Tag Archives: COVID-19 Lockdown

Abia at 29: Ikpeazu Set to Honor COVID-19 Frontline Workers, Others

Prior to the recording of the first index cases of Coronavirus disease in Abia State on Monday, April 20, 2020, the State Government, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, had mobilized the citizenry through massive sensitization campaigns aimed at preventing the disease from breaking into the state, trained medics on management of patients in conjunction with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), locked down the state internally and also closed our borders with other states.

The medics who volunteered to be trained included doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and others from state and federal government owned medical facilities as well as private clinics in the state.

In addition, isolation and treatment facilities were readied in Abia State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Center, Amachara, Infectious Diseases Clinic of Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba, and the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia.

Even with all the adequate preparations by the state, on the 20th of April, 2020, when the two index cases were confirmed at FMC Umuahia, hell was literally let loose as fear enveloped the facility and the state at large. Many of the medics, out of fear of the unknown, fled the facility and within 12 hours it was difficult to find medics at the facility. While medics who had contacts with the index patients rightly went into self isolation, others who had secondary contacts with them also deserted the hospital while some others busied themselves with issuing press statements and thereafter fled into hiding.

At that point, the Chief Medical Director, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, and a few of his senior colleagues had to take charge in order to save the lives of the index patients who were both over 70 years old and with underlying medical conditions, as well as other patients in the wards requiring critical care.

The first challenge for the Onyebuchi-led team was to find nurses who would volunteer to work at the isolation facility to support the patients and the doctors that would manage them.

All the nurses at the facility, including those trained to manage COVID-19 patients declined to volunteer for the work except for two brave hearts: Nurse Lilian Anyanwu and Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi who immediately and without pre-condition donned their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and moved into the isolation facility to care for the patients and support the medical doctors to deliver drugs and care to the patients.

As soon as he was briefed on the situation, Governor Ikpeazu directed a special allowance to be paid to the brave nurses and any other medic who volunteered to work at the isolation center. In due course, other nurses and doctors joined the initial volunteers and, ultimately, to the glory of God, both index patients survived and are living today.

Governor Ikpeazu did not and does not forget.

Meanwhile, the State Epidemiologist, Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu, mobilized a strong contact tracing team that transversed the 3 key LGAs of Ukwa West, Umuahia North and Ikwuano to knock doors of contacts of the index patients with a view to collecting their samples for testing and isolating to prevent them from infecting others. In one particular local government, they were almost lynched and it took the personal intervention of the Governor to ensure they had smooth access the next day. Even as they were tracing contacts, Lady Peace concurrently led a highly effective Medical Rapid Response Team to quickly collect samples from all over the state from persons suspected to have contracted the virus, under the guidance of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji and the Chairman of the Medical Protocol Sub-Committee of the Inter-ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Dr Caroline Iwuoha, who doubles as the State Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association.

With the contact tracing and activities of the rapid response team, the state soon recorded more cases who were moved to the isolation facility at the Specialist hospital Amachara. While other medics in the state were reluctant to join the efforts to save lives, the Chief Executive of Hospital Management Board, Dr Ijeoma Nduka, who is a public health consultant, volunteered to work at the Amachara facility along with some other medics including Dr Stanley Okerulu who was barely 27 years old then. For weeks, these medics never left the facility to go home and see family members, and between them and others, have managed more than six hundred COVID-19 patents back to good health.

Indeed, the Amachara Isolation and Treatment Centre has recorded more than 99% survival rate because of the sacrifices of Dr Nduka, Dr Okerulu and many others including consultants, residents, nurses and support staff.

In recognition of the sacrifices of these great Abians and others, Governor Ikpeazu has directed the organizing committee of the 29th Anniversary of Abia State to celebrate them with honors in order to encourage others to make similar or even greater sacrifices in service of humanity.

