Umar Pariya, an aide to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has reportedly died in Dubia.
His death was announced on Tuesday by Atiku on his Twitter page.
The former vice president said: “Umar Pariya was much more than a longstanding aide to me; he was incredibly loyal and qualified as a member of my family. He will be missed.
“May Allah comfort his family, forgive his sins and grant him AlJannah Firdaus. Amen.”
The cause of his death was not immediately known. There was a report that he was on life support for about two weeks now.
Meanwhile, political associates of the PDP candidate have been commiserating with him over Pariya’s demise.
Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu described the deceased as hardworking, honest and God-fearing.
Kalu in a statement by media office, urged Alhaji Abubakar to take solace in the fact that the late Pariya would be remembered for his good deeds.
“The late Pariya was urbane, humble, easy going and respectful. He was indeed a loyal and dedicated associate of Alhaji Abubakar.
“I pray to Allah to give the former Vice President and members of the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus noted the commitment of late Pariya to the projects of his boss both in private and public life.
Secondus described him as an honest, courageous and trust worthy person, noting that his humility was disarming.
NMA: It’ll take 25 years to reduce doctors’ shortage in Nigeria
he Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has declared that with no fewer than 3,000 doctors graduating yearly in Nigeria, it will take about 25 years to produce adequate numbers of doctors to cater for the country’s population.
NMA National President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, made this known yesterday at the ongoing week-long Annual Symposium organised by the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in Lagos.
Theme of the symposium is: “Curbing the High Rate of Brain Drain in the Nigerian Health Sector.”
Faduyile said the few healthcare practitioners in Nigeria were overwhelmed as a doctor caters for about 10,000 to 22,000 patients, instead of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of a doctor to 600 patients.
He said currently, the nation’s education institutions graduate about 3,000 doctors yearly, and with such number it would take about 25 years to produce the adequate number of doctors required to cater for Nigeria’s increasing population.
“Like in the UK where many of our doctors are migrating to, the ratio of doctors to the populace is about zero point eight.
“It means that they have so many doctors, whereas Nigeria is in deficit when it comes to numbers of doctors,” he said.
Faduyile, however, said that there was huge deficit in the nation’s health sector due to brain drain as some of the best healthcare practitioners were leaving the country through migration to more favourable countries.
“Nigeria is losing some of its most educated, talented and professional healthcare practitioners to countries such as Namibia, Senegal, Ghana, UK, South Africa and many others.
“This is because government is not interested in giving adequate priority to health, low funding, no appropriate employment, low remuneration, lack of equipment to intervene and save lives, insecurity, bad roads, among other problems.
“Now, it is taking toll on the country as our people are suffering due to shortage of workers, people are dying due to lack of effective healthcare system and Nigeria has one of the worst health indices in the world,” he said.
The NMA President urged journalists to report the problems in the health sector objectively to make government accountable and make things right.
APC calls for cancellation of LG polls in Adamawa
damawa State chapter of the All Progressives Council (APC) has called for outright cancellation of the local government election conducted on December 7, 2019, due to what it described as irregularities.
The party also called on the Federal Government not to disburse funds to non-elective and non-democratic councils that disregarded section 7 (i) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Alhaji Umar Hammanjoda, the chairmanship candidate, Jada Local Government Area, spoke on behalf of other 21 chairmanship and 226 councillorship APC candidates in the purported council election at the party secretariat, Yola.
He regretted that; “Only 60 per cent of the requirements of ballot papers were given without any single result sheets issued.”
While describing the just-concluded election as a sham, Hammanjoda lamented that the Adamawa State Independent Electoral Commission (ADSIEC) never conducted election in all the 2,609 polling units in the state.
“ADSIEC by its acts of omission and commission deliberately scuttled the council’s election it set out to conduct thereby mismanaging tax payers’ money entrusted to it to conduct it,” he stated.
The candidate spokesperson added that; “ADSIEC deliberately denied the good people of this state the right to exercise their civic responsibility to vote for the candidates of their choice to dramatically manage the affairs of their local government councils.”
