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News for Wednesday December 2nd 2020

Benjamin Ukpabi



News for Wednesday December 2nd 2020

Kogi to train, employ 200 midwives, 100 nurses for rural areas

The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria has approved the training of 200 Midwives and 100 Nurses specifically for Hard-To-Reach rural areas in the State.

This was disclosed today when the Director of Nursing Services at the State Ministry of Health, Mrs Oguche Martina led other heads of Nursing and Midwifery Institutions on a courtesy visit to the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo in his Office, Tuesday.

Mrs Oguche said the initiative was to bridge the manpower gap in the healthcare sector.

She said the beneficiaries will be trained for two years at the Nursing and Midwifery institutions in the State, after which they will be posted to work in their communities.

The Director further said the Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has accepted to absorb the beneficiaries at the end of their training. N(for Wednesday)

Earlier, the Provost of the Kogi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Obangede, Mrs Abraham Hannah said the visit of the team was to seek for the cooperation of the Ministry in enlightening the people about the program.

In his response, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Hon. Kingsley Fanwo thanked the Director and other heads of Nursing and Midwifery institutions for placing Kogi on the apex of healthcare delivery in the country.

“When you look at our healthcare delivery in the State, it is important to commend you for giving us competent hands that have been so effective and efficient.

“Today’s news is commendable. I am from a rural area that has no nurse. So I understand what other rural areas in the State pass through. This initiative will help to address that manpower gap.

“I am not surprised at the overwhelming support the Governor is giving to this initiative. He is a Healthcare Governor that has radically changed the face of healthcare delivery in the state.

“We thank the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria for this well-thought-out plan. It will go a long way in assisting rural communities to have rural people for rural nursing. (News for Wednesday)

“Rural communities, faith-based organizations and NGOs are hereby urged to support successful candidates during the training. The first phase of the program will commence in May 2021”.

Fanwo said the information platforms of government will be used to sensitize the people about the program, commending the Ministry of Health for ensuring Yello Fever does not ravage the State.

Airopay expands fintech space, broadens cashless economy

The African Fintech space is replete with myriad of digital payment Apps, yet cashless payments are still not as efficient as expected.

Customers in different countries, including Nigeria still get frustrated at various pay points. Various industry stakeholders have advocated for more players with strong innovative skills to be able to fill the gap and satisfy the yearning aspirations of the growing customer base in the continent. (News for Wednesday)

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Incidentally, a new fintech company in Nigeria, Airoplay has stepped forward, claiming to have all it takes to plug the loopholes. Airopay is a payment infrastructure solution that allows its users, both individuals and businesses in Africa and around the world to transact locally and internationally from their mobile devices.

Airopay is designed as a one-stop app to enable payments for users when at home or abroad. It provides them with the ability to directly pay bills in Nigeria, make transfers and also receive cash regardless of their geographical locations. The unique selling point of the app is that services are at super fast speed, all from a mobile phone.

Chief Executive Officer of Airopay, Charles John Oyakhilome said the whole idea of the app is to digitize payments in Africa and beyond, adding that, “the ultimate goal of the brand is to make mobile payments across borders very easy”.

Also, Director of Strategy and Business Growth, Kelechi Mbah said: “Airopay has many unique services to offer in the Fintech space as we are set to ensure a life made easy. While it may look like the market is saturated, there are still many gaps which Airopay has carefully designed its services to fill. Also, the Airopay App is set to give the general public a unique experience of ease and swiftness for both International and local fund transfers with zero percent downtime” (News for Wednesday)

He added that the platform will provide economic empowerment for entrepreneurs, merchants and retailers. With the Airopay App, users stand to benefit from instant online and mobile based loans without collateral and save money with up to 16 percent interest rate per annum.

Although not relatively new, Airopay has come up with new ideas to make cashless payment innovative. Its Mobile Money service accommodates deposits and withdrawals, including cardless ATM withdrawals, transfer between accounts, domestic remittances, third party or non-registered user deposits to accounts, payment of utility bills, purchase of flight tickets for local and international flights, international and local airtime top up, payment of tuition for 100+ educational institutions, international and local fund transfers, bill payments for betting, lottery and games at zero percent downtime.

Other services include termination of international remittances to wallet, QR code supported retail and merchant payments and registration of any payment card on the end-user application for recharge and QR code supported retail payment systems.

