​COVID-19: Kano govt shuts hospital for attending to severe COVID-19 cases

Kano state government has shut down UMC Hospital in the state capital to check the excesses of its management for allowing the admission of severe cases of COVID-19 instead of referring them to designated isolation centres in the state.

The state commissioner for information, Malam Muhammad Garba stated this on Tuesday in Kano following a visit to the hospital.

“What the hospital did was parallel to standards set by the state Task Force on COVID-19 that requires such a facility to attend only to mild cases of the disease.

“As a result of its inaction, two confirmed patients with severe cases died, one at the facility and another on the way to the hospital.

Malam Garba, who was in the company of the commissioner for health, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa during a visit to the hospital, said it would remain closed pending resolution of the matter between the management and the state government.

He further stated that two other patients with severe cases of the disease have since been transferred to the designated isolation centre, while other patients on admission have been taken to Malam Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and Muhammadu Abdullahi Wase Specialist Hospital.

​FG, SSANU, NASU meeting ends in deadlock

The meeting between the Federal Government team and the non-teaching staff in the universities under the umbrella of Joint Action Committee, JAC, ended Tuesday without any resolution of the contentious issues.

Recall that JAC comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU had threatened to shut down the universities starting from February 5 if the government failed to address some of the concerns they raised.

Among the concerns include the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, which the unions complained that they were having problems with since they migrated into the platform, the non-payment of arrears of minimum wage since April last year, the disparity in the sharing of the N40 billion Earned Allowances in which the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU was allocated 75 per cent of the total sum leaving 25 per cent for three unions and the alleged usurpation of the functions of the non-teaching staff by the ASUU members.

In a bid to save the universities from the impending strike, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who is the conciliator between the government and the unions convened a meeting in his office in Abuja.

However, Vanguard learned that the meeting ended without any resolution of the burning issues.

A source present at the meeting told one of our correspondents that the union members had to request for adjournment when it was clear to them that the government had nothing on the table for the amicable settlement of the contending issues.

The source said, “On the issue of the arrears of minimum wage, they said there is no date for payment

” On the IPPIS, they have formed a committee among the unions to go and sit down with the IPPIS to sort out the nagging issues.

“As we discovered that there was practically nothing forthcoming from the government, we tactically asked for an adjournment so that we can go and meet our people because the issue of minimum wage arrears is one of the major issues and the IPPIS thing. If those things are not ready so what are we discussing?

“We told them we are going to meet with our people if we can get fresh mandate to continue with the discussion.

” They requested that we should communicate back to Government within 48 hours.”

The source said the issue of Earned Allowances was never discussed at the meeting.

​World Bank suspends DR Congo school funding over fraud

The World Bank said Monday it was suspending a first tranche of $100 million in a programme to fund free schools in DR Congo over “fraud and corruption” in the country’s education sector.

Directors at the development lender had signed off last year on $800 million of funding for free primary schooling, a flagship project of President Felix Tshisekedi.

But in a report published in November, the DRC’s Inspector General of Finances “revealed a number of shortcomings and alleged cases of fraud and corruption in connection with the use of public funds in the sector, as well as weaknesses in internal controls,” the World Bank said in a statement.

“The disbursement scheduled for December is currently on hold, while the World Bank similarly exercises its own fiduciary responsibility,” the institution added, saying it was “working closely with the Congolese authorities”.

In its report, the IGF said it found fake invoices, lists of teachers stuffed with fake names at non-existent schools, as well as the suspected embezzlement of 63 billion Congolese francs ($31 million).

Trade union sources told AFP that two senior civil servants in the education system singled out by the report, including the head of teachers’ payroll, were in pre-trial detention.

“These two added large numbers of non-teachers to the payroll system on a regular basis,” said Jean-Bosco Puna of the National Catholic Teachers’ Union.

Tshisekedi’s education push saw four million new pupils sign up during the 2019-20 academic year, although the coronavirus pandemic forced a pause in teaching for six months.

Schools and universities had to close for a second time in December after reopening two months before.

The free schools programme was estimated to cost $2.6 billion when it was launched, more than one-third of the DRC’s annual budget for 2021 — even as other public goods like hospitals and roads are lacking.

Most of the DRC’s 87 million people are under the age of 20.


​‘El-Rufa’i did not abandon me,he makes sure I’m kicking,’ – ex Dep Gov

A former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Arch. Bala Barnabas Bantex,has said that he still meets with his former bossfrequently who makes sure that he iskicking.

Bantex who was a deputy governor during the first term of the El-Rufai led All Progressives Congress, APC, government in the state,is now living a quite life and had not spoken publicly, for a while.

However, in a brief encounter with journalists weekend, he revealed that he still enjoyed lots of goodwill and respect from the governor.

” It is not possible to be a Deputy Governor to the State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa’i, and be finished,” he said.

Commenting on the series of engagements by the APC in the state, Bantex said that all was well.

The Southern Kaduna born politician was at the Zone 3 All Progressives Congress, APC, stakeholders engagement Committee meeting to discuss on the success of the party registration, in Kafanchan.

He said there was no way you can be a deputy Governor to El-Rufai’ and be finished. ” That it was not possible,” he said.

” For some of you, you think I am finished for 2-years out of government, I am still kicking. Forget that the President is working about something.”

” My interest is so minute and nothing can compare to the interest of Kaduna State.”

” I meet with the governor frequently and he makes sure that I am kicking,” he said.

Bantex,a grassroots mobilizer ,resigned as Deputy Governor in 2019to contest the Southern Kaduna Senatorial seat .

He however,lost to the PDP candidateduring the general election.