In new developments just reported by the United States’ Wall Street Journal, eight Nigerians infected with Ebola will be given doses of the experimental treatment Nano Silver.
Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, announced that the experimental drug came from a Nigerian scientist, whose name has not yet been disclosed.
As an experimental treatment, there is much mystery surrounding Nano Silver.
Dr. Simon Agwale, a contagious disease expert, said Nano Silver had proven effective against viruses, parasites, and bacteria.
The news comes the same day a third person, a nurse who treated Liberian Patrick Sawyer, dies in Lagos of the virus.
The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, yesterday in Abuja said another Nigerian doctor has tested positive to the deadly Ebola disease.
The doctor’s case increases the number of people infected with the disease to 11, including the three confirmed deaths. One of the earlier confirmed infections was also a doctor.
“The total number of confirmed cases is 11, out of this 11, three are dead. The three that are dead are: the index case, a Liberian-American; a Nigerian nurse who was among those that managed the index case; and a Nigerian who was serving as a protocol officer with the ECOWAS,” Chukwu said.
However, few minutes after the minister’s briefing, it was learnt that another nurse that treated the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, died yesterday morning at the Lagos hospital where those being quarantined are kept.
Chukwu also said that more than half of the eight people quarantined are doing well and showing signs of recovery.
Altogether, the minister also said that 169 people are still under surveillance: 163 in Lagos and 6 in Enugu.
The 169 is a downslide from 198 previously under surveillance, indicating some of those under surveillance, including 15 in Enugu, have been discharged.
Those under surveillance in Enugu are those believed to have had contact with a nurse who escaped quarantine in Lagos and travelled to Enugu to meet her husband.
Chukwu said the nurse and her husband were moved in a special ambulance to the Lagos treatment centre.
He also said that an experimental drug, NanoSilver, provided by a Nigerian scientist, was expected to have reached the treatment centre yesterday.
He said all protocol and guidelines would be followed before the drug is administered on the patients.
He noted that this will go on while the Federal Government makes attempt to buy into ZMapp produced by a biotechnology firm, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., in San Diego, United States.
The minister said the drug would also be vetted by the technical committee group before administration.
However, another nurse, Justina Obi Echelonu, who attended to late Liberian Patrick Sawyer while he was ill at the First Consultant hospital in Lagos, has died.
The 25-year old Justina died yesterday morning in a quarantine facility in Lagos.
Echelonu, one of those who had primary contacts with Patrick Sawyer at a Lagos Hospital where he received treatment after he was rushed from the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos where he collapsed, was very vocal in the campaign for the release of the ZMapp experimental drug to Nigerian Ebola disease patients.
She was previously working at Otunba Tunwase National Peadiatric Centre, Ijebu Ode in Ogun State before relocating to Lagos to work at First Consultant Hospital, Obalande months ago.
Her relatives confirmed the news.
Also confirming the news of her death, Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji regretted the demise of the nurse, and commended her for her selfless service to the nation. In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the governor prayed for the repose of the dead.
He said: “My heart bleeds as I write this. On behalf my family, the government and the good people of Abia State, I commiserate with family, friends and colleagues of our dear lady nurse, Justina Echelonu, who died following the contact she had with the Liberian American, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, in the course of discharging her duty as a nurse. I pray God to give them the fortitude to bear this tragic and irreparable loss. Rest in Peace Ms Justina Echelonu.”
Similarly, Minister of Health, Professor Chukwu Onyebuchi, said at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday that 15 out of the 21 people quarantined and put under surveillance over Ebola have been cleared.
He said, “15 of the quarantined people in Lagos have been cleared, while the remaining six are still under surveillance.
“As of now, we have 11 confirmed cases in Nigeria, out of which three have died. More than half of the remaining eight are responding well to treatment.”
Nonetheless, Nigerian women under the auspices of the Association of Market Women and Men in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), yesterday, insisted that apology tendered by the Liberian authorities over the importation of Ebola virus into Nigeria by Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, was not enough.
They said the Liberia government had more explanations to give to Nigeria and Nigerians over permission given to the late Sawyer, having got the knowledge of his health status as carrier of Ebola virus.
The Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, on CNN news had said that Mr Sawyer was indisciplined and disrespectful for failing to heed medical advice not to travel.
Already, people through the social network are raising questions, challenging the competence of Liberia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Sebastian Omar, who cleared late Sawyer to travel to Nigeria for ECOWAS conference.
The President, Association of Market Women and Men, Chief Mrs Felicia Sani while speaking during a National Workshop on Security Awareness and Sensitization Campaign on Ebola Virus for Market Women in FCT organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Abuja, said although Liberia government had apologized, it was not enough for the enormity of loss their act had caused the country.
“Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria has apologised, but he has more explanations to give to Nigeria and her citizens,” she insisted.
Meanwhile, The World Health Organization said this week that 170 health care workers had been infected and at least 81 had died.
Sierra Leonean doctor Modupeh Cole became the latest medical practitioner to die of Ebola, a health ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.
He contracted the disease after treating a patient who later proved to have the virus and died. The country’s leading Ebola doctor, Shek Umar Khan, also died last month.
Eight Chinese health workers are in quarantine in Sierra Leone because they may have contracted Ebola, according to the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Freetown, Xu Zhou.
The seven doctors and one nurse treated patients at two Chinese-run hospitals in Freetown who later died from Ebola. One of the doctors has emerged from quarantine after a 21-day observation period, Zhou told Reuters.
Despite the stir caused by ZMapp, preventive public health measures will be crucial to containing the outbreak, according to the U.N. health agency. As a result, West African and other governments, including some which have seen no cases of the virus, have taken measures intended to prevent the spread of the disease.
