The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to quickly respond to the damning report by the United States government on increasing corruption and abuse of human rights in Nigeria.
In a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary of the party in Abuja, yesterday, it said the report further exposed the festering corruption, impunity, gross violation of rights and killings under the watch of the Buhari Presidency.
According to the statement, this report by the US Department of State further vindicates the opposition party’s stand that the Buhari-led APC government is “overtly and inherently corrupt, vengeful and has been engaging in smear campaign against the opposition to divert public attention from its atrocities.”
The party observed that the US report directly indicted the APC-led Federal Government of official corruption, secretiveness, high-handedness, restriction of personal freedom and rights, executive influence on the judiciary, wanton arrests, detention and persecution of opposition as well as extra judicial and arbitrary killing of citizens by state-controlled security forces.
It pointed out that the report also directly discredited President Buhari’s fight against corruption as targeted against opposition members while government officials and APC members, openly indicted of corruption, especially those close to Mr. President, are not prosecuted.
The statement added: “From the report, the world can now see that the PDP has not been raising a false alarm on the unbearable savagery and massive corruption of the APC administration, which has proven to be the worst in the history of our country.
“The world has now known why the APC-led Federal Government has been fixated at silencing opposition voices using the tyrannical instruments of intimidation, arrest, detention, trumped-up charges and media trial while emasculating free speech and press freedom in our country, all designed to hide their atrocities from the world.
“Today, it is clear to the world why Nigerians are leaving their country in droves to other parts of the world even at the peril of slavery and death.
“Under President Buhari and the APC, our country is in great pain. Our constitution appears to have been technically suspended. Citizens now live in fear; bloodletting by marauders and extra judicial killings have become the order of the day; billions of naira meant for the rehabilitation of victims of the insurgency are daily frittered by government officials while fundamental human rights have become essential commodities.
“While we urge Nigerians to remain calm, we are surprised that the Buhari Presidency has suddenly become dumb in the face of obviously overwhelming allegations, believing that the tide will flow by.”
The PDP, therefore, challenged the Presidency and the APC to end “their arrogant disdain for the people and immediately respond to all allegations raised in the report.”
It said these are weighty issues and they can no longer hide under the canopy of politics to dismiss them with a wave of the hand as they did in the past.
The PDP called on United States President Donald Trump to note the damning finding in the report by the US Department of States and review his earlier invitation to President Buhari until the issues raised are addressed.
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that Nigerian youth have a responsibility to vote out the failed All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government in 2019 that has destroyed the country.
This is as the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association; Rivers State Branch endorsed the governor for a second term, citing his performance as the reason behind their decision.
Speaking during a solidarity visit by the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association, Rivers State Branch, last Monday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said that the APC-led Federal Government has no plan for the future of the country, hence it has destroyed all viable sectors.
He said: “A government that has no plan for the people, does not think of their welfare and security, goes ahead to say that the youth are lazy.
“Having collapsed the country, they want to blame it on others. Things were not like this before they worsened the situation. I am happy that we now know our mistakes, and we are not going to continue with that mistake in 2019”.
The governor said that contrary to the presidential declaration, Nigerian youth were not lazy.
“I know that our youth are not lazy. The only power we have is our Permanent Voter Card. If you don’t have your Permanent Voter Card, then you are lazy. We must use our PVCs to chase away this lazy party out of Nigeria”, Wike said.
Speaking further, Wike said that his administration has a deliberate policy to grow the state’s economy and empower the youth.
“Members of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association, Rivers State Branch will benefit from the monthly N200million interest free loans set aside by the state government. The funds will be released to different traders and young entrepreneurs on a phased basis”, Wike said.
He added: “Once you get the loan, apply it to your businesses and trades to grow the state’s economy. I also plead with you to work with the state government to ensure that your members don’t ply your trade on the main road”.
On national security, Wike stated that the APC-led Federal Government should be held responsible for the unbridled killing of innocent Nigerians across the country.
“APC is responsible for the bloodshed in the country. This is a party that believes in sucking blood. If the party does not believe in sucking blood, they would have checked the shedding of innocent blood”, he said.
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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