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    FG inaugurates Infectious Disease Centre in Abuja

    Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.

    By Abujah Racheal

    The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated the first Infectious Disease Centre (IDC), in the Federal Capital Territory, and handed it over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH).

    Speaking at the inauguration of the 40-bed centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the centre would improve Nigerias capacity to respond to all infectious diseases.

    With laboratory testing and case management in one location, there is a much shorter time between sample collection and infection confirmation.

    This will ensures early initiation of treatment and thus mitigate mortality during infectious disease outbreaks.

    I am very proud that today, we now have an international standard centre where we can manage highly pathogenic infectious disease cases, including critical medical and laboratory equipment, Ehanire said.

    The minister hinted that the model would be replicated across the 36 states to ensure that the country was better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks.

    Other facilities in the hospital inaugurated by the minister included the Accident and Emergency Unit which is a 32-bed facility with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), radiology suite, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating theatre and oxygen supply unit.

    Also inaugurated was a Cardiology Unit with facilities for non-invasive procedures including a 4D echocardiograph.

    The minister also laid the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block which, when completed, would have facilities for specialised therapies, an emergency area, consulting, psychotherapy and seminar rooms, and a pharmacy.

    The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a remark, said that the project commenced in 2019 following the outbreak of the Lassa Fever in 2018 and the urgent need for a centre to manage infectious diseases.

    In addition to managing viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever, Ihekweazu said the Centre was designated for the management of cases of other infectious diseases, including Coronavirus, in the FCT.

    The NCDC boss stated that the treatment centre also had a molecular laboratory for the prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases.

    He said it was even more important to establish a treatment centre in Abuja to improve health security, while noting that COVID-19 had shown that no investment in the health sector was too small.

    Ihekweazu reinforced the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to ensure the sustainability of the project.

    Prof. Bisala Ekele, the Chief Medical Director of UATH, reaffirmed the commitment of the hospital management to ensuring optimal utilisation of the treatment centre for the management of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ekele stated that the NCDC had supported the FCT Administration to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through training of health care workers on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).

    He added that the commission had also assisted in the provision of medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and deployment of rapid response teams.

    He disclosed that the NCDC had deployed and maintained a team of epidemiologists to support the FCT health authorities in response to the pandemic.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCDC is mandated to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.

    Part of its role involves supporting states and building their capacity to respond to outbreaks, with directives from the Minister of Health.

    NAN reports that the NCDC conducted a joint onsite assessment with relevant stakeholders in the FCT and it was agreed that UATH, Gwagwalada was strategically placed and suitable for the treatment centre. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Appeal Court reserves judgment in Bayelsa deputy gov. certificate forgery suit

    Court symbol

    Wandoo Sombo

    The Court of Appeal on Friday reserved judgment in Bayelsa deputy governors alleged certificate forgery suit.

    TheDeputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to dismiss the alleged certificate forgery suit brought against him by the governorship candidate of Accord Party, Mr Ebizimo Diriyai.

    Diriyai is appealing the August judgment of the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed his petition against the Nov.16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa.

    When the matter came up on Friday, Ewhrudjakpo told the Justice Adzira Mshella led five-member panel of justices that the case of the Accord Party on the alleged certificate forgery was statute barred.

    He said it was statute barred because it was not filed within the 14 days stipulated by Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

    Earlier, Mr Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh, SAN, counsel to Ewhrudjakpo told the court that what the appellant took to the state election petition tribunal was a pre-election matter which was erroneously labeled as a post election matter.

    Machukwu-Umeh said that in compliance with relevant laws, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), published names of Bayelsa governorship candidates and their running mates 60 days before the election .

    This, he added was for the general public to make claims and objections.

    He contended that in breach of the law, the Accord Partys governorship candidate did not file any claim or objection within the 14 days allowed by law.

    The senior lawyer further argued that being a pre-election matter, the appellant ought to have filed his case at a Federal High Court, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or High Court of a state.

