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Despite NMA, TUC’s Resistance, FG Insists On Chinese Doctors

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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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Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has felicitated with the wife of the State Chief Executive Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020.

 

In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, 23rd May 2020, Dr. Banigo described Hon. Justice Wike as a humane and God fearing woman who is a great pillar of strength to our amiable Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

 

While wishing her many happy returns the Deputy Governor prayed the Almighty God to continue to protect and bless Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike.

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Former Nigeria President Jonathan Loses Foster Dad.

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The family of former Nigerian President,Goodluck Jonathan and the Otuoke community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as the News of the sudden demise of Chief Nitabai Inegite,the former president’s foster father reached them.

Though no official reports have reached us as to the cause of his death,The Tide learnt that the septuagenerian has been briefly ill shortly before his demise.
The former President, who visited the residence of his late foster father the early hours of Wednesday has not made any official statement regarding funeral arrangement.
Chief Inegite,popularly called ‘holy’ by his admirers and friends was initially reported to have been responding to treatment in an undisclosed health facility where his health later deteriorated before finally giving up  the ghost  at about 11:00 pm,Tuesday 19th day of May,2020.
You would recall that the late Chief Nitabai Inegite was twice reported to have been kidnapped some time between 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The late former president’s foster father was survived by his wife,biological children,grand children and numerous relatives.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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Nigerian Senate Considers Bill For Ensure Food Security

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…seeks establishment of Food Reserve Agency
The Nigerian Senate, in a seemingly proactive stop to forestall anticipated food shortfall  in the country ,  on Tuesday, commenced legislative work on a critical bill to ensure food security in Nigeria through  the establishment of  Food Reserve Agency to plan and implement policies for adequate food production and storage.
The bill  sponsored  by Senator Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West), scaled second reading at plenary , on Tuesday.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Adamu noted that Nigeria as a nation needs to develop its Agricultural sector to ensure not only alternate economy but also food security .
He further emphasised that this requires  an vibral  agency to drive all attending policies for the growth and sustainability of the sector.
According to the lawmaker, the Food Reserve agency when established, would be responsible for storing food grains and other food commodities for strategic purposes.
His words “Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the development and growth of every nation. Any country seeking to diversify its economy, alleviate poverty, create jobs and ensure food security should prioritize agriculture.
“Nigeria recognizing the important role Agriculture plays has made efforts to place the sector at the fore by introducing different intervention programmes and policies backed by enabling laws.
“A further step to be taken to ensure food security in our country at all times is to formulate enabling laws that will address food insecurity,”
“The agency will implement the overall National Food Reserve Policy to ensure a reliable supply of designated commodities in the country.”
The lawmaker recalled that, “the recent mandate of the President during the COVID-19 pandemic to distribute 70,000 metric tons of grains from the Grains Reserves shows clearly how important it is for a country to have a Food Reserve Agency.”
 Stressing the importance of food security ,he linked the current Covid 19 situation and its Nigeria’s readiness to  ensure the nation don’t wind up in food crises as well.
According to Senator Adamu, with the Agency in place, Nigeria will be taking the right step in the right direction as replicated in other African countries such as Zambia and Tanzania.
“With the existence of the Agency, emergency food crises will be taken care of especially in the period of a pandemic.
“There will also be a reduction in post-harvest losses as silos, warehouses, equipment, ancillary facilities and other suitable storage facilities will be installed and maintained.”  the Senator explained.
After the debate, the President of  the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development chaired by the sponsor of the bill Adsmu Abdullahi.
The Committee  is given four weeks  to report back to the Senate.
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi.
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