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PMB, COVID-19 & the Reincarnation of Corruption in Nigeria

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President Muhammadu Buhari - Nigerian President | COVID-19 | corruption | national assembly
There is no doubt, PMB came to power due to a number of reasons, with the biggest and most important factor being his integrity.

Columnist Corner by Bala Ibrahim

PMB, COVID-19 & The Reincarnation of Corruption in Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari - Nigerian President

(President Muhammadu Buhari | President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria | Image Cred: BussinessDay.ng)

There is no doubt, PMB came to power due to a number of reasons, with the biggest and most important factor being his integrity.

He is adjudged and acclaimed as an honest man with strong moral principles.

A gentleman to the core, with the will and wherewithal to champion the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The general belief is that previous anti-corruption efforts failed due to the conspiracy of powerful forces in the government, whose continuous circulation gives them control and unlimited access to public funds.

With the coming of PMB, it was assumed, he could turn the table in time enough to tackle and tame the antics and tactics of the corrupt.

Now that anti-corruption posture is facing opposition, by casting doubts in the minds of many, including yours truly.

While others may have their own reasons for doubting the drive, the doubt of yours truly is based on the perceived inability, failure or reluctance of the President to quickly correct some wrongs and checkmate the drive of the drift, which is reincarnating under the guise of fighting the Coronavirus.

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The Treasury Single Account, or TSA  policy, which puts government revenue receipts and expenditure under careful scrutiny and control, was brought into action by PMB. With that, many underperforming agencies were woken up, because of the fear of prosecution by such anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC, ICPC or the police, who were quick to arrest and prosecute politicians involved in questionable deals.

Reports have it, that more than three billion dollars, looted from the government were recovered, with some abandoned in fear, by individuals whose identities are still unknown. The fear of PMB also compelled parliamentarians to trim down budget padding and the constituency project, which were used as conduit pipes of theft by the parliamentarians.

PMB was receiving accolades all over the world, to the extend that, at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the then United States Secretary of State John Kerry, openly applauded Buhari and expressed America’s support for Nigeria’s unprecedented onslaught on corruption.

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However, things are beginning to go in a contrary direction, for reasons that are not clear to many. Either through a deliberate policy of being economic with information, ignorance, or sorcery, PMB is dancing to the tunes of the corrupt, or promoting the reincarnation of corruption under the guise of fighting COVID-19.

Starting from the genuine where about of the Chief of staff to the president, Mallam Abba Kyari, who is said to be receiving treatment against the virus in Lagos, but strongly speculated to be in London, to the manner, magnitude and modus operandi, of the Covid-19 funds disbursement, the sincerity of the government is increasingly coming under attack.

A feud is brewing now between the Government and the leadership of the National Assembly, over the relief materials and other donations made by individuals and corporate organizations to Nigerians.

During a meeting with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq, the leadership of the National Assembly raised critical issues concerning the operation of the Social Investment Programme, SIP.

Since the announcement of lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, and the commencement of disbursement of money to the most poor and vulnerable, where billions of naira were reportedly distributed to people under one week, many Nigerians began asking questions, not only on the amount, but the speed with which the assignment was discharged.

The National Assembly said it is obvious that Nigerians were not feeling the impact of the programme, saying the programme is gradually going the way of the disbanded Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The suspicion is allover the country, from Kano to Calabar, Abuja to Abeokuta, Potiskum to Portharcourt or Lafia to Lagos. The borne of contention is the disproportionate impact of the money on the poor and most vulnerable, whose cost of living has not reduced nor witnessed any visible access to services, including access to the tools of fighting the Covid-19.

If the aim of the programme is to cushion the hardship of the lockdown and rescue the poor from the clutch of poverty, then from the public perception, the reverse was achieved, because the programme is suspected of falling under the grip of corruption.

According to the World Bank and its Sustainable Development Goals, corruption is a major challenge, that is inhibiting its twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in developing countries. It erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs.

The SIP was designed to assist towards the achievement of those goals and not the opposite. Allowing them to achieve otherwise, is akin to renaming Covid-19 as coruption. To come clean, names, addresses and amount given must be quickly displayed.

If the Federal Government can release the names and pictures of Nigerians who died of Coronavirus in the United Kingdom and United States within a short period of time, I see no reason why they cannot do the same on the beneficiaries of the palliatives.

Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, has just released the names and pictures on her twitter page, with a prayer for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives to COVID-19.

If PMB fail, or refuse to do something that would be seen, and adjudged to be done on these suspicions, his courage of confronting corruption would be collectively questioned, particularly the public perception, of his passive permission to the misuse of human and financial resources.

COVID-19

Nigerians Pharmacy Sells Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate For 50,000 Naira

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port harcourt pharmacy Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate For 50000 Naira

Nigerians Pharmacy Sells Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate For 50,000 Naira

A Twitter user shared a pack of Hydroxychloroquine sulfate and claimed it was sold for 50,000 Naira in a Port Harcourt Pharmacy.

 

The drug became highly sort after when a Nigerian-trained US-based medical doctor said she has used a combination of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax to treat over 350 Covid-19 patients and none died.

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While her claim has been highly disputed, demand for the drug has skyrocketed and this has made it expensive, Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate For 50000 Naira!!!

