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LAGOS OUR BEST PARTNER IN FIGHTING HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC IN NIGERIA’ – U.S. GOVT

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EKOEXCEL

 

…We Are Ready To Raise The Bar For More Impact, Sanwo-Olu Assures

Lagos State is American government’s most effective partner in the control of HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria, Consul-General of the United States (U.S.) Consulate in Lagos, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, revealed on Thursday when she led a delegation comprising U.S. officials and top partners on an advocacy visit to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The envoy’s assertion followed Governor Sanwo-Olu’s assurance to the American government on his administration’s ongoing executive-led actions to repositioning the activities of the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) for greater impacts and improved service delivery.

The meeting, held at the State House in Alausa, was aimed at securing the support of Lagos Government in the implementation of additional $75 million budget for an Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) Surge programme funded by the American government under the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Administered by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the healthcare project is to provide free ART care to approximately 60,000 people living with HIV. The project will also be implemented across the nation.

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos needed the “strategic collaboration” with the U.S. government and other development partners to stem the number of HIV victims. He said the State had deployed the best approach in giving care to victims currently being managed by LSACA, but assured that his Government would continuously review the effort for efficiency and measurable impacts.

The Governor said: “This collaboration is required and needed for us to properly address the scourge of HIV/AIDS. It is only when we raise the bar of efficiency on our part that our partners can say they want to do a lot more. We will not hesitate to position ourselves and reposition our agency to actualise the deliverables, so that the people targeted in the programme can get relieved of the trauma.

“We are going to ensure that access to the programme is open and more robust in order to realise a win-win situation envisaged by the funders. It is only when we show those commitments in terms of resources, human capital and timelines that we get positive feedbacks and keep track of the objectives of intervention.”

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos would continue to leverage the partnership with the U.S. government, pledging the State’s commitment to its success. He added that his administration would do everything required to achieve the goals of the healthcare project in the State.

“My Government will give all the support that is needed by the Lagos State agency to meet all expectations spelt out in the intervention,” the Governor said.

Pierangelo thanked Sanwo-Olu for committing relevant agencies of the State to working with stakeholders in the implementation of the ART programme, expressing appreciation to Lagos Government for cooperating with American government in the move to achieve control of HIV epidemic in Nigeria.

She said: “In Lagos State, we have found one of our best partners in Nigeria and Lagos government has worked with us hand-in-hand over the last five years we have invested a significant amount of money in Nigeria. Over $250 million, over the last five years, has been dedicated to finding, testing, diagnosing and treating Lagos State citizens and anyone else; this is to help them get treatment for HIV/AIDS and help live a productive, happy life and contribute to the economy growth.

“We have had a very productive meeting with Governor Sanwo-Olu. He is our great supporter not only in this programme, but also on healthcare issues generally in Lagos. The U.S. remains committed to supporting Nigeria as it works to reduce and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS among its people.”

The envoy further urged the State Government to remove all barriers hindering people living with the disease from accessing free services offered by the U.S. government through PEPFAR project.

She said the disbursement of the additional PEPFAR funds was predicated upon the readiness of the Federal and states’ governments to eliminate financial barriers that prevented victims from accessing the programme, especially fee charged for non-essential services already provided by PEPFAR.

 

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American Ambassador To Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard Reveal Condition For Visa Ban Review

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Visa Restriction

Mary Beth Leonard, the American ambassador to Nigeria has revealed the condition for reviewing the visa restriction imposed on Nigeria.

Leonard revealed this on Tuesday, February 17, after meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige in Abuja.

The ambassador noted that the US wants Nigeria to sort out problems with information sharing.

“I need to clarify something for you here. The immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone who currently lives in the United States.

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“What Secretary Pompey said was that it was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable and we look forward to Nigeria in a very short time being able to meet those information-sharing goals so that the decision can be reviewed.”

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Recall that the United States President, Donald Trump added Nigeria and six others to a new list of countries on America’s visa restriction.

According to the report, Nigerians would not be barred from entering the country but would not be issued with certain types of visas.

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SANWO-OLU BIDS JUSTICE BULKACHUWA FAREWELL, AS APPEAL COURT PRESIDENT RETIRES

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Appeal Court

…Lagos’ll Always Keep Faith In The Rule Of Law, Says Governor

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said his administration will not deviate from the tenet of constitutional democracy, promising that actions of the State Government under his watch will be kept within the ambit of the law.

