The Federal Government has warned that the 945 deaths recorded in COVID-19 pandemic cases is a wake up call for citizens to take appropriate measures to avoid being infected.
According to Ehanire, as at August 10, 2020, Nigeria has recorded 46,577 cases from 317,496 samples tested so far, while 33,186 persons have been treated and discharged.
He said that 945 persons have been lost to the COVID-19 disease, which had now been identified in 549 of the 774 local government areas.
“Half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 Local Government areas, which could offer the attractive option of targeted attention, to focus on case finding, isolation and treatment.
“The figures show that Nigeria is also sadly approaching the symbolic 1,000 number of fatalities, a grim reality that should be a wake up call for us,” he said.
He said, “until there is vaccine, the only options we have to protect ourselves, are still the non-pharmaceutical measures that are proven to be cheap and effective, such as the appropriate use of face masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds.
”If we do not adhere, there could be regrets.
“The urgency is accentuated by the need to prepare for societal changes that will arise as the economy reopens with increased transportation, trade and human interaction, including possible reopening of air travel.”
Ehanire, however, said that there must be effort to balance the benefits of a reactivated economy with the need to keep the citizens safe, with no loss in gains so far made.
He said that since Friday, August 7, Nigeria had joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Mask Week, the aimed of which was to reinforce the importance of wearing masks to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread in the absence of a vaccine.
“Our focus is still to reduce fatality to less than one per cent, not only with preventive measures, but also with a strategy that encourages citizens to report early for treatment and for hospitals to attend to all patients in distress; most importantly to be able to provide oxygen treatment.”
Ehanire said that the main COVID-19 symptoms include breathlessness, which responds well to oxygen supplementation as first measure.
He noted that the government was turning its preferences to gadgets that provide oxygen, like oxygen generators to be in many facilities, including General hospitals and larger Primary Health Centres (PHCs).
He stated that solar powered aggregates, where available, would be prioritized.
He added that Federal Health Institutions with oxygen plants should activate them as a matter of priority and ensure their delivery to their Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments.
According to him, the other measure is the activation of ambulance service to move patients to treatment centres.
”This strategy worked well in Kano and all states should prepare to set up the system.”
The minister also disclosed that the National Council on Health (NCH), which is the highest policy making body on matters relating to health in Nigeria, held a virtual Emergency Meeting on Thursday, August 6.
According to him, with this document, implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which was suspended in January, to correct anomalies in the 2018 Operations Manual, has resumed.
Ehanire said that the process of disbursement of fund had now started, right on time to support the much needed state efforts in the COVID-19 response.
“The new BHCPF has much better country ownership structure, offers a much improved benefit package and more robust fiduciary control for transparency and accountability.
”Development Partners are invited to support the new revitalization plan in whatever manner they desire,” he said.
He said that the NCH also approved the establishment of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), which is an innovative system to pool the assets of public and private sector ambulances and hospitals.
The minister explained that the pooled assets were ”to raise funds to augment government seed money, and to work with states to provide emergency medical care and patient transportation to all citizens whenever and wherever it is required and irrespective of immediate or potential ability to pay.”
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Edo poll: Gov. Obaseki faults INEC preparations
Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, said he expected better preparations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the Saturday’s governorship poll, after queueing for over an hour before voting.
Obaseki, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the election, stated this, shortly after he cast his vote at 11:48a.m, having joinied the queue for hand washing at 10:24a.m.
According to him, to wait for one and half hours on the queue before exercising his franchise is a bit disappointing.
“Given that this is a sole day election, I expected a bit more planning and preparation, and resources should have been put into this election.
“During the last presidential election in my polling unit, there were two polling points which helped the body on voters. You all are witnesses of how long this has taken.
“The card reader is working very slowly, and this is the situation in all the major voting centers in Oredo Local Government Area of the state as I speak.
“In Garrick Memorial Secondary School, I understand that over 500 voters are already stranded because they can’t vote because of the slow processing of the card readers.
“One would have expected that INEC will have deployed more card readers and more voting points in highly numbered polling centers,” he said.
On the issue of vote buying at polling units, the governor said that the security agencies were not doing what they assured Edo people and Nigerians of, before the election.
“The security agencies assured us that they won’t allow anybody who don’t have business of voting in a particular place to be there, but they are working on the contrary to what they promised us.
“You can see cars parked with a lot of cash being disbursed to people and it seems to be normal practice, but we are not perturbed. People know what to do; cash can’t buy their future,” he added.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta
Flooding: Kebbi Gov’t assures farmers on dry season farming
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi has assured farmers in the state of necessary support to engage in dry season cultivation, taking cognisance of areas affected by flooding.
The governor gave this assurance at the palace of the Emir of Yauri, Dr Muhammadu Zayyanu-Abdullahi, during a condolence visit to flood-hit communities in the Emirate.