 

There are claims that a pharmacy in Port Harcourt is selling a packet of Hydroxychloroquine sulfate, containing 60 tablets, for 50,000 Naira and Nigerians are shocked.

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Nigerians expressed shock as Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate was sold For 50000 Naira in PH Pharmacy

Nigerian Man Invents Breast Cancer-Detecting Bra To Save Rural Women

A primary school teacher has invented an affordable cancer-detecting bra to help women with early detection after a woman died from breast cancer.

 

Idris Dangana, 43, a Kano native, was unfulfilled with his job as a teacher and wanted to do more to help his community.

Consequently, he decided to quit and develop his interest in learning computer and software development skills.

 

Idris confided in a friend, Isah, who had just returned from Burum Burum Village in Kano, where a woman had just died from breast cancer.

 

Idris said the story reminded him of the pains his sister went through when she had breast cancer. Fortunately, she survived it. This spurred him to seek a solution.

 

Idris, a graduate of physics education, started researching on cancer and set up BCScan, an innovation of the DiceHub (DIHub), which is behind the cancer-detecting device they would later come up with.

 

He was soon trying out different models and algorithms and they had to think of the best possible way to go about it, alongside doctors who collaborated on the project.

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Naija News

Nigerian Man Invents Breast Cancer-Detecting Bra To Save Rural Women

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Breast Cancer-Detecting Bra

Nigerian Man Invents Breast Cancer-Detecting Bra To Save Rural Women

A primary school teacher has invented an affordable cancer-detecting bra to help women with early detection after a woman died from breast cancer.

 

Idris Dangana, 43, a Kano native, was unfulfilled with his job as a teacher and wanted to do more to help his community.

Consequently, he decided to quit and develop his interest in learning computer and software development skills.

 

Idris confided in a friend, Isah, who had just returned from Burum Burum Village in Kano, where a woman had just died from breast cancer.

 

Idris said the story reminded him of the pains his sister went through when she had breast cancer. Fortunately, she survived it. This spurred him to seek a solution.

 

Idris, a graduate of physics education, started researching on cancer and set up BCScan, an innovation of the DiceHub (DIHub), which is behind the cancer-detecting device they would later come up with.

 

He was soon trying out different models and algorithms and they had to think of the best possible way to go about it, alongside doctors who collaborated on the project.

 

“We joined hands and talked on possible partnerships with a local NGO on breast cancer, we deepened our search about this deadly cancer by asking as many women in our network, including healthcare professionals. The feedback was scary,” he told Daily Trust of his project.

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Their solution Idris came up with was a brassier, fitted with Artificial Intelligence, that could detect tumors that are as small as 2mm in diameter.

 

The wearable device would guarantee early detection, Idris Dangana said and is especially targeted at women in rural areas with limited access to health care and the prohibitive cost of mammography.

 

However, mass production of the device is a challenge. Not finding the capacity to mass-produce in Nigeria, idris Dangana decided to seek collaboration abroad.

 

“We out-sourced to India and China to get the materials that we will use for manufacturing the cancer-detecting device produced,” he said.

 

Idris explained that with his invention, women can be tested for as low as N1, 000 if the device is available at primary healthcare facilities and private hospitals nationwide.

Those who want a personalized device would have to pay N15, 000 – N25, 000.

 

Though his idea is global, he is desirous of immediate local impact.

 

He said: “It is evident that the gap is too wide between Africa and the rest of the world, particularly Nigeria and the northern region to be precise.

Though we are still learning, I believe over time, the impact could be felt and will serve as a wakeup call to many to co-join and change the narratives.”

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Shehu Of Borno – Nobody Is Safe In Borno State 

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Shehu Of Borno

Shehu Of Borno – Nobody Is Safe In Borno State

The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Elkanemi has shown fears of insecurity in Borno state following a recent attack on the convoy of Governor of the state, Babagana Zulum.

 

The monarch who paid a Sallah homage to the governor at the Government House in Maiduguri averred that if the convoy of the chief security officer of the state could be attacked, then no one is safe in the state.

 

Shehu Of Borno said;

 

“Your Excellency, we are not happy about what happened in Baga, it is very unfortunate and a great pity.

“If the convoy of the whole chief security officer of the state will be attacked, then wallahi, nobody is safe, because he is the number one citizen of the state.

“If the convoy of such a highly placed person in the state will be attacked, I repeat, nobody is safe. The matter is getting worse, I urge everyone to raise  our hands to seek Allah’s intervention.”

 

Governor Zulum thanked the Shehu for the visit and assured him of the government’s readiness to address the issues he raised.

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Borno State Governor Convoy Attacked By Gunmen

The convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno state was attacked by unidentified gunmen at Baga, a town in the state, on Wednesday, July 29.

 

According to reports, the Governor had gone to visit some Internally Displaced Person camps when his convoy was attacked by the gunmen.

 

“The governor went to Kukawa, and on his way to Baga his convoy was attacked. Nobody was injured,” a resident said

 

However, It is yet to be confirmed if the gunmen were Boko Haram members.

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Gallant Officer
"Also found worthy of honour was Bashir Abubakar, an Asst Comptroller-General of Customs, who rejected a bribe of $412,000 per container offered him by drug traffickers seeking to bring 40 containers of Tramadol into Nigeria. A fine example of incorruptibility, worthy of emulation"

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