Latest epidemiological report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that in the last 12 days, 85 people have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Between August 16 and August 27, 2021, the number of deaths rose from 2,223 to 2,308, while new confirmed cases increased by 7,246, that is, from 183,087 to 190,333 cases. Also within the same period under review, 2,505 persons were discharged.
With the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across states in the country, the NCDC has continued to encourage Nigerians to adhere to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures of regular hand washing with soap and flowing water or hand sanitising, proper wearing of face masks, avoiding large gatherings, and maintaining social distance.
Also, the Federal Government, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has urged Nigerians to receive any brand of the COVID-19 vaccines available in-country in order to ensure that the country achieves herd immunity by next year. Also, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, and the Country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Walter Mulombo, continue to reiterate that the vaccines are effective against the COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant.
Concerning what the agency is doing to protect Nigerians from the ravaging effect of the pandemic, the Director General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said: “As Nigeria continues to record an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, adequate testing is critical to identify cases quickly, prevent spread and accurately measure the burden of COVID-19. Testing allows health authorities to monitor disease trends, identify new clusters of cases and initiate contact tracing to prevent further spread of the disease.
“Although scientific evidence continues to evolve, we know that the more the virus spreads, the higher the risk of new variants emerging. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) continues to coordinate testing activities, including support to increase testing across states.
“The NCDC has led the establishment of at least one molecular laboratory in each state of the federation and has continued to ensure continuous supply of laboratory commodities and reagents; support with setting up of sample collection sites; provision of guidelines; training of laboratory scientists and so on. These are efforts towards ensuring testing is more accessible to Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, Enugu State government says it has opened additional COVID-19 vaccination centres in major markets, shopping malls and public places.
These are additional to the more than 100 conventional vaccination centres previously opened in the state.
Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Saturday that the move was to make COVID-19 vaccination centres more accessible for residents.
Ugwu said that having more vaccination centres would help the state to achieve its target of getting every eligible resident vaccinated against the pandemic.
According to him, centres have been opened in major markets like Ogbette Market and Kenyatta Market in Enugu; at Shoprite and SPAR malls as well as other designated public places notwithstanding the 100 vaccination centres already available.
“Another thing we will do differently this time, which came as a result of challenges in the first phase, is that of increased advocacy and public sensitisation.
“We have planned to officially communicate and use various grassroots leaders, traditional, religious and opinion leaders, to press home the message of the need for the vaccination, its safety and efficacy.
“We are desirous to go to the hinterland and check all falsehoods and unfounded information militating against the people to freely get vaccinated, especially in the rural areas.
“Our teams will be visiting worship centres, community meetings and other public gatherings to sensitise our people on the need to receive their COVID-19 vaccination for the protection of all,’’ he said.
Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.
Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.
Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.
He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”
He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.
The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.
“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”
The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.
He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”
Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”
Insecurity: Royal Navy Warship arrives in Lagos
The Royal Navyship, HMS TRENT has arrived Lagos State as part of its three months deployment to the Gulf of Guinea.
The HMS TRENT and her contingent of Royal Marines from 42 Commando are on a three-month deployment to the Gulf of Guinea.
Port of Lagos is the second stop for HMS TRENT since departing Gibraltar in October.
The Royal Navy War ship was recieved by the United Kingdom, UK, Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, at a reception on Saturday.
According to Llewellyn-Jones: “Nigeria’s security and prosperity matters to the UK. The Royal Navy is here because the UK is a committed partner for Nigeria and the wider West African region.
“We will continue to work with the Nigerian authorities to address illegal activity; improve maritime security; counter-piracy and tackle the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
“To do this we will draw on the experience we have of cross and multi-agency co-operation in the UK to promote peace, development, and prosperity.”
The ship’s company of HMS Trent have a packed schedule of events, including various capability demonstrations and training, with 42 Commando delivering their specific Vessel Boarding, Search and Seizure training to the Nigerian Navy.
In addition, members of the ship’s company will also step ashore with a charity beach clean as well as attending the Maritime Security Conference at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
Also speaking, HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Thomas Knott said: “As Trent made her way to the Gulf of Guinea my crew honed their skills in Maritime Security Operations and commenced Counter Illicit Activity Patrols.
“Piracy, Narcotics and broader criminal activities in this region demand that my Royal Navy Sailors and Royal Marine Commando Force are always ready to respond, from Boarding Operations through to lifesaving assistance at sea.”
Boarding exercises are vital integration training for the newly embarked Royal Marines, who joined at the start of HMS Trent’s patrol of the Gulf of Guinea.
42 Commando will perform a key role as part of the ship’s company of HMS Trent, training partner forces across the region and helping to develop their capabilities.
The three-month deployment will see the ship travel around the Gulf of Guinea, visiting countries including Ghana, Senegal, and Gambia.
Alongside their commitments to conduct joint exercises and train with partners in the region, HMS Trent will also conduct maritime security patrols and promote the UK’s position as co-president at the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea conference in November.
FG considering posthumous pardon for Ken Saro-Wiwa, others – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government is considering a state pardon for nine Ogoni leaders/activists convicted and hanged by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha 26 years ago for opposing the operating practices of the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Corporation.
The Ogoni Nine are author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel and John Kpuine, They were executed on November 10, 1995.
Buhari gave the hint when he had an audience with some leaders and people of Ogoni land at the State House, according to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
According to the President Buhari, despite the gravity of the circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request to grant them pardon and bring closure to the case.
He said: “Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.
“Despite the grievous circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga,’’
President Buhari urged the Ogoni leaders to sensitize indigenes on value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations, saying willful damages usually create more havoc on their environment and hamper development in the area.
He also noted that the Federal Government is committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni land so that indigenes can regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.
“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni land and the region more, that when pipelines are broken, the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people. The majority farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,’’ he said.
The President observed that bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife.
He said the government would bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni land.
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