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FG Rolls Out New Campaigns To Contain COVID-19

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With over 99% of Nigerians being aware of Covid-19, according to NOIPolls, the Federal Government has rolled out a new set of campaigns to contain the rampaging novel Coronavirus in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed announced this, yesterday, during the daily update briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) in Abuja.
He said that the ministry rolled out a new set of TV campaigns and radio jingles focusing on the NPI interventions after the ministry and its agencies had ramped up their public enlightenment and advocacy campaign to continue to reach Nigerians with information on how they can protect themselves and avoid contracting the disease.
Accordingly, Mohammed explained that the TVCs and the jingles, were packaged in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, and had started playing on the NTA and the FRCN.
This he said is necessary because, in the absence of vaccine or drugs, Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI) remains the most effective way to contain the spread of the disease and protect Nigerians.
“The campaign has therefore continued to focus on the need for the populace to adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering restrictions, wear face mask and ensure good personal hygiene.
“The ministry has now rolled out a new set of TVCs and radio jingles focusing on the NPI interventions.
“The TVCs and the jingles, in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, have started playing on the NTA and the FRCN.
“We are in the process of rolling them out on state and private radio and television stations across the country. We have no choice since information remains the most potent tool that can be deployed against the virus today.
“NTA, FRCN, NAN and VON are also fully engaged in the public enlightenment and advocacy campaign. These agencies have used their own resources to produce TVCs and jingles, which they have continued to air and disseminate, in addition to devoting a large chunk of their programmes and time to the campaign.
“I am also happy to announce that, contrary to the belief in certain quarters, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), despite lacking adequate resources, has shown creativity in its bid to take the campaign to Nigerians.
“The agency has leveraged its relationship with NGOs and the private sector to produce Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials which are now being disseminated to Nigerians in English, Pidgin and some of the major indigenous languages.
“The NTA and the FRCN have provided their platforms for the dissemination of these IECs. The advantage here is that some of these materials can also be disseminated to Nigerians through their phones, thus helping to spread them quickly and widely,” he added.
On the next phase of the public enlightenment and advocacy campaign, the minister said the ministry is to develop and disseminate IEC materials on the need to avoid stigmatizing those who have contracted the virus; the need to shun fake news and the need to reach those who are visually-challenged and hearing impaired. We have already started working on this.
On misinformation, the minister added that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had taken steps to prevent misinformation via the broadcast stations by warning them to adhere strictly to the professional ethics of balance and fairness in reporting Covid-19.
In particular, the commission, according to him, has warned the stations against bringing on their programmes ‘panellists’ with agenda to make reckless statements and insinuations.
“The commission, in its warning letter to the broadcast stations, quoted the relevant sections of the Broadcasting Code.
“The NBC quoted Section 5.4.1, which says ‘The broadcaster shall at all times ensure that the coverage of a disaster or crisis is aimed at overall public interest, guidance and safety’.
“The commission has warned that failure to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Broadcasting Code will attract sanctions, as stipulated by the Code.”
The task force also clarified that members from the same family cannot receive money from the Conditional Cash Transfer scheme currently ongoing in many states.
It also stated that a total of 279 trucks of grains had been deployed to the frontline states that were put on lockdown by the President.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, disclosed this at the daily briefing on Covid-19 updates in Abuja.
She further said the government was focusing on digitalising the CCT scheme and was getting the Bank Verification Number (BVN) of beneficiaries as well as their mobile phone contacts to improve on the transparency of the process.
On claims that two members of a family were paid N20,000 each recently, the minister said it was highly impossible for such to happen.
Umar-Farouq said, “This is near impossible because the process involved is a very tedious one, where all critical stakeholders in the community are involved.
“The faith-based organisations, leaders of the community and other stakeholders are the ones who came up with the list of those to benefit from the intervention in that particular community.”
She added, “And if you go through the list, every particular household must be captured in all three or four of the lists being managed by that community.
“So, it is almost impossible for the same members of a household to get this intervention.”
The minister noted that her ministry would look into the matter to ascertain the claim but insisted that it would be “highly impossible”.
The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has said the Kano State Government has set up a team to investigate the increase in coronavirus cases in the state.
Though the task force said it was closely monitoring Kano, Osun, Oyo and Edo states amid the recent surge in Coronavirus cases, it expressed “particular concern” with Kano.
The National Coordinator, PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who spoke during the daily task force briefing in Abuja, yesterday, said, “We note the concerns about increased reporting of cases. We are closely monitoring Kano, Osun, Oyo and Edo.
“I think it is important to let us know that the country is about to witness turbulent times induced by the pandemic Coronavirus. We may soon be hard hit. The reason for this is that, we, I mean the Nigerian Government, delayed in taking proactive action at the onset.
“However, I can assure us that the government is serious about taking necessary steps to curtail the level of casualties. Well coordinated measures are about to be put in place from a broad, diverse spectrum. All the necessary Working Groups have been inaugurated today.
“International bodies such as WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, CDC, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the private sector, civil society groups are partnering the task force, providing technical and financial assistance and support. Donations are quite streaming in.
“From Global Fund, we got $33million, another $3.3million came from another body I cannot give the name immediately. Max Air donated $200,000, the Chinese firm, Huawei, doled out N100million. There are a number of other handsome donations. We have been holding these meetings with some foreign experts.

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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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