Below are the headlines found on The Guardian Online Newspaper for today, Sunday, 4th February, 2018.

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
It is bitter, but that is the truth. Four out of every five Nigerians diagnosed with cancer ends up dying. This very distressing statistics confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is not just grim, it also confirms that Nigeria holds the world’s worse cancer deaths record.
But that notwithstanding, the country is making some progress in cancer treatment and prevention. That is why experts, on this year’s World Cancer Day, predict that there are happy days ahead for cancer sufferers. 

Specifically, with the recent assent to the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (Establishment) Bill in December 2017, there is hope for commitment on the part of growth.

The Act if implemented, will provide national direction in cancer research, control and treatment; guide scientific improvements to cancer prevention, treatment and care, coordinate and liaise between the wide range of groups and health care providers with interest in cancer.

According to the WHO statistics, cervical cancer, which is virtually 100 per cent preventable kills one Nigerian woman every hour, breast cancer kills 40 Nigerians daily while prostate cancer kills 26 Nigerian men daily. 

This year’s World Cancer Day theme: “We Can, I Can”, calls on individuals and organisations, to get involved in cancer interventions, especially through awareness creation in order to solve the late presentation issue in the country.

In addition to this recent step taken by the Federal Government, reports also indicate that some non-governmental organisations have equally been doing a lot of work with regards to cancer prevention, diagnoses and treatment.

A few months ago, the National Hospital, Abuja, received two multileave linear accelerator LINAC radiotherapy machines, which experts say is one of the best in West Africa.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said during the inauguration that with these machines, about 100 cancer patients could be treated daily. Already, plans are afoot to install similar machines in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) by the end of the second quarter. 

Wives of some state governors and private organisations have also been actively involved in the fight against cancer treatment/ management. For instance, in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the First Lady, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, through her ABC Medical Foundation, has established one of the best cancer diagnostic centres in the country, which has capacity for immunotherapy treatment.

Her Ogun State counterpart, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, also donated ultra-modern cancer centres at the General Hospital in Abeokuta, General Hospital, Sango, as well as the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH) in Sagamu.

In Kwara State, First Lady, Omolewa Yetunde Ahmed, has been creating a lot of awareness on breast and cervical cancer scourges, providing access to regular screening and psychological support for cancer sufferers, through her LEAH Foundation. 

The foundation has established a well-equipped screening centre at Ilorin, the state capital city, and other basic (VIA) screening centres in all local councils of the state.

The Medicaid Cancer Foundation in Kebbi State, established by the First Lady, Dr. Zainab Bagudu, is actively involved in cancer treatment and diagnoses in the state.

Other organisations such as the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy in Nigeria (CECP), the Cancer Aid Foundation, and others, are making conscious efforts in providing funds to the less privileged for cancer treatment and screening.

With all these efforts, a consultant in Clinical and Radiation Oncology, Professor Francis Durosinmi-Etti, told The Guradian that, “There is hope for cancer sufferers in the near future. Government is playing a major role in ensuring that cancer treatment is provided at designated centres, and many facilities are going to come very soon. The International Cancer Centre initiated by Mrs. Turai Yar’Adua will soon be revived. The Delta State University, and the Ondo State government have begun preliminary preparations for the establishment of cancer centres.

“This is in addition to a new organisation, Cancer Trust Fund, which is on the way, and is aimed at supporting cancer organisations with funds for cancer care and equipment. With the Cancer Institute for Research Act in place, research into cancer drugs will begin,” he added.

A professor of Oncology and Radiology at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, said her organisation, Breast Without Spot, has been creating a lot of awareness and education to both rural and urban women/men, on early presentation of cancer, thereby reducing the late presentation burden.

“We aim to further improve survival statistics for breast cancer, by providing vaccination against cervical cancer and screening for cancers and other non-communicable diseases, so as to reduce late detection, and finally create a sustainable pool of funds that would assist indigent breast cancer patients pay their medical bills”, she said.

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
Latter Rain Assembly Pastor and the convener of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has revealed that the future of Nigeria lies in restructuring and reformation of the civil service.
Bakare stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari has embraced the need for restructuring, noting that Nigerians should commend both the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and the incumbent, Buhari, for the parts they played in the country’s affairs.

