World Health Day: Saraki worried about spread of HIV/AIDS

Senate President Bukola Saraki expressed worry over the withdrawal of international funding to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS

In a series of tweets via his twitter account, Saraki said that alternative solutions should be sourced to replace international funding:

“As we mark World Health Day 2017, information at our disposal reveals that major funding for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria will be withdrawn.

“The treatment of the over 3.4 million Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS is at stake if global funding is suspended.

“Government at all levels must now work with international partners to identify alternative sources of funding for HIV/AIDS.

“Without careful planning now, the negative impact of the funding decrease in HIV/AIDS programming is not far off.

“The fire brigade approach will not work on this HIV/AIDS funding issue. We must act now.

“With healthcare, foresight, preparation and strategies must be put in place to mitigate against the threat to human life.

“With the various challenges facing Nigeria’s health infrastructure, now is not the time to retreat on HIV/AIDS.

“The loss of international funding for HIV/AIDS will create immediate stress on an already overburdened system.

“As a medical doctor, I know that we can overcome all threats to our nation’s healthcare system. But we must act now.

In 2016, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) informed Saraki that international donor agencies were withdrawing funding for HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.

There are reports that patients now pay between N5,000 and N50,000 drugs and medical consultancy for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in health centres were treatment used to be free.

2017 Budget: Buhari meets Saraki, Dogara behind closed doors

President Muhammadu Buhari met with the leaders of the National Assembly to discuss progress reports on the 2017 budget.

In two separate meetings, closed to the public, President Buhari met with the Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Bukola Saraki, Senate President, to strengthen relationships between the executive and the legislature, which seemed to have strained in recent times, and to discuss aspects of the 2017 budget proposal.

Saraki described the relationship between the executive and legislative arms as “cordial” and said the meeting with President Buhari was of a routine nature.

“The relationship is very cordial, you cannot examine (the National Assembly) by one or two issues. That is the point I’m making. You cannot examine (the relationship) based on NDDC or examine it based on EFCC.

“We have other issues like the Ministerial (names) we are going to work on and the amnesty we will soon work on. We have the budget that is more important, we have INEC, we have PIB, we have so many things and I think it is a mixture of all that that should guide us.

“So, don’t let us overheat the polity.’’

Dogara dismissed insinuations that his meeting with the President was to restore relationship between the two arms of government they represent, noting that it was blatant rumour that relationship had strained.

“It baffles me when people see you visit Mr President, the assumption out there is that something is going wrong. Nothing is wrong, it is just a routine consultation.

“You might look at it as crisis but I don’t look at it as crisis. You know I have always said this that as a government our value will be the problems we have solved.

“We can’t be remembered for avoiding or running away from problems. It is only when‎ we provide solution to some of the things you refer to as crises and we look at them as opportunities to begin anew that people will now remember us for putting down enduring legacies.”

Saraki denies ownership of seized SUV

Senate President Bukola Saraki has denied ownership of a seized armoured-SUV allegedly belonging to him.

While appearing before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Monday, Saraki denied the allegations attributing ownership of the vehicle to him.

“Today is another great day in the history of our growing democracy, as I present myself before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on allegation of non Payment of customs duty on an Official Vehicle by Senate.

“As the President of the 8th Senate and Senator from Kwara Central, I am proud of the Senate as an institution and its Constitutional role to represent the interests of the Nigerian people.

“Further, I am proud to honor and respect  the Senate Rule Book that guides our conduct and activities, which is why today I am presenting myself before the Nigerian Senate Committee.

“We must continue to strenghten all our Institutions so that they can carry out their mandates. This is preferable and beneficial than strengthening individuals.

“We must find ways to guard the institution and ourselves against those who wish to diminish or rubbish institutional and individual’s reputation because of 5 minutes of fame. They try to bring everyone else down while grandstanding.

“I did not import any vehicle, I did not ask anybody to act on my behalf. The vehicle is not my personal car,” he said.

There were reports in the media alleging that an armoured-SUV seized by the Nigerian Customs Service for non-payment of duties belonged to the Senate President.