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2023: Don’t engage in activities that threaten Nigeria’s unity – Abiodun tells Nigerians

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As the country inches closer to another general election, the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has, appealed to Nigerians not to engage in actions capable of threatening the peace and unity towards the conduct of the 2023 poll.

The governor who made this appeal at the 62nd Independence Anniversary Church Service held at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Ake, Abeokuta, stressed the need for continued peaceful co-existence among Nigerians for the socio-economic and political development of the country.

Abiodun represented by his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, acknowledged the anxiety generally expressed by Nigerians whenever general election is about to take place, noting that “this is because an average citizen fears that this is the time the unity of the nation is always threatened”.

He, therefore, solicited the cooperation of all Nigerians to preserve the oneness of the country.

The governor noted that the independence celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s hopes and aspirations, adding that the period would also enable citizens to acknowledge gains made and understand why others have not been achieved with a view to moving the country forward.

He said: “Celebration of our nationhood is the celebration of oneness of Nigeria, of the security of her people and the fulfilment of individuals’ aspirations.

“In Ogun State, we have built a harmonious society where different ethnic groups and religions live together in peace, run their businesses and bring up their families. In fact, in Ogun State, we have multi-generational families who have made our state their home and conduct their businesses without fear.

“In Ogun State, there are inter-marriages between our citizens and others across the country. We believe this is what Nigeria should be. We serve as an example to other parts of the country”.

Abiodun pointed out that his administration in the last three and a half years, has continued to develop the state by ensuring a peaceful environment for enduring economic development, which has attracted more people to the state.

While reiterating that his government would not promise what it would not fulfill, the governor assured that with the support of the people, all promises made during the 2019 campaigns would be kept.

He, however, called on Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers and desist from hurting one another, saying “this act of love and care will engender enduring peace and help build a nation that all Nigerians will be proud of”.

In his sermon, the Diocesan Bishop of Awori, Rt. (Revd.) Johnson Akin Atere, expressed his dismay that Nigeria which was once the giant of Africa, is now begging for bread, saying disobedience, oppression, ungodliness, hatred on the part of individuals, families and governments are some of the sins that have brought the country to her knees.

Speaking on the topic ‘What is Troubling You’ and taking his text from 2 Kings 6: 24 -27, the cleric said Nigerians, over the years, have been tormented and traumatized for long as “operation no mercy” is now the order of the day, adding that this has caused havoc in the land.

While calling for an end in the shedding of innocent blood, hatred, and all forms of sins, he said God was about to do something new in Nigeria, but needed all citizens, including the leaders to renew their minds and faith in God and be their brothers and sisters’ keepers.

Atere urged Nigerians to be wise during the forthcoming general election by choosing the right people to lead the nation, positing that Nigerians do not have the moral right to blame the government if they refuse to do the needful in 2023, which he said is another opportunity to restore the nation’s hope.

He, however, solicited the inclusion of traditional rulers in running the security architecture particularly at the grassroots.

The cleric also called on the church to continue to pray for the peace and development of the nation, noting that the current challenges confronting the country would be a thing of the past if all Nigerians play their parts.

The service had in attendance top federal and state government officials, security chiefs, traditional rulers, captains of Industries, among others.

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NASENI lauds Gov. Idris for allocating land for Agric. Institute construction

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The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, (NASENI), has commended Gov. Nasir Idris of Kebbi for donating 10 hectares of land to the agency for the construction of an Agricultural Machinery Development Institute in the state.
The Director of Procurement of the Agency, Dr Muhammad Aliyu, gave the commendation after formal allocation of the land to  NASENI by officials of state government on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi.
Aliyu, who thanked Idris for providing the land at a choice area, explained that the  project would commence within the next two weeks.
H e assured that all engineering, architectural, civil and electrical designs had been completed.
”We have the bill of quantity ready and every approval needed from the government for the project has been obtained,” he said.
The director affirmed that funding for the project had been captured in the 2024 appropriation bill already assented to by  President Bola Tinubu.
”We will start with what we can accommodate this year and we will continue next year.
“We have funds to begin the basic infrastructural construction,” he assured.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Alhaji Dahiru Zaki, who led other state government officials to hand over the 10 hectares of land to NASENI, explained that the land was earmarked for the agency in 2022 for the construction of the agricultural machinery center.
”The machinery center is to serve as a Regional Office for the production of agricultural equipment and we are happy that today, we have handed over the land to NASENI.
“I believe that Kebbi was selected in the North-West region because of its huge potentials in agriculture, particularly rice production and other crops,” he said.
Zaki expressed appreciation for the governor’s  kind gesture to the agency, tailored to provide job opportunities to youths and further bolster agricultural production in the state.
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Lassa Fever outbreak at Army Hospital sparks response 