In view of the foregoing, the purported declaration by ADSIEC and issuance of certificates of return to 21 chairmanship candidates of the PDP as having won the election, was gross injustice, violation of the electoral law and therefore ‘unacceptable’ to our teeming supporters in the state.
I’m not behind APC members’ arrest, says Zamfara gov
amfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has denied having anything to do with the recent arrest of members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), who happened to be loyalists of former governor of the state, Abdulaziz Yari.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Matawalle, Malam Zailani Baffa, said it had come to the notice of Governor Matawalle that some mischievous persons were attributing the arrest of offenders to his person, his office, or both.
According to Baffa, the governor wishes to draw the attention of all and sundry to the formidable fact that he had no hand in the arrest of any offender, be it a politician or a non-partisan person within or outside the state.
He, however, warned that; “Anyone who finds himself in collusion with the law should courageously face his travails and desist from blame game on the office of the governor.
“The police and indeed, all other security operatives are not my property, nor are they working for my personal interest, but for the well-being of Zamfara State and Nigeria as a whole,” the governor warned.
He further lamented that after the attainment of peace in the state, some enemies of the state and Nigeria had indulged themselves in making inflammatory statements and sometimes engaged in actions aimed at reversing the hands of the clock.
“Those arrested and taken to court have willingly broken the law and are apprehended by the law, not by Governor Matawalle. They should be courageous enough to own up to their mischief and defend themselves before the law,” the governor said
Bauchi gov presents N167.2bn 2020 budget
auchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, yesterday presented a budget proposal of N167, 215,807,500 for the 2020 fiscal year.
Presenting the budget tagged; ‘Budget of Renewal of Hope’ to the state Assembly, the governor said the 2020 budget comprised of recurrent expenditure of N72, 615,397,214, representing 43 per cent of the budget while capital expenditure was N94,600,410,286 representing 57 per cent of the total budget.
Governor Bala explained that the proposed budget would pay priority attention to health, education and agriculture.
Other key areas to be prioritised, the governor said, include youth empowerment, job creation, community development, poverty reduction through the establishment of small scale enterprises, mining, tourism and cooperative development.
The governor also said that the sum of N102, 474,311,276 was estimated as recurrent revenue made up of IGR of N21, 861,924,840 while statutory allocation was put at N80, 612,386,436.
He said N94, 600,410,286 was expected to be spent on administrative, economic, social, law and justice sectors.
The Governor promised who said various road projects awarded by his administration have reach various stages of completion pointed out that 50 per cent of the contract sums have been paid to the contractors.
Senate moves to tackle food insecurity in Nigeria
…Seeks reduction in petroleum tankers’ accidents
he Senate yesterday took a major step towards tackling the food security challenges facing the country by passing for second reading, a bill proposed to that effect.
The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Theordore Orji (PDP, Abia Central) entitled; “A Bill for an Act to make Provision for Freedom from Hunger and the Right to Adequate Food of Acceptable Quality.”
Leading debate on the bill, Orji explained that the proposed legislation sought to create basic right to food of acceptable quality and the right of every child to basic nutrition.
The politician stated that if passed and assented by the President, the bill would address issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
He said: “It is important to point out that food security means far more than having sufficient food to meet human needs on a national basis.
“Other very important factors include access to safe drinking water, primary healthcare and environmental hygiene.”
According to him, developing countries had been enacting laws aimed at food security after the World Food Crisis in 2008.
Orji noted that Mauritius enacted a food security fund to enhance local production of food by tackling all the problems militating against it.
He pointed out that the bill, among other things, sought to provide a framework that would promote the elimination and prevention of discrimination of marginalised groups in the access and distribution of food.
Furthermore, the bill also sought to establish an agency as well as stipulates provisions for chairmanship, membership of the board, tenure of office, among others.
It also proposes the establishment of a food security committee in each state of the federation, which functions shall include implementing food security policies and programmes, participating in collection, preparation and dissemination of data on food security and nutrition in the state.
The committee shall also be charged with identifying food insecure areas, appropriating programmes and eligible beneficiaries in relation to food security.
