Couple appeals for support to raise quadruplets

A civil servant, Mr Ugochukwu Nwogute and his wife, Vivian have appealed to the First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu and well-meaning Nigerians for support in raising their quadruplets. The couple, who gave birth to the four babies in a private hospital in Kubwa, Abuja on May 21, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. Speaking with NAN in the hospital, Mrs Nwogute, said she got married in 2015 and had her first daughter on Nov. 5, 2016. 'After years of waiting, I became pregnant in Sept. 2023 and was delivered of three boys and one girl through caesarean section at Vinca hospital, Arab Road, Kubwa, Abuja, on May 21. 'When I was told I was going to have multiple babies, it was a mixed feeling for me. 'Mixed feelings, because I was not expecting it, but was happy because we have waited for years after our first daughter. So, we were hoping on God and praying and God did more than we expected,'' she said. She added that the hospital billed them about N1.7 milli on in the first instance, which they were still running around to pay. 'The babies eat two hourly, they consume almost half of their Pre NAN formula which we were asked to feed them with, and a tin costs N10, 000. 'We also have follow ups because the paediatrician said after we have been discharged, we are expected to be bringing the babies to the hospital weekly for check up,' she said On the babies' health, Mrs Nwogute said that they were responding to treatment, adding that her recovery was gradual. 'I am getting stronger because I have relapses. For example, last night I was cold all through and I have treated malaria and because of that, I cannot breastfeed my babies the way I am expected to,'' she said. The husband appealed to the government to come to their aid, financially and in the area of accommodation for a bigger apartment that can be convenient for the family. 'The journey has not been easy, taking care of a heavily pregnant woman and the only daughter we had eight years back. 'When the b abies came, I was not expecting such a number, but I give glory to God for the marvelous thing He has done for us. 'My appeal to the government and well meaning Nigerians is for them to come to our aid. 'We need financial support to take care of the babies as well as, in the area of accommodation, because the apartment we are currently occupying cannot contain us anymore,' he said. Nwogute, specifically appealed to the First Lady, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, to see the quadruplets as anniversary gifts to the administration of President Bola Tinubu. He, urged Mrs Tinubu, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmud as well as the wife of the FCT Minister, Mrs Eberechi Wike, to render assistance to his family On his part, Dr Chiemezie Odera, an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at the hospital said it would not be easy, taking care of the children as they would need more hands for their care because the mother would not be able to do it all alone. Odera, therefore, urged the general public to support the couple so as to take good care of the babies. 'Most importantly is care and support after delivery. Any woman that has more than one baby, needs more hands to help out because she might go into depression if you allow her to stay without care. 'So, we encourage that they have support, people should be around them to help in taking care of the children,'' he reiterated. The obstetrician said that it would not always be easy for the woman as her breast milk would not be enough for the babies. According to him, Vinca hospital has been doing well in the area of maternal care, and the facility have had series of multiple birth. Talking about the weight of the babies, he said, for the fact that they might not have weight like single birth, but they were still strong like any other single birth. 'In the uterus, they shared what was available, so, you don't expect them to have much weight. 'But interestingly, those weights, no matter how small they appear compared to single birth, they are still as strong as those single birt hs without any complication. 'Though they need to be observed after delivery, but they are doing well. Even if they weigh 1.5kg, they are still as strong as 3kg and above,'' he explained. The Doctor added that there would be need for the babies to be reviewed over time by the paediatrician to see how they were faring. Odera, while urging the nursing mother to eat well and rest, he advised her not to hesitate in coming back to the facility where the babies were delivered, in case of any issue. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Apo Resettlement residents decry poor state of link roads

