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Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100m hectares of degraded landscape achievable – Buhari



Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100m hectares of degraded landscape achievable – Buhari

… As Ex-Minister seeks better healthcare system***

President Muhammadu Buhari says Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.

The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement on Monday, said President Buhari expressed the optimism at the Climate Change Summit, COP 26, side event on the Great Green Wall (GGW), on Monday in Glasgow, Scotland.

The event was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Prince of Wales, and Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

The Nigerian leader said it was noteworthy that the meeting was tailored towards ameliorating the problems of land degradation, desertification, depletion of the forest ecosystems and biodiversity in Africa.

The president, who was speaking on the theme of the event, “Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall initiative”, said:

‘‘With all hands on deck and concerted efforts at land restoration by African leaders, I am optimistic that Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable.

‘‘Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that Nigeria will soon be assuming the leadership of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall.

‘‘Nigeria pledges her unalloyed commitment to expanding the achievements of the GGW programme in Africa from the enviable status attained under the leadership of His Excellency, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

‘‘Together we commit to the transformative process of restoring the African degraded landscape and ultimately the continent’s environment.”

President Buhari recounted that one of the major outcomes of the fourth edition of the One Planet Summit on Biodiversity, organized by the French Government in Paris, France on Jan. 11, 2021, was the pledge of 19.6 billion dollars by the coalition of international communities to upscale the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative in Africa.

He, therefore, appreciated the international partners for bringing environmental issues in Africa to the limelight.

The president described the Biodiversity Summit as a direct response to the request for support by African leaders to the global communities on addressing Africa’s environmental challenges.

‘‘Since the pledges by the financial partners, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has continued to give technical backstopping to the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall through the establishment of Great Green Wall Accelerator for the 2021- 2030 Decennial Priority Investment Plan for the Great Green Wall programme.

‘‘This is to fast-track the implementation process with the prime purpose of translating the pledged financial resources of 19.681Billion United States Dollars into hectares of land restoration and other livelihood improvements at various country levels,’’ he said.

While highlighting Nigeria’s role in actualising the land restoration initiative, Buhari told the side event held on the margins of COP 26 World Leaders Summit that the country participated in drafting and harmonizing the Results Framework for the Accelerator with five cardinal pillars to address the 2021- 2030 Decennial Priority Investment Plan ambition of the Great Green Wall.

According to him, the five cardinal pillars include the restoration of 100 million hectares of degraded land; sequestration of 250 million tonnes of carbon; creation of 10 million green jobs; resilient economic development in the various Member States as well as capacity strengthening and development.

On the margins of COP26, President Buhari accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Environment (State), Petroleum (State), Power (State), the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Sarafa Tunji Isola and the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari toured the Nigerian Pavilion.

At the Pavilion, according to the presidential aide, President Buhari held a bilateral meeting with the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Mr Ibrahim Thiaw.

”They exchanged views on the challenges of desertification, along with climate change and loss of biodiversity in Africa, need to recharge the Lake Chad and the UNCCD support for the GGW initiative,” Shehu revealed.

President Buhari stressed that Nigeria’s approach in addressing the physical and socio-economic aspects and effects of desertification, drought and climate change would prioritise the education of the local communities and the use of technology.

In his remarks, Thiaw, while congratulating Nigeria’s imminent presidency of the Heads of State and Government of the Pan African Agency of the GGW, said the world is looking up to President Buhari for leadership.

He said 11 countries including Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eretria, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan had been selected as intervention zones for the Great Green Wall.

He expressed confidence that the implementation of the GGW initiative would prevent and reverse degradation of the ecosystem in the affected countries while improving the living conditions of the affected communities.

Nigeria is among the 193 countries that have ratified the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

The goal of the Convention, as defined by its Article 2, is to ‘‘combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa.

This can be achieved through effective action at all levels, supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.

In the meantime, a former Minister of Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, on Monday called for the political will and commitment toward the improvement of healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.

Grange made the call at the 11th Annual Virtual Conference of the Society for Quality in Healthcare in Nigeria (SQHN), in Lagos.

The newsmen report that the theme of the conference is: “The Future of Healthcare in Nigeria”.

The 2021 SQHN conference aimed to highlight existing challenges within the health sector and proffer solutions for improvement.

Grange emphasised the need for prioritisation of the healthcare system by policymakers in the country.

She said it had become necessary for the government to increase its allocation, investments in and funding of the health sector.

The ex-minister said this was in view of the huge treatment gap and lapses in the sector as exposed by the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to her, the government needs to display its commitment by enacting and enforcing policies that will enhance healthcare service delivery in Nigeria.

