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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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Niger Delta

Minister Urges NDDC Board To Be Unique

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana, has called on the newly inaugurated Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to ensure they make a difference for the development of the region.
Umana said this in his keynote remarks, while declaring open the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board and Management retreat in Uyo, at the weekend.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta Region and charged them to live above board in the discharge of their duties.
He urged them to strictly adhere to the rules of due diligence and transparency in line with the Establishment and Public Procurement Acts.
He said the inauguration of the board was meant to enhance the development of the Niger Delta region, adding that the region, which has suffered neglect and deprivation for so long, needed a new lease of life
The minister called on the board to focus on key areas like the establishment act and public procurement act as Nigerians expect a turnaround of the commission to reflect the core mandate of developing the region.
Umana called on the participants to set a template that would facilitate rapid development of the niger delta and Nigeria in general.
“This retreat is principally to ensure that the new board are properly equipped to provide a new direction for the development of the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NDDC, Chief Samuel Ogbuku, in his address of welcome, said the board was expected to do something differently to take the Niger Delta region to greater hight.
Ogbuku said the new board had a template for sustainable programme for youths and every citizen of the region.
He said the commission would endeavour to create partnership with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other stakeholders through public private partnerships initiative.
He urged participants to evolve ideas, programmes and blueprints towards taking the region to a new level of development.
“We will soon unfold our packages for the development of the region. The Niger Delta Development Commission Board is expected to make great difference this time around,” he said.
The Tide’s source reports that the three-day retreat for NDDC board and management is with the theme; “NDDC: Making a Difference.”
The source also reports that a communique is expected at the end of the retreat to address issues affecting the niger delta region and proffer possible solutions.

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Niger Delta

FG Trains 50 Farmers On Agroforestry Model In Edo

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has trained 50 coconut farmers and processors on agroforestry system-based plantation model, to improve the livelihoods of the farmers in Edo State.
The capacity building was organised under the coconut value chain of the ministry, in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin.
Declaring the training open, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, said the exercise was part of efforts of the Federal Government to attain food security and self-sufficiency in Nigeria.
Represented by Chukwuemeka Ukattah, a Director in the ministry, Abubakar said President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s economy through agriculture by its unwavering support for farmers and empowerment of women and youths.
He said it was an effort to attain food security, self-sufficiency as well as improve the livelihood of coconut farmers and processors.
“The government, through the coconut value chain, decided to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain a successful coconut plantation.
“We will cover topics such as nursery establishment, field development, harvesting and processing to meet local and international markets standard and demand.
“With the right training, coconut value chain has the potentials to contribute significantly to the nation’s GDP and generate employment,” Abubakar said.
The Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the workshop, said Nigeria’s coconut production was far below the demand.
“I am sure that if the National Coconut Producers Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN) works with this agroforestry based plantation model, the value chain will be on a scale to contribute significantly to our economy.
“We suddenly got a huge demand for coconut seedlings in the last three to four years and we were caught napping because we did not prepare for the fact that there was going to be an upsurge in the demand for coconut seedlings,” he said.
Ikuenobe explained that NIFOR was strengthening its capacity to meet the sudden upsurge in the demand for the seedlings.
“We are working to invigorate our coconut gardens in addition to other identified seed trees,” he added.
According to him, in the last two years, “we have replanted our coconut germplasm and in the next five years, there will be enough to provide nuts and materials for the industry.”

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Niger Delta

Council Re-Proclaims Ekpo Abasi-Otu As Obong Of Calabar

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The Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar Palace has re-proclaimed Edidem Ekpo Abasi-Otu V, as the Obong of Calabar.
This was in compliance with the Supreme Court Judgement of January 13, which ordered the Etubom’s Conclave of the Obong of Calabar’s Palace to conduct fresh selection process for the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
Chairman, Etubom’s Conclave, Etubom Ntiero Effiwat, stated this recently while reading a document signed by 13 of the conclave members before the others at the palace of the Obong of Calabar.
According to Effiwat, Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House, having fully satisfied with candidate qualifications and eligibility, the Etubom’s Conclave therefore, declared him the successor.
“He is hereby on this day, Jan. 18, 2023 been proclaimed as successor to the throne of the Obong of Calabar.
“The qualified Etuboms who fall under this group were communicated to and directed to produce and present their nominee to the Etubom’s Conclave by Jan. 18, 2023.
“The most senior Etubom of Atai Iboku group, Etubom Otu Efa-Otu, presented thier selected nominee for the throne of Obong of Calabar in person of HRH, Ekpo Abasi-Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House,” he said.

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