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The recent outbreak of Lassa fever at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, prompted a collaborative response with Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) and Federal Ministry of Health.

Prof. Reuben Eifediyi, Chief Medical Director, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, and lead of the response team, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), confirmed that Lassa Fever was responsible for the death of three health workers and one patient at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, (44 NARHK).

Four of the six blood samples from suspected cases at the hospital sent to the Bayero University Teaching Hospital, Kano, were confirmed for Lassa Fever.

While 25 close contacts of all the cases were being monitored and were placed on prophylactics (preventive medication). 

Eifediyi said that the outbreak resulted in the deployment of a specialised emergency response team, which was made up of experts in Lassa fever management and infection prevention.

He said that though there were initial challenges, including inadequate resources and staffing, the response team successfully contained the outbreak through real-time laboratory testing, isolation, and treatment of confirmed cases.

“Real-time PCR testing was conducted, leading to the identification and treatment of confirmed cases.

“Three confirmed cases were successfully treated and discharged, with no further fatalities, “ he said.

He said that the incident underscored the importance of effective partnerships and rapid mobilisation of expertise in addressing public health emergencies.

He said that health workers at the hospital went through training on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), measures.

He recommended structural improvement, staffing, training, equipment provision, and hygienic measures.

He also made recommendations for capacity building and the establishment of a biosafety molecular laboratory at the hospital.

 Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, chest pain.

In severe case, there are unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and other body openings.

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Why some airlines are avoiding Nigeria’s airspace – NAMA

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Many airlines are avoiding Nigeria’s airspace because of difficulties encountered in communication with air traffic controllers, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) confirmed on Sunday in Lagos.

Its Managing Director, Mr Farouk Umar, told newsmen at Ikeja that the agency was consequently eyeing more investments to rejuvenate the communication systems to match emerging air traffic trends.

He explained that there was the need to improve the weak communication system, which had been demand-saturated as the industry grew and more routes were opened.

He said huge investments were required of the Federal Government as more routes opened needing more stations to have signals to cover the entire country.

He added that the presidency recently budgeted N40 billion to address some of the issues at the airports, but the money had not been accessed.

Umar assured that as soon as money was made available, the agency would tackle critical safety challenges at the various airports.

“The entire communication network has been re-designed to ensure that every blind spot is covered because if one system fails today, air traffic controllers would not notice.

“We realised also that our radios are working well and well-positioned and we have addressed the challenges we met on ground, but then, we are still having issues.

“The issues have nothing to do with our radios, but with electricity supply which had been a national challenge that government had been working assiduously to fix.

“We have decided to deploy solar energy to some of our facilities to complement electricity supply from the national grid and from generators so that they can function well,’’ he said.

Umar noted that the International Civil Aviation Organisation frowned at even a second’s blackout at any airport and Nigeria could not afford to flout the regulation.

“For an average electronic system, the lifespan is about 10 years. Most of the communications electronics at the airports have been working for the past 15 years to 20 years. Their performance would be below standard, expectedly.

“We are replacing some of the equipment and we have done almost 80 per cent. The contractors are still working, however,’’ he assured.

Umar also told newsmen that Terminal Control Centres (TRACON) were still having challenges because since 2014, there had not been enough spare parts to fix the obsolete equipment there.

“The Federal Government has approved the modernisation of the TRACON system. 15 per cent of the fund has been paid and we are hopeful that more installations will start soon.

“We are also hopeful that at the end of it all, the system will go back to optimal performance,’’ he said.

Umar lamented that NAMA had been charging airlines N11,000 as navigation fee per flight since 2008 when fares for local flights were N16,000, whereas airfares had risen to N150,000.

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