glaring danger posed by the Ebola disease to Nigeria and the possibility of the virus spreading from other West African countries to the country, the Federal Government weekend allayed the fears of Nigerians, stating that efforts are in top gear to contain the disease.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told journalists in Abuja that government had put in place concrete steps to avert the spread of the epidemic to Nigeria.
Chukwu’s assurance came amid World Health Organization (WHO) warning that there are ominous signs that the disease may spread across the West African region, including reaching countries like Nigeria with higher population.
Giving a background to the origin of the disease, Chukwu said the virus “started from the Republic of Guinea and it spread to Liberia and also to Sierra Leone. This is the second time we are hearing story about its spread (to Nigeria) The first time, it was not true.”
The news of the outbreak of Ebola fever in some countries in West Africa, including several parts of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia sent shock waves across the region. West African countries like Senegal have since closed their land borders to check inter-border spread of the disease.
With death tolls rising in the affected countries, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Keiji Fukuda, recently described the outbreak as ‘one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks’ the organisation has ever faced.
According to recent WHO figures, there have been 157 suspected cases in Guinea, 101 of them fatal, while 67 of the cases were confirmed in WHO laboratories. The disease has no known cure or treatment yet.
Former President of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, in an interview called on the Federal Government to seal the country’s borders so as to prevent the spread of Ebola virus in the country.
He said, “Anywhere you have movements of people, from one location to the other, the likelihood is high. That calls to attention the need for us to check our borders. More often than not, when there are movements to some of these affected countries, especially when there is a very defective, weak surveillance system at the entry points – land, air and sea – people from endemic regions are given access in the country.
With over 170 million people, mostly in crowded urban areas, a possible outbreak in Nigeria could be disastrous.
In the same vein, veterinarian virologist and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, noted that Nigeria was at risk of an outbreak of the Ebola virus, considering that the affected countries are in West Africa.
LG Council Moves To Rid Area Of Shanties
As part of measures to ride off Eleme Local Government Area of slums and shanties, the council has embarked on the demolition of all illegal structures and shanties.
Executive chairman of the council Hon. Oboritomate Ollor told newsmen during the demolition exercise that the situation was to restore sanity to the area.
Ollor said the proliferation of Shanties in the areas was becoming assort of embarrassment to the council, adding that some of the illegal structures also serve as hide outs to criminals in the areas.
According to him, the council has no choice than to support the effort of this late government to restore sanity to Eleme and its environs.
He said the exercise was never intended to witchhunt or targeted at any ethnic group, but to keep the area safe for investment and businesses to thrive the council boss said the security of lives and prosperity’s sanitation, education and human empowerment will be given due attention by his Administration as urged residents to support the fight against insecurity as no society development in the face of security challenges.
While commending Governor Nyesom Wike for his fight against criminality in the state, Ollor warned criminals to leave Eleme or face the full wrath of the law.
The operation started at Akpajo Junction and ended at Trailer Park.
By: John Bibor
NGO Mobilises Stakeholders To Plant Over 6m Trees In Kaduna
The Aid Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it is mobilising relevant stakeholders to plant over six million trees in Kaduna State.
Mr Emmanuel Bonet, Executive Director of the Foundation said this on the sideline of a one-day engagement with relevant stakeholders in Kaduna on Friday.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a project tagged, “Green Peace.”
He told newsmen that the project was designed to promote peace, mitigate climate change, promote sanitation and hygiene and discourage open defecation.
Bonet said that the initiative was under a Public Private Partnership with relevant government agencies and private organisations.
He identified some of the government agencies as Kaduna State Facilities Management Agency, Kaduna State Ministry of Environment, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna State Peace Commission and Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs.
According to him, a good number of youths from predominantly Muslim community would go and plant trees in a predominantly Christian community and vice versa.
He said that in the two months, about 100,000 trees would be planted in public facilities, like banks, hospitals, schools, hospitals, and other public places.
Bonet said that before 2022, one million trees would be planted in strategic locations within Kaduna metropolis alone to promote peace.
“After this, we have a target of planting five million trees within the forests of Kagoro in Kaura Local Government Area (LGA), Afaka in Kudan LGA and Chikun, in Chikun LGA.
“These forests are already depleting due to massive deforestation by loggers, and in dire need of afforestation by planting trees.
“We are also working with renewable energy organisations to provide alternative sources of clean energy for people using wood to cook and for other businesses,” he said.
The executive director said that the Aid Foundation was equally working with government agencies and private organisations to provide toilet facilities in public places.
He said: “We are also hoping that toilets are going to be built in all public facilities like banks, supermarkets, hospitals, particularly at the entrance gate so that people can access them easily.
“This will go a long way in preventing open defecation in the state, particularly around public infrastructure and offices.
“Therefore, the engagement was to get the private organisations and government agencies to commit to making provisions for toilet facilities that will be accessible by members of the public.
“This will significantly tackle the problem of open defecation.”
DPO Donates Borehole To Rivers Community
Ogoloma Community in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State has commended the Divisional Police Officer incharge of the area, CSP Okoro Ikechukwu for the construction of a water bore hole in the community.
This was contained in a letter jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the community, Chief Kunumgbe and Levi Alalibo, respectively.
The community said the gesture will go a long way to check the rate of water borne diseases in the area.
According to the letter, “Ogoloma community has accommodated other officers before, but we see CSP Okoro as a distinct officer with the zeal to make peace.
“Your recent role in installing drinking water for the community is a case study”, the statement said.
CSP Okoro Ikechukwu who responded to the letter in an interview with newsmen said the borehole will go a long way in checking water scarcity usually experienced in the community.
According to him, during his routine visit to the community he discovered that the people were facing serious challenge of water scarcity, adding with the help of God he decided to come to their rescue.
He said rendering assistance to the needy aside from security was borne out of passion.
The DPO call on the people to cooperate with the police in areas of information sharing, surveillance and intelligence.
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