In a bid to tackle the menace of Ebola disease, the Rivers State Government says it has begun talks with Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the Emory University in the United States.
The CDC and Emory University in the US are the health facilities in which the two foreign medical missionaries who contracted Ebola in Liberia are being treated.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, in a statement at the weekend, called on the people to remain calm as there is no reported case of the disease in the state.
He said, “discussions with these international reputable agencies and institutions have been very encouraging and our people shall soon see the benefits.”
Already, he disclosed that the state government has provided personnel of the ministry with the necessary materials needed to combat the deadly virus.
“Governor Chibuike Amaechi has given us everything we need to fight the Ebola virus in Rivers State and has also assured me that should we need more personnel and materials, the state would provide,” the commissioner further stated.
Parker urged the citizenry to exhibit high sense of personal hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water regularly, avoid eating uncooked meat, and handle raw meat and rodents with care.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sampson Parker has flaked former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Austin Opara over a statement credited to him to the effect that the state government was not doing anything to check the deadly Ebola virus in the state.
Parker described Opara’s claim as, “reckless, irresponsible and unfortunate”.
He added, “I realize that this a political season, but we as leaders must be responsible in our utterances so as not to cause unnecessary panic in our people.”
Meanwhile, a Nigerian man who was quarantined after he showed Ebola-like symptoms while travelling to Hong Kong has tested negative for the deadly virus.
The southern Chinese city government said in a statement late yesterday that the man, 32, had “tested negative for Ebola virus upon preliminary laboratory testing”.
“In the past one month… he had no contact history with sick persons or animals and did not visit health-care facilities. He is currently in stable condition,” a government spokesman said in the statement.
The man arrived in Hong Kong from Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city, via Dubai on Thursday and was hospitalized Sunday after vomiting and having diarrhoea.
Concerns are growing over the potential spread of the disease which has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in West Africa this year.
Hong Kong, a densely populated city of some seven million people, is particularly alert to the spread of viruses after Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome killed almost 300 people eleven years ago.
On July 30 the Hong Kong government said it would quarantine as a precaution all people from Ebola infected areas who showed any symptom of the disease such as fever, vomiting or diarrhoea.
Last week a woman who showed Ebola-like symptoms after returning from a holiday in Kenya tested negative for the virus.
Nigeria along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia has been hardest hit by the latest epidemic, which the WHO has called the worst outbreak of its kind in four decades.
Nigeria — the most populous nation in Africa — confirmed two new cases Friday of the often fatal hemorrhagic disease, bringing the total number of infections to nine, including two deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the epidemic an international health emergency, as countries scramble to impose measures to prevent any spread of a contagion that has claimed almost 1,000 lives.
Similary, a Canadian who recently visited Nigeria is being held in isolation at Brampton Civic Hospital in Ontario for showing symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease.
According to a Canadian public health official, the patient was reported to be showing initial symptoms of Ebola which were similar to more common diseases, such as malaria.
Dr. Eileen de Villa of Peel Public Health said that “infection prevention and control measures” had been put in place at the hospital because a patient “with a recent travel history to Nigeria” had shown symptoms similar to the Ebola fever and other flu-like symptoms.
Dr. de Villa said she received information from her colleagues at Brampton Civic Hospital and representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
She added that the hospital would be working with public health laboratories to confirm a diagnosis.
“Any subsequent actions will of course depend on what the ultimate diagnosis is,” she said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has advised Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the outbreak, but issued a statement, saying the risk of Ebola to Canada is very low.
It said travellers to Nigeria should practise special precautions such as avoiding direct contact with blood and other bodily fluids of people with Ebola virus or unknown illnesses, among other steps.
According to a statement issued by Canada’s Minister of International Development, Christian Paradis, the country is offering additional support to help fight the growing EVD outbreak in West Africa.
Paradis said, “Canada is gravely concerned by the rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the impact it is having on the families in the region as well as the health care workers on the ground assisting them.
“Our thoughts remain with all of those affected. Through both funding and personnel, Canada will continue to help get aid to those who need it as quickly as possible.”
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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