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Senate summons Buhari Minister, Adewole

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Senate summons Buhari Minister, Adewole

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The Senate has mandated its Committee on Health to conduct an emergency investigative hearing on the state of healthcare services in teaching hospitals and report back within a week.

This followed a motion by Sen. David Umaru (APC-Niger) at plenary on Wednesday.

The Senate summoned the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole to brief it on the current state of facilities and health care services on the teaching hospitals, NAN reports.

The Upper Chamber also urged the Federal Government to immediately adopt short and long term measures that will holistically address the challenges.

Equally, the Senate called on the Federal Government to adopt a policy on subsidising medical expenses of patients with terminal ailments such as cancer and kidney failure.

Presenting the motion, Sen. Umaru, said recent reports of poor quality and high cost of services in the hospitals was worrisome.

He said according to reports, teaching hospitals across the country were burdened with widespread cases of poor electricity supply, obsolete medical equipment and decayed infrastructure among others.

Umaru stressed that the challenges had made it difficult for the hospitals to provide tertiary healthcare for patients with complex ailments such as cancer and kidney failure.

He noted that the teaching hospitals by their mandate were expected to train current and future medical personnel besides providing services on complex health matters.

“Several stakeholders in the health sector have recently raised alarm on declining quality of services in the hospitals amidst cases of overcrowding and lack of adequate funding and personnel.

“It is not news that most teaching hospitals in the country had been overstretched, forcing patients to sleep on bare floors, mats and other unhygienic conditions that put them at risk of contracting other ailments.

“It is worrisome that patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer and kidney failure are now compelled to travel long distances to access chemotherapy and dialysis at very high cost.

“This is due to the absence of the requisite medical equipment for such services within their vicinity,” he said.

Contributing, Sen. Matthew Uroghide(PDP-Edo), commended Umaru for sponsoring the motion.

He said to tackle the problems faced by the hospitals, it was important to note that they were established for research purposes, train medical doctors and attend to complex health challenges.

He expressed disappointment over the deteriorating state of the hospitals, adding that it was a far cry from what it used to be.

“The facts in the motion are under stated, given the fact that there is neglect and no funding.

“Tetfund has been able to provide alternatives funds to schools but the fund is not extended to teaching hospitals, which should not be,” he said.

The lawmaker said among other things, measures should be put in place to provide extra funding for the hospitals, to meet with their challenges.

Sen. Ajayi Borofice called for the creation of a directorate to attend to teaching hospitals rather than assigning them to individual directors in the Ministry of Health.

Sen. Sani said the money allocated for overhead cost for most of the teaching hospitals was often below cost of running them.

He lamented that the situation had so deteriorated that in some cases, “patients are forced to buy even syringes.”

Sani called on relevant authorities to consider requests made by joint health workers union highlighted about the state of the teaching hospitals

He said “since the Senate is headed by a medical doc we should do something to save the teaching hospitals.

Sen. Magnus Abe said it was important for the health minister to visit the Senate for a robust discussion on the challenges and the need to change the existing structure of the hospitals.
He stressed that the present structure where chief medical directors were answerable to directors in the ministry of health was bound to fail.

“Why should a CMD answer to a director. The reason that provision is put there I guess is to impose people on the teaching hospitals.

“There should be autonomy for the teaching hospitals. Let us stop unnecessary
bureaucracy that is destroying our institutions.”

He called for the health sector to be fixed to curtail the number of Nigerians who go on health tourism.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki said there was a need for urgent intervention.

“It gives us great concern. No matter how inadequate funding for health is, it is a big shame that patients sleep on the floor.

“It is the issue of corruption. We need to strengthen the office of the Auditor General to check corrupt practices in the MDAs.

“How inadequate can funding be that there is no electricity when these hospitals generate revenue and have government allocations.

“We need to take a look at this matter as soon as possible,” he said.

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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