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Japa: 16000 Doctors Left Nigeria In Five Years – Minister

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The Federal Government on Sunday disclosed that the phenomenon of brain drain, often referred to as ‘Japa Syndrome’, has deprived Nigeria of its top talent in the health sector, with no fewer than 16,000 doctors leaving the country in search of better opportunities abroad.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, disclosed this during an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Sunday.

Pate lamented that Nigeria has witnessed a generation of young doctors, health workers, tech entrepreneurs, and various professionals abandoning the country for better opportunities abroad.

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His words: “In the last five years, the country lost about 15,000 to 16,000 doctors to the Japa syndrome, while about 17,000 had been transferred,” he said.

“There are about 300,000 health professionals working in Nigeria today in all cadres. I am talking about doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, and others. We did an assessment and discovered we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors.

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“Not all of them are in the country. Some are in the diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licenced doctors in the country.

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“The issue overall, in terms of health professionals, is that they are not enough. They are insufficient in terms of the skill mix. Can you believe most of the highly skilled professional doctors are in Lagos, Abuja, and a few urban centres? There is a huge distribution issue.”

The minister, who provided a detailed account of the doctors currently practicing in major Nigerian cities, highlighted that the doctor-to-patient ratio was insufficient for the country.

“The population of doctors overall is about 7,600 in Lagos and 4,700 or thereabout in Abuja. The doctor to population ratio in Abuja is 14.7 per 10,000 people. These are numbers that you can verify. In Lagos, it is about 4.6, even though the average is 2.2 by 10,000.

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“There are huge distributional issues, and they are, of course, the opportunities even for some of those who have been trained to get into the market.

“So you have to look at it from a holistic perspective. Not only doctors but other cadres are important in the delivery of health care. For doctors, we have been losing many that have been trained.”

Pate affirmed that the government is making efforts to expand the training scheme and motivate those who choose to stay back and serve their country.

“Now to the Japa you talked about, it is not only limited to Nigeria. It is a global phenomenon. Other countries don’t have enough.

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“They are asking to take more. It is not only in Nigeria. It is happening in India, the Philippines, and other parts of Africa. In the last five years, we have lost about 15,000 to 16,000, and about 17,000 have been transferred. We’re barely managing.

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“That’s why expanding their training will become logical. The same thing happens with nurses and midwives; they are also leaving. That’s why expanding the training is important to ensure those still around are well trained.

“We are beginning to take steps to expand the training and work environment, taking some steps to encourage salaries and incomes commissions to do certain things that will encourage them to feel at home.

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“But even the issue of working hours that has come about recently, particularly for the junior doctors, is being addressed.

“This is because when some of their colleagues leave and they remain at home, the burden has not been reduced.

“And so they work extremely hard. We’ve listened to that. We are looking at how we can alleviate that, and with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we are looking at how, within the code of ethics and the guidelines for the physician, to provide some safeguards to ensure they are treated as valuable assets so they are not burnt out,” the Minister said.

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Edo Man Petitions EFCC Over Fraudulent Withdrawal Of ₦4 Million In His Access Bank Account

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has received a formal petition from Osehobo Onojie Bernard, a resident of Ebo Quarters, Benin City, alleging fraudulent activities involving his bank account No. 1838861087 with Access Bank.

In the petition dated June 24, 2024, Osehobo highlighted the careless handling and fraudulent transactions associated with his account by the bank authorities.

He told the Commission that an unauthorized withdrawal of ₦4,201,000 (four million two hundred and one thousand naira) was made from his account on May 16, 17, and 18, 2024, facilitated by officials of Access Bank.

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He explained that he opened the account in question in November 2023 when two identified Access Bank staff from their 39 Akpakpava Road, Benin City branch approached him to set up a High Interest Deposit Account (HIDA) with funds from his existing Access Bank account No. 0040251257, which he held at the Airport Road Benin City branch.

He said that subsequently, he was assigned a new HIDA account number, 1838861087.

Osehobo added that the Access Bank personnel opened the HIDA account number 1838861087 using the existing information from his other bank account, No. 0040251257, which he operated manually without an ATM card or mobile banking.

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READ ALSO: Lagos Taskforce Uuncovers 2 Illegal Petroleum Storage Facilities

He specified that withdrawals could only be made with a teller by verifying his signature, BVN, and NIN before approving transactions, especially for large sums.

In his detailed narrative, Osehobo recounted that by November 2023, the account had accumulated a significant balance, driven by interest yields.

However, discrepancies emerged in May 2024 when he did not receive a routine birthday wish from the bank. Instead, he received a message that included an OTP (One-Time Password), which raised his suspicions.

