STATE BY STATE
Akunyili: Nigeria Has Lost a Patriot, Says NIPR Boss
The President and Chairman, Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Rotimi Oladele, has joined other Nigerians to express condolence on the death of the former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili.
Dr. Oladele, in his condolence message to the Honourable Minister of Information, Labaran Maku and the Director General of National Agency for Food & Drugs Administration & Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii, said the demise of the former NAFDAC DG was a shock. A statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to NIPR president, Dr. (Mrs.) Grace Achum, said that Nigeria has indeed, lost a precious scholar, whose vacuum will be difficult to fill for a very long time to come.
Dr. Oladele eulogised late Prof. Akunyili for the unprecedented work she embarked upon while alive especially, the cordial relationship between NIPR and NAFDAC on one hand and NIPR and the Federal Ministry of Information on the other, which according to him were facilitated by the late Akunyili.
The NIPR boss encouraged the current Minister of Information and the DG of NAFDAC to continue to nurture and sustain the legacies she laid before her demise, praying the Almighty God would give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Former SSG Akinbade Vows to Remain in Labour Party
Alhaji FataiAkinbade, theLabour Party gubernatorial candidate in the August 9,2014 governorship election in Osun State, has debunked rumours making the rounds that he has defected back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also dispelled speculations in some quarters that he has been disqualified from participating in the coming governorship election, assuring he would not only contest but would win the coming poll.
In a statement by his Director of Media, Mr. Kayode Oladeji, the former Secretary to the State Government said the rumour could be traced to his other contenders in the race who he claimed were threatened by his enviable records with the people of the state.
According to the Labour Party flag bearer, he was no longer a member of the PDP and would not rejoin the party, adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already cleared him to contest the election. “My opponents are threatened by my track record and acceptability among the people of the state, especially the grassroots. They know that at the coming polls, I will beat them silly and that is why they are cooking all kinds of stories which can take them to nowhere”
He maintained that the people of the state were well informed and as such could not be deceived under whatever guise, stressing: “I am the person the people of the state want and come August 9 this year, the dream of electing me as the governor of the state, shall be brought to fruition by the grace of God and the esteemed support of our people”, Akinbade said.
Signs MoU with NHIS on Health Insurance
Ogun state government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) towards improving the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme “Araya” in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka who signed the MOU on behalf of Ogun State, said the collaborative efforts and commitment of stakeholders on health would make universal health coverage a reality. He emphasized the need to improve on health care services rendered to the people, adding that the Community Based Health Insurance Scheme would be an avenue to solve the health challenges in recent time. “Our people need qualitative and sustainable health care that will be accessible to them anytime, anywhere and this Scheme will definitely cater for all these,” Soyinka noted.
Executive Secretary, NHIS, Dr. Femi Thomas said the health needs of the people must be attended to in a pragmatic way devoid of sentiments.
“We want to register the support and enthusiasm of our organisation with Ogun state government on the successful take-off and towards implementation and sustenance of this scheme while all arrangements have been concluded to subsidize the scheme for three years, ” the NHIS boss said.
Illegal Importation: Customs Arrests 88 Suspects
By Sunday Rotilefon
Between January and May, 2014, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Ikeja, has arrested no fewer than 88 suspects in connection with illegal importation of goods into the country.
This was made known by the Public Relations Officer of the Unit, Deputy Superintendent of Custom (DSC), Uche Ejesieme. According to him, about N4.8m worth of goods and items were confiscated from smugglers during the period stated.
Ejesieme listed the seized items to include; bags of illegal 50kg parboiled rice, cartons of assorted frozen poultry products, illegally imported used vehicles and general goods such as used tyres among others and assured his command would continue to clampdown on all illegal activities of the smugglers.
The first five months in 2014 had seen the NCS bracing up to the challenge as it has continued to clamp down on smuggling in the country.
Why We Appointed 11 Judges in 3 Years – Ajimobi
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State last Thursday threw light on the rationale behind the appointment of 11 High Court judges by his administration within the spate of three years, saying it was to strengthen the judiciary and concretize the process of the rule of law in the state.
The governor stated this at the swearing-in of five newly appointed High Court judges held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Ibadan.
Governor Ajimobi, who said the appointment was neither a coincidence nor a matter of ordinary choice, said: “Appointment of judges is based on the need to concretize the process of the rule of law in a society like ours where everybody cries for justice.
“In a society where people trample on other people’s rights with impunity, where the powerful take advantage of the weak through the flexing of muscles, the judiciary needs to be strengthened. It thus becomes imperative to put in place a well-fortified judiciary by appointing people of impeccable character who are resourceful and highly efficient in the practice of law,’’ he said. While congratulating the new judges, Governor Ajimobi said the judiciary was expected to bring to bear, at optimal level, their residue of integrity, intelligence, wisdom, sagacity and diligence. The criteria for their appointment, he said, were sound knowledge of law, industry and good character, urging them to continue in the display of the qualities in all their activities in and outside of the courts.
Quoting a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais, he said that a judicial officer should diligently discharge his administrative duties, maintain professional competence in judicial administration and facilitate the performance of the administrative duties of other judicial officers and court officials.
He also stressed the need for “the hallowed chamber of justice’’ to insulate itself from corruption, if the saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man was to hold water.
