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FG to issue Executive Order to Cut Costs of Medicine – Pate

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By Our Reporter

In a move to curtail the hike in pharmaceutical pricing and lower the cost of necessary medications for residents, the federal government said it will issue an Executive Order soon.

The Coordinating Minister of Health, Ali Pate, disclosed while briefing State House Correspondents on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister regretted that rising drug costs have put life saving commodities out of reach for many Nigerians.

Pate explained that the Executive Order aims to enable local drug manufacturers to thrive, while ensuring fair pricing of essential medicines.

He added that the decision follows the exit of major multinational pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, reducing competition.

According to him, the order reflects President Tinubu’s commitment under the Renewed Hope Agenda to prioritize healthcare access.

He said “consistent with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which puts the human capital, health and social welfare of Nigerians at the centre, today at the Federal Executive Council, Mr. President took three far-reaching decisions relating to the health sector.

“The first is the rising cost of pharmaceuticals, the hike in prices that we have in the pharmaceutical industry, which is going beyond the reach of many Nigerians, life-saving commodities, devices like syringes and needles and the exit of major companies from our market.

“Those decisions also include the regulation of the sector to protect the health and well being of humans and the third decision is regarding how we deal with the crisis of human resources in the health sector.

“The first on the syringes, drugs, pharmaceuticals and other devices, as you’ll recall, Mr President, in his wisdom, at the end of last year, in October, approved an initiative to unlock the healthcare value-chain and appointed a coordinator for that. But we know that the price of pharmaceuticals have escalated and many entities have decided to withdraw and some of the local manufacturers in Nigeria are struggling.

“President’s intent is that we begin to take steps to enable the local manufacturers to survive, to thrive and to deliver the basic commodities that are key to saving their lives.

“And  he directed that the Attorney General of the Federation work with us to come up with an Executive Order, which is the mechanism through which he will act, given the concern that he has that many Nigerians are suffering from the costs of pharmaceuticals, as well as other devices. That is the first important step and that should be coming very soon.”

The coordinating minister also said to strengthen healthcare regulation and protect citizens, key regulatory bodies including the Medical and Dental Council will continue to receive funding, except from cuts impacting other professional associations.

He added that to address the shortage of healthcare workers, the council has delegated approval of recruitment waivers to the Health Ministry directly.

According to him, this will accelerate hiring and reduce delays.

“The third is regarding the acute human resource shortage that we have. We know and having gone around many of our hospitals, particularly federal tertiary hospitals, the replacement of health workers that leave oftentimes takes a very long time because the waiver process takes several stages.

“Mr President directed in council that the approvals of those waivers be delegated to the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare so that it doesn’t have to go through the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

“That will hasten the recruitment of health workers in terms of those who are out there unemployed, within limits of their fiscal resources.

“All in all, to say that President is very keen that we drive forward to safeguard the health of Nigerians, to earn the confidence, the trust of Nigerians and to deliver for Nigerians in this new year that we have started and the marching orders are very clear,” he added.

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FCCPC Summons Owner of Chinese Supermarket for Alleged Discrimination of Citizens

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has summoned the owner of a Chinese supermarket located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for alleged restriction of Nigerians.

The supermarket located at Royal Choice Estate, Lugbe, allegedly permits only Chinese citizens access to purchase groceries.

The supermarket was under lock and key when officials of the FCCPC visited in reaction to a viral video where citizens frowned at the supermarket’s policy.

Ms Boladale Adeyinka, the Director, Surveillance and Investigations of FCCPC, who led the team, said the essence of the investigation was to verify the allegations and the contents of that viral video.

”On arrival, we noticed that the supermarket which is right behind me, was sealed and padlocked externally.

”Inquiries have shown that yes, as at this morning this supermarket was opened and people were here.

”CCTV footage also shows that at about 8:29 a.m., two vehicles departed from these premises allegedly containing the owner of the supermarket, whom we have been able to identify by name and we have her contact details.

”Now the summon is to serve notice on her to appear before the FCCPC by April 24 at 11 a. m.

”There are other regulatory tools to be deployed if she fails to honour this summons, ” she said.

Adeyinka said that if the owner of the supermarket failed to hour the summon, the commission under its powers, would seal the premises until she complied.

Mr Sanusi Shuiabu, the Estate Assistant Facilities Manager, said the supermarket was primarily established to cater for the groceries needs of Chinese residents and other tenants of the estate.

He said that there were no agreement restricting the supermarket to Chinese residents only.

Shuiabu said the owner of the supermarket who he simply identified as Cindy was a tenant in the estate.

Reports says that the supermarket was under lock and key when the FCCPC official visited. (NAN)

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Niger Delta Leaders say NDDC MD has Capacity to Perform

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Some leaders in the Niger Delta say they have confidence in the capability of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku to perform.

Mr Freedom Atigbi, the Convener of the Niger Delta Opinion Leaders, Youths and Weighted Stakeholders said this at a news conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

He said that Ogbuku had demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, charisma, and ability to drive both human and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta during his few months in office.

“Since Ogbuku’s appointment as managing director, the NDDC has successfully completed the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road and bridges project.

“In addition, initiatives such as the postgraduate oversees scholarship programme and ‘Operation Light up the Niger Delta’  has significantly reduced crime and enhanced commercial activities in the region.

“Under Ogbuku’s leadership, NDDC has inaugurated the Project Hope programme aimed at creating a database to facilitate the planning and implementation of training and provision for skilled labour,” he said.

Atigbi, who also serves as the Deputy President of the Ijaw Council Worldwide, said that the managing director had established the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce to support local entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.

“These achievements within few months in office underscores our belief that Ogbuku’s leadership has transformed NDDC from a transactional to a transformative government agency.

“Ogbuku has shown his ability to engage all stakeholders to achieve the goal of carrying everyone along in the commission’s policies and programmes.

“We hereby pass a vote of confidence and offer our support to Ogbuku, a balancer and unifier whose policies and programmes are tackling poverty and misery in the region,” he added.

The youth leader praised President Bola Tinubu for entrusting Ogbuku with the task of advancing his Renewed Hope Agenda in the Niger Delta. (NAN)

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Alleged Defilement: Businessman Docked for Failing to Produce Suspect

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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A businessman, Robert Makolo on Monday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court, for failing to produce a suspect he stood surety for in a case of defilement.

Makolo had promised to produce the suspect, John, who is his brother in court by the adjourned date.

The Magistrate Mr Lateef Owolabi, adjourned the case until May 30 for mention and to enable the defendant produce the suspect.

Reports says that Makolo had earlier been arraigned on Jan.

22 and stood trial on a two- count charge of conspiracy and perversion of justice.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Owolabi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must produce evidence of 3 years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

He said that one of the sureties must be a blood relative.

The prosecutor, SP Josephine Ikhayere had told the court that Makolo stood in as surety on  Nov 16, 2023 at the Anthony Police Station.

Ikhayere alleged that Makolo stood as a surety for his brother Paul, who was involved in a case of defilement.

She said the defendant promised to produce his brother the suspect anytime his presence was required at the police station until the case is finally disposed of.

She said that the defendant undertook to produce the suspect on Nov. 30, 2023 but failed.

The prosecutor said that the section contravene the provisions of Section 97 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.(NAN)

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