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Bayelsa imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew on waterways, bans 200hp engine boats



Oil Rich Bayelsa borrows N43.6bn to augment 2022 budget as debt hits N169bn

Bayelsa imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew on waterways, bans 200hp engine boats

… As Police confirm death of 2 dumped newborn babies***

As part of measures to curtail sea piracy, kidnappings and other criminal activities, the Bayelsa government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on its waterways.

Gov. Duoye Diri, who announced the measure on Monday evening, at the end of the 12th state security council meeting, held at Government House, Yenagoa, said the curfew on water transportation, which takes immediate effect, is between 7pm and 6am, as he also announced a ban on the use of 200-hp speed boats.

Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, the Special Adviser on Security Matters 1, Mr Akpoebi Agberebi, said, henceforth, no permit would be issued for the use of 200-hp engines, warning that violators would face the full wrath of the law.

He, however, said that there would be concessions for emergency movement, during the curfew hours, while calling on Bayelsa people to feel free to report violators to the state security outfit, Operation Doo-Akpo, on its dedicated phone line 07006464644.

Agberebi also said that the council resolved that communities, whose lands had been acquired by the state government, should desist from any form of protests.

He stated that some communities, still parading themselves as landlords, had been constituting a nuisance by taking the laws into their hands and depriving other citizens their freedom of movement.

Earlier, in his charge to the newly posted Commissioner of Police to the state, CP Benjamin Okolo, Diri expressed the optimism that by his profile, he would add value to the state by curbing crime and criminality.

Diri, urged the new Police boss to synergise, collaborate and partner with sister security agencies, and the state in particular, to achieve zero tolerance of crime.

He said: “Let me welcome our newest member to this council, the Commissioner of Police, Ben Okolo. On behalf of members of the state security council, I welcome you to this meeting.

“We believe by your profile, you would add value to the security council, as well as to our state, and ensure that crime and criminality are brought to zero level.

“The creed of this council is that we have zero tolerance for crime and criminality. So, we welcome you and believe that you will synergise, collaborate and partner with sister security agencies, and with the state government,” he said.

In the meantime, the Police Command in Ebonyi has confirmed the death of two newborn babies, dumped by unknown persons at different locations.

The Command’s Gender Desk Officer, DSP Loveth Okworogbuanya, made the disclosure on Tuesday while visiting one of the crime scenes in Abakaliki.

Okworogbuanya told the newsmen that the dumped babies were boys.

She said that the first baby was found at Kpirikpiri Ogbaga Road and the second baby was at Ogbe Hausa, both in Abakaliki metropolis.

“This morning, I received a phone call from Mrs Grace Chima, Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ebonyi Chapter, that a baby was dumped.

“At the first scene, people told us that a man riding a motorcycle dropped a sack containing a carton at about 12:00 midnight.

“One of the babies was clothed, covered with a mackintosh, and abandoned inside a carton.

“We believe that the babies were delivered yesterday and while we were at the first scene, another information got to us that another baby was abandoned elsewhere.

“Officials of the Ministry of Environment, Women Affairs and Social Development, as well as the police, evacuated the bodies and took them to the cemetery for burial,” she said.

Okworogbuanya described the act as “pure murder and wickedness“.

She disclosed that investigation was ongoing to unravel the suspects.

Meanwhile, the Ebonyi Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Deborah Okah, who also confirmed the incident, told newsmen that investigation was ongoing to arrest perpetrators of the acts.


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Health and Safety

Maternal Mortality: 82,000 Nigerian Women Die yearly from Pregnancy-related Complications – UNICEF



Maternal Mortality: 82,000 Nigerian Women Die yearly from Pregnancy-related Complications – UNICEF

…. As MMR declines by 34%, or deaths from 342 to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births***

 The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that about 82,000 Nigerian women die yearly from complications from pregnancy or childbirth in the country.

It broke it down to 225 women dying every day from maternal mortality, which requires urgent action from the Federal Government and all stakeholders to halt the menace in the country.

The UNICEF Chief of Health in Nigeria, Dr. Eduardo Celades, disclosed these in Lagos on Wednesday, at a three-day Media Dialogue on COVID-19 and Routine Immunization, organised by UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth.

 From 2000 to 2020, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 34 percent – from 342 deaths to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to UN inter-agency estimates.

On the other hand, the global humanitarian intervention agency revealed that the country was now witnessing eight million childbirths yearly, expressing worry that the situation was not commensurate with healthcare indices in the country.

NAN recalled that the new death rate arising from pregnancy-related complications doubled the figure released by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), just in March 2022, when it said that at least 40,000 women in the country lose their lives to pregnancy-related issues annually.

