Obasanjo blames nation’s woes on dumping of good legacies

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lamented that Nigeria lost a generation of development due to the fact that successive governments abandoned some of the good legacies he left behind.

Obasanjo, who was military head of State between 1976 and 1979 and latter elected civilian president between 1999 and 2007 lamented that some of the enduring programmes he established have been abandoned, thus retarding the country’s growth.

He said this at the 10th year anniversary of the African Finance Corporation (AFC), a pan-African investment and trade finance institution, established in the dying days of his administration to bridge Africa’s infrastructure gap while delivering competitive financial returns, robust economic growth and positive social impact in 2007.

He cautioned that the vision of AFC should not be abandoned like others, adding that some of the programmes he conceived and established but which have been abandoned include: The Universal Primary Education (UPE); the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and the National Primary Health Development Agency (NPHDA)

While reacting to a question on where he expects the AFC to be in the next 10 years, he cited a conversation he had with the former Singaporean President Li Yong Kong when he approached him for the secret of his country’s transformation from a third world country to a developed one within a short a time.

His words: “Mr. Li Yong Kong told us that many things were wrong but that while we are thinking of the wrong things, we should also think of the things that were right. In Africa, we’re have done a few things right but we do not continue with them.

“For instance, the UPE was good, the UBE was good because education is the key to development. Did we continue with them? No. We did the primary health care developing agency. It was good. Did we continue with it? No.

“Again, in the Second Republic, when other countries were investing in agriculture, which would make them food sufficient, what did we do? We set up a committee on rice importation instead of rice production and we went to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to request for Letters of credit to import rice.

“We equally swindled the treasury of $5 million, which the perpetrator eventually lost to the American exporters. That action alone sent so many Nigerian investors one of who was a relation of mine to quick death because their businesses were jeopardised.

The former president insisted that Nigeria through some of its actions and inactions, lost a generation of development, but added that if the AFC continues to do the right things like it has done in the past 10 years in spite of the turbulence it faced with the succeeding administrations, “I see the institution becoming the umbrella of Africa in infrastructure financing.”

Culled from Guardian newspaper

Buratai warns Army officers against secret meetings with politicians

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General T.Y. Buratai, says he has received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.

Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations, in a statement Tuesday night, said on the basis of the information, Buratai “has warned such persons to desist from these acts”.

He reminded them that Nigerian Army is a thorough professional, disciplined, loyal and apolitical institution that has clear Constitutional roles and responsibilities.

“Therefore, he seriously warned and advised all officers and soldiers interested in politics, to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith”, the statement added.

“Any officer or soldier of Nigerian Army found to be hobnobbing with such elements or engaged in unprofessional conducts such as politicking would have himself or herself to blame.

“The COAS has further reiterated that the Nigerian Army will remain apolitical and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. 

It was gathered from an impeccable source that Buratai’s statement came on the heels of intelligence reports that some politicians were holding secret meetings with top Army officers due to the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Recall that Buhari, on May 7, travelled to London again for medical treatment.

The source says the warning “became imperative after words got to Army heirachy on nocturnal meetings between top officers and certain prominent politicians”.

“Heads of security agencies must not leave anything to chance; some people may be taking advantage of the C-in-C’s absence to plot what only they can explain. God forbid a coup.

“Expect the DSS and Police to issue similar statement in the coming days. That’s all I would say for now”.

WHO, partners lament high death of adolescents, call for special care

The World Health Organisation has called on governments to include special care for adolescents in their health budgets so as to reduce preventable deaths.

Adolescents are young people in the 10 to 19 years age group.

The call followed a report that showed road traffic injuries as the top cause of death among the age group, causing 115,302 deaths in 2015.

According to the report from the global health agency and its partners released on Tuesday, road traffic injuries, lower respiratory infections, and suicide were the biggest causes of death among adolescents.

The report indicated that more than 3000 adolescents die every day, totalling 1.2 million deaths a year, from largely preventable causes and more than two-thirds of these deaths occurred in low-and middle-income countries in Africa and South-East Asia.

“Most of these deaths can be prevented with good health services, education and social support, but in many cases, adolescent who suffer from mental disorder, substance use, or poor nutrition cannot obtain critical prevention and care either because the services do not exist or because they do not know about them.

“In addition, many behaviours that impact health later in life, such as physical inactivity, poor diet and risk sexual health behaviour, begins in adolescence”, it stated.

Data in the report from Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents, Guidance to Support Country Implementation, revealed stark differences in causes of death when separating the adolescent group by age (younger adolescents aged 10–14 years and older ones aged 15–19 years) and by sex.

According to the data, death from road traffic injuries disproportionately affects older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.

It however stated that communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, lower respiratory infections, meningitis, and diarrhoeal diseases are bigger causes of death among adolescents than road injuries in low- and middle-income countries in Africa.

Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General, WHO, said “adolescents have been entirely absent from national health plans for decades and a relatively small investment focused on adolescents now will not only result in healthy and empowered adults who thrive and contribute positively to their communities, but it will also result in healthier future generations, yielding enormous returns.”

The report said the leading cause of death for adolescent girls aged 10–14 years were lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia often a result of indoor air pollution from cooking with dirty fuels, while pregnancy complications, such as haemorrhage, sepsis, obstructed labour, and complications from unsafe abortions are the top cause of death among 15–19-year-old girls.

Death from suicide and accidental death from self-harm were the third cause of adolescent mortality in 2015, resulting in an estimated 67,000 deaths.

“Self-harm largely occurs among older adolescents, and globally it is the second leading cause of death for older adolescent girls. It is the leading or second cause of adolescent death in Europe and South-East Asia”.

The report also includes the range of interventions – from seat-belt laws to comprehensive sexuality education – that countries can take to improve their health and well-being and dramatically cut unnecessary deaths.

According to the report, there is need to cater for the vulnerable group and intensify adolescent health in humanitarian and fragile settings as young people often take on adult responsibilities, including caring for siblings or working, and may be compelled to drop out of school, marry early, or engage in transactional sex to meet their basic survival needs.

As a result, they suffer malnutrition, unintentional injuries, pregnancies, diarrhoeal diseases, sexual violence, sexually-transmitted diseases, and mental health issue.

Anthony Costello, Director, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, WHO, said improvement in adolescent health can be achieved by improving the way health systems serve adolescents, as is just one part of improving their health.

“Parents, families, and communities are extremely important, as they have the greatest potential to positively influence adolescent behaviour and health”, he said.

To reduce the high death rate of the age group, the health agencies also recommend interventions across sectors, including comprehensive sexuality education in schools; higher age limits for alcohol consumption; mandating seat-belts and helmets through laws; reducing access to and misuse of firearms; reducing indoor air pollution through cleaner cooking fuels; and increasing access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.

They also provide detailed explanations of how countries can deliver these interventions with adolescent health programmes.

Police place N30m bounty on notorious kidnap kingpin, Evans

Police in Lagos, on Tuesday, placed a N30 million bounty on the head of wanted notorious kidnapper, identified simply as Evans.

The state’s Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, told newsmen yesterday, “we are encouraging Nigerians to blow the whistle on this kidnapper. “Whoever blows the whistle that will lead to his arrest will get a N30 million reward, as stated by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.” Operatives of the Lagos State Police Command had traced the wanted kidnapper to his hideout at Igando area of Lagos last Friday, but he fled before their arrival, abandoning a catchment of arms. The recovered arms included four AK-47 riffles; two automatic pistols; four magazines loaded with 60 rounds of ammunitions each; 1,272 ammunition, 59 AK-47 ammunition; a police bullet-proof vest; a Toyota Hiace bus, suspected to be the gang’s operational vehicle, and a motorcycle. Speaking with journalists yesterday, Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, disclosed that another kidnappers den was uncovered at Ijegemo creeks, Festac Town, with the recovering of some arms and ammunition. Like the Igando raid, no arrest was made as the kidnappers, who apparently sighted the operatives from far, fled the creeks in their speed boats. However, he disclosed that two suspects, who were later arrested, confessed to be members of Evan’s kidnap gang. Owoseni said: “Evans has been on the wanted list of the Police in Anambra, Edo and Lagos states, for four years. The suspects arrested have given us valuable information, which the Command is working on to ensure that he is apprehended by all means. “The Command is already doing what is necessary in accordance with the laws of Lagos State on kidnapping. That is by taking over the house used by Evans to keep abducted victims or demolish it.”

I will dump PDP if Sherrif wins at the Supreme Court –Fayose

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has said that he will dump the People’s Democratic Party if the Supreme Court ruling does not favour  the Makarfi-led caretakercommittee in the leadership face-off with Sherrif.

According to a media report by Channels TV, Fayose said this to newsmen on Tuesday while reacting to media reports that he had removed the name and logo of the PDP from his campaign office and mini signposts mounted on Ado and Ikere-Ekiti roads.

Fayose, however, stated that he remains a bona fide member of the PDP until the outcome of the court ruling.

Despite reconciliation efforts, the governor has stated several times that he does not recognise Senator Ali Modu Sheriff as the party’s leader.

On February 17, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt had ruled that the caretaker committee headed by Senator Ahmed Makarfi was illegal and could not act on behalf of the PDP.

Meanwhile, the governor also met with youths in the state where he called for more support for his administration and enjoined them to come out en masse on May 19 to honor the late former Governor of the Southwest region, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo.