Tag Archives: Abia State Government

Health Minister, Abia Govt, others hail Abia Professionals over  COVID-19 isolation centre (PHOTOS)

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Adeleke Mamora, has paid special tribute to Concerned Abia Professionals, a group of Abia citizens, for donating a fully-equipped isolation centre in Abia for the fight against COVID-19.

The minister made the commendation on Sunday evening at the inauguration a 50-bed ultra-modern isolation centre donated by the group to the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

He described the initiative as “exemplary and an unprecedented gesture’’ since the pandemic began.

“This gesture is a demonstration of undiluted patriotism ever seen anywhere in the country since the emergence of COVID-19,’’ Mamora said.

He said that the project further illustrated the milestone that could be achieved in national development through a robust partnership between the private and public sectors.

Also, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, described the project as a show of unparalleled patriotism.

According to him, the demonstration of this kind of patriotism compels government to complement the people’s efforts.

“This is the spirit of the people of old who did not depend on government, but embarked on community development and people-oriented projects through communal efforts,’’ Ihekweazu said.

He said that Nigeria could have recorded more casualties “but for some stringent and painful measures taken by the Federal Government on the pandemic’’.

Abia’s Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his deputy, Ude-Oko Chukwu, thanked the initiators of the project for their contribution toward the fight against the pandemic.

Ikpeazu said that it was a thing of joy that COVID-19 had helped to galvanise Abia indigenes to address an issue of common concern.

He said: “It is noteworthy that in every bad situation, there is a positive side to it.

“This is the first time to see Abia citizens across party lines come together to address our common problem.’’

He said that Abia had so far recorded 909 cases of COVID-19 with 810 cases successfully managed and discharged in the two government molecular laboratories in Aba and Umuahia.

He said that the state currently had 10 active cases, describing it as one of the least in the south-eastern part of Nigeria.

Earlier, the project initiator, Mrs Ngozi Ekeoma, said the gesture was inspired by the urgent need to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Abia.

Ekeoma said that the facility, christened Abia Care Centre, would handle the outbreak of any infectious disease.

Chairman of the Implementation Committee, Mr Johnson Chukwu, said that 180 Abia citizens contributed N98 million to execute the more than N120 million project.

He expressed joy that the project was completed in a record time of 47 days.

He thanked the Nigeria Sovereign Wealth Investment Fund and other public-spirited individuals for supporting the project with medical equipment.

In a brief speech, the Medical Director of FMC, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, thanked the group for its kind gesture, describing the members as selfless and some of the most patriotic Abia citizens.

Onyebuchi promised that the centre would be fully utilised to achieve its stated objectives.

The Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South Senatorial District, Rep. Sam Onuigbo, representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency, and a financial expert, Dr Alex Otti, expressed joy over the realisation of the project.

The Managing Director of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Investment, Uche Orji, Group Managing Director of First Bank Holdings, UK Eke, Slot CEO, Nnamdi Ezeigbo, Mrs. Vanessa Dez-Ogugua, Dr. Ngozi Azodoh, Elder Ekeoma Eme Ekeoma, Dr. Blessing Nwagba were among many prominent Abians present at the event.

PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT:

You have 7 days to unseal properties wrongfully sealed, Abia State Govt tells EFCC

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, in Abia State, Uche Ihediwa, Esq has given the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seven days to unseal some properties it sealed in the state.

Listing the properties, the Attorney General said the Commission shot itself in the foot in the exercise, having investigated some of the properties in the past and found them satisfactory.

A statement to that effect, made available to Jungle Journalist Media Ltd says:

“Some few days ago, the EFCC in brazen disregard of the regulatory, enforcement and investigative provisions of the law establishing the Commission purported to mark and seal assets and/or properties of the Abia State in various locations in the State Capital, Umuahia under the guise that these assets and/or properties were under investigation. These properties are –

1. The Abia Mall
2. 2. The Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, Umuahia
3. 3. The former Township main market at Ogwumabiri
4. 4. The Millennium Luxury Apartments, Umuahia
5. 5. Abia Hotels
6. 6. Linto Estate, Old Timber Shed

“In 2016, the same Commission, EFCC, investigated the ownership of most of these properties. The Certificates of Occupancy and Public Private Partnership Agreements between the State Government and Investors in respect of the properties were duly submitted or tendered before the Commission at the time, which documents the Commission found satisfactory.

“It is pertinent to note that the properties listed above belong to the Abia State Government and are not under investigation by the EFCC.

