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FG Releases N386m To Fight Coronavirus

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The federal government has released N386m to forestall unforeseen outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus, hitherto known as coronavirus.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) received a sum of N315m while N71m was released to the port health services division of the ministry for improved surveillance at the ports of entry.

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdullahi Mashi, disclosed these on Friday during a media parley in Abuja.

According to him: “Intervention requests were made to the Presidency and because of the level of emergency, the Ministry of Finance consented to the request. I can confirm to you that N71m was released to the port health services division of the ministry. Also, NCDC have been given N315m. Another request is still in the pipeline”.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, submitted a memo to the Presidency about two weeks ago requesting for N620m to strengthen preparedness and interventions for proactive measures to prevent the importation of the coronavirus virus to the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, told reporters: “The COVID-19, which is a serious public health emergency of international concern, has a total number of confirmed cases globally of 75,748, with 2,129 deaths.

“Eight deaths are outside China – three in Japan, one in France, one in Philippines, two in Iran, one in Korea. The case fatality ratio (CFR) is 2.4 percent”.

Concerning the confirmed case of coronavirus in Egypt, the Minister said: “We know that a case was discovered in Egypt, which was the first in Africa and the patient is a foreigner.

“It raised an alarm and we know that coronavirus is known for high index of suspicion, based on travel history when you don’t have case definition apparent in the patient.
“I’m not saying the case in Egypt was false positive or false negative but we will need authorities to give us relevant and information. All we know is that we were told that one case was discovered and was asymptomatic as at the time the test was carried out just based on the travel history. It came out positive then, and then, along the line, it was tested and was negative. I am sure the NCDC will be working to get the accurate information.

“As at now, there hasn’t been any other report or confirmed case in the whole of Africa, and Nigeria in particular, don’t have any case. Clinicians are being trained in the management of cases.

“Nigeria is developing a stockpile of medical supplies to be used in the event of any outbreak. Our capacity for testing in Nigeria has been enhanced as we have three laboratories currently – National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo state”.

Concerning latest report on Lassa fever, Mamora, said: “Between the 1st of January and 16th of February, we have had 586 confirmed cases and 103 deaths from 26 states.

“Edo state has the highest burden of confirmed cases of Lassa fever at 35 percent, followed by Ondo at 32 percent, and Ebonyi at 6 percent. The case fatality rate (CFR) is 17.6 percent.
“There are five laboratories with capacity to test for Lassa fever within 24 hours’ turnaround time. We encourage our people to maintain good environmental and person hygiene.

“We are also aware of the case of unidentified killer disease in Benue. So far, what we have established is that it is more likely to be due to poisoning as a result of harmful practice of pouring Gamalin into a body of water with the view to killing fish, and people now eat the same fish.

“There is also the issue of the presence of high gathering of lead; so lead poisoning is also suspected as one of the factors in that outbreak in Benue. Also, samples have been taken and are undergoing analysis through NAFDAC and other labs”.

He advised that people should boil water before drinking and stop fetching water from places that have been established to be potential sources of the poisoning.

On reports that chloroquine is the preferred treatment for the COVID-19, a representative of the NCDC, said: “For chloroquine, it is still work in progress as a lot of research is going on.

“In China, they are having preliminary phased clinical trials using chloroquine and hydroxyl-chloroquine. They have enrolled about one hundred patients, and have administered chloroquine to them. It was found that the chloroquine-phosphate was superior to the controlled treatment in inhibiting the interpretation of the pneumonia that the patient had and improving lung imaging.
“By the time they did X-ray, they discovered that those on chloroquine had better lung imaging with findings than those on the controlled therapy, and that there was promotion of the virus negative conversion rate. These are still early findings that needs to be validated with more trials before we can say chloroquine is the treatment of choice. There are other treatment regimens that are being considered”.

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Inside Nigeria

Northern States Back FG On Schools’ Closure

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Education commissioners in the 19 Northern States have resolved to reopen schools only when it is safe to do so, following the spike in cases of COVID-19.

The commissioners in a communique in Kaduna on Saturday, after a virtual meeting to consider schools reopening and other issues to strengthen the education sector, said keeping schools closed in the face of the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country was a sure step to ensure that children remained safe.

