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Abiodun to set up special committee on rehabilitation of public schools



Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun says his administration will soon set up a special committee on the rehabilitation of public schools in the state.

According to a statement issued in Abeokuta by Kunle Somorin, the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Abiodun made this known when he received the Ogun State chapter of the Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON) at the Exco Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

He explained that the special committee would look into the public schools that are not included in the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) programme.

The Governor informed his visitors that his administration has paid the state counterpart fund SUBEB with the view to further intervene in the development of basic education in the state.

He further disclosed that the State Government would be launching its Education Trust Fund for the purpose of the special committee, adding that funds from the trust fund would assist the special committee on rehabilitation of public schools.

“We have paid another counterpart fund to SUBEB so they can Intervene further, but beyond SUBEB, we realise they can’t do it alone, I have decided that I am going to set up a special committee on the rehabilitation of public schools.

“That special committee’s responsibility is basic education infrastructure, it will look at schools that SUBEB will not be handling and we have decided to launch our Education Trust Fund specifically for this purpose.

“The fund will be a sinking fund where we will creatively look for money we can put into the fund and it is that fund that will assist the special committee on rehabilitation of public schools to ensure that all the ones not covered by SUBEB is not left for another SUBEB year,” he said.

Abiodun,who also noted that his administration has decided to localise the production of school furniture in the state, added that the decision would not only empower more artisans, but would also ensure they can be held responsible for a any shoddy job.

“I have requested that the provision of more furniture for our schools across board, but this time, I have decided to localise it’s production to avoid what happened in the past whereby we awarded a contract to someone somewhere, who then brought the furniture to a central position, from where the furniture would then be distributed across other parts of the state.

“We have now decided to change the model where our furniture are made from a central position, let us even use this to empower artisans in the immediate vicinity where we have this furniture deficit.

“So, let the artisans in Ogun Waterside be the ones to get the contract to provide the furniture for Ogun Waterside, artisans in Ijebu-Ode provide for Ijebu-Ode, so we can even make them responsible. If the items are substandard, we know who to hold. And we don’t now have pay for the cost of transportation too,” he said.

He noted that primary school teachers are important to the education value chain, saying that his administration would continue to do all it can to continue to develop the education sector in the state.

Governor Abiodun also noted that his administration would make available affordable homes in the state for the head teachers of primary schools.

The Governor who reiterated the decision of his administration to ensure that the appointment of Head Teacher-General is made permanent, disclosed that a bill that would institutionalize the title of Head Teacher-General in the state is underway

“You mentioned the gazette of the title of the Head Teacher-General, what has slowed that down is because we are trying to ensure that it has the required legislative backing. So, we are working on that to ensure that we have a law, a bill that is drafted that turns into a law so that it is properly institutionalised, so nobody is going to come after my tenure to reverse it,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the association, Balogun Olatunji, while commending the Governor for the prompt payment of salaries and the rehabilitation of school buildings across the state, submitted that the association is solidly behind the aspiration of the Governor for a second term in office.


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



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 



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



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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