Residents of Apo Resettlement Area in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT) have decried the poor state of link roads and other social amenities in the area. The residents, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, said they always pass through a lot of difficulties accessing their homes. The residents further said that accessing critical facilities such as schools and hospitals was also a major challenge due to lack of link roads. Elder Babayinka Ojo, a resident of Apo, said that all link roads leading to the markets and some estates had remained inaccessible by both motorists and pedestrians over the years. 'Our city roads are full of potholes some of which have become craters. 'These potholes are hazardous to motorists and pedestrians alike as they increase the risk of accidents, falls and possible injuries. 'Driving at night is incredibly challenging and unsafe because of the dreadful roads and dilapidated link roads. 'The alternative road that is supposed to c onnect Agaba Estate junction to Main Market to decongest the excess traffic leading to the market is not accessible to both motorists and pedestrians,' he said. He said that some abandoned structures in the area have been occupied by criminals and drug addicts who pose serious danger to the residents. 'The Sen. Zephaniah Jisalo neighbourhood roads are an eyesore. 'The worst is a cashew plantation in the area called Agwa TV, which Indian hemp smokers have turned to a 'no go area' between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily,' he alleged. Ojo said that the road linking Lokogoma, Apo Mechanic, Shoprite/burial ground was another death trap to motorists. Another resident, Mrs Esther Ekong, appealed to the Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike, to come to their aid by fixing the bad roads in the area. Ekong urged the minister to use his office to assist the community by allocating funds for the construction of roads in the area. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Mining: FG to establish 6 mineral centres to boost sector

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, says plans are ongoing by the Federal Government to establish six mineral centres in the six geo-political zones. According to Alake, the aim is to boost the sector. Alake said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. He said that the plan was part of the President Bola Tinubu's administration's commitment to diversify the country's economy, by developing key sectors such as the solid minerals industry. 'Another one is the creation of six mineral centres in each of the six geo-political zones. 'We have our minerals all over the country and we cannot concentrate the mineral processing centres in one centre, and as we speak those plans are ongoing in the zones', he said. According to the Minister, the centres are also part of the government's commitment to promote value addition to its minerals, aimed at facilitating multiplier effects on the economy. NAN recalls that the minister had announced that no licenc e would be granted to mining companies to operate without presenting a comprehensive plan for value addition such as processing and refining. Alake said that investors in the past extracted raw mineral resources from Nigeria without adding value to them, which he described as a great loss to the country's economy. 'Lithium is one of the finest qualities in the world, and it has other associated minerals like nickel, cobalt, and copper. 'So when an operator takes an ounce of our Lithium out of Nigeria, perhaps he declares Lithium. 'But when he gets to his host country, he now has other associated minerals to his gain and to the loss of Nigeria. 'So our major policy which we enacted is that, henceforth, we would no longer approve an application from an investor that does not show us a concrete plan for local value addition. 'Which means processing here to add local value addition, and this will generate a multiplier effect like local employment, technology and skills transfer,' he said. He said that the move was in line with plans to locally produce Electric Vehicle's (EVs) batteries in Nigeria, whose major ingredient is Lithium. 'Our objective here is to begin to produce EVs batteries with Lithium and other associated minerals, ' he said. The Minister said that the local value addition policy had also been widely accepted by other African countries aimed at developing their local economies. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Mining: FG to expand Marshal Corps to 100 per state

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, says that plans are ongoing to increase the number of Mining Marshal Corps from 60 to 100. The increase would be across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Alake said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. He said that the move was part of efforts of the Federal Government to secure the mining operating environment aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) to boost the economic profile of the country. NAN reports that the Mining Marshal Corps inaugurated on March 21, were drawn from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to combat illegal mining. The corps has 2,220 personnel, who have been specially trained by the military in modern warfare as a rapid response squad with 60 deployed across the 36 states and the FCT. 'We are looking at adding to the number to get a minimum of 100 in each state from the 60 on ground,' he said. He said that the President Bola Tinubu`s administration was determined to sanitise the mining sector and reposition it by putting in place policy measures to attract big players to the sector. Alake said that prospective investors would need assurance of the security of the operating environment, their investment, equipment and personnel. The minister said that the insecurity situation at mining sites across the federation prompted the president to establish an inter-ministerial committee on Jan.17. He explained that the committee was to produce a blueprint for securing Nigeria's natural resources, which consisted of mineral sites, marine economy and forests. The minister, however, said that while deliberations were still on-going by the committee on producing a comprehensive security architecture for the natural resources, the mining marshal corps was established in the interim. 'Insecurity is rife in the forests where the solid minerals are deposited. 'The inter-ministerial efforts are ongoing as set up by the preside nt but I couldn't wait because of the criticality in curbing the illegality in the sector,' he said. He said that the initiative was yielding the desired results, as more than 200 suspects had been arrested, with 133 being prosecuted and two foreigners convicted for illegal operations. According to him, many requests are being received from states for the deployment of marshals in areas identified as sites of illegal mining due to their success. 'Every day, I receive requests from states asking for the deployment of these mining marshals to particular areas in their forests where they notice illegal operations going on. 'And they have gone inside the forests, the operating field to arrest, more than 200 have been arrested, about 133 are being prosecuted right now in various courts across the various states of the country. 'And recently, two foreign nationals were jailed, convicted of operating illegally in the mining sector in Nigeria', he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG to deploy technology for surveillance of mining sites

