to him, the summit will bring together Heads of State and Government as well as stakeholders and youth leaders, and provide a platform for partners to chart a way forward towards transforming education systems in partner countries, through exchange of best practices.


“It will also offer the opportunity for leaders to make 5-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories.


“Deliberations at the Summit will focus on: The Power of Education –A Conversation between Global Champions; Transforming Education for Girls; Financing for Impact and Recovery and; What Now? Priorities for Transforming Education in the Coming Five Years, among others,’’ Adesina stated.


He revealed that the Nigerian leader would also hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


He said: “He is due back by second week of August, 2021.’’




The presidential aide disclosed that Buhari would be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of State Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, National Security Adviser, retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno and Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.


The GPE 2021 to 2025 will be a key moment for the global community to come together and support quality education for all children.


A centrepiece of the summit will be the opportunity for leaders to make five-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories.


The GPE will take place on July 28 and July 29, 2021.


Government, Health

…Governor receives Lagos Command Comptroller


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to rise to the occasion of a disturbing event being observed in the management of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and save the nation from imminent third wave of the virus’ spread.


The Governor spoke against the background of fresh transmission recorded in the past few days in Lagos and confirmation of highly contagious Delta variant of the virus in the country.


Sanwo-Olu said the Immigration had a statutory responsibility to prevent further spread of the virus by keeping their eyes on immigrants coming into the country through land, sea and air borders. This, the Governor said, would help the Incident Command team to curtail the rate of transmission and manage cases already confirmed.


The Lagos helmsman spoke on Monday when he received the Comptroller of the Lagos State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service, Bauchi Aliyu, in a courtesy visit at the State House, Alausa.


The Governor’s meeting with the Immigration boss came after Sanwo-Olu raised the alarm over the disappearance of some air passengers, who came into the country via Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos but could not be reached for COVID-19 status monitoring by EKOTELEMED because they supplied wrong contact details.


As the gatekeeper, Sanwo-Olu charged NIS to work with frontline responders stationed at ports of entry across border posts to ensure in-bound travellers adhere to laid down COVID-19 protocols.


He said: “We are monitoring events that may lead to the third wave of COVID-19 in the country and this is why we need to work together with the Nigeria Immigration Service. As the gatekeeper, you have statutory responsibility to work with our frontline health workers to ensure that people that are coming into the country obey our rules and conform with the protocols.


 “Nobody is above the law. We have designated some countries as red zones, and this is not discriminatory. We want to be able to monitor anybody coming from countries with high burden of the virus. We want the Immigration Service to play its role, so that we can nip the influx of new variants in the bud. We know that the virus is usually imported; we must be vigilant and ensure all protocols and guidelines are strictly observed, especially at airports.”


The Governor urged the Service to ensure passengers coming into the country were duly monitored and accounted for.


Sanwo-Olu accepted the Comptroller’s proposal for the mop-up of irregular migrants in Lagos, noting that such operations would help improve security in the State and aid the Government to identify non-Nigerians working illegally in Lagos.


The Governor promised continued support and collaboration with the Service in order to make the State safe for investment and living.


Bauchi praised Sanwo-Olu for the State Government’s support for the Service, pledging that the Immigration was ready to partner with the current administration in improving the State’s mega city status.


The Comptroller also submitted a letter requesting the Governor’s support on logistics and operations.


Government, Health

*Over 2m jobs saved, created as FG release 100% budget component of ESP funds

*1. 3M jobs retained through Payroll Support


*36 States received N50b


*7 local airlines receive N2.84b


*Over 6 million farmers enumerated to benefit from agric sectoral support


*President approves fertilizer subsidy for over 1 million farmers


Thanks to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package, the Nigerian economy did not degenerate as feared and at least over 2 million jobs have been both created and saved with the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan.


Although the target of N2.3 trillion estimated to be spent under the plan has not been achieved just as yet, the Federal Government appropriation part of that total being N500 billion has been completely released by the end of May, making it possible to attain several objectives of the ESP directly supporting a few million Nigerians.


While a total of 2,100,021 jobs have been saved and created all together, the breakdown of the figures indicate that 1.3 million jobs have been retained through interventions in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) space, including the Payroll Support.  The 774,000 jobs from the Public Works Programme and 26,021 Jobs from construction /rehabilitation projects across the country were among those freshly created.


These were some of the highlights that emerged from a virtual meeting of the Economic Sustainability Committee measuring implementation presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Monday.


Commenting on the implementation of the ESP, Prof Osinbajo said the 100% release of funds appropriated in the budget for the programme was commendable and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to expedite action on the release of funding components of the ESP that are dependent on financing from the bank.


