There was panic in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday, as the state government confirmed the death of a medical doctor from Ebola virus.
Some of the residents, who rushed to the big supermarkets to procure hand sanitisers were frustrated as attendants told them they have run out of the product.
Commissioner of Health, Dr Sampson Parker, who confirmed this yesterday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, said the late Dr Ikechukwu Sam Enemuo died last Friday from suspected Ebola virus, adding that a test on his corpse released on Wednesday confirmed that the deceased died from the virus.
He said the late Enemuo met a staff of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at a hotel in the D/Line Area of Port Harcourt, noting that the ECOWAS staff was on the team of those that received the index case, late Patrick Sawyer.
The Tide gathered that Dr Ikechukwu Enemuo, until his death, practised as a director of Sam Steel Clinic, on the East-West Road axis of Rumuokoro, in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
According to the commissioner, one week after the ECOWAS staff left Port Harcourt, the late Enemuo took ill and was admitted at Good Heart Hospital, Evo Road, GRA, Port Harcourt, after he had been rejected by doctors at Prime Medical Centre, Rumuogba, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
Sources alleged that the hotel and both health facilities of Dr Enemuo and the hospital where he was treated before his death have been sealed by the government to check the spread of the virus.
The commissioner, said the wife of late Dr Enemuo, who is also a doctor, had fallen sick and had been quarantined, adding that about 100 persons who had primary or secondary contact with the late Dr Enemuo had been placed on watch list.
While appealing to residents of the state not to panic, the commissioner said adequate measures were in place to check the spread of the disease.
The diplomat, who caused his death was said to have sneaked out of where he was quarantined in Lagos State to get treatment at Sam Steel’s Hospital in Rivers State.
But this was after he had stayed in one of the hotels in Port Harcourt where the doctor ignorantly treated him.
Sam-Enemuo’s wife, who is said to have a three-month-old baby, is also reported to be down with symptoms of the EVD.
According to Parker, both mother and baby have been quarantined in Port Harcourt, while the hospitals and hotel involved in the EVD spread have been decontaminated.
He advised members of the public to call these numbers: 0816773393 and 0703632176 to report any suspected case of EVD.
“People are now being scanned before they are allowed entrance into some public hospitals, while experts from Emory University Hospital in the United States of America are on ground to train Rivers State health officials on how to tackle the outbreak,” he said.
His words: “My friends, brothers and sisters. The Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has directed me to make this solemn announcement to you.
“And it is with a heavy heart that I announce to you that the Ebola virus has claimed its first victim in Rivers State. Dr. Iyke Sam Enemuo died last Friday, August 22, 2014 as a result of what was suspected to be Ebola virus disease.
“The Rivers State Ministry of Health, on becoming aware of the conditions of his death, immediately commenced investigations and contact tracing.
“As at today, about 100 contacts from a hotel, patients of Dr. Enemuo and patients of the hospital where the late Enemuo was treated until his demise, have been identified and restricted in Rivers State.
“The locations are being decontaminated. I had promised to be open and candid with the public on our efforts to tackle the Ebola virus.
“From our investigations, some facts have emerged. A staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the team that received late Dr. Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American diplomat who died of Ebola haemorrhagic disease in Lagos, Nigeria made a trip to Port Harcourt where he checked into a hotel and met with Dr. Iyke Sam Enemuo.
“About a week after his departure, Dr. Iyke Enemuo took ill and was rushed to a hospital where he presented with symptoms of fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.
“In the course of treatment, the managing physician became suspicious and took samples for investigation. A few days after, Dr. Iyke Enemuo died on August 22, 2014. His body was deposited at a mortuary in Port Harcourt.
“Dr. Iyke Enemuo’s widow, who is also a medical doctor and who cared for him during his illness, has taken ill. She is being quarantined.
“A few hours ago, results of the test carried out on samples taken from Dr. Enemuo came back and was positive of Ebola Viral disease.
