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Police Confirm Six Dead In Rivers Community

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of six persons during a violent protest by angry youths in Chokocho Community in Etche Local Government Area of the state.
The Command’s spokesman, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the killing in a statement in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He debunked some media reports that 15 persons were killed during an alleged deadly attack on commuters travelling through Etche communities to Owerri and beyond.
“The social media reports added that the angry youths also burnt a Police Station as well as engaged soldiers and policemen in a gun battle.
“In order not to allow the public form a dangerous opinion, we therefore thought it wise and expedient to correct this fake news,” he stated.
Omoni said the Command had deployed mobile policemen after receiving a distress call on Saturday, December 7 following a blockage of Okomoko-Chokocho Bridge by protesters.
He said policemen, on arrival at the scene, dismantled the barricade and restored normalcy to the area.
“Thereafter, a team led by the Divisional Police Officer, CSP Joseph Anche, recovered five corpses in a river in the area.
“This discovery, however, sparked off another round of protests, which our men were able to contain”.
“At the end of the day, six persons were killed, contrary to the 15 deaths reported; while no Police station was burnt and no commuter was attacked or killed as speculated,” he said.
The Police spokesman said that normalcy had been restored to the area, with the Rivers Commissioner of Police, CP Mustapha Dandaura, launching a full-scale investigation into the incident.
He added that the investigation would enable the Police to determine the circumstances surrounding the killings as well as unravel the identities of the perpetrators of the crime.
“So, CP Dandaura is appealing to residents of Etche to remain calm and trust in the ability of the Command to protect their lives and properties,” he said.

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We Regret Asking Elon Musk For Ventilators, FG Apologises

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The Federal Government, yesterday, said it regrets asking South African-born US billionaire, Elon Musk, for ventilators to help it fight Coronavirus.
The government has consequently withdrawn the plea made by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to help provide treatment for the Coronavirus patients in Nigeria.
Yesterday, Musk, who is the founder and Chief Engineer, SpaceX and Tesla, had, via his official Twitter handle said that his firm had extra ventilators that had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in America.
He had tweeted, “We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. We will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla delivery regions. Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients and not stored in a warehouse.”
And in response, the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning showed interest, saying, “Dear @Elonmusk @Tesla Federal Government of Nigeria needs support with 100 to 500 ventilators to assist with COVID-19 cases rising every day in Nigeria.”
The response from the government met an immediate backlash from Nigerians on social media.
Following the backlash, the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communications, Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, issued a disclaimer that the post made on the ministry’s verified Twitter account was unauthorized and regrettable, and therefore, has been brought down.
He tweeted, “An unauthorised post was made on the verified Twitter handle of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“The fact of the post is regrettable because of which it is brought down. We have made sure our internal processes are strengthened that such doesn’t happen again.
“The error is highly regrettable.”
Earlier, the Federal Government, had last Wednesday, begged for the assistance of Tesla CEO and Tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk, in the fight against Coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases hit 174.
The tech guru took to his Twitter page, yesterday, disclosing that his company was ready to provide free FDA-approved ventilators to countries in need of immediate ventilators.
Musk, however, said the ventilators would be shipped to countries within its delivery region and those in urgent need but only on one condition.
He said that the ventilators must be needed immediately and not for storing in warehouses for future purposes.
His tweet read: “We have extra FDA-approved ventilators. Will ship to hospitals worldwide within Tesla-delivery regions. Device and shipping costs free.
“Only requirement is that the vents are needed immediately for patients and not stored in a warehouse.”

