Archives December 2023

Anambra has over 98,000 HIV/AIDS patients – Commissioner

The Anambra State Aids Control Agency and the state Ministry of Health have disclosed that no fewer than 98,960 persons are living with HIV/AIDS in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, gave the figure in Awka, on Thursday, during a media briefing ahead of the 2023 World AIDS Day observed every December 1, since 1988.

Obidike said the state was making the needed progress towards the attainment of the Global 95-95-95 targets after it ranked fifth highest in the country.

He said, “With the national prevalence of 1.4 per cent, our state HIV prevalence is ranked fifth highest in the country and the highest in the South-East.

“It is estimated that 98,960 residents are living with HIV out of which 58 per cent know their status and 44,808  are currently on treatment.

“The state is making the needed progress towards attainment of the Global 95-95-95 targets of which we are at 65:81:93.

“And worthy of note is the gradual decline in new infections, which is at 46 per cent between 2021 and 2023 and AIDS-related death, which is at 32 per cent  between 2021 and 2023.

“We are scaling up Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission services to ensure that no woman transmits this infection to her baby. The good news is that with the advent of Anti Retro-viral Therapy, HIV is no longer a death sentence.”

According to the commissioner, the state was also scaling up access to HIV self-testing to tackle stigma and discrimination.

Also speaking, the Director of Public Health, Dr Afam Anaeme, described HIV/AIDS as one of the diseases of public health importance.

Anaeme said, “With the participation of everyone, we can reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Anambra.”

In his remarks, the Executive Director of ANSACA, Mr Johnbosco Ementa, urged residents to take advantage of the free testing centres across the state to know their status.

He said that the state government increased the number of HIV treatment sites from 104 to 1,182, with the collaboration of implementing partners.

“We also deployed mobile testing units, home-based testing, and community outreaches, to significantly improve HIV testing coverage and accessibility.

“We appreciate our partners,  Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative,  AIDS Health-care Foundation, UNAIDS, CHAI and Global Fund, for their support,” Ementa added.

(Punch)

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Refinery: Ensure December deadline is sacrosanct, Afenifere tasks Tinubu

The pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, on Thursday, tasked the Federal Government to meet its December deadline for the operation of the Port Harcourt refinery in Rivers State.

The PUNCH reports that President Bola Tinubu, during a recent meeting with the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and  Trade Union Congress, committed that the Port Harcourt refinery would commence operation by December 2023.

Afenifere, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Jare Ajayi, in Ibadan, Oyo State, said the call was part of resolutions of the group at the meeting held at the Akure residence of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, on Tuesday.

The group also called on the government and security agencies to urgently take steps that would be more effective in tackling the insecurity threatening the socio-economic well-being of the people.

“Afenifere tasks the Federal Government to meet the December deadline given for the Port Harcourt refinery to resume production. The government should also accelerate actions that would strengthen the value of our currency, enhance productivity, and reduce the costs of items.

“The organisation also calls for acceleration of actions in the power sector by the Minister of Power and Energy, Adebayo Adelabu, in view of the pivotal roles that power is playing in the economic and social lives of the people.”

In attendance at the meeting were representatives from various state chapters of Afenifere as well as coordinators of the organisation in the United States of America and Canada.

(Punch)

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COP28: Tinubu meets King Charles, Nigeria, others eye $261bn

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday met King Charles III of England in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, the venue of the COP28 Climate Summit.

Both leaders had arrived in the city to join the conference where leaders from over 198 countries are expected to participate.

Tinubu announced the meeting on his X account, describing the British monarch as a passionate climate advocate.

He stated, “I had a productive meeting with His Majesty, King Charles III of England who is also the Head of the Commonwealth, and a passionate climate advocate.

“The meeting was a significant step in strengthening the partnership between Nigeria and the United Kingdom, and I am optimistic about the positive impact our joint efforts will have on our planet’s future as we look forward to setting an equitable global standard for environmental stewardship at COP28.”

Thursday’s meeting became President Tinubu’s first engagement since he arrived Dubai in the early hours of the day.

Presenting the 2024 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly, the President revealed that he had directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition.

He said Nigeria must seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with her national goals.

“I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.

“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship,”

Meanwhile, Nigeria and other poor oil and gas countries whose climate and environment have been impacted by fossil fuel exploration by International Oil Companies will benefit from a $261bn climate fund, The PUNCH has learnt.

The climate summit, which kick-started in Dubai on Thursday, saw donations from countries including $100m from the COP28 host United Arab Emirates, another $100m from Germany, at least $51m from Britain, $17.5m from the United States, and $10m from Japan.

The fund, a total of about $261bn will help nations impacted by climate change from fossil fuel exploration cope with costly climate disasters.

It is not yet clear whether or not more donations would be made before the end of the two weeks conference.

Nigeria and other poor oil-producing countries had demanded for a damage fund for years, and analysts say the donations could “help grease the wheels for other compromises to be made” during the two-week summit.

The fund became necessary following divestments by IOCs from fossil fuel to cleaner energies.

A statement by Secretary General, African Petroleum Producers’ Organization, Omar Farouk Ibrahim, released on Thursday, and obtained by The PUNCH, emphasised the need for richer nations to consider the poorer nations in their decisions to phase out fossil fuel, which according to him, had formed the base for which they (richer countries) rode on its back to development.

(Punch)

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Celestial Church leader stops Portable, Pasuma’s performance at praise night

Olatosho Oshoffa, the Shepherd-in-charge of the Celestial Church of Christ International Headquarters in Ketu, has strongly condemned the invitation extended to singers Portable and Pasuma to perform at one of the church branch’s praise nights.

The Celestial Church of Christ, Land of Goshen in Lagos, had on Wednesday, shared a flyer of its praise night featuring Portable, Pasuma and May Shua.

The announcement, however, triggered a wave of reactions from many Nigerians on social media. While some described it as disheartening, others wondered if the house of God was now a place of entertainment.

Reacting to the controversies on his Facebook page, Oshoffa said, “Dear Celestians, I have just spoken to the Shepherd in Charge of the above Parish at length. He has promised to make amendments to the posters.

“He has promised that the said contested artists would NOT come for the nights. There is no doubt the said poster is very CONDEMNABLE. God bless CCC. Amen.”

(Daily Post)

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Appeal Court Judgement: NNPP targets violence with protests in Kano – APC alleges

The All Progressive Congress, APC, in Kano, has accused the New Nigeria People’s Party NNPP of trying hard to create tension and set peaceful Kano ablaze through a series of sponsored failed protests.

The APC also accused the NNPP of violating the Peace Accord signed at the Police Headquarters by sponsoring protests in the city.

Dr Musa Kwankwaso, a staunch member of the APC and a former House of Representatives candidate from Madobi, Kura, Garun Mallam, said while speaking to newsmen, Wednesday, that the NNPP is using protests to create unnecessary tension where there is none.

He said it has become pertinent to draw public attention to the activities of the NNPP to cause chaos following the sack of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf by the Appeal Court in Abuja.

He reminded that, “We are all aware that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been declared winner of the March 18th 2023 Governorship Election by the Elections Petitions Tribunal and Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna announced as the duly elected Governor of Kano State, the same judgement is reaffirmed by the Appeal Court in addition to the judgement declaring Abba Kabir Yusuf as not being a member of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) when he contested for Governorship of the state.”

”But unfortunately, not happy with the judgement, the NNPP and the Kwankwasiyya Movement have engaged in massive propaganda thereby insulting the judiciary and trying to instigate political violence in Kano.”

“They have spread false claims that Kano state is facing serious tension by funding patches of protests and rallies across the metropolis, this is in violation of the Peace Accord that was signed at the Police Command recently, part of which has banned such public assemblies.”

“I wish to state in clear terms that the peace and tranquillity enjoyed in Kano, with everyone going about his daily business, is a testament that it is not true that there is any tension in the state, it is the sponsored protests that are used to falsely create a picture of crises in the state,” he added.

“In the meantime, the NNPP is wasting Kano’s meagre resources chasing shadows by taking political issues of the country that are rooted in the Nigerian Laws to ECOWAS, EU, US and other places instead of waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court of the land.

“The worst part of this is that the NNPP is not allowing the teeming masses to rest again, after demolishing their billions of Naira worth of property illegally, they are now sponsoring innocent youths to cause tension and chaos in the state”.

He warned that the Kano people cannot be cajoled using sponsored protests because they believe that it is Allah who gives power to whom he wishes and takes it from whom he also wishes.

“The people of Kano are with APC and with Gawuna and Ganduje. We won the election and the court detected the invalid votes they mischievously placed during the polls and cancelled them, all the protests they are staging are fake and with the deliberate intention of heating the polity and creating undue tension where there is none.”

(Daily Post)

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Edo 2024: ‘I have no preferred candidate’ – Obaseki

Ahead of the Edo governorship election, Governor Godwin Obaseki has cleared all doubts about where he stands on the choice of the flagbearer for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He declared that he has no preferred candidate among those aspiring to succeed him as his tenure comes to an end.

According to the governor, only the party has the power to decide who becomes its flagbearer at the gubernatorial election.

Obaseki spoke on Thursday in Bauchi after a closed-door meeting with Governor Bala Mohammed, who doubles as the chairman of the PDP governors forum.

He was accompanied by the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.

However, details of the closed-door meeting are still sketchy as of the time of writing this report.

Addressing journalists after the meeting held at the Rahmat House, an extension of the Bauchi Government House, Obaseki also cleared the air on his relationship with his deputy, Philip Shaibu, who has declared interest in succeeding him.

