As Nigerians join other Muslims worldwide to mark the 2020 Eid-el-Fitr amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged citizens to observe all precautionary measures against the disease.
The Director General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, made the call in a Sallah message to the Muslim faithful in Nigeria, a statement by the agency’s Head of Press Unit, Mr Paul Odenyi, said.
Abari also urged them to imbibe the lessons of Ramadan, some of which are discipline, selflessness, and piety.
According to the director general, the month of Ramadan is a period that Muslims should take advantage of to strengthen their faith and stay safe from the ravaging coronavirus by adhering strictly to the precautionary measures put in place.
He said leaders at the local level should take responsibility for enforcing movement restriction orders, inspiring compliance with all advisories by government in line with the spirit of Sallah.
“We cannot afford to be careless or nonchalant about safety precautions in our religious and cultural observations.
“We must be cautious (so as) not to facilitate community transmission of COVID19.
“Leaders, especially in religious and traditional communities, must take responsibility for the safety of the members of their communities from COVID-19 as they interact.
“They can do this by ensuring that prescribed social distancing, use of face masks, regular hand washing, and sanitisation are observed in our communities,” he said
The NOA chief urged Muslims to keep praying for divine protection of Nigerians from the coronavirus, and for the speedy recovery of those already infected.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
The Director-General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a news briefing on the agency’s observation, report and efforts in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.
Abari said that the 19 states include Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Kwara, Enugu, Katsina, Kaduna, Ekiti, Delta, Edo, Benue, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Oyo, Bauchi, Rivers, Ondo and the FCT.
He said that the agency observed that there was persistent disbelief of the danger and impact of COVID-19 among Nigerians, in spite of the awareness of the reality of the disease.
“In spite the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country, you find out that even at some high levels, people still take it for granted.
“Many respected opinion leaders still hold and spread disbelief among Nigerians. So many myths about the COVID-19 pandemic has been ranging from conspiracies about some persons using the pandemic to make quick gains.
“Also the claims of certain herbal concoctions that can cure COVID-19 are being peddled among Nigerians especially on social media.
“NOA has devoted much efforts in the recent weeks to debunk these myths, also with the bulk messaging on COVID-19, which has been rather intellectual for people at the grassroots, where illiteracy is still high.
“Words and phrases like “Social Distancing”, “Self-isolation”, “Co-morbidity”, etc, are over the heads of grassroots people and need to be stepped down to their level,” he said.
He expressed concern that the lockdown which was initially effective, however, subsequently waned in efficacy, especially in cities where enforcement measures were concentrated.
The NOA boss also noted that in the sub-urban and rural areas, business continued almost as usual in spite of the lockdown.
He, however, said that most religious centers complied with the ban on gatherings especially in the cities.
According to him, security operatives in some cases are compromising the ban on inter-state movement by accepting inducements, in exchange of granting travellers passage.
“There were lots of opportunistic crimes in some communities around the country in the wake of the lockdown. We therefore call on security agencies to increase their vigilance to stem such crimes,” he said.
Abari reiterated his earlier call on Nigerians to strictly observe personal hygiene, social distancing and safety measures approved by health authorities to avoid contracting the virus under this partial lockdown.
The NOA boss said that, “the gradual and phased easing of the lockdown does not warrant carelessness.
“Rather, it calls for stricter compliance to the guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).”
He urged Nigerians to intensify the practice of personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing with soap and water, or use of alcohol based hand sanitizers and use of face masks in public.
Abari said that maintenance of two meters distance from other people, refraining from handshakes, abstaining from gatherings of more than 20 persons and not going outdoors unless absolutely necessary, would help to curb the spread of the disease.
He also stressed the need for prompt reporting of cases of continuous dry cough or sneezing, difficulty in breathing and high temperature to the NCDC for immediate action.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari, on Friday urged Nigerian workers to ensure increased commitment to duty.