It also said that over one million children, under the age of five, also die as a result of losing their mothers to pregnancy delivery complications.

But speaking at the media dialogue, Celades said that Nigeria has a very high rate of maternal mortality at the moment, stating that the global maternal mortality report from 2000 to 2020, was recently launched as the source.

According to him, the new figures which he said were received, will help UNICEF in its response to health challenges in the country.

He said: “In the last few months and weeks, we got new data. The report is telling us that the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is very high. About 82,000 are estimated to die every year from maternal mortality.

“What we are doing is to strengthen primary health care in the country.

“We hope that the data would help us in our response and the response with the government in Nigeria.

“The other one is the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), an analysis where there is the main issue and how we can face them.

“The other new data is the global maternal mortality trends, 2000 to 2020. This is a new report that was launched a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to share that with you because we think this could influence how we work and define how we work with the government so that we can all align and we can have a common narrative.

“We think that this is the new way of working. We are learning and we are trying to innovate. Nigeria is one of the most complex countries in the world in terms of public health issues facing it.

“It is the second country in the world with more zero-dose children–the ones that have not had any single vaccine. It is the country in the world with high maternal mortality.

“Last year was the biggest outbreak in the world and Nigeria has an extremely weak health system. So, we are trying to think from different angles because we at UNICEF and the UN cannot move alone. To do that, we need the government to work with journalists and social media influencers to make the change that is needed.”

He said that UNICEF is planning to launch antigenes virus vaccines in the country soon, noting that the vaccine would immunise children against some childhood diseases.

He said that the country is moving towards the attainment of SDG three, but, its current pace is insufficient to meet the targets.

“Maternal mortality is not going down. Maternal mortality is the same. We have seen that it has reduced by about 12 percent in the last 20 years but it is not enough if we want to achieve the target.

“So, from UNICEF, our main approach is to try to accelerate interventions to make an impact. Now, we have seven more years to 2030 and we are halfway. If we continue like this, some donors will leave in the next few years, so we have a window of opportunities,” he explained.

He called for an increase in effective investments in primary healthcare, at the state level as well as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The second one is that now, we have a very powerful tool to get Universal Health Coverage, (UHC). To reduce maternal mortality, we must focus on National Health Insurance. So I appeal for expansion of the National Health Insurance as much as we can.

“We must invest in the most vulnerable. We appeal to the state governments to allocate resources and with partners, we will allocate enough resources to that.

“Our third appeal is to target the most vulnerable, those women who don’t have access in the most hard-to-reach areas and in the more inaccessible places. We need to invest in getting into these areas,” he said.

He disclosed that UNICEF was working in collaboration with the Nigerian Governors Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch what he described as Leadership Challenge.

“The challenge is called the Primary Healthcare Leadership Challenge and the idea is to recognize and reward state governments that are investing more in primary health care.

The launch, he said, would attract different categories of awards with US$200 million as the highest to states that would win from the six geopolitical zones of the country.

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Health and Safety

FG, IOM evacuate 128 more irregular Nigerian migrants from Libya



FG, IOM evacuate 128 more irregular Nigerian migrants from Libya

The Federal Government and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday evacuated 128 more Nigerian migrants living illegally in Libya to Nigeria under its voluntary evacuation exercise.

The stranded Nigerians, who were evacuated from the Libyan capital, Tripoli, are expected to arrive at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday evening.

Amb. Kabiru Musa, the Charge D’affiares en titre of the Nigerian Mission in Libya disclosed this in a statement made available to the press on Wednesday in Abuja.

The 128 evacuees were the second batch of stranded Nigerians repatriated by the Federal Government and IOM within 24 hours, following the resumption of the Nigerian government, IOM voluntary repatriation exercise.

“IOM Libya airlifted 128 stranded Nigerians from the capital, Tripoli to Lagos today, 29th march 2023 aboard chartered flight no. UZ189.

“They are expected to arrive at Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos at 17.40 hours the same day.

“Just yesterday (Tuesday), we airlifted 151 stranded Nigerians, who safely arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and have been reunited with their families,” he said.

According to him, the Federal Government remains committed to evacuating whoever is ready to leave that country under the IOM voluntary repatriation exercise.

“The Mission is also always open to facilitating the return of stranded Nigerians living here who are willing to return home.

“Last year, the Federal Government evacuated almost 4,000 stranded Nigerians here and we hope to evacuate more this year,” Musa said.

Musa said that the next evacuation would be from Misrata, Libya on April 18.

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Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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