The Federal Government yesterday directed that all public and private primary and secondary schools should remain closed till October 13.
The Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, gave the directive when he briefed newsmen after a meeting with Commissioners for Education in Abuja.
“The minister and all commissioners met today, August 26, to discuss issues related to the reopening of schools for the new academic year vis-à-vis the Ebola epidemic issue.
“At the end of the meeting, the following decisions were arrived at as preventive measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students in our schools throughout the federation.
“All primary and secondary schools both public and private are to remain closed until Monday, October 13, 2014, which is the new resumption date for all schools throughout the federation.
“This is to ensure that adequate measures are put in place before the students report back to school,’’ Shekarau said.
Shekarau said the meeting also agreed that all Ministries of Education should immediately organise training for at least two staff in each public and private school.
He said schools must ensure that the training was given by appropriate health personnel on how to handle any suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
He said the training of such staff must be concluded not later than September 15.
The minister also directed all the state ministries to establish a Working and Monitoring Team and also appoint a designated Desk Officer on Ebola.
Shekarau said the officers must report on daily basis to the commissioners on situation in the schools not later than September 1.
He also ordered the immediate suspension of ongoing summer classes conducted by some private schools.
According to him, all private primary and secondary schools must comply with the directives, which also apply to Federal Government Colleges.
He, therefore, urged state governments to support their ministries with all necessary funds to ensure effective implementation of these measures.
Shekarau said that all tertiary institutions were advised to suspend exchange of staff and students’ programmes, visits, and major international seminars and workshops until further notice.
“They are to monitor movements of foreign students in their campuses and liaise with appropriate government health institutions to organise and ensure effective sensitisation programme for all their staff,’’ he said.
The minister said that he would be meeting again with all the commissioners on September 23, to review the situation in all states.
He said that appropriate sanctions would be taken against any defaulter of the directives.
Meanwhile, Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, said in Abuja yesterday that only the spouse of a doctor who had died of the Ebola Virus Disease, was now being treated at the Isolation centre in Lagos State.
Chukwu, who addressed journalists in company with his counterpart in the Ministry of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said that a male doctor and a female nurse who were primary contacts of the late Patrick Sawyer, were discharged on Monday.
He said, “Nigeria has only one confirmed case of EVD, a secondary contact of Patrick Sawyer, and she is the spouse of one of the physicians who participated in the management of the index case.
“She is stable but still on treatment at the isolation ward in Lagos.
“So far, all the reported cases of the EVD in Nigeria have their root in the index case, the late Sawyer.
“This is an indication that, thus far, Nigeria has contained the disease outbreak”
He denied reports not in The Punch, that a younger sister of the late Dr. Ameyo Adadevor, had been infected with the virus.
He noted that out of 13 confirmed cases so far in Nigeria, five persons, including the late Sawyer had died while seven had been successfully managed and discharged.
Chukwu reassured Nigerians and the global community that Federal Government shall remain vigilant and continue to work with partners to ensure that the disease is totally kept out of the country.
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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