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Ondo honours champions of immunization, family planning

The Ondo state government has celebrated forty women as champions of immunisation and family planning having stuck to the life saving procedures for a long period of time.

The programme was launched in Ifedore and Odigbo local government areas of the state, with twenty women in each of the council area benefiting from the gift items which included foodstuffs, cash of ten thousand naira, plaques (inscribed with their names and pictures) and other items.

Speaking at the event in Igbaraoke, Ifedore Council area, the commissioner for health, Dr Banji Ajaka expressed optimism that the initiative would spur more women to embrace family planning and also present their babies for immunisation regularly.

Ajaka who was represented by the Special adviser to the governor, Professor Simi Odimayo restated the commitment of Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa to the wellbeing of mothers and children in Ondo state, using all available strategies.

The commissioner congratulated the champions for their commitment to family planning and immunisation in the bid to keep a healthy family, assuring them that government would regularly come up with programmes and policies that would make life more meaningful for women and children in the state.

He said “the government is really in love with the people and wants to showcase the love at all times that’s why these women are being appreciated today. The government is not only appreciating the women but making family planning and immunisation commodities available and the teams supported. Family planning will help women to be in good form to take their children for immunisation, so I congratulate the champions and urge them to become advocates of immunisation and family planning in their communities”

The Permanent Secretary, Ondo state primary health care development agency, Dr Francis Akanbiemu said
the idea of the programme was conceived by the award winning agency to encourage mothers who had shown great commitment to matters of immunisation and family planning being propagated by government to enhance maternal and child health in the state.

Akanbiemu noted “We tell our Mothers, take your children for immunisation, ensure you space your children through family planning, but not all of them take to this, so the government under the leadership of Governor Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa considered it worthwhile to reward those mothers who listened to and acted on the government’s advice so that they will serve as role models for other mothers”.

Akanbiemu said even though, the immunisation coverage of the state was currently at over Eighty four percent, the programme, “rewarding the champions” would be held in all the local government areas in the state to ensure one hundred percent coverage of both mothers and children in terms of family planning and immunisation.

“By the time we are done taking this programme round all the eighteen local government areas of Ondo state , our immunisation data must have gone up and also improve service delivery. The champions emerged through rigorous selection processes and we are hopeful that for every ten persons motivated, one thousand mothers would join the train”

The director of disease control and immunisation in the agency, Dr Victor Adefesoye while congratulating the champions stressed the need for other women to embrace family planning so they could avoid unplanned or excessive pregnancies which he noted was dangerous to their health while also ensuring that their children do not miss any immunisation schedule.

Also Speaking, the director of medical services, Dr Paulinus Omode admonished mothers generally to embrace preventive health care system by making sure that their children live in a clean environment, eat good diets and immunised them against child killer diseases.

In their goodwill messages, representitives of World Health Organisation, Mrs Modupe Dosumu and that of United Nations Population Fund, Mrs Opeyemi Agunbiade commended Ondo state government for the innovation.

Primary health care coordinator in ifedore Council area, Dr Adedayo Fayanju described the strategy as a step towards boosting the health of women and children

The Adapogun of Ipogun, Oba Rapheal Ojo expressed delight that the exercise started in his domain especially at this time when economic challenges were compelling families to have only children they could cater for

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ebunoluwa Charles, and Hajia Mariam Yusuf appreciated Ondo state government for the gesture, promising to be advocates of family planning and immunisation in their various localities.

According to them “this is one honour we will appreciate in a long time to come, we appreciate the gifts, the foodstuff and other items the government has given us today, we will definitely continue in this line and convince more women to be part of be committed to immunisation and family planning.

At Odigbo local government area, The primary health care development agency train landed in Ore town where another set of twenty champions were celebrated.

At the event, the commissioner for health, Dr Banji Ajaka also congratulated the lucky mothers for emerging champions of immunisation and family planning and charged them to always key into government’s programmes and policies aimed at improving their child and maternal health.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo state primary health care development agency, Dr Francis Akanbiemu hinted that women who adhere to all medical procedures on maternal and child health would continue to receive motivation from government.