Meanwhile, the senate yesterday passed for second reading, a bill seeking to reduce frequent accidents by petroleum trucks on Nigerian roads.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP, Anambra South), sought to make consequential provisions towards safe transportation of petroleum products across the country.
In his lead debate, Ubah said the bill became necessary to provide a legal framework peculiar to that segment of the transport sector, and to further strengthen existing collaborations between government agencies on transportation of petroleum products by road.
He said the bill was inspired by the urgent need to promote safety in the transportation of petroleum products using trucks, and eliminate practices inimical to freight traffic and petroleum haulage in Nigeria.
“It also seeks to promote the welfare of tanker drivers by ensuring investments in Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) and related transport infrastructure,” he said.
The lawmaker recalled the high incidences of crashes by petroleum tankers over the years that often resulted in loss of life and property.
“According to a study by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), between 2007 and 2010 alone, a total of 4,017 tanker/trailer crashes were recorded on Nigerian roads with a yearly average of 1,148 cases and monthly average of 96 crashes,” Ubah said.
He further said that the bill also introduced a novel provision, which was the recognition of TTPs in selected locations across the country.
Ubah said the bill also proposed the establishment of Freight Traffic Liabilities Claim Tribunal to handle civil claims arising from petroleum tanker crashes to ensure speedy dispensation of justice to the victims.
All the senators who contributed to the debate on the bill agreed that there was the need for a legal framework to curb the menace.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North), in his comment, said the bill provided for a short-term solution to the problem and called for resuscitation of oil depots across the country to allow for the delivery of petroleum products through pipelines as a long-term solution.
Utazi also called for the rehabilitation of the nation’s railway network as another safer alternative of transporting petroleum products in the country.
Magu decries prevalence of corruption in Nigeria, calls for solution
cting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, yesterday expressed concern over the growing level of corruption in the country, describing it as endemic and a terminal disease that must be tackled headlong.
Magu stated this after a road walk to commemorate this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, with the theme; ‘United against Corruption.’
The EFCC acting chairman, who was represented by the Makurdi Zonal Head of the commission, Johnson Ayo Babalola, urged Nigerians to join hands with EFCC to fight corruption in the country.
He sensitised the people on the importance of the anti-graft agency and the need for everyone to join the EFCC family in the crusade.
“Corruption is a cancer in our national body polity. It is a terminal disease and that’s why it’s been severally referred to as an existential epidemic.
“Not only did we not want looting, we also don’t want marginal stealing, we don’t want situational thieves,” he said.
He said the anti-corruption road walk was to sensitise Nigerians on the fact that everyone had a role to play in the anti-corruption crusade.
He solicited the support of Nigerians irrespective of religion, tribal, profession and age diversity, among others, to join hands with the commission to wipe the malaise out of the nation’s body polity.
The walk began at the EFCC Zonal Office, Makurdi, through Wadata, to Low Level Round About, back through Kashim Ibrahim Way (Tito Gate) to Government House and terminated at EFCC zonal office.
Other agencies like police, FRSC, DSS, civil society organisations (CSOs), NYSC, Immigration and NGOs of different extractions, among others, also participated in the exercise.
NOUN commences 20 new courses, gets 649 prisoners as students
The Governing Council of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has said that the delivery mechanism of the university had been improved to ensure that graduates of the open distance learning institution were the best in knowledge skills, value and character among graduates in Nigerian university system.
This was as he added that no fewer than 649 prisoners in various Correctional Centres were currently students of the university, undergoing courses, mainly in conflict resolution because of its reformative potential.
According to the Council, an intensive capacity building programme had been approved for members of staff under the auspices of the NOUN’s World Bank funded Africa Centre of Excellence for Technology-Enhanced Learning (ACETEL).
Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council of the university, Prof. Peter Okebukola, disclosed this on Monday during a press conference at the Victoria Island, Lagos Liaison Office of the university, where the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, noted that university had 550,000 students across 81 study centres in the country.