“The diplomat, who was seen by late Dr. Iyke Enemuo is alive and well. I urge every Rivers State citizen and resident to remain calm and go about their normal businesses. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water and avoid unnecessary body contacts till further notice.
“The Government of Rivers State is doing everything possible to contain the effects and spread of the Ebola virus. We have all the material and human resources we need to fight and defeat the deadly virus.
“Officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and other international agencies are already here working with the state ministry of health. Together, I believe we can contain the Ebola virus.
“I shall continue to update you as more information become available. Thank you, stay safe and God bless.”
However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, yesterday confirmed that a medical doctor in Rivers State had died from the EVD.
Chukwu said that chief among information provided by the Rivers State Government were the name of the doctor who died as a result of the EVD infection, the name of his hospital and the details of the decontamination of the hotel where the diplomat and ECOWAS staff who infected him stayed while in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
He gave the doctor’s name as Iyke Sam-Enemuo while his hospital, Sam Steel Clinic, is on the East-West Road at Rumuokoro.
Chukwu told a news conference in Abuja that “this primary contact of Sawyer’s evaded our surveillance team in the last week of July 2014 and travelled out of Lagos to Port Harcourt.
“He consulted with a doctor and was apparently treated for some symptoms.
“After four days, following a manhunt for him, he returned to Lagos, by which time he was found to be without symptoms.
“This case would have been of no further interest since he had completed the 21 days of surveillance without any issue, but for the fact that the doctor who treated him died last Friday, August 22.
“Following the report of this death by the doctor’s widow the next day, the case had been thoroughly investigated and laboratory analysis showed that this doctor died of Ebola.”
The minister said the number of deaths arising from Ebola in Nigeria was now six.
He said: “Lagos had 13 cases, seven were treated and discharged.”
Chukwu said because the widow was symptomatic, she had been quarantined pending the outcome of laboratory tests.
He said as a result, several contacts had been traced, registered and placed under surveillance.
The minister said an Incident Management Committee had already deployed a team to Port Harcourt to work with the health authorities.
Chukwu stressed that just like the situation was effectively managed in Lagos and Enugu, the situation in Port Harcourt would also be managed.
He appealed to all contacts under surveillance to abide by the advice given to them by the Incident Management Committee.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, urged Nigerians to cooperate with the authority in combating the disease.
Maku said: “We can only defeat the disease with citizens’ cooperation. We appeal to those under surveillance to please abide by the rule. Do not travel.”
Maku urged Nigerians not to relent in observing and maintaining good hygiene practices, stressing that it was disastrous to assume that the disease had been contained so one would not contract it again.
He urged the media to re-enforce the awareness of the disease as it was a continuous fight and that nobody should take hygiene practices for granted.
He added: “Dealing with an epidemic has to do with education. A lot of the work has to do with the media.”
Meanwhile, Malls and Supermarkets in Port Harcourt have run out of stock of hand sanitizer product following its rush as it has been adduced to curb the contact of the Ebola Virus.
The Tide visited some Malls in Port Harcourt City and learnt that the rush had lasted between the last five days.
At the Port Harcourt Mall, a Spar Shopping complex, it was gathered that the product which was in large quantity got out of stock at the early hours of yesterday morning with more quest for it by customers and buyers.
One of the sales personnel at the mall said last Wednesday “the product just finished this morning. We had it in cartons but between Tuesday and this morning, the rush for it was too much and it has finished”.
At the Park ‘n’ Shop, the sales personnel who also confirmed the rush said “the quest for it now is unusual. Ours finished on Monday but we have ordered for it from Lagos and I believe that before today runs out it will arrive”.
The hand sanitizer, an earlier product of low patronage has now become an essential commodity and supplied even by private individuals resulting to a huge business for suppliers all in the bid to avoid the contact of the Ebola Virus as it has been said to have permeated the city of Port Harcourt.
Lady Godknows Ogbulu
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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