The World Health Organisation (WHO) says monkeypox infections continue to rise globally, with more than 35,000 cases across 92 countries and territories, and 12 deaths.
WHO Director General, Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus, disclosed this while speaking at a news conference from WHO headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday.
“Almost 7,500 cases were reported last week, a 20 per cent increase over the previous week, which was also 20 per cent more than the week before,” he said.
According to him, the majority of cases are being reported from Europe and the Americas, and mostly among men who have sex with men.
Ghebreyesus said that the primary focus for all countries must be to ensure they are ready for monkeypox, and to stop transmission.
He said countries should focus on stopping monkeypox transmission by using effective public health tools, including enhanced disease surveillance, careful contact tracing, tailored risk communication and community engagement, and risk reduction measures.
Currently, global supplies of monkeypox vaccines are limited, as is data about their effectiveness, noting that WHO is in contact with manufacturers, and with countries and organisations willing to share vaccine doses.
“We remain concerned that the inequitable access to vaccines we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic will be repeated, and that the poorest will continue to be left behind,” he said.
Speaking on COVID-19, the WHO chief said COVID-19 deaths had also increased over the last four weeks, rising by 35 per cent, with 15,000 lives lost in the past week alone.
“Fifteen thousand deaths a week is completely unacceptable, when we have all the tools to prevent infections and save lives.
“Although everyone might be tired of COVID-19 but virus is not tired of us,” he said.
Omicron remains the dominant variant, with the BA.
5 sub-variant accounting for more than 90 per cent of genome sequences shared in the last month.
Ghebreyesus reported that it is becoming harder to understand how the virus might be changing.
The number of sequences shared per week has fallen by 90 per cent since the beginning of the year, and the number of countries sharing sequences has also dropped by 75 per cent.
He warned that with colder weather approaching in the northern hemisphere, and people spending more time indoors, the risk for more intense transmissions will only increase.
“But none of us is helpless – please get vaccinated if you are not, and if you need a booster, get one,” he advised.
In addition, he said measures such as wearing a mask and avoiding crowds, especially indoors should be embraced.
“There is a lot of talk about learning to live with this virus.
But we cannot live with 15,000 deaths a week”.
The WHO chief also highlighted the ongoing crisis in the Horn of Africa, where millions are facing starvation and disease due to drought, conflict, climate change and rising prices for food, fuel and fertiliser.
WHO has provided more than $16 million from an emergency fund to meet the needs, but more support is required.
The agency is appealing for $123.7 million which will be used to prevent and control outbreaks, treat malnutrition, and provide essential health services as well as medicines.
Ghebreyesus said the drought was compounding the “man-made catastrophe” in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopian, where war has raged for nearly two years.
Some six million people are under siege by Ethiopian and Eritrean forces, he said, “sealed off from the outside world, with no telecommunications, no banking services and very limited electricity and fuel.
” According to him, as a result, they are facing multiple outbreaks of malaria, anthrax, cholera, diarrhea and more.
“This unimaginable cruelty must end.
The only solution is peace.
’’ He, however, appealed for greater global attention to the situation in Tigray.
“I can tell you that the humanitarian crisis in Tigray is more than in Ukraine, without any exaggeration.
And I said it many months ago, maybe the reason is the colour of the skin of the people in Tigray”.
Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has described the late Chief Duro Onabule as a great Nigerian who was passionate about the nation as well as the journalism profession.
Onabule, who died on Tuesday, 41 days before his 83rd birthday anniversary, was a former Chief Press Secretary to former Miltary President, retired Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda.
He was the Editor of the now rested National Concord newspaper and served as Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) apart from many other positions in the media industry.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, said that Onabule was a frontline journalist.
The governor said that Onabule made positive contributions to the development of the media industry, and was a presidential spokesman who brought glamour to the office of Chief Press Secretary.
He said the London School of Journalism-trained veteran was a source of inspiration to many journalists as well as readers of his insightful columns on public discourse.
Fayemi also used the opportunity to commiserate with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, and the management of the NTA.
He stated that Onabule’s death was a great loss to the upcoming generation of journalists who could have learned a lot from him.
“Chief Onabule as a journalist and public affairs commentator spoke truth to power through his illuminating writings.
“Having trained at the popular London School of Journalism, one could not expect less than the professionalism with which Onabule plied his trade in the media industry.
“There is no doubt, we shall miss his amiable personality and insightful analyses.
“May God grant him eternal rest and comfort his family,” he said.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says it did not spend N18.9 billion on bush clearing contract during COVID-19 lockdown.