Abari, in a goodwill message to Nigerian workers to mark the 2020 Workers Day, said the need for such commitment has further been underlined by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Workers need to be more committed to their duties in order to achieve greater productivity that would be required to re-activate the economy after COVID-19,’’ he urged in a statement signed by the agency’s Head of Press Unit, Mr Paul Odenyi.
He restated the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the world’s economy, and pointed out that returning it to a better state would require a lot.
“The full strength, energy and initiative of the working class would be required to be able to return the Nigerian economy to its normal level and even ensure growth in the near future.
“So, whether working from the office or from home, Nigerian workers should bring their expertise to bear in their various organisations and industries to ensure the eradication of the virus in our country.”
Abari also urged Nigerian workers to justify the confidence reposed in them and the goodwill shown to them by President Muhammadu Buhari in the recent implementation of the new minimum wage.
“They can do this by rising to the occasion at this time when the nation needs them most.’’
Abari, while saluting the doggedness and sacrifice of medical personnel and other frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said the disease could only be contained in Nigeria by Nigerians.
“In the days ahead, the current situation will call for greater sacrifice and dedication from Nigerian workers to whom our dear nation has given a lot.
“There is no better time to manifest our patriotism as workers than in these difficult times.
“As we pay our respects to workers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty fighting COVID-19, we also pray for their repose and the consolation of their families.
“We must urge other workers not to relent in giving their best in service for the safety of the ones we love and for the sake of our dear nation,” the NOA director-general said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Dr Garba Abari, Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), said on Saturday that the Federal Government was not importing Chinese medical experts to directly take charge of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Abari states this when he featured at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) live programme in Abuja.
He explained that the 18-man Chinese medical team are only coming to share experience with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on how they were able to handle their own case.
He noted that whatever information the Chinese medical team made available to NCDC would be filtered and apply to address the peculiar challenge of the country on Covid-19.
“Because this is a global pandemic and from wherever assistance comes, you cannot reject it.
“For instance, the United States is opening its doors to all volunteers that will come and assist them because they are also getting overwhelmed.
“Despite its finest medical facilities and expertise, yet US is now saying any form of assistance coming from anywhere that will add value to the fight against Covid-19 is welcome.
“It is not as if the government of Nigeria is not appreciating efforts of its own medical experts. This is the time when Nigeria is proud and appreciating its own medical experts and showcasing it best.
“This is the time that Nigeria is moping all its competent hands, both active and inactive and bring them together with a view to ensure that we beef up competent human capacity required to address the issue at hand,” he said.
Abari, who said that humanity was put under challenge by Covid-19, stressed the need for everybody to contribute meaningfully to the war against the virus.
He said that the Federal Government was responding favourable in the provision of palliatives to the vulnerable groups, including persons living with disabilities through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Investment.
Abari appealed to citizens who had shown symptoms of the virus to quickly present themselves to NCDC for testing and proper medical attention to avoid endangering the lives of other people.
He also admonished citizens to maintain high standard of personal hygiene by washing their hands constantly or apply alcohol based sanitiser.
The DG also enjoined citizens to be law abiding by obeying the stay-at-home directives of government, saying, “together we shall defeat Covid-19.”
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ismail Abdulaziz
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Gombe State says it has intensified efforts to raise the residents’ awareness of preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Mrs Sarah Yapwa, The State Director of NOA in Gombe state, said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Gombe on Tuesday.
Yapwa said the exercise was being carried out to curtail the rising number of cases of coronavirus and the impact across the globe, and pointed out that there were no vaccines against the pandemic yet.
According to her, NOA has put up jingles and other means of sensitising the people in English and Hausa, so as to ensure that everyone got the message.
She said that the agency was collaborating with the state government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“In line with the directive from our Director-General, Dr Garba Abari, for a sustained awareness campaign on preventive measures, we have started grassroots campaign in all the 11 local government areas.
“We have radio jingles which are being aired twice a week on some local radio stations in the state. We also have foot soldiers that are in all the local government areas sensitising the communities.
