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We are not demolishing Central Hospital to build motor park – Edo govt

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From Tony Osauzo, Benin

The Edo State Government explained that contrary to claims that it was relocating the over 100-year-old Central Hospital in Benin City for a motor park, the hospital is being reorganized for better service to the people.

The state government allayed fears that healthcare may become inaccessible to the poor, adding that it would explore all existing health policies and programmes that take care of the poorest of the poor.

The state Commissioner for Health, Professor (Mrs) Obehi Akoria‎, gave the explanation while speaking to journalists in reaction to the demolition of parts of the Central Hospital which the APC alleged may be turned into a park.

She said with the COVID-19 that has changed global narratives, Stella Obasanjo Hospital which was closed to its normal hospital activities to strictly COVID-19 treatments, was being rebuilt to be restored to its original activities.

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“What we are doing is this, Edo State has Edo Health Insurance Commission, Edo State has Edo Health Insurance Scheme with various packages suited to the needs of various people in our heterogeneous population. We have stationed about ten teams right there between Stella Obasanjo and Central Hospital and as patients come, they are accessing the teams because there is something called the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund which is supposed to care for the healthcare needs of the poorest of the poor via insurance and our people are already paying for insurance, the federal government has provided some funding, the state government has its own counterpart funding and there are many mechanisms that are on ground that will take care of the health needs of different strata of the population and for the very poorest of the poor Basic Healthcare Provision Fund ensures that they get a minimum package of healthcare without having to pay anything.

On the relocation of the hospital, she said the hospital is being moved to the Edo Specialist Hospital.

“In recent time, anybody who has been to the Central Hospital will see the state of the structure and infrastructure and service provision so the decision to upgrade healthcare for the citizens meant that there has to be a lateral phased movement of services from Central Hospital to Edo Specialist Hospital. That is where we are right now and we have been managing that to ensure that disruption of services is minimised and that we are available to respond to the obvious challenges that will arise as quickly as possible,” the commissioner added.

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Insecurity in schools: NSCDC sensitizes education stakeholders

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From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

To forestall the increasing spate of insecurity in schools across the country, the Benue State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has stressed the need for all security guards in all schools in the state to be duly registered and trained by licensed private guards. 

State Commandant of NSCDC, Dr. Philip Okoh stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting with key actors in the educational sector held at the state command of the Corps recently.

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Okoh, while addressing the stakeholders, said the training became necessary following reports of kidnapping and other vices linked to security guards in schools around the country and the need to prevent such occurrence in Benue.

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CBN slashes electronic transfer, ATM fees, others

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has slashed its electronic transfer, ATM and card maintenance fees.

The new charges were contained in the latest Guide to Charges by Banks and Other Financial Institutions just released by the CBN

The CBN said bank customers will now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5,000, N25 for electronic transfer between N5,000 and N50,000, and N50 for electronic transfer above N50,000.

Previously, bank customers pay N50 charge for electronic transfers below N500,000.

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The CBN also slashed charges for cash withdrawal via Other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from “N65 after the third withdrawal within the same month”.

Also, the CBN removed Card Maintenance Fee (CAMF) on all cards linked to current accounts, among others.

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COVID-19 impact: Enugu govt partners AUDA-NEPAD on farmers’t

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The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has taken measures in furtherance of its efforts to cushion the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people and the economy of the state.

Enugu State office of the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD), yesterday, held an interactive meeting with stakeholders in the state on the agency’s agricultural project aimed at empowering small holder farmers and boosting food production to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the stakeholders, Enugu State Commissioner for Special Duties and State Coordinator/Focal Person in charge of AUDA/NEPAD, Enugu Office, Mrs. Mabel Agbo, disclosed that AUDA-NEPAD Continental Office in collaboration with some international agencies took bold measures to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the citizens by initiating the project, entitled “Innovative Strengthening of Small holder Farmers Capabilities Towards Productive Land Restoration Amid COVID-19 in Nigeria”.

Mrs. Agbo said “this project as the title connotes is aimed at empowering small holder farmers in our different communities in all agriculture value chains and segments (crops and livestock) to boost their capacity for food production, especially in the aftermath of the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our economy.

“To reduce the negative impact of this pandemic, we must step up efforts to enhance the capacity of our farmers to provide food for the wellbeing of our citizens.”

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She said both the African Union (AU) and Governor Ugwuanyi had ensured that the funding for the project was available.

She urged traditional rulers of autonomous communities in Enugu State and the presidents-general of town unions to ensure that lands were made available for use by the potential farmers.

Also speaking, the representative of the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Afam Ngene, described the project as laudable, commending the AUDA-NEPAD for the initiative.

The commissioner equally lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for ensuring that the programme reaches all the nooks and crannies of Enugu State, for full actualization of the objectives in the interest of the farmers in particular and the state in general.

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