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Senate probes abandoned N400bn Health Center Project initiated by Ex-President Obasanjo 

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
EX President Olusegun Obasanjo
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The Senate has mandated the Committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Center Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

The resolution was reached on Wednesday during plenary by the chamber after it considered a motion to that effect.

The motion, “Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Center Project”, was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).

Oloriegbe, in his presentation, noted that the National Primary Health Center project was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.

According to the lawmaker, the project was to build in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, a sixty (60) bed Primary Health Center to be complimented with a three bedroom flat, doctors quarters, an ambulance, all basic hospital equipment and drugs.

He explained that, “in order to achieve this lofty project, the Federal Government deducted monies from the excess crude account of all the 774 Local Government Areas on a monthly basis, warehouse the same with the then Platinum Habib Bank (now Keystone Bank) until the funds required for the actualization of the project was realized;

“Aware that the Bill of Quantities for the project was prepared by the then Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement;

“Further aware that despite all those professional pre-contract activities, the contract for the execution of the projects in the entire 774 Local Government Areas was awarded to Messrs Mattans Nig. Ltd without any known tendering and selection process;

“Observes that Messrs Mattans Nig. Ltd Proceeded and sub-contracted out the jobs to consultant and sub-contractors without any verification of capacity and capabilities to properly execute the jobs a consent of the government or its agencies involved then;

“Further observes that various sums of money were released to these sub-contractors through the accounts of Messr Mattans Nig. Ltd domiciled with the then platinum Habib Bank (now Keystone Bank) to carry out the projects at the selected locations across the 774 Local Government Areas in the Country; and

“Disturbed that some of these projects were commenced and abandoned at various stages while majority of them were never started despite huge sums of money released to all the sub-contractors.”

Contributing, Senator Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North), said that the delivery of good health care to Nigerians is an aspect that can ensure the development of the country.

He observed that the recorded successes in health care delivery in developed climes are directly tied to the quality of primary health services.

“The key policy for primary health care in Nigeria is that every ward across the country must have a functional primary health care center where people can access health care delivery to be able to take care of maternal mortality rates that we are concerned about and other related health issues”, Umar said.

He lamented that the National Primary Health Center projects dispersed across the various constituencies have been abandoned by the contractors, some of whom are unknown.

“We need to take this very seriously, investigate this and make sure we know exactly what happened”, he said.

On his part, Senator Matthew Urhogide (Edo South), said the merit of the National Primary Health Center project cannot be downplayed in view of its importance to health care delivery in Nigeria.

He added that the project was supposed to be the basis for the establishment of primary health centers in the 774 local government areas.

He disclosed that recently, some of the representatives of companies who were awarded the contracts appeared before some of the Senate Committees to claim that they haven not been paid for the execution of the projects.

He added further that there are several committees of the Ninth Senate that have been inundated with several complaints about the projects.

“I think this is an opportunity for us to really look into this matter dispassionately and put the blame where it is, because Nigerians have been shortchanged by the project.

“The money has been paid substantially but there in nothing to show for it”.

“Some of the persons who are connected with this have been trying to talk to people here and there, even in government, to see to it that they are compensated. They cannot be compensated when there is no work done.

“This Senate will do good if we get our appropriate committees to look into the matter and bring the recommendations to the Senate, so that we can be on the side of the people”,  he said.

Senator Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), said the abandoned project was a “commitment to primary health gone wrong”.

Accordingly, the chamber mandated the Committees on Health, Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, Works, and Housing to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Centre Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

It resolved that the investigation must determine the status of the 100 percent project funds warehoused with the then Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank); determine the level of progress and status of the projects in each of the 774 Local Government; carry-out evaluation of the consultant, contractor and sub-contractors that participated in the project; carry-out a schedule of dilapidation on the projects; and recommend ways of completing the projects nationwide.

The Joint Committee was given six weeks to complete the investigation and report back to the chamber in plenary.

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Tinubu off to France

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APC Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu
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Presidential Candidate and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, travelled out of the country early Monday morning after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

He is off to Paris, France to hold some important meetings.

The APC standard bearer is expected back in the country shortly.

Earlier before his departure, he attended the public presentation of a book titled ‘Mr. Speaker’ and launch of legislative mentoring initiative in commemoration of the 60th birthday of Speaker of House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

On June 8, Asiwaju Tinubu emerged the Presidential candidate of APC for the February 25, 2023 election at the party’s presidential primaries/national convention held at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

After the election, he immediately embarked on a series of thank you and reconciliation visits to those who contested against him at the party’s primaries including the seven aspirants who stepped down for him.

