Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday said the biggest challenge the nation was facing today was on national unity.
Osinbajo stated this at a one-day National Unity Conference organised by the Alumni Association of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (AANI) in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the conference is “Nigeria’s National Unity in the build-up to the 2023 General Elections”.
The Vice President, represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended the alumni for always coming in to intervene whenever the nation was facing challenges.
He said, “I want to take this opportunity to thank the alumni of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) for always coming in to intervene when the nation is facing challenges and difficulties.
“And they always get it right.
Today there’s no doubt that the biggest challenge the country is facing is that of national unity.
“If one listens to the cacophony of voices from the East, to the West, from the North to the South, whether you are talking about challenges, of the disorders, Boko Haram insurgents or the bandits.
“So, bringing us together here to discuss this very, very important matter, especially with regard to the 2023 elections, is timely.
”On his keynote address, the Former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Agwai, said Nigeria’s unity has been over-centralised to the extent that it reflected more of unitary arrangement than a federal one.
He added that Nigerians needed to take conscious steps towards enthroning responsive leadership and demanding action against insecurity through every means permissible in a democracy.
“We should start finding a method of selecting who becomes our leader.
We should select leaders that we can hold them accountable tomorrow.
“And must we practice democracy in the way it is today?
Let us see how we can have an inclusive democracy, how we can select our leaders that we are comfortable.
“For nation to have stability and development, it must transform and reduce the threats to its national security,” he said.
On his part, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola said, “there is a gap in our assessment of the country’s situation.
“Because of the disproportionate distribution of our resources, Nigeria is assumed to be very rich.
“I understand the need for leaders to direct the harnessing of potentials, but the citizens must challenge ourselves to what is necessary.
”Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, in his speech, urged Nigerians to separate politics from governance.
Zulum, who was represented by Dr Bulama Gubio, added that “as long as we don’t separate politics from governance, we will continue to have problems in this country.
“Elders should play good roles in the affairs of this country because Nigeria is a youth population of about 70 per cent.
“There is need for us to work towards ensuring unity of this country.
”He urged Christians and Islamic leaders to preach peace and eschew violence.
One of the panelists, Prof. Patrick Utomi, Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership in an interview with newsmen, said politicians needed to have clear agenda on how to make lives better for the people.
“When the politicians don’t have enough consciousness and divide people to acquire power, they weaken the country.
“This is why politicians have to learn to focus on issues, have a clear agenda on how to make lives better for people and how they can be held accountable for it.
“That’s what elections should be about.
That is what is referred to as moral tribes.
We can create these emotional, you know, tensions that don’t serve us well.
“It’s a global phenomenon, but not Nigeria problem alone, and the usage of moral tribes is not even original from me.
“So, we have to recognise that emotions can do damage, and we want to focus on rational public conversation,” he said.
United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) says it will commence cross-border transactions with the new Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in the fourth quarter of 2022. Mr Kayode Olubiyi, Group Head, Digital Banking, UBA, said on Tuesday at a UBA webinar that the reason UBA was selected as the first bank to pilot the payment was because of its Pan-African presence in five of the six-countries selected for the first phase.
The six countries selected for the first phase of documentation and pilots are- Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Gambia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar discussed “ Facilitating Cross-border Payments with PAPSS’’, a platform that enables traders make real-time transfers of funds from one African country to another.
“UBA is present in five of these locations, this is one of the reasons why we have been selected because of our pan African presence “UBA in collaboration with Afrexim Bank will be among the first commercial banks not just in Nigeria, but across Africa to implement PAPSS system.
“UBA is present in 20 African countries and with this initiative, expanding to more countries.
We will be able to facilitate seamless cross-border transfers across not just the countries where we are, but across all the 54 countries in Africa,’’ he said.
Olubiyi said that the ability to trade between countries directly in Africa and to make cross-border payments would be opened up in these first set of countries and subsequently would be expanded to the other countries across Africa.
He said PAPSS, a centralised payment infrastructure, put together by Afrexim would facilitate and improve intra-African trade and commerce payments as making payments across border could sometimes be a challenge.
He urged SMEs and business start-ups to leverage PAPSS as it would impact infrastructure and provide a good alternative to payments across Africa and reduced cost in terms of sending money from one country to another.
“These are the things that PAPPSS is coming to address and take out of the way.
It will facilitate economic activities among African countries to simple low cost risk control payments, clearing and settlement system,’’ he said.
