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Nigeria Health Workers Are Unfriendly, President Buhari Justifies Medical Tourism to Abroad.

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday attributed the unfriendly attitude of health workers in the country to patients as a factor responsible for medical tourism embarked upon by Nigerians

Buhari, who said this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the official commissioning of an International Conference Centre and Telemedicine hall as well as six other projects at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta, emphasised the need for continuous training and retraining of health workers in order to deliver quality health care services to Nigerians.

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The President who spoke through the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said, “We still get all too often for comfort, disconcerting reports of not friendly attitudes of staff to patients, reports of unhygienic and housekeeping standards that leaves something to be desired even in the presence of sophisticated equipment and well-qualified doctors”.

“Such simple failings like these are more frequently responsible for the loss of confidence of the end-users in our health system than even the lack of equipment”.

“They are the triggers for the distrust that will lead people to go on medical tourism”, he said.

“We have a lot of work to do in that area and I want to believe that the managers of our hospitals after such laudable, fantastic infrastructure investment, we now begin to pay attention, not only to improving staff harmony and welfare but to retraining health caregivers for better professionalism that deliver service in a productive and courteous atmosphere based on the lessons we learnt from our traditional African hospitality”.

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Buhari disclosed that his administration is currently embarking on the infrastructural development of all it’s tertiary hospitals so as to position them for quality health care delivery to the people.

He also disclosed that the National Health Insurance Scheme is awaiting a law that would make the scheme compulsory for every Nigerian.

“We are carrying on infrastructural development at all our tertiary hospitals to position them for quality health care delivery to all persons, the National Health Insurance Scheme is awaiting a new law to make health insurance mandatory,” he said.

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Buhari who noted that his administration is passionate about health care delivery at the grassroots level disclosed that his administration has redesigned the Primary Health Care Centers to now operate for 24 hours daily.

“We are passionate about health care at the grass-root level and it is our policy to have one functional health care centre in every ward of the country, We have redesigned the Primary Health Care Centers to no longer function as a dispensary that opens from 9 am to 5 pm, but as a centre that is open 24hours a day,” he said.

Also speaking, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan noted that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had given the federal government the opportunity to provide additional resources, particularly for infrastructure that will enable Nigeria to address the outbreak of pandemics in future.

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Lawan who was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said the federal government is building 10 bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) centres, 30-bed isolation centres and well equipped, functional molecular laboratories in every of the 52 Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) in Nigeria.

He assured that the bill on the establishment of Ogun State University of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Abeokuta would be passed by the National Assembly before the end of April.

On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila in his speech said, the projects were evidence of the fulfilment of promises made by the government and signified the continued progress of the FMC.

“It is the cardinal responsibility to ensure the welfare and the wellbeing of the people. Providing access to quality health care services that our people can afford is one way we serve their best interest”, Gbajabiamila.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun expressed the willingness of his administration to go into partnership with the federal government and other stakeholders in order to ensure adequate delivery of health care services to the people.

Abiodun while calling on all health institutions in the State regardless of their ownership to strengthen their collaboration and synergy within themselves and the State government, added that his administration will continue to put in place appropriate policies and programmes towards providing efficient and effective health-care for the people.

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“Let me assure the Board, management and staff of FMC, Abeokuta that our administration will continue to support and partner FMC and every other Medical Institution towards providing efficient and effective medicare for our people, the same goes for every other Institution in the other sectors of the economy.

“We appreciate the place of partnership towards the successful and continued implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda in Ogun State, let me, therefore, call on all Health Institutions in Ogun State regardless of ownership, to strengthen their collaboration and synergy within themselves and with the State Government,” he said.

Speaking on the projects, the Medical Director of FMC, Prof. Adewale Musa-Olomu said the centre is the first in the country to have a telemedicine hall.

He said the centre has successfully performed more than 300 brain tumour surgeries since the establishment of the neurosurgical and cardiothoracic units. Musa-Olomu expressed the optimism that, the hospital would be upgraded to a teaching hospital with the establishment of the University of Medicine and Medical Sciences.

Other dignitaries at the event included: former governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora.

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Obasanjo condemns call for Nigeria’s disintegration

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday described calls for the disintegration of Nigeria as unmindful and insensitive to the plight of the minority groups in the country.

Obasanjo made the observation when he received the Tiv Professional Group (TPG) from Benue State, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abeokuta.

The former president recalled a discussion between him and “a military friend”  who, according to him, has described major tribes in the country as selfish and not sufficiently caring for the minority groups.

Obasanjo, who aligned with his friend’s opinion, expressed worry over what would become of the minority groups if the major tribes decided to secede and begin to operate as separate countries.

“If the Yoruba can stand as a country if the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulani can stand as separate countries, where do we want the minority groups to be?

“Now, by virtue of the present situation, they are a little bit protected, but if Nigeria breaks up, they will be oppressed and exterminated,” he said.

