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Kogi in strategic move to reposition health sector through review, development of its AOP



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Kogi State Government in partnership with UNICEF has facilitated a review of the 2023 annual operational plan (AOP) for the State Ministry of Health following which a new one has been developed for 2024.
This is aimed at repositioning the health sector in the State to deliver positive outcomes and change the narratives of negative indicators in the year 2024
The State commissioner of health Dr. Usman Zakari, who spoke recently in Abuja during a six-day workshop on the Review of 2023 Annual Operational Plan and the development of the 2024 Annual Operational Plan from the Kogi State Strategic Health Development II,
underscored the importance of the exercise, saying “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’
According to him they came to take stock in order to move forward.
‘We are reviewing the last annual operational plan (AOP) and developing a new one .
“We are trying to look at the status of implementation of some of the things we said we were going to do in the last AOP. By the time we have done that and we have done the review, then we now look at how we are going to do business going forward.
“If you don’t have these plans on ground, you can actually meet targets without knowing it, and you may not even meet targets without knowing it.
One of the reasons why it is important to have a plan he observed is to make decisive and deliberate efforts towards meeting them and to be strategic on all the items in the plan.
“If you noticed, almost the entire Ministry of Health is here. The reason why we didn’t allow them to do this around the office is other exigencies around the office will cause a lot of distractions. We have drastically reduced the level of activities in the Ministry of Health and brought them here to Abuja so that we can all contribute to developing this all-important document which will show us strategic direction on how to move forward.

“There are several components of it. There is resource allocation: both human and financial resources. There are some health indicators – maternal mortality, under 5 mortality and all of those things.

“This plan will help to move towards changing the narratives.”

According to him, this proper planning has helped to improve the health situation in Kogi state under Governor Yahaya Bello for all to see.
“His Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has made some decisive actions and declared a state of emergency in the health sector. There were some dilapidated facilities that he met on assumption of office which he has upgraded. They included the General Hospital, Idah, which he has upgraded and equipped to the level you can call a specialist hospital.
“There are many hospitals like that. As a matter of fact, there are new ones springing up where they never existed before. There is Ultra Modern Hospital in Gegu Baki, built and equipped with the state of the art equipments.”

He disclosed that plans have been concluded to recruit adequate health personnel for the facilities.
“There is another one in Badoko in Ajaokuta Local Government Area, similar to the one you see in Gegu. There is Ultra Modern Reference Hospital in Okene, one of the best in Africa with MRI, City scan, Hyperbaric oxygen chamber, etc. Those are the things we don’t have in the North Central.
Permanent Secretary, Kogi State Ministry of Health, Falilat Abdulrazak, said the review of 2023 AOP and to develop the one for 2024 is a very welcome development because it will help us to assess how well we did in 2023 and to project what we are going to do in 2024.
“The best thing for greater success is planning. That is what we have come to do here.
“This activity is to have our plans as to the various activities that we are going to implement in 2024 in the health sector. If we don’t have a plan, then we might not have a sense of direction. It is a leading program for implementation and success of our health programs in 2024.
“It is going to be a very impactful workshop for all of us because all our key officers are here; our programme officers, the Chief Medical Director of all our health agencies and hospitals and all the heads of departments of the state ministry of health including the Honourable Commissioner and myself as the administrative head of the ministry are here.
“It is an in-house programme, which means we moved to Abuja to concentrate and devote enough time to what we have to do.

“At the end of the day both the human and material aspect of our health institution will improve.”

Senior medical officer
FMOH, department of Health planning, research and statistics Dr kelechi Obi who facilitated the workshop said,

“We are planning for financial year 2024 and the Federal Ministry of Health is here to give Kogi State technical support to help them plan for the health sector for 2024
“It is one of our mandate at the Federal Ministry of Health to support States for the new year. So what we are doing here, we will be using the strategic development plan of Kogi State.
“So my coming here is to guide them and support in taking intervention.
“Interventions are those things that the State will do to improve the health outcomes in Kogi State. “Those programs that the State needs to plan for that reach out to those in the rural areas, impact on their health status positively so that the poor health indices in Kogi State and Nigeria would be better and we will achieve universal health coverage by 2030.
“That is our target, so basically that is the aim of coming, to guide them in doing the activities of these programs to impact on the people in Kogi State and to implement what they planned for, what they costed for it to be part of the budget and present to the state Government for the 2024 State budget as what Kogi State Ministry of health has planned for the sector.

“Now we are hoping that whatever a State will do should be those things they planned for.

“What we are saying is all those things they want to do, they should bring them under a forum like this, let us have everything we do in the health sector under one roof. In 2024 all these things we want to do this fiscal year and the hope is that they will not deviate from what they have already planned

“One of the things we encourage people to do when they plan is the fact the Ministry of health has an envelope, the budget that the state government gave them.

