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Mrs Buhari uregs media engagement on First Ladies’ projects

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Mrs Aisha Buhari
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Mrs Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari has called on journalists to engage more with state first ladies with a view to giving their projects more visibility.

She made the appeal on Wednesday night in Abuja at an event organised by the Independent Newspapers to honour state first ladies who had used their offices to impact positively on the lives of the people, especially the less privileged and vulnerable.

The event was tagged: “Independent Newspapers Nigerian FIrst Ladies Impact Awards”.

Mrs Buhari, who was the special guest of honour at the event, was represented by Mr Aliyu Abdullahi, her Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

“I am happy to be at this memorable event, which seeks to recognise the efforts of first ladies in spreading the dividends of democracy.

“I am particularly happy that some first ladies have been recognised as having excelled in this regard.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on media practitioners to engage more with first ladies so that their projects can get more visibility.

“The partnership will be a win-win because the media would then have discharged a part of its social responsibility,” she said.

She commended the management of Independent Newspapers for organising the event, saying it is an important milestone and a testimony that the paper understood its role as a partner and a stakeholder in development.

“It is without a doubt that the media has a pivotal role to play not just setting agenda for discourse, but also in supporting and amplifying worthy causes,” she said.

She added that first ladies provided the underbelly of any government as they provide humanitarian, compassionate and mercy services by organising health, educational and empowerment projects.

According to her, first ladies help in the protection of the vulnerable people including women, children, youth and the aged in the society.

She said they also had the advantage of providing counsel to the governors and had become advocates for school enrolment and retention, adult education, self-reliance and health awareness.

She added that first ladies were also advocates against gender-based violence, drug abuse and trafficking of persons.

“They also provide financial support in terms of scholarships and settlement of medical bills for the under-privileged,” Mrs Buhari said.

She congratulated the first ladies that were recognised for the awards at the event, saying that the award will not only spur them to do more, but will equally encourage others.

According to her, the award will also open discussions with regards to more partnerships which will be in the overall interest of the country.

Mr Steve Omanufeme, the Managing Director and Editor in Chief of Independent Newspapers, while welcoming guests to the event, said it was designed to recognise and celebrate distinguised first ladies who had consistently outperformed in spite of prevailing economic circumstances.

He noted that though the Constitution may not have spelt out responsibilities for first ladies, the outstanding ones know how influential the position could be.

“They do not just sit back and watch their husbands toil in the search of a better life for the the people.

“Some first ladies play active roles in policy making, humanitarian and charitable works, while others have focused on family and social responsibilities, they have embarked on different public projects and excelled,” he said.

He added that though first ladies do not have any constitutional responsibility, most of them were using their positions to change the narrative and shape the destinies of families, women, children, widows and the motherless in their domain, and should be celebrated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Akwa Ibom First Lady, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, Founder Family Empowerment and Youth Re-orintation Part Initiative, was given an award as the South South First Lady of the year 2021.

She thanked the Independent Newspapers for the honour and assured that she would continue to advocate for the girl child education and the inclusion of women in goverment at all levels.

“If you are educating the girl child, you are definitely educating the whole world. If you train a girl child, you are preparing that child for the future.

“I am trying to mould and mentor the young ones so that when we are no more, we would have responsible girls to take after us,” she said.

Also honoured were the first ladies of Taraba, Mrs Anna Darius Ishaku as the 2021 First Lady of the North-East, and Mrs Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, First Lady of Ekiti State for empowering women politically.

The first ladies of Cross River, Kwara, Bauchi and Osun States were also given awards for distinguising themselves and using their offices as first ladies to advance the course of the less privileged and vulnerable people in the society.

Hajiya Aisha Bala Mohammed, First Lady of Bauchi State, in her remarks, tasked mothers to stand up and encourage their children, especially the girl child through education, saying that without education, development and peace will remain a mirage.

There were three broad awards categories covering independent first lady of the year, first lady of the year covering each of the six geopolitical zones of the country and the general categories. (NAN)

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LAGOS EMERGES OVERALL BEST STATE IN DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT

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… Bags Seven Awards

Lagos State Government outshined other States of the Federation to emerge as the best overall State in Digital Infrastructure for Development in Nigeria, winning seven awards at the 6th edition of the annual Tech Innovation Awards formerly called Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecom Awards (NTITA).

The Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, who received the award on behalf of the State Government, said the conferment of the awards on Lagos is a reflection of its buoyant tech ecosystem and the push to provide a world-class environment for Information and Communication Technology [ICT].

He added that the award confirmed the State’s commitment to leveraging ICT for service delivery to the citizens and developing the ICT ecosystem with world-class infrastructure.

Fahm reiterated the commitment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration to provide a statewide fibre-optics infrastructure to support the huge demand for data centres, businesses and public use, maintaining that Lagos is determined to champion the sector’s growth and sustainability by supporting tech companies, ICT start-ups and other industry members.

Speaking further, the Commissioner expressed his pleasure in the recognition of Lagos State’s efforts, stressing that the State will continue to foster ICT growth, local partnerships and collaborations to create opportunities for innovation and wealth by eradicating the digital divide and enhancing operational resilience.

