It was a development that tasked the collective conscience of the nation, as well as exposed the hypocrisy of a people who largely claim to be religious . In the unwholesome criminality that is becoming a norm, the tale of kidnapping and hostage taking, innocent pupils, underage children were left to languish as a result of the society that appears to have become helpless in the hands of these devilish criminals.
ore like a tale by moonlight when news hit the social and the mainstream media that bandits had attacked Salihu Tanko Islamic School in Tegina, Rafi local government area of Niger State on Sunday, May 30, 2021, and kidnapped 136 people, including three teachers.
They were held hostage by the bandits in a forest between Niger an Kaduna states since then. Pupils who have not been exposed to life witnessed a horrendous , savage treatment in the hands of their captors for almost three months.
Relief however, came the way of the parents, the embattled government of Niger state and the rest of Nigerians last week, when the 136 pupils of the Salihu Yanko Islamiyya School in Tegina, were released after spending almost three months in the hands of their abductors.
The pupils were said to have been released in Brinin Gwari in Kaduna state. The Niger state government House stated that the State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who received the pupils directed that they should be taken for a Medical checkup to ascertain their health status after spending several months in captivity. That was a welcomed decision by the governor.
But on a sad note, six of the 136 students kidnapped reportedly died of illness while in captivity.
The principal of their school, Abubakar Garba Alhasan made the sad disclosure before the release of the rest.
We note with regret that bandits and other criminal gangs have made schools as prime targets of their nefarious criminality and carried out a series of raids on boarding schools in particular in Northern Nigeria in which more than 1,000 students have been abducted since December.
This continues to thrive because of the failure of the security system to rise up to the occasion to stem the ever rising, and largely lucrative underground business run by criminal gangs and syndicates.
While we welcome the pupils from the captivity, we wish to thank their parents and guardians for sharing in the ordeal of their children while it lasted. We console with those that lost their children while in captivity.
Time and again, we stated that the government has failed in its principal responsibility of providing security for its citizens, talk less of the most vulnerable in the society, children.
Again, there is the need to question the Federal Government’s decision to embark on SIM cards registration, not long ago, whose aim Nigerians were told is to make it easier to nab criminals and their accomplices.
Billions of Naira was sunk and even lost by telecommunication companies in carrying out the exercise. But rather than the nation gaining from the exercise, the violent crime rates including kidnapping continue to increase.
The earlier the government rises to tackle the deteriorating violent crime rate the better for the citizens and the government whose image is fast waning among the citizens and in the international community, where issues of security are concerned.
We wish to renew the call for the full implementation of the safe schools programme especially as most states will reopen their schools in the next few weeks for a new academic year.
Obadiah Mailafia[December 24, 1956-September 19,2021]
His controversial death on September 19, of this illustrious son of Nigeria came as a great shock to the nation. Obadiah Mailafia until his demise over allegations of poor attention from the various hospitals he was taken to was a development economist, international polymath, central banker, statesman ; the 2019 Nigeria Presidential election candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), and a columnist with some of the national newspapers.
The Northern Governors Forum[NGF] has described his death as a great loss to the nation as well as the entire Northern region.
In a statement , the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong said the death of Dr Mailafiya is a sad development not only to his family, but to the nation because of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic pursuits of Nigeria.He said: “The legacies of Dr Mailafiya will continue to be celebrated as he showed passion for development, emancipation, truth, justice and equity in all his interventions at various platforms.”Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described the demise of the renowned banker as a great loss. Gov. Ortom said the nation will greatly miss the contributions of Mailafia in the economic and political spheres of Nigeria, particularly at a time the country needs patriots in tackling the myriad of challenges confronting it. No doubt Mailafia will be greatly missed.
Children as Victims of Insurgency
Nigerian children are passing through one of their most trying times in the nation’s history. Hardly does any day passes without reports of these young ones usually referred to as the leaders of tomorrow being kidnapped, raped and even killed by bandits and terrorists in a society that is losing its moral direction.
Dr Ihekweazu’s Appointment at WHO
In the midst of nationwide insecurity, which has made life miserable for many, Nigeria had something to cheer, when one of the nation’s pragmatic administrators got an international job recently.
While Dr Ihekweazu still serves as the head of Nigeria’s infectious disease agency, the letter disclosed that he will assume the new office on November 1, 2021, and will be in charge of WHO’s pandemic and epidemic response hub in Berlin, Germany. The letter stated:“I am pleased to welcome Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu as an Assistant Director-General for Health Emergency Intelligence from November 1, 2021.
“You will lead the work on strengthening pandemic and epidemic intelligence globally, including heading the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin.” Ihekweazu and other members of the new global WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence were inaugurated, recently in Berlin, Germany, by Director-General of WHO, Dr. Ghebreyesus and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel.The WHO DG noted that Dr. Ihekweazu who is currently the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control[NCDC] was trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist, and has over 20 years of experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several national public health institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.
He has also led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.The WHO DG also noted that Dr. Ihekweazu, who was born in Germany, is a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria and has a Masters in Public Health from the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany.The new appointee is said to have led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.
In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship for the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training and subsequently completed his Public Health specialisation in the United Kingdom.He is widely published in medical peer-reviewed journals.Dr Ihekweazu was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2016 as the acting head of the NCDC, the agency responsible for the control and prevention of communicable diseases in the country.The Epidemiologist became the first substantive head of the disease agency in November 2018, following the signing of the NCDC Act into law.
As NCDC Director-General, Ihekweazu has led the response to large outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Yellow fever, Lassa fever and monkeypox.Since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, Ihekweazu has led Nigeria’s public health response to the pandemic through the NCDC.He has been serving on the WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee for COVID-19, chaired by Didier Houssin.Dr Ihekweazu also serves as a Member of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus Steering Committee, where he chairs the Infection Prevention Control Sub-Committee.
With his very rich credentials and exposure, there is no doubt that Dr Ihekweazu will succeed in his new assignment. DAILY ASSET which awarded NCDC under his leadership as the Government Agency of the year 2020 in our prestigious Lecture and Award in February in Abuja, has been vindicated for the global recognition, which was made largely possible as a result of the drive and other leadership qualities of the NCDC’s chief executive, Dr Ihekweazu in the last few years, especially in the campaign against COVID-19 pandemic.
We have no doubt that he will succeed in his new post at the WHO having prepared adequately for such important international assignement.
We urge the new Assistant Director General to bring to the front burner the health challenges of African countries especially tjose associated with public health issues.
For instance, the distribution of COVID – 19 vaccines has been a challenge in much of Africa. This is one area, the Nigerian expert can use his good offices to bring to the attention of the global health agency.
His appointment should serve as a source of motivation to other Nigerian professionals, who should note that wherever you are and whatever you do, excellence will have no hiding place and that in due course will be noticed and appreciated.
DAILY ASSET congratulates Dr Ihekweazu for this international recognition and wish him success in his new assignment.
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