Month: June 2020

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Spike in COVID-19: Soldiers to enforce use of face masks in Enugu

WORRIED by the carefree attitude of citizens to wearing of face masks and other coronavirus, COVID-19 preventive measures, in the face of the rising number of positive cases, Enugu State Government yesterday said it would engage the services of soldiers to enforce wearing of face masks.

The government said it was disturbed that some residents of the state still regard the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic as a scam, urging such people to have a rethink because the pandemic was real and killing people all over the world, including Enugu.

Addressing journalists, the Expert Medical Advisory Committee, EMAC, said Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi was concerned that people were dying mysteriously in the state and attributed the deaths to COVID-19 and not malaria as erroneously being claimed by some people.

The Chairman of the committee, Prof. Emmanuel Ejim, said people should no longer delude themselves that COVID-19 was a scam, saying it was killing people in Nigeria, including Enugu State hence the need for the governor to set up the committee to offer advice on the de-escalation of the outbreak which a number of infected persons had spiked in the state.

The committee explained that the government was talking with the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, to authorize the engagement of soldiers to enforce the preventive measure, particularly, wearing of face mask as “the police have not been helpful, especially in the metropolis”.

Ejim lamented that of state’s current 261 positive cases, over 70 of them were health workers, representing about 25% of the number, saying “the ongoing hand hygiene activities that were being adhered to initially are slowly slumping into the complacent neglect. The nonchalance, non-compliance is worrisome; the outbreak should be of serious concern to the citizens. Covid-19 is killing us, it is with us, it is killing us, it is everywhere, people are dying of COVID-19, not malaria. Enugu needs at least three testing centres with one located in Nsukka.”

According to him, EMAC had engaged with people of different sectors in the state, including the Church, market leaders, transport unions down to the local government council level saying: “interestingly, the knowledge of the existence of COVID-19 was not in doubt, but the commitment and capacity to enforce the necessary preventive action specifically the wearing of face masks, observing physical distancing and ensuring hand hygiene were all being undermined by several factors that we continue to unearth.”

The chairman stressed the need to strictly enforce the preventive measures as there is presently no drug for the cure of the virus “everything now is supportive, no drug for now”.

He also said the committee was in the process of getting recovered patients of COVID-19 to come to the open to share their experiences, as a section of the stakeholders engaged said that they had never seen anybody who suffered from the virus to make them believe.

He urged the media to do more to educate the people that the virus is real and inform them of the need to adhere to preventive measures.

In the face of the rising number of health workers infected by the virus, the committee also met with private medical establishments in the state who appealed to the government to “support them with personal protective equipment, PPEs, bailout of insolvent private hospitals and immediate scaling up of testing and surveillance capacities.”


6-year-old girl raped to death in Kaduna mosque

A six-year-old girl has been raped to death in a mosque by yet-to-be-identified persons in Kaduna. This came at a time the European Union/United Nations EU-UN Spotlight Initiative raised the alarm over an increasing number of various forms of gender-based violence in Cross River and Ebonyi states during the nationwide lockdown.

Residents of Kurmin Mashi, an old settlement in Kaduna, who were said to be have been horrified by the discovery of the girl’s corpse by early Muslim worshippers, reportedly alerted the police.

“Her lifeless body was found in a mosque located at New Road, Kurmin Mashi by Nnamdi Azikiwe bypass on Friday,” said a source.

Confirming the incident, Kaduna State Police Command, which identified the little girl as Khadijah Ya’u said it had commenced investigation on the matter.

ASP Mohammed Jalige, the Police Public Relations Officer of the command, said their officers had since swung into action.

He said: “No stone would be left unturned in ensuring that perpetrators of the heinous crime were apprehended and brought to book.

“An investigation into the matter has commenced in earnest. No arrest has been made. Police detectives attached to Kurmi-Mashi Division of the Command have launched an investigation to unravel the mystery.

“Operatives from that(Kurmin-Mashi) division received a call from a resident in the community that they saw a dead body lying in the mosque. You know since the lockdown, no mosque has been opened for worship, except for Friday prayers.  They discovered the dead body around 3:00 pm close to prayer time.’’

Meanwhile, the European Union and United Nations, in what is described as EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, have raised the alarm over an increasing number of various forms of gender-based violence in Cross River and Ebonyi states during the nationwide lockdown.

