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Senate Considers Bill To Establish Fund For Treatment Of Gunshot Victims

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The Senate has considered a bill seeking to amend the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshots Act, 2017.

The bill among others seeks to establish the Medical Emergency Assistance Fund to cover the treatment of victims of gunshot, knife wounds, and other life-threatening emergencies.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central).

Leading debate on the principles of the bill, Tinubu said that the intent behind the Compulsory Treatment and Care for the Victims of Gunshots Act, 2017, was to enforce treatment for victims of Gunshots injury.

She noted that prior to its enactment, victims of gunshot injuries were being refused treatment by hospitals, as a result of a misinterpretation of Section 4 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act 1990.

The lawmaker, however, explained that the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of gunshot Act, 2017, provides that every Hospital, public or private shall receive treatment, with or without police clearance, with or without monetary deposit, persons with gunshot wounds, and criminalizes contravention.

She noted that the Act provides a mechanism for reporting treatment of persons with gunshot wounds to police, and precludes persons from being the subject of embarrassing interrogation for helping victims.

“It’s however shocking that in spite of the Act, the flagrant disregard of human life continues unabated, it is particularly sad that we continue to let the brilliant and skillful mind go to waste, in what are apparently avoidable deaths.

“In a country where emergency response is almost non-existent, and getting victims to the hospital is already burdensome, it is sad that where the victims make it to a hospital alive, they are still denied treatment and left to die.

“This is not only barbaric and inhumane, but it is also a violation of the Hippocratic oath which medical professionals swear to.

“The situation is further made worse by the fact that obtaining these police reports has been commercialized by some, thus ensuring that there is no quick and easy way to get it done”, the lawmaker said.

She recalled that on Friday 15th of January, 2021, David Ntekim-Rex, a 22-year old Systems Engineer was on his way home from work and was attacked around Jibowu Yaba in the Lagos Central Senatorial District.

According to her, Policemen, upon arrival at the crime scene, were said to be more concerned with whether he was a ‘Yahoo Boy’ and building a report than about saving David.

Tinubu added, “it is alleged that he was rushed to the Military Hospital, Yaba where he was refused treatment on the basis that they could not ascertain whether or not he was a robber, and was subsequently moved to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where he was not attended to before he gave up the ghost.”

Narrating another incident from December 2019, the lawmaker lamented that the victim, Moradeun Balogun, bled to death after she was stabbed at Gbagada in Lagos State and refused care at the nearest hospital where she had rushed to for medical attention.

Tinubu explained that the Compulsory Treatment of Victims of Gunshot Injuries Act when amended would give cover to victims of gunshot injuries, knife wounds, and other life-threatening emergencies.

She explained that the amendment bill is predicated on a need to ensure that the Act, passed into law in 2017, addresses the purpose for its enactment.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, in supporting the bill said that providing treatment for victims of gunshot injuries would assist security agencies in securing information from such persons needed to curb criminality in the country.

“If you get a criminal who is injured and say you won’t treat him, let him die, he dies with information that would have helped the security agencies curtail the reoccurrence of such criminality.

“As a nation that is looked at as the giant of Africa, we should set a good precedent that other nations in the African sub-region would follow”, he said.

On his part, Senator Ibikunle Amosun insisted that the sanctity of life must be protected at all cost, saying, “even if those people have committed those crimes, it is when they are alive that they can face the music, and others will learn from it.”

The bill after scaling the second reading was referred by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to the Joint Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary) for legislative inputs.

The Joint Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate.

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CBA Foundation Takes Intervention Among Underprivileged Widows to the Next Level, With Their Social Enterprise Initiative

If indications from two separate but related events that were held few months ago are anything to go by, then one of Nigeria’s most vulnerable groups may be on the verge of experiencing better times.

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CBA Foundation

If indications from two separate but related events that were held few months ago are anything to go by, then one of Nigeria’s most vulnerable groups may be on the verge of experiencing better times. The events, hosted in two separate states/regions and split by a 20-day interval, held at a time when self-splurging by many young Nigerians was at octane levels, and saw young men and women behind an NGO that caters to the welfare of underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children, passionately putting the widows’ needs above their wants. 

The NGO, CBA Foundation, its dedicated and passionate staff, some supporters and donors came out in their numbers on two dedicated days to give widows in selected communities in Lagos and Anambra a treat. The Lagos outreach benefitted, in a unique way, widows in six communities in Ibeju-Lekki, namely: Badore, Iberekodo, Museyo, Magbon Alade, Okunola Ilado and Magbon Iga. 