“Our message is: regularly wash your hands with antiseptic soaps, avoid crowded gathering, ensure social distancing, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
We also inform them of the symptoms and who to call in suspected cases,” she said.
The state director said NOA was also sensitising religious leaders and traditional leaders on their roles and on the fact that churches and mosques are always very crowded.
“I can tell you that the level of response and acceptance of our sensitisation is very impressive. Religious leaders must ensure that they adhere to government directive to preserve the lives of worshippers.
“If any religious leader refuses to adhere, God forbids any of their members die, who will they preach to?
“It’s a time to show understanding and we all must show strong commitment to supporting government,” the state director said.
Yapwa appealed to stakeholders to support the agency in the sensitisation programme.
“We are visiting all media houses today to solicit their support and to appeal to them to play our jingles as their corporate social responsibility,’’ he added.
Edited Shuaib Sadiq/Ejike Obeta
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has threatened to sanction contractors who abandon constituencies projects across the country.
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stated this on Thursday in Akwanga Local Government area of Nasarawa State at a Town Hall meeting, organised by the commission, in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Owasanoye was represented at the occasion by Mr Adebayo Obaniyi, the commission’s Commissioner in charge of Benue/Plateau/Nasarawa States.
The ICPC chairman said that ICPC, as part of its mandate and in collaboration with NOA, decided to organise the enlightenment programme in order to get citizens’ inputs on the projects awarded to various constituencies.
He said that any senator and House of Representative member found to have connived with contractors to divert monies meant for constituency projects would also be sanctioned.
According to Owasanoye, any national assembly member or contractor, who abandoned constituency project, would be made to return and complete it or face the wrath of the law.
He said that even if such national assembly member did was voted out of office, he or she must be made to return and complete the project.
The ICPC chairman also urged members of the public to report any abandoned or diverted project to the commission for prompt action to correct the corruption going on in the country.
On his part, the Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said that constituency projects were the ones awarded by the Federal Government to better the lives of the people.
The DG, who was represented by Mrs Priscilla Allu, Nasarawa State Director of NOA, said that the Federal Government was awarding constituency projects ranging from boreholes, health facilities and donation of computers to schools and construction of roads, among others.
Abari also urged members of the communities where the projects were located to take ownership and maintain them for the overall development of the country.
He, therefore, urged the public to report any abandoned project, cases of diversion of projects or corruption to relevant authorities in order to tackle it.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the town hall meeting, with the theme: ‘My Constituency, My Project’’, had in attendance traditional rulers, religion organisations, students’ union leaders, members of NYSC and market women, among others.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru and
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), has urged Nigerians to effectively monitor constituency projects in their communities.
Mr Abubakar Dutsinma, the ICPC Commissioner in charge of Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe States, made the call at a town hall meeting with the theme: “My Constituency, My Project.” held on Thursday in Bauchi.
Dutsinma said it was imperative for citizens to effectively monitor constituency projects in their communities.
He emphasised that constituency projects were not gifts or donations to communities by political representatives.
The commissioner explained that such projects were funded by government, hence the projects were the responsibility of government and belonged to the citizens.
The ICPC boss urged the citizens to get involved in project monitoring as doing so would be part of accountability.
“Help yourselves to ensure that projects delivered are durable and of the right quality. Take ownership of constituency projects by showing interest in the selection, execution and use.
“You should therefore work with them to make sure the projects reflect your needs,” he said.
Dutsinma, however, reiterated the ICPC commitment to awareness and receiving reported cases of abandoned projects by past political representatives.
Also speaking, Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, NOA, explained that constituency projects were sponsored by political representatives.
Represented by Alhaji Yusuf Kobi, Bauchi state Director, NOA, said communities needed to take ownership of constituency projects for there to be genuine interest to preserve and protect them.
He said the intention of ICPC and NOA was to change perception so that the people would begin to see constituency projects as theirs.