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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola Takes Oath Of Office As Acting CJN

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President Muhammadu Buhari shakes hands with the acting CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, during an inauguration ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on June 27, 2022.
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Justice Olukayode Ariwoola of the Supreme Court on Monday took the judicial oath of office as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

President Muhammadu Buhari administered the oath of office to Justice Ariwoola during a swearing-in ceremony held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Ariwoola, 62, takes over from the outgone CJN, justice Tanko Muhammad, is expected to serve in an acting capacity till further confirmation by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

While taking the judicial oath, he swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Justice Muhammad had resigned as the Chief Justice of Nigeria on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

This led to the inauguration of Justice Ariwoola – the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court at the time of Justice Muhammad’s resignation.

Until his resignation, according to reports, the immediate past CJN was seriously ill.

News of his resignation broke barely a week after 14 justices of the Supreme Court wrote to him to lament the dilapidated state of affairs in the apex court.

In the leaked letter, the justices alleged that Justice Muhammad failed to address the issues raised despite drawing his attention to them.

They had complained of a lack of residential accommodation and vehicles at the court, alleging that the former CJN was gallivanting with his ‘spouse, children and personal staff’ while not allowing them to travel with an assistant on foreign trips.

But these allegations were denied by an aide to the former CJN.

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Christian Pilgrimage Not Wasteful – FCT-CPWB Boss

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The Director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Dabara Audu has said that those describing the Christian Pilgrimage to the Holy Lands of Israel and Jordan as a jamboree do so because they don’t know what the exercise entails and therefore cannot relate with the level of spiritual upliftment it brings to the Pilgrims and Nigeria as a country.

Speaking to News men after the completion of the pilgrimage exercise for the first batch of the 2021 main Christian pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan Mr. Dabara said the spiritual impact of the exercise brings about a new experience for Christians who can now relate well with biblical and scriptural occurrences that will further strengthen their faith in Christ for the uplifting of Nigeria as a country.

In his words, “. It is very unfortunate for anyone to say pilgrimage is a jamboree. Anyone that says it’s a jamboree does not know what pilgrimage is. I want to believe that anyone that wants to embark on a pilgrimage must have heard of the pilgrimage sites and must have read about it and given birth to some useful information that it is a life-transforming exercise.
” we have received testimonies from the people that have gone there in the past. In this journey that has just finished, we have gone to so many sites, and in some cases, I have gone to those places more than four times, and still, there are new testimonies each time I visit those places, and that is what the scripture is all about.

” Pilgrimage is about the scripture being brought alive to any serious Christian and it’s a way to work out our salvation. For any serious Christian, pilgrimage is part of working out your salvation and I am sure a lot of us today even as we hear testimonies, their spiritual lives are being promoted and this will have an impact on the families of the pilgrim, their villages, towns where they come from and on Nigeria as a whole.”

Speaking on this year’s Pilgrimage which was the first of its kind as Nigerian pilgrims visited Holy Places in Israel and Jordan, The Director said it was an opportunity for Christians to relate better with biblical occurrence and to be able to visit those sites not minding that some of those places are now in more than one country.

” It is a very good experience for us all, those that have been going to Israel alone before now did not have opportunity to visit the holy sites in Jordan like the River Jabok where Jacob wrestled with and angel and his name was changed to Israel, and the mount Nebo where Moses was shown the promise land by God before he was taken.

” Gadara a mountain where Jesus Casted out unclean spirits from a man into swines was another very historic location in Jordan, not forgetting the place where John the Baptist was beheaded and his head given in a tray for herods maid dancer. all this are beautiful and very significant places in the life of any serious Christian. so I can tell you that this year’s pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan is a blessing in more than one way to us.”

” The way I see it, starting the pilgrimage to combine the two nations of Israel and Jordan, I did not see myself as an ordinary person, I know the hurdles the children of Israel had to go through as recorded in the scripture, so if the original people that made these journeys did not find it easy I don’t expect that anyone will find it easy because each pilgrimage has a story and revelation behind. God used some of these places to build endurance, perseverance and patience . the children of Israel were able to go through to the promised land, in the same way, this journey from Nigeria to Israel and Israel to Jordan, was not expected to be easy, but I want us to understand that behind the pilgrimage is also the feeling of the suffering, and in this case the suffering that refines. it brings out the true nature of any Christian. like it is said in the Bible Gold passes through Fire to be able to come out pure at it is, so Gold is not pure until it passes though fire. ”

When asked how he would rate the first batch of the 2021 main Pilgrimage and the 2022 Easter Pilgrimage, Dabara said
” We are grateful for the completion of the first batch of the 2021 main pilgrimage and the 2022 easter.
we landed in Israel successfully and now we are at the Jordan end of the movement, there is nothing, no one was sick to the extent that we cannot go out, there is no accident in any way and so far no one has absconded.
At this point, I will take this year’s pilgrimage as a very successful one, we have more than 200 pilgrims and no one absconded so we are bold to say that it was successful.”

He therefore Used the medium to appeal to those that have taken part on the pilgrimage to show good examples as they go back to the larger society after these period of reflections and visitation of biblical sites in the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.

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