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NCPC Denies Appointing Tonto Dikeh Peace Ambassador

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The Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), has denied the rumour making rounds that it appointed Tonto Dikeh as its Peace Ambassador.Rev. Yakubu Pam, The Executive Secretary of the commission, made the clarification in a statement on Saturday, in Jos.Pam said the actress, who is the founder of Tonto Dikeh Foundation, however, visited the commission and expressed her readiness to partner with NCPC in promoting peaceful co-existence in the country.

“NCPC wishes to state in categorical terms that the commission did not appoint Tonto Dikeh as its Peace Ambassador.
“The founder of Tonto Dikeh Foundation only visited the commission and  expressed her willingness and interest in partnering with us in the area of peace building.
“She equally cashed in on the visit to commend me for my positive and relentless peace initiatives across the country.“But we are surprised by her claims of being officially appointed as ambassador of peace by this great commission which has gone viral in the media.“The Commission frowns at this claim, which is a clear misrepresentation of  what transpired.“This was not part of her visit, therefore, this claim by her is spurious, unfounded, and should be discarded and seen by all Nigerians as a figment of her imagination,” Pam said.The executive secretary appreciated the desire of Dikeh in indicating interest to partner with the commission in its peace building initiatives and pilgrimage sponsorship to the Holy Land. (NAN)

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Investors Oversubscribe CBN N1trn OMO Bills

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has successfully concluded the sale of government securities following the issuance of N1.053 trillion (680 million dollars) in short-term instruments.

A statement issued on Sunday night by CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mrs Hakama Sidi, stated that the sale is part of its liquidity management exercise.

Sidi said that the apex bank’s N500 billion-offer at the Open Market Operations (OMO) auction was oversubscribed after selling N1.

053 trillion, with 79 per cent of the total bids, or the equivalent of 530 million dollars coming from foreign investors.

Reports says that the auction was the first since last week’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, which was followed by a virtual meeting with foreign portfolio investors.

According to Sidi, the CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso, used both meetings to set a detailed strategy to curb inflation, stabilise the exchange rate and spur confidence in the banking system and the economy.

She said that the development underscored the level of confidence the apex bank now enjoyed from investors, adding that the management of CBN was optimistic that its monetary policy measures were beginning to yield positive results.

Meanwhile, Cardoso highlighted in the meeting with investors an outlook for sustained increase in the CBN’s foreign currency reserves.

He assured them of improved liquidity in the foreign exchange market and imminent settlement of the remaining backlog of genuine foreign exchange transactions.

“The CBN is committed to supporting price stability by taking the necessary measures to increase liquidity in the foreign exchange markets sustainably.

“Our focus is on building a fully functioning market that allows smooth entry and exit for investors,” he said. (NAN)

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Lagos Residents Decry Non-implementation of free Antenatal, Delivery Services 

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Some residents of Lagos have decried the non-implementation of the state government’s free antenatal and child delivery services at some General Hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state.

The residents spoke in separate interviews on Sunday in Lagos.

Reports says that Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had, during a media chat on Feb.

22,  announced sweeping interventions which the state would be implementing in order to reduce the effects of the current economic hardship on its citizens.

On health, Sanwo-Olu  reintroduced free child delivery programme for expectant mothers in all the state-owned General Hospitals and special maternity centres.

According to the governor, the state government will take up the cost of the child delivery, including caesarean section.

It would also reduce the cost of some certain drugs, such as hypertension medication.

The residents said that the free antenatal and child delivery services was a lip-service, stressing that the hospitals charged for every service rendered.

Mrs Funmilayo Olatunji, a trader who delivered at Ikorodu Health Centre, Ita-Elewa, said that delivery wasn’t free at the centre.

“I had normal delivery at the centre in February 2024. We paid N8,000 for child delivery fees, N10,500 for vaginal tear, and a cartoon of Maltina.

“I’m surprised to hear that the child delivery service was meant to be free at government facilities because the reverse was my experience,” she said.

Similarly, Mr Michael Adebiyi, whose wife delivered at Ikorodu General Hospital, Ebute, said he spent over N250,000 for caesarean section delivery and consumables at the hospital.

“My wife gave birth in February, and we paid for everything needed for the delivery from blood to caesarean section charges.

“Nothing was free; in fact, I’m still owing some people because I had to run around to source for the money.

“I was happy when I heard last year that expectant mothers would enjoy free child delivery services at government health facilities as part of relief measures to ease economic burden on families.

“The government should put mechanism in place to ensure that policies made truly impact on the lives of citizens,” he said.

Also, Mrs Stella Nwosu, a hairstylist, said that she switched to a trado-medical centre for antenatal and child delivery due to the high service charges.

“Sometimes in September, I went to Amuwo-Odofin General Hospital to register for antenatal service and was told to pay ₦30,000.

“We couldn’t afford it because every child care item is expensive and to feed is even a challenge. My mother-in-law took me to a traditional birth attendant, and I delivered my baby there,” she said.

A healthcare worker, who pleaded anonymity, said that many pregnant women pay out-of-pocket for antenatal and delivery services at many government-owned facilities.

She opined that the programme required improved planning, compliance monitoring, and management for sustainability.

The healthcare worker noted that the economic situation of the country, which led to increased cost of products, especially medicines and healthcare services, would worsen the plight of couples with unplanned pregnancy.

She advised couples to take smart decisions, stressing that child care was a lifelong socio-economic experience that extends beyond access to free antenatal and child delivery services.

NAN reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, also in 2023, during the state’s Security Council meeting on July 31, 2023, had directed General Hospitals and Primary Health Care Centres to offer free antenatal care and child delivery services.

This is part of relief measures to ease the burden of the fuel subsidy removal.

The medical intervention will cover the cost of antenatal care, including the cost of registration and ANC clinics, as well as normal and cesarean section child delivery services.

It also seeks to increase access to quality maternal and child health services in line with the state government’s Universal Health Coverage attainment drive. (NAN)

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Zamfara Govt. Disburses N2.3bn Gratuity to 1,746 Retirees

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Zamfara Government says it has disbursed over N2.3 billion as gratuity to 1,746 retired civil servants in the state.

Sulaiman Idris, Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Dauda Lawal on Media and Publicity, disclosed this in a statement issued to Newsmen in Gusau on Sunday.

İdris said that a total of 1,746 state and local government retirees in the state had received over N2.

3 billion.

“We have verified 3,079 retirees in an effort to pay the backlog of gratuity owed by the previous administrations.

“Payment for the second tranche of verified pensioners’ gratuity has already commenced on Friday, March 1.

“A total of 413 verified retirees from the state civil service have been paid the sum of N682.

2 million,” he said.

Idris further stated that payment of the second tranche of verified local government retirees had also commenced.

“A total of 403 verified pensioners from the local government areas amounting to N449.6 have been paid,” the governor’s aide said. (NAN)

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