Monica Oraro , Head, Product and Business Development , PAPSS said that the process for the final integrations was ongoing and the target was to have Nigeria and Ghana running in the fourth quarter of 2022. “We are just in the process of doing the final integrations, I believe UBA will be one of the first bank to start off transactions; but our target is to have Nigeria and Ghana running in Q4. “So between next month and December, and then in Q1, we will be focusing on the other four countries- Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Kenya.
“So, today we are focusing on Africa because of our role in being able to support the coming to light of the African continental free trade agreements; but we also recognise that there is a lot happening between Africa and the rest of the world.
“So in the future, we will look into facilitating payments going maybe out of Africa or coming in, but today, our focus is on all payments that are moving within Africa,’’ she said.
She added that PAPSS was commencing with the banks today and in the future would work with FinTechs so that people could have the ability to not just send money to an account, but also to a mobile number as well.
The Debre Sina Holy Trinity College of Theology of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church graduated 221 students on September 17 in diploma and certificate programs.
At the graduation ceremony attended by His Holiness Abune Qerlos 5th Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, as well as members of the Holy Synod and Archbishops, 194 students graduated in General Theology, 27 in Pedagogy and 24 in Priesthood.
On the occasion, graduation certificates and medals of merit were delivered to the outstanding students.
The representative of the graduates, congratulating himself on the educational opportunity that was offered to them, expressed his conviction of living up to expectations.
The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso in Oyo State on Tuesday matriculated 7,426 students into the institution.
The acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mojeed Liasu at the ceremony, said the University would continue to pursue greatness.
Liasu warned the new students to ensure strict obedience to laws and regulations of the institution, without which their rights to studentship might be withdrawn.
He thanked the Governor of the state, the institution’s Visitor, Gov. Oluseyi Makinde, for his generosity towards LAUTECH.
A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Hon. Gbenga Edema has hailed choice of Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the Campaign Coordinator for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council in the South-West. Edema, the immediate past chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), and a former lawmaker, stated this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Akure.
He appreciated the appointment and described the gesture as apt, adding that the move by the APC’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu could not be faulted owing to the capability and charisma of Akeredolu in the political and administrative circles.
The former chairman, who congratulated Akeredolu on the appointment, said that his experience and leadership in the state and the region would undoubtedly ensure a victorious outing for APC and its candidates.
“The appointment of Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the Tinubu-Shetima Presidential Campaign Council’s Campaign Coordinator in South-West is appropriate acknowledgement of his exceptional and astounding accomplishments as well as the model leadership he has displayed as the Governor of Ondo State.
“The appointment confirms to us in Ondo State what a gold fish the governor truly is.
His position on important societal issues has undoubtedly sharpened the country’s political landscape and as well changed course of events.
“The dexterity of Asiwaju in picking stars, which Akeredolu stands for, is an attestation as well as pointer to what and how the cabinet of Tinubu will look like as president.
“Akeredolu’s courage and candour will surely be the strength needed to lead APC to victory which must have been among many attributes, Asiwaju must have seen in him.
“His appointment will further galvanize and cement the unity being experienced in Ondo State APC and this will be replicated in the south west ahead of the polls,” he said.
Edema added that Akeredolu’s appointment was a good omen towards charting a way forward to mobilise the people of the South West region to vote massively for the APC in 2023. He emphasided that the choice was also consistent with Tinubu’s penchant for excellence and his vision, which include securing the enthronement of peace, love, and unity as well as assuring the welfare of the populace.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, the Central Government, has recommended a forensic audit at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) on the release of surplus funds to health facilities.
This was stated in the committee's report in the report of the Auditor General of the health sector for the financial year 2020/2021 that was presented during the plenary session on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
The president of the committee, Hon. Medard Sseggona, cited the Lira Regional Referral Hospital case in which he said the hospital submitted tip estimates of Shs138,204,004 but MoFPED sent Shs638,938,448.
“Similarly, Mubende hospital reported an unspent balance of 2.15 billion shs, attributing it to MoFPED's allocation of pension funds and gratuities in excess of ballot requirements,” Sseggona said.
He said sending funds above what health facilities require is to blame for insufficient absorption by most health facilities.
“The committee notes that remitting more funds than required by the entity not only distorts budget planning, but also deprives other deserving entities that fail to implement their plans as a result of inadequate funding,” Sseggona said.
The committee also criticized MoFPED for delaying the release of funds for the construction of 150 housing units for staff at Mulago Hospital.