CBA Foundation seized the opportunity of the outreach to launch a new initiative it tagged Social Enterprise Initiative. The Initiative, which is aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of all efforts to protect and promote the welfare of widows as well as their children, is to cater to the financial, mental and physical health needs of beneficiaries. The Initiative is designed to provide comprehensive support, including health interventions, skill acquisition, business set-up, food and drinks, clothes and shoes.It also includes general support for all affected widows.

The Founder/CEO of CBA Foundation, Mrs Chinwe Bode-Akinwande explained the reason for the Foundation’s shift to the new Initiative: “We have been doing outreaches and it has been non-stop, but the essence of this Social Enterprise Initiative is for the widows to have something that will sustain them even for a longer period, something that will give them hope, knowing that they have a sustainable source of livelihood and activities that remind them that they need to keep going.” 

Continuing, she reveals when the idea for the new initiative began: “When the lockdown came during the peak of covid 19, we realised that there was a need again to have something sustainable for these women. With the Social Enterprise Initiative, we identify the skills they need to possess, and what they are passionate about, we also empower them with the necessary training and then set them up with all they need for the business. At the end of the day, they won’t have to wait daily for the CBA Foundation to give them food or clothing.”

Mrs Bode-Akinwande noted that the Initiative had been informed by a rigorous analysis of the data in their database, gathered over the years on widows whom they have reached out to and the support they have been receiving from both individual and corporate donors. She said that they had dimensioned all the critical issues from widows with critical needs, where the Foundation needed to begin its interventions, to widows who needed to be set up in business and to several widows’ children who needed to be reinstated back in school.

She also remarked that plans were underway at the Foundation to take the skills acquisition training further, beginning with adire-making (tie and dye). She announced that the Foundation would have a line of products that would be its adire pattern, displaying its unique signature. When sold, the net proceeds would be ploughed back into the Foundation as a constant stream of income. 

The idea, the Foundation’s CEO stressed, would inspire the widows who show a keen interest in adire-making as they would be involved and exposed to its value chain which is essential to optimising their execution after their training. So, the adire-making training followed with tutorials on the step-by-step processes involved in it, materials needed and how to identify them, necessary safety precautions, various tie and dye techniques, packaging and distribution and how to make a living from adire-making.

For widows with impaired vision at the event, they were able to have free consultations with an ophthalmologist, get free eye tests and free reading glasses, courtesy of a partnership between FirstBank and Vision Spring. What followed when beneficiaries had the free reading glasses fitted and could see clearly were scenes similar to ones where people had experienced supernatural miracles. The ecstatic joy was palpable. 

Take 59-year-old Hassanat Oyewunmi, for example. Tears of joy rolled freely from her eyes as she remarked that her farsightedness challenge had been addressed. She confessed excitedly that she felt “better, much better now with the glasses, and I can even see everyone clearly. It is good to know that we are not forgotten.” 

Olabode Sadiat, 62, could not contain her joy as she wore her glasses and pointed in the distance, while indicating that she could see everything in her line of sight. She had suffered from a blurry vision that made reading her Bible difficult. “Nothing is more painful than not being able to read your Bible,” she had noted following the medical intervention. 

The widows also received food, drinks, clothing and other materials that were distributed during the outreach. They were also given a final charge by Mrs Bode-Akinwande in which she reminded them that they were not alone and could always count on the support of the CBA Foundation. 

In all, 165 widows across the six communities of Ibeju-Lekki benefitted when the Lagos outreach was held. The Anambra outreach, on the other hand, benefitted 75 widows from four communities in the Nnewi area of the state. 

Food items and financial empowerment constituted the bulk of the support CBA Foundation gave the Anambra widows to celebrate the festive season. The Anambra initiative has enjoyed tremendous support from a donor who has been consistent over the past four years. The Founder of the Foundation expressed gratitude to the donor while remarking that the outreach is a source of enablement for the underprivileged widows and their children. 

She continues: “We give hope to the hopeless. We are driven to support underprivileged widows to have a positive outlook on life despite the problems they experience by losing their loved one, mostly the breadwinner of the family.”

Both Lagos and Anambra outreaches were in some sense CBA Foundation’s way of giving underprivileged widows a “December to Remember” treat annually. Of course, that treat would at best be modest compared to how people who were not in any known vulnerable categories took care of themselves and themselves alone. Even with the best of intentions, CBA Foundation could only work with donations received from donors and supporters at a time of the year when most (young) people were dedicating more resources to the self-splurging that December has come to represent.

