11 rescued alive in Bristow Helicopters crash

A Lagos-bound helicopter belonging to Bristow Helicopters, has crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.
The spokesman for Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, said in a press statement that all the 11 passengers, including the crew, were rescued alive.
“A S76 C++ helicopter marked 5N-BQJ  belonging to Bristow Helicopters, which departed ERHA Platform  en route Lagos, was ditched into the Atlantic Ocean 95 nautical miles to its destination at about 10:20am local time.
“All the eleven souls on board including two crew members were rescued alive. Accident Investigation Bureau AIB has commenced investigation into the occurrence,” said Oketunbi in a press statement.
Meanwhile, a source at Bristow Helicopters said it was not a crash, but what he described as “controlled ditching.”
Controlled ditching is an emergency landing of a helicopter on water. It is prompted by a sudden –on set emergency, where continued safe flight to the nearest adequate landing location of even suitable landing not ascertained.
It would be recalled that the latest crash is the second in about six months that Bristow Helicopters has recorded a crash. On August 12, 2015, a helicopter belonging to the company crashed into the Oworonshoki lagoon in Lagos claiming six of the 12 twelve passengers on board, including the crew.

FG Shortchanges Adamawa In Appointments- Gov Bindow

By: John Johnson, Yola

gov bindowGov. Jibrilla Bindow  of Adamawa State has decried what he described as unjust treatment of Adamawa state indigenes in appointments at the Federal level, his government decries  injustice in the allocation of appointments in the Federal civil service.

Speaking in Yola on Monday while receiving members of the Adamawa State Investment and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee at Government House, the Governor said that his administration would pursue the lopsided allocation of slots in the federal civil service to the state with a view to correcting the injustice.

While observing that Adamawa state did not meet up its statutory quarter in the federal service, Governor Bindow expressed hopes that the APC-led federal Government would henceforth look into the matter with a view to ensuring fairness in the allocation of appointments.

He commended the committee for a wonderful job, stressing that  his is  committed  to implementing the recommendation of the committee as soon as they submitted the comprehensive report to him.

“I will pursue this injustice mated on our state in the past especially in the area of allocation of appointment slots in the federal civil service. I will draw the attention of the SGF when the committee finally submits its reports over this matter and I believe he will be willing to correct the anomalies”, he stated.

“Sen. Jonathan Zwingina, chairman of the committee  had earlier to0ld the Governor that, the state only filled 1.5 per cent of its statutory vacancies in the federal civil service,  which is grossly short of the status prescribed for each state to be allocated at least 2.5 percent of the federal civil service.

The former Senate Leader said that, while some states had filled 30 per cent, Adamawa had filled only less than one per cent, following which the committee had recommended an Adamawa Investment and Promotion Forum in its report.

He explained that the forum would produce a blue print for an investment drive in the state.


PDP Chairmanship Crisis Stalls NEC Meeting

By; Peter OSSAI- Abuja


The Leadership crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP seems to be taking newer dimensions as the proposed National Executive Committee, NEC meeting slated for Thursday has been put on hold indefinitely.

nationalTRAIL learnt from dependable sources that in  National Working Committee, NWC that the meeting cannot hold because a credible candidate for the position of National Chairman from the North East is yet to emerge.

Last week, the leadership of the PDP disclosed to Journalists that the main organs of the party, including the National Caucus, Board of Trustees, BoT and NEC would meet this week to take a common position on the issuesm causing  the crisis in the party.

It may be recalled that prior to the 2012 National Convention of the party, the position of national chairmanship was zoned to the North-east leading to the emergence of  Alhaji Bamanga Tukur from Adamawa State as chairman, he later resigned and Adamu Muazu from Bauchi replaced him, but also resigned after the party lost the 2015 Presidential election, and his deputy, Prince Uche Secondus has been running the affairs of the party in acting capacity.

On December 16, an Abuja High Court  ruled that  Secondus should vacate the seat within 14 days and allow a member of the party from the North East zone to occupy the national chairman’s seat.