Those to be honored include:

1. Dr Stanley Okerulu
2. Dr Ijeoma Nduka
3. Lady Peace Nwaogwugwu
4. Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi
5. Nurse Lilian Anyanwu
6. Nurse Kemi Olowoniyi

In addition to the medics, Governor Ikpeazu also took note of one particular staff of Transport and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS) who has distinguished herself in the task of controlling traffic, particularly at FMC junction of Ikot Ekpene Road, Umuahia, where she turns up every morning before rush hour and work through the day in very neat uniform with visible passion to ensure free flow of traffic. In recognition of her diligence, TIMAAS Officer Uche Ugochi Confidence will also be honored with a special award during the Abia Day Celebration on 27th August, 2020, at the Michael Okpara Auditorium of Government House Umuahia.

In his 29th anniversary message to the people of the state, titled “Our Future is Bright”, released by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka, Governor Ikpeazu “sent his gratitude to all medical and allied services workers who have been in the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 and assured that his administration will do everything necessary to protect our people. He also reiterated his deep gratitude to the people of Abia State for standing by him in prayers during the time of his health challenge. He then sent his deep condolences to the families of all those who lost their loved ones to the pandemic.”

-Chief John Okiyi Kalu (Commissioner for Information, Abia State)

23/08/2020

Despite Covid-19 Lockdown, Charisma University Ends 2019/2020 Session with Successful Project Defense

Charisma University, Enugu Study Centre project defense was held on August 14th, 2020 at the Oakland Hotels Enugu.

The defense, which consisted of Degree, Masters and PhD students, was a successful outing monitored by competent external examiners drawn from other Universities.In an introductory speech just before the defense exercise, the lead examiner,

Professor Enudu T. O explained to the students that their responsibility would be to convince the examiners that they the (students) are qualified to earn the certificates.

He listed out the defending students, and their groups.

Other external examiners includes Professor Akubuilo, and (Associate) Professor Orga.

Successful students who excelled in the defense exercise are listed as follows:For Group A, the following persons defended under the Department of Management –

Olachi Chuks Ronnie
Ocheola Ayele
Igatta Amaka
Chukwuma Ifeoma Callista
Igatta Thomas Ogbonna

Edeoga Cyril
Onodugo Michael Uchenna
Chukwuemeka Ijeoma

Onodugo Chinwe
Akugbue Ngozi
Chukwu Paschal
Arum Uchenna B.
Eneh Blessing
Rita Anigbo

Judith Ugwuoke
Jeremiah Adams
Edoga Nnadi Chinelo
Ochiaka Francisca
Eneh Maxwell
Ugwu Chinenye

Akpata Rachael C
Onodugo Cynthia
Okoro Daniel
Nweze Queendaline
Chikezie Emeka

Onyeledo Ijeoma
Ugwuoke Emmanuel

Eneh Vincent
Judith Ugwoke
Obinna Nnamani

In an interview regarding the exercise, Professor Onodugo Ifeanyi Chris who is the Director of Charisma University, Enugu Study Center said “It was difficult for students to be physically present during the Covid-19 period, so we adopted the online study method.

“It was very successful because the school was already licensed to do online studies, we already had a platform and a technology, so that made it much easier for us.

“The students did very well. The professors that came as external examiners were thorough, and have made the few corrections that needed to be made. And we will follow up with their instructions and ensure that they are effected.

“Our students have been very wonderful, both in learning and in character. I can vouch for them.

Jungle Journalist Media Ltd also had the privilege of speaking with a number of students.

Dr Mrs Amaka Igatta, Business Administration and Management, PhD has this to say “It was tough studying during the Covid19. Going out for lectures was quite tough and we had to learn how to study and solve problems on line. But finally, we have come to the end of it, and I must point out that God deserves our praises for helping all of us to scale through.

She also spoke about Charisma University

“At the beginning of the course, I was not very sure of studying there. I asked myself, how am I sure that this is what I need? I have a job, and going to a regular university has been a great challenge.

I did my Masters with ESUT Business School, and I also tried to go for PhD there but that did not work out.