Dr Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, says the Federal Government will deploy technology for the surveillance of mining sites across the country. Alake said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. He said that the technology would be in addition to the 2,220 personnel of the Mining Marshal Corps drawn from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to combat illegal mining. The corps deployed across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were also trained on modern warfare by the military to secure Nigeria's natural resources. 'We are introducing some technology, we are not just relying on men and materials alone. 'The satellite surveillance gadgets we are putting in there are to enable us to see in real time in all mining sites in Nigeria. 'So that when we notice any infraction, very quickly we can deploy the mining marshals to go there so we don't even have to wait for any interpersonal communication. 'That reduces t he time of knowledge and action. Right now we depend on people passing intelligence to us but when the satellite surveillance gadget is working, we will be able to see it ourselves. 'Which is a step forward in the right direction', he said. The minister said that to attract investors to the sector, especially the big players, it was necessary to put in place policies and initiatives aimed at securing their investments. 'We needed to put in place policy measures to ensure that when these investors come, they are not just coming into the darkness that we had here before. 'They will ask some questions, such as the security of their operating environment, their investment, personnel and the ease of doing business in Nigeria and the sector', he said. He said that the administration of President Bola Tinubu inherited a lot of security challenges such as banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, which were associated with the solid mineral sector. He explained that most mining activities were in the forests, where such crimes were being perpetrated. He said that the administration of Tinubu was determined to sanitise the sector, and reposition it to contribute significantly to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) . According to the minister, concerted efforts are being deployed to curb the menace with other government agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Army and the Police for rapid result. 'I had a meeting with the Inspector General of Police on this issue and he is willing to give us more men to support those that we have on ground. 'Even the EFCC is cooperating with us, they are also arresting, the army also enumerated the number of illegal miners that they have arrested, it is a holistic effort cutting across all security agencies. 'But the mine marshals are just the face of the security apparatus that we are putting in place to combat illegal mining,' he said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