Ijeoma Onuoha-Ogwe, Communication Officer UNICEF, Enugu, raised the alarm yesterday during a two-day media engagement dialogue on ending violence against women and girls organised by EU-UN spotlights Initiative, in collaboration with Ebonyi State chapter of National Orientation Agency, NOA.

Ijeoma said there seemed to be an increase in the incidents of rape and other forms of violence against women during the lockdown as a lot of people, including children’s movement, were restricted.


Covid-19: Wike orders compulsory testing for all Rivers Govt House staff

GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has directed all Government House personnel to undergo compulsory Covid-19 test to ascertain their status.

Wike who disclosed this in Port Harcourt, yesterday, while receiving three ambulances donated by the BUA Foundation, said the increased testing currently revealing more positive cases in the state was informed by the commitment of his government to save more lives against the pandemic.

He said, “The more we test, the more the number will increase and we are willing to continue to test. Let our people know that this not the kind of sickness to be ashamed of. Nobody knows who you have shaken hands with. We have lost not less than 38 lives on record.

“Nobody will be happy that each day you wake up, you hear somebody, probably a breadwinner, is no longer there because of covid-19. I have directed that all staff of Government House must go for testing. Nobody knows who is a carrier and we must save everybody as much as we can.”

On the gesture by the BUA group led by its Executive Director, Khalifa Rabiu, Wike acknowledged that, “BUA has not only come to support us at this critical period but has shown that really, they are part and parcel of the state. Many companies shy away from identifying with the state they operate for lack of understanding.

“Making profit alone is what is important to them but to support the government to save lives is very difficult for them. You have donated to the Rivers State government the sum N100million before, you have given us a lorry load of other items.

“Today, you have given us three life support ambulances. I sincerely say that Rivers State government will continue to identify with you and to make sure we make the environment easy for you to continue to do your business.”

Executive Director of BUA Foundation, Rabiu lauded Wike for creating a conducive business environment for their operations, adding that the foundation had offered the material support to assist the state in containing Covid-19.

Fear grips A’Ibom Govt House staff as more tests positive

Meanwhile, fear has gripped Akwa Ibom State  Government House workers as more people tests positive for the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will be recalled that over 10 members of the Government House Press Corps team especially the cameramen last month were infected by the virus.

A reliable Government House source who disclosed this to newsmen, yesterday, in Uyo on condition of anonymity said most of the workers who were subjected to test recently tested positive.

The source noted that Governor Udom Emmanuel, moved by the effect of the virus within the press corps ordered massive testing of other units within the Government House.

The source expressed concern that the alarming rate of infected persons within the Government House, to a very great extent, revealed how unsafe the entire state may be.

He said, “It will shock you that in two days, we recorded 17 and 18 cases respectively. Both domestic staff, protocol, security and others working in Government House were; on the order of His Excellency subjected to test, and most of them turned out positive.

“These are close to the governor and have the opportunity to be tested and treated. What happens to people who have no such opportunity? Our people may just begin to die massively. We need to do more testing. Also, we need to test those that are not close to the corridors of power.

“And members of the press corps throughout the lockdown worked closely with members of the state executive council, how then did most of them test positive for Covid-19 if the people they worked closely with are as clean as they claimed.”

State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Udoh, when contacted by newsmen did not deny that more staff of the Government House could have tested positive for Covid-19.

Udoh, however, said that key persons in the State Incidence  Committee and principal staff of the Government House have not tested positive.

Edo death toll hits 35

Edo State government, yesterday, said, it has recorded 35 deaths to the ravaging covid-19, while reiterating the need for residents to adhere to preventive measures, such as the use of face masks, hand washing and physical distancing to protect themselves and others from being infected with the virus.

The state government also said that nearly 1,000 persons are infected in the state.

State Commissioner for Health, Dr Patrick Okundia, who spoke yesterday, charged citizens to support the government’s efforts at curbing the spread of coronavirus and protecting the people by complying with the guidelines to contain the pandemic.

He said, “Complying with these directives will imply that we care about the wellbeing of others, especially the elderly, and are determined to protect them from getting infected by the deadly virus that has continued to claim thousands of lives globally.

“The Edo State Government has taken serious steps to contain the pandemic across all communities in the state, but we have observed poor compliance among members of the public to the Covid-19 preventive measures. This is even worse as some give out wrong addresses and phone numbers during sample collection, which makes it difficult for contact tracers to track down confirmed cases after laboratory results are released.”


It is suicidal to reopen schools now, ASUU President tells FG

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday kicked against the reopening of schools by the Federal Government due to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the country.

