Achieving universal health coverage requires gender equity, strengthening healthcare workers, says Saraki



The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, an NGO founded by Mrs Toyin Saraki,  says achieving universal health coverage will require stakeholders to drive change for gender equity and strengthening healthcare workers.


Saraki made the assertion in a press statement on Monday ahead of the 72nd World Health Assembly which would  hold  in Geneva, Switzerland between May 20 and May 28.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO).


The assembly determines the policies of the WHO, supervising financial policies, as well as reviews and approves its programmes’ budgets.


The WHO had defined universal health coverage as:   “ensuring that all people have access to needed health services (including prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation) of sufficient quality.


“It added that it should be effective while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user the financial hardship.”


Saraki said: “It is auspicious that my first engagement at the World Health Assembly this year is to celebrate ‘heroines of health’ alongside Women in Global Health, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic Foundation.


“Women make up 70 per cent of the global health workforce but are underrepresented in positions of leadership.

“If we are to achieve universal health coverage and leave no one behind by 2030, we must drive change for gender equity and strengthen healthcare workers.”


She said that women and newborns were the most vulnerable in humanitarian and fragile settings.


According to her, quality midwifery education saves lives by preparing healthcare workers for emergency health situations.


“Investing in the health and social workforce is critical to the attainment of the health aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


“Also, I look forward to working with the WHO, global partners and frontline healthcare workers to make that a reality,” Saraki said.


NAN also reports that Saraki would speak at high-level events throughout the week, alongside the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus and the First Lady of the Republic of Turkey, Mrs Emine Erdogan.


They would be focusing on aligning women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing in humanitarian and fragile settings and frontline healthcare workers.



Saraki, Kwara APC chieftain laud Buhari on Gambari’s appointment



Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has joined other prominent indigenes of Kwara to hail President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as his new Chief of Staff (CoS).
Saraki in a congratulatory message, described the new CoS as a decent man, a cerebral academic and disciplined diplomat.
The former Senate President who holds the traditional title of the Waziri of Ilorin, said that Gambari was well equipped with the necessary pedigree that would help him do well on the job.
“I have no doubt that he will succeed in this onerous assignment.
“I urge all Nigerians to give him all the support that he needs to perform in office,” Saraki said.
Similarly, a National chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara, Malam Saliu Mustapha described Gambari’s appointment as apt and commendable.
Mustapha in a statement in Ilorin said that the appointment of the renowned professor of Political Science and International Relations would strengthen the country’s international relations.
He said Gambari would use his vast experience on the job having served the Buhari/Idiagbon regime as the youngest Minister for External Affairs in 1983 and the United Nations in different capacities.
The APC chieftain said he believed the experience would help in the advancement of the change agenda of the Buhari’s administration as well as help to advance Nigeria’s relations.
Mustapha, who was a former National Deputy Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) also rejoiced with Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari on the development.
He, however, urged Gambari to see his appointment as a call to serve the nation again and use his wealth of experience to make positive impact on the lives of Nigerians.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
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Akeredolu appoints Saraki’s ex-aide as monarch



The Ondo State government has approved the appointment of Prince Adewunmi Ogunmolasuyi as the Olupenmen of Upenmen in Owo Local Government area.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the monarch, was a Senior Legislative Assistant (SLA) to former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki between 2015 and 2019.

His appointment was among the three ratified by the State Executive Council, presided over by Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Others, whose selections were ratified included Prince Olorunsola Akinyelure as Odogbo of Ode Omi in Irele council area and Prince Oloyede Adeyeoba as the Arujale of Okeluse in Ose council area.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Lola Fagbemi, said that Ogunmolasuyi’s appointment followed unanimous election by kingmakers in the community.

Fagbemi, who was joined by his Information counterpart, Donald Ojogo, said that the ratification was arrived at after hours of deliberations by the council.

Ogunmolasuyi, a 47-year-old Mass Communication and Journalism graduate from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), emerged the town’s new monarch on Sept. 10, 2019, after polling all the five available votes from the kingmakers to beat his only challenger, Prince Olawole Folarin, who had no vote.

The election was supervised by Mr Segun Omojuwa, the Director of Local Government Administration in Owo local government council.

NAN reports that the new monarch, an associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), is from the Ayiwoye Akinola ruling house.

It would be recalled that the Olupenmen stool became vacant in August 2017 after the demise of Oba Samuel Ademulegun.