The state immunisation officer, Mrs Comfort Olagundoye while enumerating the criteria used in selecting the champions noted that those considered were found to have completed all immunisation schedules for their children right from birth and also encouraged other women to keep immunisation appointments for them to have healthy children.

Some of the champions in Ore, Mrs Ajoke Ikumawoyi, Deborah Ige Imisioluwa Akintunde also hailed the Ondo state government for the encouragement with a pledge not to renege.

In all, 40 women were decorated as immunisation and family planning champions in both Ifedore and Odigbo Council areas with each of them going home with foodstuff, ten thousand naira Cash, plaques and other items.

The event was witnessed by the director of public health, Ondo state ministry of health, Dr Stephen Fagbemi, who represented the Permanent Secretary, Dr Niran Ikuomola, top officials of the Ondo State primary healthcare development agency which included Director planning, research and statistics, Dr Yetunde Olagbuji, Director medical services, Dr Paulinus Omode, Director, health system development, Dr Olajide, Dr Isreal Adeyemi, Director of Finance and Administration, Mrs Folasade Ale, Dr Isreal Adeyemi, Director pharmaceutical services, Pharmacist Sajo.

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Police arrest, parade two suspected drug traffickers in Imo

The Imo State Police Command has paraded two persons, Uchechukwu Nwaguma, 28, and Onyekosi Chukwu Ebuka, 35, as suspected drug traffickers who specialise in selling different kinds of illicit drugs.

According to a statement from the Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Henry Okoye, the arrest of the suspected drug pushers was carried out by the operatives of the command’s anti-narcotics unit in different locations through painstaking investigations.

He stated that Uchechukwu Nwaguma was arrested on July 17, 2024, at Caroline Hostel, Okwu Uratta, Owerri, with large quantities of weeds suspected to be Canadian Loud, a substance the police spokesperson said to be an imported strong synthetic strain of cannabis, and hard drugs commonly known as molly or happy pills.

According to ASP Okoye: “The suspect, upon interrogation, confessed to the crime, stating that his parents were late and that he moved into the sale of hard drugs to enable him to take care of himself and his siblings.”

In another successful operation by the operatives of the command’s anti-vice unit on the same day, Onyekosi Chukwu Ebuka of Uloano in Isu LGA of Imo State was arrested for unlawful possession of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp. He was arrested following a tip-off received from a concerned citizen.

The police spokesperson in the statement further informed that the suspects will face prosecution upon completion of a diligent investigation.

Following the development, Commissioner of Police Aboki Danjuma has reaffirmed the command’s dedication to clamping down on illicit drug dealers and peddlers in the state.

He implored parents to caution their children against indulging in the intake or sale of hard drugs or illicit substances, warning that violators will face severe legal consequences.

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Student loan scheme will thrive on equity and inclusiveness says President Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) will thrive on fairness and equity and promote inclusiveness by removing the financial barrier to higher education for Nigerian students.

The President, who launched the digital NELFUND disbursement exercise at the State House on Wednesday, said the provision of loans to students will encourage more people to seek knowledge, go for higher education, and become valuable contributors to national development.

“As I earlier said, my belief is that education is the greatest weapon against poverty. Without education, there is no vision; without education, there will be no development; without education, you cannot successfully conquer poverty, insecurity, and abuse in society.

“Education is that light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how sluggish it moves, it will give you light and the hope you need. We are investing in it. We do not want to try ignorance as an alternative. We want education from the foundation to the topmost level.

“I am glad we are achieving it with NELFUND and that the leadership has accepted this responsibility, and they are working hard,’’ the President said.

President Tinubu commended the Chairman of the Fund, Mr. Jim Ovia, and the Managing Director, Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr, for their efforts in driving the critical agency.

The President expressed his determination to ensure the success of the Fund and the fulfilment of the dream of higher education by indigent Nigerian students.

“The tool is available, and the hope is here; genuine, and the commitment to inclusiveness is what democracy is all about. I am fulfilling one of my greatest promises of the campaign. We are building an inclusive society. You can find many ways around any opportunity, but you cannot find a way if you are not well-educated,’’ President Tinubu stated.