“This forced beneficiaries to alternative accommodation at commercial market prices, which is costly and inconvenient, affecting service delivery,” the report reads.
According to the Auditor General, construction of the housing units was expected to start in June 2020 and be completed in June 2023, at a cost of Shs30 billion.
“The accountant informed the committee that the delay was due to the inability of the government to provide funds for the project within the contractual time and that the funds have since been provided,” Sseggona said.
The committee recommended that management follow up with the contractor to ensure work is expedited as funds have been budgeted.
The committee further called for the expansion of the Kawempe National Referral Hospital, to address the challenge of congestion.
“The government must find money to acquire land next to the Kawempe National Referral Hospital through compulsory acquisition for facility expansion as a way to combat congestion that has the risk of spreading communicable diseases and also affects service delivery” Sseggon said.
Vice President Thomas Tayebwa, who adjourned discussion of the report until Tuesday, September 27, 2022, urged the Health Committee to review the report as it focuses on the health sector.
The British Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Mr Ben Llewellyn-Jones says supporting girls’ education is a game changer and smart investment that can boost Nigeria’s economy.
Llewellyn-Jones said this on Tuesday, at the public lecture to mark the first anniversary of Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello’s assumption of office as the 9th substantive Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU),Ojo, in Lagos.
The theme of the lecture was: “The Significance of Education to the Growth of a Nation”.
He said that girl education was one of the smartest investments that could be made to lift people out of poverty.
The diplomat said it could grow economies, save lives and build back better from COVID-19 pandemic.
“Research shows that a child whose mother can read is 50 per cent more likely to live beyond the age of five and 50 per cent more likely to be immunised against major potential infections.
“The UK government recognises these benefits and champions the right of every girl in the world to receive 12 years of quality education.
“We are especially proud that UK aid is supporting many great girls’ education projects ,including in Nigeria.
“We support Nigeria’s efforts to implement the safe schools declaration, so as part of our work we are supporting a more holistic peace and security strategy that addresses current challenges on conflict and insecurity,” he said.
Llewellyn-Jones said that they would continue to support Nigeria in its efforts to deliver quality education, as well as build a peaceful and safe society for the next generation.
Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, special guest of honour at the lecture, urged LASU management to keep moving the institution io greater heights.
She charged the management to strive to be the best university in West Africa.
Tinubu, represented by Mrs Bola Badmus, former Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; congratulated the Vice-Chancellor and LASU community for maintaining education growth.
Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Lagos State Governor, in her remarks, appealed to the LASU community to put into use and maintain all the facilities inaugurated to mark the a anniversary.
Represented by Mrs Nkem Shofela, she congratulated the management of LASU for great achievements within a year and prayed for more to come.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that several projects were inaugurated to celebrate the first anniversary of the Vice-Chancellor.
They include a CCTV control room, 20 blocks of toilets, Staff club, LASU bakery and two blocks of skills acquisition centres.
The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has trained 40 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Prison Inmates and Retired Civil Servants in Katsina State.
The Director- General (DG) of the Agency, Mr. Olawale Fasanya, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the training in Katsina onTuesday.
Represented by Alhaji Ado Bello, Deputy Director (DD), Enterprisership, Headquarters, Abuja, Fasanya said N8.5 million was spent on the procurement of skills materials which was given free of charge to the participants after the training.
He noted that the training was designed to provide enterpreneurship and vocational skills as well as provide equipment to fill the existing gaps to the target group.
“We decided to assist these vulnerable group because insecurity had forced them out of their ancestral homes to take refuge in IDPs Camps, “About 700,000 of inmates, men and women were released from prisons each year, most of them were still rearrested after returning home because they dont have stable income or employment to take care of themselves, hence they still indulge in criminalities.
” “A lot of public servants who spent their lives serving the nation don’t even have skills of doing something to stand on their own.
According the DG, it is in view of these that most of them ran into serious problems and subsequently die of frustration.
“Therefore, we feel it is pertinent that we designed the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme to support these vulnerable class to acquire skills that will make them earn a living and become relevant in the society,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that out of the 40 participants that benefitted in the training, 20 of them got 20 make-up materials at the rate of N250,000 each.
Another set of 20 people got 20 sowing machines at the rate of N175,000 each which made the total N8.5 million www.