According to the VP, “our budget funds were released in total. I thank the Honorable Minister of Finance for ensuring that it was done promptly, which means, in effect, that as far as the budget goes, we have been able to do what we practically promised to do.


“I know that if we were able to infuse N2.3 trillion into the Nigerian economy, we will not have the employment figures that we have today, we will not have the problems that we have today, they will be significantly reduced. Even with what we are able to do with the budget, growth figures at least indicate that things have not degenerated as badly as many had thought.


“So, you can imagine what we could have done if we were able to fully implement what we thought we would be able to implement. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. We hope that in the next couple of weeks, we will be able to get some good response on more funds that we expect to get from the CBN which will help us to make some progress on the implementation.”


According to a summary by the Minister of State for Budget and Planning, Prince Clem Agba, construction/rehabilitation of 3,707 km Federal roads across the federation under Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) is at 65% completion.


In the agricultural sector, over 6 million farmers have been enumerated, 3.6 million passed the first stage of validation and 2.4 million scaled the second validation stage. The Minister added that 129,000 crop farmers and 38, 333 animal farmers have been profiled for the Interest-Free Loan Support for the dry season farming cycle.


He added that under the COVID-19 intervention programme for the health sector, the establishment of 520 Intensive Care Units (ICU) Beds, 52 Molecular Laboratories and Isolation Centres at Federal Tertiary Hospitals is at 67% completion.


The Minister also reported that 485 water points have been constructed/rehabilitated by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources across the federation.


Giving a summary of the funding performance, Prince Agba said N500 billion representing 100% of the total sum in the budget has been released to all the programmes of the ESP as at May 30, 2021.


Detailing the breakdown of the releases, the Minister said, the economic cluster received N202.462 billion which represents 100% of the appropriation to the cluster while N61.589 billion which also represents 100% appropriation was released for the creation of jobs for youth and women.


The Social Intervention Programme and Support to Persons of Concern received N34.957 billion; WASH Programme and Energy Support to Vulnerable Communities received N22.315 billion; support for building a resilient health system received N116 billion; support for the operations of Security Forces was put at N15.674 billion, and the 36 States of the Federation received N50 billion,” the Minister explained.


In the aviation sector, the Minister said N5 billion has been released to support local airlines, ground handlers and other aviation allied businesses.


According to him, “7 scheduled operators, comprising Dana, Overland, Airpeace, Azman, Aero, Arik, and Max Air received N2.84 billion; 20 non-scheduled operators, comprising Cargo and Private Jet Services received N949, 909,000; 5 ground handling operators, including NAHCO, SAHCO, Presion Aviation, Batuke Resources Ltd and Swissport Intl Ltd received N233,333,000; The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies received N196 million; Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN) received N196 million; 7 In-Flight Catering Services Operators received N233,333,000 and Aviation Fuel Operators received N233,333,000.”


Updating the meeting on the implementation of the Agriculture for Food and Job Plan, the Technical Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Andrew Kwasari, said the construction of 340 km of rural roads across the federation under Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) have been completed.


He added that the clearing of 3,200 hectares of land in 8 States have been completed, while the President has granted approval for fertilizer subsidy to over 1 million farmers already enumerated under the Agriculture for Food and Job Programme.


On his part, the Managing Director of Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad said the Solar Power Naija Programme under the ESP was progressing steadily with more communities to be connected under the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) 100,000 solar connections, among other components of the programme.


He added that the agency under the Energy for All initiative has completed the connection of 200 Primary Healthcare Centres and 104 schools across the country to solar power with plans to connect more schools and health centres.


Under the Social Housing Scheme, the Managing Director of the Family Homes Fund, Mr Femi Adewole, said the scheme is progressing steadily as the financing agreement between the Family Homes Fund and the CBN has been finalized while the Ministry of Finance has provided the necessary guarantee for the project.


He added that the disbursement request for N30 billion to finance a total of 29,600 homes will be submitted to the CBN for processing before the end of this week.


Other members of the Economic Sustainability Committee present at the meeting included the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Labour & Employment, and representative of the CBN Governor, among other officials.


Government, Health

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Thursday restated its commitment to invest in health security to enhance the country’s preparedness against future pandemics.


Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, gave the assurance during a webinar organised by The Conversation Africa.


The webinar was themed: ‘Nigeria and the next pandemic: Preparedness, Response, and Vaccine.’


Mamora said that the government had started to implement steps through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund where the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control would be provided with 2.5 per cent of the fund for health emergencies.


He noted that COVID-19 had devastating effects on many countries as it affected lives, economy, travels and social interactions; necessitating a redirection of health resources to fight the pandemic.


