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Social media Relevant tool for societal growth – Prof. Eghosa Osaghae

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Director-General, Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA) Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, has said social media has become a powerful tool for societal growth despite criticism

“The social media presents platforms for robust discussions on issues, views and ideas with opposing views flowing side by side. It is healthy to have debates with fierce disagreements.

“Ultimately, a cross fertilisation of these ideas, the sublime and ridiculous alike, will fashion out a path to greater togetherness, growth and progress,” Osaghae told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

He emphasised the need for Nigerians to prioritise national interest above other considerations while using the social media, and cautioned against the tendency to exaggerate perceived flaws to ridicule or divide the nation.

Osaghae regretted the influx of fake news, misinformation and negative perceptions into social media platforms, urging Nigerians to be more circumspect when handling issues bordering on insurgency, terrorism, ethnic relations and the “so-called national question debate”.

“It is good to have unbridled access to information, but a lot of it is exaggerated. Sometimes, you think the country is at war. We should always argue toward arriving at a middle ground.

“Freedom behoves on the user the responsibility to be ethical, reasonable and responsible. So, we must always pander to national interest and defend our country.

“It is important for Nigerians to realise that citizens of other countries read what we put into the internet. We must strive to be positive so that others can have positive impressions about us.

“Patriotism should always be the guiding spirit. It should always be ‘country first’; your mother is your mother, no matter how ugly.

“No matter how beautiful other mothers are, they cannot replace your mother. So, you must promote your mother and make her lovable instead of loving other people’s mothers.

“We shall help our country more if the social media is used as a tool for sober reflection. For the leaders, it can be used as a feedback mechanism with everyone defending and extending frontiers of national interests.

“No Nigerian should agree to be used as a surrogate for other countries’ national interests,” he said.

Osaghae also spoke on ongoing efforts to reposition the 61-year-old NIIA to achieve its mandate as the epicentre for constant interface between local and international affairs.

“We are trying to rebuild, reposition and reinvent the institute to surpass what had been achieved in the past.

“We have had our golden years but had to slow down owing to scarce resources, but part of leadership challenge is to diversify so as to broaden our resource base.

“We are building smart partnerships with the media, government, the business cycle, international development groups and institutions with similar mandates to broaden our horizon.

“Aside pooling in more resources, we shall be focused on research and knowledge sharing to sharpen our capacity to influence and shape developments,” he said.

He said the institute was also reinventing citizen diplomacy with a focus on making Nigerians feel more positive about themselves and their country.

“We want Nigerians to feel proud of their country because it has produced some of the best leaders in all sectors of human endeavour.

“Nigeria has produced the finest scholars, technocrats, administrators and diplomats in the likes of Emeka Anyaoku, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prince Ajibola and Prof. Adesina.

“The world has also recognised our literary prowess with great writers like Prof Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and others winning global honours.

“Nigeria is also famed to have led the struggle that conquered apartheid and effectively chaired the UN anti-apartheid committee to great success.

“In the John Biden administration in U.S., there are up to five Nigerians holding key positions. They got that far on merit. There is generally a vast potential waiting to be tapped in this country.

“There are Nigerians whose attitude is uncomplimentary, but that is just a distraction. We are a great people and should deploy our ethnic and religious diversities to maximum advantage,” he said.

He advised Nigerians to feel proud of their nationality and avoid being too critical of their nation as it was the only space they could call their own.

“Time has come for everyone to redirect the world to see our positive sides. If we do not project Nigeria positively to the world, it will be relegation unending,” he said. (NAN)

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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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Conditional Cash Transfer: Lagos flags off distribution of ATM card, activation pins

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Lagos State Government on Thursday flags off distribution of ATM cards and activation pins to beneficiaries in continuation of conditional cash transfer programme.

Speaking at the event which took place at Agege Local Government, Agege, Lagos, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon.Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, appreciated the Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office(NCTO), under the Office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), who has the mandate to develop humanitarian policies, provide effective co-ordination of national and International Humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and manage the formulation and implementation affair, focused social inclusion and protection program in Nigeria.

She recalled that she was elated that CCT beneficiaries in Lagos State have received the bi-monthly cash stipends from the programme and have been availed with the much needed capacity skills through the Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM) training, which have been in no small measure of immense benefits to their livelihood, which culminated in the result of the success stories that have been shared across the targeted LGAs /LCDAs.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, established National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), have played a pivotal role to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity with a view to ameliorate the lives of the citizenry. The NASSP Project Development Objective (PDO), is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded National Social Safety nets system”, Arobieke said.

She further maintained that the National Cash Transfer Office under NASSP, was given the mandate to implement the Federal Government conditional cash transfer, also known as Household Uplifting Programme.

“The programme since inception has successfully paid beneficiaries via transparent and accountable means that enables the NASSPS programme pay beneficiaries at their doorstep through Payment Service Provisions (PSP)”, Arobieke said.

She also acknowledged the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for being a father of the nation and as well as a proactive governor for putting the programme in place with his audacious vision of lifting 100 million people out of the poverty net in Nigeria .

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