“It was a relief for me when I found Charisma University, I was overwhelmed when I saw the quality of lecturers that they have.

“The Director is very devout and went out of his way to see that all of us are satisfied.”We are so well taught that we can defend our degrees anywhere.

“When I made further research about the school, I learnt that the school is one with very high standards, even in the West Indies where its coming from.

“The school fees is also very affordable, for the fact that if you start, you can easily say exactly when you will graduate and be sure about it.

“For degree, the fee is between 400-500 thousand Naira for the full programme.

“For Master Degree, it’s just one year and you are through with a fee of 500 thousand Naira.

“For PhD, I am encouraging anyone who wants to study to come here. I have a colleague who went to a first generation university and for 12 years now, she has not defended her project. She joined this school and is graduating. My director spent 11 years to earn his PhD. Your PhD here cannot exceed two years, unless you are academically deficient. The PhD is N1. 5 million naira.

Igatta Thomas Ogbonna, who studied Education Management (PhD) also said

“The Covid 19 pandemic lockdown actually came as a blessing in disguise, because it afforded some of us the time to attend our lectures because we were mainly working people. But on the other hand, it was a time when people had to deny themselves a lot of things.

“We didn’t have to come out but we came out. The only thing is that we observed all the rules given by the NCDC, so it wasn’t easy at all.

“At anytime, examination must present some elements of challenge. I will not say that the defence was an easy one but it was something that added to what I used to know, and I am going to improve on it.

“What you see here is an assemblage of the academia, people who are already at the upper echelon. We are only coming after them.”

In his congratulatory address to the students at the end of the exercise, Professor Enudu stated

“Most of your works are very good, some are not, because the concept the person was discussing is still retrievable, so on the corrections, am sure the director will ensure that they are taken care of.

“Because this very institution is important to us, it is in our own state, and I always expect good news from my own state. It will give people the opportunity to get foreign degrees while they are here in Nigeria.

“If we must do that, we must ensure that what we submit is comparable to what is obtainable anywhere in the world. PhD will expose you, when people hear that you are a PhD holder, they will heap all responsibilities on you. If you get it through the backdoor, you will expose your self.

“Any association you are in, they will want you to contribute.”Dr Mrs Agbo has taken very good record to ensure that this thing goes well.

“Going by our scoring, most of the students excelled. Congratulations.

“Dr Mrs Olachi Chuks Ronnie who did the vote of thanks posited

“We can all agree that this has been a very fruitful exercise. You cannot discountenance the issue of unexpected tensions when you have to face a panel, but we surmounted it all. I appreciate the thoroughness of our external examiners.

“They are people who know what they are doing, and have brought in their best to get the most out of us. I want to really appreciate your efforts, and some of you who we encountered personally in the course of our studies, and we cannot easily forget the knowledge you have impacted, and continue to impact.

“I want to specially appreciate our Prof, Onodugo Ifeanyi Chris who is the Director for all the roles he played.

“If I begin to single out some of our lecturers to thank them, it will look like I am being partial. But I know that they are very dear to us for the personal interests they took in our works.

“To all of us who have run the race, and fought a good fight, we have finished our course, so I want to congratulate us for the cooperation we had in getting to this point”.

Charisma University, British West Indies makes it possible for students and professionals to earn a degree regardless of where they live, how many hours they work, their family circumstances or how much time they spend on the road.

The priority of the study centres, like Enugu is to provide its students an education that is worth both their time and money.

BREAKING: FG reopens schools for some students, lifts ban on inter-state movement •Airports also set to reopen

The Federal Government this Monday evening, June 29, 2020, announced the reopening of schools as part of modifications to the COVID-19 lockdown, the phase two of which it extended for another 30 days.

The resumption is, however, limited to graduating JSS 3 and SSS 3 preparing to write their final examinations.

Chairman of the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF), Boss Mustapha, announced this during today’s briefing by the Task Force in Abuja.

He also announced the lifting of the ban on inter-state movement but excluding the curfew period of 10pm – 4am.

