The Rivers State Police Command is expected to present the corpse of late Ikoku mechanic, Chima Ikwunado to his family for identification and autopsy, today, as well as address the media on the case involving the Ikoku Five.
The news briefing by the state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura would be the first time he would be speaking on the issue since the incident and the call for justice by the deceased family and various groups more than a month ago.
Spokesman of the state police command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni told The Tide that the state Police Commissioner, Mustapha Dandaura would comment and clarify the issues around the Ikoku Five after the autopsy scheduled for today would have been done on the body of late Chima Ikwunado.
It would be recalled that Omoni had promised that the commissioner would address the press on the issues after investigations are concluded.
“The matter is still under investigation. As soon as our investigation is concluded, the commissioner of police would address the press. We (police) don’t have anything to hide,” Omoni had said.
But while speaking with newsmen, the family of the late mechanic said the police have finally agreed to show them his body and allow them conduct another autopsy.
The family said that the agreement was reached last week during a meeting between the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in charge of the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Ahmed Kontagora, late Chima Ikwunado’s family, the leadership of spare parts dealers and the Igbo Lawyers’ Forum.
Kontagora had assured that the command was ready to present the corpse of the deceased for identification and autopsy, and asked the family of the late mechanic to make all necessary plans for the autopsy, including coming with their own pathologist.
It is expected that the police commissioner would use the opportunity to unmask the officers allegedly involved in the torture of the Ikoku Five, whose names were suspected to be Inspector Fidelis Ayaogu, Inspector Samuel Eyinnah, Inspector Uche, Sergeant Ake Chibuzor, Sergeant Philips Obi, Inspector Tope and Sergeant Rose.
However, the Chairman of Ikoku Spare Parts Markets, High Chief Iwu Anthony Alaribeole has said they would not take part in any settlement with the police until justice prevails on the issue involving late Chima Ikwunado and the Ikoku Four who were allegedly tortured by the police.
Alaribeole, who disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt, was reacting to the claims by late Chima’s family that the police want them to settle the case peacefully.
According to him, “We are not party to any dialogue. What we are asking for is justice, and we are not settling for anything than justice.
“If anybody is thinking of compromising, we are not party to that. Even if there will be any discussion, it will be in the large house where the media and every player in this struggle must be on the ground and we discuss.”
Alaribeole also claimed that the Ikoku spare parts dealers were facing pressure to dump their quest for justice for late Chima Ikwunado and the Ikoku Four, noting that despite the pressure and intimidation, they insist that erring police officers be punished to prevent others from continuing in such acts of brutality and torture against citizens they should be protecting.
“There are so many pressure groups coming to liaise with the family and the police. But we are not interested in that. We can never relent in this struggle because we have integrity.
“We cannot be bought over. What we want is total justice for all the victims, both the one that died and the four that were brutally injured. We are not stopping at anything than justice, and we can’t compromise,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the General Overseer of Omega Power Ministries, Apostle Chibuzor Chinyere has presented the family of late Chima Ikwunado with a mini-estate and educational scholarship, up to university level abroad to the unborn child of the late mechanic who was allegedly tortured to death by the operatives of E-Crack Unit domiciled at the Mile One Police Station in Port Harcourt.
The deceased, an expectant father, got married six months ago, and was the bread winner of his family and a bona fide member of Omega Power Ministries.
Chinyere, who is a man with a heart of gold and a man who never abandons his own, had swung into action on hearing of his death, and visited the late auto mechanic’s wife to commiserate with her on the demise of her husband.
Speaking to the press, yesterday, Chinyere, who is known for his humanitarian support to the downtrodden in the society, stated that the pregnant wife of the late mechanic, Adaugo Ikwunado, and her unborn child were now the responsibilities of OPM.
He promised to ensure that she delivers her baby safely at the OPM Free Specialist Hospital without charges, adding that the church would fully take care of her feeding and clothing.
The clergyman further added that he had taken on the full responsibility of looking after Chima’s wife and aged parents.
He promised the bereaved family that he was going to do everything within his power to make sure that they lacked nothing, explaining that he was ready to take on the responsibilities of Chima who was the bread winner of the family and do for them in 10 folds everything the late mechanic would have done, if he were still alive.
Not only did he give the unborn child of Chima scholarship to university level abroad, Chinyere also gave the wife of Chima a mini estate which comprises a flat for the family and other flats which would be rented out to generate more income for the family.
He gave the family money to cater for their present needs with promise to give them more money on a sustainable basis, and also promised the family of late Chima that he would open business for the wife.
He gave his personal number to the family of Chima so that they can call him in the face of challenges or difficulties, and assured them that his doors were wide open for them to visit and make any complaints.
Chinyere, who made a brief stopover at the office of the commissioner of police, reminded him that Chima was a member of OPM before his death, and would not be abandoned, adding that all that was needed was for justice to prevail.
In her remarks, Adaugo, who was in shock and dumb-founded at the benevolence of the cleric, thanked him profusely, and requested that he continues to put the family of late Chima in prayers.
Also speaking, Chima’s father, Mr. Kevin Ikwunado, who could not hold back the tears that ran down his cheeks as he narrated his sad ordeal, stated that the untimely death of his son, who was until his death, the bread winner of the family, killed part of him.
He thanked Chinyere for everything he had done for his family, and prayed God to bless him for shining light onto his family’s darkness.
