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Buhari’s suspension of Obono-Obla » Editorial » Tribune Online



MR Okoi Obono-Obla, the controversial chairman of the Special Investigations Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), has finally been suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari over allegations of forgery and corruption pending the outcome of investigations by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). In the letter of suspension signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, the government said: “This suspension subsists pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation into the cases of alleged falsification of records and financial impropriety against your person.”

The SPIP was set up in 2017 by the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. Prior to Obla’s suspension by President Buhari, the office of the vice president had issued several warning letters to him on his modus operandi, including the use of “The Presidency” in letterheads. He had also been accused of involvement in various forms of abuses, including intimidation and unwarranted possession of people’s properties. But he had refused to budge, saying that he was answerable only to President Buhari and claiming that he was being persecuted for probing high-profile persons. In addition, for quite a while, Mr. Obono-Obla had been embroiled in a certificate scandal which cast a slur on his career as a lawyer. His School Certificate qualifications were disowned by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). Testifying before the ad hoc panel of the House of Representatives investigating his alleged certificate forgery, Mr. Femi Ola, a WAEC deputy registrar, declared the certificate presented by Mr. Obla when he enrolled for a degree in law at the University of Jos, Plateau State, as having been altered and therefore invalid.

The WAEC deputy registrar explained that the actual candidate with certificate number 09403/247 of Mary Knoll College, Ogoja, Cross River State, is Ofem Okoi Ofem. The examination number and subjects were the same as presented on the certificate by Obono-Obla, except for Literature-in-English in which he claimed to have scored C6 despite being marked absent in the certified true copy presented by WAEC. The deputy registrar added: “Considering the results, particularly what is before me, I would say that what I have brought here is the authentic and genuine one. His (Obono-Obla’s) is not because it has been altered and such alteration renders it invalid.” With that disavowal, it remains to be seen how Obono-Obla could validly claim to be a lawyer without the basic qualifications.


In any case, the setting up of a presidential panel to recover stolen public property was entirely superfluous given the existence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the ICPC, two separate anti-graft agencies which have been empowered by law to function in the roles specified for the panel, as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the country’s major anti-crime agency. Worse still, in word and deed, Mr. Obono-Obla proved to be a gross misfit in the anti-corruption matrix of the current administration. Certainly, his appointment wasn’t made with due diligence and having him in such a sensitive position actually casts a slur on the sincerity and integrity of the administration.

While explaining the reason for the suspension, the Federal Government said that it premised it on the interim report by the ICPC on Mr. Obono-Obla and the many petitions against him alleging malicious use of authority, intimidation and falsification of documents. It therefore asked the Solicitor General of the Federation to take over his functions as chairman of the SPIP in the interim. Truth be told, the Obono-Obla matter festered for this long only because of the slow and plodding style of the president. The House of Representatives rolled out its report on the same subject over a year ago, recommending Obono-Obla’s sack and prosecution.

If the president had any doubts about the report, he could have requested the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to commence investigations into the matter then. However, his hesitation unduly delayed the consequences of Mr. Obono-Obla’s indiscretion and lack of circumspection in his role as chairman of the SPIP. Why did the president have to wait until now to suspend the SPIP  chairman? And why does he need to retain a panel that is only a replica of the properly constituted anti-graft agencies?

Asking the Solicitor General of the Federation to take over Mr. Obono-Obla’s role amounts to a perpetuation of the misbegotten outfit. The president should dissolve the panel forthwith.


Gov AbdulRazaq urges youths to shun drug abuse, other vices



Gov AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has called on Nigerian youths to shun drug abuse and other vices that could hinder them from realising their lifetime ambitions.

AbdulRazaq made the call on Wednesday when he received members of the state chapter of Scouts’ Association of Nigeria (SAN), led by its Commissioner, Deacon Olabisi Afolayinka, at the Government House, Ilorin.

The governor, who recalled, with nostalgia, his days as a scout boy in Capital School, Kaduna, said that the organisation had contributed immensely to nurturing youths to become good citizens and contribute to the development of the country.

“This is an association that prepares youths on how to be good citizens and how to relate with their fellow countrymen.

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“These are virtues that the youth of today should maintain. In our own days as youths, there were no rampant cases of drug abuse,” he said.


The governor urged the youth to use their energy for productive ventures and join the organisation to make positive contributions to society.

AbdulRazaq, who was made the organisation’s Ambassador of Peace, promised to live up to expectations by giving necessary support to the body through relevant government agencies.

Earlier in his remarks, Afolayanka said that the constitution of the body automatically made the governor of any state its patron and the president grand patron.

He commended AbdulRazaq for the audience granted the association, saying that this was the first time any governor would be hosting them in the state in the last 21 years.

Afolayanka said that the association was founded to build young boys and girls to make useful contributions to the country.

The SAN commissioner noted that cultism and other vices were not rampant in schools in the past when the scouts held sway.

He urged the governor to continue to support the association for effective discharge of its responsibilities in the state.

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NYSC: Bwari assures Corp members improved welfare



The Chairman of Bwari Area Council, Mr John Gabaya has assured members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) of his administration’s readiness to improve on their welfare.

Gabaya gave the assurance when representatives of the FCT NYSC Secretariat, and some members of the NYSC 2019 Batch B’, paid him a courtesy visit on Wednesday in Abuja.

