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El-Rufai proposes stringent measures for electricity sector




Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and a ministerial nominee has proposed stringent measures in the electricity sector to help boost the sector.

It includes hardline stance against those that bypass metering.

He made this known during the screening of ministerial nominees submitted to the Senate by President Bola Tinubu.

According to El-Rufai, the electricity supply situation in Nigeria has defied every government for 60 years.

“Metering is a big issue, a lot of progress has been made by some of the Distribution Companies (Discos).


“In the last three or four years with the support of the CBN and the World Bank, every household should have been metered, every business should be metered.

“Estimated billings is not acceptable. But in addition, Nigeria must take a hard stance against those that steal electricity.

“Those that get electricity by diverting cables; not paying, we must take a hardline stance against it if this sector is to work.

“A lot of advocacy is necessary. People believe that water and electricity should be free, the social services, but they are not; they cost money to produce.

“The least you can do is pay back for the cost of production and handing it to the private sector, they need some return on its investment over and above the cost of production.”


The nominee also raised the issue of distribution saying that in 2013 Discos were privatised.

“We privatised our distribution companies, 11 of them; 60 per cent to the private sector, 40 per cent to be owned by government.

“The idea is that the 40 per cent is supposed to be listed on the foreign exchange so that every Nigerian will be a shareholder in it.

“But that has not happened, 10 years after privatisation, the government is still subsidising electricity in one way or the other.

“The last time we checked it was about N1.6 trillion in the privatised environment. This is unsustainable and unacceptable.”


He, however, said that President Bola Tinubu was committed to ensure Nigeria has stable and reliable electricity supply.

“This is because without electricity, industrialisation is a pipe dream. Without electricity, even agriculture today is not a viable proposition.

“So he is committed to that and he has asked me to work with him to address these problems. So I will do my best to address them.”

Sen. Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi) while commenting on the nominee said that “your performance in any office you served has been outstanding.

“Your record is there. In FCT as a minister your record is there and as two term governor of Kaduna State.


“I have a very strong petition against you that bothers on security, unity and
coerciveness on the nation and I think that petition has to be considered along this screening exercise.”

Reacting, Sen. Sani Musa (APC-Niger) said that the nominee has credibility when it came to performance on every assignment he had undertaken for this country.

“And he is not different from any other one that have performed in other places.

“There had been two former governors that had been here and there was a precedence and that precedence as a convention in chambers like this should be sustained.

“And such, I want to propose that El-Rufai too should take his bow.”


While trying to respond to the petition, El-Rufai said “The distinguished senator from Kogi who talked about a petition against me….

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio immediately interjected saying “Perhaps I should inform that I have received petitions from many other people in respect of other nominees but this is not where we are to deal with petitions.

“Our job here is to screen and then of course we can refer petition to where petitions will be dealt with.

“These are the nominees of Mr President. If it is something that is a formal petition before the Senate, we will look at it formally. But there are certain petitions we have to refer back to either the Presidency or security agencies to look at and that has nothing to do with us.

“I think at the time we are going into the issue of confirmation and approval, we will be so advised. So I will want to plead with my brother to take a bow.”



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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