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Bulgaria News Agency, NAN partner to deepen media relations



Bulgaria and Nigeria Flags

The Bulgaria News Agency (BNA) and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) are set to partner to further deepen 57 years of the diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Nigeria.

Mr Yanko Yordanov, Amb. of Bulgaria to Nigeria, disclosed this during his courtesy visit to the Managing Director of NAN, Mr Buki Ponle, on Monday in Abuja.

He noted that much would be learnt about both countries when the partnership became fully implemented, after the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by both agencies.

According to him, the partnership will be centred on what Bulgaria and Nigeria could do together, in very important areas of cooperation through the exchange of news.

Yordanov said: “Bulgaria and Nigeria have witnessed a very long history of friendship and cooperation, which dates back to 57 years ago; these years both countries enjoyed fruitful cooperation.

“Now in Bulgaria, we remember those days and definitely want to get them back to reality, we believe that media contact is an important dimension for cooperation between BNA and NAN.

“So, I am here to express my satisfaction as an Ambassador and finalise the agreement between BNA and NAN, and to extend the regards of the Director General of BNA to you.

“If agreeable in December this agreement can come in to force through signing of MoU; the importance of this document relates not only to the whole perception about cooperation between our countries.

“So, we believe now NAN will present its narrative on what is going on in Nigeria to Bulgaria and vice versa, BNA will offer you our presentation of events in Bulgaria”.

He described the MoU, which would be signed sometime in December 2021, to be timely, saying it will form an important tool for strengthening cooperation between Bulgaria and Nigeria.

“When it enters into force, it will bolster trade between Bulgaria business operators and Nigerians, promote economic cooperation, strengthen institutions in terms of security, agriculture.

“I am very happy to be one mediating between BNA and NAN; hopefully this cooperation will be fruitful and will develop our both nations,” he said.

Responding, Ponle stated that since NAN was established by the Federal Government, it operated in tandem with its mandate on reporting news responsibly and objectively about Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said that since NAN commenced operations in 1978, it established stations located within Africa, Europe, Asia and America, but due to paucity of funds the foreign stations were reduced to three.

According to him, one each are functional in South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and New York; adding that plans are underway to open more offices, maybe this time around in Bulgaria.

“We want to strengthen our force and we want to resonate not only in Nigeria, but all over the world, as the largest news content producer in Africa, because it is strategic.

“We know Bulgaria in terms of trade, investment and culture, and these are things we want to project to Nigerians and other areas in the world.

“So much has been said about negative perceptions about Nigeria, but when you come into the country you are convinced that the opposite is the case,” Ponle said.

“Yes, there can be challenges which we are trying to overcome, very soon all these spate of kidnapping and banditry will be over.

“The Federal Government is on top of the situation and to deal decisively with the situation to end the vices,” Ponle said.

He noted that NAN evolved into a cutting-edge News Agency and has offices across the country with many subscribers that mostly consist of foreign news agencies where it exchanges news items.

He disclosed that the agency planned to expand its frontiers to meet new age operations and to strengthen its media relationship, adding that it is not going to be business as usual.

He, however, said that the agency is focused on all issues of topical interest within and outside Nigeria, saying when the partnership comes into full operation both countries will mutually benefit.

The high point of the event was the presentation of a literary gift by Yordanov to Ponle. (NAN)


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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu

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



Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife


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



Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu


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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