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Two million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS— NACA

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The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Temitope Ilori, says an estimated two million Nigerians are living with HIV/AIDS.

Ilori, who disclosed this on Friday at a retreat organised for members of the House of Representatives Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lagos, stated that presently, around 1.7 million carriers were receiving treatment for the disease.

Speaking on the theme “Leadership For Sustainability Of The HIV Response: The Role of The Legislature,” the NACA DG highlighted the global goal of eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030, noting the importance of legislative support in achieving sustainability and effective coordination of the national response.

“We are working with an average estimate of about 2 million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS and about 1.7 million of them are on treatment,” she said.

“But be that as it may, we realise that in the past 20 years or so, most of the treatment and most of the national response are being funded by partners, international donors, and international aid.

“I think it is time we start talking about ownership and sustainability.

“We have what we call the new business model. This is trying to use both national and subnational structures to take ownership, and to sustain the national response.

“We have a target of eradicating HIV/AIDS by the year 2030 which is the global target and we are trying to work towards achieving this.

“So, we believe that as stakeholders in this project, the honorable members supervising us as the ATM committee should be well abreast of the situation as at today and what our roadmap and our vision and mission are, and how we want to achieve the target to ensure the sustainability and ownership of the national response.

“That is why we deem it fit. The objective is mainly to foster the commitment of you honourable legislators to the ownership and sustainability of the HIV response and also to facilitate the effectiveness of the HIV response in terms of coordination and oversight function which I know is your primary assignment.”

Nigeria Country Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Leo Zekeng, who also spoke at the retreat, emphasized the severity of the HIV/AIDS disease, noting that it had infected around 80 million people and caused 40 million deaths globally over the past half-century.

“Remarkable progress had been made in reducing new HIV infections. We estimated that in 2023, we registered about 75,000 new infections. This is 8,800 per week. We have registered 45,000 AIDs-related deaths. About 900 per week,” Zekeng said.

Zekeng harped on the unsustainability of donor-dependent funding and called for greater legislative involvement to sustain the HIV response, adding that Nigeria was falling short of the Abuja Declaration’s goal of allocating 15 percent of the national budget to health.

“We passed the Abuja declaration of spending 15 percent of our budget for health. We are getting merely around 5 percent. And you will agree with me this is unacceptable. Nigeria is a very rich country,” he noted.

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After resignation of Zambian Anti-Corruption Commission DG, Hichilema sacks entire board

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A day after the Director-General of the Zambian Anti-Corruption Commission, Thom Shamakamba, resigned from his position over allegations of corrupt practices in the agency, President Hakainde Hichilema ACC board with immediate effect.

The Zambian Presidency said Hichilema’s decision was based on Article 270 of the Constitution and Section 26 of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act Chapter 2 of the Laws of Zambia.

Chief Communications Specialist at State House, Clayson Hamasaka, who confirmed the decision of the President in a statement issued in Lusaka on Thursday said the sacking of the board was to renew the Commission’s mandate to fight corruption.

“The President’s decision is intended to renew the Anti-Corruption Commission’s mandate in spearheading the fight against corruption and to implement necessary reforms to ensure the continued effective operations of the Commission,” Hamasaka stated.

The presidential spokesman highlighted the President’s unwavering commitment to fighting corruption and maintaining a zero-tolerance policy towards any corrupt practices.

“President Hichilema thanks and wishes the outgoing Board of Commissioners well in their future endeavors,” he added.

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Statistics reveal over 600k Nigerians sought asylum abroad under ex-President Buhari

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A new report released by Statisense, a data collection organisation, has revealed that well over 600,000 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries between 2016 and 2023, during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the report released on Wednesday, a total of 664,384 Nigerians sought asylum in eight years, with 355,792 persons applying for asylum in foreign countries between 2016 and 2019, while 308,592 sought asylum between 2020 and 2023.

“On a year-by-year basis, 66,862 sought asylum in 2016, 91,924 in 2017, 84,624 (2018), 112,382 (2019), 73,233 (2020), 83,105 (2021), 83,402 (2022), and 68,852 in 2023,” the report said.

“The figures indicate a surge from the past years, as Statisense noted that within 12 years – 2004 to 2015 – only 204,791 Nigerians filed for asylum in other countries.

“In total, 869,175 Nigerians filed for asylum in the last 20 years, notably from 2004 to 2023,” the report stated, citing the United Nations Refugee Agency.

“The organisation also stated that the Republic of Niger topped countries with the most Nigerian refugees in 2023 with about 200,497 Nigerians and a total of 1,268,464 Nigerian refugees between 2015 and 2023.

“Niger, a border country, shares proximity with Nigeria’s north, where residents battle a spate of insecurity in the region ranging from banditry, terrorism and herdsmen-farmers crisis,” it said.

“Nigerians topped the list of African countries who sought asylum in Canada in 2023 with about 10,111 asylum seekers followed by Kenya with 1,345.

“1,345 Nigerians however sought asylum in the United Kingdom and 5,136 in the United States of America,” the report added.

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