NAFDAC Alerts On Fake Chloroquine 250mg Tablets
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), yesterday, alerted Nigerians on the circulation of falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
In a statement the Director-General of the agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the NAFDAC was notified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the circulation of the tablets in Cameroon.
“The falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets were manufactured by Jiangsu Pharmaceutical Inc, Astral Pharmaceutical, New Bhupalpura, China.
“The tablets manufactured by these companies has no Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and are in packs of 1000 tablets.
“The use of the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets may result in treatment failure and could even cause death,” she warned.
She also said that the labelling information on the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets manufactured by Jiangsu Pharmaceutical Inc, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC No.: 028060.
“The Astral Pharmaceuticals, New Bhupalpura, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC registration No. 0587612 and advised the general public to be aware of this drug.
“All importers, wholesalers and retailers are hereby cautioned to desist from illegal importation, distribution and sale of falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“NAFDAC has strengthened its surveillance in all ports of entry to prevent illegal importation of the falsified Chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“The agency has also heightened surveillance in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to prevent distribution and sale of this falsified drug.
“Healthcare providers and other members of public are advised to be vigilant and contact the nearest NAFDAC office with any information on the falsified Chloroquine,” she said.
She called on anybody in possession of the falsified Chloroquine to submit it to the nearest NAFDAC office, and advised the consumer to report adverse events related with the use of the medicine, or call the agency toll free lines: 0800-1-NAFDAC and 0800-1-623322.
Buhari Orders Distribution Of 150 Trucks Of Seized Rice To Masses
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered distribution of 150 trucks of rice seized by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to the 36 states of the Federation.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at a news conference in Abuja, yesterday.
The news conference was on the fiscal stimulus measures in response to COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock.
Ahmed said the seized trucks of rice had been handed over to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management for onward distributions to Nigerians.
She added that in addition to this, the president had also approved distribution of grains from strategic grain reserves across the country.
The minister stated that as part of the effort to support the farmers, the president also approved reduction of the price of fertilizer from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag.
She added that this was another measure to give subsidy to farmers in view with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, more measures will be taken to provide broader benefits to the citizens.
“We don’t want to rush and announce measures that will end up benefitting only a few of the segments. Our interest is to make sure that as much as possible a lot of Nigerians are productive and have liquidity in their hands.
“This will help to increase the consumption thereby assist to improve the economy.
“This is not something we will announce in a hurry without consulting with the central ministry and also without consulting with the key participants in the sector,” she added.
The minister noted that the emerging health and economic risks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and decline in international oil prices posed existential threats to Nigeria’s economy, healthcare system, national security, as well as the lives of the citizens.
She emphasised that extra-ordinary measures would be required, as the situation evolved, to address these challenges.
Despite NMA, TUC’s Resistance, FG Insists On Chinese Doctors
An 18-member strong team of Chinese medical experts will be arriving soon with “globally scarce supplies” to support Nigeria’s fight against the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This is coming days after the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) rejected the invitation by the Federal Government of a Chinese medical team to help Nigeria in its Coronavirus response.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this, yesterday in Abuja, at the Presidential Task Force (PTF), briefing on COVID-19 in the country.
“On Friday, April 3, I announced that a team of Chinese medical experts will arrive. They are expected to arrive Nigeria in a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies, to augment government efforts and build capacity to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The donation by Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical consumables, over one million surgical masks for health workers and even ICU ventilators, valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items.
“In addition, Chinese medical experts, comprising doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real-life experience of fighting COVID-19 with Nigerian personnel to strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care,” he said.
Ehanire said that this initiative would greatly build the capacity of hard-working and resourceful Nigerian Healthcare workers at the forefront of fighting COVID-19.
“The much needed PPEs and masks will protect our frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty.
“We have a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learned from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands-on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices,” he explained.
The minister disclosed that the government has also identified additional treatment centres.
“We are working with the African Union to develop a continental response.
“A Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 response has been developed and an African Task Force on Coronavirus (AFCOR) set up to coordinate preparedness and response efforts in the continent,” he noted.
He explained that since the last briefing, they have activated two additional laboratories for COVID-19 testing at the Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT and Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory Lagos.
The minister disclosed that in the coming month, they intend to expand further to more laboratories with capacity to test for COVID-19.
Earlier, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, said that the lockdown was not punitive.
“It is meant to prevent the escalation of the virus spread. We will review the lockdown by the end of the week and make recommendations to the President,” he said.
Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said that last week, the United Nation Secretary-General singled out Nigeria for commendation for it efforts in restricting the virus.
He said that one major support that has attracted public commentaries was the offer by CCECC.
Mustapha noted that CCECC is a Chinese company that would be importing about 256 equipment and items in different quantities.
According to him, these include 1, 300,000 medical masks, over 150, 000 pieces of assorted personal protective equipment as well as 50 medical ventilators.
The SGF said that the company had also proposed to sponsor public health experts to help strengthen the Nigerian public health capacity and advice on processes and procedures.
He clarified that all countries of the world seek for and received help in the fight against COVID-19.
“The support coming from China is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative by CCECC, a company with total value of infrastructure contracts worth $10billion in Nigeria.
“The professionals that have been invited from China are public health specialists and medical engineers that will support Nigeria’s capacity in managing the pandemic on advisory basis when necessary, while drawing from the experience of the Chinese.
“In no way shall there be case management and interface with patients.
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