President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of the nation’s electoral process but to work for peace and social justice.
The President made the appeal in his 2018 Easter message to the nation yesterday in Abuja.
He said the appeal had become imperative in view of the fact that political campaigns would soon commence across the country.
He reiterated the resolve of his administration to firmly resist those who might want to make cheap political capital out of the current national security challenges.
According to him, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over, saying such days are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong.
He added that “as we approach the period of campaigns, I appeal to our political actors and other stakeholders to resist any act that could mar the integrity of our electoral process.
“I am optimistic that with God on our side, the dark days of Nigeria’s elections being manipulated by violence and rigging by corrupt politicians and their agents are over.
“They are confined to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong.
“I remain committed to bequeathing a legacy of supremacy of the people’s will through the ballot box.”
On the Dapchi schoolgirls, the President expressed delight that the released girls had been reunited with their families.
He expressed the hope that all others, including the Chibok girls who were still in captivity, would be safely released unconditionally to their families.
President Buhari urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the safe return of the girls and all others in captivity.
He said “thankfully, our Dapchi schoolgirls who were safely released recently after 30 agonising days in the hands of their abductors have been reunited with their families.
“I am optimistic that all others, including the Chibok girls still in captivity will be safely released unconditionally to their families.
“I urge you to continue to pray for their safe return.’’
The President stated that he had already given clear instructions to security agencies to prioritise safety in schools in areas where humanitarian and security situations were still dire, in addition to ensuring adequate protection of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Buhari thanked God for granting the citizens the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for the nation in spite of the current challenges in the country.
He noted that “I am indeed delighted to join our Christian brothers and sisters to commemorate this year’s Easter celebration.
“We thank Almighty God for granting us the opportunity to celebrate another Easter at a time of great promise and hope for our dear nation, in spite of challenges we also have.
“Easter, the season in which Christians mark the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ represents the triumph of good over evil; life over death.
“It is also a time to show love, forgiveness, compassion and renewed hope in the Grace of God.
“The Holy Scripture affirms that happiness and fulfillment in life do not flow from acquiring the best things in life, but in being richer in relationship with God and fellow human beings.’’
He urged citizens to use the opportunity of this special season to deeply reflect on how everyone could imbibe the profound teachings of Jesus Christ with renewed vigour.
President Buhari added that “in so doing and by placing the joy, comfort and happiness of others above ours, we will make a statement that vices such as hate speech, bigotry, corruption, banditry and terrorism have no place in our nation.
“We must do all it takes to love our neighbours and display increased spirit of tolerance and accommodation.’’
The President commended those who recognised and supported the unwavering efforts to prevent the spread of conflicts in the society, and to unite the country.
He also lauded them for checking wanton criminality and for steering the ship of state to steady path of economic growth, job creation and development.
President Buhari noted that his administration’s programmes and policies in the last three years had resulted in bringing down prices of staple crops; gradual improvement of road, rail and electricity infrastructure; and making Nigeria the preferred destination for investors.
He added that “more than ever before, we are ready to consolidate on these gains and ensure that we improve the lot of our communities in the years ahead.
“May this year’s Easter celebration bring us renewed hope and confidence as a great nation.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has urged Christians and Nigerians across the nation to emulate the virtues of Jesus Christ as epitomised by his passion, persecution, death and resurrection during Easter.
In a message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu in Abuja, Saraki also urged Nigerians to constantly work toward promoting unity across all lines.
He said it was imperative for Nigerians to come together to build a country that both present and future generations would take pride in “just like the work of Christ which endured for over 2000 years and continued to inspire generations.
“This weekend, we join our Christian brothers and sisters across the world to celebrate
“This commemoration is a time for deep reflection as it marks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his victory over death. It is a time to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need.
“It is also a time for all of us, regardless of faith or ethnicity, to come together and pray for peace in our nation. We must all remain constant in efforts to promote unity across all lines because our nation will remain stronger when united.”
LGA Boss Vows To Deliver Fubara, Others In Rivers
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
NCDC Confirms 38 Deaths Of 123 Diphtheria Cases …Says Gaps In Vaccination Coverage Fuelling Outbreak
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.
Long-Hour Fasting, Danger To Kidney, NAFDAC Warns
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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