Since then, the party has been emeshed in confusion on  as the former Political Adviser to past President Goodkuck Jonathan, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak stormed the secretariat with his supporters and  declared himself the National Chairman of the party.

Gulak, who arrived the national headquarters of PDP at 1:42pm in company  of other aides of former president Jonathan went straight to the third floor of the building, asked that the office of the National Chairman be opened for him, but it was not and he immediately moved to the National Working Committee, NWC Conference hall to address Journalists, using the chair of the National Chairman.

Relying on the  High Court ruling, Gulak told journalists that with the application by the PDP and the acting national chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus thrown out, which sought to stop a previous ruling demanding that Secondus should vacate office within 14 days, he had the mandate to take over, being the person who went to court.

Gulak challenged the proposed date of the national convention which was proposed for March this year by the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) against the backdrop that the NWC ought to have first tabled the matter before the National Executive Committee, NEC before announcing it.


But in a swift reaction, the PDP NWC while describing the action as shocking, a taboo, unacceptable, describing him as a fifth columnist working for the All Progressives Congress, APC to cause confusion in the party, stressing that Gulak cannot come through the backdrop to become the National Chairman of the party, asking him to go to his zone, consult, lobby for his name to be submitted from the North East Zone.


Addressing Journalists, PDP National Legal Adviser, Barrister Victor Kwon, who dismissed claims by Gulak, however urged him to go and lobby if he wants to be chairman, saying,  “he cannot proclaim himself national chairman as the court did not tell the party to name him national chairman.”


Soon after the development, Governors elected under the PDP subsequently advised Secondus to step aside while the National Secretary of the party, Prof. Wale Oladipo, was asked to take over. But the NWC of the party kicked against the order, insisting that Secondus remains the acting National Chairman.

It was against this background that the NEC meeting was slated for Thursday, but sources said it may not hold, due to yet unresolved issues.




Badeh Honours EFCC Invitation

Air-Chief-Marshal-Alex-BadehFormer Chief of Defence Staff, CDS,  Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh (Rtd), has put arrangements in place to honour the invitation extended to him by the Economic and financial crimes Commission, EFCC, in furtherance of investigations into procurement in the Armed Forces under his watch.

Dependable sources revealed  Tuesday that  Chief Badeh received the EFCC invitation on Monday and  he has promptly directed his personal aides to make arrangements for his visit to the Commission’s office by Wednesday morning, as requested by the  ant-graft agency.

The former CDS will be visiting the EFCC from his house where he has been since he left office, to explain certain activities that were alleged to have taken place in the Armed Forces under his watch as the coordinating officer for all the arms of the Armed Forces.

According to  a reliable source,  Badeh has maintained a low profile in the face recent allegation. Some military sources who worked with Badeh believe that the former CDS is being deliberately framed up by people whose toes he may have stepped upon while in office.

“While it is impossible to say any human is perfect, we  believe some of the allegations  as contained in the order directing EFCC to probe Badeh and others are particularly strange  to those of us who worked with him” one of the military sources said.

“We are even more curious because, we understand this officers were not invited for questioning by the Presidential panel that conducted prelimanry investigations into the matter.

“Well, we are glad he  now has an opportunity  to defend his good name  built over years of dedicated service to the nation,” the source said.

Efforts to speak directly with the former CDS did not yield results,but reliable sources said he has made up his mind to honour the  invitation  by the EFCC.

