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Lassa Fever: RSG Flags Off ‘Operation Kill All Rats’ …Places One Under Observation …Monitors 250 Others

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The Rivers State Government has launched the  “Operation Kill All Rats’ to check the rising incidence of Lassa Fever in the state.
The Commissioner for Environment, Prof Roseline Konya, who said this in a press briefing in her office in Port Harcourt, also said that this will check the spread of the Lassa Fever virus.
She said that apart from Lassa Fever, rat is also a vector for other diseases such as urine typhoid, Eboni Plague Fever and others, adding that to check the spread of these diseases, rats must be removed from our environment.
Konya said that caretaker committee chairmen of the 23 local government councils have been directed to enforce the ‘Operation Kill All Rats’ campaign in their respective areas.
According to her, the council chairmen have been charged to ensure that all communities are kept clean, while refuse dumpsite are cleared and fumigated to ensure that there are no more breeding grounds for rats and other vectors.
She also urged residents of the state to keep their surrounding clean, by clearing all bushes around their homes, while all holes and crevics in individual houses should be properly covered to ensure no hiding place for rats.
The commissioner, who warned against further consumption of rats, also said that people must no longer use bare-hands to remove dead rats, while food must be properly covered by households across the state.
Konya said that the ministry would ensure regular fumigation of the environment, while refuse contractors will be  made to ensure prompt and immediate evacuation and disposal of refuse in the state.
She also said that environmental health officers will be dispatched to markets every Thursday to ensure proper disposal of refuse and called for regular hand washing and use of sanitizers by the people.
Meanwhile, the Rivers Commissioner for Health, Dr Theophilus Odagme, said yesterday that daughter of a Lassa Fever victim had been taken into a temporary holding centre for close observation.
Odagme told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the middle aged girl was close to one of the three victims affected by the ravaging fever.
“We have kept her at a one of the three temporary holding centres for close observation. Samples has been taken from her and we are still waiting for the results of the test.
“For now, she cannot be said to have come down with lassa fever, until the result of the test is out. But, we have kept her on close observation and monitoring,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that field officers from the state Ministry of Health were monitoring 250 contacts to ascertain their status.
“Our contact-tracing team has been monitoring 250 persons by checking their temperatures or symptoms suggestive of the fever. But right now, none of them is positive.
“ We will continue to monitor and observe them for 21 days in order to ensure that there is no trace of the disease in them,’’ he said.
Odagme also said that government was renovating the main treatment centre at Odohia, in Emohua LG, used to attend to Ebola patients two years ago.
“The centre is not in good shape. Renovation is on going there as we speak. We set up three temporary centres to treat the few cases we have,’’ he said.
However, as part of measures to check the menace of Lassa Fever in the state, Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dr Austin Tam- George says sensitization campaign are now targeted  on restaurants and markets.
Speaking with newsmen in Government House, Port Harcourt, Dr. Tam-George regretted the death of medical doctor last week from the disease but assured that government was not resting on its oars to  put the virus in check.
He stated that his ministry and that of health were working in collaboration to raise awareness of residents on the virus, “ We have gone out to tell people exactly what they should do. They should avoid the presence of rats in their neighborhoods, cover the food they eat. Anywhere they suspect that the food may have been tampered by rats they should avoid such food completely. They should make sure they cook their food very well. If there are fruits or foods half eaten by rat, they should throw them away,” he said.
Maintained that the Ministry of Information and Communications will continue to raise awareness, noting that the death of the medical doctor underscores the need to fight the virus.
Recall that  early this month, Lassa Fever claimed the lives of a mother and her two weeks old baby in Tai Local Government. Area.
The death of a medical doctor last week at the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt swelled the death toll from the deadly virus to three
Meanwhile, the commissioner has described the visit of the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God Pastor Enoch Adeboye to Governor Nyesom Wike as an affirmation of the administration vision make God its source of power.
The commissioner explained that since assuming office, Governor Wike has made God the pillar of his administration, stressing that the administration constantly believes that whatever it does must have the approval of God.
Tam George further remarked, “as Christians, we may be engaged in administration but we put Christian values first, and these Christian values are traceable to the Bible. That is why we put God first in all things we do. This is a God fearing administration.”
He described Adeboye as a highly respected man of God who leads a large church with huge membership in Rivers State.
The commissioner assured that the Wike administration will do all it can to collaborate with the church for effective governance in the state.

 Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara (left), in a handshake with the state Commissioner for Sport, Hon Boma Iyaye (right) and President of Go Round FC, Felix Obuah, during the unveiling ceremony  of the Mascot for Secondary School Athletics Championship in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara (left), in a handshake with the state Commissioner for Sport, Hon Boma Iyaye (right) and President of Go Round FC, Felix Obuah, during the unveiling ceremony of the Mascot for Secondary School Athletics Championship in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

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90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals

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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.”

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We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms

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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.

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Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW

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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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