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FG must install security surveillance system nationwide

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Recent insecurity menace in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has raised alarm of panic. The issues have generated concerns that if the capital city could be under the ravaging spate of kidnapping and myriads of insecurity scourge, then the situation is dire for the entire country, and security assurance therefore a subject of uncertainties.

Following the tolls of incidences of kidnapping and other security breaches in Abuja, several reactions from the government authorities had trailed the development. For instance, after reports that he would be summoned to the Senate to explain rising insecurity menace in the capital city, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, warned against politicisation of insecurity in Abuja.

Wike, during a media chat in Abuja on Monday, claimed that politicians were cashing out on the current security challenges to cause panic among FCT residents. He had expressed concern that instead of commending the efforts of security agencies in addressing insecurity, some residents have continued to create panic by raising false alarms.

“After the first kidnapping incident in Bwari, President Tinubu summoned the service chiefs and my humble self and within a few days you have seen what they have achieved. But nobody is talking about that. Nobody has come to commend them. All you here security has collapsed,” he complained.

“Nigerians forget easily and that is why we have always said let’s not play politics with the issue of security. Remember, some time ago, in the last administration, we were told that bandits came to Kuje prison and wrecked havoc. Nobody said there was no Minister of FCT. There was a minister.

“Nobody talks about FCT being the capital. Remember, there was an administration where terrorists came and burnt the United Nations building here. It was in FCT. Remember, there was an attack to burn the police headquarters. There was a minister.

“All over the world, we have heard where armed men went to school in cities and shot at will, killing 15 to 16 people in the United States, in Britain, as developed as they are. That does not mean that the security in those cities has collapsed,” he had argued.

Giving explanation, Wike said inadequate equipment and operational vehicles were hampering the ongoing war against banditry and kidnappings in Abuja metropolis.

“So many facilities were not provided and vehicles for the security agencies are not there. You cannot believe that equipment to track criminals are not there and when anything happens, security agencies go back to the Office of the National Security Adviser or to the Force Headquarters. That is not the way it is supposed to be,” the Minister had said.

“Again, before we came on board, the police had said that they had requested procurement of a certain number of motorcycles where vehicles cannot get to – the remote areas. Some of these areas are mountainous. Unfortunately, the motorcycles were not provided, but we have been able to do that now,” he added.

On measures to be taken, Wike had said the FCTA would also establish a Joint Task Force with a full command and control structure, well-equipped to respond in security emergencies.

“The next thing is to set up a joint security outfit here, where they have their own structure and equipment so that if anything happens, the task force will know it is its function and move in. Yes, it will cost us some funds and it will take us some time, but what is important is that we have identified that this is a lacuna that we have to cover,” the Minister had said.

It is important to state that political statements would not suffice to wrestle a situation of insecurity menace, not in the capital nor any other part of the Country. Rather, decisive measures combined with concerted responses and the appropriate security architecture are needed to put the situation to rest.

In response to the situation, Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, recently inaugurated an 8-man committee for the provision and installation of security surveillance systems along Abuja-Kaduna highway and rail line. Badaru had said in Abuja that the provision of the surveillance system was to checkmate the frequent security breaches along the routes.

The Minister further said that the inauguration of the committee signified a remarkable milestone in ensuring safety along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway and Railway.

According to him, the committee was mandated to source for a security surveillance system that meets the technical specifications, ensure its successful installation, and suggest other measures necessary for the seamless implementation of the system.

While such a move is a good measure, it is important to state that the significance of a security surveillance system at this time is a necessity that is not only needed around Abuja, but the entire country, as the ravaging storm of insecurity has spread widely across the Country.

Hence, the Federal Government under whose obligation the primary preserve of security lies, must make the agenda of installation of the surveillance system a nationwide project to strengthen the architecture of security response to tackle the turbulence of insecurity menace which is assuming a worrisome dimension.

Editorial

Articulated vehicles and the scourge of avoidable deaths

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Nigerians across the country continue to die utterly preventable deaths thanks to a lack of political will on the part of its leaders. It is an ugly fate thrust upon its citizens to live in a country whose economy is built upon the blood of the ordinary people, not out of sacrifice, but nonchalance. Articulated vehicles wipe out families, dreams, and human capital in one fell swoop. Press statements from the leaders are not enough. We need the May 2024 immediacy of the Tinubu administration in this sector too.

Last week, a falling container killed a woman in the Ogudu area of Lagos. The woman was inside a car when the fully loaded 40ft Mack articulated truck fell on it, leading to her instant death, according to the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).

In October 2023, a businessman identified as Akuma Kalu, was crushed to death by a 40-feet container that fell on his car along the failed portion of Etche-Ngokpala road in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers state.

In September 2023, five women died in a fatal accident that occurred in the early hours of Friday at Odumodu Junction, Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area along Awka Road, Anambra State. As usual, the container of the truck fell upon the bus carrying these people, killing them. We could go on and on. The story remains the same: tragedy upon tragedy.

Every year, the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, does sensitisation with little result to show for it because the arm of the law is too short to punish offenders at the root of the problem. The constant assault on the senses has led to a desensitisation on the part of the populace. Month after month, another story of a truck that erases a family, or multiple families because its brakes fail, or its container is overturned. The combination of the death of empathy on the part of leaders and the emotional exhaustion of the citizens will lead Nigeria down the path of a dystopia.

The governors of each state have a responsibility to institute laws to protect the indigenes. This, the Federal Government must also do nationwide. The FRSC has rules and regulations for trucks. The Government needs to only enforce these rules. Enough of blaming the trucks themselves because they are not the evil entities. The lack of accountability and a weak system perpetuates the dilemma.