COVID-19: Another nationwide lockdown imminent, Nigerian govt hints

The Nigerian government has hinted on ordering another lockdown across the country.

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, said ordering another lockdown won’t be out of place, considering the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stated this during the Thursday’s daily briefing of the committee.

He stressed that the way Nigerians are romancing the virus was an indication of danger in the nearest future.

According to Mustapha: “This is the time to lock down if it were within my power. This is the time to lock down because I can see the attitude of people romancing with COVID-19.

“The daily increase in confirmed cases, the federal government feels a sense of frustration because we can see glaringly the danger ahead and you can see the level of recklessness on the part of people who should know better.”

Covid-19 Lockdown: Schools begin to reopen in UK

Primary pupils are back in some schools in England – but surveys suggest half of parents might have kept their children at home.

There is a very mixed local picture in how schools are reopening, and in some areas schools remain shut.

Children in Reception, Years 1 and 6 are able to return, with many having been out of school for 10 weeks.

It comes as lockdown measures are eased in England, including groups of six people being allowed to meet outside.

Schools have remained open throughout the coronavirus restrictions for the children of key workers and vulnerable children – but from Monday many more pupils are able to return.

But there have been fears about safety from teachers’ unions and some local authorities and many schools are not yet taking back more pupils – or not bringing back all the year groups set out by the government.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said children needed to catch up with missed lessons and at school they “will be with their teachers and friends again”.

BBC News education reporter Judith Burns describes the return to school:

“You look like you’ve grown,” says teacher Catherine Hughes to a reception pupil who hasn’t been in school since March.

“Are you excited to be back?” Helen Frostick head of St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic primary school in West London asks another.

About half of those who could have returned have taken up their places, alongside 15 children of key workers who have continued to come into school throughout the lockdown.

The classrooms have been completely reorganised, with desks in rows, facing forwards, instead of pushed together into big tables.

There’s lots of hand washing and the windows are open to let in fresh air.

The school has split each class into two separate bubbles with one half in on Monday and Tuesday and the other on Thursday and Friday, which allows for a deep clean on Wednesdays.

In the Reception class each table is separate, with its own tray of equipment so that the children don’t need to get out of their seats so much, says teaching assistant, Clare Gordon.

“It really is best for the family,” says mum Sophia as she brings her two sons to school.

She has managed to do some home schooling with the boys over the past few weeks but it hasn’t always been easy.

“I was 10% worried but 90% thinking it was the right thing to do,” says Julia, who has just dropped off her son.

“The main thing is for normality and for his mental health. He needs the interaction with his friends. He’s been begging to come back,” she says.

BBC

Breaking! Covid-19 Lockdown: All 50 US states reopens activities

As the country’s death toll surpasses 92,000, all 50 US states have partially reopened after a two-month shutdown.

On Wednesday, Connecticut became the final state to lift restrictions when it gave the green light to shops and restaurants under certain conditions.

But wide discrepancies remain between states in terms of infection rates and the pace of their economic restart.

Many have not met the federal guidance on how to reopen, including a 14-day “downward trajectory” of cases.

The District of Columbia is expected to announce its reopening next week.

Countrywide, the US is seeing an overall downward trend in new cases and deaths over time.

Some of the hardest-hit areas, including New York, New Jersey and Washington state are now showing the sharpest declines, while majority of states have reached plateaus. Still, states like Arizona and North Carolina continue to report increases.

Many like Connecticut have started with a state-wide approach, with varying degrees of restrictions.

In Maryland, for example, residents must stick to outdoor recreation, including golf courses, beaches and campgrounds, while states like Oklahoma now allow residents to attend religious services, get a tattoo, and even spend an evening at a nightclub.

Slower moving states – mostly concentrated in the country’s North East and West Coast – have begun regional openings.

In California, for example, some restaurants and retail locations will be allowed to open, but only in counties that meet standards for testing and declining infection rates.