“Abia State Government duly entered into arrangements with credible investors for the development of these properties under Public Private Partnerships, which means that the reversionary interests in these properties still reside in the State Government.

“Sections 28 and 29 (a) of the law establishing the Commission, ie, the Economic and Financial Crimes (Establishment) Act, Cap E1, LFN 2004 makes it clear that the Commission can only attach or seal the properties of persons arrested for an offence under the Act. As noted earlier in this briefing, ownership of the propertied by the Abia State Government is not subject of any EFCC investigation.

“With particular reference to the Housing Estate at Adelabu Street, the estate was initially to be developed by investors under Public Private Partnership arrangements but later terminated for non performance by the developers/investors. The Adelabu estate under my watch as Commissioner for Housing was later built with direct labor by the Housing Ministry with the approval of the State Government. The houses in the estate, on completion were allocated to individuals who paid for the allocations and continue to pay ground rents to the State Government.

“Also the Abia Mall is in receivership as a result of the failure of the investor to pay back bank facilities. Had the Commission done a due diligence check, it would have unearthed this fact without shooting itself on the foot.

“The unwarranted and unlawful actions of the EFCC has fine incalculable harm to the economy of the State by scaring away high profile investors from the State. This also sends a negative signal to investors planning to invest in Nigeria.

“In the light of the foregoing, the EFCC is hereby given Seven (7) days from today to remove the offensive and provocative notices placed on the above listed properties or estates. The EFCC must tender an apology to the Abia State Government within the same period.

“Failure to comply with these demands will leave the State Government with no option but to seek appropriate redress in a court of law.

Thank you.

Uche Ihediwa, Esq
Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Abia State.

COVID-19: Abia set to get multiple diagnostic facilities

Abia State Government has received one of the two GeneXpert equipment ordered by the Ikpeazu administration in April 2020 from the United States of America.

Meanwhile, the state rapid response team has in partnership with NCDC concluded the test run of one of the GenXpert diagnostic equipment located in the isolation center at Amachara and is expected to commence analyzing samples next week from the equipment.

Also, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Friday, donated one PCR machine to the state which the state Government is also deploying at the Amachara facility to boost the testing capacity of the state.

According to the State Commssioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, who spoke to newsmen in Umuahia on Friday, two of the testing equipment owned by the state government will be deployed in Abia State Specialist Hospital & Diagnostic Center, Umuahia, while the new GenXpert machine from the United States of America’s will be deployed at Aba to cater for the commercial city and environs.

He explained that the main advantage of the GeneXpert equipment is that it does not need an extractor thereby reducing the chances of sample contamination and as well reduce exposure of laboratory personnel to infection. He informed that the state partnered with NCDC to train the laboratory scientists that will operate the facilities.

On why the delivery of the testing equipment was delayed, Dr Osuji explained that the acute shortage of the equipment due to excess demand arising from the pandemic all over the world, especially for the type of equipment the state government wanted as well as the border closure and restricted flights during this time made it difficult to take delivery earlier.

Dr Osuji informed that the uptick in number of confirmed cases in the state is as a result of the increased number of samples collected and sent for screening by the rapid response team and explained that while the state has resources to manage the patients it is desirable to continue with aggressive case search and contact tracing as part of the plan to defeat the virus in the state.

COVID-19: No cause for alarm, I am stable, Ikpeazu assures Abians

Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has assured the people of the State that he remains stable and in high spirit despite testing positive for coronavirus infection.

The governor tested positive for the COVID-19 disease and has since gone into isolation.

The State’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. John Okiyi Kalu, had confirmed this in a statement on Monday.

In another statement, the governor’s media aide, Onyebuchi Ememanka, Ikpeazu said his decision to present himself for a second test was to clear all doubts about his status, after testing negative initially.

Ememanka quoted the governor as saying: “As your governor, I have a responsibility to do what is right and keep our people fully updated about my health status.”

Ikpeazu further restated his stance that testing positive for the virus is not a death sentence, and appealed to the people of the State not to panic but continue to take issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic with all seriousness and take all necessary precautions in line with the protocols enunciated by the NCDC.

The statement further said: “The governor who has already commenced self-isolation under the careful watch of experienced medical personnel directed that the Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu shall hold the forte in his absence.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Abia State Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 and Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barrister Chris Ezem, has expressed displeasure over the flagrant violation of the COVID-19 protocols by churches in Umuahia.

The Chairman who visited some churches with members of the committee frowned at most congregants who did not put on face masks and also failed to observe social distancing in their sitting arrangements.

