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COVID-19: NDDC Shops For Ventilators For N’Delta States

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is ready to help in the case of COVID-19 but the acting Managing Director, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, says the nation has only 500 ventilators.
He also said in Port Harcourt that Nigeria of about 200 million people has only 500 ventilators; worse, most of the few oxygen plants in the country have broken down.
These are the findings of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which has pledged to intervene in the Niger Delta on COVID-19.
Pondei told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the commission just carried out a study to determine how to intervene.
He said; “This morning we found that there are about 500 ventilators in the entire country. We are exploring avenues to see if we could intervene in providing ventilators. Similarly, oxygen is difficult to procure in the country.
“The Federal Government through the ministry of health has a policy on oxygen which has not been disseminated very well. There are very few oxygen production plants in the country and some of the existing ones have actually broken down. But the provision of oxygen is key to the treatment.”
The NDDC boss said the commission was looking at contributing in the area of treatment because most of the activities so far had been on prevention; social distancing and hand washing as well as using sanitizers.
He remarked: “We are also looking at the drugs that have been used so far in other climes for treatment; there are some anti-viral drugs that we are trying to make available in a proactive manner. The NDDC is going a step above what others are doing.
He assured that the commission would intervene to protect the people of the Niger Delta region from the dreaded Coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
Pondei said as an intervention agency, the commission would collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “We have started looking at different isolation points in the nine states of the Niger Delta region. We are interacting with the states to find out what is on ground and we are taking stock of the ventilators and oxygen in health facilities across the region.”
The NDDC CEO observed that the treatment of the disease was not limited to drugs but included the ability to make sure that the patients were able to breathe properly and this should be done using ventilators.
“As for testing, we are leaving that with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which is coordinating the testing, but we will also like to let people know that most of the kits that are being used are not efficient and cannot detect COVID-19. This is because everybody has one way or another been exposed to Coronavirus and those kits just test for antibodies that already exist in most of us.”
Pondei affirmed that the NDDC would identify the isolation centres in the Niger Delta states so as to assist in strengthening them and building their capacity for service delivery.
He added: “It is not enough to build a place and say it is an isolation centre. It has to be properly equipped and properly stocked. They should have personal protective gears for health workers and must have dedicated conveniences for each of the patients. Anything you use for one patient cannot be used for another patient.”
Pondei stressed the need for people to imbibe simple health tips like social distancing, not smoking in a crowd, good coughing etiquette and regular hand washing with soap and water.
He advised that hand washing techniques be taught on radio and television.
Speaking on the free medical programme of the NDDC, the acting MD said that the commission’s 2019 budget made provisions for its resuscitation, stating: “Right now, the directorate of Health, Education and Social Services (EHSS) is already working on a template for it.
“We are also looking at people that will partner with us. What we are planning is to roll out a monthly programme that will run across the nine states of the region. Our plan is to have three in every state under the NDDC mandate in a month at the same time. We believe that it will reduce the disease burden, especially in the hard to reach areas of the region.”
Pondei said that his inaugural lecture last year at the Niger Delta University was prophetic because it was entitled: “Viruses: Ignored, Neglected, Poorly Understood with Resulting Devastating Consequences.”
He decried a situation where people fail to learn from experience, noting: “When Ebola Virus was our problem in 2014, we did exactly what we are doing now. Hand washing became serious with sanitizers and temperature testing but after Ebola, everything went back to normal.
“Few isolation wards were allowed to be used for other things. In developed nations, you build more isolation centres and equip them properly but in Nigeria here when this Coronavirus disappears, we will then forget all we have learnt and we will not plan for something subsequently.”

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NYSC Member Awards Scholarship To 4, Donates Food Items To Orphanage

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2020 Batch B, Stream 2, National Youth Service Corp NYSC Member, Queen Chibueze Alexandra Tochi, has awarded scholarship to four indigent
students of Margaret Ekpo Secondary School and Government Secondary school, Uwanse both in  Calabar.
Apart from the scholarship ward, the Youth Corper also donated food items/toiletries worth reasonable amount of money to the Uwanse
Motherless Babies Home, Calabar.
Speaking on the topic “Project Helping Hands,” the Youth Corp member stressed  that the scholarship award/donation of food items and
toiletries which she donated to the beneficiaries was  in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy (place of her primary assignment) is one of the ways of contributing her quota to cushion the effect of COVID-19 which has almost cripple the economy of the nation.
Chibueze, a winner of 2020 NYSC Queen, stated that, “It has always been my dream to support young generation.
“After I emerged as Miss NYSC batch B, I thought it wise to embark on this project as part of my community development project,” she noted.
On why the NYSC donated food items and award of scholarship to the indigent students (inmates of the motherless baby home) she said that
with outbreak of COVID–19 pandemic, it would be difficult to take care of the kids.
Chibueze who doled out the sum N200,000 to matron of the motherless baby home, said that the cash would assist the home to handle the fee of the beneficiaries immediately schools resumed after easing of lockdown.
She said that the scholarship ward shall span from their present classes of junior Secondary school 1 and Senior Secondary 1 to graduation.
In his remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC)  Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral, David Adeniran, urged beneficiaries of the
scholarship award, Master Imoh Etim SS1, Miss Esther David of JSS1, John Imoke of SS1 and Esther Imoke JSS2 student not to joke with the
opportunity but to study hard so that they can graduate in flying colors.
Representing the FOC, Commander Sunday Ozah, urged other Corp members to emulate Queen Chibueze’s initiative.
Adeniran maintained that the navy became interested to collaborate with the Youth Corper when they discovered that she was passionate with issues that add value to development of mankind.
In his remarks, the Cross River State Coordinator for NYSC  Alhaji Mohammed Nakamba, who is represented at the event by Assistant Director Deployment/Relocation, Dimba Anyacho, while extolling Chibueze’s stated that when Chibueze emerged as winner of the public speaking contest and became the NYSC Queen, she thought Chibueze was a push over, unknown to her that she had “something in her skull”.
“I didn’t take her serious; I didn’t know she had dreams as big as this.
“All am saying is that other Corp members should emulate virtues like this that tend to add value to existence of mankind”. The NYSC coordinator stressed.
Also speaking the state Commissioner for Humanity/ Welfare, Mrs. Blessing Egbara, represented by Director Social Welfate, Dr. Peter Ipoule called on other individuals to assist the state in the upkeep of inmates at the orphanage stressing that government alone would do less.

