By, Nick Dugba
In order to strengthen healthcare delivery in the State as part of the ‘rescue mission,’ the Taraba state government is prepared to upgrade and make functional one Primary Health Center in each of the Senatorial zones to operate on a 24-hour basis in line with the PHC policy of the Federal Government.
This was disclosed by the Executive Governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, in his speech during the official flag- off ceremony of the third round of Polio Outbreak Response/ Sub-National Immunization Plus Days Campaign held on Friday 14th October 2016 at the State Specialist Hospital Jalingo.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu, the governor stated that government’s commitment to payment of counterpart funds for every Outbreak Response Campaign was borne out of the desire to protect and preserve the future generations of the state and that ‘administrative bottlenecks’ have been removed by approving and releasing at once the state counterpart funds for the remaining rounds of the Outbreak Response Campaign in the state.
The governor further stated that “government will look into the possible amendment of the Law establishing Taraba state Primary Healthcare Development Agency” by submitting a bill to the Taraba state House of Assembly.
Also in his address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Innocent Vakkai, stated that the 3rd round of the vaccination campaign will commence from 15th to 18th October 2016 and therefore urged all stakeholders to sustain the efforts as the state was still vulnerable to the Polio virus due to the continuous influx of migrants from neighboring States.
He added that the rejection of polio vaccines by the people was on the increase in the state and called on citizens of the state and migrants to keep supporting all immunization programs and activities, saying that the just-concluded September Outbreak Campaigns witnessed 945,172 of children vaccinated.
In his speech, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated that in July 2014, the country was free of polio, but that in August 2016, there was a resurgence of the virus in Borno which he blamed on the insurgency.
He said that at the moment only three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria were infected with the virus.
He added that Taraba State was vulnerable due to the influx of IDPs from these States hence the need to cover the State.
He pointed the factors that could put the state at risk to include, the nonrelease of counterpart funds which could affect the campaign, which Taraba LGA chairpersons only took part in only about 50 percent review meeting of polio, and lack of functional equipment.
He, however, commended the state for the payment of its counterpart funds and the installation of solar powered refrigerators.
The Polio Outbreak Response was coming on the heels of the recent discovery of 4 cases of the wild poliovirus in Nigeria which has threatened the free status of the country recently awarded to it by the WHO.
More people at the grassroots can now easily connect with Governor Darius Ishaku without the usual bureaucratic bottlenecks. In a swift move seen as both novel and creative, the appointees, especially the Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants have now been redeployed to the local governments to enhance revenue generation and monitor government developmental activities.
They are to maintain closer day to day contact with the people and report back on areas of immediate needs, even as they beef up revenue drive. Speaking on the development, Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said it is one of the most effective use of government appointees.
Bello said criticisms trailed the appointment of many aides recently and the governor took a lot of flack for that. Many felt he shouldn’t have appointed so many aides especially at a time when governments are cutting cost. But what looked like a huge challenge before is now part of the real work of practical governance. A seemingly adversity has been turned into a vehicle of prosperity.
The governor is going to have greater contact with the grassroot with those appointees. As I write this now, the 168 wards have been re-energised with contact officers who would report on everything touching the lives of our citizens from the smallest to the biggest matters. At the expanded level, every local government has got a three man team of the appointees working hard to identify revenue generating ventures.
They would compliment the work of the local government and reinvigorate the activities geared towards more revenue sourcing. They would also supervise the entire operation to ensure the government is not short changed in any way in this bid. That is the first team.
Another three man team would be in charge of monitoring governments efforts at the grassroot to ensure that there nothing is left to chance. No more incidence of a hospital without beds for instance or a school without chairs, etc. These would be promptly dealt with as soon as they are identified in a rapid response style.
Describing it as a brilliant project, Bello said Governor Ishaku is a grass roots politician who puts the people first. He said for this Governor, what is paramount is always hearing directly from the people and meeting their needs. He is always meeting representatives of the people and the people themselves but now this bold move would take that to another level.
There are areas of needs that should be dealt with immediately. Government policies, as the Governor, always says, must have a human face to it. So yes, the revenue aspect of this development is fantastic but he is also looking forward to expanding his interactions with constituents, hearing from them and sorting out immediate needs on a daily basis. Now, he would also leverage on this for a first hand opportunity to assess how policies churned out in Jalingo are affecting say a pregnant woman in some remote outbacks or a farmer struggling with storage or fertilizer issue in a far flung border hamlet. Even before now, the Governor always insist on hearing directly from the people by relaxing the red tapism around that. This is why he is fond of spending entire weekends combing through villages to connect with the people.