While it may not be in one’s place to dictate to others how they should spend the money they have worked so hard to make, one cannot help but try to point them to ways they could better dispense their hard-earned cash that would be in their enlightened self-interest. Or what sense is there in spending on oneself so lavishly and ostentatiously as though spending was going to go out of fashion at any moment only to provoke the have-nots to make one the target of their misdirected anger in a society that is largely dysfunctional?

A similar question should be addressed to the government and public officials: What sense is there in expending huge public resources on projects that have no direct bearing on the welfare of vulnerable groups when it only widens the gap between the haves (including public officials) and have-nots and exacerbates the conditions that heighten security concerns among the haves? At what point will the government, public officials and the privileged class start acting in their enlightened self-interest by committing genuine efforts to narrow the gap between those who have and those who can only wish? 

It is high time public officials and the privileged began building strong coalitions and partnerships with groups and organisations that have been working to protect and support as well as advocate for the vulnerable for years now. They must begin to key into and support the organisations’ laudable initiatives that show great potential in helping to narrow the frightening gap.

CBA Foundation’s Social Enterprise Initiative represents one of such laudable initiatives. It is a well-thought-out initiative capable of transforming the existing arrangement for care and support of vulnerable groups such as underprivileged widows and their children and taking their welfare to the next level. The Government, individuals as well as corporate organisations must join hands with the Foundation if the Initiative is to have any chance of success.

Through its avowed commitment to “touching lives, giving hope…” not in mere words and empty promises but genuine and visible action on the ground (see ample examples captured on its website: www.cbafoundation.org), CBA Foundation has already demonstrated its readiness to do more with additional support. It has shown that it is living true to its #CareIsAction DNA and can thus be trusted with more support. The Social Enterprise Initiative, therefore, will be delighted to have interested partners (individuals and corporate bodies) to send an email to: cbafoundationng@gmail.com to partner with the Foundation in the drive to take the welfare of underprivileged widows to the next level where its long-term sustainability is guaranteed.

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Tobi Amusan Breaks Commonwealth Record

Tobi Amusan, the Nigerian world record holder in 100m hurdles, has broken the commonwealth record with a 12.30s run in Birmingham, United Kingdom on Sunday.

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Tobi Amusan

Tobi Amusan, the Nigerian world record holder in 100m hurdles, has broken the commonwealth games record with a 12.30s run in Birmingham, United Kingdom on Sunday.

Tobi entered the race with a 12.12s world record set in Oregon, U.S just three weeks ago. The 25-year-old Nigerian ran 12.40s to dominate Round 1 Heat 3 to qualify for the finals.

On Sunday, she ran a massive 12.30s to lead the two Jamaicans, Australian, England, and other athletes that participated in the race.

Amusan began the 2022 season in fine form, winning the 2022 Diamond League event in Paris, where she set an African record by 0.01s with a time of 12.41s.

She followed that up with another great performance when she won the gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the 2022 African Championships in Mauritius, defending her title successfully with a time of 12.57s. She also competed in the women’s 4×100m and won gold.

Amusan is now the world’s record holder, commonwealth games record hold, Africa’s record holder and Nigeria’s record holder.

 

 

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FG Reveals When Abuja-Kaduna Train Route Will Commence Operations

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The Federal Government revealed that the Abuja-Kaduna train route will fully commence operations when it has launched the relevant surveillance technology for the trains.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Transport, Mu’azu Sambo during a visit to the Idu and Kubwa train stations on Tuesday in Abuja, according to NAN.

The Nigerian Government had earlier revealed its agenda to execute surveillance technology on the trains to avoid further attacks, since the March 28 terrorist attack on the route.

The Minister expressed optimism that the abducted train passengers would be reunited with their families soon, citing that important steps are expected to be carried out to ensure the safety of the passengers.

He said, ”First and foremost, it is very essential to get those Nigerians that were abducted reunited with their families, otherwise it will be perceived as if government is not sensitive.

”Whereas government is not only sensitive, but the government is doing all it can to make sure that those affected by this tragic incident are reunited with their families.

”Secondly, adequate security and infrastructure must be put in place to safeguard and avoid all forms of threats that are possible and leave what you cannot do to God.”

He affirmed that the FG is trying to deploy the best technology available anywhere in the world which has performed very well in other jurisdictions. He added that the FG was processing to obtain explosion detectors that would detect and terminate threats on the track.

The following Should be Brought to Notice:

  • The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended train operations on Abuja-Kaduna route after the terror attack on March 28.
  • In March, the FG announced plans to toughen security in its railway infrastructure, disclosing that it will enforce an integrated surveillance system in the Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe railway systems.
  • Investors King reported on the 19 May, 2022 that, “The government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, like abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight over 60 people remain kidnapped.“

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