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Items filtered by date: March 2019

Why We Shunned Dickson's Judicial Commission –APC

  • Published in News

The All Progressives Congress APC in Bayelsa State has given reasons why it snubbed the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the governor, Seriake Dickson, to look into the violence and mayhem that marred parts of the state before, during and after the just concluded general elections.

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Those I Helped Abandoned Me –Odili

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A former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili has lamented that the people he helped while in office abandoned him and that some of them even joined his enemies to campaign for his persecution.

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HIV Horror In Akwa Ibom,… Stakeholders Accuse Udom,… We Receive Condom In Cartons –Prostitute

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In spite of a recent scary report by the Nigerian HIV/AIDS indicator and impact survey (NAIIS), that Akwa Ibom state ranks the highest in prevalence rate of HIV in Nigeria, commercial sex business is still booming in Uyo, especially the B. line relaxation centre, popularly called Maitama.

According to the report, about 5.5 per cent of the people living with HIV in Nigeria are in Akwa Ibom State, followed by Benue state with about 5.3 per cent prevalence rate.

The result also stated that the north –west has the lowest prevalence rate at 0.6 percent, while the South- South geopolitical zone has the highest with 3.1 percent.

Speaking during the announcement of the NAIIS results, penultimate Thursday in Abuja, Director General of the National Agency for the control of AIDS, (NACA), Sani Aliyu had said that about 19 million Nigerians were currently living with HIV.

In his words, “for the south south, it is Akwa Ibom that has the highest prevalence and for the north central, it is still Benue State.

Our correspondent visited  Maitama, which is a hot bed for commercial sex business in Uyo and surprisingly, neither did the alarming report scare the sex workers nor did it slow the traffic of patronage to the sex workers.

In a chat with our correspondent, a commercial sex worker, Sandra, said most of them, especially those who live in hotels around the Maitama area, engage medical doctors who conduct medical test on them on weekly basis. She however agreed that HIV was common in Uyo, but disagreed with the statistics that the state is the highest. ''They give us condom in cartons and I cannot sleep with any man without it. If I have a job that can take care of me and my family, I will quit prostitution. The business is risky and dangerous and I have no option for now.

“I pay my son's school fees and take care of my aged parents with the money I make here”.

Another sex worker, Onome, who said she was a third year accounting student of Delta State University, noted that most victims of HIV were not prostitutes, but married women and girls from responsible homes. According to her, commercial sex workers were already conscious of the fact that they are exposed to risk.

Also speaking, a male customer, Charles, said he doesn't believe in the report, noting that the report is measure to stem the tide of immorality.

Reacting to the development, a former commissioner of health and governorship candidate on the platform of Social Democratic Party, Professor Asukwo Ekanem, however fingered the state government for not paying sincere attention to health care development in the state. According to the professor of gynaecology, the state government had failed in its obligation of sensitizing the people of the state on health education and in job creation to engage the young people meaningfully.

He reasoned that if the much hyped industrialization was visible, a sizable population of unemployed youths would have been gainfully employed to be able to put food on their table.  While condemning prostitution in strong terms, Ekanem berated the state government on its inability to make meaningful efforts towards reducing unemployment.

 “There is a correlation between HIV and unemployment. The state ranks second highest in unemployment rate in the country and the state also ranks highest in HIV prevalence rate.”

Apart from selling their selves for a living, Ekanem also criticized the state government for exploiting youths instead of either sending them to school to build capacity, or creating jobs for them. “What do you expect from a society where young men are employed as personal assistants to personal assistants, and so forth. When they get these jumbo salaries, the import girls from face book and import HIV into the state.''

Corroborating  Ekanem's position, a former state chairman of the PDP and chairman of the local government service commission,  Otu Ita toyo said what the state needed to combat the scourge was good governance. Toyo also agreed that the people had a part to play in combating the highlighted scourge.

''Education, healthcare, infrastructure and job creation remain the preserve of government largely because those at the helm and their comrades of   convenience, have deliberately refused to build a thriving economic environment for  fear of losing control of their acquired privileges. Just think of what is happening in Akwa Ibom at 5.5% prevalence, it is now in public domain that it is possible to find within the government treasury (and indeed other private tills, the capacity and will to pay as much as thirty thousand naira per head for every voter who is willing to trade his/her card in what is creatively called “voter appreciation” (vote buying).

“Without good governance, altruistic and knowledgeable leadership, HIV, under employment, deficient health care services and decrepit educational system will remain part of our history.”

In the same vein, Augustine Ukpe, a staff of the ministry of health, maintained that the statistics was an understatement. “I once went with ProHealth to Oron, and almost 40% of the people who tested were positive. Another health worker, Regina Umousung, who agreed with Ukpe, said, Uyo, Ikot Abasi, Abak and Ikot Ekpene are the worst hit.

Umousung also berated the state government for not paying sincere attention to health care delivery “except politics and elections”. The state government is not concerned about intensifying awareness. They don't open doors to NGO, even the health workers themselves are not motivated to put in their best. It boils down to responsible government.

Anthonia Udoikpa, a nurse with the University of Uyo said she was one of the interviewers in the last HIV survey carried out in 2017 in the state. According to her, in every five tested, one was positive.

A director in the state ministry of health who rather pleaded anonymity, said since the state was saturated by acute unemployment, with the second highest unemployed rate in Nigeria, ''our youths do anything they can to survive, especially the females. They are pushed into risky behaviours to support themselves and even their helpless parents. Our daughters engage in “runs” to pay their school fees and even to feed their siblings.

Aniekeme Uwah, a medical practitioner, immediate past chairman of Nigerian Medical Association and an Epidemiology expert, while reacting to the development said, to curb the scourge in the state, a multi-sectoral and dimensional approach is required. He maintained that individuals, educational institutions, churches, the government and its agencies, community leaders, corporate bodies, should be involved.

In his defence, state commissioner of health, Dominic Ukpong however agreed with the report, and noted that the location of the state with a large coastal front of 129 km. Peaceful atmosphere, friendly disposition, good cuisines and fast developing economy, have made the state the destination of choice for both national and international visitors.

According to Him, the influx of visitors to the  state are not without attendant Public health consequences, like transmission of communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, he disclosed that the state government, under Udom Emmanuel, has committed huge resources towards improving the health care delivery system in the state.

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C' River Knows Tribunal Members This Week

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The panellist for the elections petition tribunal in Cross River State are likely to be unveiled later this week. 

Secretary of the tribunal, Mrs Josephine Ekperobe who revealed this to TNN  said the panel will hold its inaugural sitting on a date to be communicated to journalists.

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Hold Akpabio If Anything Happens To Us-PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Essien Udim Chapter has called on Nigerians and security agencies to hold Senator Godswill Akpabio and his team responsible for any casualties that may occur to stakeholders of the (PDP) in the local government area. The party made the call at the press centre in Uyo, during a press briefing, addressed by the party's stakeholders.

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