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I am Conversant with My Legislative Roles—Lawan Announces

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Nigeria President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan
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By Jude Opara, Abuja

Senate President, Ahmed Lawan yesterday reiterated his position that having a cordial working relationship with the executive arm of government does not mean that the National Assembly under him will be a rubber stamp because he fully knows his legislative roles as the leader of the legislative arm of government.

Lawan who spoke while welcoming his colleagues to the chamber after a two-week recess said; “it is now time for action” adding that they now have their job cut out for them because of the numerous challenges facing the country which he said he was well aware that all his colleagues were also at home with the realities on ground.

 

“I have in recent weeks had discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari on the challenges facing the country and how we can leverage our position as lawmakers to help him deliver on his mandate. I will be doing more of that in the coming weeks and months. If we must build an economy that lifts majority of our people out of poverty, there is need for a serious collaboration between the executive and the legislature.

“I am not for any adversarial or acrimonious relationship. I intend to work closely with President Buhari in the interest of Nigeria without compromising the integrity of the National Assembly as an independent arm of government with oversight powers.

“As lawmakers, one of the powerful tools we have for our work is the power of oversight which is meant to enhance transparency and accountability. In exercising these powers, we will not only review, monitor and supervise projects being implemented by the executive, we will critically examine them vis-à-vis the cost and whether they align with our national aspirations. But we will do so with every sense of responsibility.

“I am conversant with the role of the legislature and the principle of separation of powers, both in theory and in practice. The system of checks and balances which we practice in Nigeria today was enshrined to safeguard the values of justice and the rule of law and deliver public good. Therefore, in a season when majority of Nigerians are more concerned with outcomes that reflect their concerns, the best way to serve that interest is through cooperation and collaboration.”

The Senate President also charged his colleagues to ensure that in discharging their duties that they should at all times and in all circumstances, be guided by how their action will positively impact the greater majority of the people.

He equally called for a harmonious working relationship among the members irrespective of their political parties, insisting that they should exchange views and engage each other with respect and constructively especially in the hallowed chambers.

“Each of us, as lawmakers, must also resolve that the exchange of views, especially within this hallowed chambers, will be constructive and that we will respect one another. Tolerance, which we cannot legislate upon in this chamber, is a virtue we must all strive to promote in a bid to reposition our multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. On my part, I pledge to lead in a bipartisan and unifying manner.”

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FCTA Moves to Curb Medical Tourism

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By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
Federal capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has pledged to provide the necessary support for the successful completion and operation of the African Medical Center of Excellence, with a view to reversing medical tourism.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, made this pledge during a site tour of the state of the art facility, of African Medical Centre for Excellence, billed to be operational in early 2025.


Mahmoud noted that the partnership between the African Export-Import Bank and Kings College Hospital London to establish the 170-bed hospital was a testament to the commitment to advancing clinical care, training, and research in specialty areas such as oncology, cardiovascular services, hematology, diagnostics, and general medical services.

The minister further added; “The potential impact of this initiative in reversing medical tourism and reducing healthcare worker migration is commendable.
“I am encouraged by the prospect of over 1000 workers being employed to support the hospital’s operations.
“Therefore, I am fully committed to ensuring that the Federal Capital Territory Administration provides the necessary support for the successful establishment and operation of the African Medical Center of Excellence.
“We are happy to see, that the 6.5 hectares of land, which was donated by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, as part of the host country agreement, has been developed to accomodate this hospital.”
While conducting the minister round the project, the Chief Executive Officer, African Medical Center of Excellence, Mr. Brian Deaver, commended the FCT Administration for the strategic partnership.
He used the occasion to inform the minister that the management staff of the medical centre are looking forward to further contributions of the Administration to improvement in the management of non communicable diseases in the territory.
Deaver stressed that the potential benefits of the location of this hospital in Abuja is significant, just as he expressed confidence that the partnership would yield positive outcomes for the healthcare sector in the region.

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Ortom, Ode, Asemakaha Felicitates  With Alia on 58th Birthday

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi  
Former Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, the incumbent Deputy Governor, Barr Sam Ode and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), Dr Raymond Asemakaha, Wednesday, extended their felicitations to the State Governor, Rev Fr.

Hyacinth Alia on his  58th birthday celebration.

The former governor in  a statement signed by  his Media Aide,Terver Akase and made available to newsmen in Makurdi, prayed God to grant Governor Alia the wisdom and health to steer the affairs of the state.

 He maintained that God would grant Alia the enablement to surmount all challenges fronting his administration and wished him a memorable birthday celebration and many more years ahead.

The statement  read in part: “Your Excellency, as you celebrate, I pray that God grants you wisdom, good health and strength to enable you to continue to steer the affairs of our dear state.
“Leadership comes with its numerous challenges, but I have no doubt that with God’s grace and guidance, all problems are surmountable.”
Similarly, the Deputy Governor of the State, Barr. Sam Odeh, on behalf of the State Executive Council (SEC), prayed that Governor Alia’s birthday would be a celebration of his uncommon passion for speedy transformation of the state.
“On behalf of the Benue State Executive Council, I write to warmly felicitate with Your Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, Executive Governor of Benue State on the occasion of your 58th birthday anniversary.
“As you mark your years of existence on earth today, we heartily join your family, the good people of Benue State and the entire nation in wishing Your Excellency a very happy birthday.
“May your 58th birthday be a celebration of your positive energy and uncommon passion for speedy transformation of Benue State. As Governor of our dear state, you have, in the last one year, demonstrated pragmatic leadership with selflessness and dedication, by rendering quality service to the good people of Benue.
“Your ability to turn challenges into opportunities is truly admirable. We have every reason to celebrate you today, because your transformation drive has brought the state to national and global prominence with many laudable initiatives and partnerships that are now yielding positive results in various sectors of Benue economy.
“Happy Birthday! Your Excellency, you are truly a special gift to the state and a beacon of inspiration for us all. May your birthday mark the beginning of a new chapter filled with even greater successes and fulfillment.
“We pray that the Almighty God will continue to uphold, keep and strengthen you for His glory and to the benefit of humanity. Congratulations and happy birthday!, Ode stated”.
On his part, the MD/CEO, BIPC, Dr Raymond Asemakaha, on behalf of the management and staff of the company, said  the governor had so far demonstrated visionary leadership, tireless efforts, and unwavering commitment to the transformation of Benue State.
Governor  Alia’s exemplary governance and dedication to the welfare of the people are truly inspiring, stressing that this milestone birthday marks the beginning of another remarkable year filled with wisdom, good health, and unparalleled success.

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CBN Unveils Strategy to Boost Remittances

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).
This was disclosed in Abuja on Wednesday, by the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs.

Hakama Sidi Ali, who stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation amongst IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.

She said, “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.

“It will be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had recently declared: “We’ve set ourselves a target to double remittance flows into Nigeria within a year, a goal I firmly believe is within reach.
“We are wasting no time driving progress to remove any bottlenecks hindering flows through formal channels permanently. We have a determined pathway and a sequenced approach to tackling all challenges ahead, working hand in hand with key stakeholders in the remittance industry,” she stated.
Continuing, Sidi Ali, said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows—one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.
The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria.
The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024. The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

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