Gabaya, who appreciated the team for the gesture, said that it was the duty of the council, as host of the NYSC Orientation Camp in the city to ensure it gave the Corps maximum support.

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He acknowledged the fact that the camp in Kubwa, was faced with infrastructure challenges, adding that efforts would be made to amendments it and bring succour to the corps members.


“The council, in its capacity, alongside the management of the scheme, would meet and discuss how it would make the development feasible including our best effort to add a little raise to their allowance,” Gabaya said.

Earlier, the NYSC FCT Coordinator, Mrs Waleeda Isa, said the visit was to acquaint its officials with the new administration of the council as host of the orientation camp.

Isa decried the sorry state of infrastructure at the NYSC camp, saying “their lodge in the camp is dilapidated and needs attention”.

“Also, it would go a long way for those who serve under the council, if your administration can kindly add a little to their allowance to augment what the Federal Government is giving them.

“We will be honoured if you make these efforts so that we feel your presence and know that you have us at heart,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NYSC 2019 Batch B’ corp members have reported and would be inaugurated at the orientation camp on Aug. 22.

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Lagos govt boosts MCC services in Eti-Osa Tribune Online



THE Lagos State Government says it has completed yet another Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) located in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of the state to increase residents’ access to qualitative maternal and child healthcare.

The state Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, made this known on Wednesday in Lagos during an advocacy meeting with community leaders and residents of Badore.

Abayomi was represented by the Director of Projects, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusola Oduwole.

He said that the continuous implementation of strategic maternal child survival interventions, policies, programmes and projects by the government was geared toward the reduction of maternal and child mortality in the state.

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According to him, the local and national statistics of maternal and child mortality and morbidity rate are of utmost concern to the government hence, the adoption of various strategies to combat it.

“One of these strategies is the construction of MCC, a specialised healthcare centre for mothers and children.

“It is aimed at taking maternal and child healthcare closer to the people by reducing the travel time and improving the quality care to the highest possible standard,” the commissioner said.


Abayomi said that the MCC was located on Ogombo Road along Abraham Adesanya Estate in Eti-Osa local government area.

According to him, the facility is a four-floored 110-bed complex designed to respond to maternal and child health issues.

“It will provide quality services for the restoration, improvement and promotion of the health and well-being of women, babies and children in the local government area and adjoining communities.

“It has two theatres where surgeries can be done; consulting rooms; treatment rooms, antenatal and postnatal wards; baby nursery; pharmacy, laboratory and offices, among others,” he said.

Abayomi said that the construction of MCCs in the state was designed to stem the tide of maternal deaths which occurred as a result of delivery by unskilled birth attendants, haemorrhage, infection, obstructed labour and malaria, among others.

He said that women should not die in the course of life procreation process.

“The concept of the construction of MCCs was mooted with the conviction that these interventions will impact positively on the health indices of our mothers and children who constitute a significant percentage of clients attended to at public health facilities.

“The Eti-Osa MCC will commence operation before the end of the week and will serve as a referral centre to all primary health facilities in Eti-Osa local government and accompanying communities.

“It will yield the much desired and anticipated impact towards the reduction of maternal and child mortality in the area,” the commissioner said.

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Psychiatric resident doctors vow to continue strike %



THE Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, has resolved to continue its ongoing indefinite strike demanding for optimal mental healthcare for patients.

The President of the association, Dr Afeez Enifeni, said in a statement on Wednesday, in Lagos, that the strike would continue until the management addressed the work experience of the overworked doctors.

Enifeni said that the doctors had on Aug. 19 held a meeting to review the current industrial action.

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The doctors accused the hospital management of being insensitive to the plight of the in and outpatients, who according to him, are receiving suboptimal mental health services.


“The hospital management has blatantly refused to replace the annual exit of resident doctors for the past four years.

“Instead, they have let patient load and clinical work increase significantly for hapless resident doctors whose health and academic pursuits have suffered irreparably.

“In light of the above, the management’s insistence on employing only five locum doctors is highly provocative of our demands.

“It hardly improves the status quo which already puts overworked resident doctors at the brink of academic failure, health challenges and malpractice suits,” he said.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the hospital’s management to do the needful in line with the administration’s next level agenda.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the resident doctors had embarked on an indefinite strike on July 31 over non-employment of more resident doctors at the hospital.

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AIDS: Society says self-stigma more destructive than HIV/AIDS



THE Coalition of Civil Society Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (COCSNHAN) on Wednesday said that self-stigma was more destructive to people living with HIV than the disease.

Mr Ikenna Nwakamma, first Co-chairman of the society, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that it was the major reason people living with HIV default from treatments.

Nwakamma, who called for the incorporation of mental health services in the national HIV programme, said it was imperative to rescue patients from the dangers of self-stigma.

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“Very important, the issues of self-stigma is hardly talked about and that is even more destructive; it is the major reason people living with HIV default in their treatment,” he said.

The society’s co-chairman explained that mental health would make people living with HIV become co-managers of their health.

According to him, mental health problems among people living with HIV is the new epidemic and we must deal with it squarely.

Nwakamma restated the plans of the society to set up a monitoring system that would capture and report cases of stigma and discrimination in health facilities.

He promised that any identified case would be used to send a strong warning to others.

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