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Security Agencies Must Respect Human Rights, AI, Senator Warn

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The Nigerian authorities must adopt a rights-respecting approach and give clear instructions to security agencies not to abuse their powers as the nation tightens its effort to tame the COVID-19 pandemic, a global rights organisation, Amnesty International, has warned.
On March 29, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a 14-day lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and in Lagos and Ogun states, to curtail the spread of Coronavirus and placed policemen and the military in the frontline of enforcement of the lockdown directive.
However, many Nigerians have been complaining of lack of respect of their human rights by soldiers and policemen on duty across most states in the country.
While reacting to their complaints, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Mrs Osai Ojigho, said, “While acknowledging the size of the challenge and efforts made by authorities to fight COVID-19 across Nigeria, we are also concerned by reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights, that include beatings by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance with the lockdown.
“As the nation observes the 14-day lockdown, the rights of citizens must be respected and protected, including the right to health care, security, and access to sufficient food and water. The lockdown must have a human face; enabling people to have access to vital needs and relief for those who can no longer earn a living since the majority of Nigerians are daily earners and live below poverty line.
“As a matter of urgency, the Nigerian government should implement transparent income support programs targeted at the most vulnerable populations. Millions of Nigerians who live in informal settlements without access to basic services are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection. Government should ensure that the rights to health, food, water and sanitation are realized in such settlements.”
The full statement reads, “The Nigerian authorities must adopt a rights respecting approach and give clear instructions to security agencies not to abuse their powers as the nation tightens its effort to tame the COVID-19 pandemic, which compelled the authorities to impose lockdown and inter-state movement restrictions, Amnesty International said today.
“The national response to COVID-19 must be inclusive, to ensure that prisoners, internally displaced persons and other marginalized and vulnerable communities are not left out at any stages of the fight against the virus.
“While acknowledging the size of the challenge and efforts made by authorities to fight COVID-19 across Nigeria, we are also concerned by reports and videos circulating on social media showing violations of human rights, that include beatings by law enforcement agencies tasked with ensuring compliance with the lockdown,” Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said.
“As the nation observes the 14-day lockdown, the rights of citizens must be respected and protected, including the right to health care, security, and access to sufficient food and water. The lockdown must have a human face; enabling people to have access to vital needs and relief for those who can no longer earn a living since the majority of Nigerians are daily earners and live below poverty line.
“As a matter of urgency, the Nigerian government should implement transparent income support programs targeted at the most vulnerable populations. Millions of Nigerians who live in informal settlements without access to basic services are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection. Government should ensure that the rights to health, food, water and sanitation are realized in such settlements.

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COVID-19: NCDC Insists On A’Ibom’s Confirmed Cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said it has no reason to doubt the validity of the Coronavirus results on Akwa Ibom State.
The NCDC had confirmed five new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Akwa Ibom on Wednesday.
However, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Domini Ukpong, contested the claim, insisting that nobody tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.
But Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja, said: “I just read the press release of the Commissioner for Health in Akwa Ibom State, and I think it’s a little bit unfortunate because there was some delay in reporting the results to him because the team that lead the lab where these tests were done, were actually on their way to Abuja to carry out an important national assignment.
“These tests were done in the Irrua specialist Teaching Hospital. This is our oldest and most experienced lab in carrying out PCR diagnosis.
“So, there is really no reason to dispute the validity of these results.
“We must focus on the challenge at our hands; every new case in a new state always leads to a little bit of anxiety and people need time to accept these results and what they are.
“But they are what they are and I have no reason to doubt the results coming out from any of our labs, especially the Irrua specialist Teaching Hospital.
“After every positive case, we will retest anyway, after 3-4 days because the only way you can know whether people are recovering or not is by retesting them. So, that will be done.
He added: “I think now, and like I have seen over and over, this is not the time to dispute and doubt especially within government, but to come together.
“It is not the time to release press statements against other government bodies, but it is a time to come together. So, this is really my appeal to every state. There is no reason why anyone would give results without verifying.
“We are working very hard to make sure that these results are correct; sometimes, we delay in releasing these results, and we get a lot of complains of why the results are taking so long. It is because the tests are being repeated so that we can be very sure.
“But if there is one lab in Nigeria that I can almost be 100 percent sure on the validity of their test, of course they can always be mistake but to have mistaken in 5 results in a lab like Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, will be very unlikely.

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