Customs Releases New Export Guidelines


Stories by Mathew OMEJE, with
agency report

Customs officers inspecting containers
Customs officers inspecting containers

The Tin Can Island
Command of the Nigeria
Customs Service, (NCS),
has rolled out new wood
export guidelines, saying
only semi-treated and fully processed
wood products would be exported
through its terminal.
Addressing stakeholders recently,
the Customs Area Comptroller
Mr Yusuf Bashar said that it had to
sensitise the business community
particularly exporters on the need
to ensure that only exportable wood
products are brought in to the port,
adding that anything short of what
the law permits, will be confiscated.
Oil price per barrel is going down;
it is our major foreign exchange earner
so Nigerians must be encouraged to
export as much lawful products as
“At a point, we asked ourselves
how we can encourage exports from
our end, we thought that the best way
to do that was to sensitise the people
and tell what products are allowed by
“We took wood products as
the first item amongst exportable
products because it attracts a lot of
“The need for the campaign
became imperative due to the
seeming confusion emanating
from the export of wood products
as almost every container with
wood export despite the status,
is considered contraband by the
“So we met exporters of wood
products, freight forwarders of
wood exporters, our own Customs
personnel and any interested
members of the public and let them
know the categories of wood that are
lawfully exportable,” he explained.
He explained that exports do not
attract any duty, adding that in the
light of falling oil price, government
was trying to encourage Nigerians
to export as much as they can
with a view to repatriating foreign
currencies back home.
According to him, “It is an
incentive to encourage export
because it is assumed that money
will come to government based on
exportable products from Nigeria
especially now that Nigeria is having
challenges with crude oil.”
Bashar also said that the
command had to bring in officials of
the Federal Environment Protection
Agency, (FEPA) to assist the Customs
in explaining and showing to
exporters difference between treated
and untreated wood products.
According to Bashar, other
government agencies that approved
such exports were also invited to tell
exporters what is called processed
and semi processed woods.
He opined that the more there
is communication, the higher
the compliance level adding that
unprocessed wood is banned from
He further explained that he will
ensure that the four policy thrust of
the Customs management will be
implemented to to the letter adding
that the agency must facilitate trade
as much as possible so as to make the
ports attractive

NCC Bows, Agrees To Settle With MTN

NCC-and-MTNThe Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and telecoms giant, MTN may have reached an understanding as both parties have agreed to settle out-of-court on the fine imposed on MTN for not disconnecting unregistered lines according to NCC directions. Mathew OMEJE reports

All seems to be well between the NCC and MTN as the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has explained that the Commission may consider MTN Nigeria plea to settle its dispute out of court. Speaking at an international press conference over the weekend, Danbatta explained that NCC’s counsels were already talking with MTN’s counsels on the issue of out of court deal.
According to him, “I can confirm that MTN still seeks out of court settlement. MTN is trying to get this issue settled amicably. We have been informed by our own counsel that the Honourable Judge handling the case has granted the request for a settlement on the matter.
“The intention is not to kill MTN because we would like the industry to continue. We would like it to be vibrant and I think this is a matter that needs to be resolved amicably and we are working towards that”, he said.
He pointed out that MTN had filed a law suit, but that the NCC was told by its lawyers late on Tuesday that it wanted an out-of-court settlement.
While speaking on the net worth of the sector, Danbatta disclosed that ICT has contributed over N500 billion in revenue into the coffers of the federal government and that there was every indication for the current 11 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Progression (GDP), to rise astronomically in the years ahead.