“The budgetary allocation to major sectors like health and education needs to be reviewed upward.

“No nation can survive without adequate funding of its education and health sector and as the wise saying goes; health is wealth,” she said.

Prof. Joseph Ana, Lead Senior Fellow, African Centre for Clinical Research and Patient Safety, highlighted in his presentation the need to focus on the patients’ safety, support of the healthcare workers and elevation of the healthcare system.

Ana, also the Keynote Speaker at the conference, called for the national implementation of the 12 Pillars of Clinical Governance.

This, he said, promotes patient and family involvement in care, clinical audits, systematic quality programmes and accreditation among others as solutions to address national healthcare problems.

He recommended visionary leadership, patient-centred care, a motivated workforce among others for organisations willing to start off quality improvement.

Ana emphasised the importance of measurement, using data and key performance indicators, to drive improvement.

“Scaling quality improvement and clinical governance efforts would require impacting cultural rules, laws and policies as well as replication of knowledge among the key stakeholders.

“Digital health approaches such as telemedicine, use of electronic medical records, inventory management systems are vital for quality improvement but the focus must always be on the needs of the patients and how they will benefit,” he said.

Earlier, the President of SQHN, Dr Wole Abiodun-Wright, in his opening remarks, spoke on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and globally.

He said that the Society adapted by converting most of her programmes and services from physical to virtual mode of delivery.

Abiodun-Wright also highlighted the effort that the Society had made to develop health facility standards approved by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare in 2020.


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Tiger’s Tail: PDP reverses decision on Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, others



Tiger's Tail: PDP reverses decision on Ortom, Fayose, Anyim, others

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Damagum has reversed the referral of Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State to the party’s National Disciplinary Committee.

The NWC, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja on Thursday, also reversed the suspension of former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Pius Anyim, and others.

Ologunagba said that the PDP met on Thursday and extensively discussed recent developments in the party.

He said that the NWC recognised the imperativeness of total reconciliation among party leaders and critical stakeholders for a more cohesive party, in the overall interest of its teeming members and Nigerians in general.

“Consequent upon the above, the NWC reverses the referral of Gov. Ortom to the National Disciplinary Committee.

“The NWC in the same vein reverses the suspension of the following under-listed members of our great Party:

“Ibrahim Shema (Katsina State); Fayose (Ekiti State) Anyim (Ebonyi State); Prof. Dennis Ityavyar (Benue State) and Dr. Aslam Aliyu (Zamfara State)”.

Ologunagba said the decision was without prejudice to the NEC powers to take necessary disciplinary action against any party member at any time, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the PDP (as amended in 2017).

“The NWC charges all leaders, critical stakeholders and teeming members of our Party across the country to be guided by the provisions of the PDP Constitution (as amended in 2017) as well as the new spirit and necessity of reconciliation, unity and harmony in our Party at this critical time.”

Ologunagba said the PDP must remain focused as it continued to take every necessary action to recover its alleged stolen mandate and that of its Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, through the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.

The PDP NWC under the suspended National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, had on March 24 referred Ortom to the party’s disciplinary committee.

The NWC also suspended Shema, Fayose, Anyim, Ityavyar and Aliyu, alleging anti-party activities in the 2023 general elections.

Ayu was, however, on Sunday suspended by the executive members of his ward, Igyorov Ward of Gboko Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State, which he described as an exercise in futility.

He was suspended over alleged anti-party activities, failure to pay his annual subscription fees, and failure to vote during the just-concluded elections, among other offences.

The party, on Tuesday, appointed Deputy National Chairman, North, Damagum as its acting National Chairman in obedience to a Monday court order restraining Ayu from parading himself as the party’s national chairman.

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EFCC, ICPC to respond in Keyamo’s suit against Atiku Abubakar 



EFCC, ICPC to respond in Keyamo’s suit against Atiku Abubakar 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, indicated its intention to respond in a suit filed by Festus Keyamo against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Feb. 25 poll.

This was also as Oluwakemi Odogun, lawyer to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), told Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja of the commission’s plan to file its response in the case.

 Keyamo, a spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), had instituted the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2023 against Abubakar over allegations bordering on money laundering.

Also joined as defendants in the suit include the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), ICPC and the EFCC as 2nd to 4th defendants respectively.

Keyamo had earlier asked law enforcement agencies to arrest Abubakar based on an audio recording released by Michael Achimugu, his former aide.

