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ASSP challenges FG on public health, safety, as it Celebrates Nigeria at 60

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ASSP challenges FG on public health, safety, as it Celebrates Nigeria at 60

As Nigeria celebrates its 60th year anniverssary of Independence, the American Society of Safety Professionals, (ASSP) Nigerian chapter has asked the Federal Government to raise the bar in the area of Public Health and Safety Awareness.
The Society’s new President, Mrs Mercy Omoifo-Irefo in a statement she made availlable to the Guardian yesterday asked the Government to encourage those things that will promote Safety in various sectors to overcome reoccurring incidences leading to loss of lives and properties.

Omoifo Irefo expressed appreciation to all Stakeholders in the public and private sector who had ensured the practice of Occupational Health and Safety Challenges in Nigeria are addressed to reduce physical, psychosocial, environmental, occupational and health challenges to their barest minimum.

“Given the importance of health and safety of individuals and their well-being, the federal government has established organizations enforcement agencies and institutions to address various challenges as it relates to health and safety.”

She however observed that the National Policy on Occupational Health and Safety that was recently signed into law is riddled with discrepancies.

She advocated for the grey areas be considered and addressed to prevent conflicts of interest and possible division.
The President pointed out that the essence of its approval can’t be overemphasized as it will provide a good structure focused on addressing relevant issues (areas) using outlined processes in line with best industry standards and ensuring compliances.
“Public Health and Safety system in Nigeria have continued to attract diverse controversies, due to its imbalance policies, implementation strategies (nature) and existence of diverse intricacies hindering the effectiveness of relevant measures over the years.

According to her, the present condition and quality of public health in Nigeria is depleting, owing to the growing rate of mortality rate and occupational health issues in the last decades.
“In concurrence to this, evidence from various correspondents, academic research, reports and surveys have emphasized that the public health and safety system in Nigeria remains a serious concern, which requires urgent intervention from various quarters.
“A robust result of these various studies suggests that there are diverse factors that limit the effectiveness of occupational health, public health and safety programs in various geographical areas and terrain in Nigeria.”
She said current research explored on health and safety management issues in Nigeria’s effort to industrialize has shown that various factors are responsible for the retarded development of public health and safety in Nigeria
She enumerated the factors to include lack of awareness of Safety Practices, lack of unifying standards, not complying with best industry recommended practices, guidelines & Approved Code of Practices (ACoP), lack of adequate enforcements of various laws and regulations as well as bribery and corruption.
“The above listed factors therefore signal how serious the issue of public health and safety has become in Nigeria, which demands urgent intervention by government, lawmakers, regulators, and relevant international health and safety societies, such as American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Nigeria Chapter among others.
“The issue of public health and safety system remains a burning concern in Nigeria. It is imperative to unravel the categories of barriers that include Self-imposed challenges and enforced challenges.
“The self- imposed challenges comprise of someone’s level of awareness, unsafe act and unsafe conditions created by our activities, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic differences, belief, religion, individual perception, cognitive reasoning, and level of safety culture, our health state and how we handle medical issues etc.
“All these can be addressed through public campaigns, workshops, conferences, continuous enlightenments through radio, television, social media platforms, safety programs, and advocacy, safety training in schools at all levels to bring up new generation that will embrace safety as a way of life.”
On the other hand, she said the enforced challenges are beyond the control of the public, hence the challenges result in more damages to the development and effectiveness of the public health and safety programs in Nigeria.

Examples of the challenges she said include inefficient insurance system; lack of adequate medical facilities; lack of therapeutics for non-communicable diseases; poor medical welfare and incessant physicians’ strike, environmental radiation, road traffic and injuries.
Others she said include physician to patient ratio; population-bed ratio; population per health facility; cost-effective medical records and payment system; improper coordination of donor funds; disease surveillance and lack of adequate public safety and policies etc.”

The president observed that enforcement has become a nightmare as the will -power to enforce the existing laws and regulations pertinent to the promotion of health, safety, security, enforcement of environmental regulations and standards is not taken seriously.
Furthermore, she harped on the issue of financial burden which she said remains a major factor affecting the promotion and effectiveness of the public health and safety programmes, which sometimes facilitate the emergence of other limiting factors, such as incessant doctors’ strike, lack of and poor medical facilities and reduction in numbers of doctors’ ratio per patient among others.

Hence, removing such a barrier she said could facilitate improved health care services, including protecting the poor and vulnerable population as well as the protection of the financial risk which may help cushion affordability of medical services for the disadvantaged population.
“In addition, the lack of uniform and consistent good working condition for health and general workers may be associated with recurrent enforced challenges under public safety. This remains a thought provoking issue, which has drawn attention to the risk associated with the impact of the various laws and regulations pertinent to public and occupational health and safety, such as Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulations.
“These regulations focus on promoting and securing health, safety and welfare of people at work against diverse risks, such as injury, illness, psychological and physiological needs.
However, she said the level of compliance and impact of such regulation in the affairs of health and safety in Nigeria remains contentious.
“In-spite of the existence of these regulations and concerted effort from the Nigeria government, it could be argued that their impact on improving the occupational health and safety issues in within the Nigeria domain remains insignificant.
“Apart from few industries who practice safety to the letter, the federal and state government establishments and agencies have a lot to do in embracing safety in their daily activities while there is little or nothing being done to promote safety to the public at large as very few individuals understand the concept of being safe in respective of what they do or are involved in.
“Hence we ask all meaningful Nigerians to join America Society of Safety Professionals Nigeria Chapter and all stake holders in the safety profession to promote Public Safety Awareness and Education in Nigeria in order to improving the health and safety of workers and all meaningful individuals in Nigeria.”
She thanked all meaningful Nigerians who had played positive roles over the years in ensuring the growth of her country. 