The Director of Information in the ministry, Dr Joel Oruche, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
The ministry was reacting to a publication that alleged it spent N18.9 billion in bush clearing during COVID-19 lockdown and received an audit query to warrant summon by the House of Representatives Committee on Public Account.
The ministry said it only carried out bush clearing and land preparation of 3,200 hectares in eight states of the federation.
Oruche named the states as Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Cross River, Kaduna, Kwara, Plateau and Ogun.He said it was allocated by the respective state governments at a total cost of N2.5 billion.
Oruche said it was other projects executed by the ministry during the COVID–19 period that summed up to the total sum quoted which included the construction of rural roads in the six geo-political zones of the country.
Others are soil sampling and mapping; farmers registration; and rehabilitation and equipping of four national soil laboratories in Umudike, Ibadan, Kaduna and Abuja.
He said the projects were successfully executed and verified by relevant government agencies.
“The ministry wishes to state that if the statement emanated from the House Public Account Committee, the committee must have been quoted out of context.
“To put the record straight, however, the ministry at no time received any audit query to warrant summon by the committee,” Oruche said.
He explained that the various projects were part of a stimulus package under the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme of the Federal Government to generate employment and grow the economy to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. www.
Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Lagos State Governor, has encouraged graduands of the state’s 19 Skills Acquisition Centres to cultivate positive attitude, start small and grow big.
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the Year 2021 graduation ceremony of 3,986 students, organised by Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), held at Isheri-Olowora, Ojodu Berger on Wednesday.
She was represented by Mrs Oluremi Hazmat, wife of Lagos State Deputy Governor, who was the special guest of honour.
“I congratulate you, having worked day and night to acquire knowledge and skills in 20 different vocations at the 19 Skill Acquisition Centres across the state and awarded Lagos State competence certificates.
“I salute your courage and determination to make something meaningful out of your life and pray that this knowledge will be a stepping stone to greatness for all of you,” she said.
She noted that the Lagos State Government (LASG) understood the prevailing economic circumstances and challenges faced, hence the creation of 19 functional Skills Acquisition Centres across five Divisions of the state.
According to her, 20 skills are being offered tuition free for the benefit of women, young persons and the indigent across the state.
This, she said, was for the purpose of empowerment and upgrade of their status from dependency to self reliance.
She applauded Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, describing him as ‘he for she advocate and champion of women and young persons’.
“My special appreciation to my Mr Governor, my darling husband, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, members of State Executive, critical stakeholders and WAPA for working in various capacities to complement efforts of the state government in our dear state,” she said.
Also, Mrs Cecilia Dada, Commissioner for WAPA, said that the graduands had been trained and equipped with skills and equipment needed to make a living for themselves as well as compete favorably in the labour market.
“It will be recalled that a total number of 6,252 graduated from the skills acquisition centres in year 2019 and 3,262 in year 2020, and today, 3,986 students will be graduating for year 2021 session.
“We are all aware of the unavailability of white collar jobs in our society and challenges in getting professional jobs.
“This programme, bridges the gap between young school leavers, drop -outs and vulnerable young men and women, who are not academically inclined or were not able to pursue their educational goals due to financial restrictions or poverty.
“These skills include Hairdressing and Cosmetology Catering and Hotel Management, Computer Training,Textile Designing, Hats making, Beads stringing, Barbing, Printing Technology, Shoe Making and Leather-works, Furniture and Woodwork, Welding, Tile Laying and Adult Literacy.
“Others are Aluminum Fabrication, Rubber Marcaine and Graf, Fashion making, Photography, Repair of Refrigerators & Air-conditioning, Wheel balancing, Brick Laying,” she stated.
According to her, some of the skills being taught, like welding and fabrication, vulcanizing and even brick laying, seem masculine, but women are engaged on them, provided such trainees are willing to learn.
Dada urged the graduands to use the opportunity provided by the Lagos State Government to become employers of labour as well as support their families financially.
She mentioned another state intervention programme in the ministry, the Micro-Enterprise Support Initiative, where vulnerable women and the Indigent are empowered with working tools as setup packs.
The commissioner said the tools include grinding machines, sewing machines, hair dryers, barbing sets with generators, sharwama makers, cassava cutters, fryers, pressers and cake mixers.
She said they were provided with these for financial sustainability.