He also appealed to Nigerians to have their SIMs registered, and unveiled an eight point agenda on accessibility of service, affordability and availability of service.
It would be recalled that the telecommunications company, MTN, had sought an out of court settlement over the N1.04 trillion fine the Federal government through the National Communications Commission, slammed on it last year for failing to deactivate 5.1 billion unregistered phone lines.
MTN, which had initially dragged FG to court over the fine, arguing that it was outrageous, at a resumed hearing of the suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos recently, through its lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, told the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, that they have considered settling out of court with the Federal government.
Following the request by MTN, the presiding judge adjourned the case to March 18, 2016 hoping that both parties would have reached an agreement before then.
The Federal government had reduced the fine to N780 billion after the company complained.
Meanwhile, the management of MTN had dared the federal government of Nigeria and said it will not pay the N780bn fine.
According a statement issued by the telecommunications firm ahead of the December 31, 2015 deadline issued by the NCC, the Public Relations and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina, said when a case is in court, there was a limit to the comments that could be made on it.
“Suffice it to say that based on the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), all parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria,” Aina stated.
He further said that notwithstanding the lawsuit, “we would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to try and ensure an amicable resolution in the best interest of the company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities. We urge our customers not to panic as we do not envisage any disruption to our operations.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that within a period of one year, the GSM networks have added 16,511,295 lines, an increase of 12.28 per cent.
The report obtained from the NCC, shows that in September 2014, the total number of subscribers stood at 134,507,329 lines, the total number of subscription to all telecommunications networks rose to 151,018,624 by the end of August this year. This means that within a period of one year, 16,511,295 lines, an increase of 12.28 per cent have been added.
The continued growth in the GSM networks may not be unconnected to the increasing difficulty that subscribers have been facing in recent times.
The acting Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umaru Danbatta, had at a public function in Abuja recently, acknowledged the problems being experienced by subscribers with the telecommunications networks.
According to him, the regulatory agency had stepped up its efforts to monitor and improve quality of service in the industry.
Danbatta said a quality of service task force had also been inaugurated to identify and recommend appropriate solutions to address the problem of poor quality of service from telecommunications operators.
Also, the report shows that the Code Division Multiple Access (popularly referred to as the CDMA) networks shrank as the lines in the network decreased from 2,406,382 lines to 2,125,941 lines within the one year period. This shows the dwindling fortunes of operators of the CDMA technology.
Although the CDMA operators deployed by Intercellular, Multilinks, Starcomms and Visafone preceded the introduction of the GSM technology in Nigeria, the technology has continued to decline as the GSM operators have over the years proved that they have better resources and market plan.
Similarly, fixed services declined from 190,719 lines in September 2014 to 189,523 lines by the end of August, 2015.
This shows that the growth in subscriber base in the country has been driven by the GSM operators, which include the four main service providers deploying this technology namely: MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat.