Last week, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser extended the city’s social distancing restrictions until at least 8 June.

The guidelines may be loosened, however, if DC meets a series of reopening metrics set out by Ms Bowser, including a two-week decline in community spread of the virus.

In 60 pages of guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control this past weekend, the centre provides detailed guidance to particular sectors.

In schools, for example, desks must be placed six feet apart and face the same direction, with temperature checks for all staff and students.

In restaurants, the CDC advises establishments open first with limited seating to allow for social distancing, and place higher-risk workers in roles that limit their interaction with customers.

And states are advised to ensure a decline in reports of “covid-like symptoms”, documented cases and positive tests over a 14-day period.

But even as confirmed cases in the US pass 1.5 million, not all states are following the guidelines as they forge ahead.

MR LA COUNSELS SUPPORTERS ON COVID-19 AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

A prominent philanthropist and political leader in Kaduna Central Senatorial District of Kaduna state has enjoined the good people of the state to comply with safety advisory of the World Health Organization, WHO and other measures put in place to safeguard their lives.

Giving this advice on Friday is Mallam Lawal Adamu Usman, popularly called “Mr. LA” by his teeming supporters while addressing the media at his residence, stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is real and people must endeavour to take every necessary step to remain safe at all times.

Mr. LA, who contested for the Kaduna Central Senatorial ticket in the 2019 elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP but lost under suspicious circumstances, advised his supporters and members of his constituency to observe the social distancing directive and also, adopt the physical distancing safety rule.

He stressed that COVID-19 is no respecter of persons especially those who fail to abide with the warnings.

The philanthropist and Founder of ‘Mr. LA Cares Foundation’, who recently doled out several millions of naira for the purchase of food items that were distributed to his constituents as palliatives to cushion the effects of the lockdown, enjoined youths to remain law abiding.

He warned against public gatherings which is one of the fastest ways by which the disease spreads and therefore advised that people must wear nose masks or protective coverings that will help checkmate the spread whenever there is the need to step out of their homes.

Mr. LA appealed to all those affected by the lockdown to understand that the lockdown is a necessary step to forestall the spread of the disease amongst residents of the state noting the integral role the state plays in the north.

“We must continue to pray to Almighty Allah to come to our rescue especially now that we are in the Holy Month of Ramadan”, he stated.

He called on Government to always remember that the people comes first in all of its decisions and as such, seek ways to ameliorate the sufferings of the citizens particularly with the lockdown and its restriction orders.

COVID-19: Before the next round of national lockdown

By John Okiyi Kalu

There is no doubt that locking down helps to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus especially when applied stringently with other measures such as regular washing of hands under running water, wearing of face mask and social distancing.

But it is not a silver bullet that ends coronavirus and also has other deleterious socio-economic implications that must be considered even while taking the necessary measures.

This note was provoked by an article I read concerning the projection that Lagos will likely record 120,000 cases of COVID-19 by July 2020. Of course, that projection must have come out of some modeling system being used by the authorities in Lagos State. Yet, I beg to disagree with the numbers and will later share my reasons.

While media reports suggest that the Federal Government is mulling another round of national lockdown, permit me to suggest what I consider the most urgent priority for us in the fight:against COVID-19 which is the availability of accurate testing facilities in all the senatorial districts of Nigeria as a minimum.

According to Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), so far, we have tested 23,835 samples from our population of about 200 million people. Out of that meagre figure tested, we have confirmed 4,151 cases of COVID-19 in the country with about 3,278 cases currently active. That means that 17.41% of those tested returned positive results. When we extrapolate to the national population it means that if we test 200 million Nigerians we MIGHT likely find about 34,820,000 positive cases in the country.

I capitalized the word might to show that other variables will likely come to play with regard to the numbers. For instance, the stringency of the case definition means that only those that are very likely to be positive would have been tested thereby giving rise to high positive outcomes. On the other hand, the stringent case definition might also allow many positive cases to escape the loop. For instance, if the stringent case definition existing at the time had prevailed with the two index cases in Abia State, who are above 70 years old, home bound with underlying medical conditions usually associated with senior citizens and no recent travel history, they would have been missed even though they had the virus.

