This is contained in a statement issued in Sokoto Sunday by Tambuwal’s spokesman, Malam Imam Imam.

Imam said the new agency will provide administrative, secretarial, communications, and logistical support in push to contain malaria and related diseases.

To be known as the Sokoto State Agency for Malaria Control, the new body will take off in January 2017.

It will be the focal point of implementing all policies related to malaria prevention and treatment in the state.

With this approval, Sokoto becomes the first state in Nigeria to create such an agency, he said.

Imam added that the agency would also fulfil roles supporting working and technical groups set up by the state and federal governments, as well as development partners and other stakeholders.

Other responsibilities include offering and providing technical support to other health agencies and partners to improve the health of the people through prevention and control.

Similarly, the agency will support policy makers in designing and implementing evidence-based interventions, assessing the burden of the disease and monitoring progress towards reducing mortality.

The spokesman explained that this would be done by integrating these activities with management and dissemination of technical knowledge.

“This will be through strengthening of disease surveillance and response systems and public health programmes and services,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Sokoto State Government had commended the Nigeria Army for banning the sale of illicit drugs and its decision to seal shops selling same at the Giginya Barracks in the state capital.

The government said years of subtle diplomacy over the issue had paid dividends when the army authorities saw reason in banning the illicit trade.