He recalled the meetings he had with a number of socio-cultural organizations in September 2020 and noted that nobody at such meeting talked about disintegration or breakup, saying that “all they clamored for was a change for good”.

The elder statesman stressed the need for Nigerian leaders to be mindful of the ethnic diversity of the Nigerian nation, adding that the country would not make any meaningful progress without such consideration.

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Obasanjo, who expressed hope that the rough times that Nigeria was going through would not last forever, urged Nigerians to be patient while the country gathered her goodwill and moved in the right direction.

The leader of the group, Prof. Zacharys Gundv, in a paper he presented to Obasanjo, highlighted the challenges of the nation, including insecurity, poverty religious intolerance, kidnappings, and banditry, among others.

He explained that the Tivs were worried about the skewed narrative of insecurity in Nigeria

Proffering a solution to Nigeria’s challenges, Gundv called on well-meaning Nigerians to be united in serving the country.

He called for intensified advocacy against nomadic pastoralism and an “All Nationalities Summit” to discuss and proffer solutions to Nigeria’s challenges.

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Buhari haunted by his coup plotting past- PDP

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What began as a rumour or idle talk – whispers of a putsch – yesterday gathered a life of its own as state actors kept giving life to the notion, which is turning and turning in the widening gyre.

First was the pledge by the military that it would not overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and head of state whose government has come under strident criticisms over growing insecurity in the country.

In a statement issued by Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the military said it has no intention of taking over power again in Nigeria. This, it said, is because it believes that despite tough times, democracy is the way to go and militarism is no longer fashionable. The army also warned politicians nursing ambition of ruling Nigeria outside the ballot box, saying it would continue to defend the country’s democracy.

“We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the Civil Authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended. We shall continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of the territorial integrity of the country as well as protection of lives and properties of citizens,” the statement said in part.

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This statement was in reaction to agitation by some secessionist and opposition figures for a restructuring of the government, coming two days after the Department of State Services (DSS) also issued same warning.

Immediately after the army’s pledge of loyalty, the Presidency, yesterday, raised the alarm, warning of a subliminal plot by some past leaders working with foreigners to forcefully sack President Buhari from office. However, it did not provide names of the leaders and their cohorts.

The Presidency predicated its conclusion on what it described as ‘unimpeachable’ evidence made available to it by DSS operatives. It, however, warned of dire consequences of such plot, especially where the citizens have opted for democratic rule, saying the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections.

In a statement issued by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the Presidency said: “The Department of State Services (DSS), on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country.

“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership.

“Further unimpeachable evidence shows that these disruptive elements are now recruiting the leadership of some ethnic groups and politicians round the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference, where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President, thus throwing the land into further turmoil.

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“The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections. Nigerians have opted for democratic rule, and the only accepted way to change a democratically elected government is through elections, which hold at prescribed times in the country. Any other way is patently illegal, and even treasonable. Of course, such would attract the necessary consequences.”

In response to the salvo fired by the Presidency, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the allegation that some Nigerians were plotting a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership, as a resort to blackmail in the face of failure. The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, asked Buhari to look closely at his past before accusing it of plot to overthrow democratically elected government.

“Perhaps, the Presidency has forgotten that in 1983, Brigadier Muhammadu Buhari, as he was then known, led a military coup to truncate a democratically elected government thereby causing our nation a huge drawback on democratic governance.”

The PDP said rather than live up to the responsibilities of office by taking charge and securing the nation, “the Presidency is busy engaging in frivolous allegations against Nigerians.”

DESCRIBING the alarm as false and signs of a jittery administration pushing the panic button, a civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked Buhari to quit immediately if the “kitchen has become too hot for him.”

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Bloomberg removes Bill Gates from billionaire list after divorce

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A few hours after announcing his divorce from wife, Melinda, Bloomberg has delisted one of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates, from its billionaire list index.

Gates had, on Monday, announced that he and Melinda who are the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, were splitting after 27 years of marriage.

“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” the duo had shared on Twitter.

“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable people to lead healthy lives,” they added .

Immediately after making the announcement, Bloomberg, an international media conglomerate that provides financial news and information, research, and financial data, yanked Gates off its top billionaires’ list where he usually sits in the top four spots.

On May 2, 2021, Gates was fourth on the index with a net worth of $145 billion, having gained over $13 billion in 2021 alone.

Gates became the youngest ‘American Billionaire’ in 1987 and has been on the Bloomberg’s list ever since.

He has also been a permanent fixture on the Forbes billionaire index, often making the real-time billionaire list

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Gates and Melinda got married in 1994, after he was already named the richest man in America.

The divorce is expected to affect their wealth, but the extent to which this will happen is yet to be known as Forbes is also expected to make its position known in due course.

By Isaac Dachen…

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