Also speaking, Hajiya Hauwa Dahuwa, participant, demanded that government agencies should make proposed projects public.
She said making the project public before handing them over to the politicians for implementations would help in monitoring.
She thanked the organisers for giving them the knowledge on what role communities should play when projects came to their communities.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ejike Obeta
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Thursday urged communities in Osun to report to it, any abandoned constituency project undertaken by lawmakers in their areas.
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made the call in Osogbo at a town hall meeting tagged “My Constituency, My Project,” organised by the commission in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Owasanoye, represented by the Commissioner in charge of Osun, Ondo , and Ekiti States , Mr Shuaibu Alaro, urged the communities to alert government on poorly executed projects in their constituencies.
He said that they should do that so that their representatives could be held accountable.
“Constituency projects are not donations by the legislature representing you; they (projects) are the rights of the communities from the government.
“Your representatives in the legislature who select constituency projects do so because they are closer to you and it is expected that they understand your needs,’’ he said.
The ICPC boss said that the commission would continue to track constituency projects to ensure they were developed and implemented.
“We will not relent in ensuring that projects are developed and implemented which is an evidence that government means well for the people.
“It is through these projects that government touches the lives of citizens.
“Community must change their perception by learning to protect, monitor and report on projects within their confine to avoid fraudulent or unwholesome acts regarding projects,’’ he said.
The Director-General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, said the main focus of the agency, especially in 2020, was to see how government could meet the desire of the people.
Abar, represented by Mrs Yomi Oaseyinde, NOA Director in Osun, said that community ownership of projects would ensure that government was alerted when there was poor execution.
“This is the basis for the new partnership between the agency and the ICPC,’’ he said.
Abari added that the template under the partnership was for the people to own the entire process from conception to execution.
Edited By: Ejike Obeta
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), on Thursday called on communities in Osun to speak out on any abandoned constituency projects undertaken by lawmakers in their areas.
The ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, made this known during a town hall meeting on “My Constituency, My Project, ”organised by ICPC in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Osogbo on Thursday.
Owosanoye, represented by the Commissioner in charge of Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti, Mr Shuaibu Alaro, said that communities must learn to alert government officials on poor projects in their constituency in order to hold their representatives accountable.
”Constituency projects are not donations by the legislators representing them, but it is the right of the communities from the government representing them.
“Your representatives in the legislature who select constituency projects do so because they are closer to you, and it is expected that they understand your needs,” he said.
The ICPC boss noted that the commission would continue to track community projects to ensure they were not only developed and implemented by the executive arm of government but to specifications.
”We will not relent in ensuring that projects are developed and implementation done, which is evidence that government means well for the people.
“It is through these projects that government touches the lives of its citizens.
”Projects are not gifts or donations by political representatives, but rather they are fruits of national resources and government responsibility to the people.
”Communities must change their perceptions by learning to protect, monitor, and report projects within their confines to avoid all fraudulent or unwholesome acts regarding the projects,” he said.
The Director-General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, said the main focus of the agency especially in the century was to see how the vehicle of development could be made to deliver the desired gains to the people.
Abari, represented by the NOA Director in Osun, Mrs Yomi Olaseyinde, said community ownership would ensure that legislators, other officials and government were alerted when there was poor execution of projects.
”This is the base for the new partnership between the agency and the ICPC,” Abari stated.
He added that the new template advocated under the new partnership was for the people to own the entire process from conception to execution.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Donald Ugwu
Prof. Abdusalami Nasidi, a don and physician
with more than 32 years’ experience in clinical medicine has debunked the myth that the negroid race has generic resistance to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Nasidi, who was one of the guests at a
Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) programme, ‘Good Morning Nigeria’ on Wednesday said that the claims that COVID-19 does not affect black people or if it comes to Nigeria, it will be destryed by the intense heat, are fallacies.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, and the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, who were co-guests, g
ave update on the disease.