Although the televangelist did not say if the president would seek a second term in office, he revealed: “The President’s health has improved,” saying he has a right to contest again if he wishes.”

Bakare, who spoke at a Town Hall meeting with members of the Nigerian community on the platform of PTB (Pastor Tunde Bakare) 4 Nigeria, at Tottenham Town Hall, yesterday, said the reason Nigerians should thank the immediate past president is because he prevented “bloodbath,” by conceding defeat in the 2015 presidential elections after a peace deal had been brokered. 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
A cocktail of factors have continued to thwart attempts to drive down the alarming rate of cancer-related deaths in the country.
According to experts, key factors that are responsible for the death of 80, 000 out of every 100, 000 down with cancer in the country include low of non-governmental investments, low number of skilled healthcare personnel, funding gaps, and late presentation for treatment.

The country’s pathetic cancer epidemic situation, as confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that 240 Nigerians die every day from the scourge, that translates to 10 Nigerians passing on every hour as a result of cancer.

Statistics from the Nigerian National System of Cancer Registries (NSCR), also indicate that over 60 per cent of all cancer cases in the country occur in women and are mainly traced to breast, cervical and ovarian cancers. The figures show that breast cancer in Nigeria has increased significantly with over 100, 000 new cases diagnosed yearly, which translate into 8, 333 monthly, 274 daily or approximately 11 cases every hour.

Previous figures from 2009 to 2013 also showed that while men account for 34 per cent, women cancers account for 66 per cent of all cancers documented in the country.

However, a radiologist at the Radiation Medicine Department University of Nigeria College of Medicine (UNCM) and University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, yesterday hailed the passage of the Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment by the Senate.

She said the grim statistics underpinned the earnest quest by the 8th National Assembly to move against the surge by laying a solid legal foundation upon which present and future superstructures of interventions aimed at the control, treatment and prevention of the disease in the country would be mounted.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who said this year, it is estimated that there will be 14 million new cases of cancer while eight million people will die from the disease globally, urged “Nigerians to get active and help combat this deadly disease.

In a statement, yesterday, he stressed that a “healthy lifestyle is one of the weapons in the fight against cancer and a lot other non-communicable diseases,” adding that the ministry has developed jingles on cancer awareness in English language, pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba and these are available for broadcast to general public on radio and social media.

Adewole said the ministry would partner with the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to broadcast the awareness jingles on 1,000 long distance buses, adding that the ministry has approved a community-based free cancer screening project and the pilot phase will commence before the end of this month at Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja.

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
Faced with an imminent collapse of the oil industry, President Umaru Yar’Adua, in June 2009, offered amnesty to militants in the Niger Delta to save the nation’s economy from collapse, and stem the growing insecurity in the region.
In a nutshell, the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), was conceived as a means of resolving protracted security challenges such as wanton kidnapping of expatriate and domestic oil workers, and attacks on critical oil installations, in a bid to boost crude oil production.

As part of the package, the Federal Government was also to address wider development challenges facing the Niger Delta.

While the amnesty programme has paved way for increased crude oil production and also drove down relative security challenges in the region, the core issues that gave birth to militancy are yet to be resolved nine years after.

When the Federal Government announced the amnesty offer, militants who operated under the (conglomerate) umbrella of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) were, under the terms of the programme, expected to surrender their arms and ammunition within 60 days, and then subsequently renounce recourse to violent militancy in any form.

As soon as the various militants groups, save for a faction of MEND led by Henry Okah, embraced the amnesty programme, the Federal Government immediately instituted the disarmament and demobilisation of the combatants estimated to be about 30,000. This process was driven by the then Minister of Defence, General Godwin Abe (rtd), who was suitable for the security component of the amnesty programme.

The rehabilitation and reintegration of the militants into the society training was introduced under the watch of the then Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Timi Alaibe, who had acquired sufficient experience dealing with agitators while serving as executive director finance and later, the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Shortly, after the demise of President Yar’adua, Alaibe was replaced with Kingsley Kuku, a former Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) spokesperson.

He was primarily saddled with the responsibility of continuing the security stabilisation in the Niger Delta through the rehabilitation and sustainable re-integration of ex-militants into the society as a part of a holistic medium and long-term human capacity development strategy.

