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Nigeria @61: Tackle Insecurity, Eze Ndigbo Ghana Tells FG – The Tide

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As Nigeria celebrates 61st Independence anniversary, the Eze Ndigbo Ghana and Assistant Publicity Secretary, Ndieze Ndigbo in the Diaspora, Dr Chukwudi Ihenetu, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to add more pep to the fight against insecurity across the country.
In recent days, insecurity has worsened across the nation as the country turned into killing field, with gunmen killing and vandalizing vehicles and properties of innocent Nigerians.
People are reportedly being killed in their homes, farms, school children kidnapped and houses burnt by miscreants.
In a statement, Ihenetu, who has won several peace awards for his mediation in crisis between Nigerian traders and Ghana Trade Union, said this was not the Nigeria our founding fathers dreamt of, adding that in their graves, they will turn and weep at the state Nigeria suddenly found herself.
He said: “It is sad that Nigerians are dying every day like fowl. This is uncalled for because it is also discouraging Nigerians in the Diaspora from coming home to invest and to bring investors here. It is pulling Nigeria backward as people loose their loved ones to death almost on daily basis.
“This development is not good for a sovereign nation like Nigeria. President Buhari should, please, use this occasion of Nigeria’s Independence celebration to tackle insecurity headlong. He should also protect lives and property of Nigerians,” he said.
While congratulating Nigerians on this occasion, Ihenetu said even though insecurity was a global problem not limited to Nigeria, the Federal Government should work with its neighbours, especially in the areas of intelligence gatherings so that criminals from other countries will not infiltrate our country as this could worsen the problem.
Ihenetu also called on the Federal Government to tackle unemployment, work on infrastructures and provide steady energy through electricity supply.
“Like the popular adage, an ‘idle hand is the devil’s workshop’. When thousands of youths roam the streets without meaningful source of income, it becomes easy for them to be enticed with small amount of money. But if they are engaged through adequate job creation which can only be possible under peaceful atmosphere, investors can come here, establish industries, employ most of these youths, and rate of crime will naturally come down. So, I am calling on local, state and federal governments to jointly do all they can to secure the country and rescue it from the grip of nihilists who are bent on pulling it down.”
Going down memory lane, Ihenetu recalled that Nigerians were once described as the happiest people on earth because of the nation’s peacefulness after the civil war as the country witnessed oil boom.
“Then, Nigeria used to be destination of neighbouring countries, who come here to hustle. Sadly today, reverse is the case as many of our productive youths travel out in droves in other to get daily bread.”
He said all the sweet memories have since been wiped out by insecurity with its ugly consequences of sorrow and death.
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An expert in family planning, Dr. Ejike Oji, has called on the federal and state governments to put more efforts in ensuring the attainment of the “FP 2030” goal in family planning.
The goal, which is for 120million married women and girls to have access to quality family planning services that are of right-based, was a target set by over 65 countries under the auspices of UNFPA, Bill Gates Foundation, and DFIDs, first in 2012, and reviewed in 2020.
Oji, who made the call during a recent Family Planning 2030 recommitment process consultation meeting with sub-national CSOs, youths, interfaith, women groups and the media, in Port Harcourt, stated the need for governments at all levels to take family planning more seriously.
“My advice to the government is that they should take family planning seriously, not just at the federal level, but also at the sub-national”, he said.
He, however, lamented the current situation in which, according to him, it was only at the national level that something was really being done on family planning.
“In fact, if there’s anything being done for family planning, it’s actually at the federal level. This (state) level, not much is being done. Most of the states don’t even have the line items for family planning. So, they depend on the Federal Government”, he said.
According to Oji, states do not have resources to “cover supply even when they get the commodities to make sure the last mile is taken care of”.
He explained that this means ensuring that each of the family planning services gets to the women wherever they are.
Towards this end, Oji said: “What we have proposed in this recommitment process is that both at federal and state levels, we should budget, at least, 1per cent for whichever budget we have put on health, put it on family planning. That way, we will be able to meet all the needs of family planning services”.
He also used the opportunity to call on all CBOs and CSOs to focus on more advocacies to government, and possibly “push government to do the right thing”.
More importantly, he said: “When we admit and agree to the commitments we have made, we make sure that we hold everybody accountable: the donors, international non-governmental organizations, as well as implementing donors, and also hold ourselves accountable to ensure that we do what we have committed to do”.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently withdraw the impermissible conditions imposed on Twitter pending the final determination of the suit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja challenging the legality of the suspension of Twitter, to allow the court to render a decision on the central issues in the case, and protect the plaintiffs’ rights and interests.”
Buhari had stated in his address to mark Nigeria’s 61th Independence anniversary, that the Federal Government would only lift the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, if certain conditions, including concerns around national security, are met.
The address also seems to suggest that even when the suspension is lifted, Nigerians will only be allowed to use Twitter “for business and positive engagements.”
