- Senate rejects N23bn ministry budget
- Several ongoing projects missing
In a bid to upscale infrastructure development and promote peace in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has made a provision of N155 billion for some special interventions in the oil-rich region.
The projects are contained in the 2020 Appropriation Bill currently under consideration at the National Assembly. They include the N80.88 billion proposed for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the N65 billion for reintegration of transformed ex-militants under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
In addition, N500 million has been earmarked for the construction of the Gberegolor–Ogriagbene Road, Delta State; N1.5 billion for the construction of Elele–Owerri Road linking Rivers and Imo states and the N5.67 billion for the completion works on various sections of the East-West Road.
Similarly, the sum of N1.46 billion has also been proposed for the construction of various skills acquisition centres with resident supervision, furnishing and equipping in nine states of the Niger Delta region.
A key assumption upon which the 2020 budget is predicated is oil production volume of 2.18 million barrels per day. It goes without saying that achieving this target depends largely on peace in the Niger Delta.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who gave a breakdown of the budget, explained that so far, Nigeria has been able to raise and maintain more stable oil production levels; there was every need to sustain the peace in the region.
“Militancy in the Niger Delta has generally abated, although breaches of pipelines still regularly occur. This was partly responsible for the lower than projected oil production volume in the first half of the current year,” she said.
Ahmed said that though the oil production benchmark for 2020 is lower than the projected oil production volume of 2.3mbpd for 2019, the current projection is believed to be more realistic, given the dynamics of the global oil market.
“A lower benchmark oil price of $57 per barrel (against $60/b for 2019) is assumed considering the expected oil glut in 2020, as well as the need to cushion against unexpected price shock.
“There are strong indications of an oversupplied market in 2020. All three of the major forecasters – Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), International Energy Association (IEA) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) generally see non-OPEC production growing by around 2mbpd this year, and by even more next year.
“U.S. shale oil accounts for most of the total supply increase, but new projects in Norway, Brazil and Australia will also contribute to the increase in non-OPEC supply. Also, market sentiments do not support an expansion in demand. In fact, the growth in demand for OPEC oil specifically is projected to slow down next year,” she said.
The healing properties of pawpaw
The pawpaw plant is a native of South America, where it was cultivated since pre-Columbian times. There are 22 plants and trees in the pawpaw genus; the most famous of which is Carica papaya. Pawpaw (Carica Papaya) reached Europe in 1690 and Asia in the 18th Century. Pawpaw is now grown all over tropical Africa. It is a very beautiful plant; hence it is used ornamentally in some parts of the world.
Pawpaw is one of God’s wonderful gifts to humanity. When one looks at the beauty and richness of nature, one cannot but burst into songs of praise to God. Pawpaw is a pharmacy in its own right. We all eat pawpaw and enjoy its sweet and pleasant taste. But how many of us know the medicinal values of this wonderful plant?
My interest in the medicinal uses of pawpaw has increased because of its effectiveness in managing diabetes and hypertension, two of the commonest diseases in our Nigeria society. The number of people suffering from diabetes and hypertension is increasing every day. As a result, cases of kidney disease are also increasing. Hypertension and diabetes can eventually lead to kidney damage. I suggest that we encourage farmers to cultivate as much pawpaw as possible, because of its wonderful healing properties.
I say this because pawpaw is becoming scarce in the Nigerian Markey, yet it is one of the easiest plants to cultivate. As it is often said, pay the farmer now or pay big Pharma later on. In other words, if you don’t spend your hard-earned money on eating good and natural food now, you will spend it on expensive pharmaceutical drugs later. Pawpaw has a calming and healing effect on the body system. In this age when dehydration is a common problem, eating pawpaw will help to re-hydrate. Dehydration is the foundation of most other illnesses in the body. In fact, inflammation arises when the body becomes dehydrated.
It is sad to see people dying of common illnesses that can easily be cured. Go to our hospitals and you will see what I mean. The drugs are so expensive. Worse still, seventy per cent of the drugs in the Nigerian market are fake. What other hope do we have then, but to turn to nature?
Pawpaw improves the digestion of protein and expels worms. The ripe fruits are rich in vitamins A, B and C. Vitamin A is good for eyesight. Vitamin B for the nerves and muscles, while vitamin C strengthens the immune system and helps to fight against illnesses. For worms, chew two tablespoons of the seeds of ripe pawpaw fruit first thing on rising and last thing at night. Do this for three days. Take only fruits for breakfast and supper for those three days.
The following are some of the other uses of pawpaw:
1. Malaria: Squeeze some yellow pawpaw leaves in water. Take a glassful three times daily for seven days. The preparation is also good for jaundice. The dosage is the same.