Because most of the militants could not go back to their villages for fear of reprisal attacks, the government then offered to pay them N1, 500 daily for 30 days (N45, 000) as accommodation and N20, 000 for their upkeep.

Afterwards, the Amnesty Office started training a lot of the ex-militants in vocational trade, such as scaffolding, deep sea wielding, pipeline wielding, operation of earthmoving equipment, diving and seamanship, among others.

These trainings were both local and international.  In the human capacity building component of the programme, the Amnesty Office made initial errors, but later it realised that training without certification would amount to nothing.

Lots of the ex-militants numbering about 1, 004 were offered admission into some universities within the country, while others were sent to Cyprus, Russia, Belarus, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and others. At a point, there were about 350 students in England alone.

But following complaints by some segments of the Niger Delta that government was neglecting youths, who didn’t bear arms against the state, former President Goodluck Jonathan, approved a window for about 700 to 1,000 young people under the scheme “People from Impacted Communities,” that is, wherever the conflict in the Niger Delta had taken place.

It was through this new programme that some of the ex-militants and persons from impacted communities were able to secure admission into universities in the United States, and Warrick Royal School of Surgeons, Liverpool. By the time President Jonathan left office in 2015, there were about 232 students in United States, 10 in Canada, scores in Trinidad and Tobago; and some in Sheffield, England.

Some of the 40 ex-militants, who went through the rehabilitation and reintegration process at Obubra, were offered admission in one State University in the United States. Some of them have even joined the United States Army.

To the world, these ex-combatants were presented as students from the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, to avoid their possible stigmatisation.

Currently, some beneficiaries of the amnesty programme are studying in 16 countries and in 15 Nigerian universities.

In the 2015-2016 academic year, 1, 294 students were deployed to various universities in the country. Out of the 681 students, who graduated between 2015 and 2016, 14 graduated in the First Class Division and 84 with Second Class Upper.

According to the Amnesty Office, the Benson Idahosa University retained four students, who made First Class as teachers. Some of the ex-militants, who were trained in power system engineering in Dubai, were equally retained by the government there.

There are over 14, 000 people, who have been trained in various entrepreneurship and vocational skills as internationally certified pilots, air traffic controllers, aircraft maintenance engineers, medical practitioners, artisans, internationally accredited chefs and hospitality managers, shoe makers, automobile engineers, electrical technicians, as well as caterers.

A lot of the militant leaders, as part of the amnesty programme, were awarded multi-million naira pipeline surveillance contracts in order to check the incessant breaching and vandalisation of pipelines, and oil theft, that have taken direct tolls on oil production and supplies, with corresponding adverse effects on the country’s economy.

However, when the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration came on board, many assumed it would wound up the amnesty programme, but it opted to continue with it, but placing a lot more focus on exploring available potentials in the agriculture sector to grow the national economy.

In fact, the sum of N65b was budgeted for the office in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The funds would be expended on the provision of reintegration activities, payment of tuition fees for beneficiaries, who are in post-secondary institutions at home and abroad, payment of in-training and hazard allowances and vocational training costs.

The incumbent coordinator of the programme cum Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, General Paul Boroh (rtd) recently disclosed that his office has been vigorously pursuing partnerships with relevant agro-allied groups to encourage ex-militants to embrace commercial agriculture.

The Amnesty Office said it has empowered some militants to embrace fishery, poultry and crop farming, while others are yet to be trained in agriculture.

IRRESPECTIVE of these recorded successes, the PAP has been riddled with allegations of widespread corruption and misappropriation of funds, which have been levelled against the Amnesty Office by groups such as the Niger Deltans Against Greed and Gimmicking and MEND.

MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo said: “We remain vehemently opposed to the fraudulent and unsustainable Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) headed by Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), which still runs on the corrupt bureaucratic and operational template of the past administration. We have always made it very clear that unless the root issues which gave birth to the agitations in the Niger Delta region are addressed, in the form of a sincere dialogue, this programme will only continue to remain a mere cesspool of corruption.”

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
Yes, the programme has been politicised and it has derailed. Consequently, it has not achieved its aim. That is why we still have pockets of issues in the Niger Delta area. Originally the programme was proclaimed to enable the Federal Government to engage agitators in the Niger Delta in a round table manner.

