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Centre sets agenda for President Tinubu to tackle health sector challenges

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A civil group, Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, has proposed an agenda to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to help address critical challenges facing Nigeria’s health sector.

According to the group, the agenda aims to tackle rising inflation, fuel subsidy removal, exchange rate unification, poor funding of the sector, implementation of the National Health Insurance Authority Act, accountability, health infrastructure, and the brain drain of health professionals.

The group’s agenda was contained in a statement issued on Monday by its Lead Director, Eze Onyekpere.

While noting that rising inflation had negatively impacted the health sector, CSJ said the agenda tasked the sector to ensure it makes resources available to keep pace with the inflationary spiral.

Concerning the removal of fuel subsidy, which it said is projected to save trillions of naira, the group emphasised the need to address the downsides and mitigate the impact of the policy on the health sector while raising questions about the proposed palliatives and the need for the health sector to advocate for its fair share of resources.

CSJ also noted that poor funding of the health sector and the fiscal crisis have resulted in low health indicators and high out-of-pocket health expenditures. The group, however, proposed attracting non-budgetary funds from the private sector and tapping into constituency project funds of legislators to increase funding for the sector.

The poor funding of the health sector and the fiscal crisis have resulted in low health indicators and high out-of-pocket health expenditures. The agenda proposes attracting non-budgetary funds from the private sector and tapping into constituency project funds of legislators to increase funding for the sector.

The group’s agenda also called for the activation of the mandatory health insurance scheme and the pooling of funds to reduce the high-level out-of-pocket health expenditure to provide social health insurance access to the poor and vulnerable without premiums.

As part of the measures to improve the utilisation and transparency of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF, and ensure accountability in the health sector, CSJ also recommended the establishment of a Health Development Bank of Nigeria to provide funding for health infrastructure and equipment at affordable interest rates.

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Insurgency: Zulum calls for establishment of military base in Sambisa, Lake Chad shore, others

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The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno has called for the establishment of a military base in Sambisa, Lake Chad shores and other places taken over by terrorists.

The Governor made this known during a courtesy visit by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Army on Wednesday to the Government house in Maiduguri.

The Governor urged the army to establish a military base on the shores of Lake Chad and Mandara Mountain, which continued to be a haven for terrorists.

“On the issue of completely ending it (insurgency), there’s a need for the government to establish a military base in Sambisa, shores of Lake Chad, and Mandara Hills.”

He urged the National Assembly to ensure adequate appropriations for weapons to tackle insecurity.

Zulum also decried the porous borders in Borno and the need to secure the state bordering three countries to contain the movement of small arms fueling insecurity in the north.

He reiterated his commitment to support the military in its kinetic and non-kinetic approach to tackling insurgency, adding that so far, about 190,000 repentant Boko Haram members surrendered to the authorities.

According to Zulum, managing the huge number of repentant Boko Haram members is another crisis that needs stakeholders’ support.

He said the government had resettled two million out of the over three million displaced persons in the state and stressed the need for total peace to enable the displaced persons to return to their ancestral homes.

“The continuous stay of over one million displaced persons in camps is not sustainable, particularly with the rising cases of prostitution and drug abuse.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Abdullahi Mamudu, said they were in the state for the oversight function.

Mamudu lauded Zulum for his commitment and support to the Army and other security agencies and urged him to sustain the tempo for more success.

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Nigeria’s brand now sellable to global community — Abiodun

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…Tasks public relations practitioners to project Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda

By Omobolaji Adekunle, Abeokuta

The Ogun State Tinubu-led administration aimed at putting the country on the right economic trajectory have started yielding positive results.

According to him, Nigeria has now become an attractive brand that is sellable in the global community, saying it is incumbent on public relations specialists  to start selling Nigeria’s renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu around the world as a way of attracting more investments to boost the real sector of the economy.

The Governor spoke at the maiden edition of Nigeria Public Relations Week with the theme: Leveraging Public Relations As A Critical Asset For Nigeria’s Economic And Reputation Renaissance, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.

Abiodun, who was conferred as the Patron of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, also informed the practitioners of the need to help in showcasing the potentials that abound in Ogun State through their professional ingenuity.

Governor Abiodun emphasised the need for all Nigerians to be involved in promoting the good image of the country at all times.

He said, “Exploring the power and passion of public relations to engender speedy development and sustainable growth for an economic and reputational renaissance, as the theme of this week implies, is intrinsically an essential requirement for any government.

“I recall that in the last few months and following the appointment of the CBN Governor,  Mr Yemi Cardoso, as he rolled out his road map of monetary policies he kept on emphasising on the determination to embark on new public relations policy for the bank which has led to the successful management of forex.