He said his Government’s faith in the judicial system remained unshakable, adding that Lagos had been a beneficiary of the rule of law.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday while receiving the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House in Marina.

Justice Bulkachuwa, who was accompanied by other Justices of the Appeal Court, is retiring from the service after reaching the mandatory retirement period.

The Governor said Lagos would always stand on the good side of the law, adding that his administration would particularly stand in principle against actions that may undermine the independence of the Court.

He said: “Government in Lagos State is committed to ensuring that we all live within the ambit of the law. We will continue to engage the judiciary as an independent arm of the government. All of us in the executive arm will continue to uphold the tenet of the constitution that we swore to in our ways and deeds. We will not run foul of the law or any pronouncement of the Court.”

Sanwo-Olu saluted the outgoing Justice Bulkachuwa for her courage in driving far-reaching reforms in the Court of Appeal, saying her legacies would strengthen administration of justice across the country. The Governor said her legacies would be a guiding light for members of the judiciary and officers in the other arms of government.

The Governor said: “We are happy that you are proceeding to retirement at this prime age. You are now 70 years old but you are looking like a 50-year-old. Glory be to Almighty Allah for the grace of youthful appearance and energy. You have had a wonderful career in the judiciary.

“The several successes you have recorded during your tenure as President of the Court of Appeal will continue to be the legacy we will uphold in remembrance of your service to the nation. You are the oldest serving President of the Court of Appeal and you brought many reforms and laudable initiatives to strengthen the judicial process.

“Whoever is succeeding you will have enough to draw from your legacies. We hope you keep your doors open not only to the judiciary but also all of us who are looking forward to learn from your leadership skills.”

Justice Bulkachuwa said she would dedicate her retirement life to promoting girl-child education across the country, noting that she would not have achieved her potential had her father not given her a chance to go to school.

She was hopeful that the reforms and discipline she had instituted in the judiciary would be strengthened by the serving members, pointing out that she had mentored a new breed of judicial officers to entrench “good legacies” she is leaving behind.

“I will still be with my sisters and brother in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts. I have mentored so many young judicial officers and upcoming lawyers to carry on the legacies. I will still be part of the judicial system despite my retirement,” Justice Bulkachuwa said.

Asked why she chose to visit Lagos Governor in her first valedictory visit to any elected official, Justice Bulkachuwa said it was in Lagos the first Court of Appeal was set up among the three divisions created in 1976.

Besides, she said Lagos is playing pivotal roles in the administration of justice system, pointing out that majority of lawyers in the judiciary are serving in the State. She added that most of Appeal Court’s cases were being instituted in Lagos.

 

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FRSC Blames Low Literacy For High Rates Of Road Crashes

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Literacy

 

The Kastina State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Ali Tanimu, has blamed the low level of literacy for the high rate of road crashes on highways.

Tanimu stated this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday, February 18.

Speaking in Katsina, he said that most drivers do not understand the Highway Code.

His word: ‘’They either don’t buy them or they do not care to read and understand it. Most of the crashes are avoidable if the motorists will abide by the laid down traffic rules and regulations,’’ he said.

‘’Due to the nature of our roads, some drivers overtake on a bridge, sharp bends or hilly areas where they cannot see far distance. ‘’In most cases, what will happen is either the vehicle will jump into the bridge or it will have a head-on collision with another vehicle,’’ he said.

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The sector commander further said that making phone calls while driving also contributes to high rates of accidents on highways.

‘’Some of the drivers even went to the extent of checking or writing SMS text messages while driving, and the worst part of it, is that the passengers will just keep quiet,’’ he said

According to the sector commander, some drivers mix and overloads human beings with animals or goods, and drive at high speed. According to him, in such circumstances, when there is an accident, it will be fatal. He thus advised drivers not exceed 100-speed limits for the safety of passengers.

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‘’If you want to travel far, you should have to start the journey in good time to avoid overspending.”

The sector commander further urged motorists to ensure that their vehicles have good headlamps if they want to travel in the night; good tyres and no mechanical fault, explaining that all those are contained in the code, as such drivers should endeavour to study it.

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