Nigerian scientists have advised the Federal Government to order a lockdown of the country to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
The National Academy of Science, which acts as a scientific advisor to the Federal Government of Nigeria, gave the advice in a statement by its President, Prof Mosto Onuoha.
Onuoha, said the lockdown should be national, with uniform regulations, and led by the Federal Government.
He said the country should be locked down for four weeks to reduce the number of new importations of COVID-19 and provide the environment and condition for clear thinking and planning.
“In four weeks, virtually all COVID-19 cases and contacts should have been discovered or should have recovered,” the professor said.
“It is now time for a national lockdown, especially now that the disease has invaded the highest level of our governance threatening our national security! While the effort of individual state governments is lauded, with a lockdown, all citizens are required (as much as possible) to stay at home leaving room only for essential activities that allow for basic functions such as feeding and accessing health care.”
He said only workers needed to provide essential services, such as health care and electricity, should be allowed go out.
Explaining the reason for the suggestion, Onuoha said since most of the confirmed cases are imported, and a few being contacts of the imported cases, Nigeria is beginning to have cases with unclear infection sources, “this suggests the possible existence of community transmission and needs to be curtailed early.”
According to him, though the government and its agencies are working hard at containment, there are reports of people failing to self-isolate as advised.
This is complicated by the VIP syndrome that seems to characterize our country, with some refusing to be checked or to self-isolate on arrival into the country, he said.
“It is unclear how widespread the disease might be in the country given the evolving number of cases at this point, and the difficulty in tracking their movements and those of their contacts,” he said.
Expressing a similar view, a non-governmental organisation, ActionAid, called for 14 days lock down of the country.
The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, said the increased cases of the imported virus in the country called for rapid steps to be taken by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the control of COVID-19.
“With the cases of infected persons increasing from three to 36 within a week, more need to be done quickly and promptly. Nigeria needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario,” she said.
She said the concept of social distancing and self-isolation may remain a mirage to many as “average Nigerians particularly those offline and at the grassroots are still ignorant and lack the basic safeguarding information on symptoms and prevention of the spread of the virus.
“As a grassroots organisation, we are concerned that no proactive steps are being taken at the grassroots level and the average woman in the market is still unaware that the virus is so contagious that one infected person with high exposure can infect up to 2.5 million persons within five days as stated by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire during a press conference earlier, March 23 2020,” the country director said.
Obi said there was a need to re-prioritise the country’s budgetary provisions by investing more in healthcare facilities.
Also speaking, an economist, Odilim Ewegbara, said a total lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus is necessary now.
He said the lockdown may come with financial hardships as the productive sectors would be forced to stop work but it is the safest way to keep the increasing figure at bay.
He said the most likely way out of the economic hardship Nigeria is slumping into is that Nigerians should consume local products since importation would stop.
He said this could be achieved if the government provides a social welfare package for the vulnerable group who would spend and stock up food during the lockdown.
However, a public health expert, Faith Ajani, expressed a different view.
He said Nigeria may not be able to afford a total lockdown “even though it is the best method now.”
He, however, encouraged that personal hygiene and social distancing should be maintained at all times.
Currently, Nigeria has 46 cases of COVID-19, including one death.
The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, are among Nigeria’s 46 confirmed cases.
Some states, such as Lagos and Ogun, have already placed restrictions on public gatherings, including in churches and mosques.
Lagos, Nigeria’s most affected state with COVID-19, has also said it would shut markets from today except for essential products.
The Federal Government has, however, only advised Nigerians to stay at home but has told citizens to expect tougher measures.
The COVID-19 has killed over 15,000 people globally, the majority of them in Europe and China.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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