Okebukola, who hinted that the Council had approved the upgrade of NOUN study centres across the country, beginning from next year in phases, however, said that discussion had reached advanced stage for the mobilisation of law graduates of the institution to the Nigerian Law Schools.
The Council chair, who was also supported by the Vice-Chancellor, said 20 new programmes had been approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence in 2020 academic session at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“These new programmes are poised to continue NOUN’s leadership role as the flagship in Africa Open Distance Learning (ODL) and provide a diversity of courses that will appeal across all the geo-political zones in the country, thus fulfilling its mandate of assuring that Nigerians have access to flexible and equitable education,” Okebukola said.
Reps probe unspent budget funds since 2009
he House of Representative has resolved to probe unspent appropriated funds, including constituency projects, otherwise known as zonal intervention projects (ZIP), funds not remitted to the treasury in the last 10 years.
The decision was taken following the adoption of a motion sponsored by the speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and five other lawmakers on the “need for refund of unspent budget funds.”
In adopting the motion, the House also resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee led by Hon. Francis Charles to undertake the investigation and report back to it within eight weeks for further legislative actions.
The ad-hoc committee is expected to identify the defaulting ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and the extent of their involvement.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently accused the National Assembly of spending N1 trillion on constituency projects in the past 10 years, without much to show for it.
Presenting the motion on behalf of the speaker, chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Abubakar Fulata, said in the last 10 years, there is no instance where the budget was funded 100 per cent.
The lawmaker argued that because there have not been 100 per cent implementation of capital budgets, there is no way the government can claim to have funded constituency projects 100 per cent.
He said it is imperative for the House to probe non-remittance of unspent ZIP funds by MDAs, noting that “I was shocked when I heard that N1 trillion has been spent on constituency projects.”
Fulata, who stated that releases for capital projects in the past 10 years have hovered between 40 and 70 per cent, added that most of the times, the funds released for constituency projects are not fully utilised by the MDAs.
He further noted that: “Releases of constituency and other project funds are based on total sum provided in the annual national budget. Aware that most constituency projects, like other capital projects, are awarded at an amount lesser than the budget provisions by government MDAs.
“Also aware that unspent funds of MDAs are returned or rather automatically mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the end of each financial year.
“Further aware that excess funds accruing from the under-valued awards of constituency projects are not returned to the treasury. Concerned that those funds are misapplied to other expenditure items contrary to extant public financial management laws and regulations.”
Supporting the motion, chairman, House committee on public accounts (PAC), Hon. Wole Oke, expressed concern that MDAs have failed to realise that violation of the Appropriation Act carries stiff sanction.
“If MDAs reduce the value (of constituency projects), what do they do with it? They either misapply it or warehouse it,” Oke stated.
Reps okay local government autonomy bill
he House of Representatives yesterday passed through second reading a bill that will grant full autonomy to the third tier of government in the conduct of election for chairmen, vice-chairmen, and councillors.
Titled, “a bill for an act to alter section 7 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and for related matters”, it is sponsored by Hon. Dachung Musa Bagos (PDP, Plateau).
Leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Bagos said the intendment of the proposed legislation is to instill democracy at the local government level and institute a law that will provide guidelines for periodic elections.
“Essentially, this bill seeks to provide for election and tenure of office for local government chairmen/councillors and also prescribe mode of exercising legislative powers of the local government council,” he stated.
He said the bill “seeks, amongst other things, to alter section 7(1) of the principal act by substituting section 7(1) with new section 7 (1) (a) –(2) to provide for the office of the chairman and vice chairman of local government as stipulated in the bill.”
The provisions, according to him, include, “qualification and disqualification of chairman, declaration of assets and liabilities, oath of office and election of chairman. Others include nomination and election of vice chairman, removal of chairman or vice-chairman from office, tenure of office of chairman and election of councillors.”
The lawmaker noted that the current provisions in the constitution were nebulous and susceptible to abuse because it did not provide any guidelines.
Section 7 (1) of the 1999 constitution states that “the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this constitution guaranteed, and accordingly the government of every state shall, subject to section 8 of this constitution, ensure their existence under a law, which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.”