“I want to say this exactly defines the leadership being provided by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to change the old order and entrench the image of a promising country with a consciousness of sustainability. Indeed, there can not be branding without a product.

“The right steps being taken by the Federal Government towards total regurgitation of the Nigerian macroeconomy, via the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr. President who started with very bold and decisive goals that have begun to yield positive and desired results to the admiration of patriotic Nigerians and the astonishment of pessimists.”

Abiodun noted that some of the economic policies such as the removal of fuel subsidy and the floating of naira introduced by the government at the centre to revamping the nation’s economy have started yielding positive results as the local currency gains momentum on a daily basis.

The governor described public relations as a strategic communication from an organization to the public to maintain or cultivate confidence and response to public discussion, adding that it remains the critical asset for any responsive government in the quest to build a vibrant economy and sustainable growth.

Public relations, the Governor averred, focuses on the goals of an organisation rather than the specific methods, saying it proffers necessary direction during economic turbulence, shape images and reputations, calling on the practitioners to help project the image of the State and country in a positive way.

He explained that the state government since inception has embarked on massive infrastructural amenities towards creating an enabling environment to improve on ease of doing business in the state which he said has made the state to be a choice of investment and fastest growing economy in the country

The Governor while promising more developmental projects across the state, said that the current administration has constructed over 500 kilometres of roads across the state to ease movement of the people, rehabilitated over 100 Primary Health Centres, and built over 4000 affordable houses as well as tackle insecurity by equipping security agencies with modern gadgets and patrol vehicles.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammed Idris, represented by the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Isa Lanre Onilu, in his remarks, said for Nigeria to realized her collective vision, there was the need for Nigerians to celebrate their achievements as well as chart a new way forward.

While calling for the use of power of communication, the Minister maintained that it was imperative for practitioners to fight against quackery and sanitise the profession, saying his mission was to restore trust in public communication, amplify good policies and programmes, inspired and reoriented national values, recognise quality and talents in the federal government information and communication system and create an enabling environment for the media to thrive.

President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Dr. Ike Neliaku, said public relations is all about management of reputation and perception as the difference between one country and another is reputation.

He said practitioners of public relations are making important contributions all over the world, saying that it is important to allow them to perform their duties without hindrance, as the profession is a key to all things, as no organization or government could go far without adequate management of reputations and relationships.

Dr. Neliaku said Ogun State was chosen to host the event considering its position in terms of recording firsts in the country, emphasizing that governor Abiodun was conferred with the title in accordance with the constitution of the institute that allowed it to honour any governor with track record and that has impacted significantly in development of his state.

The governor, who was made a patron of the institute, also donated a brand new bus and a befitting secretariat to the Ogun branch of the institute.

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ICPC advocates for synergy between armed forces, paramilitary agencies to combat corruption

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The Independent  Corrupt Practices and Other Related  Offences Commission, ICPC, has called for proper synergy among armed forces and paramilitary agencies to stem the tide of corruption in Nigeria.

The call was made by the ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a 3-day workshop on “21st Century Policing: Capacity Building Techniques and Brand Management for Security Image Makers” holding in Abuja.

Dr. Aliyu, who spoke through the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Okparaodu, said the Commission was willing to work with other sister agencies in the security sector to prevent corruption through its system study and review, corruption risk assessment including capacity building through the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN).

In his words, “Undoubtedly, the war against corruption cannot be won in a swoop, neither can it be won by ICPC or any anti-corruption agency alone, but by a series of efforts involving stakeholders like you. This is where your role as the image makers of your agencies comes to the fore.

“As public relations professionals and image makers for your organisations, you should not only report the right things about your organisation but be seen to be doing the right things. You are not expected to cover up acts of corruption in the name of projecting the image of your organisation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Provost of ACAN, Prof. Olawale Babawale revealed that since its inception in 2014, the Academy has successfully trained over 24,000 participants, through hybrid methods, even across ECOWAS sub-region and the African Union.

He explained that given the strategic role of public relations practitioners as the image makers of their Organisations, they are expected to be the bastion of integrity and veritable partners in the war against corruption especially for the military, paramilitary, law enforcement, and registered private security organisations.

Prof. Babawale said, “The learning objectives have been formulated in such a way that participants are equipped with the knowledge and skills that would enable them to become viable partners in the anti-corruption war, while also carrying out their duties effectively, using contemporary strategies. This way, we believe that the foundation for a long-term sustainable assault on corruption is laid.”

Participants were drawn from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Army, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and Information officers from the Ministry of Interior.

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