Blue Line Rail Project: Test run to start December – Sanwo-Olu Blue Line Rail Project: Test run to start December – Sanwo-Olu The on-going work on the Lagos Blue Line Rail project in Marina as the final T-Beam is being launched by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. Inset l-r: Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Federic Oladeinde; Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs Abimbola AkinGov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Wednesday says the test run of the Blue Rail Line train service project will commence December 2022. Sanwo-Olu said this in Marina at the launch of the last track beam (T-beam) for the blue line rail mass transit project.
He said that with the launching of the last T-beam, the blue line rail project would be formally complete before December, after which the test run would start.
L-R: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Consul General of China in Lagos, Mr Chu Maoming; Chairman, CCECC Worldwide, Mr Liu Weimin and Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs Abimbola Akinajo during the final T-Beam launch for the Lagos Blue Line Rail project at Marina, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. According to him, the government is committed to ensuring the project is completed in time, as the two trains bought in China for the project will arrive in October.
He said that his administration was on a journey to ensuring the trains begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2023, as earlier promised.
Sanwo-Olu said that the achievement in the area of the setting of the last T-beam was in line with his administration’s commitment to bringing succour to residents and give them choices in mass transportation.
“Today’s final T-beam launch indicates that we are gradually inching to the completion of the civil infrastructure for the first phase of the Blue Line traversing from Mile 2 to Marina.
“The engineering work today completes a total of 1,967 piles foundation, while we have also completed three 306 platforms, 310 piers, 267 cover beams and erection of 984 T-beams.
“We are not just making promises; people are beginning to see for themselves that all the milestones and the difficult tasks we are meant to achieve to ensure operation of the Blue Line are being achieved.
“The Marina Station, which is the iconic terminal for the Blue Line, will be completed within two-and-half months.
I am restating here that we will formally complete this Blue Line before Dec. 31, 2022,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the construction of the second phase of the Blue Line project would commence after the start of operation, which would extend the rail project from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko.
He said that Blue Line stations would be built at Festac, Alakija, Trade Fair, Volkswagen, LASU and Okokomaiko.
Sanwo-Olu said that talks were being held with the Ogun State Government for possible extension of the rail line to Agbara.
According to him, the second phase of the Blue Line project will be an easy infrastructure to develop, because the marked alignment for stations and tracks are largely at grid level.
“While we are at this, the Red Line is also on the way.
This is a start-and-end project for our administration, with about seven stations concurrently being built.
This will redefine mass transportation in Lagos.
“To our citizens, I say the Blue Line is for real and you will ride on it in no distant future.
“For the Doubting Thomases and people that do not like our face, their eyes cannot disbelieve in the infrastructure we are bequeathing to the citizens of our state.
“They cannot disbelieve in our bold effort and commitment to improve mobility and deliver transport infrastructure that brings ease to our people,” he said.
Mrs Abimbola Akinajo, Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), said that the first 13-kilometre stretch of the Blue Line construction was divided into four phases to enable the government fund the project from its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Akinajo said that to get to the current status, the construction work experienced disturbances and delays in the relocation of submarine cables, submarine natural gas pipelines, and removal of underground shipwrecks.
“Just as we are laying the final T-beam for the rail tracks, we are also currently retrofitting the train stations at Mile 2, Alaba, Iganmu and National Theatre with light, in readiness for passenger operation in the first quarter of 2023,” she said.
Mr Liu Wei Min, Chairman, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) described the event as the most significant level of the project.
Min expressed gratitude to the Sanwo-Olu’s administration for reaching the milestone, adding that the company would continue to work to meet the ultimate target in delivering the entire project with high standards and quality.
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) sector command in Kogi on Wednesday confirmed the death of three persons after an articulated vehicle rammed into a stationary bus.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the crash occurred at Ogudar village along Okene – Auchi Road at 10.00 a.
m. Corps Commander Stephen Dawulung, Kogi Sector of FRSC, said that the corpses of the three occupants of the bus had been deposited at the Morgue of Okengwen General Hospital, Okene Local Government Area of Kogi. The FRSC commander described the incident as “very sad” and”unfortunate” considering the way and manner the crash occurred.
“The Nissan Sunny Sedan Bus was parked behind a truck at a military checkpoint when another truck lost control and rammed into the bus squeezing it in between.
“Investigation showed that the brake of the truck failed, resulting in it smashing into the bus from the rear and leading to the death of three people; all males.
Two others, however, were rescued unhurt.
“In other words, the truck was believed to be mechanically deficient leading to its loss of control and the crash,” he explained.