I Still Have Faith In PDP – Sen. Ibrahim Mantu

In the face of stories making the rounds that some top
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, notches may be heading
for other parties, former Deputy President of the Senate,
Ibrahim Mantu, says his fortunes are better guaranteed
in the now opposition PDP, despite the challenges being
faced by the party. He spoke exclusively to nationalTRAIL’s
Jonathan Ipaa in Abuja


Senator, what
is the motive
behind this
summit in the first place?
Well, I am a politician
who has benefitted from
democracy, and all its
processes in recent time,
and I would love to bequeath
its dividends to the next
generation in a way that
providence will remember
me. Like other politicians of
my contemporaries, I wish
to be counted among those
who contribute towards the
strengthening of stronger
democratic institutions to
the next generation, so that
even the unborn, so that
what we will have on ground
in Nigeria will be in line
with what its obtainable in
the advanced nations like;
the United States, United
Kingdom, France, etc.
To answer your question,
the ideal behind the summit
therefore, is to strengthen
our democracy, make
it functional, stronger,
transparent and accountable
to the people including;
you the press. We want to
bequeath a democracy that
in the hands of the people
through their truly elected
leaders, and strengthen its
institutions for the next
As you are aware, the
annual national political
summit was declared
open by the President and
Commander In Chief,
President Muhammadu
Buhari, who was represented
by his vice, Prof. Yemi
Osibanjo, in attendance were
also the Senate President,
Senator Bukola Sarki, the
Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Rt Hon.
Yakubu Dogara, who also
presented key note addresses.
This summit is our
own modest contribution
to the effort of other key
stakeholders in strengthening
our democracy. You can see
that it attracted so many
dignitaries, both local and
international across political
party leanings. The former
Interim Leader of Liberian
government, Prof. Amos
Sawyer, the Mayor of New
York, Nigerian top officials,
organised labour, civil
society groups, the media,
every stakeholder, and you.
Who is actually sponsoring
this summit, and how much
does it cost the taxpayer?
We members, participants
all put our naira and kobo to
hold the summit. The Save
Nigeria Group, Africa, is
the platform, and if you can
recall, it is a well known body
accepted by the democratic
world, and Nigeria recognises
it. This is the platform under
which we came here, and not
the taxpayers’ money.
So it is not true that the
APC government is behind
this summit?
Not correct, I am not
aware of any, because we
are all involved. I am of the
opposition PDP, Ghali Na’aba
is a board member of the
ruling APC, we have Mrs
Josephine Anenih, Senator
Hangar, Senator Adeyeye,
ex ministers, lawmakers, the
organised labour, the civil
society, and the mass media,
But for those familiar with
your style of politics; Mantu
may be on his way to the
APC: What about this hot
story that the whole summit
is aim at providing a platform
for you to defect to the APC
like your contemporaries?
Kai! That is the Nigerian
press for you!! God forbid!
That is not why we are
here my brother; I have
no reason to leave PDP as
being speculated, if at all and
don’t forget, this summit as
I said earlier, is not about
PDP or APC. It’s about the
strengthening of democracy
in Nigeria. You know we
are the giant of Africa, and
most of the countries in
sub Sahara, look unto us for
example, so we have to get it
right for them to follow.
As for your question, I am
a strong member of the PDP,
and like other stakeholders
you see here, we have like
minds, but defection is not
the issue on our table as far
as the summit is concern.
How can I defect from a
party that made me, and for
what reason? Why would
anyone think I would leave
PDP for who and why?
May be for the fear of
being probed and witch hunt
like the fears of most PDP
leaders who have said, Is
it not safer to join the APC
and avert being chased like
some of your colleagues in
the opposition camp under
whatever guise?
I don’t know. I have not
given it a thought yet. I have
no further comment on this
please. Let me tell you, I am
still in PDP, and I have no
reason, or plan to defect to
any political party.
Rather than raise
imaginary questions outside
this summit, let’s dwell much
of this session on some of our
declaration and the frame
work of action for strategic
partnership and corporation
of stakeholders for political
development in Nigeria
which is what I am here for.
Okay, what was the
agenda like, and how will it
benefit the common man on
the street?
We, the stakeholders in
Nigeria’s electoral democracy
comprising leaders, political
parties, elders statesmen, civil
societies and representatives
of the entire spectrum of
Nigerian society, assembled
in Abuja for the inaugural
national political summit
on the theme 2015 General
Elections: Consolidating
the Gains and Building
Positive political culture
for sustenance democracy
in Nigeria organised by the
Save Democracy Group
Africa and other partnering
organisations, are convinced
that the positive attributes
of Nigeria’s 2015 elections
including peaceful conduct
acceptance of defeat by an
incumbent president, the
alternation of power at
the national level, and the
sustenance fight against
insurgency demonstrate
Nigeria’s leadership role in
democratic governance,
and the entrenchment of
democratic cultures and
values in the West African
sub region.
We underscored the
disturbing reality of politics
of attrition and the inability
of politicians including
us here, to overcome the
bitterness of elections and
rise over partisan divide to
promote national unity and
It is disturbing and
alarming that insurgency
has continue to threaten
our unity and stability in
spite our continue resolve
for peace and unity. We have
noted with great concern that
outstanding issues of under
representation by the youth,
women groups and the
vulnerable in governance, are
still key, and these are some
of the areas we debated at this
How are we sure that the
outcome of this summit
would not go the same way
many others have gone, and
What is the political will, for
instance; this declaration
will it get the National
Assembly backpacking?
Don’t forget that I was a
Deputy Senate President
and Ghali Na’aba was the
Speaker of the House of
Representatives. We still
enjoy respect, and if possible
patronage of the lawmakers.
We are still working together,
and I can tell you, the
outcome won’t be the same. It
would receive the light of the
legislators and the executive
as far as good governance is
We noted with great
concern that outstanding
issues in the reform of the
electoral process as contained
in the report of the Justice
Uwais Electoral Reform
Committee, and the relevant
recommendations of the
2014 National Conference
are yet to be incorporated
into the Amendment of
the Constitution and the
Electoral Act 2010 (as
amended), and we are
praying that the ongoing
Constitution Review process
by the National Assembly will
ensure its logical passage.
But you were the head of
that committee during your
days. What caused the delay
up to this time?
Well, its dynamics and
priority is tie to the demands
of the government of the day.
For instance, the demand
for states creation, resource
control, increase in elective
and appointive positions for
women, etc, keep growing
in every government, and
this democracy, you can’t
stop interest groups from
agitating for their rights.
We are persuaded that
the civil societies are
representatives of the
people, and communities
have important role to play
in the promotion of the
democratic process which
include election observation
and transparent use and
management of public
What are the parameters
for attaining all these
set goals, are you sure
Muhammadu Buhari led
APC government will key
into this PDP dominated
political summit agenda?
Well, it’s not about
individuals, it is about
Nigeria and democratic
institutions. The
inadequacies of the Nigerian
educational system which
cannot empower the youth
to engage in self employment
through entrepreneurial and
technical skills in addition
to the minimal role in the
politics and decision making
positions have constrained
opportunities for all round
development of the youth
We like any other citizen
are dissatisfied that the
absence of common values,
uniform standards and
code of conduct for elected
local government officials
have continued to diminish
the performance of local
governance across the nation,
as well as their funding, etc.
It is dismaying by the
continuous delay in the
dispensation of justice and
inconsistencies in their
judgments among others,
and we all frowned at the
incessant use of caretaker
committee by state governors
to govern the affairs of the
grassroots governments.
But the cry has been
narrowed to your party the
PDP for those 16 wasteful
years. Do you share this
blame at the summit?
Gone are the days of
campaigns and sentiments,
we must move forward and
strengthen our institutions.
We challenge stakeholders
across board to make
concerted efforts to revert
to the positive ideals of its
founders which include the
fight against corruption, in
fact, a corrupt free democratic
system in which leaders and
citizens commit themselves
to the values and cultures of
democracy such as free, fair
and credible election, strong
and internal political parties
with respect for internal
democracy and transparent
use of state resources for the
development and welfare of
What were the resolves
and the goodwill expected?
The summit under the Save
Democracy Group, Africa,
Nigerian chapter, has agreed
to strengthen the legislature
as the pillar of democratic
governance to enable it
continue to play its role of
checkmating the excesses
of the executive branch,
protecting constitutional
limits of terms of office,
passage of high impact
legislation, and carry out
investigations that expose
corruption and strengthen
institutions and mechanism
for public accountability.
The summit tasked
stakeholders of the political
class, and the political
leadership to eschew
politics of bitterness that
characterises elections, and
work in harmony with other
stakeholders to strengthen
the bonds of national unity
and focus on national interest.
The conference called on the
legislative arm of government
at all levels to urgently carry
out the amendment of
relevant sections of the 1999
Constitution (as Amended)
and the Electoral Act to
improve the electoral process.
The stakeholders demand
that the government must
end the culture of impunity,
tyranny, witch hunt, and
observe the basic tenets of the
rule of law in the concerted
war on corruption and
ensure that monies recovered
by courts of appropriate
jurisdictions are used for the
development and welfare of
Nigerian citizens.
We also charged the
federal government, and
those at the states and
local levels to undertake
a comprehensive reform
of the nation’s educational
curriculum to make
Nigerian youth employable,
and accommodate
entrepreneurial training and
skill acquisition to reduce
dependencies on white collar
employment as it is today.
Save Democracy Group
is calling on the judiciary
to recognise the import of
the Maxim, Justice delayed
is justice denied, and the
need for consistency in their
We affirm that Save
Democracy Group, Africa
be made a platform for the
operationalisation of the
resolutions of the Abuja
Peace Accord.
What is the framework for
achieving this?
The framework of action
for strategic partnership and
corporation of stakeholders
for political development
in Nigeria detailed the
responsibilities of individual
stakeholders towards the
realisation of the declaration.
Where we are now, where we
want to be, and how to get there
from here, the benchmarks
that will help mobilise for
effective monitoring and
oversight necessary for
factual assessment when we
return for the 2017 edition of
our summit

