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Aleto-Eleme Bridge Collapses?

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The Omu Okulu Aleto Bridge, the major bridge linking Aleto community to Eleme in Rivers State, has reportedly caved-in.
The news of the partial collapse of the  bridge in the early hours of yesterday took most people in the community by surprise.
When The Tide visited the scene, yesterday, eyewitnesses described the bridge as the conduit which takes almost all vehicles, trucks and tankers coming from Trailer Park-Eleme Junction axis of the East-West Road to companies around Eleme and Onne.
They lamented that with this development, Aleto community has been invariably cut off from Akpajo and other parts of the world, regretting that the only way left for the people to communicate with the outside world would be through the Okrika waterways.
A former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, who did not want to be named, blamed the Federal Government for the collapsed bridge, alleging that if the government paid priority attention to the total rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road, the Omu Okulu bridge in Aleto, constructed in 1964, would not have collapsed.
He challenged the Federal Government to immediately put urgent measures in place to rehabilitate the bridge, and the entire stretch of the East-West Road, from Eleme Junction Interchange in Obio/Akpor to Onne Junction in Eleme Local Government Area.
Also speaking, Mike Ngofa regretted the collapse of the Omu Okulu Aleto bridge linking the community to some Eleme communities.
He noted that as a federal highway leading to some major federal industrial complexes, such as Port Harcourt Refinery, Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone, Naval College, Intels, Notore Fertiliser Company, the government ought to have taken the rehabilitation of the road and bridge seriously.
Edafe Oghenebrume lamented that the caving-in of the Okulu Aleto bridge has left a dangerous trap on the major federal highway, stressing that most travellers to and from Ogoni, Opobo/Nkoro, Andoni communities in Rivers State as well as Akwa Ibom State would now find it difficult to do so.
He also complained that most people who work in companies located around the Eleme-Onne axis of the East-West Road may have difficulty going to work, following the caving-in of the bridge.
In his remarks, another eyewitness, Friday Tobins said the partial collapse of the Aleto-Eleme bridge was a thing of shame on Nigerians civil engineers who were part of the team that designed and constructed the bridge.
Tobins, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take urgent measures to save the bridge from total collapse.
The Tide investigations reveal that some years ago, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) had carried out repair work on the bridge following discovery of weaknesses on certain sections of the bridge.
Further checks show that vehicular traffic has been redirected to the Agbonchia-Oyigbo link road, hitherto abandoned by motorists following persistent attacks and kidnapping attributed to suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Tide investigations reveal that the Agbonchia section of the link road also has another bridge across the Okulu river, which flows through Aleto to Okrika.
As at the time of this report, last night, most vehicles plying the road, were having difficulty crossing to the other side of the road, through the only section of the bridge left.
The Tide also noticed some emergency traffic officers from the community, trying to control vehicular traffic around the bridge to forestall total collapse of the remaining section of the bridge owing to expected congestion.
All efforts to reach the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Eleme Local Government Area, Chief Obari Ollormate, proved abortive, as he refused to pick several phone calls or respond to two SMS requesting for his comments on the collapsed bridge in his LGA.

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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LGA Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Others In Rivers

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The Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area in Rivers State, Hon. Akara Okechukwu, has reiterated that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would win all positions from governor to state House of Assembly.
He stated that the foundation of victory had been laid by the Governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, following his infrastructure development successes in the state.
Okechukwu said this while reacting after the state PDP campaign team visited his area, last Saturday, saying that the people of Oyigbowere ready to reciprocate what the present administration has done for the LGA in every aspect.
“I have no fear, and I am convinced that the Governorship candidate of PDP Siminialayi Fubara and other state candidates of the PDP will win.
“The people of Oyigbo have vowed to vote massively for PDP because that is the only way to pay back Governor Wike for his good works, mostly in Oyigbo.
“As I speak, 95percent of people living in the area have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), and this indicates sure victory for our great party. I thank the people for coming out enmasse for the campaign, I am really happy,” Okechukwu said.
Speaking, Chairman, Revenue Committee of the LGA, Senibo Daniel Chijindu, described the massive turn out as historic, saying that it was an indication of total victory.
“I will say that the massive turn out of people was historic because this is the first time people came out enmasse for campaign. Honestly, this is an indication that Oyigbo was ‘Simplified’ and was totally for PDP.
“Governor Wike has given Rivers State, a facelift in all ramifications. That is why Oyigbo people said they are for PDP in totality,” he said.
The revenue boss advised those who register for PVC should go and collect their PVC because that is only way to sustain the good governance of PDP.
Also speaking, former commissioner for commerce and industry and stakeholder of PDP in Oyigbo, Hon. Nancy Nwankwo, said adequate sensitisation has been done for the importance of PVC and vote PDP.
According to her, women in Oyigbowere already prepared to celebrate the victory of SiminialayiFubara come May this year, saying they come out enmasse to vote for PDP.
“I am convinced that SimFubara will do better hence he is civil servant. He has proven his intellectual capacity faithful and truthful to replace Governor Wike,” she said.