Some of the churches visited along Ikot Ekpene Road, Ihie Ndume in Umuahia North failed to observe the rules, including Streams of Joy and Salvation Ministries.

While reprimanding pastors of the concerned churches and their members over the development, Ezem warned that any church that continues to flout the State Government’s guidelines of 50 worshipers per stream of service stands the risk of being sealed up.

He added that: “COVID-19 has entered community infection stage. We keep emphasizing on this everyday but it looks like the churches are taking it as a joke. It is not! COVID-19 is not written on anyone’s face; it is not malaria nor is it measles whose symptoms are clearly visible. One can contract the virus by coming to church and not following the guidelines of the government”.

Ezem who emphasized that the ban on children attending church worships and other gatherings remains in place as they are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus infection also commended the leadership and parishioners of the Anglican Communion (Church of the Good Shepherd), Ehimiri, Umuahia, for their high level of compliance with the State Government’s COVID-19 protocols.

He reminded them that the same reasons State government is yet to open schools should guide them to stop holding services for children until further notice.

Abia Gov. Ikpeazu, EXCO, Covid-19 Task Force members to undergo Covid-19 test, isolation over Commissioner’s death

The governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has directed all members of Abia State COVID 19 taskforce and members of the his executive council who might have had contact with the late Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Solomon Ogunji to immediately undergo the COVID 19 test and go into self-isolation, pending the outcome of the result.

The decision was based on the outcome of the result conducted on close family members to the late commissioner for environment as revealed by an Abia Government Press Release.

The release also revealed that Governor Ikpeazu himself will also take the test and go on isolation.

FULL TEXT OF PRESS RELEASE:

Following the outcome of tests conducted on close family members of a late member of the state executive council (Exco) and member of the Inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed all members of the committee and those of the Exco who might have recently come in contact with the late commissioner to immediately undergo COVID-19 tests and isolate themselves thereafter pending the outcome of the tests.

Governor Ikpeazu who is still in mourning will also subject himself to all other necessary protocols as he has directed his Exco members including the Deputy Governor to do.

We wish to call on all Abians to continue to observe relevant regulations issued by the government and health authorities to stem the spread of the disease.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu,
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State
31/05/2020

COVID-19: Harmony Foam Company donates hospital mattresses to Abia Govt

The Management of Harmony Foams Ltd has donated dozens of hospital mattresses to the Abia State Government, through the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, to support the state government’s effort in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.Speaking while making the donation, the MD/CEO of the Ikwuano Umuahia based company, Chief Henry Ikoh, who was represented by Hon. Israel Emeka, applauded the efforts of the State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, and his team for providing effective leadership in the fight against the virus in the state, saying that the donation is one of the ways the company hopes to partner with the government to ensure that those who may be infected by the virus are well taken care of.According to him, “we are proud of the laudable efforts of Governor Ikpeazu and his team to rein in the virus in the state and it behoves on us as a responsible corporate organisation to lend our support in this battle to protect the people of the state from this deadly virus. We encourage our people to also ensure they take measures to protect themselves from the pandemic that is threatening our way of life and even our means of livelihood rather than leaving everything to the government.”Speaking while receiving the donation, Secretary to the State Government, Barr Chris Ezem, expressed appreciation to the company for the kind gesture and assured that the materials would further boost the government’s capacity to deal with the virus in the state. He used the opportunity to thank other private and corporate citizens of the state who have donated cash and other materials to the fight against the virus through the committee and prayed God to replenish them.

PHOTONEWS: Abia’s Gov Ikpeazu completes Eziukwu/Okigwe roads in Aba

Those who are familiar with Aba know that the stretch between No 1 Eziukwu Road and No. 1 Okigwe Road has been a perennial source of headache for road users.

Several attempts had been made by successive governments in Abia State to fix this portion, all to no avail.Ikpeazu decided to tackle that portion head on as part of the larger project to fix and connect Eziukwu Road with Cemetery Road.That portion has now been fully completed while Milverton Road and Ojike lane which are off this portion of Eziukwu Road are receiving attention as we speak.

This road was done using the RIGID PAVEMENT TECHNOLOGY before applying asphalt on it, and its
rock solid.

COVID-19: Nigerian Breweries Plc Donates N20M, other Relief Materials to Abia State Government

Nigerian Breweries Plc has made a donation of N20m (Twenty Million Naira Only) and other relief materials as support to the Abia State Government in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The donation was received by the Secretary to the State Government and Chairman of the COVID-19 Inter-Ministerial Committee, Bar. Chris Ezem, on behalf of the government.