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Bauchi/Benue Govs’ feud: Gov Diri to the rescue

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Bauchi/Benue Govs’ feud: Gov Diri to the rescue

By Princess Rose Yusuf

The Bayelsa State Governor, Duoye Diri has waded in to the war of words between the Governors of Bauchi and Benue State as the recent altercations between the Governors have become very disturbing.
He called on the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to wade in and ensure that the matter is resolved.
He was speaking during a courtesy visit to Governor Bala Muhammed in Bauchi State Government’s House Thursday.
Diri said,
“The raging current issue between two brother Governors of the same party is not good, I seize this opportunity to advise and call on both of you who are members of our great party to please cease further actions and reactions on the burning national security issues.
“May I also use the opportunity to call on our party to immediately intervene and resolve whatever issues that are still yet unresolved amicably as a party and as brothers.”

In his response, Governor Muhammed promised to cooperate and reduce the tension and he gave the assurance that no words would be heard on the matter again. He also seized the opportunity to  apologise to all Governors, the national assembly, his constituents and all Nigerians.
He said, “There is no disharmony between me and my brother and my friend in Benue, we are just having the courage to discourse a burning National issue and I am happy that Nigerians have the opportunity, to discourse the issue and we are going to do everything on my own part to make sure we disedcalate the issue that it will not bring injury to our party and to national unity. I was not doing anything in anyway to insult, or to cause any injury to my brother whom I have worked together with at the cabinet and now as Governors.
“I want to use this opportunity to apologise to my various contituencies; especially the national assembly even though I said the truth but it has injured their sensibilities or it has touched on their privileged as we used to say in parliamentary parlance.
“I was doing it out of nationalism and patriotism. At the same time the Governors if what I said was also injurious to them, I apologise to them and say sorry to them and indeed all Nigerians.
“But certainly as I said, my brother, I have no apology for saying the truth, but certainly sometimes you say the truth and it would be injurious.

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Senate confirms Bawa as EFCC Chairman

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Senate confirms Bawa as EFCC Chairman

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He was confirmed after being grilled during Senate plenary.

For more than six years the commission was headed by persons in acting capacity.

For the first time a staff of the commission who is not a police officer is being appointed as chairman.
He rose through the ranks from the academy before being nominated to head the commission.

The Anti graft agency’s chairmanship designate reacted to a plethora of questions posed by Senators on his preparedness for the job, given his age and working in a complex society like Nigeria, at planary

Bawa, addressed most of the concerns of lawmakers, while assuring that he would bring his experience to bear having joined the agency in 2004.

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Gov Bala Mohammed berates Ortom for criminalising the Fulani herders

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Gov Bala Mohammed berates Ortom for criminalising the Fulani herders

By Princess Rose Yusuf

Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State has berated the Benue state governor for being an arrow head in excerbating the bad media framings, criminalizing the Fulani tribe in Nigeria.
Muhammed spoke at the Press week organised by the Bauchi state Correspondents’ Chapel, Monday, in Bauchi.
The Governor reminded Ortom that other states in the North also accommodates other tribes, including people from the Tiv extraction in Bauchi and other places.
In his words, “We have so many Tiv speaking people farming in Alkaleri, In Tafawa Balewa and in Bogoro LGAs; has anybody told them to leave the State?. “We have not; because its their own inalienable rights to be there.

Explaining further, he said there are Yorubas in Bauchi, for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria; some of them have risen to become permanent Secretaries in the Civil Service of the state, and other states of the North East like Gombe and Borno.“
“However, because at the moment the Fulani man is practicing the tradition of pastoralism, he has been exposed to the vagaries of the forest, cattle rustlers who carry guns, killed him and take away his livelihood, his cows.”
The Governor said he is left with no option than to carry the AK47 because the society and the government could not protect him.
“What is his fault? it’s the fault of the government and the people.”Governor Senator Bala said“nobody  should criminalize all Fulanis, because in every tribe, there are criminals. “If Cybercrime is practiced by one tribe, you don’t criminalise all the tribe by saying they are criminals.
“That sensitivity is highly needed, and journalists have to exercised restraints in some reports, decipher the wrongs from rights, especially any report that is not building this country Nigeria, which can divide her and threaten the peace and the unity of the country

He however, commended his counterpart Simon Lalong of Plateau State for ending the mutual suspicion between fulanis and farmers of his state without looking at political differences.
He said, “I must comment the chairman of the Nortgern Governor’s forum, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State. “With his diverse background despite being a minority State, he’s leading the northern Governors with focus, with sense of humour, and maturity.

Muhammed indicated that people like Lalong are needed in Nigeria for the good fight of faith for unity and peace in his state as the fight between farmers and fulanis in the Plateau has ceased, because of justice and equity.

Patriotism among communities is now common place in Plateau because of governance that fosters understanding between the diverse ethnic groups in the state.

“And that is what is happening in Bauchi, where everyone is important. So the media must single out those people for promotion not like people in other States that are asking Fulanis to leave their lands.
The Governor indicated that nobody can intimidate any one over land since it belongs to all(our fathers land) quoting section 23, 24 and 25, of the constitution to back up his claim he said that every Nigerian is free to stay anywhere.
It is worthy of note that Governor Muhammed though not a Fulani by tribe, but a Bajari from Duguri district, Alkaleri LGA has been standing in defense of the Fulani.
In a swift reaction the Benue state Governor expressed disappointment with his colleague the Bauchi state Governor, for heaping the blame of the negative perception of Fulani herders on him.
“He said, it was surprising that a colleague, who took the oath of office to protect and preserve the Constitution, now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same Constitution by calling for lawlessness.

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