The Nigerian Medical Association has expressed concern over the state of affairs in the health sector, saying the Federal Government had killed the morale of doctors because of health sector politics.

While calling on professionals to be united in their resolve to end the poor attitude of government towards the health sector, the organisation said it was only through such unity that they could stop the disharmony, distrust and disrespect among doctors and other health workers.

The NMA also called on government to give priority to the health sector by ensuring “that proper allocation of 15 per cent was given to the health in line with the Abuja declaration.”

The chairman of the NMA in the Federal Capital Territory and North-Central Caucus, Dr Enema Amodu, stated these in his Easter Message issued in Abuja on Sunday.

According to him, division among doctors would not lead to the achievement of anything positive, including improving working conditions, remunerations and better facilities that would positively impact on every healthcare worker.

THE Bayelsa State Government has announced that 24 persons have died as a result of cholera outbreak in the state.

It was gathered on Saturday that about 200 cases of the epidemic were recorded in 30 communities with the coastal Southern Ijaw Local Government Area being the worst-hit.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Pabara Newton-Igwele, while confirming the incident, said the state government had mobilised its Rapid Response Team to mitigate the spread of the cholera disease.

He said the government in partnership with the World Health Organisation had also adopted some measures to preserve the lives of the people during the period.

Newton-Igwele said, “Some of the measures include the decentralisation of the RRT in the local government areas since last October; distribution of commodities for the containment of the outbreak; ongoing search to identity active cases and the provision of oral cholera vaccines for the vaccination of people in the affected areas.”

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Sunday said the Federal Government will soon engage the leadership of the striking National Association of Resident Doctors in a fresh talk with a view to ending the ongoing strike.

He said the purpose of the fresh talk would be for the striking resident doctors to explain to the government team the aspects of the memorandum of action they signed on Thursday which they did not agree with.

Ngige spoke in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday.

Recall that the NARD, an association of doctors undergoing residency training, had on Thursday commenced what it called “a total and indefinite strike” despite government’s last-minute efforts to stop the action.

Shortly before the strike started, the leadership had signed a memorandum of action with the Federal Government team, which made Ngige to describe the strike as being in bad faith.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has promised that applicants will soon begin to get Nigerian passports within 24 hours.

The minister also in a statement on Sunday said passport would be issued in each of the 774 local government areas in the country to reduce the problem of getting it.

Aregbesola, who is a former governor of Osun State, said this at the newly inaugurated Maitama Passport Express Centre.

He explained that the Nigeria Immigration Service Passport Express Centre, Maitama, Abuja, was established in partnership with the private sector to make passport issuance more convenient and quick.

Aregbesola stated that the opening of the centre, which signified the inauguration of the Passport Issuance Decentralization policy of the administration, was the first of many more to be established in every local government area in Nigeria and designed to offer specialised services to Nigerians.

Britain will on Monday set out plans to restart international travel, using a “traffic-light” system as the country cautiously emerges from lockdown.

The announcement comes as the UK has set a tentative date of May 17 to relaunch international travel.

Travel destinations will be ranked green, amber or red according to virus risk, Downing Street said in a statement late Saturday, with the government to provide more details on Monday.

International travel is currently banned except for a handful of permitted reasons. This has created massive pent-up demand for summer holidays abroad.

“We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country… as safely as possible,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

The government said the new system “will help ensure the UK’s vaccine progress isn’t jeopardised and provide clear guidance for travellers”.

People heading to low-risk “green” countries will simply take a virus test before and after they travel, the government said.

The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, has felicitated Christians in the state as they celebrate Easter.

Zulum, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, said he’s proud that despite the challenges the state has been facing at the hands of Boko Haram terrorists since 2009, Muslims and Christians still maintain a peaceful co-existence in the 27 local government areas of the state.

He urged everyone in the state to continue to do whatever they can to nurture and preserve the precious harmony that exists in the state.He said, “As Christians all over the world mark this year’s Easter celebration, which began Friday, I felicitate with my Christian brothers and sisters in Borno State.“A season like this which calls for deep and shared reflection on our lives in general, should remind us of not just the challenges we continually face, but also, to be grateful for some accomplishments we have made together as citizens with equal stakes in the Borno project.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Saturday alleged that those clamouring for the breakup of the country were the elite, who were in the vast minority.

He also disclosed that the President, Major General  Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would later this month submit a supplementary budget to the National Assembly to request more funds to tackle insecurity across parts of the country.

Lawan, according to a statement from his media office, made the disclosure while speaking to journalists in his home town Gashua on Saturday.

According to him, those behind the minority agitations were disgruntled elites bent on satisfying their self-serving interest to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians.

He added that the unity of Nigeria would continue to be the cardinal focus of the National Assembly by ensuring equity, justice and fairness for every part of the country.

Lawan said, “Nigeria will continue to be one. What we need to emphasise always is equity, justice and fairness to all, for all.

“I think this is one way to go, probably the only way to go to ensure that everybody feels belonged.

Over 200,000 hectares of land across 15 grazing reserves are being prepared by the Federal Government under the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

It was also gathered that 22 states had so far shown interest in the livestock programme that aims to address the incessant clashes between herders and farmers across the country.

On February 13, 2021, the Federal Government announced that it had commenced the implementation of the NLTP and also disclosed that 20 governors had shown interest in the programme at the time.

Kwasari, who announced the commencement of the programme, had also stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), secured a €400,000 grant from The Netherlands for the initiative.

The presidential aide said, “We have states in tiers one, two, three and four, depending on the ones that are ahead of others. But I can’t give you the states that are in each particular tier for I’m on vacation now. I don’t have those details here with me now, until I return to Abuja. I don’t have access to those data now.”

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has assured that the ongoing Lagos-Badagry Expressway rehabilitation/reconstruction project was not forgotten but on the 2021 Sukuk funding priority list.

Fashola gave the assurance in Lagos on Saturday during an inspection tour of road projects in the state.

He said that major drainage works were ongoing and progressing to upgrade the highway from its old status to ensure durable construction, saying that funding challenges were being resolved.

“Lagos-Badagry Expressway is the real challenge. Again it is funding.

“We are owing the contractor. That is why I said if we can expand the Sukuk this year, we are going to look at a few more roads to add into it.

“If we succeed Lagos-Badagry Expressway is one of the top roads we are penciling down for the Sukuk in 2021.

The Federal Government has asked all the states administering the COVID-19 vaccine to stop the exercise the moment they use half of the doses allocated to them.

This implies that a state that was given 100,000 doses would have to halt the vaccine rollout once the doses hit 50,000 in order for those who have received their first jab to be able to complete their vaccination.

 The move, it was learnt, had become necessary due to a possible delay in the supply of the next batch of the AstraZeneca vaccines, which could affect the availability of the vaccine for a second jab for those who have taken the first.

The shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the international market is caused by a surge in the demand by the European Union and a new policy by India which manufactures the vaccine. India had said last week that it would prioritise domestic vaccination for its over 1.2 billion citizens, thereby causing a shortage in developing nations like Nigeria.

Confirming the development to one of our correspondents who made an enquiry on the matter, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said states were asked to stop vaccination halfway until more vaccines arrive because it was the smartest thing to do since it is a double-dose vaccine.