“The world would be a better place if we invest in pandemic preparedness, thereby utilising these disruptions to build more sustainable and resilient health systems in Nigeria,” he said.


The minister noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had estimated that the world would face a pandemic threat every five years.


He said that the country must be better prepared against future pandemics.


Mamora, however, pointed out that the world had been faced with a huge challenge of inequitable vaccine distribution, with Africa bearing the brunt of it.


He noted that while countries in Europe had vaccinated about 50 per cent of their population, Africa had only done about one per and currently faced with a vaccine shortage.


“The pandemic has created a sense of urgency around vaccine development and manufacturing in the African region.


“In Nigeria, we are taking advantage of this opportunity to fully establish our capacity for vaccine manufacturing.


‘We’ve been working closely with Bio Vaccines Limited, a joint venture between the Federal Government and May and Baker Nig. Ltd.


“We are strongly aligned with the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC) target that by 2040, Africa should move from manufacturing one per cent of its vaccines to 60 per cent,” he said.


According to the minister, Nigeria has the market size and commitment required to actualise the target.


Also, Dr Doyin Odubanjo, Secretary of the Nigerian Academy of Science, said that to achieve local vaccine production, policymakers should collaborate more with researchers.


He advised that the issues of distrust should be removed toward building interdependence that would advance the country’s health sector and development.


Similarly, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, Professor of Medical Microbiology, said the gaps in the health and education systems needed to be bridged to enhance the country’s preparedness against the next pandemic.


Ogunsola called for long-term and sustainable funding of research projects and innovations to position the country strategically to fight pandemics.


Prof. Oyewale Tomori, a virologist, however, noted that the country might not be fully prepared to fight the next pandemic if it forgot lessons learnt during the COVID-19 quickly.


Tomori said the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic had made it difficult for the country to find lasting solutions to Lassa fever, cholera, meningitis, among other epidemics in the country.


Government, Health

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has called for private sector investment in the health sector as the Federal Government strives to attain Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 9 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.


Professor Osinbajo said this on Wednesday during the state-of-the-art Modular Healthcare Facility (MHF) launch by Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Services at Gbagada General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos.


The MHF is a customised, mobility-enhanced, prefabricated portacabin with detachable modules equipped with state-of-the-art clinical and diagnostic equipment designed to take quality healthcare services to the doorstep of all Nigerians.


Represented by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs AdejokeOrelope-Adefulire, Osinbajo said the innovative MHF would help Nigeria attain the two vital SDGs.


 “I want to commend Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Service Limited for this initiative. I applaud the company for harnessing its scientific and technological expertise to make this solution available for use in the country. It will go a long way in supporting our journey towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.


Professor Osinbajo added that Alpha Mead’s MHF has “appropriately captured SDG Goal 9, which aims at building resilient infrastructure, promote industrialisation, and foster innovations across sectors including health, innovation, infrastructure, and new skill in technology development.”


The MHF, he further noted, will help drive SDG 3 and one of its targets of achieving universal health coverage in low and medium-income countries.


The Vice President explained that universal health coverage “is designed to ensure that everyone has access to key promotive, preventive, curative, and habilitative health services of good quality at an affordable cost without the risk of financial hardship linked to paying for healthcare services.”


Professor Osinbajo urged other private sector players to emulate Alpha Mead because its MHF would complement the government’s efforts at transforming medical diagnostics and reduce the barriers to access to quality healthcare in Nigeria.


Also speaking, Group Chairman, Alpha Mead Group, Mr MutiuSunmonu (CON), explained that the launch of the MHF confirms that the company’s brand promise of ‘we care’ is not just a platitude but a living commitment that expresses its essence as an organisation.


He added that access to quality healthcare is the greatest challenge in Nigeria’s health sector, but the Modular Healthcare Facility would help address this.


According to Sunmonu, “a product that accelerates access, addresses manpower shortages, leverages technology and can be rolled out on a massive scale is what our healthcare sector needs, and we are happy to be leading this innovation.”


He added that for Alpha Mead, “the MHF is more than a healthcare facility. It is also an entrepreneurial package capable of serving both social and economic purposes by creating jobs and business opportunities for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, professional healthcare workers, and support staff.”


The Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Group, Engineer Femi Akintunde, who did a product presentation, disclosed that the MHF is equipped with a Radiology Information System, Picture Archiving Communication System (RISPACS), Enterprise Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Telehealth infrastructure for real-time reporting of investigation and remote consultation.


The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, who delivered a goodwill message, ex-Lagos State Commissioner, Dr Jide Idris and several other players in the health and technology sectors attended the launch.