2. Diabetes: The green leaves of pawpaw are good for diabetes and for diabetes-induced hypertension. Squeeze the green leaves in water and take a glass three times daily. This preparation is also good for constipation.
3. Stomach Ulcer: Cut a big unripe pawpaw fruit into pieces. Do not remove the peel or seeds. Simply cut the whole fruit into cubes. Then soak in five bottles of water for four days. Sieve and take half a glass three times daily for two weeks. This is a very good remedy for any type of intestinal ulcer.
4. External Ulcer: The white milky sap of the unripe pawpaw contains a high percentage of papain, which is used for chronic wounds or ulcers. This can be obtained by making a slight cut on the unripe pawpaw fruit to allow the juice to drop. Papain is also present in the ripe pawpaw fruit.
A thought for the girl-child
Nigerian governments at all levels, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and spirited individuals have been called upon to devote more attention to the living conditions and survival of the girl child in Nigeria in relation to the preferential treatment of the boy child.
Making this appeal in Enugu on Monday, Mr. Felix Chukwuemeka Anikpo, the Director of Operations, Anikpo Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) noted that the girl child was often discriminated against in Nigeria particularly in access to educational opportunities, food and nutrition as well as economic empowerment opportunities.
He stressed that the girl child carries a heavy burden of farm work and house work, and therefore “needs to be supported”.
According to him:“Globally, the girl child is seriously disadvantaged. Government has merely paid lip service to the plight of the girl child. These girls are married off at early ages, which interfere with their education or acquisition of skills needed for survival. We must change our beliefs about the value of the girl child in order to reverse this ugly narrative.”
According to him, the plight of the girl child in Nigeria, especially in local communities has made it imperative for governments at all levels in Nigeria, private individuals and organizations to come together to address this gap.
“This is why our Foundation is focusing on the girl child especially in our localities. We have chosen Mmaku in Awgu LGA of Enugu State as our pilot community. We are persuaded that if individuals and other private organizations can be motivated in this direction, very soon, we would be able to reverse the fate of the girl child in our society”.
The Anikpo Foundation, he explained, has three thematic areas of focus, which include medical outreaches, girl child empowerment and increasing educational opportunities for the girl child.
Explaining further, he stated, “Our vision and mission is to give back to society and improve the lot of the girl child. Presently, we have gone into partnership with the Mmaku Catholic Centre located in Awgu LGA of Enugu State upon which we have reactivated the skills acquisition component of the Centre now rebranded and known as “Mmaku Centre for Skills Acquisition for Girls”.
“Presently, we have 26 girls at the Centre learning how to become professional seamstresses capable of, at the end of their training in the next six months, sewing for both sexes.”
He also noted that the Foundation has finalized plans to establish an ICT Centre, where the girls can learn computer appreciation and deploy their ICT knowledge in designs etc.
“The Foundation intends to help set them up with the provision of sewing machines and computers”.
Hate Speech Bill designed to protect looters – CAN
Chairman of the Abia State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle Emmanuel Agomoh, has condemned the Hate Speech Bill before the Senate, saying it was against the tenets of democracy and freedom of speech. Agomoh said yesterday that the bill targeted ordinary Nigerians and the right of free speech guaranteed by the Constitution, adding that rather than make law against hate speech, the senate should legislate against corruption.
This is even as a sociopolitical group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) called on the Senate to throw away the proposed hate speech bill, saying its passage at a time when other nations were marching forward, would set Nigeria backward. In a statement issued by its president general, Chief Goodluck Ibem and the deputy publicity secretary, Ernest Nmong, COSEYL kicked against the bill by Senator Sabi Abdullahi, which proposed “death penalty, life jail, and a five years imprisonment depending on the degree of the hate speech and an option of a N10 million fine for offenders,” saying “such an outrageous fine can only be paid by corrupt political office holders or corrupt government contractors who have deterred the country from making progress.” The group, however, admitted that “hate speech has done a lot of damage to our country,” but “to propose such a draconian bill in this 21st century when other nations of the world are making vital laws that will promote wealth and industrialization of their countries is disconcerting.”
“It is evidently clear that the promoters of the proposed Hate Speech Bill, packaged it to protect themselves from being challenged or questioned by Nigerians for corruption and looting of our collective wealth. Anyone that dares to speakout against their corrupt practices will be arrested for hate speech. He or she will be jailed for life or killed as the case maybe. “Vibrant media houses, the opposition members, dissenting voices, and civil society organizations will be targeted for saying the truth about matters concerning the country. Abdullahi proposed bill is to maintain the status quo.