Tunde Ejemode, leader of the Nigerian Breweries Plc team while making the presentation said the money and other relief materials which include personal protective equipment, face masks and sanitizers are to help frontline workers in the State in the discharge of their duties in the face of the pandemic ravaging the world.

He said having been in Abia since 1957, it is imperative for NB Plc to give back to the society especially in such a critical time as this and urged Abians to continue to abide by the COVID-19 rules as issued by NCDC and the state government especially as it concerns the wearing of face masks and frequent washing of hands with soap and running water or use of alcohol based sanitizers to clean the hands.

Barr. Chris Ezem who was visibly elated by the donations appreciated Nigerian Breweries Plc for their kind gesture, noting that the gesture would go a long way in supporting Government’s efforts at ensuring that the most vulnerable are taken care of especially at this time.

According to him “What you have done will enrich our basket in terms of provision of palliatives to people across the state. We will ensure that it is evenly distributed to those who need it”.

He thanked them for their sense of brotherhood in this precarious time and assured of state government’s continued efforts at ensuring that the people got the needed help at this time.

In the same vein, members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Abia State Chapter, has made a donation of some hand sanitizers to the COVID-19 team in the state. This is in a bid to contribute their own quota to bringing an end to the pandemic in Abia.

Chairman of the Association, Christopher Egwom while making the donation said they decided to produce the sanitizers as licensed to support the team that has been working tirelessly to help keep Abians safe from the virus. He revealed that they have also made donations to NDLEA, and the Correctional Services.

Receiving the sanitizers, the SSG said he was touched by their spirit to support and be part of the fight against the pandemic and challenged them to rise up to the responsibility of finding a vaccine that will fight the virus.

He called for an improved knowledge in the area of research and synergy with researchers at different levels, noting that until the vaccine is found, the society might remain locked.

The SSG however, expressed belief that Nigerian pharmacists have what it takes to find a solution to the pandemic. He said face masks will soon become a fashion trend and called on everyone to be an Ambassador against COVID-19 to save the society from imminent collapse.

Abia Govt Unveils 10 Commandments for Easing Lockdown

Highlights of remarks by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Umuahia, on Friday, 1st May, 2020:

Abia state Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, met with a cross section of Abia leaders including members of the clergy, commercial transport operators, market unions, medics and members of inter ministerial committee on COVID-19, to deliberate on a gradual easing of the ongoing lockdown in the state.

The following are some of the resolutions reached at the meeting as announced by the Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu:

1. It has become obvious that we cannot lock down forever. There shall therefore be a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown in the state which was occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

2. Our meeting today looked at 7 major issues in that regard and most of them have been resolved

3. Our consensus is that we will gradually allow the operations of commercial tricyclists (Keke) but on the condition that every Keke operator and passenger must wear face mask with only 2 passengers allowed at a time.

4. We also agreed that the mini buses (Oke Bekee) will carry not more than 5 passengers at any given time and every one of them must wear a face mask. For the 14-seater buses and above, we agreed that only 2 passengers will be allowed per row and in all cases, all of them including the driver must wear their face masks.

5. We have also decided that for now we should keep our school children at home which means all our schools will remain closed but we must reinforce our radio classroom initiatives, which entail learning through radio, an initiative which we have started already. All radio stations in the state will be hooked unto that platform to ensure wider and deeper coverage. Parents are called upon also to exhibit high sense of responsibility in preparing their children to be ready before the radio program which starts at 8am every week day.

6. For our markets, we will meet the leadership of the various markets, and in meeting government, we expect them to raise a team of 17 persons per market that will serve as COVID-19 committee members for their respective markets. The selected 17 persons will meet the Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, to try to teach them or sensitize them on some of the imperatives of COVID-19 which include that every shop going forward must have a bucket of running water, that is bucket with tap, and then soap and hand sanitizers. Social distancing must be observed in all our markets. The details and the schedule for the eventual reopening of our markets will be determined only after these 17-man team of each market has met with government through the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff and agreed on same.

7. We have also agreed that for now, the leadership of our respective Churches will take responsibility for the conduct and behavior of the laity even as we have agreed that they can worship from this weekend. We are pleased with their conduct before now and we expect that they will continue to maintain the practice of sitting 2 persons per pew. For Churches that don’t have pews, alternate positioning of church members ensuring that we do not have overcrowded churches and places of worship. We have also agreed to run many streams of one hour service each to ensure that all Faithfuls are accommodated and then all churches must close activities on or before 2pm on worship days.

