**Says Govt has done a lot to treat victims with records
Founder of The Albino Foundation, (TAF), Mr. Jake Epelle, has countered some fake news that Government has not done anything to assist skin cancer victims
He said the Ministry of Finance, National Hospital and other designated agencies involved in the due diligence for the treatment of Skin Cancer patients from the Foundation have corroborative records of patients treated for the disease.
Epelle spoke at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday to dispelled allegations of undue benefits that have accrued to his foundation brought against him by rival organizations, The Disability Inclusion Centre (DIC) and The Albino Network Association in Nigeria (TANA).
He said the scheme which was the outcome of advocacy for the rights of Persons with Albinism was financed without any direct benefit to the Foundation except its role for validation of individuals who sought the appointment.
His words: “This scheme was funded by the government through disbursement of funds by the Federal Ministry of Finance to the six (6) designated hospitals in Nigeria’s geopolitical zones (especially the National Hospital, Abuja).
“No part of this arrangement involved any kind of financial benefit to TAF as an organisation.
“TAF did not at any point receive funds before, during or after the scheme. Our role however, was to recommend PWAs who were in need of treatment or check-up to the designated hospitals.
“These recommendations were documented and although we lost some documents when we changed office in 2020, we have archived most of them in the folders which are here in this Conference Room.
“These facts are verifiable and can be corroborated by the National Hospital, Abuja, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and other designated hospitals.
“May I add that we played this role at zero cost to PWAs. We like to again register our gratitude to the government and the designated hospitals for this initiative through which the lives of several PWAs were preserved, Epelle Stated.
He also noted that, Albino Foundation has in the past mobilized for the treatment of PWAs within and outside Nigeria, worth millions of dollars.
The Disability Inclusion Centre (DIC) and The Albino Network Association in Nigeria (TANA) had raised issuees on the claim that the federal government had intervened for the treatment of over 5,000 persons living with Albinism.
The issues were raised at a press conference where they gave TAF seven days to come out with the accurate data if the claims were true.
“We are calling him within seven days to come out with the accurate data, the names of those albinos who have been referred to NHA between 2017 and 2022 and publish their names irrespective of State.”
At the same time the body had called on the “FG to direct all funds meant for people living with disabilities to the ‘National Commission for Persons with Disabilities’ rather than granting general funds or grants to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like the Albino Foundation.
2 Months after, Over 64,000 PWDS, others yet to access Palliative in Jigawa
By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse
About two months after the official launch of the cash and foodstuffs palliative distribution worth over N3.1 billion to physically challenge persons and other less privileged persons across 27 local government areas of Jigawa state, only 11 local government areas have been able to meet with the condition for cash collection.
The Jigawa state commissoner for special Duties, Auwal D Sankara indicated that 16 out of 27 local government councils are yet to meet the required criteria for collecting the sum of N720 million cash as palliative.
The commissoner made the disclosure while speaking to news men in Dutse, indicating that, “so far only 11 local governments were able to meet with the payment requirements adding that they stand to benefit from the current disbursement of N1.08b cash as palliative to 108,000 persons in the state”.
According to him “The state government approved a total of N40 million for each of the 27 local government areas as palliative for 4,000 Persons Living With Disability (PWDs), Orphans, women and elderly people”.
Mr Sankara explained that 4000 persons will get 10,000 each from the 27 local government areas of the state.
Findings by our reporter in the state revealed that about two months after the official flag off of the palliative distribution by the state Governor Malam Umar Namadi only 44,000 out of 108,000 targeted beneficiaries have received the cash assistance.
It was also gathered that about 64,000 targeted beneficiaries who are People Leaving with Disability (PWDs), Orphans, elderly people and Women were waiting to collect.
When contacted the JIgawa state chairman of the Association for Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Honourable Bala Usman Chamo said “The problem came as a result of the need for benefiaried to own bank accounts through which they can get the cash.
Hon Chamo explained that there are specific persons meant to benefit from the gesture.
In an attempted to ensure justice, transparency as well as blocking malpractices, the governor ordered that beneficiaries would be paid directly through their bank account”.
“And looking at the categories of the beneficiaries, especially those in the rural areas many of them have no bank account. I believed this is the major cause of the delay, but not because of negligence on the part of the local government councils’ chairmen”.
Our reporter in the state gathered that the state governor, Malam Umar Namadi had on 15th of September 2023 flagged up the palliative distribution to 108, 000 less prevellage people across 27 local government areas of the state.
When he launched the programme in Gumel town, the governor Namadi had indicated that his government allocated a total sum of N1.080 billion to be disbursed to the beneficiaries.
According to him, the N1.080 billion will be disbursed to 108,000 beneficiaries across the 287 political wards in the 27 local government areas in the state.