    He said that the appellant no longer had a live case against the deputy governor and urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

    Other respondents in the suit, Gov. Douye Diri, INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also asked the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and a waste of the courts time.

    They prayed the court to uphold the judgment of the tribunal which had earlier dismissed the appellant s petition along with three others.

    After taking arguments from all counsel in the matter, Justice Adriza Mshella, announced that judgment was reserved and a date would be communicated to parties in the suit.

    News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) recalls that the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal had in August, dismissed the petition of Diriyai against Ewhrudjakpo.

    The petition was dismissed on the grounds that the allegation of certificate forgery against Ewhrudjakpo was not proved by the petitioner.

    Diriyai had dragged INEC, Diri, Ewhrudjakpo and the PDP before the tribunal alleging certificate forgery and falsehood against the deputy governor.

    He alleged that the deputy governor forged his NYSC exemption certificate, which he presented to contest the Nov. 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.(NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Credible politics only possible if everyone contributes own quota  Jega

    Prof. Jega, Former INEC Boss

    By Naomi Sharang

    Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Friday said that Nigerias political space needed cleansing, and urged every Nigerian to contribute own quota to ensure that.

    He stated this at the inauguration of the 34-member Policy Advisory Committee of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), on Friday in Abuja.

    Jega, who is a member of the advisory committee of the PRP, said that all hands must be on deck to sanitise Nigerians on the electoral process.

    I believe that all Nigerians can no longer sit on the fence as everybody needs to contribute to the cleansing of politics in Nigeria.

    There should be no fence sitters; our future is at stake. We cannot allow bad people to continue to govern us or misgovern us and continue to wreck our country and its future, he said.

    The former INEC boss said that he would help members of the committee to prepare position papers, policy criticisms and policy frameworks that would make PRP a strong political party that could win elections.

    Earlier, Chairman of the party, Mr Falalu Bello, while inaugurating the members, had said that the members were thoroughbred intellectuals drawn from a wide field of specialisation and experience in Nigerias intellectual vineyard.

    He said that the committee would operate in 10 working sub-groups including foreign policy and Pan-African Solidarity and Unity, internal security, civic liberties and values orientation, among others.

    Bello said that the primary assignment of the group would involve carrying out a critique of the existing government policies and programmes in the working sub-groups area of interest.

    He advised the members to take full cognisance of the many progressive provisions of Chapter two of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution in carrying out their assignment.

    Our party, the PRP, shall court the involvement and participation of intellectual workers in the struggles for material and social advancement of the working masses of this country, he said.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that members of the committee, which is coordinated by Mr Richard Umoru, include Prof. Ifeanyi Anigbogu, Dr Aminu Aliyu, Mr Abdulkadir Isa, Prof. Ahmadu Sanda, Hajiya Aishatu Dankani, among others. (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    COVID-19: FG receives 3 Smart Walk-Through Booths for sample collection

    Dr Chikwe Ikekweazu NCDC Boss

    By Franca Ofili

    The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has received three Smart Walk-Through Booths for COVID -19 sample collection, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the centre has said.

    Ihekweazu said the booths were donated by the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

    Sample collections will done safely and easily in the country.

    This donation reflects the understanding that the fight against COVID-19, really requires joint effort.

    The booths are designed in a way that when people need samples collected, you dont have to dress in your full Personal protective equipment (PPE), this is a model that will make simple collection more easier and health workers protected, he said.

    Ihekweazu said that the booth would enhance the fights of COVID-19 in the country and promised to ensure it was properly used as required.

    He said the booths would be put into effective use at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, the Central Public Health Laboratory and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos.

    Also speaking, the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora said that Nigeria needs collaboration in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

    Mamora appreciated the government of Korea and advised the NCDC to ensure proper use of the booth.

