Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to recruit mercenaries to get rid of Boko Haram insurgents from Sambisa forest.
He spoke on Monday when a Federal Government delegation visited Borno over the killing of at least 43 farmers, listing the hiring of mercenaries among recommendations to the President to stop the frequent attacks by insurgents in the state.
Those in the FG delegation are Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president; Babagana Monguno, national security adviser, and some ministers.
Other recommendations by the governor include provision of armed resistant armoured personnel carriers, rehabilitation of roads and support for displaced persons.
He said, “One of our recommendations as possible solutions to end the insurgency is the immediate recruitment of our youths into military and paramilitary services to complement the efforts of the Nigerian forces.”
The governor also said, “Our second recommendation is to engage the services of our immediate neighbours, especially the governments of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic, in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding on the shores of the Lake Chad.
“Our third recommendation is for him to engage the services of the mercenaries to clear the entire Sambisa forest.
“Our fourth recommendation is for him to provide the police and the military, with armed resistant armoured personnel carriers and other related equipment.
“We are also soliciting the support of the Federal Government to support the Borno State repatriation of out displaced persons currently residing in Cameroon and Niger Republic.”
Zulum added that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing had not constructed roads in the last 25 years “in Borno State and most parts of the North-East”.
He said if the FG could fix the bad roads in Borno and the North-East, “the insurgency would be reduced by 60 per cent”.
Lawan sympathised with the state government over the killings and assured the people that the Buhari administration was committed to ending insurgency.
He said, “No efforts will be spared”, adding that the government will do “anything and everything until we take the fight against insurgency to their enclaves”.
Toke Makinwa unveiled as Gulder Ultimate Search 12 anchor
Popular OAP Toke Makinwa has been unveiled as host for the 2021 edition of the survival reality show, Gulder Ultimate Search.
She was unveiled on Saturday less than 24 hours after the organisers tasked over 61,000 Instagram followers to guess the show’s new host.
“It’s about time! The age of craftsmanship is upon us and@tokemakinwais ready for the journey. Welcome to the #GulderUltimateSearch,” the video’s caption reads.
Confirming the announcement, Makinwa also shared the video via her Instagram page.
“The council of Elders called and I answer. The age of Craftmanship is finally upon us.
“My name is Toke Makinwa. I am the anchor of the Gulder Ultimate Search – The Age of Craftmanship. Now let the adventures begin,” she said.
She added: “Gulder Ultimate Search is back and guess who your host of the season is????
“You guessed correct. The TM season is fully on.
“The council of elders called, the age of Craftsmanship is finally upon us, see you at the jungle.”
WHO reports global shortfall in mental health investment
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new Mental Health Atlas paints a disappointing picture of a worldwide failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.
In a statement made available on Saturday, it said it happened at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighting a growing need for mental health support.
“World misses most 2020 mental health targets; extension of WHO Mental Health Action Plan to 2030 provides new opportunity for progress reading time, four minutes (1003 words).
“The latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, provides a clear indication that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs,” the global health agency said.
According to WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, issued every three years.
Others are legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilisation of services and data collection systems.
According to the global health body, it is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards meeting the targets in WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.
“It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment.
“We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” it quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, as saying.
The statement said that none of the targets for effective leadership and governance for mental health, provision of mental health services in community-based settings, mental health promotion and prevention, and strengthening of information systems, were close to being achieved.
It said that in 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO’s 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, way short of the 80 per cent target.
It said that only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, also well below the 80 per cent target.
WHO noted that the only 2020 target met was a reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, but even then, only 35 countries said they had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan.
It said that steady progress was evident, however, in the adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws, as well as in improvements in capacity to report on a set of core mental health indicators.
It said that, however, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health has scarcely changed during the last years, still hovering around two per cent.
Ortom: I’m still consulting with God whether to run for Senate in 2023
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, says he has not taken a decision whether he will contest for a seat in the Senate in the 2023 elections.
Ortom, speaking with journalists on Saturday, said he was still consulting with God over the matter.
“I am still consulting with God because I do not take any decision without consulting my God. If he says yes, I will go ahead and contest, but if He says no, I will obey his decision,” he said.
The governor also said reports of division in the Peoples Democratic Party should be ignored, as members had been working in unity.
He said, “The PDP as a party made mistakes in the past and has learnt a lot of lessons from its mistakes and it is fully prepared to take over the leadership of the country from the APC.
“Nobody should deceive you that the PDP is polarised. We are working together as a party. We met and agreed that the positions which are currently in the north should go to the south, while those in the south should go to the North.
“This is the resolution of the zoning committee and it is graciously accepted at the national level. Nobody has begrudged the decision. It is widely accepted by all PDP members.”
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