Dawulung said his officers and men had been able to clear the traffic obstruction for free flow of traffic along the Okene – Auchi Road. He said there was the need for motorists to ensure routine checks and maintenance of vehicles to avoid unfortunate incidents along the highways.
He also charged motorists to always observe stipulated speed limits and other rules and regulations as they drive “This, we believe, will not only reduce the rate of crashes but also the severity of injuries and death in the event that crash occurs,” he said.
The Police Command in Ebonyi confirmed it neutralised one of the gunmen who attacked some personnel while on duty on G-Hostel Road in Abakaliki.
SP Chris Anyanwu, Spokesman, Police Command in Ebonyi, who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria , said the attack occurred at 3.30 p.
m. on Wednesday.
Anyanwu said one of the gunmen was killed by the police officers during the attack.
“Our men were attacked while on a stop-and-search duty along Enugu expressway, G-hostel axis in Abakaliki at about 3.30 p.
m. “When the hoodlums shot at our men, they responded and were able to gun down one person.
“Some of the gunmen, who operated a Toyota Sienna Bus, escaped with bullet injuries.
“The gunman who was shot was still alive, but later died at Alex-Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital where he was taken for treatment.
“Our men recovered two guns, including one double barrel gun (locally-made) and one AK-47. “We also recovered some charms from the gunmen,” he explained.
YAThe Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) says it has in place the required structures, human resources and equipment to become a full fledged university in Nigeria.
Mr Joe Ejiofor, Deputy Registrar of the institution, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Wednesday.
According to him, the government has exclusive right to turn the institution to a university.
Ejiofor also disclosed that the Institution had no fewer than 150 PhD holders, while there were still more academics working to upgrade their record to the level of PhD.
“YABATECH as a Federal Government owned Institution has all it takes in all capacity to compare with any university in Nigeria.
So, if it decides otherwise, YABATECH can always fit in.
“Because we have the manpower, resources, equipment, studios, facilities and many other necessary requirements that can make it adapt to a university which will be a good development in the right direction.
“However, as we speak, YABATECH is still under the control of the regulatory body, that is the National Board for Technical Education, as we award National Diplomas, Higher National Diplomas as a Polytechnic,” he added.
The Deputy Registrar described YABATECH, which was founded in 1947, as a Federal Polytechnic and Nigeria’s first higher educational Institution.
He added that the institution offered full-time and part-time -HND programmes areas cutting across Science, Technology and Commerce.
The Nigeria Governors Forum(NGF) has disagreed with Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice on the payment of consultants for Paris Club refund.
NGF’s Chairman, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, read the forum’s communique to State House correspondents on Wednesday after its meeting at State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
Malami, had recently told newsmen that governors’ forum agreed on the engagement of consultants to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club. “When eventually, successes were recorded associated with the refund, associated with Paris Club, the governors collectively and individually presented a request to the federal government for the fund.
“And among the components of the claim presented for the consideration of the federal government was a component related to the payment of these consultants that are now constituting the subject of contention,’’ Malami said.
Fayemi, in the communiqué, dismissed the attorney general’s claims.
“The forum extensively reviewed the purported attempt by the attorney-general and the Minister of Finance to circumvent the law and a recent judgment of the Supreme Court to secure the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“”This is to effect the illegal payment of the sum of 418 million dollars to contractors who allegedly executed consultancies in respect to the Paris Club refund to the state and local governments.
“The forum set up a committee comprising the chairman, the Governor of Ekiti State, the Vice Chairman, the Governor of Ondo State, the Governor of Plateau, the Governor of Nasarawa, the Governor of Ebonyi to interface with the committee set up by the president to review the matter.
“But the position of the governors’ forum is clear and unequivocal; although this matter is subjudice and we are very reluctant to get in the way of matter that is still being pursued in the court.
“We are constrained by the manner in which the attorney-general has been going around various media houses purporting to create the impression that this is a liability to which the governors have committed themselves to and agreed to even though he is very much aware that that is not the case,” he said According to Fayemi, the forum rejects all of the claims the attorney-general has made on the issue.
He said that NGF also insisted that states would not give up on insisting that the purported claims were fraudulent and would not stand as far as governors were concerned.
“And we will take every constitutional and legal means to ensure that the purported consultancies are fully litigated upon by the highest court in the land.
“If the court then finds governors, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and states liable, then we cross that bridge when we get there.
“As far as we are concerned, this is a matter that governors feel very strongly about and we do not believe that the attorney-general is not acting in the public interest.
“ We believe he is acting in personal interest that will ultimately become clear,’’ Fayemi said.