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Falana hits Buhari, says Nigerian hospitals now mortuaries

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Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday called on Nigerians to demand improved health care from the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari.

Falana said it was unfair that Buhari “always travels abroad for medical care while the generality of Nigerians have no other choice but to go to Nigerian hospitals that have become mortuaries.”

The lawyer recalled that back in 1984 when Buhari was a military dictator, a human rights activist, the late Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, was detained for six months for agitating for improved health care in the country.

He spoke on Sunday at the 14th Annual Beko Ransome-Kuti Memorial Lecture organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights.

The lecture, titled, “Activist’s participation in politics; a myth or a reality?” was delivered by Prof. Lai Olurode with Mrs Yemisi Ransome-Kuti in attendance.

Falana said, “When this same President, as a military Head of State, came in 1984, December 31, and said our hospitals had been reduced to consulting clinics; it was a confirmation of the struggle of the Nigerian doctors. So, Beko and others thought he meant well and after six months, there was no improvement, they went on strike that paralysed the medical sector.

“Of course, Beko was grabbed, though he was the first Vice-President of the NMA, the regime knew he was the moving force in the NMA. And so, he was detained together with the NMA President then, Dr Akpabio. He was kept in Kirikiri for six months. When the regime became tired, they were released.

“But one thing that is important is this – because we must link events – the man who said hospitals were consulting clinics in 1984 is the President today, those hospitals have become mortuaries. Hence, he flies abroad for treatment at public expense.

“Currently, I have a case at the Court of Appeal, I lost at the high court, to compel the government of Nigeria to give medical treatment to everybody because ori o j’ori (all heads were created equal). If you can go abroad for treatment, you must fix our hospitals to international standards, so that every Nigerian can have quality health care.”

Also, Falana said the hardship currently being experienced by Lagosians following the ban on okada and keke Marwa should be blamed on Buhari, who, in 1983, cancelled the $200m metro line contract signed by then governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.

“We had paid $200m and there was a penalty that if the contract was cancelled, Nigeria would pay colossally. We were dragged to arbitration, I don’t remember the figure now, but we were fined. So, metro line, we don’t have; money we have lost and inconvenience has continued since then.

“So, we also have a right, if we are organised in a civilised manner, to demand from the Abuja people, ‘You must pay back the cost of that metro line that you cancelled; so that we can restore it.”

In his lecture, Olurode called on activists to get involved in politics, stressing that ideals of activists must be institutionalised to be able to endure.

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THE NATION

NYSC solicits NITDA’s support, seeks more ICT centres for its state secretariats

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NITDA DG, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi and NIYSC DG, Shu’aibu Ibrahim. PHOTO: NITDA

By Lukman Oladokun

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has approached the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA to help in replicating the Information and Communication Technology Centre it established at the Federal Capital Territory Secretariat in other state secretariats in order to further strengthen the ICT platform of the Corps.

The NYSC Director-General, Shu’aibu Ibrahim, who was at the NITDA Corporate Headquarters in Abuja, pleaded with NITDA to avail more state secretariats with the opportunity given to the FCT secretariat.

Mr Ibrahim, a brigadier general, recalled that NITDA and NYSC have a long-standing relationship that dated back to when the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, was the Director-General of the agency.

He stated that he wants to strengthen the collaborations that exist between the two government agencies.

Mr Ibrahim noted that strengthening the partnership would assist the Corps to overcome some of the challenges it is facing, especially on checkmating the spread of fake news on social media.

Citing an example with the story of a JSS2 student alleged to have impregnated a Corp member, the NYSC DG described the abuse of social media as worrisome and appealed to NITDA to stem the tide.

“Something has to be done to checkmate the menace of social media to save us from various embarrassments. Things that have happened in the past are now being put forth on social media to look like recent events. People are using the platforms to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

“You can imagine people creating accounts to defraud Corps member that they can help them to be redeployed.”

He called for the arrest of such people to serve as a deterrent to others so as to reduce the menace.

While responding to the NYSC’s request, the NITDA Director-General, Kashifu Abdullahi, assured that NITDA would look into the requests and start the intervention this year.

He said NITDA has done a lot in building the capacity of Corps members serving in the agency but “we can expand it to cover the FCT as a pilot project”.

Mr Abdullahi stated that it is pertinent for the agencies of government to partner together in helping to build the skills of the Corps members because “what most Corps members have is the knowledge and we need to help them in transforming the knowledge to skills so it can be beneficial to them and make them self reliance.”

He added that “NYSC is a gateway organisation that can be used to harness the potential of the youths in the country which will aid the nation in his drive to transform the economy to digital economy.

Mr Abdullahi noted that the agency has built ICT hubs and Digital Job Capacity Centre across the country which he said can be used in transforming knowledge to skills.

He called on the youths not only to use their devices for social media alone as it is distracting and time wastage but to learn skills online and make money.

“Social media abuse is a burning issues that disturbs everyone; we have to work with other government agencies to collaborate on solving the issue. There is need to regulate it and people should be held responsible for whatever content they posted.”

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THE NATION

Magu never said corruption caused Coronavirus, says EFCC

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Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has denied that its chairman, Ibrahim Magu, said coronavirus is caused by corruption.

The EFCC on Tuesday described as “false and misleading”, reports that Magu tied the cause of coronavirus to corruption while delivering his speech at the passing out parade of 281 cadets of the EFCC Detective Inspector Course-5 in Kaduna on Tuesday,

“This information is false and misleading,” the agency said via its Twitter, adding that its chairman only said, “Tackling corruption is a clarion call, given that corruption is a huge burden to the nation. It is worse than Cancer, Ebola Virus, Coronavirus and all other deadly diseases put together.”

But contrary to EFCC’s claim, Magu during the event attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, said: “Corruption is the biggest strategy to humankind. Your excellency, corruption is worse than all the diseases now running about.

“And I strongly believe, Your Excellency, that even the coronavirus is caused by corruption,” he said.

The video below captured the moment Magu made the statement during the passing out parade that was aired on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

“I strongly believe coronavirus is caused by corruption” – Magu, EFCC acting chairman.

Please where do we get these kind of people from? And how do they end up leading us?

Most importantly, how can we throw these set of people away pls? 🤦🤦 pic.twitter.com/HXnLQo4bdm
— Kelvin Odanz (@MrOdanz) February 18, 2020

Since its recent outbreak in Wuhan, China, coronavirus (COVID-19) has killed over 1,800 people across different countries and infected more than 70,000.

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THE NATION

Sacking service chiefs will further destabilise Nigeria, says SGF

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha on Tuesday said that sacking service chiefs will further destabilise Nigeria.

Mustapha declared the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will not sack the Service Chiefs now.

He said there are processes that must be followed to effect their sack.

According to him: “We are in a very difficult time now. We need everybody to be on board. We need synergy within intelligent community, within the military formations that will help fight this war.

“We are in a very difficult situation and when we begin to create cracks and divisions, who will be the beneficiaries?

“The adversaries are the ones that are going to exploit those deficiencies and further the cause of destabilising the nation”.

He spoke with reporters in Abuja after a book presentation titled CAN, Religion, politics and power in Nigeria by former General Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) Engr Samuel Salifu.

The SGF said what government needs is for: “At this moment, what we need is for everybody to be on the same page, fight the battle of securing the nation for protecting lives and property and ensuring that every Nigerian has the opportunity to live a prosperous live. I think that should be our main focus”.

He added: “You don’t sack people like that. There are processes and I believe that at the opportune time, those processes will be followed. You don’t just wake up and say sack people, it doesn’t happen like that”.

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