“We are telling them that what they plan to do in 2024, they should ensure they fit in to that envelope or the ceiling that government has given to the Ministry. “Government cannot solve all the problems. So let us priortise all those things that we want to do in 2024 /to be within our envelope.

It is commendable to see that the State commissioner of Health is at this workshop, the Permanent Secretary is here. This is my 8th State I have been to give technical support and this is the first State where the commissioner and all other heads of departments, agencies remain throughout the retreat
“it is good so they will understand what other workers are passing through and also it is at this kind of meeting they will make their directiion

On the gap in funding, Pharm Eric Akoji said, in every facet of live there must always be gaps because there is no perfection in humanity.
‘What we look at is from the presentation of the Federal Ministry of health on the health facility tour, gaps are inevitable in everything. Firstly the funds to implement everything is not there but most time there is a kind of priority given to some areas.
Why we are looking at the health sector as one of the key areas is that an unhealthy person cannot work, a teacher who is sick cannot teach, a farmer who is sick cannot go to farm. “That is why most times anything that concerns health we push that it should be given topmost priority.
Civil servants have always been pushing that government should the health area as where much investments should be done.
“At civil service level what we see as onus is to continue to engage government giving them the reason why they must do more investments in the health sector as a healthy nation is a wealthy nation

This program what is it aimed at achieving
“Sometime in June/July last year we also met in this Abuja, under the sponsorship of UNICEF who is also supporting the state in this process
“Operational plan is like a working document. It gives us direction, where our health interventions should move on in the next year
“We did it last year. Coming back this time is to first of all review what we have done last year that we want to do in terms of health intervention for the people and how far we have gone and it is from the review that we hear the terms, optimal performance and under performance.
“What leads to all those is because of insufficient funding at the disposal of the key players.
So having done this review for two days moving forward we have seen those things we agreed to do last year that have not been done and so we are now working around it to see what was actually responsible. “Sometines it may not be the lack of funds but human shortcoming because it is not everything that is tied to funds there are somethings that is a simple activity of recognizing key stakeholders.
Dr Ifeyinwa Anyanyo of UNICEF was available for technical support

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News From Kogi

KONGONET condemns violent attack on Kogi REC, calls for investigation




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***Says, attack senseless, reprehensible, affront to democracy.

By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

KOGI NGOs Network (KONGONET) has condemned in strong terms, the Friday morning attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet.

In a statement signed by Amb. Idris Ozovehe Muraina, Chairperson KONGONET, made available to newsmen on Friday in Lokoja, the Network described the attack as senseless, reprehensible and an attack on democracy.

“We, the members of Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), express our utmost condemnation and outrage over the heinous and senseless attack on the residence of the REC of Kogi State, perpetrated by unidentified gunmen in Lokoja.

“This reprehensible act of violence against a public servant is not only an attack on the individual but also an assault on the democratic principles that underpin our society.

“The Resident Electoral Commissioner will play a crucial role in ensuring transparent electoral litigation processes as the head of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State.

“Targeting such a key figure is an affront to the integrity of our electoral process and an attack on the democratic fabric of our nation.

“We demand that the authorities take immediate action to bring the perpetrators of this despicable act to justice”, he said.

Muraina urged security agencies to conduct a thorough and diligent investigation into the attack on the residence of the REC saying it was imperative that the actors behind the heinous act were swiftly identified and brought to justice.

The KONGONET Chairperson noted that an attack on a public official entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring free, fair, and credible elections was an attack on the very foundation of our democracy.

“We call upon the security agencies, particularly the police and relevant investigative bodies to allocate the necessary resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate this incident.

“It is crucial that no stone is left unturned in uncovering the truth and apprehending those responsible for this senseless act of violence.

“The residents of Kogi State and Nigerians at large deserve to know the truth behind this attack. We demand a transparent and unbiased investigation that leaves no room for doubt or suspicion.

“KONGONET reiterates its commitment to the principles of justice, accountability, and transparency. We stand firmly against any act of violence that seeks to disrupt the democratic process and undermine the peace and stability of our state”, he said.

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Thugs loyal to Gov Yahaya Bello behind attacks on Kogi REC, Kogi SDP alleges




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The Muri/Sam Campaign Council under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has condemned the assassination attempt on Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state.

The Campaign Council and the party allegea1d that the attack was carried out by thugs loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.

In a statement issued by Isaiah Davies Ijele, the Director of New Media of the council acknowledged thatthe timely intervention of the Army, prevented potential tragedy.

The Council called for thorough investigation to fish out those involved in the assault on the INEC Resident Commissioner.