“Under this framework, N40 million will be allocated to each of the 27 local governments for distribution to 1,000 youths, 1,000 women, 1,000 elderly, and 1,000 persons with Disability. We are anticipating that 108,000 people will receive N10,000 each.”
Disability commission promises more support for Amputees Coalition of Nigeria
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities Mr. James David Lalu has promised maximum support for the Amputees Coalition of Nigeria to guarantee better living for members of the group.
A statement by head of Public Relations Unit of the commission Mbanefo JohnMichaels I quoted the executive secretary to have made the commitment in his office during a courtesy visit by the leadership of the group
Lalu who saw the visit as very essential described the moment as an avenue to discuss vital issues on Assistive technology and devices.
“May I use this medium to inform you that the Commission has been providing prosthetics and orthotics to some Persons with physical disabilities and will continue to do more; we equally offered employment to one of the beneficiaries of Assistive Devices who is now under the payroll of the Commission” he disclosed.
The Commission’s Boss further advised the group to ensure that they register with the Commission in order to get their personal disability certificates and identity cards which will enable them to have access to financial inclusions.
The programme officer, Amputees Coalition of Nigeria, Chukwuelo Eva on behalf of the team expressed his gratitude to the Executive Secretary for his support to Amputees over the years.
He also used the medium to inform the meeting of the Annual Awareness Press Conference for Amputees, slated for April 2024 .
Timi Frank condemns Biden’s invite to Tinubu, says its inappropriate, unacceptable
The purported request of the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to meet President Bola Tinubu has been described by Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank as inappropriate, unacceptable and condemnable.
In view of the fact that Tinubu currently lacks legitimacy as the result of the 2023 Presidential Election is being contested in court, Frank said the meeting billed to take place at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September is suspicious
He said Biden’s request conveyed by a US Presidential envoy and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Molly Phee, defeats the stance of the American Government on democracy and sanctity of the ballot.
“President Joe Biden is asking to meet with you on the sidelines of UNGA and you are the only African leader he has requested to meet. It is a mark of his high regard for your leadership,”
Ambassador Phee said during his meeting with Tinubu recently.
Frank said: “This move by Biden is certainly anti-American stance on rule of law and a bad example in collaborations in view of the pendency of suits challenging the declaration of Tinubu as President and multiple investigations ongoing concerning his integrity,
true identity and academic records both in Nigeria and USA.
“It’s an insult to say that Tinubu is the only African president that Biden has chosen to meet on the sidelines of UNGA when they know his legitimacy deficit and the fraudulent election that brought him as president.
“For me, even if they want to discuss Africa affairs, they can discuss with any other legitimate African leader within the continent.
“However, it is clear the only reason they are seeking this meeting is to protect their selfish interests and it is for this type of unbecoming action that the US is now trying former President Donald Trump.
Frank who is the Ambassador of the United Liberation Movement for West Papau (ULMWP), to the East Africa and Middle East, added:
“It is disheartening to note that at a time when everyone is eagerly waiting on the outcome of the Presidential Election Tribunal, the US will seek to play to the gallery by inviting Tinubu as the sole African leader Biden wishes to meet at UNGA.
He urged Biden to rescind his invitation to Tinubu pending the ruling of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal on the suits challenging the legitimacy of the President.
He said: “The USA should know that any other African President can collaborate with them for mutual benefit provided they legitimately hold power in trust for the people.
“Why is President Biden in a hurry to meet Tinubu at UNGA other than to protect US interest in the West African sub-region, especially in view of recent military coup in Niger Republic and the reports of a putsch in Gabon.
“We are curious as to the true intent of the proposed meeting save for divide-and-rule-system employed
by developed countries in their relations with African countries, otherwise there is no need for this hurry to meet Tinubu until the courts have decided the true winner of the Nigerian Presidential election.
“The US must allow the Nigerian judicial system to determine the legitimacy or otherwise of President Tinubu before it seeks to discuss sensitive issues with him concerning the West African sub-region.
“This is very crucial and necessary as anything otherwise will seek to legitimize an illegality at a time when Nigerians are eager to see to a final closure on this matter.
“Again, need we say that this kind of bestowal of recognition on illegitimate administrations by America and other western powers is responsible for new incidences of coups in the African subregion?
“We must state categorically that some of us as allies and friends of USA have nothing against American pursuing its interests in Nigeria or Africa but they must not do it to the detriment of people of Nigeria or Africa.
“Rather, diplomatic and business relations and collaborations between the two sovereign nations should be done in a manner befitting both nations considering the views and interest of the Nigerian people. We believe in them but they must try and also do things that will benefit Nigeria.
“As true friends, we will call them out when they go wrong and applaud them when they’re right as regards issues concerning Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.”
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