“The continuous recognition of Lagos over the years through multiple awards is a reflection of its vision to provide sustainable infrastructure, eliminate the digital divide and democratise digital learning to promote digital literacy. This administration would continue to leverage technology to transform the State’s economy while easing impediments for businesses to flourish”, Fahm said.

He pointed out that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, since he assumed office in 2019, has prioritised ICT development and improved service delivery in all MDAs in the State, just as he is transforming Lagos into a Smart City.

The State won its seven awards through Lagos Internal Revenue Services (LIRS) with three awards; Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA) with two awards; the Ministry of Science and Technology with one award, while the Honourable Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm bagged an award for Special Contribution to the ICT sector.

The Tech Innovation Awards (TIA), widely known as Nigeria’s ICT Oscars Awards, is an annual event designed to celebrate organisations, individuals, governments and the private sector that have distinguished themselves over the years and are at the forefront of digitalisation with innovative products and services in the ICT sector.

 

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SANWO-OLU AT CHATHAM HOUSE, CHARGES WORLD LEADERS ON SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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…Says LASG has consistently increased budgetary allocation, efficiency in healthcare

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to world leaders, global think-tank and public office holders to work towards building a sustainable healthcare system for all and facilitate access for the poor and under-served.

Speaking on “Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria: Optimizing Institutional Opportunities and Partnerships for Success” at the weekend at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, Governor Sanwo-Olu charged global think-tank to optimise institutional opportunities and partnerships for the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“To achieve UHC, developing countries must first focus on offering their residents a basic minimum set of healthcare services, provided free at the point of care using subsidy, controlled premiums or at a pre-set tariff system, within government-regulated facilities either public or affiliated private,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State as the most populous city in Africa, a financial hub and Africa’s 5th Largest Economy on the continent, has strategically strengthened the health system in pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.

He said Lagos State has been using policies to strengthen its health systems, pushing toward the achievement of UHC, which the State considers a journey and not a destination.

“In Lagos State, we believe that policy is the most effective tool that governments can deploy in the pursuit of stronger health systems and eventually approaching UHC.

The right policies will lead to the development of robust health financing systems that will serve the needs of our huge and increasing population,” he said.

Speaking on some of the policies of his administration to strengthen the health system, Governor Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Government has consistently increased its budgetary allocation and efficiency to healthcare over the years, noting that the desire of his government is to eventually match the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent.

He said his administration, through its capital infrastructure blueprint agenda, is upgrading and renovating its existing primary and secondary health facilities in the short term and it has commenced building new designed fit-for-purpose primary, secondary and specialist health facilities for the future.

“We recognise that the Government cannot cover the funding gap in the health system without support from the private sector. In a bid to encourage public-private partnerships, we set up various institutions such as the Office of Public Private Partnerships (OPPPs) and IBILE Holdings, a private company owned by Lagos State for the purpose of engaging with the private sector. These institutions are mandated to facilitate and fast-track PPP opportunities in Lagos State.

“We understand the need for proper governance within the administrative structure of the health system and so we inaugurated boards for all the agencies within the Lagos State Ministry of Health. This has gone a long way to strengthen the capacity of the hierarchical sub-agencies, keeping them focused on their mandates.

“We believe in health insurance as a tool that we can leverage to quickly cover ground in our quest for UHC and so we have thrown the full weight of our support behind the newly established National Health Insurance Act, and mandated our Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to domesticate and enrol residents of Lagos into the Lagos State Social Health Insurance Scheme.

“We are leveraging partnerships with Global organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Global Fund amongst others to explore innovative ways to strengthen our primary health system. In fact, I believe that such organisations’ decisions to directly fund a sub-national like Lagos State is a testament to the clarity of our vision and our drive to achieve results,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also disclosed that his administration has concluded some innovative schemes in partnership with the private sector to modernise the equipment in the State’s secondary health centres and set up specialised health facilities.

“We have commenced two pilot projects: The Lagos State Oncology Centre and the Omotunde Ajoke Cole Smart Hospital. The success of these projects will mark a new dawn in our health system, where the best of the public and private sectors come together to provide world-class affordable healthcare.

“We are working hard to improve the quality of human resources we have in our health centres. We are also using a system of meritocracy to appoint Medical Directors (MDs) in health centres and ensure continuous medical and administrative education.

“We understand the critical role played by logistics within our health system and we are making sure that people, essential medicines, and consumables are easily transported within our health system,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu said while Lagos State Government is working on innovative mechanisms to pay for healthcare, it also needs to ensure that it is building a healthcare delivery system that can provide decent healthcare services to the people of the State.

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Achieving SDG Will End Poverty, Hunger, And Insecurity In Nigeria – Buhari 

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President Muhammadu Buhari
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President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria is accelerating efforts to achieve the SDG by 2030 to guarantee an end to poverty and hunger, protect the ecosystem and ensure Nigerians live in peace and prosperity by 2030.

Buhari made the declaration on Friday when he officially unveiled the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework (INIFF) report, a high-level event in collaboration with the UNDP and EU, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UNGA.

He expressed satisfaction that the process leading to the NIFF which started in 2020 finally crystalized into the launch, underpinning the importance placed by the present administration towards achieving the goals.

The President explained that the various developmental plans and programmes for the country have all been aligned with the SDG and are poised to advance the nation’s economy in spite of the challenges that have confronted the country.

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