“This is the first bill our senators are so interested in and in a hurry to pass because it will protect them from critics and probe because anything you say against them is judge as “Hate Speech”. “The Senators should stop wasting its time and Nigerian resources by deliberating on this antipeople bill that is dead-onarrival. We already have adequate laws that will take care of hate speech.”
The group further noted, “The major problem and cankerworm that has kept this country from progress and development is corruption. If our senators are sincere about serving the people, the should pass a law that stipulates Capital punishment– death by hanging — for public office holders found guilty of corruption.
This law if passed will bring about rapid development, progress and economic advancement in the country. “This Hate Speech Bill is designed to serve the interest of the ruling class and institutions which by their sharp practices and disdainful policies have watered the ground for hate speech. “Corruption is the crime after killing, armed robbery and terrorism that offenders deserve death by hanging. Corruption is a crime committed by one man that affects the entire citizens in the country. Corruption begat other crimes. It is the foundation through which other crimes and social vices are committed.”
Sagay to Buhari: Re-submit Magu’s name to Senate
* Magu: ‘We’ll kill, not maim corruption’
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has commended the loot-recovery efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the last four years, saying it was now difficult to steal public funds and get away with same.
Accordingly, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has charged President Muhammadu Buhari on the compelling need to re-submit the Acring chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu’s name to the Senate, for comfirmation as substantive head of the anti-graft agency.
New Telegraph recalls that efforts to get the 8th Senate to confirm Magu’s appointment were not successful, as the lawmakers had rejected the Presidency’s request in that regard.
However, Sagay, who led other members of PACAC on a “solidarity visit” to the EFCC’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, said since assuming office in late 2015, Magu had continued to demonstrate firmness and courage in the fight against corruption.
He claimed that prior to the coming on board of the current leadership, the anti-graft agency “was like every other parastatal” of government.
“The EFCC (under Magu) is a body that has surpassed every other organisation, past and present, in the fight against corruption,” Sagay said.
While accusing critics of the commission of acting in “bad faith”, the professor of law maintained that the agency’s performance had been “outstanding”.
Asked to make a categorical statement on when Magu’s name will be re-forwardec to the Green Chamber for legislative action, Sagay explained that it was the prerogative of the President to decide on that.
Man found with 700 tapeworms in his brain, chest and lungs after eating pork
A man complaining of continuous headaches and seizures has learned he has over 700 tapeworm inside his body.
Zhu Zhong-fa, 43, from Hangzhou in east China, was baffled after the symptoms lasted for over a month, reports mirror.co.uk.
He decided to seek help from doctors at the First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine, Zhejiang University.
Dr Wang Jian-rong from the department of infectious disease, performed a medical checkup on Zhu and diagnosed him with taenaisis.
He also found over 700 tapeworms across the patient’s body.
Tapeworms, known as taenia solium in medical terms, are usually acquired through the ingestion of tapeworm eggs in undercooked or infected pork.
Dr Wang told Pear , a video-sharing platform: “There are multiple presences of space-occupying lesions in the patient’s brain.
“It’s also in the lungs and fills up the muscles inside the chest cavity.”
He added the infections has already ’caused damage’ to the patient’s organs.
According to World Health Organisation , when tapeworm eggs enter the central nervous system, they can cause neurological symptoms to the patient, including epileptic seizures.
Luckily taenaisis can be treated with laxatives and medicines but the dosage and duration of the treatment may vary due to the severeness of the infection.
Zhu said he recalled he had hotpot about a month ago and might not have cooked the meat thoroughly.
Dr Wang explained: “We tend to have a lot of meat-based meals in our daily lives, like roast lamb and roast pork.
“If it’s undercooked, the tapeworm eggs will stay alive when ingested.
“And if you have had the uncooked meat, there’s a chance that the tapeworms can travel through the body and inflict different diseases.”
Reps move to abolish payment of acceptance fees in tertiary institutions
The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to “immediately” abolish the payment of acceptance fees into Tertiary Institutions in the country.
This followed a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Chinedu Martins (PDP-Imo) during the plenary presided over by the Speaker of the house, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday.
The motion is titled “Call for Abolishment of Acceptance Fees into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”.
Moving the motion, Martins said that recent data from the National Universities Commission showed that only about two million people were enrolled into the universities nationwide out of a population of over 180 million.
He said that the estimates represented one per cent of the population which was an indication of the low attendance in tertiary institutions compared to other advanced countries.
The lawmaker also said additional data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board showed that out of the 10 million applicants that sought admissions into tertiary institutions, only 26 per cent gained admissions between 2010 and 2015.
He said it was an indication that about 75 per cent of the applicants failed to gain admissions every year and also reinforced that access to tertiary education in the country was low.