Bagos, who represents Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, submitted that when passed into law, the bill will put an end to the practice whereby state governors dismiss and appoint local government chairmen at will without recourse to any law.
He argued that it was undemocratic for governors to unilaterally appoint local government chairmen and councillors instead of allowing people at the grassroots to choose their leaders through democratically conducted elections.
“This law will put paid to the present practice whereby local government chairmen are appointed by governors. It will make it mandatory for council officials to emerge through election,” the lawmaker said.
The bill was unanimously passed when Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila put it to vote.
Dangote to partner govt in building inclusive economy
an-African conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, has reiterated its commitment towards partnering various tiers of governments in the country in building sustainable and inclusive economy for the benefit Nigerians.
To this end, the group said it had concluded plans to scale up investments in the agricultural sector, in response to the on-going public policy focus of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The company, which stated this in Kano during a ceremony organised to mark it’s ‘Special Day’ at the on-going 40th Kano International Trade Fair, noted that it particularly intended expanding its sugar investments.
Group Executive Director, Strategy and Governmental Relations, Engr. Mansur Ahmed, who represented Aliko Dangote, the president/chief executive of the company at the Special Day, hinted that as part of the company’s support to the development of agriculture sector, the three million ton per year fertilizer plant it was constructing would be commissioned early next year.
Ahmed said the group would also kick-start the developing of six large scale rice milling plants to be situated in six northern states of Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto, with a combined total milling capacity of 1.5 million per annum.
The group executive director said Dangote`s growing investment in the agriculture sector, was to complement existing and continuing investments being made in other sectors such as: cement, salt and other consumer products.
“We are also, as some of you may be aware, significantly involved in the oil and gas sector, with an on-going construction of one of the world’s largest petroleum refinery, which we hope to commission within the next 12 to 15 months.
“This will not only put an end to the embarrassing importation of products into our crude-oil rich country, but will also significantly boost our intra-African trade position,” Ahmed told at large gathering at the event.
Dangote commended the Federal Government’s policy, saying that it was one effort meant to bring Nigeria back on track, adding that such policy initiatives were necessary if the nation was to attain sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation.
He said: “I must also commend the leadership of KACCIMA for the very apt theme of this year’s edition of the fair: Promoting Agricultural Value Chain for Nigeria’s Sustainable Economic Development.
“Clearly given the current focus of both the Federal Government and Kano State and indeed most other states in the country on the agricultural sector as the only incontestable route for the revival and sustained growth of the Nigerian economy, there can be no more pertinent subject-matter to which we should direct the attention of all the participants at this fair.
“This is especially so in Kano, which had in the past been recognised as the leading agro-industrial hub not only in Nigeria, but indeed for the entire Sahel region of Africa. I have no doubt that a few of us in this gathering can remember, with some nostalgia I hope, the sights, sounds and smells of a bustling industrial life that hit you as you approach Bompai and Sharada industrial layouts in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Those bustling industries, which were clearly the manufacturing components of carefully planned agricultural value chain linkages, including groundnuts, leather, cotton, among others, created the dynamic Kano economy of the 1960s and 70s, which helped sustain and consolidate Kano’s long-standing status as the great Entrepot of the Trans-Saharan trade route.
“I have no doubt that had our leaders continued to develop those value chains, our experiences as people and as a nation over the past half a century, would have been incredibly different and certainly much more pleasant,” he stated.
He also noted that regrettably, military misadventure into the nation’s socio-economic and political development, which precipitated the civic war and its attendance oil curse, changed the steady and orderly economy attainment.
“But we must thank Allah for our current leaders and their efforts to bring us back to our senses. For it is incontestable that for Nigeria and indeed for Africa, the route to sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation is through effective exploitation of our enormous agricultural resources.”
Thank God for the “President Buhari’s insistence that we cannot expect to achieve development and modernisation until we create the capacity to produce what we consume. It is only by developing our agriculture along its various value chains that we can ensure sustainable, inclusive economic growth that create jobs for the teeming youthful population,” the group executive director said.
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