Bello promised that the state media would continue to relay the activities of the teams at the wards levels, even as he informed that more town hall meeting at the local government level shall be a major feature of the new direction. He said perhaps for the first time, more people would have the platform to ask questions and find answers concerning government activities in a very direct and frank manner. This is key to the kind of open access government Governor Ishaku is pursuing.
By, Nick Dugba
The reason why some Local Government employees could not enjoy the ongoing two month salary arrears being paid in Taraba State was because they might not have been ‘genuine Staff’ of their various Local Government Areas.
Last week, Staff of Local Government were exhilarated by the news that two months salary arrears out of the four months have been paid. Consequently, some have reported to have received alerts while others are still lamenting about not receiving theirs.
Confirming the issue today in Jalingo, the Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria, ALGON,Taraba State, Stephen Agya, stated that some of the Local Government Staff might not have received their alert due to the fact that, they were not captured in the biometric exercise contracted to the UBA by the Government.
According to Agya, ‘Before the screening, Local Government Staff were about 33,000…that was why it brought UBA to know the actual number of Staff through biometrics so that he will be able to pay them…with what is happening, 21,022 Staff have been cleared by the UBA. So he gave the directive that the 21,022 who have been cleared should be paid’’.
The ALGON boss who doubles as Caretaker Chairman of Kurmi LGA, however allayed the fears of the aggrieved Staff, saying they needed not be afraid as a directive has been issued to all Local Government Caretaker Chairmen to go ahead and submit the list of those who have not been paid, so as to enable their payment so long as they are genuine Staff of their various Local Government Areas.
“For those who have not gotten their salaries, I have spoken to the Chairmen, if you have real Staff, you should give your account to the Caretaker Chairman, and you will be paid your salary. We have asked all Chairmen to bring their complaints between now and tomorrow”.
Agya therefore disclosed the criteria for determining if one is a genuine Staff in the Local Government saying, ‘if your name does not appear in the list of those that have been paid between January and April, you cannot claim to be a Staff’.
He concluded that as at now only salaries for May and June have been being paid.
The State Government have reiterated its commitment to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to enhance productivity in technology.
Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku stated this when officials from the Ministry paid him a courtesy call in his office and explained that they were in the state on a fact-finding mission.
The Governor, represented by the Secretary to the State Government Mr Anthony Jallason said the state government would collaborate in the area of youth’s empowerment to make them self-employed.
According to him if the state government cooperate with the ministry the centre here in Jalingo will benefit the young people and the people of the state.
He commended the Director Jalingo centre Dr Jummai Adamu Tutuwa for her credibility in developing the centre stressing that it will continue to assist the centre in active development.
Earlier in his address, the permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Science and Technology represented by the Director Bio-resources in the ministry, Pharmacist Abayomi Oguntunde said they were in the state on a familiarisation and study visit of the Jalingo centre of the Bio-resources.
The permanent secretary expressed happiness and commended the director for living up to expectation saying that the centre is one of the best in the country.
He appealed to the state government not to relent in assisting the centre to grow up from strength to strength.
The team from the Federal Ministry also visited the State Commissioner, Ministry of Science and Technology Alh. Alhassan Hamman and intimated him on the purpose of the visits to the state and the centre in Jalingo.
Responding, the Commissioner thanked them for the tour, adding that they should do their best to assist the centre for higher productivity.
Similarly, the team also visited the Chief of Kona Mr Augustine Njemang Vengkani at his palace in Kona were the Chief commended them for the courtesy call and appealed to them to engage people of Kona Ward and carry them along in their activities.
The Taraba State Executive Council has lifted the long-standing embargo on employment in the state and as well directed the Head of Service to Collaborate with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to set in motion Machinery to that effect.
The Chief of Staff Government House Mr. Rebo Usman who disclosed this said the decision was taken at the State Executive Council Meeting held 24th /08/2016 at the Government House.
According to the chief of staff, the council accepted the white paper of the committees Recommendation that in the process of engagement of staff into service, due process must be adhered to through advertisement of vacancies and qualification of prospective candidates with appropriate geographical spread.
The State Executive Council also resolved that the Office of the Head of Service and the Civil Service Commission shall henceforth be empowered to carry out their constitutional responsibilities in the discharge of their official mandates
The Chief of Staff also told the press that the council accepted the committee’s recommendation that employees currently in the service without certificate should be advised to present their genuine educational and professional certificates and failure to do so, such appointments should be terminated and their names expunged from the state’s payroll.
The State Commissioner of information and reorientation Honorable Anthony Galadima Danburam shades more light on the council’s decision, the State Executive Council meeting was led by the state Governor, Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku.