Tag Archives: COVID-19

2nd wave: Obaseki postpones reopening of schools, reinforces curfew in Edo State

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has suspended the resumption of schools in the state over the increasing cases of COVID-19.

In a statement on Friday, Obaseki also reviewed the curfew earlier imposed on the state to now span from 10pm to 5am.

He said schools in the state earlier planned to resume on January 18 in line with the Federal Government’s directive would now remain shut till February 1.

He said, “Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020, with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons.

“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.

“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease. This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease, but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.

“Schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.

“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January 2021.”

On religious gatherings, the governor said, “Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently.

“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.

“Monitoring/Enforcement teams must be set up and include powerful and influential religious leaders as drivers. There must be sensitization on covid-19 prevention during every meeting. Written commendation by the governor and deputy governor will be issued to religious institutions who show good compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures.”

Here are some of those working against corruption fight in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Frontline civil rights defender and philanthropist, Chief Patrick Eholor has taken government officials and parastatals in President Mhammadu Buhari’s government to the cleaners.

Eholor believes there are many elements in the government that are too neck-deep in corruption that they would never let the fight against it succeed.

In this interview, he mentions names and explains why he does not see any ray of hope, with such elements serving in the government.

Excerpts.

Minister Chibuike Amaechi:

Chibuike Amaechi is one of the problems of this country. As a Minister, he has done nothing else but to follow the north sheepishly.

Do you remember when he was a governor? Amaechi started the worst elephant project ever in Nigeria, by jumping into monorail construction. He claimed he wanted to connect it across Port Harcourt, but after a few kilometers, the project was abandoned, permanently, and is today, a monumental waste in the city. That monorail project cost the Rivers State Government a whopping N33.9 billion. As a matter of fact, the technical partners handling the project then, Arcus Gibbs Nigeria Limited described the project as a hoax!

Amaechi is a white elephant project man. At the moment, he is very busy connecting roads, and two roads from Jigawa and Sokoto to Niger Republic. While the railways will gulp a whopping $1.96billion, the roads will consume N30 billion.

Sadly, the old rail roads that connected his homestead of Rivers and the rest of the country are abandoned, and there is no plan on ground to start the projects.

While at it, Amaechi is busy, warming up to become a president!

The Inspector General of Police

The Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu is supposed to be the watchdog for good behavior among Nigerians, but the police force has continued to be an organization lacking in morals and ethics, and swimming in corruption.

Every year, the IG would announce that road blocks have been cleared on our roads, but that statement is always in theory. As a matter of fact, the road blocks usually increase in size of police officers, and they have ended up making the road blocks cash cows. There, senior officers compel the junior ones to make daily returns for them, and thereby exploit transporters. The IG is very much aware of this, but chooses to pretend he does not.

The same ritual is repeated every year, about police attaches to VIPs. The IGP would order the withdrawal of officers attached to VIPs across the country, but fail to do anything to implement the order. This way they have reduced respectable officers to bag carriers and mere drivers to rich men and their wives.

The police is paid over N300,000 per personnel by the VIPs, and only a little fraction of this money gets to the officers themselves. You can see why they refuse to withdraw them in truth. They are fantastically corrupt, and are making money from the VIPs!

State Governors, FG, Covid 19

The government has turned the fight against Covid 19 into a mere jaw exercise. First, NCDC and the FG started by bandying figures that didn’t really exist, and when they got funds to cater for citizens who were locked down in their homes, the funds were hoarded by governors and states, palliative measures were hijacked, and items meant to be shared were hidden away from the people, even perishables. It took the End SARS protests to expose this shameless act by our governments.

In Lagos, they are busy arresting poor people who cannot afford to defend themselves claiming that they are fighting Covid 19, yet they pretend they don’t know about the parties and feasts being hosted by their fellow moneybags.

It is at these parties that the London, and American, and other foreign returnees have been using to spread the disease, and this has led to the recent spike.

Despite the fact that he United Kingdom has cried out over the new dangerous strain of the disease, Nigeria has refused to close its borders from Europe and other such vulnerable countries. The result is that our people get exposed to Covid 19 infections.

All that the Federal Government and States are interested in is the Covid 19 funds. No one is genuinely interested in fighting the disease. Or ensuring that Nigerians are well cared for, medically and otherwise.

I can tell you that Nigeria is not yet serious about the fight against Covid 19. They are treating the pandemic with kid gloves, and it will be suicidal if this unseriouness and love for money overwhelms us and lands this country in a mess where it becomes impossible to deal with the pandemic.

Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio has no business being a minister, with the level of corruption cases against him. At first in 2015, a whopping N108 billion corruption case was brought against him by the EFCC.

A few years after down the line, Senator Akpabio in his capacity as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, along with the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Daniel has been accused of embezzling N40 billion.

This man was brought to testify at the Nigerian Senate and he could not defend himself. This is the man that heads the ministry, and says he has come to clear up the Ministry.

How can a man stinking of so much corruption be able to fight it, and clean up the Ministry?

Festus Keyamo

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo said N46 billion had been budgeted to provide certain jobs for 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

In their projection, they are to pay each of the beneficiaries who is either a graduate and Masters Degree holder N20,000, when the government realised that the minimum wage is N30, 000.

Literally, they will be giving a graduate N60,000 within three months, which is less than $200. The disbursement of such money to the graduates will not address the issue of unemployment in the country.

The best option was for the Federal Government is to use that money to establish industries across the geo-political zones to absorb the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

The Minister also kicked off this so-called empowerment programme with wheelbarrows and cutlasses for the youths, most of who are graduates. How can you give cutlass and wheelbarrow to graduates? When they have openings at the NNPC, FIRS, CBN, Nigerian Customs, Immigration, NIMASA, NLNG, and so on, then give it to their own children.

The children of the common Nigerian is only good for wheelbarrows and cutlasses. They spent N46 billion to acquire those things. Tell me how we intend to end corruption in this country.

ASUU and Covid 19

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has began to play the kind of dirty politics that the Nigerian Labour is used to. After keeping our youths at home for one whole year, and then having reached an agreement with the Federal Government, they are now saying that they cannot go back to the classrooms to teach.

Apparently, they want to begin to demand for more money to return to school.

ASUU, in as much as he had a genuine cause to go on strike initially, must avoid the temptation of keeping our youths at home again.

Schools may not resume January 18 due to Covid-19, says FG

The Federal Government has said that it is currently reviewing the January 18, 2021 resumption date for schools across the country due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

It said that the date was not sacrosanct, hence the likely announcement of a new date, depending on the country’s Covid-19 indicator.

This disclosure was made by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, at the resumed briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Adamu, in his statement, said, “When we decided on that date, it was just a target toward what we are working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in the society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.

“Even today at the PTF meeting, we looked at the rising figures and thought we should probably take another look at it. On the Jan.18, 2021 date for school’s resumption, we are reviewing it,” he said.

The Minister also added that the issue was considered at the PTF meeting held on Monday, and the ministry would take it up on Tuesday.

Recall that the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, in December 2020, directed that schools across the country should remain closed until January 18, 2021, due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, had warned that a significant rise in Covid-19 infections appeared imminent by January 2021 due to continued violations of safety protocols, especially during the Christmas period.

Coronavirus resurges as Edo records 36 new cases in 5 days

Edo State recorded 36 new cases of coronavirus in the last five days and a total of 198 cases of the virus since it started tracking the second wave of the pandemic in the state from December 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, disclosed this in a meeting of the State Emergency Operation Centre headed by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

Obi said that of the 36 new cases, 12 were reported from the PCR molecular laboratory at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), in Benin City, while 24 cases were at the laboratory at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua.

According to him, “We recorded 36 new coronavirus cases in the last five days. A total of 198 cases have been reported in the state since December 1, when we started tracking the second wave of the pandemic. We currently have 104 active cases in the state. We have a case positivity of 12.5 percent.”

He noted that the state government has reactivated its disease surveillance system to manage the spread of the pandemic, urging residents in the state to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We are prepared to deal with the second wave of the pandemic, but the people must play their role. They should ensure to abide by the precautionary measures set by the government to curb the spread of the virus.”

UK under total lockdown again as Covid-19 hits hard

Everyone in England must stay at home except for permitted reasons during a new coronavirus lockdown expected to last until mid-February, the PM says.

All schools and colleges will close to most pupils and switch to remote learning from Tuesday.

Boris Johnson warned the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet” amid surging cases and patient numbers.

He said those in the top four priority groups would be offered a first vaccine dose by the middle of next month.

All care home residents and their carers, everyone aged 70 and over, all frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered one dose of a vaccine by mid-February.

Schools in Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”, the Stormont Executive said.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson told the public to follow the new lockdown rules immediately, before they become law in the early hours of Wednesday.

All the new measures in England will then last until at least the middle of February, he said, as a new more infectious variant of the virus spreads across the UK.

The PM added that he believed the country was entering “the last phase of the struggle”.

Hospitals were under “more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic”, he said.

And he reiterated the slogan used earlier in the pandemic, urging people to immediately “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.

On Monday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row.

A further 58,784 cases and an additional 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test result were reported, though deaths in Scotland were not recorded.

At-a-glance: New rules in England

*People cannot leave their homes except for certain reasons, like the first lockdown last March

*These include essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot do so from home

*All schools and colleges will close to most pupils from Tuesday with remote learning until February half term

*Early years settings such as nurseries will stay open

*End-of-year exams will not take place this summer as normal

*Elsewhere, university students should not return to campuses and will be taught online

*Restaurants can continue to offer food delivery, but takeaway alcohol will be banned

*Outdoor sports venues – such as golf courses, tennis courts and outside gyms – must close

*But outdoor playgrounds will remain open

*Amateur team sports are not allowed, but elite sport such as Premier League football can continue.

Abia schools set to resume 1st term

The Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has approved the resumption of all Public and Private Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools in Abia State for the continuation of the First Term of 2020/2021 on Monday January 11, 2021.

According to a Press Release signed by Dr Kanelechi CK Nwangwa, the Commissioner for Education, Abia State, all School Heads and Proprietors are to ensure that all the COVID 19 Guidelines and Protocols already put in place are strictly maintained and observed.

“They should also note that by this directive, the First Term, 2020/2021 will now officially end on Wednesday February 10, 2021.

“This is to ensure that the First Term runs a full course as expected. Any School Proprietors that shortchange this schedule and decide to cut corners by running an abridged term will be appropriately sanctioned.

“The duration of First Term 2020/2021 is from November 2, 2020 to February 10, 2021 with the Christmas break in-between. Be properly guided”, it stated.

Why Is The Number Of Africans Dying From COVID-19 So Low? Bill Gates Wonders

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has said that he does not understand why coronavirus numbers have not been as high as predicted in Africa.

Recall that Gates and his wife, Melinda had in more than one occasion, warned that there will be dead bodies all over the streets of Africa if the world does not act fast enough.

Melinda said her heart was in Africa, adding that she is worried that the continent might not be able to handle the devastating effect of the virus.

But in his end of the year note, Bill said he was happy his prediction about Africa has not happened, “One thing I’m happy to have been wrong about—at least, I hope I was wrong—is my fear that COVID-19 would run rampant in low-income countries. So far, this hasn’t been true,” he wrote.

In most of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, case rates and death rates remain much lower than in the U.S. or Europe and on par with New Zealand, which has received so much attention for its handling of the virus.

“The hardest-hit country on the continent is South Africa—but even there, the case rate is 40 percent lower than in the U.S., and the death rate is nearly 50 percent lower.

“We don’t have enough data yet to understand why the numbers aren’t as high as I worried they would get — but gave probable reasons Africa was not as affected as expected.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria is currently fighting the second wave of the coronavirus. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had last week announced a second wave of the dreaded virus.

The Federal Government on Tuesday directed civil servants from grade level 12 and below to stay at home. They are to remain at home for five weeks following the second wave of the COVID-19 disease in Nigeria.

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on Friday stated that COVID-19 related deaths now stands at 1,246.

Nigeria currently has a total of 82,747 confirmed cases in the country.

BREAKING: Buhari extends PTF’s COVID-19 mandate to March 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the mandate of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 until March 2021.

Buhari’s decision has been taken because of the spread of a second wave of the Coronavirus.

The President made this known when he received members of the PTF, who were in the State House to submit the end of the year 2020 report to him.

According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to lose the gains of the past nine months in the fight against the pandemic.

“I am extending the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 till the end of March 2021, bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases, and the bid for vaccines.

“Nigeria cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread of the Coronavirus and the attendant fatalities.

“There is also the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner. This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into the year 2021, and it must be carried out through efficient machinery.

“Now is the time for collective efforts to be intensified. I, therefore, urge all sub-national entities, traditional rulers, religious and leaders of thought to collaborate with the PTF by taking up the responsibility for risk communication and community engagement at all levels.

“As the festive season approaches, I urge all Nigerians to remain vigilant and stay safe. Non-essential trips and large social gatherings should be avoided or shelved completely,” Buhari said.

The President had established the Task Force on March 9, 2020 and their mandate was initially to end December 31, 2020.

BREAKING: New COVID-19 variant in UK found in Nigeria

The new variant of the coronavirus currently causing panic and concern in the United Kingdom and the European Union has been identified in Nigeria by scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), at the Redeemers University in Ede, Osun State.

The new variant, detected in the UK in September and dubbed “lineage B.1.1.7” has triggered the current exponential spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the larger path of the United Kingdom, leading to a travel ban on the UK by some countries and a stay-at-home tier-4 level restriction in the affected paths of the country.

Now, scientists at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Ede, in South West Nigeria, said Monday, through a publication in Virological, a website for the global Genomics community, that they found the same variant “lineage B.1.1.7” existing in Osun State Nigeria since August 3rd when the first sample was collected.

Another sample, also from Osun State, collected in October, correspondingly showed the presence of this new variant.

According to Christian Happi, Professor of molecular biology and genomics who is also the Director at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), “the B.1.1.7 lineage we found in Nigeria, predating the one described in the UK, has also been observed to rise rapidly in the UK over the past four weeks, indicating the plausible increased spread of the virus by specific non-synonymous mutations in the spike protein.”

Although Nigeria has in December recorded a rise in the number of cases and an increase in deaths, Mr Happi said that he cannot credit the new variant for this rise as it was last seen in October and at the time, there was no surge in the number of cases.

“We however haven’t observed such rapid rise of the lineage in Nigeria and do not have sufficient evidence to indicate that the B.1.1.7 lineage is contributing to increased transmission of the virus in Nigeria,” he said.

Should this be a case for panic and worry for Nigerians? Mr. Happi’s team made a case for caution, warning that although the new variant might not be responsible for the rise in cases, that could change when new samples are sequenced.

“At the moment, only about 1% of the genomes from Nigeria belong to the new SARS-CoV-2 variant (B.1.1.7 lineage) and one of them predates the first description in the UK. However, this might change in the next few weeks when we sequence more samples from the recently reported surge of covid-19 in Nigeria” they announced, noting that, “other reported mutations such as the N501Y, A570D, and the HV 69 – 70 deletion in the spike protein have not been detected in our genomes yet, this could also be associated with the non-increase of the lineage in Nigeria currently.”

“In as much as the full effect of this mutation isn’t known yet and it is still being studied, the importance of a robust genomic surveillance system cannot be overemphasized as we can identify and report changes in the genomes of pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 that are of public health interest,” the report said.

COVID-19: Nigeria bans large gatherings, etc, rolls out new guiddlines

Nigeria government on Monday imposed new restrictions to prevent further spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Boss Mustapha announced the restrictions at the briefing of the task force in Abuja.

The new restrictions include the closure of all bars, nightclubs, pubs and event centres, as well as recreational venues in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

All restaurants were also directed to close, except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries, and drive-ins.

All informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events, have been restricted to not more than 50 people.

The government also limited all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50 per cent of the capacity of the facility of use which physical distancing and use of face masks should be strictly enforced.

Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said events where more than 50 people are attending should be held outdoors only.

He stated that public transportation systems should carry passengers not more than 50 per cent of their capacity, in compliance with social distancing rules.

Mustapha explained that the directives will be in implementation for the next five weeks.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 is currently 78,434 with 68,303 patients treated and discharged. The country has recorded 1,221 COVID-19 deaths according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The country’s COVID-19 figures experienced a spike in December with over 4,000 cases in the first two weeks of the month. This, Mustapha said, was caused by negligence to COVID-19 protocols in the country.

“From our assessment, the current situation are clearly the consequences of certain occurrences and events of the last few weeks,” Mustapha said “These include:

“Sudden increase in social gatherings involving large congregations from different parts of the country, and the world, at events such as weddings, religious activities, political rallies, conferences and end of year celebrations,

“These events, classified globally as ‘supers-spreader events’, make the risk of a single infection causing a large outbreak among attendees significantly higher,

“Furthermore, as we reopened the economy, we experienced increased economic, social and religious gatherings and activities all of which have combined to play a part in viral transmissions.”