We want solid minerals contribution to GDP to surpass oil – Alake

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development is determined to ensure that the solid minerals sector's contribution to Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpasses that of oil, the minister, Dr Dele Alake, has said. Alake stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. He said that the administration of President Bola Tinubu was putting in place policies and initiatives aimed at diversifying the economy and ensuring that it generates more revenue than oil in the near future. He said that the move was necessary, especially with the global upsurge of energy transition, which would reduce the demand of oil. 'We have been totally dependent on oil for decades, everyone has been dependent on the free flow of petrol dollars on the economy. 'And the critical sector of the economy such as agriculture and solid minerals was neglected. 'Our objective is to make the solid minerals contribution to the GDP to surpass oil. 'By the time all our policy initiatives go through the g estation period and begin to manifest results, the revenue that will be accruing to Nigeria from this sector would be enormous. 'We are going to recover trillions to the coffers of the Nigerian government and for the benefit of Nigerians at large' he said. He said that Nigeria possesses the critical minerals in commercial quantities across its states needed for energy transition, which the ministry was aggressively marketing to attract big players to invest in the sector. 'We embarked on aggressive marketing to unlock the richness of the potential, making sure we push out information on the number of minerals that we have, the type and their demand nationally and internationally, ' he said. According to him, negotiations are ongoing with an auditing firm to audit the sector aimed at sanitising it to ensure the appropriate accruals to boost the country's GDP. 'As we speak, we are far in our negotiations with an auditing firm to come and audit the entire sector, because we have lost a lot of money in the past. 'We know that operators will under-declare what they are carting away, even the payment of royalties they under pay, taxes they evade. 'So, we are in the process of engaging an internationally recognised auditing firm that has done the same thing in other parts of the world, in more than 20 countries. 'So that they come and help us recover lost revenue and put some measures in place going forward so that we will no longer lose revenue. 'We are going to recover trillions to the coffers of the Nigerian government and for the benefit of Nigerians at large, ' he said. NAN recalls that the minister had said that a German company, Geo Scan, conducted a preliminary survey that indicates that Nigeria has 750 billion Dollars' worth of solid minerals underground, which had not been harnessed. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Army School of Supply and Transport honours 7 Generals, others

The Nigerian Army School of Supply and Transport (NASST) has honoured seven Generals and 20 other officers after 35 years of meritorious service to the nation. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the generals honoured are Maj.-Gen. V.O Offiong, Maj.-Gen. B.N Salami, Brig. -Gen. MT Waboke, Brig.-Gen. M. Abiodun, Brig. -Gen. M.A Bolarinwa, Brig.-Gen. Idowu and Brig.-Gen. S. Umaru. Speaking at the parade ground on behalf of the retirees, Maj. -Gen. Victor Offiong, said retirement from active service remained a natural and inevitable end. According to Offiong, retirement begins to count from the day an officer passed out from the Nigerian Defence Academy. 'Our joy and that of our families, colleagues and friends gathered here knows no bounds as we take a final bow from this noble Corps of great logisticians. 'It is a day of grave emotional feelings, nostalgic memories, wholesome gratitude, unending joy and above all, a sense of unwavering fulfilment. 'Let me on behalf of my retired colleagues, mos t respectfully appreciate the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja and the Corps Commander, Maj. Gen. Adekunle Adeyinka for organising this memorable pull out parade in our honour. 'Our collective gratitude goes to the other Senior Logistics, retired Generals and senior officers. 'As we finally bid farewell to the Corps of the proud logisticians, I want to encourage all our successors not to only sustain our modest strategic achievements but to surpass them by all means no matter the challenges,' he said. Offiong, however, urged the Supply and Transport Corps not to rest on its oars, adding that, the entire Nigerian Army dependent largely on the support of the Corps to achieve its core mandate and mission. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FG secures N20bn FDI on local production of disability assistive devices

The Federal Government says it has secured Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the tune N20 billion towards facilitating local production of assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Dr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja. Lalu said, the need to source for investors in the manufacturing of locally made assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) became necessary, following the high cost of the imported devices. 'Recently, we secured a foreign direct Investment to the tune of N20 billion and the organisation is committed to starting the local manufacturing of assistive devices as an MoU has already been signed. 'The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is going forward to make sure that we provide this opportunity to Nigeria for the manufacturing of local assistive devices. 'This is due to the fact that 99 per cent of our ass istive devices are imported and the prices are higher and are now getting out of the reach of the poor. 'Even, the budgetary allocation provided may not be able to provide assistive devices to the disability community across all states of the federation,' he said. Lalu added that promoting local contents in the manufacturing of assistive devices will go a long way to increase patronage and boost the nation's economy. 'With the local manufacturing of assistive devices, it will encourage the state governments, local governments and other government agencies to procure and distribute them to the disability communities. 'The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is working already in the area of local manufacturing of assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities. 'These include, wheelchairs, hearing aids and other devices for the blind and the deaf as well as persons with albinism,' he said The Executive Secretary disclosed that the commission was touting for talent in innovative and creative industry to improve in the production of assistive devices for PwDs. 'Just recently, we saw a video circulating on social media about one person in Kano, who was able to manufacture a digital eye-glass that can assist a blind person to walk around using sensors that will communicate to him through voice. 'When we saw this, we put an invitation to the innovator to come to our head office. 'We are expecting him at our head office on Tuesday and we are going to review his invention, to see what we can do, to partner with the Bank of Industry and NASENI to bring the innovation to reality in Nigeria,' he said. Lalu noted that Nigeria is a land of great opportunities, adding that the commission will scout for the opportunities in other to bring the disability community into technological era. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