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Osehobo argued that, “My subsequent investigations revealed that the OTP was part of a scheme allegedly orchestrated by the bank officials to access my funds fraudulently.”

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He said that the unauthorized withdrawal occurred over multiple transactions on May 16, 17, and 18, 2024, without his knowledge or consent, facilitated by the misuse of the OTP system.

He expressed his conviction that Access Bank officials were complicit in the fraudulent withdrawals, leveraging internal banking processes to circumvent security protocols.

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He conveyed his frustration and the significant impact of the lost funds, which he described as a considerable portion of his financial assets.

Osehobo called on the EFCC to investigate the matter thoroughly, hold the responsible parties accountable, and recover the misappropriated funds

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Lagos Taskforce Uuncovers 2 Illegal Petroleum Storage Facilities

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The Lagos State Taskforce has uncovered two illegal petroleum storage facilities where over 2,000 litres of diesel were recovered during multiple sting operations of blackspots in Ikoyi and environs.

Also, a total of 114 suspects were arrested and five were released unconditionally after properly identifying themselves.

The operation was led by the State Taskforce Chairman, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Adetayo Akerele, in a late night operation on Tuesday night.

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Akele explained that the operation was based on the feedback mantra of “see something, say something” put in place by the agency and the directive and support of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, major blackspots at Mosley Street, Glover Road and Lateef Jakande Avenue in Ikoyi were raided by the agency after concerned residents highlighted the clustering numbers of unidentifiable individuals at those selected locations and the conversions of residential areas to safe havens for suspected criminals and miscreants.

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He said, “After having carefully analyzing the complaints received, a discreet investigation was carried out in the vicinity which confirmed the intelligence to be credible, and resulting in a late night raid.

“We have come out here to address issues of environmental and safety concerns in Ikoyi where residents have complained about the increasing numbers of miscreants who have converted these inner streets to restaurants, drinking spots, gambling spots, and boutiques to mention but a few.

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“It is an eyesore what we encountered here during our investigations and we will ensure that we restore sanity to these streets immediately.”

The Chairman further disclosed that an illegal petroleum storage facility was discovered during the operation where over 2000 litres of diesel was discovered in an unsafe location, posing a risk to both occupants of the uncompleted building and neighbours on the same street.

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He stated that the occupants of the building risked safety concerns regarding storage of petroleum products which if not properly managed could result in a fire disaster.

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“We have discovered over 2000 liters of diesel stylishly hidden in this abandoned building in an unsafe manner which could lead to a fire disaster.

“Diesel is highly flammable and also combustible if not properly stored. Therefore this miscreants are not just risking their lives through their ignorant actions but also the lives of their neighbors and passerby in the event of an explosion.”

Akerele also warned street traders who are still in the practice defacing the environment and disposing their waste into the gutters and drainage channels in any part of the state to move their trade to approved markets or risk being arrested.

He also warned miscreants who lay about and convert streets to religious grounds, social event centers and sports ground to desist forthwith or be prosecuted.

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Akerele stated that such selfish actions hinder on the right of residents to live in peace and serenity as prescribed in the THEMES PLUS agenda of the State Government.

“I urge every well meaning Lagosian to notify us of any environmental infraction by any individual or groups of individuals in any part of the Metropolis to prevent an environmental mishap.

“Its our duty and responsibility to ensure that such infractions are nipped in the bud to maintain sanity and habitability across board.

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“A total of 114 suspects were arrested and five were released unconditionally after properly identifying themselves and stating their business.

“The remaining suspects will be charged to court and all items confiscated will be forfeited to the state government through the court,” Akele affirmed.

 

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Abia Commissioner For Health Resigns

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The suspended Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, has tendered her resignation from office, to Governor Alex Otti.

Otti, had on June 11, 2024, suspended the Commissioner for Health over alleged financial misconduct. The Governor also set up a committee to probe the allegations against her.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ukoha Njoku, in a statement, disclosed that the Governor had accepted the resignation and thanked Okoronkwo for her services and modest achievement in repositioning the health sector of the state.

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“The suspended Abia state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo has tendered her resignation letter to the Executive Governor of Abia State, His Excellency, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, OFR.

“The Governor while accepting her resignation, thanked Dr. Okoronkwo for her services to our dear State and her modest achievements in repositioning the Health Sector for better service delivery in the last one year. He wished her well in her future endeavours.

“The Governor reiterated his commitment to the transformation of Abia State and reminded Abians that they gave him the mandate to assemble his team, and this includes hiring, suspending or sacking his appointees or rejigging and reshuffling his cabinet whenever the need arises for the sole purpose of delivering all his promises to the people,” the statement read.

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