From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar

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COVID-19: Ooni Of Ife Donates Motorised Fumigators To Delta

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… As Okowa Lauds Collective Efforts Against Pandemic
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has presented two locally-fabricated modular fumigators to Delta Government to assist the state in its effort at containing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
 This is just as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa lauded the collective global efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
The monarch, who was represented by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olapare, in Asaba said that the Coronavirus was a common enemy that required the cooperation of all to defeat it.
According to him, the fight against the pandemic calls for a collective effort as it is no longer practicable for monarchs to sit down and watch government tackle societal problems alone.
“Our leaders, at both federal and state levels, have done very well in the fight against the virus and in this regard, we have decided to complement the efforts of the government and that’s why we came up with this innovation for motorised modular fumigators.
“The fumigators were invented by the House of Oduduwa and fabricated at the Ooni palace in Ile-Ife with 100 per cent locally-sourced materials.
“It is our belief that the era when monarchs sit in the comfort zone of their palaces and expect the government to do it all is over.
“So, we have decided to join hands with government to tackle this pandemic by this donation of two motorised modular fumigators.
“We have watched your proactive approach to the fight against the pandemic in Delta and I must say that we are pleased with every step you have taken so far.
“This is why we are committed to working with government by making this donation, because together we can fight the battle and together we shall win the battle,” he stated.
Receiving the equipment, Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, thanked the Ooni for his thoughtfulness and innovation in the production of the motorised fumigators.
The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, said that the state had put in so much to ensure that COVID-19 was contained in the state and called for further support and cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.
“We thank His Imperial Majesty for his wonderful donation today. In Delta as at today, we have recorded 27 cases while 12 have been successfully managed and discharged; unfortunately we lost five of the cases.
“We have done so much to ensure that we are able to contain the spread of the virus in the state and this we have done by ensuring closure of our 13 boundaries to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
“We are indeed very delighted that His Imperial Majesty came up with these innovative fumigators in his bid to contribute his own quota in the fight against COVID-19 and he is going around the states to donate them.
“We thank you very much for the thoughtfulness and the innovation in coming up with this and it will definitely go a long way in the fight against COVID-19,’’ he said.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr Chris Onogba and his Agriculture and Natural Resources counterpart, Mr Julius Egbedi, witnessed the ceremony.
From Albert Ograka, Asaba.
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Bayelsa Government To Begin Urban Renewal Projects Soon – Gov Diri.

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration would soon roll out a number of urban renewal projects, particularly in Yenagoa, in order to enhance the aesthetics of the state capital.
Diri who disclosed this when members of the past state working committee of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP paid him a solidarity visit in Government House, said the planned construction of a flyover and expansion of the roundabout at the Edepie area of Yenagoa are part of the urban renewal projects of his administration.
A press release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, noted that the expansion of the Etegwe/Edepie roundabout would precede the construction work on the flyover to ease traffic in the area.
Senator Diri assured that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the government was poised to initiating projects that would bring about overall development of the state.
He expressed his administration’s intention to give a facelift to the capital city as evident in the ongoing demolition of illegal structures that had defaced the Yenagoa metropolis.
“Even in the face of COVID-19, we have decided to do some preparatory things, which I hear are going down well with our people. We are not just pulling down illegal structures but also sanitising our city”, Governor Diri said.
“Work will soon start on the expansion of the Etegwe/Edepie roundabout in no distant time. Also, we intend to build a car park at the market at Swali, which is the largest in Yenagoa, and fence it off to ensure a healthy environment”, he added.
“Our government is on track. We are not looking at celebrating 100 days in office because globally, economies are at a standstill as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. But rather we are expecting to celebrate our achievements in another one to three years time”, he stated.
Commenting on the issue of appointments into his government, Diri noted that at the appropriate time, persons that are passionate about the development of the state and the party would be brought on board,restated that his Government would not engage in secret appointments.
He charged the leaders of the peoples Democratic party in the state to extend the olive branch to those who have left,noting that they have the onerous task of strengthening the party towards improving its fortunes.
“We are not going to do secret appointments. Party stakeholders are being consulted to bring into government persons that would have development uppermost on their minds”, Diri said.
In his remarks, leader of the delegation, Chief Felix Omemu, pledged their commitment to work with the administration to achieve its set goals.
Chief Omemu congratulated Diri on his former electoral victory at the Supreme Court which brought him into office, praying that God grant him wisdom to pilot the ship of state to greater heights.
Also contributing, the former Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Chief Fyneman Wilson, said as party men, they would join hands with the governor and his team to build a formidable party.
Highpoint of the visit was the presentation of a copy of the Holy Bible to the governor by the former PDP women leader in the state, Hon. Faith Opene.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
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