    Also speaking, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Maj.-Gen. Lee In-tae who was represented by Mr Woochan Chang, KOICA Country Director said that the donation marked another milestone in the bilateral relations that established since 1980.

    Lee said that the booths are expected to provide medical staff with effective protection during test sample collection, support mass screening for COVID-19 in a timely and efficient manner and reduce the usage of PPE.

    He said some key features of the booths include: Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, high efficiency bi-directional fan module conductive for medical staff to collect test sample.

    He advised the NCDC to ensure efficiency and good maintenance of the booths (NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Buhari renews appointments of CEOs of PTDF, PEF, NCDMB

    President Muhammadu Buhari

    President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the appointment of Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau as the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and Ahmed Bobboi as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).

    Mr Femi Adesina, who confirmed the appointments in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said Simbi Wabote was also reappointed as Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

    He said the renewal of the appointments followed recommendations to the President by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Syla.

    Adesina revealed that Aliyu was credited to have ran the PTDF successfully in the past four years, keeping faith with the Seven Strategic Priorities he had introduced in January 2017.

    These are: Domestication, Cost cutting, Sustainable funding, Efficient internal processes, Linkages with the industry, Utilization of centers of excellence, and Pursuit of home-grown research.

    According to him, Bobboi gets his reappointment for having run PEF in a way that made it a key and strategic player in the administrations oil and gas reforms, especially in stabilizing the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, among others.

    He said the NCDMB boss, Wabote, won his pips for managing the NCDMB and completing its headquarters building.

    The presidential aide said that Wabote also initiated many landmark projects that were widely commended by industry players.

    All the appointments take immediate effect, he said.

    Source: NAN News

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    I-G pledges support to discourage malpractice in WASSCE

    Police IG Mohammed Adamu

    The Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has pledged continuous support to discourage examination malpractices during the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

    The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

    He said the force would continue to partner with the examination body to ensure that perpetrators were brought to book.

    He said 12 suspects were arrested for their involvement in various examination malpractices in the just concluded WASSCE in some states across the country.

    Mba said the arrest of the suspects followed renewed partnership between the examination body and the police aimed at ensuring and promoting the integrity of examination processes.

    Investigations by Police revealed that the suspects used their privileged positions as invigilators, supervisors and school functionaries to conspire, perpetrate and encourage varying degrees of malpractices.

    The malpractices among others include online transmission of examination questions and answers on various social media platforms, he said.

    He said that the suspects were arrested in Kano, Rivers, Nasarawa and Bauchi states.

    Mba said that the I-G had enjoined parents, guardians, students and all stakeholders in the examination processes to cooperate with the police and the exam body to end examination malpractice.

    Source: NAN News

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    Consolidating Nigerias electoral successes

    INEC Boss

    By Donald Ugwu

    On Sept. 19, the nations electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), proved book makers wrong by conducting what has so far been termed as one of the freest and credible elections in the country.

    The election was devoid of the usual violence and conspiracies to steal the mandate of the electorate to chose who governs them.

    INEC, in just 24 hours delivered a verdict from the Edo polls, that returned incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for a second term in office.

    That day, Edo, The Heartbeat of the Nation, was calm and the fear that the state would experience bloodletting was doused by the conduct and carriage of most of the political stakeholders, before, during and after the governorship polls.

    Months before the exercise, following the utterances from political gladiators, Edo was almost torn apart, as hoodlums masquerading as party loyalists, fought at the gate of the palace of the Benin monarch.

    The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, had prior to the incident, said that he would call his sons, Obaseki and his main challenger, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu, to a peace meeting, in order to ensure violence-free election in Edo.

    The Oba did. With the National Peace Committee, led by former military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Bishop Matthew Kukah, its secretary, following immediately after, a peace accord was eventually signed, setting the stage to what came out of Edo.

    The questions now are: After Edo what next? Will INEC do an encore in the next election already scheduled for Ondo State on Oct. 10? Will the votes of the Ondo State electorate count and will it also be non-violent?

    INEC already knows that all eyes are on it and that if it achieves the same feat as it has done in Edo, it would have fully restored credibility in the nations electoral system.

    In Edo, INEC used its newly created Z-pad, a technology-driven visual portal to upload all results collated at the polling units to a central portal to remove any act or attempt to manipulate the outcome of the results at the various collation centres.

    The Z-pad was akin to the strategy adopted by then Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, for the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.

    The Commission mounted a bill board at the commissions headquarters in Abuja, where collated results were published in quick sequence.

    Available results showed that Chief MKO Abiola, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party was coasting to victory before the election was annulled.

    The Z-pad adopted by INEC for Edo governorship election worked as the usual cobwebs which hitherto festooned the dusky beams of form EC8, the document for the recognised manual transmission of results, were removed.

    INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Sept. 23 began a three-day visit to Ondo State to assess the preparedness of his men to replicate the feat in Edo.

    He assured Nigerians, especially Ondo State electorate that the Commission was fully ready for Oct. 10.

    The reassurance has been a soothing balm to the people, after a wild fire on Sept 10, torched more than 5,000 card readers for the polls stacked in containers in the state INEC office.

    We have already recovered. Unfortunately, we lost 5,000 smart card readers, but we recovered by getting the prerequisite number of card readers from the neighbouring Oyo State, and they have been delivered.

    They have arrived, been charged and configured and are ready for the election on Oct.10, in Ondo State.

    We will use the Z-pads to upload results on election day real-time and we have moved those Z-pads from Edo to Ondo State for the election.

    So, the same preparations that we made for Edo, we have also made for Ondo State, so we are prepared for the election, he said.

    Yakubu said he would also meet with the council of traditional rulers, security agencies, and officials of the Commission in the 18 local government areas of the state for the purpose of the election.

    This is the first visit. We are still coming back a week after for the main stakeholders visit and the signing of the peace accord, he said.

    INEC achieved success in Edo, but remaining on top is usually a major challenge for persons and institutions that must be exposed to tests.

    It is expected that the umpire will not relax as it must gather all information on what transpired in all previous elections, assess what went wrong in some instances and do its possible best to correct them.

    Available records showed that Edo has 2.21million registered voters, 1.73 million qualified to vote, as 483,796 persons failed to collect their voter cards.

    The winner emerged with 307,955, votes, while the states population from a 2014 estimate is five million.

    Obviously, it was not 100 per cent success in Edo as there were still cases of poor voters turnout, intimidation by the presence of 30,000 police men, harassment of mostly female voters and various allegations of vote-buying.

    Various groups, politicians, diplomatic community and ordinary Nigerians have hailed Edo polls and want its lessons to spread to Ondo State and other subsequent polls.

    The U.S., which had issued a no visa order on any person that could undermine the Edo polls, on Sept. 24, endorsed the processes that led to a successful Edo polls.

    The country lauded INEC and the security agencies on the positive roles they played during the election, which it said, strengthened democracy in the country.

    It called on all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security agencies to improve the electoral process during the Oct. 10, Ondo State governorship election.

    The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.

    We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.

    As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both countries, it said via the Facebook page of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria.

    The U.S. stressed the need for all Nigerians and other stakeholders to give its support in anyway, to make the system better for posterity.

    Analysts recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan, demonstrated statesmanship and sportsmanship after the 2015 Presidential Election as he put a call to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevent endless tussle at the election tribunal and usher in peace to the electoral space.

    Buhari had since built on this by making sure that there was improvements in conduct of elections so that the opposition, no matter who, has the hope that victory can come its way.

    Nigeria cannot afford to disregard the already established principles; the country should continue marching forward. It can never be late. (NANFeatures)

    Source: NAN News

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    FIFA suspends Trinidad and Tobago over High Court claim


    FIFA has suspended Trinidad and Tobago from international football after its football association (TTFA) pursued a dispute through the countrys High Court in contravention of the world governing bodys statutes.

