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FG to boost states capacity for COVID-19 response

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The World Bank Board of Directors approved a $114.28 financing to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with a specific focus on state level responses. This includes $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

Through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP), the Government of Nigeria will provide grants to thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies. Grants to states will be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies which are in line with the Federal Government guidelines and strategies. CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan. It will also help the government mobilize surge response capacity through trained and well-equipped frontline healthcare workers and strengthen the public health care network for future health emergencies.

“Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more needs to done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response,” says Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria “The project will provide the states with much needed direct technical and fiscal support to strengthen their position in combating the pandemic.”

In addition, the project will finance federal procurements of medical equipment, laboratory tests, and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs. It complements the Second Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project (REDISSE II) which is already providing short-term emergency support to implement national and state Incident Action Plans. So far, all 36 States have incident action plans cleared by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and funds have been disbursed to 23 States.

CoPREP will finance further support to all states and Abuja Federal Capital Territory through the NCDC to implement their COVID-19 Incident Action Plans. Specifically, this includes: the operationalization of 37 Emergency Operations Centers; training of 30,000 healthcare workers in infection prevention and control; support for emergency prioritized water sanitation and hygiene activities; strengthening of risk assessment and community and event-based surveillance; provision of on-time data to inform the response and mitigation activities; additional support to laboratories for early detection and confirmation; equipping and renovating isolation and treatment centers including community support centers; and improving in patient transfer systems through financing of ambulances and training as needed.

World Bank Group COVID-19 Response

“The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.”

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.

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Yorubas will resist arrest of proponents of Oodua Republic – Group

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Groups under the aegis  of Yoruba Frontier Movement (YFM) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resist from using security agencies to harass, intimidate or arrest proponents of Oodua Republic.

YFM in a statement made available to journalists by its National Coordinator, Comrade Abdulkabir Adesina and National Secretary, Aderemi Adisa condemned the plan by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic, saying that such action will only lead to breakdown of law and order.

The statement read, “We have received reports that there are plans by security agencies to arrest proponents of Oodua Republic headed by Chief Sunday Igboho. We are using this medium to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order security agencies to desist from such attempts because proponents of Oodua Republic are operating within the ambit of the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

The group wondered why proponents of Oodua Republic have become the target of security agencies while Fulani herdsmen and bandits have remained untouchable.

“We should even go down memory lane. President Muhammadu Buhari while desperately seeking to become Nigeria’s president made many inciting statements capable of bringing anachy into the country but ex- President Jonathan never ordered for his arrest. On many occasions northern youths and elders have made similar inciting statements and heaven didn’t come down. As a matter of fact we have been calling for restructuring of Nigeria for a very long time.The failure of government to restructure Nigeria is the reason why we are calling for Oodua Republic. Yorubas have suffered greatly since the amalgamation of the country in 1914 owing to injustice against Yoruba race in Nigeria. As a race we have every right to demand for our right to either stay with Nigeria or go our separate ways”, the statement added.

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It further lauded  Chief Sunday Igboho for taking the bull by the horn, saying that Yorubas are fully in his support.

“We are using this medium to call on traditional rulers, Obas , leaders and all Yoruba sons and daughters to support the proponents of Oodua Republic”, the statement concluded.

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Real reason FG approved establishment of new anti-corruption agency

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday disclosed that it has approved the establishment of a new anti-corruption agency which will be saddled with proper coordination of all recovered looted assets.

Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,shortly after the FEC meeting explained that assets recovered have been in the hands of several agencies and that better coordination will encourage international/overall coordination in recovering more looted assets.

He added that It is on this premise that the new anti-corruption agency named, ‘Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency’ is to be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.

Malami also informed that the FEC has approved transmission of a bill, titled, “Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Agency Bill,” to the National Assembly.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), explained that once the bill becomes law and the agency is established, it would see to proper documentation and management of such recovered assets and thereby guarantee transparency and accountability.

An agency of this nature, according to Malami has become necessary in a bid to consolidate the gains achieved so far in the government’s war against corruption.

In his words, “the Federal Ministry of Justice presented to Council a memo today (Wednesday).

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“The memo is about a Bill which seeks the approval of the Council to transmit to the National Assembly for passage.

“It is the Proceeds of Crime Recovery and management Agency Bill.

“It is in essence a bill that is targeted and intended to have in place a legal and institutional framework. The legal component of it is having a law and the institutional component of it is to have an agency that will be saddled with the responsibility of managing the assets that constitute the proceeds of crime in Nigeria.

“What happens before now is the proceeds of crime are scattered all over, and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government inclusive of the police, the DSS (Department of State Service), EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission).

“So, with that kind of arrangement which is ad-hoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off-hand the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the federal government by way of interim forfeiture overweigh of a final forfeiture.

“So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent.

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“If you have a budget item for recovered assets, this agency will now be in a position to provide information to the federal ministry of finance, budget and National Planning on-demand as to what amount is there available for budget purposes, thereby establishing the desired transparency, the desired accountability which has not been available before now,” the AGF added

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Nigeria at 60: President Buhari unveils logo

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As the most populous country in Africa- Nigeria approaches its Diamond Jubilee, the nation’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the logo which will be used in the celebration of the anniversary.

The unveiling which  took place during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, was witnessed by Federal Ministers and the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

Nigeria at 60 logo

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, among others were in attendance.

It will be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier in September called on Nigerians to submit creative ideas that can brand the anniversary which is themed “Together at 60”.

Nigeria’s Independence is usually celebrated annually on October 1.

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