“The house is concerned that one of the factors contributing to poor access to tertiary education is the predatory admission policies being enforced by tertiary institutions, particularly the requirement for payment of non-refundable acceptance fees as condition precedent for admissions.
“The house is also concerned that many federally-operated tertiary institutions charge as much as N30, 000 per student, while some states and private institutions charge significantly more, as evidenced in the following:
“University of Ibadan, N35,000; University of Lagos, N20,000; Ahmadu Bello University, N30,000; Imo State University, N70,000; and Lagos State University, N20,000.
“The house is further concerned that applicants are expected to pay the acceptance fees within a short deadline despite having gone through the tortuous process of paying and sitting for the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and making the cut off mark.
“If they are unable to meet the deadline, the applicants are surcharged for late payment with the risk of losing the offer of admissions.”
The lawmakers also said that the aspirations of prospective students would be cut short if the “exploitative admission practices of tertiary institutions in the country are left unchecked”.
The reps directed the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to investigate the admission policies and practices of tertiary institutions in the country.
The investigation would relate to the charge of acceptance fees and would also be in order to remove all obstacles to accessing tertiary education in the country, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
News (pix: Buhari)
Buhari signs Executive Order 009 ending open defecation by 2025
President Muhammadu Buhari has just signed Executive Order 009 to end open defecation in the country by 2025.
The new order, states among others, “That by this Order, Nigeria is committed to being open defecation free by 2025.
“That the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Roadmap developed by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources with support from other key sector players across Nigeria be put into effect.
“There is established in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources a National Secretariat called ‘Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat’.
“The Secretariat is authorised on behalf of the President to implement this Order by ensuring that all public places including schools, hotels, fuel stations, places of worship, market places, hospitals and offices have accessible toilets and latrines within their premises.
“All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government shall cooperate with the Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat.
“The National Assembly and the state Houses of Assembly shall enact legislation on the practice of open defecation with appropriate sanctions and penalties.”
Customs raises fresh alarm over activities of smugglers
- Impounds 2.1m bottles of killer Analgin injection,1,920 bags of foreign rice
Less than five months after the closure of the nation’s borders by the Federal Government, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has raised fresh alarm over the sudden upsurge in the smuggling of contraband products into the country.
Comptroller Kayode Olusemire in charge of the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone C of the NCS, Wednesday made the disclosure to newsmen.
The zonal controller said his men have impounded a container load of 2,127,600 bottles of Analgin injection and 1,920 bags of foreign rice and other items with a total Duty Paid Value (DPV) of over N492 million between October and November this year.
Olusemire, who took journalists round to see the seizures, also said that the Service equally seized 521 bales of second-hand clothings and 233 foreign furniture falsely declared as generators and house hold wares.
Six persons he said were arrested in connection with the importation of the the banned products.
Olusemire expressed concern that analgin injection, said to be deadlier than tramadol and which had been banned by most advanced nations of the world including Switzerland and America, is still being imported by some Nigerians into the country in their quest to make quick money.
The Customs controller said the drug was banned in Nigeria by the Federal Government after it was discovered to have caused the death of two students of the Delta State University in 2005 and disfigured many others.
S’African Airways running out of cash as unions seek to expand strike
South African Airways (SAA) is running out of cash and could be liquidated if the government doesn’t give it additional guarantees soon, a board member said on Wednesday, as trade unions threatened to escalate a crippling strike.
State-owned SAA has racked up losses of more than 28 billion rand ($1.9 billion) over the past 13 years and wants to cut jobs as part of a turnaround plan, reports Reuters.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and South African Cabin Crew Association (SACCA) called a strike at SAA last week after wage talks turned acrimonious and the airline said it planned to cut almost 20% of its staff.
On Wednesday the unions threatened to follow through with a plan to shut down South Africa’s entire aviation sector via a secondary strike.
SAA board member Martin Kingston told Reuters the strike was costing the airline around 50 million rand a day and that banks weren’t willing to lend the company more money without the government approving more state guarantees.
“We may not have enough cash to pay salaries at the end of the month, we are still investigating how we can do that,” he said. “This is a real-time discussion we are having with National Treasury and the Department of Public Enterprises. We need help imminently.”
The financial crisis at SAA is a key test of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge to fix bloated state firms. He needs to balance the need for cost-cutting and job cuts with deep-seated anger at the country’s 29% unemployment rate and the weak state of the economy.
A broad cross-section of society also vocally opposes any moves that could weaken the role of state firms.
SAA’s last permanent Chief Executive Vuyani Jarana resigned in June after less than two years in the job, saying his turnaround strategy was being undermined by a lack of state funding and too much bureaucracy.