Guinea-Bissau has decided to close its frontier with eastern neighbour Guinea, Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira told a news conference. Germany on Wednesday urged its nationals to leave Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, though the request did not apply to medical workers or German diplomatic staff, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
The outbreak has brought fresh attention to efforts to find a cure. Scientists in the United States studying Ebola say they have found how it blocks and disables the body’s ability to battle infections in a discovery that should help the search for potential cures and vaccines.
The scientists found that Ebola carries a protein called VP24 that interferes with a molecule called interferon, which is vital to the immune response.
“One of the key reasons that Ebola virus is so deadly is because it disrupts the body’s immune response to the infection,” said Chris Basler of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, who worked on the study.
2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence
The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said that the next President should be a Christian to ensure balance in leadership.
YOWICAN also said rotation of the office of the President will promote equity, unity and peace.
The youths further protested the activities of bandits and kidnappers, threatening to resort to self-defence if nothing is urgently done by the government.
They warned bandits and kidnappers to desist from perpetrating evil and put a stop to the ongoing kidnappings and killings.
The Christian association also pledged collaboration with Muslims and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) towards peace building.
These were contained in a communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of YOWICAN and read by its National President, Belusochukwu Enwere.
Enwere said, “The next President should come 2023 should be a Christian because the present administration, the president is a Muslim and so the President should rotate amongst the Christians and Muslims so that there will be balance in the leadership of Nigeria.
“We have competent Christian leaders who can represent and manage the affairs of this country. We urge our leaders to fully participate in politics so that we can produce a good president for Nigeria.
“As such the emergence of a Christian and youthful President come 2023 will be a true expression of equity, fairness and justice for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“That YOWICAN shall continue to collaborate and work in concert with brothers from the Muslim faith to pursue the desired peace, unity and progress of the nation; and more particularly under the auspices of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC),” the group said.
“YOWICAN decries the increasing rate of insecurity in Nigeria, yet commends the efforts of government and security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of bandits, killer herdsmen, insurgents etc.
“YOWICAN in the performance of Christian tenets and faith believes strongly in peaceful coexistence, but this piety should not be construed as cowardice, therefore kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, terrorists and unknown gun men should not push Christian youths to the extreme, such as to make them consider deploying self defence strategies as the last option,” Enwere said.
According to him, despite the efforts so far made in combating crime, YOWICAN observes the urgent need to curb the rising wave of attacks, killings, destruction of lives, properties, farmlands and livelihood of innocent citizens within the Northern states, and specifically within Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.
The CAN youths demanded the immediate release of all abductees and particularly the students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who have been in captivity.
The NEC meeting held at the National Christian Centre on Saturday was attended by National Executive Members, Zonal Leaders, State Leaders (drawn from the 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT) and representatives from the Blocs/denominations under CAN.
Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC
The Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) has advised the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, warning that such could lead to a national crisis.
OPC said this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, weeks after the raid on the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), during which two persons were killed.
The statement also followed Igboho’s arrest in the Republic of Benin after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
In the statement, the group “flayed Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group described the “treatment meted out to Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government ought to know that the citizens have rights and that such rights must be protected under the law.”
Oguntimehin said, “Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the Federal Government handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the Federal Government must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The publicity secretary urged the Republic of Benin to be fair with Igboho as he revealed that the rights activist will be facing immigration-related offences in the country, adding that he can also seek asylum to ensure his safety.
He warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
He said, “The Federal Government has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy.”
The statement said Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have no extradition agreement, adding that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Oguntimehin said, “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence and the Government of Benin Republic had considered all that to be untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26 to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
He pointed out that the rights activist had been peaceful with his agitation, as he urged traditional leaders not to ignore him at his trying time.
Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death
The Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers has commiserated with former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili over the death of his elder brother, Chief Fidelis Obi Odili.
The Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1 (rtd), said monarchs and people of his state were saddened by the bereavement of the Odili family.
The Emir, who was accompanied by the Andoma of Domia, Alhaji Ahmaou Aliyu; and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rivers State, Engineer Emeka Woke, stated this during a condolence visit to Odili in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He described Odili as a very generous, hospitable personality and one of the best leaders that Nigeria has produced.
To this end, he declared that whatever affects him (Odili), affects people all over the country.
“We have come here to commiserate with you, to pass our condolences to you on behalf of all of our people, the people of Nasarawa State and our respective kingdoms.
“As one of the elders of this nation, very respectful elder of this nation, anything that affects you, will touch us, will affect us. We ask you to take heart.”
He further added, “You’re one of the best we have in this country. You’re very generous, hospitable. Your Excellency, not because you’re here, this is a statement of fact. You’re one of the best that this country has produced.”
The Emir of Lafia, prayed God to grant the Odili’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved one.
He also urged God to continue to keep Odili in good health so that he’ll continue all the good works that he has been doing and will continue to do for the nation.
“On behalf of all the chiefs that are not here, we commiserate with you”, he said.
Responding, the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, said he felt honoured by the condolence visit and words of encouragement by the Emir of Lafia.
“I can’t find words appropriate to thank you for this consoling honour.”
Odili said he felt elated by the kind gesture of the Emir of Lafia.
According to him, the visit has further demonstrated the importance the Emir attaches to his relationship with the people of Rivers State.
“You’ve come with your colleague to pay this condolence visit, which was totally unplanned and unscheduled. But, like they say, people make out time for what they consider important.
“We feel honoured by your gesture, and so, we want to thank you and your colleague for this rare honour and for your kind words. Your friendship with our state goes back in history.
“Your new position in Nasarawa State has not altered it, rather it has strengthened it”, Odili added.
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