The communique was signed by Dr Shehu Makarfi, Commissioner for Education, Kaduna State, who is also the Chairman of the northern states School Exchange Programme (SEP).

Other participants were his counterparts from Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa.

The commissioners applauded the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, for taking a decisive stand against school reopening and pledged their full support.

They resolved that “schools should be reopened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.”

They also said their states would “participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.”

They planned to carry out holistic assessment of schools to determine safety status for reopening and submit reports to their respective governors for consideration.

They also urged their respective states to take steps to provide critical facilities required for reopening of schools as specified by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

“Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students’ hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including hand washing equipment and security are critical and should be improved.

“We will equally clear schools of bushes and grasses, as well as fumigate school’s surroundings to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume,” they said.

They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening.

According to them, many states may not have the financial strength to embark on such a huge capital-intensive project.

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Presidency Breaks Silence Regarding Probe Of Ex-EFCC Boss, Magu

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The Presidency has finally issued a statement regarding the probe of the embattled former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu after nearly two weeks of deafening silence on the matter.

Ibrahim Magu was removed as acting Chairman of the EFCC after he was arrested on the order of a special Presidential panel set up to investigate allegations of corruption and insurbordination against the anti-corruption Czar.

Journalists had been barred from the investigation venue and news regarding the ongoing case against Magu had been from largely unconfirmed sources as the Presidency kept mum on the matter.

Reacting to the investigation of Ibrahim Magu, in a statement, the Presidency said the traivails of the former EFCC boss was an indication that the Federal Government was serious about It’s war on corruption.

Senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said in the statement;

“Those who see Mr Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.

“There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.

Under this President and government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.

“Mr Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.

“No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.”

Mr. Shehu Garba said further that specific, detailed allegations were made against Magu and preliminary Investigations revealed that a detailed investigation was necessary hence the constitution of a Presidential investigative panel.

He thereafter justified the suspension of the anti-corruption Czar saying;

“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.

“The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.

“Therefore, the suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.

“The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.

“Meanwhile, Mr Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.

“We must realise that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.

“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.”

“Therefore, the suspension of Mr Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.

“The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.

“Meanwhile, Mr Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.

“We must realise that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.

“What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.”

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Inside Nigeria

Why I Suspended Magu — Buhari

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Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why he suspended Ibrahim Magu as Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was contained in a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity).

According to the statement: “A series of documented allegations were made against the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Following a preliminary review of the allegations leveled against the Ag. Chairman and several other members of his staff, there were grounds for a detailed investigation to be conducted.

“Hence, an investigative panel was constituted in compliance with the extant laws governing the convening of such a body.

“As is the proper procedure, when allegations are made against the Chief Executive of an institution, and in this case an institution that ought to be seen as beyond reproach, the Chief Executive has to step down from his post and allow for a transparent and unhindered investigation.”

Below is the remaining part of the statement:

“The EFCC does not revolve around the personality of an individual, and as such cannot be seen through the prism of any individual.

Therefore, the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, allows the institution to continue carrying out its mandate without the cloud of investigation hanging over its head.

The EFCC has many good, hardworking men and women who are committed to its ideal and ensuring that the wealth of our country isn’t plundered and wherein there is an act of misappropriation such person(s) are brought to justice.

Meanwhile, Mr. Magu is being availed the opportunity to defend himself and answer the allegations against him. This is how it should be, as is the fact that under the Laws of Nigeria every citizen is presumed and remains innocent until proven guilty.

We must realize that the fight against corruption is not a static event, but a dynamic and ever evolving process, in which the EFCC is just one actor; and as we continue to work towards improving our democratic process so shall every institution of ours also embark on that journey of evolution.

What is however important is that there must be accountability and transparency and our people must realize that they would be held to account. This is the building block in the fight against corruption, the establishment of the concept of Accountability and the recognition of the Rule of Law.

Those who see Mr. Magu’s investigation, as a signal that the fight against corruption is failing, have unfortunately, missed the boat.

There is no better indication that the fight is real and active than the will to investigate allegations in an open and transparent manner against those who have been charged to be custodians of this very system.

Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered.

Mr. Magu was not immune – and regardless of the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by him, given the office he held, may appear for the government.

No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

July 11, 2020.”

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