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, spoke with the with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ota, Ogun.

According to him, the Federal Government needed to address the challenges of education sector before it can talk of reopening schools.

Ogunyemi urged the Federal Government to provide ideal environment and should take the lead by meeting the conditions spelt out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) before reopening schools.

“The Federal Government must lead and show the ways by meeting the conditions for reopening of schools before any school can be allowed to open, because COVID-19 pandemic is a health challenge.

“When it comes to public health, it is something that should not be left in the hands of individual, but the Federal Government must take the lead,’’ he said.

The ASUU president listed the conditions spelt out by NCDC to include: provision of materials for regular washing of hands, face mask, isolations centres, space for social distancing and hands sanitiser.

Ogunyemi said that many of the schools do not have financial capacities to meet those conditions and requirements for reopening of schools.

“It is suicidal to reopen schools now, if the Federal Government itself could not meet the conditions spelt out by NCDC and World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The nation will expose the innocent children to risks which is avoidable,” he said.

Ogunyemi noted that how many of these schools could afford to provide hand sanitiser, saying that many of them do not even have running water, not to talk of having facility for washing hands.

He added that many schools do not have enough spaces to promote physical distancing.

The ASUU president said that putting all these requirements needed together, to reopen schools in the country now would run to millions of Naira, which most schools could not afford.

Ogunyemi appealed to the Federal Government to provide the running funds for the principals and head teachers so that they could provide some of these facilities in their schools.

He further said that inadequate funds by many parents would hinder them from providing some of these amenities needed for reopening of schools.

Ogunyemi said that the Federal Government needed to tell Nigerians the steps they intended to take in reopening schools.

The ASUU leader said that for government not to tell people their minds was like running away from “our shadow” which would later hunt the country.


Alleged violation of COVID-19 guidelines: The video of D’banj in a party

The video above has been trending on social media since Sunday afternoon which has led to public outcry.

Social media users called out Nigerian musician, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, popularly known as D’Banj for allegedly violating the covid-19 guidelines in Abuja by performing at a crowded party inside a house

Seeing the video, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Police Command called on members of the public to help provide information on venue of where the party was held.

The Police, in a statement by the Public Relations Officer, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, on Sunday evening said the time and venue of the video could not be verified.

The statement read, “The attention of the Chairman FCT Covid-19 Enforcement Team and Commissioner of Police FCT, CP Bala Ciroma has been drawn to a video in circulation alleged to have been recorded at a party attended by Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo, popularly known as D-Bang in Abuja.

“It is pertinent to state that the venue and time the video was recorded has not been verified.

“Members of the public, with privileged information, are called upon to furnish the FCT Covid-19 Enforcement Team with details of the said event.

“The Team wishes to state that it would not tolerate any violation of the Quarantine act and Covid-19 guidelines.”


COVID-19: Social media influencer raises fund for Ondo health workers

Mr Oluyemi Fasipe, a social media influencer and youth advocate, has used his influence to raise funds for health workers at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Fasipe had raised N205,000 through his twitter handle, @YemieFASH, and transferred it to the account of Dr Adeniyi Adetayo, the Deputy Chief Medical Director of IDH, on Sunday in Akure.

Fasipe said he took the responsibility to raise funds for the health workers working tirelessly in the hospital because of their efforts to keep infected people alive.

NAN recalls that residents doctors under the umbrella of University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital had embarked on an indefinite strike to protest the non-payment of salaries ranging between three and six months by the state government.

Fasipe said he was convinced it was the right thing to do because the health workers were working tirelessly for the well-being of patients suffering from the virus.

He also said that the health workers were putting their lives at risk every day to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“It is disheartening that no form of compensation whatsoever has been given to them for the past three months that they have been helping us contain the virus. Let’s crowdfund to appreciate them,” he said.

NAN reports that the hospital had already acknowledged receipt of the money and had thanked Fasipe and the donors for their contributions.


FG approves domestic flights’ resumption

The Federal Government has approved the safe resumption of domestic flights in the country.

It has also lifted the ban placed on interstate travels with effect from July 1, provided such journeys are made outside curfew hours.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the ongoing daily briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, disclosed that the latest developments were contained in the task force’s fifth interim report which was submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), earlier in the day.

Mustapha said, “I am pleased to inform you that Mr President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020.

“Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

“Permission of movement across state borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;

“Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

“Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;

“Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;

“Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;

“Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response.”

Source : PunchNews