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Osinbajo highlights FG’s interventions in healthcare, education, others

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has, over the years, deployed significant resources to address challenges in education and healthcare.

He said that the Federal Government was committed toward addressing human capital development and related issues in the country with the same zeal it showed in the implementation of the Social Investment Programmes.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said that the vice president virtually delivered a keynote address at the Rauf Aregbesola Leadership Colloquium 2021.

The colloquium with the theme, “Government and Big Development: Realities and Solutions for Nigeria,’’ was organised to mark the birthday of the Minister of Interior.

Osinbajo harped on the circumstances where governments might need to intervene directly, including in human capital development.

“Direct state government intervention is crucial; you cannot have such conditions such as in the country and not have some direct interventions from government.

“The point is that, for many of the challenges that face a developing economy, there is very little, immediate term profit for private actors in addressing those challenges, but of course, there are huge medium to long term social and economic gains to be reaped.

“In order to fill that gap, government must come in, government must intervene.

“This intervention in my view, are the issues of big development. How do you educate the largest youth population in Africa?

“How do you ensure healthcare for that large number of people, and all of the various issues? These are the big development issues that confront us; and we must be able to find solutions to them,”

The vice president said that the present administration, in its first budget, devoted for N500 billion to our Social Investment Programme.

He said that 500,000 young graduates were engaged in the N-Power programme, and 9.5 million children being fed daily in the school feeding programme just before COVID-19 across 34 states.

“The programme employs well over 135,000 cooks, and over 100,000 small-holder farmers linked to the programme, supplying locally sourced ingredients.

“ At some point, this translated to 594 cattle, 138,000 chickens, 6.8 million eggs, 83 metric tons of fish that are procured, prepared, and distributed every week.

“The higher outcomes for enrollment of pupils in school, retention and performance of students have all been empirically verified.

“There was also the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) – TraderMoni, MarketMoni initiatives where micro credits were offered to traders (about 2 million traders in all),” he said.

He explained that the programmes were important because they were in many ways government efforts at directly creating opportunities.

According to him, a country such as Nigeria, clearly requires a social welfare programme.

Osinbajo said that a situation where those who could work and those who had no work and the vulnerable were provided with one way of earning something and provided with opportunities was crucial.

In the health sector, he said that since the inception of the administration, it had done a few other direct social investment-type things aimed at human capital development.

“After the National Health Act was passed in 2014, the Federal Government in 2018 began including the one per cent minimum portion of the Consolidated Revenue Fund – amounting to N55 billion to fund the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

“The Fund is designed to deliver a guaranteed set of health services to all Nigerians, through the national network of Primary Health Care Centers.”

In education, Osinbajo said that since 2015 , the Federal Government had disbursed more than N170 billion in matching grants to states and the FCT under the Universal Basic Education Programme.

He said that N8 billion had been disbursed in Special Education Grants to States and private providers of Special Education, and N34 billion from the Teachers Professional Development Fund to the 36 states and the FCT.

The vice president added that the interventions were in line with the administration’s commitment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty.

He commended the efforts and the achievements of the former governor of Osun State with his socialist ideology.

“He stands out as a reason why one should at least have some socialist blood while recognising the fundamental role of markets and the public sector,” he said.

Aside the convener, other speakers and special guests at the colloquium moderated by notable broadcaster Mr Boason Omofaye, included the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and the Statistician-General of the Federation, Mr Yemi Kale.

The President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Mr Ayuba Wabba and the Vice Chairman of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, among others also featured. (NAN)

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I made mistake in picking Atiku as my Running Mate in 1999 – Obasanjo laments

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
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Ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has disclosed that when he served as a head of state in 1999 as a civilian, he had made a mistake picking his vice.

Obasanjo made this statement while fielding questions from secondary school students at a program at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo admitted to making many “genuine mistakes” in his life while interacting with the students, but claimed that God helped him overcome them.

“Choosing my number two when I wanted to be president was one of the errors I made. But God saved me because it was an honest mistake, said Obasanjo.

Obasanjo while interacting with the students revealed that he had made many “genuine mistakes” in his life; saying, however, that God made him overcome them.

“One of the mistakes I made was picking my number two when I wanted to become the president. But because it was a genuine mistake, God saved me,” Obasanjo said.
According to reports, Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential contender, served as Obasanjo’s second-in-command from 1999 to 2007.

Obasanjo and Atiku clashed with one and other for years while in government over matters they couldn’t agree on.

When discussing his second error, Obasanjo claimed that it occurred when General Sani Abacha, a late military ruler, was going to arrest him and the American Embassy offered him asylum which he refused.

Obasanjo claimed that had God not intervened, he would have perished during his time in prison.

“When Abacha wanted to arrest me, I was told by the American ambassador that they will arrest me and that America has asked that I should be given an asylum. I said no. It could have been a mistake because I could have lost my life.”

The Balogun Owu stated that God had saved him from many things that could have been a mistake.

When asked whether the youths could be allowed to rule the nation, Obasanjo expressed worries, stating that youths may never come into power should the current trend in Nigeria continues.

The former president regretted that in spite of the “Not Too Young to Run” campaign, people contesting to rule the nation are between 70 and 80 years old.

“How can the youths run,” he asked, adding that the amount of money involved in going into politics would not allow youths to get to leadership positions.

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife
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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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