It is my considered opinion that while locking down is good to slow down the spread of the virus, it is even more important to be able to test as many people as are willing to be tested to know exactly what we are dealing with in order to prescribe the right solutions and in time, too. On its own, locking down is not an end and indeed comes with numerous deleterious socio-Economic consequences.

Above all, I was personally taught in Business School to ensure I see the end before taking a dive. Where exactly is the end we are seeing with the lockdown strategy? We can’t possibly lockdown the country forever.

Before we declare the next round of national lockdown, let’s do the following:

1. Establish one testing center in each senatorial district of the country. That should give us 109 new testing centers or a little less because of the existing ones.

2. Ensure total closure of inter state boundaries to stop people from spreading the disease far and wide. Circle the disease wherever found and deal with it there. All our states need not record cases and, indeed, if we had implemented this measure earlier, we would have been dealing with lockdown in only Lagos and FCT whereas other states would have continued with production to support the entire country.

3. Fund large scale research on local drugs to manage patients of the disease. While COVID-19 is a novel disease, there are previous infections that mimick its biochemical attributes. A good starting point is to find out how those past outbreaks were managed with local herbs before the coming of the white man?

4. Enforce national wearing of face masks to minimize the spreading of the disease. If we achieve 80% compliance with face masking in the country, we would have reduced the likelihood of spreading the disease by more than 60%.

At the moment, it makes little or no sense to impose curfews when we cannot enforce inter-state movement restrictions. Granted that people need to spend as much time as possible locked down at home, our peculiar situation with absence of steady power supply and adequate security makes it a fortuitous measure, in the main.

It is also an indisputable fact that the number of cases we have recorded so far is directly proportional to the number of tests we have conducted. My private investigations indicate that some states recording low or zero infection rates may not have been testing as much as others like Lagos and Abuja. If some of those states do not start testing as many as need to be tested, let’s start building morgues and mass graves early enough.

Finally, it is laughable that we are yet to identify what exactly is killing Nigerians in Kano. The resort to paper surveys as against autopsies is a joke. If we say that it is unIslamic to conduct autopsies is it also the case that only Muslims in Kano are affected by this so called “strange” illness? Can’t we examine corpses of the non Muslim victims and use the result to pinpoint what is killing our people? And if, like many suspect, it is actually COVID-19 that is on rampage in Kano, Gombe and Bauchi, why won’t the authorities say so and then take measures to contain the situation before things nosedive further south?

In all these, I accept the risk of being called a fear monger if it will make us think harder as a nation, but what I am seeing is not good and it is not the product of malaria induced dream or “odumbaka” prophecies. I see tens of thousands of Nigerians being camped in open fields as isolation centers because no state can afford to build a 120,000 bed capacity isolation facility fast enough. Not even Lagos that is conservatively projecting the “meagre” infection figure of 120,000 by July 2020. Large swathes of residential areas might have to become isolation zones as we navigate through the months of June and July. Let’s wake up before it is late.

-JOK (John Okiyi Kalu) is the Abia State Commissioner for Information

INTERSTATE LOCKDOWN: Edo, Enugu, Abia, Cross River security intercept, repatriate over 700 northerners

More than 700 people, including Almajiri school children have been apprehended and sent back to the North by security operatives in Edo, Enugu, Abia, Cross River States since Monday this week. The repatriation is a result of the Federal government inter state lockdown to check the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Over 66 youths of Northern origin clandestinely travelling in heavy duty trailers were apprehended at the Ewu Flour Mill Axis of the Benin Auchi Express Road in Edo State, according to Radioesannews.

The report said they were apprehended yesterday, 7th May 2020, and escorted back to the Okpella axis of the Edo State boundary with Kogi State.