The House of Representatives has summoned the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Okolieaboh Sylva for failing to lay the 2020 audit reports of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of GovernmentRep. Oluwole Oke, Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, issued the summoned on Tuesday in Abuja at the resumed hearing of the Committee on queries against MDAs by the office of Auditor General of the Federation.
Oke frowned at the development and declared that this was affecting the work of the parliament at looking into the financial transactions of MDAs which would no longer be tolerated.
“As the 9th Assembly is winding down, we need to redouble our efforts at looking into all the reports already laid before the House.
“We have completed work on those from 2017 and our reports are already in the press after which we will lay the reports before the whole House for official consideration.
” This why we are inviting the Accountant General of the Federation to come before this committee to tell us while he is yet to lay the 2020 audited reports of MDAs before the Parliament.
” We need to listen to him to know where the problem is coming from so that we can wade in to resolve whatever hindrance affecting the presentation,” he said.
He said that the Minister of Finance had said that the nation’s expenditures surpased its income and the ICPC also confirmed that the 2022 budget was padded by the executive arm by several billions of NairaHe said that what the country needed was what to redouble its efforts at revenue generations and as well check the books of the MDAs.He warned all heads of MDAs who had refused to appear before it over audit queries raised against them to retrace their steps and do the needful in thier own interest.
He said that the committee would have no other option than to effect the arrest of the defaulters or relocate its sitting to the premises of such MDAsHe said that there was need to look for the needed money to finance the 2023 budget to cater for the needs of the entire populace.
The Minister of State for Health (General Functions), Hon. Anifa Kawooya has called on compatriots to remain vigilant following the Ebola outbreak in Mubende district.
Kawooya was on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, delivering a statement to Parliament on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Mubende, located about 150 kilometers west of the capital Kampala.
According to the Ministry of Health, on September 19, 2022, the confirmed Ebola index case died at the Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and the body is still kept separate from the others and awaiting a decent burial.
She said this is the second strain of Ebola-Sudan in Uganda, with the first case reported in Luwero district in 2012.
Kawooya told the House that more information about the possible source of infection and contacts of the confirmed case.
She said that the Ministry of Health has strengthened its efforts to prevent further spread of the Ebola virus within the country by dispatching the National Rapid Response Team to support the District Rapid Response Team in responding to the outbreak.
"The team has been outfitted with a considerable amount of logistics, including an isolation tent, EVD kits and other essential supplies," she said.
AUDIO: Minister Anifa Kawooya Surveillance and contact tracing, including contact tracing of confirmed cases, screening of travelers at designated and undesignated points of entry, and active case finding within communities and health are other measures that are being used.
She also said that the line listing of all possible contacts with the deceased index case has started in Mubende and Kiboga districts.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health will intensify risk communication and community engagement to increase awareness of the disease among communities.
Regarding the mysterious deaths of six people in Madudu and Kiruma sub-counties, the minister said they could confirm whether they were due to Ebola.
Kawooya called on Ugandans to remain calm but to be very vigilant and report suspected cases of Ebola signs and symptoms.
She said that she is confident that the Health Ministry and its partners will contain the outbreak.
Members of parliament raised concerns about the porous borders and gold mines in Mubende and the risk of the spread of Ebola.
Hon. Pascal Mbabazi, Buwekula County MP, said gold mine workers in his area are at risk of contracting the disease.
He revealed that while the minister has presented a death, in Mubende, the cases are more.
“I was expecting in the minister's report, a statement that ambulances have been set up in case cases spike.
Furthermore, he expected the Minister to talk about Ebola awareness,” he said.
He said that leaders should also be involved in the process.
AUDIO: Bro. Pascal Mbabazi Deputy of Bufumbira County, Hon. John Kamara said that the Kisoro district is on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and they are currently receiving many refugees.
He called on the ministry to set up a camp in Mubende and not operate from Kampala.
Dr. Charles Ayume, chairman of the Health Committee, acknowledged that the mines are the habitat of bats and that the Ministry of Health should consider the Mubende mines as a risk area for the spread of Ebola.
Hon. Flavia Kalule, the MP for Kassanda, called on the government to raise the alert level in all areas surrounding Mubende like Kassanda, stating that people are very concerned.
Kitgum MP, Hon. Lilian Aber called on the Ministry of Health to control the movement and intensify surveillance.
“If Ebola spreads across the country, how prepared are we because this is worse than COVID-19?” she asked.
Vice President Thomas Tayebwa asked the Ministry of Health to regularly update Parliament on the management of Ebola and interested the health committee in working with the ministry.