The Rivers State House of Assembly on Monday resolved to summon the Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker to appear before it today to explain the measures taken so far to prevent the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in Rivers State.
The House took the decision after the Deputy Leader of the House, Hon Robinson Nname Ewor presented a motion to the House.
Hon Ewor while presenting the motion, said it was important that the Commissioner of Health appears to the floor of the House to explain measures and steps by the ministry to prevent the deadly disease in the state.
While presenting the motion, the lawmaker said Mr Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian died due to the virus in Lagos, adding that some other persons who had contact with him at the airport and hospital where he was attended also contacted the virus.
According to him, ‘’Lagos is the hub of business in Nigeria and Africa. Some of these persons said to have contacted the disease may have moved out of Lagos to other states.”
He argued that it was important for the state and the local governments to be wary of the disease, adding that it is also imperative to put measures in place to prevent it before it spreads.
‘’The disease has no known cure up to date and has recorded over a 1,000 deaths in West Africa and capable of wiping out a whole nation. These were facts made available by the Federal Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO). It is well known that the only preventive measure is to educate and put the people on know by doing proper enlightenment campaigns’’, he said.
He noted that it is in the character of the House to respond to the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
‘’As a responsible House, it would be nice to put preventive measures to avoid the outbreak of the disease in the state, and in the event of an outbreak, put measures in place to contain it. We must carry out enough enlightenment campaign to educate the people and foreigners about the general character of the disease’’, he further noted.
Hon Ewor, however, in the motion requested that the health commissioner be invited to the House to inform the members and the people the status of the state as it concerns Ebola virus, and to ascertain from the commissioner measures put in place to prevent the disease, and in event of the outbreak, how prepared the Ministry of Health is to contain the virus.
However, the Speaker, Rt. Hon Otelemaba Dan- Amachree directed the Clerk of the House to communicate to the Commissioner, Hon Parker to appear before the House to educate the members and people of the state on measures put in place to tackle the deadly disease.
Menwhile, German health authorities yesterday took to hospital and quarantined a 30-year-old West African woman who showed symptoms consistent with the deadly Ebola disease.
Dozens of other visitors and staff at a Berlin employment office building were also stopped from leaving for several hours as emergency services sealed off part of the street.
The mass-circulation, Bild daily said the woman had fainted, that she hailed from Nigeria and that she said later that she had recently been in contact with people infected with Ebola.
Several people who had been with the woman inside the building in the north-eastern district of Prenzlauer Berg were later also taken to hospital for testing.
Berlin fire department spokesman, Rolf Erbe, said that because the patient came from “an area affected by a highly contagious disease, we took these precautions.”
He said the testing in the city’s Charite hospital would take some time.
“The patient was isolated inside the ambulance, the staff took the appropriate protective measures. An emergency medic, the public health officer, arrived and the necessary precautions were taken,” he added.
West Africa’s Ebola epidemic, which has hit four nations since it broke out in Guinea early this year, is by far the deadliest since the virus was discovered four decades ago in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The World Health Organization said yesterday that the Ebola virus had killed 84 people in just three days, bringing the global death toll to 1,229, while confirmed, probable and suspect infections rose to 2,240.
Similary, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday paid glowing tribute to medical officers who recently treated the late American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, and in the process got infected with the dreaded Ebola virus disease.
While commiserating with the families of those who paid the supreme price in the process, the President promised that his administration would ensure that those still alive get the best medical attention.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, made the remarks at an event held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to Mark the World Humanitarian Day.
The event with the theme “More people than ever before need our help” was organised by the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and the National Emergency Management Agency.
He commended the medical personnel, who he said, risked their lives in the process of trying to assist the deceased.
“I want to use this occasion to salute the courage of these medical personnel and condole with the families of those that lost their lives. Government is doing everything possible to ensure that those still alive get the best medical attention while praying to God to save their lives,” the President said.
Jonathan also regretted that many humanitarian workers had become targets of violent attacks, despite the passion with which they carry out their duties.
He said in the last 10 years, the number of attacks on humanitarian workers had tripled, according to the statistics available to him.
He regretted that while those in need desperately require help, ability to reach out to them was sadly increasingly challenging and at risk.
The President said, “Humanitarian workers have no other agenda than saving lives and delivering the basic necessities of life which include food, water, shelter, medical care and protection for the most vulnerable.
“In spite of their passion to save lives, humanitarian workers have sometimes become targets of hostilities in the cause of discharging their duty.
“Violent attacks on humanitarian personnel are increasingly becoming more frequent and brutal. In the last decade, the number of attacks on them has tripled, resulting in more than 100 deaths annually.
“I want to assure you that government will continue to support policies and programmes that promote humanitarian activities in the country and we are very proud of your achievements by excelling to one of the best organised organisations in Africa.”
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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