Chief Financial Officer, Mr Adedayo Johnson said: “Our users will enjoy an unbeatable interest rate of 16 percent on Savings, access to Loans within 24 hours and Bill Payment transactions, different from what the general public has experienced,”.

Established in 2014, Airopay systems were developed to include several layers of transaction security for users’ peace of mind.

The Airopay Brand officially launched into the Nigeria market on November 24th, 2020 and signed popular Actor cum politician, Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD) as the Brand Ambassador.

Nigeria among first countries to develop cheaper, fastest COVID-19 kits, says Osinbajo (News for Wednesday)

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Nigeria is one of the first countries to develop cheaper and faster COVID-19 test kits, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo said on Tuesday in Abuja that such test kits would enable testing to be carried out in places experiencing kit shortages.

The vice president, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Adeola Ipaye, said this in Abuja at the opening ceremony of i-FAIR Israel-Nigeria 2020/21 Innovation Programme, scheduled to hold from Dec. 1 to Dec. 3, with the theme: `Transforming Ideas into Invention.’

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the centre was created to provide a platform for Nigerian innovators to use in channeling their creativity into smart solutions, products, and prototypes.

He said that President Muhammandu Buhari promptly established the Economy Sustainability Plan (ESP) the moment the Nigerian economy took a massive but predictable hit.

“We have been able to disburse three role support funds to more than a hundred thousand beneficiaries.

“We have also concluded arrangement to deliver electric power via solar home system to more than five million households currently connected to the national grid.

“These projects are set to impact 25 million Nigerians.

“Also, the Economy Sustainability Plan is focusing on securing digital identity covering for millions of Nigerians,” Osinbajo said.

The vice president explained that no one could have predicted what the 2020 had in store, stressing that the year turned out to be a year of innovation, thinking outside the box, and creating solutions.

He said that such efforts had become the only route to the survival of the human race.

“Throughout the world and in diverse areas ranging, from contactless deliveries of food and supplies, software for infection-tracking and contact-tracing, to the most rapid but safe vaccine research and production, the efforts of science and creativity to hush the pandemic, have simply been a life saver in the true sense. (News for Wednesday)

“This is what makes this year’s i-FAIR Innovation programme between Israel and Nigeria extra special,’’ he said.

Osinbajo further said that the advent of the global pandemic – COVID-19 – resulted in the diversification of creativity in the science and technology sector.

“This year we have moved very quickly from physical meetings to virtual, from physical contacts, hugs, and handshakes to facemasks, temperature checks and social distancing, yet life goes on at a relatively undoubted space faster on our faith on human adaptability and creativity.

“As we draw the curtains on the year 2020 and usher in 2021, we must rely more on science, technology and innovation to emerge prosperous from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in all sectors of the economy.

“Among others, healthcare, hospitality, agriculture, aviation, manufacturing, supply chain systems, and logistics have all been severely impacted by the pandemic,’’ he said.

He, however, observed that Nigerians had shown that they “have what it takes” to stay afloat in difficult times.

According to him, within a few months Nigerians have been able to activate testing laboratories in each of the 36 states of the federation. (News for Wednesday)

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“We have set up isolation and treatment centres, activated monitoring and tracing systems both for international arrivals and local communities’ infections.

“While going into lockdown at the most appropriate time, in spite of the imperfections of our healthcare systems, these measures have assisted in minimising the effects of the pandemic on our citizens and our communities,’’ he said.

Ogun Assembly reads riot act to land grabbers

The Ogun State House of Assembly had warned that it is illegal for any individual or group to forcefully take over landed property under the guise of being in possession of court judgement, except such take-over follows due process of the law.

The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, made the clarification while responding to the submissions of the Deputy Majority Leader and member representing Sagamu I State Constituecy, Abdul Bashir Oladunjoye and his Egbado North II State Constituency counterpart, Hon. Wahab Haruna, under Personal Explanation during a plenary held at the Assembly complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. (News for Wednesday)

The Speaker also drew the attention of the security agents in the state to the need to step up measures towards preventing the destruction of farmlands by herders as dry season approaches.

Oluomo noted that in view of the high rate of reported cases of land grabbing in the State, there was need to admonish residents of the State, especially owners of landed-property to comply with the provisions of the Prohibition of Forcible Occupation of Landed Properties Law, 2016 on the enforcement of court judgement for the lawful and peaceful possession of land within the State.