The political class should not wait until Nigeria happens to one of their own before acting as is usually the case. Most cases bear the mark of immediate fatality. By the time a family member experiences it, it would have already been too late. We have hope that this administration will do what it takes to restore hope to the common man. Time to act is now.

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Editorial

Renewed Hope Initiative: Beating back inequality in all spheres

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Nigeria is full of inequalities that its leaders contend with administration after administration. With every President comes a partner who shares in the vision, and does her part to alleviate the pains of the citizens. Oluremi Tinubu has etched her name in the annals of history as one of such compassionate ones.

Recently, in Abeokuta she flagged off the Renewed Hope Initiative for women in agriculture and people living with disabilities nationwide in a bid to achieve this noble goal of equity in Nigeria.

“We are supporting 20 women farmers per state with the sum of N500,000 each. To this end, a draft of N10 million per state for the South West zone will be handed over to the first ladies of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo states who are the Renewed Hope Initiative (RHI) state coordinators for onward disbursement to all beneficiaries in their respective states,” she said.

“The Renewed Hope Initiative Social Investment Programme will be empowering 100 persons with disability, small business owners in Ogun State with a sum of N100,000 each to recapitalise their existing businesses.”

In Kebbi, represented by the Wife of the Speaker, House of Representatives, Fatima Tajuddeen Abbas, in Birnin Kebbi, she said, “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in achieving sustainable development and food security. Consequently, we are introducing ‘Every Home a Garden’ competition to encourage each Nigerian woman to cultivate a garden at home to feed the family and share with neighbours, we want to see food on every table.”

We commend the forward thinking and passion for national growth required for such a herculean task. If emulated in all quarters, it will stimulate the economy at the grassroots. It is well acknowledged that the government cannot do it alone. Private individuals who are capable must rise up to contribute to national growth.

It isn’t alien to the Nigerian condition, after all. The country was able to survive the assaults of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the joint efforts of private individuals under the umbrella of Coalition Against COVID-19, CACOVID, a Private Sector task force in partnership with the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The Renewed Hope Initiative joins the tradition of programmes committed to national improvement. History will look upon it kindly.

 

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Editorial

Increasing access to community healthcare

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Recently the World Health Organisation (WHO) decried the increasing threat to the right to health of millions of people across the world. The WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All has stated that 140 countries recognise health as a human right. Unfortunately, these countries are not passing and putting into practice laws to ensure that their citizens are entitled to access health services. According to the global health agency, about 4.5 billion people, over half of the world’s population, were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, in her message underscored the fact that health is not only a fundamental human right, but also central to peace and security. According to her, addressing health inequities requires intentional efforts. Considerations of vulnerable groups must be addressed. Their needs ought to be purposefully integrated into health programmes at all levels to accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

‘My health, my right,’ the global agency used the occasion to call for action to uphold the right to health amidst inaction, injustice and crises. The year’s theme, according to the organisers, was chosen to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.

Moeti noted that many in the African region still need help with access to quality essential health services due largely to unfulfilled rights. She observed that this is further compounded by protracted and ongoing crises such as conflicts, climate change, food insecurity, disease outbreaks and epidemics.

Available figures show that the number of people aged 15 and over living with HIV is still high at an estimated 24.3 million in 2021 (3.4 percent of the total population) compared to 15.6 million in 2015. This underscores the continued transmission of HIV despite reductions in the incidence of people newly infected and the benefits of significantly expanded access to antiretrovirals. Moeti called on member states to uphold the progress towards fulfilling the right to health, agreed by all nations of the world in 1948 and enshrined in the WHO Constitution.

“The right to health is a universal right of all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status,” Moeti stated.

Nigeria, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, has reiterated the ministry’s commitment to ensure the health and wellbeing of all Nigerians. The minister is of the view that the right to health is not just the ideal, it is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For millions of Nigerians, accessing quality healthcare is a challenge. However, the federal government has mapped out some initiatives to address the challenge. These include Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) and the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal and Investment Initiative and strategic partnerships through which the health ministry is ensuring access to health of Nigerians in remote communities across the country.

Unfortunately, the right to health for all Nigerians has not been enshrined in our laws. Therefore, we call on the federal and state lawmakers to make laws that will ensure the right to health of all Nigerians. We need laws that will ensure Universal Health Coverage for all Nigerians.

Such laws will ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality health at all times. These include having access to potable water, clean air, quality nutrition and quality housing, decent working environment and freedom from discrimination.

While the laws that will enforce the right to health of all Nigerians are being awaited, the government must improve access to health by ensuring that quality healthcare services are provided at the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the 774 local government areas.

If the primary healthcare centres are functional, the nation’s disease burden would have been reduced by over 70 per cent. The government should provide free health services at the PHC level. For Nigeria to increase access to quality health for millions of Nigerians and ensure UHC, the health funding must be significantly increased.

Pathetically, it has become an eyesore that millions of Nigerians living at the grassroots don’t have access to quality healthcare services. This is a wakeup call to the various state Governors and their Chairpersons to reinvest in the health sector, especially the community people.

Most of the health institutions and healthcare facilities are in a dilapidated stage at the rural communities and there is no motivation for health personnel in terms of incentives, knowledge acquisition such as training and retaining of staff, the equipment in various hospitals and clinics are outdated. The federal government in partnership with international donors should reenergise in the health system for the betterment of the masses.

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