Bagudu commiserated with the people on the losses they suffered, a statement made available to newsmen by his Chief Press Secretary, Abubakar Dakingari, on Saturday said.
He sympathised with them on the recent fatal boat mishap in the area, praying Allah to grant mercies to those who perished.
The governor also conveyed the sympathy of President Muhammadu Buhari, which he sent through the Ministers of Agriculture and that of Humanitarian Affairs, Muhammadu Sabo Nanono and Sadiya Umar Faruk, respectively.
The duo had led a separate delegation to Kebbi to reassure the flood-hit communities of the Federal Government’s commitment to bringing succour to the people.
Bagudu told the Emir that he used the opportunity of the visit to inspect facilities at the Gafara GB Food Factory and areas affected by the flood.
“I have approved the release of between N15 million and N20 million to the local governments affected by the disaster, according to the level of devastation.
“I commend the Emir for his continued support and loyalty to the incumbent administration and assure him that the government will continue to uphold respect to traditional institutions,’’ Bagudu said.
In response, the Emir thanked the governor for the visit and the provision of relief materials to affected persons, which he said, would help to cushion the effect of the flood.
The monarch also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his benevolence to the people of Yauri, especially with the establishment of an electricity sub-station in the town and ongoing roads construction.
“The electricity sub-station has improved economic activities in this area, and I know that the road will no doubt ease the transportation of goods and services.
“I, however, urge the Federal Government to fulfil its pledge of dredging River Niger from Baro to Yauri, to enhance operations of the inland waterways in the area,’’ Zayyanu-Abdullahi said.
He advised all relevant authorities to ensure that dams, rivers and lakes in the country are dredged annually, to remove obstacles hindering free flow of water that could result to flooding.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Idonije Obakhedo
Electorate, observer commend conduct of election in Edo
Electorate and observer at Ugboko Ward 5, Unit 26, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo, agree that the conduct of the state governorship election is peaceful.
Some of the electorate who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Saturday, said that the conduct was well organised.
Mr Benson Ibizugbe said that he was impressed that the process was going on peacefully and violence-free.
Ibizugbe said ”INEC did a good job by conducting a peaceful election here.
“There has not been issues of faulty equipment and they provided face masks for voters who don’t have to make them eligible to vote”.
An INEC observer, Ada Opkara, from Smile Africa, said that the voting process was seamless and commended the people of Ugboko ward for their peaceful conduct.
“I resumed here at 7: 18 a.m. before the INEC staff resumed activities, from that time till now, about three hours later, everywhere is calm.
She expressed optimism that the peaceful atmosphere at the polling unit would continue throughout the voting process going by the presence of security personnel.
Another electorate, Mr Monday Erhabor, said that he was happy that there was no violence at the voting centre.
“Everywhere is calm and peaceful, there is no violence, the security is tight and we are sure of a free and fair process”.
Edited By: Constance Athekame/Kayode Olaitan
Flood: 1 out of 14 passengers rescued in Sokoto mishap
One corpse was recovered out of 14 passengers in a vehicle that plunged into River Rima Bridge, along Tashar Illela on Sokoto-Kware-Illela road in SokotoState, due to flooding.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that a commercial vehicle, carrying 14 passengers on Thursday, plunged into the river as water submerged the road including the bridge.
He said other officials were from Sokoto State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and Transport unions.
He explained that the rescue became tough due to high volume of water that flooded the whole area.
According to him, officials have to seek assistance from construction firms for heavy duty crane, local divers and canoe divers for the mission.
Ambursa said the passenger vehicle involved in the accident was spotted, but however, could not be removed because it was hooked to a deep hole and passing water was still much.
Another rescue official from the federal fire service, Muhammad Jibril, said efforts were still in progress to remove the vehicle along with human bodies.
A local diver, Muhammadu Sada, said they deployed different tactics to save the passengers’ lives, stressing that the high water level contributed to the mission’s difficulties.
Sada explained that the area had not recorded such flooding in a long while and cautioned road users to beware of crossing the bridge because of the magnitude of the flood.
A resident, Maccido Ibrahim, told NAN that the public voluntarily contributed money for local divers.
“We raised N8,000 from the contributions and a philanthropist, Alh. Ahmadu Maidoya, and others contributed about N80,000 for canoe and local divers,” he said.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Sokoto State Ministry of Environment, Malam Abubakar Gani, said the Commissioner, Alh. Sagir Bafarawa, was not in town.
Gani said the ministry and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) were aware of the situation, however, could not speak on their contribution to save peoples’ lives, being the responsibility of the ministry.
The PRO assured to update the media on the situation, noting that the ministry had earlier alerted residents on the possibility of the flood and advised people to use alternative routes.
A Public Analyst, Prof. Bello Bada, said the incident portrayed poor training and lack of techniques on disaster management and rescue operations by Nigerian officials.
Bada, from Usmanu Danfodio University Sokoto, said the situations could attract public demonstrations as obtained in other countries where they value human lives.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed