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Media not seen as adversary to govt., Says Alake



Dele Alake

Minister-designate Dele Alake has said that the Federal Government does not see the mass media as an adversary, but a tool to put the administration on its toes.

Alake, current Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, made this known at a meeting with media executives on Friday in Abuja.

This said at the end of the day, both the media and government operate in the same society.

“If we are practising adversary journalism and we create problems in our society, where are we going to practise,” Alake asked.

He said the meeting was to seek the understanding and buying-in of the media to ongoing fundamental policy initiatives of the Tinubu government that were necessary for the country’s development.


He implored the media to practise responsive journalism, saying this was critical to avoid heating up the polity and misleading the public.

“When there is genuine course to criticise the government, do it constructively and also suggest and proffer solutions to issues affecting the country.

“It is important that even when we are angry at what is going on in the country, we should still apply that sense of responsibility in our reportage so that even after venting our anger, we will still have a society to live in to practice our profession and thrive,” he said.

Alake explained that government did not see the media as enemy because of its criticism, saying that criticism was part of democracy.

“Criticism you must do because it is an integral part of democracy; however, what is obnoxious is destructive criticism, you have to engage in constructive criticism.


“When you engage in constructive criticism, the person you are criticising will enjoy that criticism because you will be proffering solutions to challenges at the end of the day.

“The language of criticism should not be repulsive as some of our colleagues do, we can always criticise in decent language and make very good points that the recipient will take you very serious,” he said.

On the removal of fuel subsidy by the Tinubu administration, Alake said without confronting the rot and naughty issues in the petroleum sector, we would just be groping in the dark as a country while feeding a few to the detriment of the larger majority.

According to him, if past administrations had been bold enough to remove subsidy on petroleum products, we would have had enduring structures on ground and would not be where we are today.

Alake said Tinubu came to office to make positive impact and to make a name not to acquire material things which he already had.


“The only thing he is fighting for now is legacy and for it to be said that in his life and in his time as president, Nigeria was strengthened out and put on the part of full recovery,” Alake said.

Also speaking at the event, Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity of the defunct All Progressives Congress (APC), Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), called on Nigerians to support the Tinubu administration to enable it to deliver on its campaign promises.

Onanuga, a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also implored the media to try as much as possible to moderate what they pushed out to the public and be mindful of their headlines.

He stressed that the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government was in the general interest of Nigerians, adding that they would get used to it over time.

He called on the media to shift attention to state governments and to interrogate them on how they spent their federal allocations, noting that attention should not just be only on the Federal Government.


“We should support government intervention policies, shift attention to state governments and interrogate them on how they spend their federal allocations and as media gate keepers, we have a lot to do to sanitise this country,“ Onanuga said.


Diphtheria: Children at risk as 7,202 cases are confirmed in Nigeria



A staggering 7,202 cases of diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial infection that can be fatal without treatment, were confirmed in Nigeria last week.

The outbreak has been particularly severe among children under 14, with three-quarters of cases (73.6%) in this age group.

Most cases have been recorded in Kano state, Nigeria’s second most populous state. In the past three months, there have been 453 deaths from diphtheria in Nigeria.

Diphtheria is a vaccine-preventable disease, but low vaccination rates in Nigeria have made the outbreak possible. Only 42% of children under 15 in Nigeria are fully protected from diphtheria.

Diphtheria symptoms begin with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, the bacteria produce a toxin that can block the airway, causing difficulty breathing and swallowing. The toxin can also spread to other body parts, causing heart kidney problems and nerve damage.


Save the Children is launching a wide-scale health response in the three most impacted states of Kano, Yobe, and Katsina. The organization is deploying expert health and supply chain staff to help overstretched clinics detect and treat diphtheria cases and to support mass vaccination campaigns.

However, Save the Children warns that a mass vaccination campaign will only be successful if the vaccine shortage is urgently addressed.

Severe shortages in Nigeria of the required vaccine and the antitoxin needed to treat the disease mean that the situation could continue to escalate, placing many children at risk of severe illness and death.

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WHO releases $16m to tackle cholera, says Director-General



The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies to tackle cholera.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said this during an online news conference.

Ghebreyesus said that the organisation was providing essential supplies, coordinating the on the ground response with partners, supporting countries to detect, prevent and treat cholera, and informing people how to protect themselves.

“To support this work, we have appealed for 160 million dollars, and we have released more than 16 million dollars from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

“But the real solution to cholera lies in ensuring everyone has access to safe water and sanitation, which is an internationally recognized human right,” he said.


According to him, in the previous week, WHO published new data showing that cases reported in 2022 were more than double those in 2021.

He said that the preliminary data for 2023 suggested was likely to be even worse.

“So far, 28 countries have reported cases in 2023 compared with 16 during the same period in 2022.

“The countries with the most concerning outbreaks right now are Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq and Sudan.

“Significant progress has been made in countries in Southern Africa, including Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, but these countries remain at risk as the rainy season approaches,” Ghebreyesus said.


According to him, the worst affected countries and communities are poor, without access to safe drinking water or toilets.

He said that they also face shortages of oral cholera vaccine and other supplies, as well as overstretched health workers, who are dealing with multiple disease outbreaks and other health emergencies.

On COVID-19, Ghebreyesus said that as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, the organisation continued to see concerning trends.

He said that among the relatively few countries that report them, both hospitalisations and ICU admissions have increased in the past 28 days, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

WHO boss said that meanwhile, vaccination levels among the most at-risk groups remained worryingly low.


“Two-thirds of the world’s population has received a complete primary series, but only one-third has received an additional, or “booster” dose.

“COVID-19 may no longer be the acute crisis it was two years ago, but that does not mean we can ignore it,” he said.

According to him, countries invested so much in building their systems to respond to COVID-19.

He urged countries to sustain those systems, to ensure people can be protected, tested and treated for COVID-19 and other infectious threats.

“That means sustaining systems for collaborative surveillance, community protection, safe and scalable care, access to countermeasures and coordination,” he said.

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