By: Tonye Orabere

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NCDC Confirms 38 Deaths Of 123 Diphtheria Cases …Says Gaps In Vaccination Coverage Fuelling Outbreak

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No fewer than 38 persons have died out of the 123 diphtheria cases recorded in Nigeria so far, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has confirmed.
The states currently facing the disease caused by serious infection of the nose and throat that is easily preventable by vaccine, are Kano, Lagos, Yobe and Osun, respectively.
The nation’s disease control and prevention agency, which disclosed this at a ministerial press briefing, organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, said more cases of the disease were being expected in days ahead, as it spreads to other places.
Speaking through its Director of Special Duties, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe, NCDC said: “As of January 22, NCDC have 123 confirmed cases and 38 deaths. 100 cases are from Kano, with 32 deaths. In Lagos there are five cases with three deaths. In Yobe, there 17 confirmed cases and three deaths, and Osun has recorded one case with no death”.
According to Ibekwe, besides clinically suspected cases, there have been laboratory-confirmed cases.
Ibekwe said the agency was working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak.
She said,”Given the sub-optimal coverage for the third dose of the diphtheria containing pentavalent vaccine (54percent – 2021 MICS & NICS) in the country, we expect more cases from more states.
“The centre has collaborated with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to organize a 5-day workshop on enhancing laboratory diagnosis of diphtheria in Nigeria for laboratory scientists working in NCDC’s National Reference Laboratories and its lab network (this was planned before cases were reported as part of preparedness), and;
“Written to all states HCHs to institute immediate and necessary public health measures for timely detection and response to diphtheria at state level”.
Speaking on measures being put in place to prevent the disease from spreading further, Ibekwe said NCDC has published a public health advisory, accessible on its website, which educates Nigerians on risk factors and offers advice.
She said:”Parents ensuring that their children are fully vaccinated against diphtheria with 3 doses of the pentavalent vaccine. Healthcare workers should maintain a high index of suspicion for diphtheria”.
She also spoke on how to better understand and contain the prevailing global outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 variants.
She said:”The sub-lineages i.e., XBB.1.5 partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in the US and elsewhere countries have not yet been detected in the country.
“However, this variant has not been associated with increased severity of illness and now appears to be levelling off.
“The variants reported in China so far have been those circulating globally including in Nigeria for some time.”
However, the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control and Prevention has attributed the current outbreak of diphtheria in some parts of Nigeria to a drop in the childhood vaccination coverage in some areas of the country.
The Director-General of the Agency, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, who spoke about the development on a television programme, said that there were 34 deaths recorded over the weekend from the outbreak which hit four states.
He said due to the effectiveness of the childhood vaccination programme, most people have forgotten what it looks like.
He said, “Diphtheria, a vaccine preventable disease that used to be common decades ago is on the increase in some states in Nigeria. The fact that there is a resurgence suggests that there is significant reduction in vaccination coverage among pockets of the population and this reduced pockets of immunity has given rise to the cases we have seen.
“It is not a matter of diphtheria spreading from state to state, the bacteria that causes the disease is present everywhere and it spreads, and any state in which you find the disease now is likely to be associated with suboptimal vaccination rates, either in general or in particular in pockets of population. Failure of childhood vaccination in the failed states causing the diphtheria outbreaks.
“Kano has highest number of cases followed by Yobe, by weekend, there were 34 deaths in total.”
He warned that although diphtheria was highly preventable and treatable, fatality can increase without antibiotics and appropriate conditions, including the diphtheria antitoxin. He assured that with early detection and prompt treatment, the fatal outcomes are usually low.
Adetifa stressed that the really severe cases require the diphtheria antitoxin, even as he assured that the NCDC had distributed vials of the antitoxin since December for use in Lagos and Kano states, and was planning to extend availability to every state where the disease cases are found.
“It is important that patients should be recognised early, and laboratory confirmation carried out so that treatment can commence immediately.”
Adetifa said there were arrangements for trainings of personnel for laboratory diagnosis of the toxin including testing for most of the clinical effects.
“We are in a good state to help, but patients need to be recognised early and diagnosis made quickly and they are placed on the right treatment.
“We are using the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA data to predict high risk states, there is connection with low socioeconomic situation, and we need to look out for healthcare workers who can be given courses of antibiotics.

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Long-Hour Fasting, Danger To Kidney, NAFDAC Warns

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The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. MojisolaAdeyeye, has advised Nigerians against subjecting themselves to long-hour fasting, saying it was risky to their kidneys.
Adeyeye, who attributed the high rate of kidney problems in Nigeria to prolonged fasting by some religious adherents, insisted that those subjecting themselves to prolonged fasting on religious grounds must moderate the act.
She spoke in Abuja, yesterday, while briefing the media on the breakthrough by her agency in tracking high consignments of Tramadol and other pharmaceuticals to the Republic of Benin.
On the high rate of kidney problems in the country, she said: “Kidney failure, we are a very religious country- Muslims and Christians fast a lot and it is part of the kidney problem.
“Your body has to have homeomistatic balance, meaning that the water level in your body must be enough to make your organs to function.
“Some people will fast for 10 or 20 days and drink only little water, the kidney is being punished. Now, if you put chemicals in it, it triples in exponential manner, it damages the kidney because the kidney doesn’t have water to dilute and filter.”
Adeyeye, who tasked Nigerians to fast but with common sense, added: “I fast but with common sense. We have to fast with common sense; otherwise we will pay with our kidneys.”

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