“It is actually right. Some viruses cannot penetrate some genes and DNA but this is not the case in this coronavirus.
“If it were to be, we would not be seeing the cases we have been recording.
‘The same thing happened with , if you remember, around 1986 to 1987 in Lagos.
“There were so many claims that it is not an African disease and it that could not affect the black race.
‘The myth was quashed when we recorded about 3.5 million cases.
‘There is no race that is immune to this virus,” said Nasidi, former Director General of National Disease Control and currently the Provost, College of Health Science, University of Africa.
The don, therefore, charged both the government and the citizens not to be complacent in stopping the disease from spreading.
He specifically charged Nigerians to take personal hygiene seriously and to avoid social gatherings as much as possible to protect themselves.
“We are now at a stage where we should access our readiness because it is an ongoing epidemic and according to experts, the worst is yet to come because it may affect more people.
“It took Italy three weeks to move from four cases to 21,000 cases, and Iran five weeks to move from eight cases to 16,000 cases.
“We are now at the stage where we have to combine containment and mitigation activities,” he said.
Nasidi also stressed the need to empower healthcare workers and prepare them for the challenge.
“The high number of those contacting the disease are the health care workers, so our preparedness must take into consideration how to take care of the health care workers.
“In Italy, 10 per cent of all cases affected are health workers. In Iran, 40 per cent of those that came down with the disease are healthcare workers.
“Even their Minister of state for health was involved.
“Therefore, we must mobilise, train, and empower them, build their confidence by providing protective gears, and facilities that will make them do the job better at every level,” he said.
Nasidi made comparison between Ebola virus and coronavirus concluding that the latter is more dangerous.
“Ebola virus is more inert. You acquire it by touching anything that has come in contact with the patient, but it is not transmitted through aerosol and the droplets
‘The contagiousness is that you have to come in contact with the patient or any other thing he has touched or the secretion even from the dead body.
“That is why at a time, the dead body became more contagious than the living body.
“But this virus (coronavirus) is a very strange one.
“It is part of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus which devastated the world between 2003 and 2004
“All of them come from animals including this virus. Some from camel.
“The coronavirus combines the contagiousness of Ebola and common cold flu, meaning it is highly transmissible and very contagious and more dangerous to acquire.
“It has a last stage of infection that is very dangerous.
“The Ebola affects the patients and the patient is in pain, devastated, and in severe state of health, .
“For the coronavirus infection, it is very gradual and when it shoots up, it gets to a stage that no medical assistance can help the victim.
“That is when it descends into the lungs and cause severe respiratory sydrome and affects the lungs, turning it to something like rubber.
Nasidi continued: “You can imagine the number of people that are dying In developed countries which have high tech medical system. This is because they cannot save them at that stage.
“As compared to the fluid that we know before like SARS, death rate with the coronavirus is about twenty times higher.”
The don, who admitted the fact that Nigeria had very intelligent people and competent medical personnel that could do a lot, however, said that was responsible for the feat recorded in containing the Ebola pandemic.
“You can see that within a few days we could identify the virus and sequence it.
“We have good laboratories, about six of them now, that can carry out the test.
“That means we can participate in the development of the vaccine worldwide,” he said.
The expert, however, warned Nigerians against laying unverifiable claims to a cure.
“If you do not pass through the scientific stages and go into the media to announce that you have a cure, you may ridicule yourself and your country.
“There are several negative claims at the height of that there were vaccines and drugs which could slow down our response.
“We have to be careful in presenting to the world information that could mislead other countries,” he said.
Nasidi recalled similar situation when a traditional healer claimed he had cure for Ebola and the people paid dearly for it.
“Ebola started in three African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia within the belt occupied by the Kisi tribe.
“There was a traditional healer who claimed he had medicine for the cure of Ebola and he was from the same Kisi tribe.
“People trooped there from Liberia, Sierra Leone thinking that they were going to be healed.
“All of those who went there with the disease thinking they will he healed died and the claimant also died,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim