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    Cultural festivals, pathway for youth empowerment –Ex-COAS

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    The Chairman, Main Organising Committee, 2024 Zuru National Uhola Cultural Festival and Agricultural Show, Lt.- Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (rtd.), revealed that the festival provides opportunities for youth empowerment and wealth creation in Kebbi and Nigeria at large.

    Bamaiyi, who served as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) from 1996 to 1999, stated this while briefing newsmen in Zuru on Monday, on the level of preparation for this year’s festival scheduled to hold from May 2 to 4, in Zuru, Kebbi.

    “The Uhola festival has brought people closer, together, reawaken their consciousness, and inspired them to utilise the abundant potential in the cultural industries.

    ”This creates opportunities for youth empowerment and wealth creation in the state and the country at large.”

    “Today, the Uhola festival has been elevated to a national event, listed in the national calendar of events of the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA).”

    ”It is essential to note that festival brings people together, promoting unity amid ethnic, religious and social diversities,” he said.

    Bamaiyi explained that the festival had transformed from merely being a tool of unity to a platform for improving economic activities, not only in the state but also in the country.

    ”As planning committee, we have made plans to make it worthwhile for as many that will choose to make it to the festival, or join our media handlers to experience the beauty of our culture.

    ”The tempo will be sustained in the subsequent editions of the festival, to make it more interesting, and viable.

    ”We have plans to build the capacity of our festival managers and develop various arts, tourist sites, and culture across the emirate,” he said.

    To achieve this, Bamaiyi, sought the support, cooperation, and funding of both the state and federal government through NTDA, while appealing to investors, tourists and donor agencies to also support and fund the festival.

    He commended Gov. Nasir Idris and members of the state executive council for their financial support which had paved way for the festival to hold.

    Bamaiyi also lauded the efforts of all stakeholders, particularly the Emir of Zuru, retired Maj-Gen. Muhammad Sani-Sami for his moral support, and for being an excellent custodian of the emirate traditions and culture.

    Earlier, Sani-Sami, thanked the governor for providing financial support to stage the festival, expressing happiness that the event had been listed in the calendar of NTDA.

    “Confidence has been restored in the minds of the people following the return of security in the area which made it possible for people to hold the festival. We are also happy that restoration of peace has given farmers the opportunity to cultivate their farms,” the emir said.

    This year’s festival theme is: “Unity and Prosperity”, directing attention towards utilising culture, arts and expression to unite the people.

    The 2024 festival will feature agricultural shows, archery competition and Gala night.

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    Foreigners patronizing private hospitals in Nigeria-NMA

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    Foreigners patronizing private hospitals in Nigeria-NMA

    Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has confirmed that some foreigners have taken interest in the quality of health care services being provided by some private health care facilities in Nigeria, hence the increased patronage of such facilities by the foreigners.

    Its President, Dr. Audu Bala, told journalists at a press conference, in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the patronage by foreigners from different countries of the world is an indication of the growing confidence and trust in the health care services in Nigeria as championed by the private sector.

    He said: “private sector, all over the world, play critical role in providing quality health care services to the people. Nigeria, undoubtedly, has a very high medical tourism rate. Nigerians visit medical facilities in different countries in search for quality health care services.

    “To this end, it’s important to adequately engage the private sector to turn the medical tourism in favour of Nigeria. There are several key players that have invested heavily and had left a landmark in the quality of care they provide to the people.

    “There are number of private health care facilities that receive patients from other parts of the world. So, additional investment and support for the private health care facilities would go a long way, and also champion the campaign for the reversal of medical tourism in Nigeria.”

    He made reference to recent proposal by the Association for the establishment of the National Tertiary Health Care Development Fund that will function like the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the education sector.
    “This will enable the government to provide adequate funding for the tertiary health institutions. It will also open additional gateways that will even support the private sector access fund with low interest rate,” he said.

    Reacting to the recent corruption index report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the NMA President faulted the report, insisting that his members have and had maintained high level of integrity and respect in their interactions with patients in the hospital.

    He said: “The report placed the rate of bribery amongst adults who accessed healthcare services in public hospitals at very minimal percentage. We are working to reduce the figure to the bearest minimum.

    “The fact that services of Doctors and Nurses in public sector is the least corruptible is the attestation to the integrity and ethics within the health sector.”

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    Uzodinma’s infrastructural development will attract investors, tourists – Imo lawmaker

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    Uzodinma’s infrastructural development will attract investors, tourists – Imo lawmaker

    Johnleoba Iheoha, representing Ikeduru State Constituency in the Imo State House of Assembly, and chairman, House of Assembly Standing Committee on Industry and Commerce, has said that the South East geopolitical zone would witness an upsurge of investors and tourists from within and outside the country when the ongoing works at the Nekede Imo International Market and the Assumpta Roundabout flyover are completed.

    Johnleoba, who spoke to newsmen, had described the Imo International Market, Nekede, located along Port Harcourt Road, as an outstanding business outfit that will help to position the state as an investment hub within Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The Imo legislator noted that the international market is an expansive market with the capacity to accommodate thousands of traders and allied workers in various trades and businesses.

    As he inspected the ongoing construction work at the Assumpta Roundabout flyover, said that the flyover would not only be an added glamour to the beauty of Owerri, but will go a long way to enhance free flow of traffic.

    He also spoke on the ongoing state-owned electricity power generation project at Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, saying that it would help the state to be self-sufficient in power generation and supply, which he saw as a prelude to industrial revolution in the state.

    Johnleoba equally commended Governor Uzodinma for the sponsorship of the recently concluded three-day capacity building workshop for principal officers of the Imo State House of Assembly at the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies, Abuja.

    According to him, “The capacity building programme has added great value to every member of the 10th State House of Assembly.

    I now have greater knowledge, broader horizon, immeasurable zeal and courage to function as a lawmaker.

    “I now know better, my rights and privileges as well as the rights of the people who mandated me to represent them in the legislative house,” he said.

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    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism

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    FAAN: Improvement of Passenger Facilitation, Security Gave Boost to Tourism

    The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that its improvement of airport facilities, passenger facilitation and security has encouraged tourism in Nigeria.

    The agency said that the drastic action taken by the Managing Director, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku against touting at the airports has brought sanity and orderliness to the satisfaction of travellers.

    Kuku identified some of these achievements when she spoke at the Wings of Change Focus Africa Conference (WOCFA) overseen by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) last week; held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    A statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs & Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, said FAAN has recently taken steps to make Nigeria’s airports safe and accessible by genuine tourists and travellers and has also made efforts to eliminate touting and other forms of criminal conducts around the airports.

    FAAN boss also spoke on the recent creation of a dedicated Department for Cargo Services in the agency, as stakeholders emphasized the need for improvement of trade facilitation, including air cargo facilities and infrastructure, cargo compliance, closer collaboration amongst African countries and Stakeholders as well as Cargo Specialized Training for stakeholders.

    There was emphasis on digitalization of passenger processing and how the embrace of robotics technology by airports in Africa would help to give customers further experience of speed, efficiency and excellence. The use of technology to drive efficiency has been part of FAAN’s priority agenda under the present dispensation.

    Making his input on the first day of the conference, the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, emphasised the need for removal of visa restrictions to enable free movement of people and goods across the continent, stating that to achieve this, there is need to work with Foreign Affairs Ministers across Africa.

    The Minister equally made a case for adequate funding of air transport in Africa.

    Also speaking at the event, IATA,s Regional Vice President, Africa & Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi called for pursuit of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which constitutes part of FAAN’s recent programmes.

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