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FG, Tarab Gov’t sign MoU on skills development, job creation



Simon Lalong

Federal Government and the Taraba Government on Wednesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to operationalise FG’s Skills Upgrading and Vocational Training Centre (SUVTC), for job creation and poverty reduction in Taraba.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong, said during the event in Abuja, that the MoU would operationalise the SUVTC, located at Ibi, Ibi Local Government Area of the state.

Lalong congratulated the state government for keying into the vision of President Bola Tinubu on job creation and poverty reduction, through skills development.

He commended Gov. Agbu Kefas of Taraba for taking the bold step to stem unemployment and encouraged other states to key in.

He assured the government of the ministry’s continued support to strengthen skills development in the state.


“President Tinubu has said that he wants to take our youths out of the streets and by God’s grace, we will take people off the streets,” the minister said.

Earlier, the Minister of State in the ministry, Mrs Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, said that the SUVTC was designed to equip Nigerians with relevant skills.

This, Onyejeocha said, would create employment opportunities for Nigerian youths, adding that certificate was simply not enough.

“I am encouraging graduates to upgrade their skills because certificates may not work but skill will keep you going,” she said.

Also, Mrs Juliana Adebambo, the acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that Borno government had completed a similar process, adding that the skills centre at Konduga was fully operational.


Adebambo equally said that Kano, Kaduna, and Edo state governments had also shown interest in the initiative.

According to her, establishment of skills centres, particularly in rural areas will significantly help in curbing the menace of unemployment and youth restiveness.

On his part, Gov. Kefas, who was represented by Mr Habu Phillips, Commissioner, Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation, commended the federal government for the partnership.

He expressed optimism that the MoU would help significantly in creating jobs to address the problem of unemployment in the state.

This, according to him, is in line with the renewed hope agenda of President Tinubu and the moving agenda of Taraba government.


He explained that based on the MoU, Taraba government would take over the management of the centre for the benefit of all residents of the state.

The governor said that the government would train between 5,000 and 7,000 women and youths on different skills in the next three years.

“We have put in place proactive measures and effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure the smooth running of the centre to achieve desired results,” he aid.

He urged the federal government to build more skill centres across the state to increase access.



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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