The President emphasized that education is an essential antidote to some of the challenges faced by the nation.

“We cannot even fight terrorism and banditry unless there is inclusiveness, and our people are properly educated and can invest in their own lives. I promise that we will hand a banner without stain to our children. Therefore, it is my honour to launch the portal,’’ the President said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of NELFUND thanked the President for the privilege to serve the nation.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today for Mr. President to formally launch the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND). Mr. President, I would like to make reference to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, of which education is number four.

“The President has recognized that; hence, he inaugurated and also signed into law in February the NELFUND. We are all grateful for Mr. President’s time for inaugurating and also sanctioning the activities of NELFUND,’’ Mr. Ovia said.

The Managing Director of NELFUND affirmed that there were enough funds to meet the initial requests of students across the country.

“Your Excellency, at this stage, we have more than enough funding. When we start to promote properly, we might need more, but right now, we can disburse to any single person who has applied,’’ he said.

Mr. Sawyerr said the portal was opened on May 25, 2024, and had so far received 110,000 applications, with more than 164,000 visits; noting that the applications have been increasing daily.

“Clearly, what we want to ensure is that there is equity in the distribution of the loans across the six geo-political zones. So, we are having to look very closely at the data we are receiving to ensure that we are doing the right things and pushing the right buttons to ensure that those who need these funds get them, and that it is seen to be fair and equitable,” Mr. Sawyerr added.

President Tinubu presented cheques to some of the students and institutions that had already been processed by NELFUND. Students are to receive stipends for their upkeep, while tuition goes directly to the institutions.

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Imo House of Assembly recommends sack of Chief Judge for misconduct and age falsification

The Imo State House of Assembly has recommended the removal of the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Chukwuemeka-Chikeka, citing misconduct and alleged age falsification.

This decision was reached during a plenary session on Thursday, with a two-thirds majority of the lawmakers voting in favour of the recommendations made by an ad hoc committee.

The committee was established to investigate a petition filed by the Civil Society Engagement Platform (CSEP), which accused the Chief Judge of falsifying her age. The petition, titled “Petition Against The Chief Judge of Imo State, Hon Justice Theresa Chukwuemeka Chikeka For Age Falsification Which Is A Grave Criminal Offence And An Act For Which Many Other Judges And Justices Have Been Summarily Dismissed And Some Are Currently Being Prosecuted By The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC),” prompted the House to take action pursuant to Section 292 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The ad hoc committee, chaired by Hon Ikenna Ihezue, included Hon Bernard Ozoemenam, Rt Hon Clinton Amadi, and Hon Ebonine Beneath, with Mrs. Anne Martins Ezirim serving as the committee clerk. They conducted thorough investigations by inviting relevant individuals and institutions to provide oral and documentary evidence.

Despite the committee’s invitation, Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka declined to appear, citing the Constitution and insisting she would only appear before a panel set up by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Key testimonies and documents were obtained from the Civil Society Engagement Platform, represented by its Director of Investigations, Comrade Ndubuisi Onyemaechi. Additionally, the Head of Service of Imo State, the Secretary of the Imo State Judicial Service Commission, the Secretary to the Council of Legal Education, and the Director of Administration at the Nigerian Law School were consulted. These consultations aimed to verify the actual date of birth of the Chief Judge, as recorded during her admission to the Nigerian Law School in 1981 and her employment with the state’s civil service in 1993.

Evidence revealed that Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka had altered her date of birth from October 27, 1956, to October 27, 1958, via a statutory declaration of age sworn in 2006. This adjustment was made long after she had initially declared her birthdate when enrolling in law school. The statutory declaration was later submitted to the Judicial Service Commission.

The ad hoc committee concluded that Justice Chukwuemeka-Chikeka had indeed engaged in misconduct and recommended her removal from office by Governor Hope Uzodimma. The House also resolved that this recommendation be forwarded to the National Judicial Council for further action.

All 19 members present at the plenary session unanimously adopted the committee’s recommendations. The resolution marks a significant development in the state’s judicial administration, with further actions anticipated from the NJC.

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