The striking unions held talks with the government and SAA on Tuesday, which ended without any agreement.
NUMSA spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said there would be “no surrender”. The union had issued aviation catering firm Air Chefs with a letter of intent for a secondary strike and had secured a strike certificate for a separate issue at British Airways franchise partner Comair, she said.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a statement on Tuesday he was committed to saving SAA but the government was not able to offer more financial help.
Over the last three years, the government has given more than 20 billion rand of bailouts to SAA to keep it afloat.
Ramaphosa needs to halt a steep run-up in government debt if he is to preserve the country’s last investment-grade credit rating from Moody’s, which has a negative outlook.
N1trn constituency project: Reps accuse ICPC of misleading Buhari
The House of Representatives has accused the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) of providing misleading statistics, upon which President Muhammadu Buhari relied on to say about N1 trillion was expended on National Assembly members’ constituency projects in 10 years.
Recall that President Buhari had on Tuesday, at an event organised by office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in conjunction with the ICPC, declared that about N1 trillion was wasted during that period on National Assembly members in the form of constituency projects.
He said that data collected from Nigerians in rural communities pointed to the fact that they had not felt the impact of the said projects, as there was no commensurate result with the funds spent.
But at Wednesday’s plenary of the House, the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) raised a point of order, in which he argued that the said figures were incorrect, and breached his privileges as a member of the National Assembly.
He submitted that the budgeted figures in annual budgets do not equate to actual release of funds.
“Last year, there was release of about only 40 percent, and we are not sure if releases will be up to 50 percent this year,” he noted.
Supporting the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) argued that the biggest problem with such projects was poor release of funds for their execution, adding that those who informed the president failed to take such into consideration.
Social media bill scales second reading in Senate
A Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and for related matters 2019 passed second reading in the Senate.
This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the bill by the sponsor; Sen. Musa Sani (APC-Niger east) during Tuesday’s plenary.
Leading the debate, Sani said that the bill was a 36-clause legislative proposal to provide for the prevention of broadcast of falsehood and manipulative contents using the internet and its intermediaries for transmission.
“It prescribes sanctions to offenders with a view to deterrence and the penalty for defaulters ranges from fine of up to N300, 000.”
Sani added that the bill also provided for the issuance of regulations dealing with the transmission of false statements of facts in Nigeria upon declaration, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“It also issues guidelines for internet intermediaries and providers of mass media services and sanctions for offenders.”
The lawmaker further said that the internet had its drawbacks one of which was the spread of falsehood and manipulation of unsuspecting users including malicious contents such as confrontational propaganda among others.
“Today, motivated by geopolitical interest and identity politics, state and non-state actors use falsehood to discredit governments and misinform people against each other.
“Individuals and groups influenced by ideologies and deep-seated prejudices in different countries use internet falsehood to promote their course as we have seen in Nigeria with the insurgency of Boko Haram.
“Elections around the world have seen domestic groups use misinformation to support their preferred candidates and disparage the opposition.
“In Nigeria it is particularly disconcerting given our plurality and low literacy level.
“The hoax about the demise of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and his purported replacement by one Jibril of Sudan among others are things that threaten the peace, security and harmony of our people.”
While supporting the bill, Sen. Ibrahim Gobir (APC- Sokoto East) said that there was need to regulate the internet and punish offenders.
“It is an issue we have to support,” he said.
Sen. Abba Moro (PDP-Benue South) said that the bill was one with a good intention and would protect the society.
“One way or the other we have been victims of the spread of falsehood and the manipulation of the internet has caused a lot of havoc to some of us.
“I believe it is intended to protect society against unscrupulous elements within the society.
“In this jet age, if we allow an unbridled manipulation of the internet and the spread of falsehood, society will be at the mercy of these elements.
“If we leave this to continue the way it is spreading, to take root in Nigeria, at a certain point, we may find it difficult to come to terms with the damage that it will do to society, ” he said.
He urged the senators to support the bill to be passed into law, “at least to regulate one aspect of our lives that is negative.”
Sen. Elisha Abbo (PDP- Adamawa North) said that if fake news was not regulated, “it is a cancer waiting to consume all of us.
“Even conventional media that are regulated by government are suffering from falsehood. I am supporting this bill holistically. This bill is good and if we cannot regulate the spread of falsehood, it will consume all of us,” he said.
Opposing the bill, Sen. Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP- Enugu East) said that “In principle, I not only oppose the bill, I condemn it in its entirety.
“Section 39(1) of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of information and speech, there is a cybercrime act that deals with this issue and there are also laws that have to deal with false information; libel, slander.”
In his remarks, President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee in Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action and report back to the Senate in four weeks.
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