On Wednesday, 6th May, over 100 boys were also arrested at Irrua. They were also travelling in trailers and trucks. The same night, another group travelling in motorbikes were also apprehended.

This is a worrisome trend considering the nation wide restriction on inter- state travelling and the fact that they are coming from the northern part enrout the south.

Also note that even the northern state have started repatriating this homeless youths back to their states of origin. Then why the massive influx from their Homeland towards the south?

Commenting on the development, Engr Fidelis Edokpa, president of Ewu Progress Foundation (EPF), a community development organization in Ewu, the border community between Edo Central and Edo North, lamented the nonchalant attitude of the Chairman of Etsako West LGA whose territories these migrants passed through before reaching Ewu.

In his words, “the chairman of Etsako West LGA is frustrating the efforts of the Governor in securing the state against security and health hazards. He ought to mobilize the security architecture at his disposal to combat this harmful migration. The Etsako Vigilantes are well organized and with proper coordination, they can prevent this influx”, he said.

Furthermore, Engr Edokpa implored the Edo State governor to call the Etsako West LGA Chairman to order.

In a related development, the Enugu State government on Thursday intercepted and turned back nine busloads of almajiri children following a failed attempt to sneak them into the state.

Dislodged from the North, as governors in the region moved urgently to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of the pupils trying to find new havens in the South have been prevalent.

Security operatives alongside council chairmen and youths stopped about three hundred pupils around the Enugu-Benue boundaries, particularly at Udenu, Igbo-Eze North and Nsuka Local Government Area.

Abia State had on Tuesday said it intercepted some buses bringing in about 100 almajiri children into the state. The Commissioner for Information John Okiyi said the travellers were turned back because a presidential order banning inter-state transport was still in force. He added that the state’s Ministry of Homeland Affairs had been mobilised to beef up security at the boundaries.

President Muhammadu Buhari had recently imposed a restriction on inter-state trips to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The order had also coincided with the relocation of almajiri by several Northern states.

A statement by the Enugu State government yesterday disclosed that similar operations aimed at preventing infiltration and enforcing the ban on inter-state transport were ongoing at the Enugu-Abia boundary and Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.

Mr. Philip Nwazi, who is the new Divisional Police Officer in charge of Udenu Local Government Council, explained that some offending vehicles in the area were intercepted and impounded between 11:00 p.m. (Tuesday) and 3:00 a.m. (Wednesday).

Nwazi said some of the intercepted vehicles had emerged from forests as their drivers tried to beat the restriction order. He said they were promptly turned back to serve as a deterrent to would-be violators.

The Chairman of Udenu Council, Solomon Onah said the local administration was fully mobilised and working round the clock to ensure that the restrictions by the state and Federal Government were complied with.

Also, the Cross River State government yesterday reportedly turned back five truckloads of almajirai and other passengers from the North.

State Security Adviser Alfred Mboto was quoted as saying: “We got a report from our security and task force teams at the Garkem border town yesterday night that trucks carrying a large number of children from the north, alleged to be almajirai, were intercepted after a thorough check and have been turned back.”

Lockdown Nigeria now, use Abacha loot for palliatives to avert mass deaths, Kalu urges FG

The National Director, Special Duties of the PDP Youth Alliance, Dr Emeka Kalu has urged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency lock down the country.

Kalu said this has become necessary, following the rise in the death rate of Covid-19 patients, especially in Northern Nigeria, and the total violation of social distancing laws by Nigerians.

Kalu also said that, with the level of crowding in buses, banks and other public places since Monday, 4th May, its only a matter of time before there will be a sharp spike in the number of infected Nigerians.

He also argued that the Federal Government should make use of the recently returned $311 million Abacha loot as palliatives for all Nigerians “the recently repatriated $311 million should be shared among all Nigerians who have a BVN. The money can sustain Nigerians during the period of the lockdown. We cannot afford to get careless and allow what Melinda Gates said to befall us. She said she sees corpses on the streets of Africa, FG must act now to prevent this from happening”, Kalu stated.