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FG unveils national biosecurity policy on health, environmental safety



National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) logo

The Federal Government on Tuesday unveiled a National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan, 2022 to 2026, to secure the health of Nigerians and their immediate environments from biological threats.

Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, who unveiled the policy in Abuja, said that the policy would help to sustain socio-economic development across the country.

The Unveiling and Public Presentation of the National Biosecurity Policy and Action Plan (NBP&AP), 2022-2026, was organised by the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA).

Ikeazor said that biosecurity is a strategic and integrated approach that encompasses the policy and regulatory frameworks.

She said that the framework includes instruments and activities that analyse and manage risks in the sectors of food safety, animal life and health, plant life and health which associated environmental risk.

“It focuses on preventing the loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of pathogens, toxins, and other related assets against humans, animals, plants and the environment.

“It also focuses on putting measures in place to mitigate naturally occurring and emerging infectious diseases.

“Biosecurity is more important today than ever before due to the increasing threats of climate change which is altering the range, habitats and spreads of pests and diseases.

“It is estimated that zoonotic infections, transmitted from animal hosts to humans, account for approximately 60 per cent of total infectious diseases in humans, and 75 per cent of all new and emerging infectious diseases.

“The threats posed by pathogens jumping from animals to humans as well as the destruction of the environment cannot be effectively addressed by one sector alone,’’ she said.

Ikeazor said that the development of the policy recognised that a collaborative, multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary approach is key to the mitigation of bio-threats and the success of any national biosecurity intervention.

She noted that the policy is strategically designed as a five-year plan with the intent to identify other several evolving actions that may have not been captured in the document when commencing the implementation.

“Therefore, all implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are tasked to put all hands on deck to ensure that we effectively implement the policy.

“The MDAs should also help support the ministry through the NBMA in evaluating how well we have done in the biosecurity sector, as well proffer critical way forward for the next review of the policy.

“The obligation in the implementation of this policy is that we play our specific roles and synergistically work with each other in line with our respective mandates.

“The mandates are guaranteeing a strong aggregation and unified efforts that will strengthen Nigeria’s National Biosecurity System.

“We must also aggregate our efforts at managerial level in ensuring an improved budgeting and funding mechanism in achieving our strategic plans considering the fact that biosecurity is now a national priority.

“We at the ministry as focal point will as much as we can, consistently advocate for adequate budgetary provisions for different implementing MDAs to help achieve their specific biosecurity roles in line with their mandates,’’ the minister said.

Dr Rufus Ebegba, Director-General of NBMA, said that the draft biosecurity policy and action plan, developed by the agency, institutionalised a harmonised and workable biosecurity system.

Ebegba said that the policy is a fundamental approach to minimising the risks of biological threats to the environment, human health, animal and plants.

He said that the agency`s activity was delivered through a one-health-approach agriculture, environment and human health with full knowledge that bio-threat prevention and control require effective collaboration between relevant stakeholders.

He, however, thanked the minister and other stakeholders for making the policy a reality.

The director-general said that the agency, with collaboration of other relevant stakeholders, would as well ensure that the policy is effectively implemented.

Mr Kevin Tokar, Acting High Commissioner of Canada in Nigeria, said that his country would continue to partner with Nigeria to strengthen the national and regional biosecurity capabilities.

Tokar said that the Canadian government had contributed more than US$ 8 million to strengthen Nigeria`s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to biological threats.

According to him, “our support includes the construction, operation and maintenance of bio-containment laboratories in Lagos and at the National Veterinary Research Institute in Vom, Plateau State.

“Our government will continued its commitment to strengthening biosecurity and health security capacities in Nigeria as well as Africa,” he said.


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N84bn fraud : Senator-Elect Yari Running from Corruption Investigation, Arrest says EFCC Source



Abdulaziz Yari


As the race for the president of the 10th Senate gathers momentum, an aspirant in the Democratic Group of the Senators-Elect, Senator-Elect Abdul-Aziz Yari, has ran to the judiciary to prevent his arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies for corruption cases he was linked with as well as emerging money laundering investigation into his reckless spending in pursuit of his ambition.

It is to this extent that the recent injunction secured by former Governor of Zamfara State is adjudged as being capable of undermining the nation’s image on Anti-Corruption war.

Yari had secured court Injunction before Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Abuja Division of Federal High Court to prevent his re-arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, ICPC, as well as Directorate of State Services, DSS, from re-arresting him.

Yari is currently under investigation on N84 billion fraud involving the former Accountant- General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed which he reportedly benefited N22 billion.

In addition, Yari is under investigation by EFCC over alleged financial infractions of $56,056.75 reportedly lodged in his account with Polaris Bank; N12.9m, N11.2m, $303m, N217,388.04 and $311.8m said to be kept in different Zenith Bank accounts in the name of Yari and his companies.

