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Suspend ban on alcoholic drinks in sachets, pet bottles – Reps tells NAFDAC

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The House of Representatives Committee on National Agency on Food, Drugs Administration, and Control (NAFDAC),  has ordered  suspension of  ban on sale of spirits and alcoholic drinks in sachets and pet bottles.
The suspension is pending the outcome of its investigation on the matter.
Rep. Regina Akume, Chairman, House Committee on NAFDAC  said this in Abuja after a public hearing on  ban of the product on Friday.
She said there were proper steps to take before the ban, adding that there was need to put Access Control Procedures in place.
This,  she said,  was to prevent children and youths from consuming the alcoholic contents of the sachet and pet bottles.
She said the committee was entrusted with the essential responsibility and effectiveness of NAFDAC for the creation of employment and enhancing economic growth.
She promised to reach a level playing ground between NAFDAC and manufacturers that would not be detrimental to children or public safety.
Speaking earlier, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General, NAFDAC, said the ban was imposed to protect the health and welfare of children, youths, and other vulnerable groups.
“We tried to protect the market, and that was why we agreed to a five-year moratorium for the manufacturers to phase out alcoholic drinks in sachets and pet bottles in December 2018.
According to her, it is a ministerial directive and not unilaterally made by NAFDAC, and the expiration of that five-year period has come.
Adeyeye said that, in spite of the agreement on the ban on alcohol in sachet  and pet bottles, it was shocking to NAFDAC that the campaign from manufacturers was mounting.
She said that a lot of issues could have been solved before now, adding that the agency was not against the production of alcohol drinks but alcohol in sachets and pet bottles, to wade off children from unnecessary access.
“The World Health Organisation  had a resolution in 2010,  in which Nigeria was a co-signer,  that each country will have alcohol that is less reachable and less accessible to the youth, and nothing has been done about that until now.
“It is very unfortunate we are where we are now because the children who are used to taking alcohol will also become vulnerable to drug abuse.”
Adeyeye said that as a result of the alcohol in sachets, about “30 per cent of our children now take alcohol casually.”
She, however, said  the market that was going to be lost, as expressed by the manufacturer, would be about 30 per cent because such could be easily concealed in the pocket.
Mr Segun Ajayi kadilimni, Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN),  however, said there was no major basic disagreement between it and  NAFDAC.
He added that MAN remained  committed to protecting the youth and children from accessing alcohol.
Kadilimni said  the issue remained how to protect the under aged saying:  “we have realised that there is a process to get there but banning the product will be counterproductive.”
According to him, this is because you are going to open the market to producers of illicit drugs, and these are people you cannot control.
“I believe if we work together, we will be able to eradicate underage access. These sachets are not produced for children but for adults, and they have been warned not to consume them.”

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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