    The TTFA and FIFA have been at loggerheads since March after the world governing body dissolved the executive of the cash-strapped association.

    FIFA said it had installed a normalisation committee after they concluded the TTFAs former leadership had engaged in various acts of serious mismanagement.

    This was opposed by TTFA president William Wallace and contested in court.

    The suspension was prompted by the former leadership of the TTFA lodging a claim before a local court in Trinidad and Tobago in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA, FIFA said in a statement.

    This course of action was in direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.

    FIFA said they gave a Sept. 16 deadline to withdraw the case which was extended to Sept. 23 before the decision was taken to suspend the TTFA.

    This suspension will only be lifted when the TTFA fully complies with its obligations as a member of FIFA, including recognising the legitimacy of the appointed normalisation committee and bringing its own statutes into line with the FIFA Statutes, it added.

    Trinidad and Tobago are scheduled to play Guyana in their next competitive fixture on Oct. 8, the start of their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.(Reuters/NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    COVID-19 threatens progress in women, childrens health  UN Report


    The coronavirus pandemic threatens to turn back the clock on a decade of progress in women and childrens health, according to a United Nations (UN) report released on Friday.

    The report highlights significant advances made since the launch of the UNs Every Woman Every Child movement 10 years ago, including more than one billion children being vaccinated, and deaths of under-fives reaching an all-time low in 2019.

    However, the report notes that these gains were not evenly distributed across the globe.

    Last year, 5.2 million children died of preventable causes before reaching age 5, and 82 per cent of those deaths were concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

    The coronavirus crisis is exacerbating existing inequalities, with the most vulnerable women and children most affected by disruptions to health services, according to the UN.

    Without more efforts to tackle preventable child deaths, 48 million children under five could die between 2020 and 2030, the report warns.

    Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a child under the age of five died every six seconds somewhere around the world, UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a press release.

    Millions of children living in conflict zones and fragile settings face even greater hardship with the onset of the pandemic. (dpa/NAN)

    Source: NAN News

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    Navy inaugurates new hydrographic survey vessel
    The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Thursday in Les Sables dOlonne, France, inaugurated the first ever purpose built hydrographic survey vessel.

    The Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Suleman Dahun, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

    The Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said the new vessel was conceived as a replacement for NNS LANA, which was decommissioned about 10 years ago.

    Ibas, who was represented by Rear Adm. Abraham Adaji, said this at a ceremony at the OCEA Shipyard.

    According to the CNS, the ceremony marked a giant stride in the efforts toward actualising the dreams of not only restoring but enhancing the service survey capability.

    He also emphasised that surveying and charting play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation and delivery of maritime security.

    Ibas added that the new vessel would enhance the safety of Nigerias maritime environment as well as serve as a critical component of deployment of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

    The CNS stated that the vessel would also play a critical role in the protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce.

    Ibas, however, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the recapitalisation of the NN Fleet.

    Earlier, Mr Fabrice Weinbach, who represented Mr Roland Joassard, the CEO of OCEA, said the LANA was the result of the excellent cooperation between the NN and OCEA teams.

    Joassard thanked the Nigerian Embassy members of staff and the Nigerian Building survey team for their commitment and professionalism.

    He noted that the new ship demonstrated the willingness of Nigeria to improve the knowledge of the countrys waters with a sea proven platform and up-to-date equipment.

    Joassard added that the OCEA and NN relations would be strengthened through the supply of integrated logistic support services, including training, to maintain the operational readiness of the crew, the ship LANA.

    As well as its equipment and systems and the on-site technical assistance.

    Also, Nigerias Ambassador to France, Mrs Modupe Irele, highlighted the significance of the ceremony as a manifestation of good Nigeria French relations.

    She noted that the construction of the vessel started in 2018 and was scheduled to join the NN fleet in 2021.

    Source: NAN News

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