In the audio, the former vice-president was alleged to have explained how shell organisations were set up to divert public funds.

 Justice Omotosho had, on March 7, threatened to strike out the suit over Keyamo’s inability to diligently prosecute the case.

Upon resumed hearing, Keyamo’s counsel, Okechukwu Uju-azorji, informed that the matter was slated for hearing.

Uju-azorji said that the former vice president, the 1st defendant, served on him a preliminary objection and that they had responded.

The lawyer said Abubakar, however, was not represented in court today to take his application.

He prayed the court for an adjournment to enable the 1st defendant take his objection.

Counsel to the EFCC, Senami Adeosun,, who also prayed the court for a short time to enable them file their process in the suit, said they were still within time to respond.

Odogun, who represented ICPC, spoke in the same vein.

“We were served on March 15 with the originating processes. We sought an adjournment since we are within time to file,” she said.

The judge adjourned the matter until April 18 for hearing of the pending preliminary objection.

Omotosho, who ordered that hearing notices be issued to Abubakar and CCB, that were not represented in court, directed that parties interested in filing any application should do so before the next adjourned date.

In a preliminary objection filed by Abubakar’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the ex-vice president sought an order striking out or dismissing the suit for being incompetent and want of locus standi.

The lawyer, who argued that the suit be dismissed for want of jurisdiction, said the case failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action against his client.

But Keyamo, in a counter affidavit deposed to by Henry Offiah, a litigation clerk in his chamber, averred that the CCB, ICPC and EFCC failed to respond to the allegations he raised against Abubakar and indeed failed to take any steps to invite or arrest him for the purpose of investigating the allegations against him.

He said on Jan. 16, he wrote a petition to the three agencies requesting them to invite the former vice president for the purpose of conducting investigations into the said allegations.

 He said that they refused to commence any form of investigation with respect to the allegations leveled against him

Keyamo said he was aggrieved and instituted the present action on Jan. 20.

“The allegations made against the 1st defendant (Abubakar) are the subject matter of the investigation sought by the plaintiff and the plaintiff seeks reliefs against the 1st defendant,” the document read.

He said it was in the interest of justice for the court to dismiss Abubakar’s preliminary objection.

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Keyamo Petitions SSS, Demands Arrest of Obi, Baba-Ahmed for Inciting Comments



Keyamo Petitions SSS, Demands Arrest of Obi, Baba-Ahmed for Inciting Comments

Mr. Festus Keyamo has petitioned the State Security Services (SSS), demanding the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed for making incendiary comments on television.

Keyamo Minister of State for Labour and Employment and also a spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) made copies of the petition available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.

He described comments made on television by Obi and Baba-Ahmed, presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively of the Labour Party (LP) at the Feb. 25 election as incendiary and capable of causing rebellion.

In the petition dated March 23, Keyamo noted that: “in a post-election period such as this, there is the need to soothe frayed nerves.’’

He noted that whilst exercising their rights to pursue constitutional means of addressing their grievances, the duo had been going from one television station to the other to make inciting statements.

He stated that the latest of such were comments made by Baba-Ahmed on behalf of himself and Obi on a television station on Wednesday.

He added that the LP’s vice-presidential candidate threatened on television that if the president-elect was sworn in on May 29, it would signal the end of democracy in Nigeria.

“Posing as an accuser, a judge and a jury all by himself, he unilaterally declared the return of the president-elect by INEC as unconstitutional.

“I also have it on good authority that Obi and Baba-Ahmed have camped some youths in a hotel in Abuja for posting inciting messages on social media platforms on daily basis.

“The posts are such that could cause panic and fear within the federation and incite people to riot and cause social unrest,’’ Keyamo stated in his petition.

He noted that while Obi and Baba-Ahmed had submitted election petitions to the courts for adjudication, their conduct and utterances amounted to a subversion of the processes they had instituted in court.

He added that their action was also a subversion of the Constitution and the laid-down processes for addressing disputes and grievances.

“These conducts and utterances are a build-up to something more sinister and it is important you rein them in now.

“These comments and claims are made not just within the boundaries of exercising their rights to freedom of speech but have crossed the line to call for the outright truncation of democracy.

“They have been insisting on the adoption of other processes outside the contemplation of our Constitution.

“In some cases, their privies have even called for the establishment of an Interim Government.

“I submit this petition in my personal capacity as a patriotic Nigerian to invite, arrest, interrogate and if necessary charge both individuals to court for their conducts which amount to incitement and treasonable felony,’’ Keyamo stated.

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