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Kalu to Buhari: Prosecute OBJ over $16bn power projects

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…says peace, security key to economic development

 

A former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday, challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute former President Olusegun Obasanjo to prove the commitment of his administration to fighting corruption in all ramifications.

 

Kalu said this at the quarterly public lecture series of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) held in Abuja. He described his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as politically motivated, declaring that he was innocent of all the allegations levelled against him by the anti-graft agency

“My prosecution is political. Our accounts in Abia State were transparent under my watch. The U.S. knows, the UK knows. I have been given red carpets in these two countries. I have been given a red carpet in China. In fact, I am stronger in fighting corruption than President Buhari because he is not fighting it well. “Buhari has got some guts, but he should arrest Obasanjo for us to know that the president is fighting corruption.

 

Without arresting Obasanjo, he has not started fighting corruption because Obasanjo took away our $16 billion electricity money. So, unless he arrests Obasanjo, corruption is not being fought in Nigeria,” he said.

 

In his lecture titled “Culture, economy and good governance: The Nigerian experience,” the formergovernor applauded the economic diversification programme of the present administration, but called for adequate investment in culture and tourism.

 

According to him, Nigeria’s cultural diversity was a potent driver of its economic enhancement, explaining that each of the over 250 ethnic groups in the country has one cultural product or another; which if properly harnessed, would transform the national economy

 

. Nigeria, Kalu said, cannot make meaningful economic development in the absence of peace and security. He also said that the recent shock suffered by the economy which manifested as recession was because Nigeria had relied mainly on crude oil for several years, describing crude oil as a curse instead of blessing to the nation.

 

He canvassed for strategic tapping of the nation’s rich cultural endowment, pointing out that with the enabling environment afforded by the ease of doing business policy recently released by government, what was left was peace and security for cultural investors to thrive.

 

He noted that government alone cannot drive the process, adding that at his own end, he had initiated and promoted the annual Igbere Cultural Festival in his community in Abia State. Kalu said the last edition of the cultural festival attracted over 50,000 participants and visitors, who invariably enhanced the local economy.

 

“The differences in human living, language, fashion, architecture, food, dance, music etc., are the essential make up of our cultural diversity.

 

It means that as there are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, there are over one billion economic opportunities. This is so because all the ethnic groups in Nigeria are unique in their own way; having different fashion sense, food, music, dance, masquerades, architecture etc.

What this means is that we are living at a time when opportunities exist in economic emancipation of the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, but our proclivity to zero in on only white collar jobs leave us crying and suffering the effects of unemployment.

 

Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Louis Eriomala, in a welcome address, said the country must make culture the bedrock of its developmental aspirations, in order to advance rapidly it’s socioeconomic and political spheres.

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Malaria, a threat to world community

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Chief Executive Officer of RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Dr. Kesete Admasu has raised the alarm over the threat malaria posed to the world population, saying half of global community was still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease which takes a child’s life every two minutes.

In a statement to mark the World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, urged governments, health bodies, private sector companies and the public to accelerate progress against malaria, making the 2018 World Malaria Day even more vital.

“After a decade of success in pushing back malaria, it is on the rise again and will come back with a vengeance if we do not act decisively now,” Admasu warned.

Admasu added: “Half the world is still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable and treatable disease.

 “The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for

good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to

beat malaria – are you?”

The World Malaria Day is marked every April 25 globally to raise awareness on what to do to reduce its burden. The theme of the 2018 World Malaria Day is ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’.

Dr. Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership Board Chair, said, “We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets.

“The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for

good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to

beat malaria – are you?”

World leaders came together this month to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease, but the battle was not yet won.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, said:

“World Malaria Day reminds us of the challenges that remain. The declining trend in malaria

cases and deaths has stalled and vital funding for malaria programmes has flat lined. If we

continue along this path, we will lose the gains for which we have fought so hard.

“We call on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the

malaria response. Together we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing lifesaving

services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.”-

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Strike: FG –JOHESU meeting deadlocked

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 The meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) to resolve the ongoing strike by health workers in Abuja on Wednesday night was deadlocked.

The National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr. Obinna Ogbonna told the New Telegraph that although, the meeting was deadlocked, and both parties were still working out ways to resolve the issues. “Day of another meeting will be announced next week,” he added.