Edited By: Nick Nicholas and
(NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
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EFCC arraigns Saraki’s cousin over alleged N220m contract scam



  The EFCC on Thursday arraigned one Ope Saraki, cousin to the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki  before a Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, for alleged contract scam.

The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arraigned Ope on a two-count charge bordering on employment scam, put at over N200 million.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendant, while serving as Special Adviser to the Kwara State Government knowingly acquired a contract.

“A supply of 13 Ambulances to General Hospitals, into a company of interest,” the prosecutor told the court

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Ope Saraki, sometime in 2012 whilst being the special adviser to the Governor of Kwara State on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) knowingly acquired indirectly a private interest.

“Contract worth N171,990,000 awarded to Chemistry Nigeria Limited, for the purchase of 13 units of Ambulances for 13 general/specialist hospitals in Kwara State.

“A contract connected to your office, contrary to Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under same law”.

Ope Saraki however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecuting Counsel, Sesan Ola prayed the court for a trial date in view of the plea of the defendant.

“We also asked that the accused be remanded in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service pending the hearing and determination of the case,” Ola prayed the court.

The Defence Counsel, Dr Joshua Olatoke, however urged the court to grant bail to his client, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Olatoke said that the defendant would not jump bail, as his international passport had been in the custody of EFCC.

In her ruling, Justice Adenike Akinpelu granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N300 million, and two sureties with verifiable addresses.

She said Saraki should remain in the custody of the EFCC till he perfects his bail conditions, and adjourned the case till April 16, for hearing.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
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 Kwara Govt takes over land used by Saraki in Ilorin




The Kwara State Government has taken over a piece of land being used by the Saraki Family in Ilorin.

A release by the Chief Press Secretary to Kwara Governor, Rafiu Ajakaiye said on Friday that a new secretariat would be built on the land.

Ajakaiye said the land was originally meant for Government Secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic, but was unlawfully allocated to a private firm, Asa Investments Limited, without any record of payment to the state government.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that part of the land, situated beside the Civil Service Clinic, is also right in front of late Dr Olusola Saraki’s residence.

NAN also reports that the late Saraki built a house and named it ‘Ile Arugbo’ (elderly peoples’ home).

According to the statement, no certificate of occupancy was issued in favour of the firm.

The statement explained that the government has now made provisions for the secretariat in the 2020 budget, although its construction will spill over to 2021.

“Hundreds of civil servants still operate from rented apartments at a huge cost to the government.

“The new secretariat, once completed in 2021, will definitely go a long way to end this unhealthy trend as well as provide a more conducive and decent working environment for government workers,” the statement added.

Ajakaiye added that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has signed a constitutional instrument withdrawing the allocation of plots of land 1, 3 and 5 to the firm.

He said that the said land was unlawfully appropriated contrary to the purpose for which it was meant.

The spokesman added that the governor’s decision followed a resolution of the State House of Assembly urging him to reclaim the land because it was arbitrarily taken over in the 1990s without any evidence of payment by the company, even though the land was meant for public use.

The governor noted in the revocation order that the land was originally meant for the construction of another phase of the Kwara State Civil Service Secretariat and a parking space for both the civil service clinic and the secretariat.

The revocation order read: “In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 1999 and Section 1 and 28 of the Land Use Act Cap. L.5 of 2004 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Governor of Kwara State of Nigeria, give the following notice:

“The Notice may be cited as the Land Use (Revocation of Right of Occupancy and withdrawal of allocation) Notice, 2019.

“Allocation of plots of land 1, 3 and 5 129 to Asa Investment (Nig) Ltd. which is meant for the Kwara State Secretariat.

“The land, specifically and more described in survey No. KwSH 927 and Land/G1071 situated and lying beside Civil Service Clinic on Ilofa Road Ilorin, Kwara State, is hereby revoked and withdrawn for overriding public interest for use of the purpose it is originally meant for:

“The construction of Kwara State Secretariat; parking space for civil service clinic and the Kwara State Secretariat and annex to the Civil Service when upgraded to a hospital.

“That the plots allocated are hereby declared void. Notice is therefore given to you, Asa Investments Nigeria Limited, that the plots of land 1, 3 and 5 129 allocated to you and any title on the land whatsoever are hereby revoked and the allocation is withdrawn for overriding public interest,” it read in part.

Edited by: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
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