Lassa Fever: Emergency National Council On Health Strategise

The recent outbreak of Lassa fever obviously exposed further the poor health care system in Nigeria. It specifically told the world that Nigeria’s disease surveillance and control is still backwards. It also exposed the inefficiency of the nation’s Primary Health Care system. Above all the Lassa fever Outbreak which seems to have gotten out of hand is also sending the signal that Nigeria managed to contain Ebola not because all human and financial resources were made available.
The Nigerian Government called for an Emergency session of the National Council on Health (NCH) on Lassa Fever Outbreak, the same way the country did when the first index case of Ebola was reported.
The night long meeting in September 2014 had all state Governors making promises to boost its disease surveillance and control system then, many of those pledges were not fulfilled and thus the seemingly uncontrollable lassa Fever deaths.
It could also be recalled that the then administration made financial commitments for construction of quarantine centers and ambulance systems available in states. There were alleged reports that some of those funds were not accounted for.
Following the outbreak of Lassa fever which started since August 2015, and were not reported until the time the disease spread beyond control, the Federal ministry of health called for emergency national Council on Health meeting which held at the Rotunda Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building, Abuja, FCT on 19th January, 2016. The National Council on Health is the highest advisory body on health in Nigeria.
The Emergency meeting was convened by the Honourable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole to lay the foundation for a Multi-Sectoral Response to the Lassa Fever Outbreak as a matter of urgency.
The specific objectives of the Emergency meeting were presented to Council by the Honourable Minister of State for Health and included the need to facilitate discussion on the control of the on-going Lassa fever outbreak, development of strategies for the prevention and management of outbreaks; operationalisation of integrated management of outbreaks and emergencies at the Federal, State and LGA levels; and inauguration of the Lassa fever eradication committee.
The health Minister made a presentation called “Laying the Foundation for a Multi-Sectoral Response to Lassa Fever”. The presentation elucidated the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy for the control of Lassa Fever and other similar milar diseases. He called on all the States to strengthen their surveillance systems, report all cases and collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health in the successful implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Response Strategy.
The Council also received a presentation on Epidemiological Situation of the current Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria including available Response Infrastructure/Resource requirements by Prof. Abdulaslami Nasidi, National Coordinator/CEO, NCDC; updates from Lassa Fever affected states who detailed the progression of the outbreak(s) in their states and current efforts to contain and prevent further spread of the disease and reassure the affected Communities; as well as updates from CMDs/MDs of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions located within the affected States on their response and high index of suspicion towards all cases coming to their institutions, their management of confirmed cases, and measures being implemented to prevent nosocomial spread within their facilities as well as their community outreach efforts.
the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health, its Agencies and Parastatals under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Health as well as the efforts of all States including non-affected States who are actively strengthening their surveillance systems, awareness and health programme campaigns were recognized . But what was lacking was indebt feedback from the states on disease control and emergency response after the Ebola experience in Nigeria.
The NCH participants however said Ebola, was different from Lassa Fever which they said is treatable if detected early and there are adequate treatment centres spread across the country.
They were optimistic that the virus would be contained as they reassured the Public on the adequacy of the response to the outbreak and urged the Public, Community and Religious leaders to cooperate with the Health Agencies in their States to ensure prompt reporting of any suspected case.
The NCH comprises of the State Commissioners for Health of the 36 States, the Secretary of Health & Human Services Secretariat FCT, with the Honourable Minister of Health as the Chairman of the Council. The Emergency Meeting of the National Council on Health was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac F. Adewole.
A total of 418 delegates participated from the Ministry, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Ministry of Health including Chief Medical Directors/Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions, State Ministries of Health and the Health & Human Services Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Abuja. Others in attendance were representatives of key Federal Ministries such as Agriculture, Education, Environment and Information; Also in attendance were Development Partners drawn from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, WAHO, CDC, PATHS2, DFID, BMGF, HERFON, AFENET, Higher Commissioner of Canada, Innovative Vaccines, and USAID; as well as delegates from the Health Regulatory Bodies, Professional associations, the Tri-Services of the Nigerian Military and Para-