Obinna said, “JOHESU and the government is already discussing on the way to resolve the matter, but there are indications that not too long from now the matter will be resolved.”

It will be recalled that the national body of JOHESU declared the strike on midnight of Tuesday, April 17, after its efforts to get the Federal Government meet its demand failed, hence, prompting about 90 per cent of the health workforce, all of whom are members of JOHESU to proceed on the strike actions, which have left many patients unable to access medical care.

The health workers are demanding   the implementation of the adjusted CONHESS, the payment of specialist allowances to deserving health professionals, payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10, increase of age of health workers from 60 to 65 and the review of the composition of the Boards of Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).

JOHESU members include five registered associations including the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutes (SSAUTHRIA), Nigerian Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), the Non Academic Staff Unions (NASU), Medical and Health Workers Union (NHWU) and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Workers (NUAHP), the five of which have formed JOHESU,  a pressure group.

In effect, JOHESU members include nurses, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, record officers, physiotherapist, among others.

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PDP sponsoring herdsmen attacks- Reps member, Kazaure

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As armed bandits suspected to be Fulani herdsmen continue to kill innocent citizens and sack communities, a member of the House of Representatives, Muhammad Kazaure, has alleged that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), were behind the killings.

Kazaure made this known on Thursday in Abuja, at the inauguration of the board of trustees, Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO) as well as the launching of the book, ‘Amazing Testimonies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Integrity.’

He noted that members of the PDP were making use of the funds looted during its 16 years in power to sponsor the ongoing killings by suspected herdsmen, in an effort to discredit the good works of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“PDP messed up for 16 years and destroyed the economic and social life of the people. We are the ones that allowed them to talk, they should have been in the prison by now. I don’t know what this government is waiting for.

“They want to fight the progress and I am surprised some Nigerians are supporting them the people that looted our money.

“Majority of these kilings, there are people behind it. If we start arresting those looters, these killings will stop because they are the ones financing the killings,” he said.

On Senators call for Buhari’s impeachment, Kazaure noted that nobody could impeach Buhari saying, “they can do nothing, they are just wasting their time.

“We are the ones representing the people, we are the ones with them and they still want Buhari because of his integrity and honesty. All these propaganda will come and pass, President Buhari will be reelected to Presidency come 2019. Even if an election is tomorrow, Buhari will win the election,” he added.

Also speaking, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, alleged that members of the PDP have politicised the ongoing killings in some parts of the county to score cheap political points and enrich their pockets.

He stressed that the PDP was trying to maximise damage to the APC government as well as fight the APC’s stand on corruption, by trying to undermine its good works.

Adamu who maintained that the killings was an act of terrorism which has become an unfortunate phenomenon of our time, however, added that the PDP was using it as an avenue to make money out of innocent Nigerians

“This is an unfortunate phenomenon and because it pleases the opposition, they are being so inhuman, so unfair to try to bring the president on live. All the killings going on they are making politics out of it, theyvare making money out of other peoples misfortune.

“Yes the president has a duty as the commander in chief and we accept this, but to use this as a campaign issue against the government is most unfair and it is most ungodly

“We must stand up, every town, every village, every street and defend this government. Come out and be counted we have more people than they have.

“We are not asking you to break the law but we are saying stand up defend and promote the cause of this government within the armbit of the law, we must take this government down there,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO), a non governmental organisation, has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for another term in office.

Making the endorsement, the Chairman Board of Tustees of the BCO, Markus Gundiri, argued that Buhari has substantially delivered on his campaign promises in the areas of education, insecurity, health and the economy, but needs another four years to effectively bring about a total change in the country.

According to him, Buhari deserves another chance to rule Nigeria and complete the good works he has started, as he remains the only person capable of reviving the economy and ensuring peace and security.

“The continuity of President Muhammadu Buhari will usher a highly sophisticated economy that each and every one of us will be proud of. He has continued to fight illiteracy and disease in education and health, and he has brought about improvement in our security especially in the North East.

“They may be other areas where there are insecurities today but given another opportunity, he will tackle the issues of insecurity. No other person knows or have the skills to tackle the insecurity in the is country,” he said.

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