The Council also demanded swift action from the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, urging impartiality and caution against targeting SDP members over the incident.

The statement reads:

”We strongly condemn the assassination attempt on the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, which took place in Lokoja at approximately 2:00 am this morning, December 1st, 2023. The attack was carried out by thugs who are loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.

”Election should not be treated as a war, nor should it be a matter of life and death. If the election was won fairly and transparently, then the legal process should be allowed to run its course without interference.

”However, it is unacceptable for thugs, in their high numbers yesterday, to be subject to fake protests, insisting that, on no account should forensic teams be allowed to do their jobs.

”We are grateful for the timely intervention of the Army, as the man and his family could have been wiped out overnight. The attackers also burnt his vehicles and took other valuables. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a democratic society.

”Those individuals who have been involved in these attacks on INEC REC must be held accountable for their actions. We call for all those who have been involved in the protests, inciting violence and making provocative statements, to be apprehended and brought to justice.

”The Kogi State Commissioner of Police Bethrand Onuoha must carry out his duties by arresting the culprits and holding them accountable. We also urge the Commissioner of Police to refrain from victimizing loyal members of SDP and focus on finding the actual offenders.

”We stand with Dr. Longpet and his family during this difficult time, and we will continue to work towards a peaceful and transparent electoral process.

”Murtala Yakubu Ajaka and his Party SDP are not protesting anywhere around the nation as we are already in court to seek redress, and as such; we call on Commissioner Bethrand Onuoha to arrest those protesters in the name of SDP and its Candidate Murtala Yakubu Ajaka if he’s an accomplice of the protest.”

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News From Kogi

Attack on Kogi REC: APC calls for immediate arrest of SDP candidate, Ajaka




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BY Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship Campaign Council in Kogi state has called on the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies to immediately effect the arrest of Muritala Yakubu Ajaka, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Governorship candidate in the just concluded November 11 off-cycle election.

In what it described as the slide into anarchy in the state, the APC Campaign Council, said Ajaka and his supporters allegedly masterminded the attack on the residence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lokoja in the early hours of Friday.

Mr Kingsley Femi Fanwo, Director of Media and Publicity/Spokesperson for the Campaign Council, Kingsley Fanwo, who made the allegations at an emergency press briefing on Friday, said SDP was trying desperately to cover the “heist committed in Kogi East” in corrupting INEC documents.

The APC Campaign Council said the attack was perpetrated days after it alerted the nation of plans of SDP thugs to attack INEC.

“The same arsonists also had an attempt to burn down the Kogi State Government House foiled by our eagle-eye security agents. The same attempt was foiled at the State APC Secretariat in Lokoja.”

“They have finally done their worst by attacking the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner, engaging security agents in a fierce gun battle and eventually burning down some vehicles in the residence and in the area.”

The Campaign Council alleged that the SDP candidate and his “collaborators” were attempting to corrupt certain documents in INEC before handing them to their legal team.

“We have no problem allowing legal teams to access documents and materials. It is the norm. But we won’t allow any desperate blood thirsty politician tamper with the true verdict of the Kogi people.

“The bold-face criminality being perpetrated by the defeated SDP candidate and his violent gang of criminals was as a result of the lack of consequences over the gruesome killing of an APC supporter, Khadijat, at Kotonkarfe by agents of the SDP. They had imported thugs from neighbouring states into Kogi.

“They shamelessly came out to say Khadijat was bearing an arm. Till date, Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his gun welding killers have been moving freely on the streets.

“If they had been arrested for killing an innocent woman, they wouldn’t have had the gut to attempt to attack the Kogi Resident Electoral Commissioner.

“We also told the world of plans by the SDP to burn down the INEC Office in Lokoja. We thank the Police and other security agencies for protecting the INEC Office.

“Frustrated by the watertight security around INEC, the gun throttling SDP criminals went to the residence of the Kogi State INEC Commissioner in an attempt to kill him.

“They were engaged in a fierce gun battle and they resorted to burning vehicles and other valuables around the area.

“After their violent protests a few days ago, our people have also moved to Lokoja to ensure their mandate is protected. Resorting to assassination and arson will never help the Social Democratic Party and their confused candidate”, he said.

Fanwo said now was the right time to arrest Ajaka before “he throws Kogi into a state of anomie. Democracy is the expression of the wishes of the people. Those wishes have been expressed and no amount of bullets can silence the voice of the ballot.

“We are calling on the Police, DSS and other security agencies to immediately arrest the slide to anarchy by arresting Muritala Yakubu Ajaka and his co-swimmers in the pool of violence.

“We have cautioned our supporters to remain calm and the call will be more effective if the anarchists are immediately apprehended and prosecuted”, Fanwo said. (Ends)

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