It was to re-direct the people from violent struggle or agitation to a non-violent agitation, and by that, it was seen as reintegrating the agitators into the society by providing education and skill acquisition for them because at some point, it was noticed that these two issues were fuelling the violence agitation in the Niger Delta region so the amnesty programme was like a vehicle that would have taken the people to a point that so many good things would have happened in the Niger Delta, but the programme did not get to that point before this change of government and the change of government has greatly politicised the programme.

As I am talking to you, the programme has been directed to the North. Imagine few days ago, I saw a publication by Arewa Consultative Youths that the coordinator of the programme and the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs should not be removed. So, I don’t know where the Arewa people have come to play a role in amnesty programme that was proclaimed for the Niger Delta people.

The programme is now put under the Office of the National Security Adviser and they have been using it to settle politicians and some other persons
that work for the APC government. So the programme has missed its point, that is the truth, and that is why we are seeing all these pockets of
violence and agitation coming up again.

The time President Goodluck Jonathan was in charge, the programme was still caring for students, there were overseas students, there were students in Nigerian universities and it has trained so many of them.

There were overseas skills acquisition programmes for the beneficiaries, as well as, the ones that were done locally. Since the present administration came on board, they ignored these programmes that were designed to reintegrate the agitating youths into the society. These programmes were supposed to be in phases, but the reintegration phase had not even completed before it was politicised.

The second phase would have been looking into developmental issues in the Niger Delta; how to create jobs for the people and so on, we have not even got to that stage in the programme so there is still a long way to go.

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The President, Pan Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum (PanDLEAF) and a former member of the Presidential Amnesty Committee Mr. Richard Akinaka, in this interview with ANIETIE AKPAN, described the Presidential Amnesty Programme as a failure because the other components that were supposed to compliment the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) were not attended to. How [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The Ukrainian Embassy in Nigeria has entered into a partnership with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) with a view to boosting trade. President of the ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, who presided over the meeting where the deal was sealed, stressed that the Chamber is interested in mobilising its members, stakeholders, concerned authorities [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) has disclosed it would demolish over 750 illegal shanties. Diamond and M&D Estates also risk pulling down. The FCTA said all the structures did not conform to the Abuja Master Plan. Coordinator of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuaibu, said: 'In continuation of its sanitisation of the Federal [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The North Central Progressive Forum (NCPF), yesterday, condemned in strong terms the mayhem unleashed on the people of the North Central geo-political zone by herdsmen. In a statement by Mr. Ibrahim Pam, the group noted that the ugly trend would not augur well for the socio-economic development of the country. The group urged the Federal [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The Lagos State government has perfected plans to boost the state's economy in 2018 through its Embedded Power Supply initiative and review of the Land Use Charge Law. The power project, said the state government in a statement yesterday, is aimed at delivering an estimated 3,000 Megawatts to homes and industries, and is expected to [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The contentious topic of how to restructure Nigeria and make governance more efficient has refused to go away, despite strident efforts by some to deny the need and urgency for restructuring to take place. For those who care to remember, the clamour to have a better federation has been an old one. The different conferences [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
The Aristotelian perspective defines the tragic hero as being complete in all the indices of greatness, but lacking in an essential character trait that makes all the difference. This is called the tragic flaw in literary theory and criticism. But for this tiny character failure, which occasions the tragedy, the tragic hero will have arrived [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
According to the Bible, he that believes shall be saved from the jaws of the evildoers. But this is only possible by identifying oneself with God, by believing and being baptised via emersion. You can't receive any signs nor wonders if you don't believe in God. This is the only key that unlocks signs. Mark [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
Africa has entered another year with mixed prospects for its 55 states. Starting in West Africa, Nigeria continues to control 70% of the subregional economy, and when the country sneezes the rest of the neighbourhood catches a cold. The uncertain health of president Muhammadu Buhari ' nicknamed 'Baba Go Slow' for his languid governance style [] 

Sun, 04 Feb 2018
LORD' ...continued 'The Lord' came to be used as a simple yet profound designation of Christ in Luke and Acts. 'The Lord Jesus' was used frequently in Acts as well (4:33) to speak of faith in Christ as Lord (16:31) and to identify baptism as being in the name of the Lord Jesus (8:16; 19:5). [] 
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