8. For burials, we have noticed that most of our morgues are overburdened as it were and we may have difficulties in our hands if we continue to keep the corpses without burial. In addition to this, preservation may become an issue and we may have avoidable challenges. Government has therefore decided to allow burials since we don’t have any COVID-19 related mortality yet. But the burial events which should hold in the nearest fields must observe social distancing and not have more than 30 persons in attendance.

If the burial is to hold in a compound, then those who attend must not be more than 10 persons. And for a burial to be allowed, the Church involved will obtain a permit directly from the Office of the Secretary to State Government, or through the Traditional Ruler of the community as the case maybe for those who believe in traditional religion. However, such a traditional ruler will need to obtain a permit from the Office of Secretary to the State Government with leadership of the Local Government Area monitoring such a burial. They have been authorized to disrupt burials that are conducted in flagrant disregard to these directives.

9. We are also preparing our civil servants to resume but starting with only schedule officers and their immediate support staff. And when they resume they will only work for alternate days and close office latest at 3pm. At no time are we expecting to have more than 20 persons per Ministry during this period.

10. The measures above do not in any way affect the subsisting dusk to dawn (6pm to 6am) curfew in the state, inter state boundary closure, tricycle and other commercial transporters will only resume operation after endorsing a memorandum of understanding with the government on the new guidelines.

11. Finally, I am very happy and proud to announce to us that just this afternoon, the Ministry of Environment and Abia State Government have signed agreement with the World Bank for the commencement of the N27.2 billion project in Aba and we expect ground breaking to take place any moment from now. This project includes the most ambitious water management project ever done in our state with Ngwa Road and other areas expected to be fixed.

Thank you very much.

NB: The Chairman of the inter ministerial committee on COVID-19, Barr Chris Ezem, will issue further details regarding Implementation of the decisions including commencement dates and others.

PUTTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT IN RE – NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION (NBA) PRESS STATEMENT ON ONE EMPEROR OGBONNA

My attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by Kunle Edun, the National Publicity Secretary of Nigerian Bar Association on behalf of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) with regard to one Barrister Emperor Ogbonna which has also been published on the front page and page 16 of The Punch Newspaper of today Thursday April 30, 2020. As Chief of Staff to the Governor who was also mentioned in the press statement, I am compelled to put the records straight to wit:

1. The facts put forward by NBA Aba branch which NBA National relied on are copiously false, erroneous and misleading.

2. Paragraphs 1,2 and 3 of the NBA press statement clearly confirm that at least Mr. Ogbonna has accepted that he re-shared a post in his Facebook page that Governor Ikpeazu went to India and took an oath before a Hindu god to mortgage Abia State. He also made other posts on this. Governor Ikpeazu has never visited India all his life and as a law-abiding citizen, he took recourse to the law instead of self-help.

3. The Governor reported this case of cybercrime to the Police and the Police arrested Mr. Ogbonna and charged him before the Federal High Court in Umuahia for cybercrime and not terrorism as the misinformation from NBA Aba opines.

4. On 28th April, 2020, the Federal High Court in Umuahia granted Mr. Ogbonna bail and adjourned the matter to 25th May, 2020 for hearing. This is the much involving the Governor and we are ready to prosecute the case. No government official even attended Court on the said 28th April, 2020, what more entering the Court premises for any arrest.

5. I have asked questions and I understand that the said Emperor Ogbonna was now arrested because he had made other divisive and subversive comments on his Facebook page against President Buhari and the Federal Republic of Nigeria referring to Nigeria as an Islamic Republic, calling for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari, calling for the removal of Northern Nigeria from Nigeria, describing Northern Nigeria as an illiterate population and the biggest problem of Nigeria and inciting comments that Buhari hates the Igbos. How does this concern Governor Ikpeazu or Abia State government officials?

6. The NBA headquarters and the public can now see that NBA Aba carried their emotions too far and thus misinformed NBA headquarters, hence the unwarranted and manifestly embarrassing press statement. I know that the Nigerian Bar Association leadership will never support crime but I am nonetheless appalled that my NBA could hurriedly issue a press statement on an issue without hearing from the other side, not even a phone call to any official of the Abia State government. This is bad.

7. We cannot, however, be blackmailed into abandoning the course of justice.

8. No one is above the law and Mr. Ogbonna as a lawyer should have known the consequences of his actions and that Nigeria has a Cyber Crime Act.

Dr. A.C.B. Agbazuere
Chief of Staff to Abia State Governor.