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Buhari makes demands from private sector to participation in humanitarian sector

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By Olawale Afolabi

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in New York called for more private sector participation in the humanitarian sector in Nigeria.

Buhari made the call against the backdrop of lingering challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, catastrophic weather events and conflicts.

The president, according to his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina in a statement, spoke at a side event at the 77th UN General Assembly in New York, United States, on Friday.

The event was hosted by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, entitled ”Strengthening Resilience and Sustaining Development: A Humanitarian Development Peace Approach to Leaving No One Behind.”

The president also stressed the need for efficient collaboration among stakeholders involved in humanitarian action and disaster mitigation in the country.

He urged the bilateral and multilateral development partners to continue to provide technical support to well-planned policies and programmes in the sector.

The president described the creation of the Humanitarian Ministry in August 2019 as a strategic intervention,

Buhari said it underscored Nigeria’s commitment to consistently strengthen resilience and sustain development through improved coordination and synergy between international, regional and national humanitarian and development actors, partners and governments.

He told the meeting that in the 37 months the Ministry had been operational, it has worked with national governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

”It has also organised private sector, the United Nations, Local and International Non-Governmental Organisations and security actors to widen dialogue, reinforce existing capacities and strengthen coping strategies:

”The Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, its Agencies and Programmes, have developed policies, frameworks, programmes and plans that form the foundation necessary to build resilience.

”Some of these include the Civil Security Cooperation in Humanitarian Action, which created the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, the development of LIFE Coordination Framework and the National Humanitarian Committee Technical Working Group.

”Other policies, frameworks, programmes and plans that support the agenda 2030 and resilience building of our citizenry are the National Internally Displaced Persons Policy, the Revised National Emergency Management Plan, the National Emergency Flood and Response Plan.

”Others are; the National Policy for Aging for Elderly Persons, the Poverty Reduction Plan, and the revised National Policy on disability, all aimed at supporting our Administration’s strategy to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.”

According to him, the Ministry has also led the administration’s efforts to tackle poverty and ensure social inclusion through the Social Investment Programmes.

These include; the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, the N-Power Programme and the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.

According to the president, Nigeria has also brought to the fore the inclusion of Persons with Disability and elderly persons in the social protection space by the creation of agencies that will lay emphasis on these populations in the country.

He, therefore, urged the meeting to analyse the shared experiences over the years and devise possible transformational solutions for the future.

In her welcome address, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, thanked President Buhari for his support since the creation of the Ministry in 2019.

Goodwill messages were delivered by Prof. Babagana Zulum on behalf of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Amina J Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations as well as Development Partners.

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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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