UWGN, Creative Colony, educate students on transforming trash to art

An NGO, United Way Greater Nigeria (UWGN), in collaboration with Creative Colony, has trained students in Lagos schools on transforming discarded plastics into art. Ms 'Deola Durodola, Executive Director, UWGN, at the completion of the three-day initiative on Friday in Lagos, said the project was aimed at promoting recycling and the creative use of waste plastics to create art. Durodola said that the initiative tagged 'Eco Art project' was conducted at Ilupeju Junior Secondary School and Mawumaduka School and Orphanage, Makoko. According to her, the project engaged students in an educational and artistic experience, transforming discarded plastics into vibrant works of art. Durodola said that the students learnt about the environmental impact of plastic waste and the significance of recycling. She noted that they were guided by skilled artists from the Creative Colony, who taught them various techniques to repurpose waste materials into beautiful, meaningful artworks. 'The project aimed to inspire the n ext generation to think creatively about environmental conservation and to see the potential in everyday waste. 'We are thrilled to see the enthusiasm and creativity of the students, and it is our hope that this experience will leave a lasting impression and encourage sustainable practices in their communities,' she said. She added that the initiative not only highlighted the importance of recycling but also showcased the students' creativity and artistic talents. According to her, participants created stunning portraits of notable figures such as Tobi Amusan, celebrated Nigerian sprinter and world champion; Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, and Tunde Onakoya, a chess player and coach. Also, Dr Ameera Euba, Founder, The Creative Colony, said the partnership with UWGN represents a powerful synergy of community engagement and artistic innovation. Euba noted that by merging efforts, the organisations had not only educated young minds on the importance of recycling but also provided them with a creativ e outlet to express their ideas and aspirations. 'Together, we are fostering a culture of sustainability and creativity that will resonate far beyond the classrooms and communities we serve,' she said. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

600 PwDs benefitted from health Insurance package – Lalu

The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) says no fewer than 600 PwDs have benefitted from the pilot programme of its health Insurance package. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the commission gave the figure on Sunday, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja. Lalu also told NAN that the commission was working with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency in the training of over 3000 health workers that would specialise in handling disability related illness. According to him, the training would come in the second phase of the health insurance intervention programme. 'We have provided health insurance coverage for PwDs in the last two years. We started with 600 beneficiaries. 'We are currently working with the Federal Ministry of Health to improve access to healthcare facilities for PwDs across the federation and we have started the pilot programme with the Maitama district hospital in Abuja. 'We have signed an MoU for the hospital to become a re ferral centre for PwDs,' he said Lalu added ''Our intention is to have, at least, one tertiary hospital in each state of the federation as referral for PwDs, 'We are providing training for the healthcare workers in the hospital on how to handle disability issues and make sure they are disability friendly. 'The training is ongoing at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and over 3000 health workers have already passed through the training at the moment. 'We are creating awareness on access to healthcare facilities for PwDs'. On income security for PwDs Lalu said, no fewer than 150 Point of Sale (POS) machines and grants of N100,000 each were distributed to PwDs. 'We have also supported various Associations of PwDs on annual basis with grants to support their advocacy efforts 'We also provided assistive devices to three Nigerian Universities and the Sultanate Council in efforts to use the traditional institutions to create awareness on compliance with accessibility regulations for PwDs. 'T he programme is expected to reduce hardship and and improve the health, sanitary conditions of the disability environment,' he said. Lalu said the programmes were also some of the commitments of the commission to ensure access to public services for PwDs in Nigeria. Source: News Agency of Nigeria