Wife Of President Becomes TB Ambassador

Aisha-BuhariThe STOP TB Partnership Nigeria, an affiliate of the Global Stop TB partnership, Geneva, has announced the acceptance of the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Hajiya Aisha Mohammadu Buhari to champion the eradication of TB in Nigeria and globally.
Chairman of the Partnership, Prof. Lovett Lawson, who stated this in a press briefing in the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) in Abuja, said that her nomination was in recognition of her passion to promote the wellbeing of women and children in Nigeria.
“We believe that the leadership of her Excellency in TB control will significantly augment the efforts aimed at controlling the spread of the disease amongst adults and children and improve the engagement and support of key stakeholders from public and private sectors to TB control in Nigeria and ensure a TB-free future for our children,” he said.
According to Prof. Lawson, Nigeria has the highest number of TB cases in Africa with approximately 600,000 people becoming infected with TB and the STOP TB Partnership Nigeria is a multi-stakeholder partnership of government and non-governmental organizations, private sector, development partners amongst others dedicated to ending the scourge of TB in the country.
Representative of World Health Organization, Dr. Ayodele Awe, lamented that the situation in which only 15% of the TB cases in the country are being detected. He noted that only about 100,000 out of 600,000 cases of TB are being detected though the disease is a number one killer of Nigerians. He stated that TB is a curable disease and free treatment is available for the disease.
Beyond TB, Drug Resistant TB (DR-TB) is also a challenge because it is more difficult to treat and requires more expensive medications. However, it is being treated in the country according to IHVN representative in the STOP TB Partnership, Mr. DeboOlateju.
“With support from the Global Fund and other partners, IHVN has treated 1,334 patients for DR-TB since 2011 and is carrying out initiation of DR-TB treatment in the community in 24 states in the country,” he said.

Benue South Rerun: Let the Will of My People Prevail – Mark


By Lateef Bamgbose

david-markImmediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has for umpteenth time stated that the forthcoming re-run election in Benue South is not a contest between the Idoma people and their neighbours but solely a decision of the former to decide her destiny.
“Make no mistake about this. The rerun election is purely the affairs of Benue South people. They will ultimately determine who should represent them. Any outsider showing or attempting to influence the outcome is merely an interloper, intruder and would ultimately be an exercise in futility, Mark told Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders who visited him in Abuja.
He said he has been energized and encouraged by the uncommon show of solidarity and support to go for the rerun election from his constituents, well meaning Nigerians and the PDP stressing that “democracy will be strengthened and serve the purpose if peoples’ wish are held sacrosanct .”
Mark said he was pleased that his constituents have seen good reasons why he should return to the Senate because they have taken pains to verify projects and appointments he has attracted to the constituency as a Senator of the Federal Republic.
He, therefore, told his people to remain law abiding and show good conduct pre- election, during and after the election no matter the level of provocation.
” With God on our side and the growing support, we will win the election convincingly. What I will not accept is for any outside interest or outsider to determine the outcome of the election”, he added.
In his remark, the PDP Chairman in Benue state, Dr. Emmanuel Agbo noted that the defection of the likes of former Deputy Governor, Steve Lawani, Jerry Agada , Sam Ode and Mike Onoja is not a threat to the party in Benue South because they represented a vocal minority and certainly not the majority of thepeople.
Agbo stated: “the decamped persons actually removed the burden from us. They were the problems of the party. They were the ones who perpetrated anti-party activities. They betrayed the party in the past. They have eventually demonstrated their unstable nature. They would still betray the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He added:” I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that the people are with us. Our mission is genuine and God almighty will give us victory.