He said their relationship is cordial.

DAILY POST reports that until this time, there have been insinuations in some quarters that the governor is not backing his deputy’s ambition to succeed him.

Obaseki said: “My relationship with Shaibu is cordial. He wants to run for the office I currently occupy and I think, as a Nigerian, he has the constitutional right to run; nobody can stop him.”

He added: “But only the PDP and our members can decide who will become the flagbearer of the party at the gubernatorial election. I’m only one of the millions of party members in Edo State. I don’t think my vote alone will determine who becomes the party’s flagbearer.”

(Daily Post)

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Ondo deputy gov., Aiyedatiwa, presides over first Ondo Council meeting in 3 months

The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, is currently presiding over the State Executive Council meeting.

Eighteen commissioners are present at the meeting, which is taking place at the EXCO Chambers of the Governor’s Office.

Others present include the Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu, the State Head of Service, Kayode Ogundele and special advisers.

DAILY POST reports that this is the first meeting of the State Executive Council in three months.

(Daily Post)

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Nnamdi Kanu’s release will weaken Simon Ekpa, Peter Obi’s popularity – Ohanaeze

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-cultural organisation has said the release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), will weaken the popularity of self-acclaimed Biafra agitator Simon Ekpa and the Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi.

Ohanaeze said Kanu’s release will consign Ekpa’s activities in the Southeast to the “annals of history.”

A statement by the factional Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Isiguzoro Okechukwu, said the release of Kanu would have significant implications for the political landscape in the Southeast.

The statement reads: “It has come to our attention that certain mischievous Igbo political elites and deviant opportunists are attempting to take undue credit for Nnamdi Kanu’s potential release.

“Ohanaeze Ndigbo urges President Tinubu not to entertain any visits or demands from these individuals, as the credit for Kanu’s release should solely be attributed to him.

“We emphasise that the effects of Nnamdi Kanu’s release will gradually diminish the rising popularity of both Peter Obi and Simon Ekpa in the Southeast.

“Additionally, from a security perspective, Ekpa’s disruptive activities and terrorist tendencies in the Southeast will be consigned to the annals of history.”

Ohanaeze urges President Bola Tinubu to remain resolute in his decision-making process regarding Kanu’s release.

“We assure him that the Igbo nation stands behind him, and we trust that he will handle this matter with utmost care and consideration,” he added.

(Daily Post)

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Nigerian Dailies: 10 talking points this Friday

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. The Federal Government on Thursday said a new minimum wage regime would come into effect on April 1, 2024. The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed, who disclosed this in an interview in Abuja, said the current N30,000 minimum wage would expire at the end of March 2024.

2. The Federal Government has directed universities to begin to admit more students into Medicine and Surgery as a strategy to address the shortage of manpower in the health sector occasioned by the relentless exodus of health workers abroad in what has been termed japa. The Vice Chancellor, Nile University, Prof. Dili Dogo, revealed the Federal Government’s directive in a statement on Thursday.

3. The Lagos State Government has said it will not back down on its decision to reclaim the drainage within the seven-metre setback by demolishing some structures despite reported threats and propaganda from some quarters in the state. The state government made this vow on Thursday through the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tokunbo Wahab.

4. The House of Representatives has promised to scrutinise the 2024 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu. It said it would examine the document the same way it did and discovered the N5bn provision for a presidential yacht in the 2023 supplementary budget presented to it recently.

5. The Kogi State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Lokoja has been adjourned indefinitely pending the completion of an inspection of election materials by the Social Democratic Party. At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the SDP said the INEC was cooperating with the inspection of materials as granted by the order of the tribunal but sought more time.

6. President Bola Tinubu met with the British monarch, His Majesty, King Charles III, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. In a post on his X account, the President said he had a productive engagement with the 75-year-old monarch.

7. A pastor, Abiodun Sunday, has been arrested by the police for allegedly killing his wife, Tosin Oluwadare, in Ido-Ile in Ekiti West LGA of Ekiti State. The Ekiti State Police Command’s spokesman, DSP Sunday Abutu, who confirmed the incident, said the suspect was with the command and that investigation was ongoing.

8. The Court of Appeal in Abuja has dismissed the application by the Ondo State House of Assembly Speaker, Olamide Oladiji and other lawmakers seeking the impeachment of the state’s Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa. The panel of justices at the Court of Appeal dismissed the application on Thursday after the lawmakers withdrew same citing “interest of peace.”

9. The Senate on Thursday, pledged its readiness to support the Nigerian military to achieve its set goals of providing national security. President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, gave the assurance when he received the management of the National Defence College (NDC), led by its Commandant, Rear Admiral Muyiwa Olotu, in his office on Thursday.

10. The naira on Thursday appreciated to N1,165 per dollar in the parallel market from N1,167 per dollar on Wednesday. However, the naira depreciated to N832.32 per dollar in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM).

(Daily Post)

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