According to Oluomo, “it was expected of whosoever being rightfully declared by the court of competent jurisdiction to approach the law enforcement agency especially, the Police in line with the sheriff law, to ensure the peaceful takeover of their affected property without rancor or disturbance of public peace”.

He challenged security agents in the state to double their efforts at ridding the state of the menace of land grabbing and kidnapping, just as he stressed the need to check the excesses of herdsmen activities to prevent herder/farmer clash to further promote peace and tranquillity in all parts of the State.

He commended Prince Dapo Abiodun led administration for its intervention by convening a peace meeting between the herders and farmers to further promote peaceful coexistence.

Earlier, Oladunjoye presented a petition on behalf of Solicitors to Ragunse, Taiwo, Sodara and others against one Kamoru Lamina (Sir Kay), Sola Ogidan and others alleging them of unlawful invasion, assault to wit, battery and intimidation amongst over their family farmlands. (News for Wednesday)

In the same vein, a member representing Ijebu- East Local Government, Hon. Olusola Adams, equally submitted a petition on behalf of the people of Ipebi Ijebu- Mushin objecting to the King Title in Ipebi, Ijebu- Mushin in Ijebu East Local Government Area of the State

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Insecurity: Reps Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency

Wisdom Nwachukwu



WORRIED by the worsening security situation in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity to effectively curb the ugly development.

The Speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this while reading the resolutions approved after a fourhour executive session held on the floor of the Green Chamber, during which lawmakers condemned attacks on security agents and formations across the country.

To this end, the House resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu; the service chiefs and other heads of various paramilitary agencies to appear before it and brief the members on the security situation in the country.

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The House also mandated all its security committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in the Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.

Gbajabiamila, who read the resolution, said: “The House reiterates its commitment to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.

“The House should urgently invite the NSA, service chiefs, and paramilitary chiefs, Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country.

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“Considering the security situation, the President should immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.

“Call on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.

“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country.

“The President should as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to Local Government Councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace.

“The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the  Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State. 

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“The House mandated all its Security Committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.

“That the number of personnel in the Police and Military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” the resolution read.

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Buhari Is Helping Fulanis Take Over, There Is No Govt in Nigeria – Governor Ortom

Wisdom Nwachukwu



Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of working for Fulanis. He said the country has no government following incessant killings by bandits and Fulani herdsmen in his state.

He lamented that over 70 people have been murdered in two weeks in Makurdi Local Government Area. Ortom spoke to protesters on Tuesday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abagena village. Suspected herdsmen, Monday night, killed citizens and wounded many others. “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”

He said Buhari’s body language is what is being played out and that the action and inaction of Mr President “shows that he is only the President of Fulani people”. Ortom decried that attackers regularly send indigenes away from their homes, yet go to kill them where they take refuge.

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Ortom called them “Fulani herdsmen”, stressing that They are not bandits. They are Fulanis. We saw and heard them speak the language.” The Benue helmsman stated that the federal authorities have been dragging foot on the matter.

“If the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons have been killed just in Makurdi Local Government Area alone.”

Noting that the situation is not acceptable, Ortom said similar killings were going on in Guma and Gwer-West. Ortom recalled he alerted Nigerians when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

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He said they declared that except the prohibition of open grazing law was reviewed, “Benue will not know peace.” The governor wondered why the federal government was yet to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted the meeting. “It means we don’t have a government”, he declared.

“Mr President must do the needful and I want to suggest that immediately, let there be a security summit. I am aware that the situation is prevalent in other parts of the country.”
On Monday, the police command in Benue State also confirmed the kidnap of three students of the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi.

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Freeze Pantami’s Accounts – Rinu Oduala Urges CBN

Wisdom Nwachukwu



An #EndSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his past controversial comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the resignation or sacking of the minister.

Oduala, who tweeted via @SavvyRinu on Thursday, urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to freeze Pantami’s accounts just as the apex bank swiftly froze the accounts of at least 20 #EndSARS promoters last year over terrorism-related allegations.

“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?”

The PUNCH had reported that the apex bank through an ex parte order froze the accounts of Oduala and 19 other persons who played a role in the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.

The CBN had said the accounts were frozen because of the nature of the investigation which was terrorism-related but after about three months, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the apex bank to unfreeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS protesters.

Oduala, a leading voice during the #EndSARS protests last year, had pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. She had faulted the decision of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to reopen the toll gate when justice hasn’t been served to the victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shootings.

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