In an open letter dated October 2, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The conditions imposed on Twitter while the ECOWAS case is pending constitute an interference with the right of SERAP and other plaintiffs to fairly and effectively pursue a judicial challenge to the decision by your government to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.”
SERAP said: “The conditions make a mockery of the case pending before the ECOWAS court, and create a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced in this case. Protecting the right to a judicial recourse and due administration of justice is of utmost importance, being the cornerstone of an ordered society.”
According to SERAP: “Imposing impermissible conditions on Twitter would undermine the rights and interests of the Plaintiffs in the ECOWAS court case filed against your government, as the conditions directly touch on the central issues of freedom of expression and access to information, which the court is set to determine and rule upon.”
The letter, read in part: “Pushing conditions on Twitter while the ECOWAS case is pending would prejudice the interests of the Plaintiffs, undermine the ability of ECOWAS court to do justice in the case, damage public confidence in the court, and prejudice the outcome of the case.
“It is in the public interest to keep the streams of justice clear and pure, and to maintain the authority of the ECOWAS court in the case. If not immediately withdrawn, the conditions would seriously undermine Nigeria’s international human rights obligations including under ECOWAS treaties and protocols, and have serious consequences for the public interest.
“Given that the only way in which SERAP and other plaintiffs can have a fair and effective access to justice is to allow the court to decide on the merits of the case before it, fairness and justice must, on the facts of the ECOWAS case, outweigh any stated national security conditions.
“Your government should allow the ECOWAS Court to decide these issues, especially as the Federal Government has made the arguments on national security before the court.
“The core of the principle of judicial independence is the complete liberty of the judge to hear and decide the cases before them on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any improper interference, direct or indirect.
“The principle of the independence of the judiciary has also been enshrined in the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, endorsed by the General Assembly in 1985.
“The principles provide, inter alia, that it is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the Judiciary (principle 1); that judges shall decide matters before them impartially without any restrictions or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason (principle 2); and that there shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process (principle 4).
“SERAP, therefore, urges you to urgently withdraw the conditions imposed on Twitter, and to allow the ECOWAS court to decide on the suit brought by SERAP and other plaintiffs challenging the legality of the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria. Judgment in the suit is fixed for January 20, 2022.”
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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that the country must, as a priority, strengthen public health institutions because Nigerians who cannot afford medical treatment overseas don’t deserve to die.
The governor maintained that it was the primary responsibility of any government to ensure equitable access to basic healthcare for the citizens, especially the poor and most vulnerable in society, adding that with the investment by his government, healthcare has been made accessible to the poor and most vulnerable in the state.
Wike made the assertion after inspecting ongoing construction work at the multi-billion Naira Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre; the Basic Clinical Sciences and Clinical Sciences, the Renal and Pathology Departments for the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, last Saturday.
The governor said the state government’s huge investment in the tertiary hospital and public health infrastructure was aimed at making the state the hub for medical tourism in the country.
Wike remarked that any government that recognises the centrality of public health and its critical role in nation building will, as a priority, strengthen public health institutions so that those who cannot afford to seek medical treatment overseas don’t die.
“How many people can afford travelling overseas? We have all it takes to improve on our health sector, to provide the necessary facilities. We have our doctors; all we need to do is training and retraining them. Look at Government House Hospital (Port Harcourt), look at how people troop in there, because the basic facilities are there and the doctors are willing, committed to work because of the environment they have found themselves.
“If you give our people the required environment and give them the facilities, the tools to work with, there is no need for us travelling to overseas. When people come to Government House Clinic, they look at the facilities and say is it not what we see overseas. So, we can replicate it here in Nigeria.”
The governor declared that government must make it a priority to provide incentives and creation of an enabling environment that can help ensure that doctors and other medical experts do their job well.
“So, my own motivation is that if I have opportunity to travel overseas, what about others who do not have the opportunity to travel overseas? Must they die simply because they don’t have opportunity? It is the obligation of government to make sure that our citizens are given the best in terms of protecting their lives. It is the responsibility of government to protect lives.
“So, for me, it is our responsibility, and so, we must do everything we can to see that we save the lives of our people by making sure that our healthcare delivery system is working, and the doctors are also given the best for them to work.”
Wike described the quality of work at the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, as very satisfactory.
He disclosed that the contractor, Julius Berger, was working assiduously to meet the deadline for the completion the project.
He explained that the ongoing construction work at the Basic Clinical Sciences and Clinical Sciences; Renal and Pathology Departments buildings were required to make the Rivers State University a full-fledged teaching hospital.
He further said the state government was not owing the contractors handling the Renal Centre, Pathology Department, Basic Clinical Sciences or the Clinical Sciences buildings of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
He charged the institution to ensure that all the contractors work towards the completion of the project by May, 2022.
“We have spent so much money in the health sector, and we believe that our people at the end of the day will appreciate what we have been able to commit to health. For us, giving Rivers people the best has always been our priority. All I pray is that the contractors should meet up the time”, Wike added.
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