“This is because corruption has been aptly identified as the number one enemy of development and progress. It is suicidal for the judiciary, and indeed the nation, for any person to leave the court room with an impression that the Judge, who is supposed to be an unbiased umpire, has been bought,’’ he said. High point of the ceremony was the presentation of five Toyota Prado Jeeps to the new judges in the presence of the state Chief Judge, Justice Badejoko Adeniji, friends, associates and family members of the new members of the Bench.
LASU VC Appeals to Striking Lecturers
By Bankole Adeshina, Lagos
Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. John Oladapo Obafunwa has called for a truce in the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, LASU Chapter.
In a statement by the school’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Kayode Sutton, Obafunwa said the call was important in view of the fact that the state government have met the most important of the three demands of the striking lecturers.
Recalled that over a month ago, lecturers of the university declared a strike action over failure of the state government and the school authorities to address some issues, which include the reversal of the high school fee regime; the no vacancy, no promotion policy of the current LASU administration, and the non- implementation of the Universities [Miscellaneous Provisions] [Amendment] Act, 2012 In the Institution. The VC, in his second personal letter to the ASUU chairman on the dispute, reiterated the Governing Council and the Lagos State Government’s position with regards to the approved school fees across different faculties of the Institution.
“The Governing Council and by extension, the Lagos State Government, has taken its final decision with regards to reduction of school fees, details of which are contained in the attached bulletin. You will also find same on the LASU website” he said.
He further pointed out in the letter that promotion of staff is an on-going exercise and those who merit promotion at any promotion cycle would be promoted following due process.
Prof. Obafunwa enjoined the Union not to relent in its efforts to dialogue with the Governing Council of the institution and all other relevant stakeholders to actualise implementation of the Universities [Miscellaneous Provisions] [Amendment] Act, 2012.
Muslims in High Spirit at Ramadan, Prices of Goods Skyrocket
By Bankole Adeshina, Lagos
Nigerian Muslims are in a joyful mood, as they join their counterparts across the world to observe the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan.
Fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar depicts total abstinence from drinking, eating and involvement in unrighteous acts from dawn to dusk.
Besides, the Quran, the holy book of Islam, also mandated a fasting individual to spend the month, cleansing himself or herself from his or her previous iniquity by engaging in pure acts of kindness and D’ua (prayer) supplication to the Almighty Allah.
Also, during the month, men are advised to lower their gazes while in the public and in the midst of women and women are also refrained from making unnecessary physical contact with their opposite sex.
Interestingly, WESTERN POST gathered that as a sign of commitment to their faith, Nigerians, especially Lagosians have commenced logistical preparatory ahead of the month, stocking food stuffs, provisions and as well as preparing their health for the 29-30 days of spiritual exercise.
However, the Coming of the month has equally prompted undue inflation of prices of goods across the markets, subjecting many residents to exploitation.
Most of the markets visited by our correspondent last week still maintain regular prices but shoppers expressed concerns that the situation will soon change as soon as the fasting begins. .
“It has become a norm in our society. Anytime a major festival approaches, the market women are already awake to exploit the people. This is totally unacceptable,” a shopper at Ikotun Market who simply identified herself as Mummy Damilola told our correspondent.
Speaking in defence of the market women, Mrs Oriyomi Abayomi, a fresh corn seller at Iyana-Oba market in Ojo Local Government of Lagos, justified the price inflation across the market.
According to her, “inflation during the month of Ramadan is practically inevitable. It’s a challenge we can’t help ourselves as market women. For instance, a bag of fresh corn from the farm is transported to my market here in Lagos from Ogun State at a reasonable fare of N500 per bag. If it were to be during Ramadan, the fare would have gone up outrageously.
And you don’t expect me to run at lost in an attempt to please my customers.
Ogidi Community Appeals to Government over Incessant Attack by Fulani Herdsmen
By Bayo Oyewale, Lokoja
Residents of Ogidi Community in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi state have appealed to the State government to provide adequate security for lives and property of the people of the area. This followed the incessant armed robbery attacks on the community by Fulani herdsmen who often kill, maim and rob innocent members of the community of their valuables.
National President of Ogidi Development Union (ODA), Mr. Tunde Ipinmisho made this appeal while speaking at the 2014 Ogidi Day and celebration of New Yam Festival at the Community Town Hall in Ogidi. Ipinmisho who expressed concern over the development in the community recently, stressed that the matter requires urgent attention from the government and the relevant stakeholders if the people do not want to compromise peace and stability of the community.
“Our particular concern is the continued incursion of Fulani nomads into our community. We are peace-loving people, having nothing against visitors settling among us. However, the Fulani nomads having no respects for any law, having scant regard for human life and taking delight, as it seems in strangulating the economic life line of our people, constitute a visitor group we do not want,” he stated. The ODA president pointed out that in 2011, the Fulani herdsmen hacked down an elderly member of the community without provocation, adding that law enforcement agencies brokered peace at that time and but they have continued to threaten the lives and property of the people.
“That we are not at war with them today speaks much about our tolerance as a people.
However, in a situation where herds of cattle are led to eat up the labour of our farmers in a matter of moments and where our farmers are even now afraid to go to their farms because of continued molestation by the Fulani, threat to peace should be obvious”.