Sources familiar with the investigations by EFCC stated that the ongoing investigation of the N84 billion fraud by former Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, in which Senator -Elect Yari was linked and previously arrested but released on bail is still pending with more information coming to light on the role of Yari and his associate, one Anthony Yaro of Finex Professional Services believed to be a front that collected N20 billion of the looted fund on behalf of Yari.

The source in EFCC who wants to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to publicly comment on the sensitive case said “with the court order that we read in the newspapers, we may need our Legal Department opinion on what to do”.

He said further that “In addition to new revelations on the massive fraud at the Accountant-General of the Federation’s Office for which some refund has been made, in the EFCC investigations of the ex-governor ofl Zamfara State, Mr. Bello Matawale, the name of Yari has also surfaced in the alleged massive looting of the resources of that poor state under his watch as governor.

We are making efforts to locate him (Yari) for further interrogation in this regard.”

In similar manner, the ICPC was about to invite Senator-Elect Yari for his role in the fraud of Paris Club Refund to governors when he was the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) for which about N500million and $500,000 have been forfeited to the Federal Government.

“The Senator Elect from Zamfara West is a subject of inquiry in our office. Beyond the Paris Club Refund looting, we are also investigating the disclosure that Yari spent at least $700,000 in Saudi Arabia on a trip for lesser hajj which has raised suspicion of money laundering” an ICPC source disclosed on why he may have approached the court to prevent his invitation.

Aside from running to the court to frustrate his imminent re-arrest, Yari is also reportedly planning to go underground in the coming days to prevent possible arrest for questioning days before the inauguration of the 10th National Assembly.

As if the above alleged humongous financial malfeasances were not enough troubles for the Senator-Elect who has remained defiant of the zoning arrangement for the leadership of the 10th Senate by his party, the APC, another source disclosed that the Department of the State Security (DSS) has also unearthed some information that the killings and banditry in Zamfara State may not be unconnected with the gold mining activities of Senator Yari, another source of his unexplained wealth.

Observers are keenly watching how Senator-Elect Yari will free himself from the many tangles he has walked himself into and whether the judiciary will vacate the exparte motion when the matter comes up on Thursday, 8th June, 2023 to allow the security agencies to perform their roles without let or hinderance.

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Fuel subsidy: Edo Join Kwara To Slashes Work Days To Thrice Weekly



Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has reduced civil and public servants’ work days from five days to thrice weekly.

Kwara State earlier took the same step.

This is part of measures to ameliorate the sufferings faced by the people due to the Federal Government’s subsidy removal policy.

“As a proactive government, we have since taken the step to increase the minimum wage paid to workers in Edo State from the approved N30,000 to N40,000, the highest in the country today,” he said in a Tuesday statement.

We want to assure you that we will continue to pay this amount, while we hope to increase it even further if more allocation accrues to our State from the Federal Government in view of the expected savings occasioned by the removal of the fuel subsidy.

“We know the hardship that has been caused by this policy which has radically increased the cost of transportation, eating deep into the wages of workers in the State. Therefore, the Edo State Government is hereby reducing the number of work days that civil and public servants will have to commute to their workplaces from five days a week to three days a week till further notice. Workers will now work from home two days a week.

“Similarly, for teachers and parents, their commuting to school will be reduced as the government is working on deepening the EdoBEST@Home initiative to create more virtual classrooms, thereby reducing the cost of commuting on parents, teachers, and pupils. The Edo SUBEB will provide details on this initiative in the coming days.”

He added, “To lower the rising cost of energy on our people, we will continue to work with the electricity companies in the State to improve power supply to homes and businesses.

“Similarly, fibre optic connections are being made available to help our people work remotely, thereby reducing their cost of transportation.

“While government intensifies these efforts to alleviate the burden of the fuel price increase on the people during this very challenging period, we want to call on everyone to remain calm and go about their daily businesses lawfully.”

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Aircraft Used For Nigeria Air Was Chartered Flight From Ethiopian Airlines — MD



Nigeria Air


The Interim Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Capt Dapo Olumide, on Tuesday, said the aircraft used to unveil the country’s national career was a legitimate chartered flight from Ethiopian Airlines.

He said the aircraft returned to Ethiopian Airlines after the unveiling.

Olumide stated this before the Senate Committee on Aviation.

The Committee members expressed its misgivings towards the unveiling of the national carrier during a meeting with Olumide; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Emmanuel Meribole; as well as heads of aviation agencies.

At the meeting, the Chairman of the Senate Aviation Committee, Senator Biodun Olujimi wondered why the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika hurriedly unveiled a national carrier on the last day of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Also, the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the launch of Nigeria Air is a fraud.

He stated this after meeting stakeholders in the aviation sector who largely denied knowledge of the launch.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Aviation said Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched.

Responding to the Committee, Capt Dapo Olumide said Nigeria Air was unveiled at the time it was to prove to Nigerians that the project is not a fluke.

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