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One in five Lagosians tested positive in Jan – Sanwo-Olu

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  • Over 50 person-indoor gathering banned
  • Wearing of face mask now compulsory in Lagos

One out of every five Lagos residents who took the COVID-19 test this year was found to be positive, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said.

He said this on Sunday amid fears of unbearable spike in the virus infection in the state.

Sanwo-Olu, who gave the figure in his monthly coronavirus update for January, announced the prohibition of over 50 people in an indoor gathering except a religious event; just as he insisted that wearing of face mask now a must in Lagos.

He said as of January 29, the state had recorded 47,871 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of this number, 34,094 have recovered, while 9,856 are currently active.

He explained that over the last 12 months, about 3,988 COVID-related patients had been admitted into the care centres across the state; with a registered fatality rate of approximately 0.63 per cent (301 deaths).

Sanwo-Olu said, “Currently, Lagos State has 21 private and four public health laboratories accredited for COVID-19 testing. So far, a total of 316,801 samples have been tested, with 47,871 diagnosed as positive.

“The test positivity ratio for January 2021 is 24 per cent, which means that one out of every five tests returns positive. This is the highest monthly average recorded in the last six months.

“It should be stressed that testing is free at all Lagos State public health laboratories, for all persons who fall within the case definition — that is, have symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, inability to smell or taste, headaches or general body weakness — or those who have come into close contact with anyone with any of these symptoms. Testing at our public health facilities will continue to remain free but cannot be used for travel purposes. Anyone wishing to test as a requirement for either outbound or inbound travel or other work-related requirements must do so at any of the 21 private laboratories accredited by Lagos State for COVID testing.”

The governor noted that oxygen demand had spiked to between 300 and 400 cylinders per day across state-owned treatment facilities, adding that the government was working hard to ensure that availability and supply “are very easily able to meet and even surpass this demand”.

“To this end, a second oxygen plant is under construction at the Gbagada General Hospital and will come on-stream within the next seven days.

“It is expected that this will boost the in-house capacity and availability of oxygen across state government-managed treatment centres.”

To shore up the state’s containment and management capacity for the virus and its variants, Sanwo-Olu said he had approved N200million to support the ongoing patient management and treatment efforts of two Federal Government treatment centres in the state.

“To this end, LUTH will be receiving N150million and the Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Meta will be receiving N50 million. These sums will be disbursed on Monday, February 1,” he said.

In line with the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, the governor directed that “no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.

“A breach of the provisions of the Presidential Regulations attracts upon summary conviction, a fine or six months imprisonment and or both. Our enforcement agencies have been appropriately tasked to ensure maximum compliance.”

Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu has directed that no gathering of more than 50 persons will be allowed in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes.

He said it was in line with the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed last week by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said, “The state government has observed with dismay the widespread flagrant disregard and non-adherence to guidelines and protocols aimed at stemming and curbing the tide of infection.

“We particularly note that some event centres have been operating their premises outside the acceptable parameters for operation/usage and continue to be recalcitrant in this regard.

“This is to sound a very serious note of warning that henceforth all those found culpable and in breach of the existing regulations and guidelines would be swiftly and decisively dealt with in full accordance with the provisions of the law.

“Furthermore, and in line with the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, it is hereby directed that no gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.”

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NNPC to inject fresh N1tn into road projects

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is to provide additional N1tn for road projects in Nigeria, NNPC Group Chief Executive, Mele Kyari, has said.

Kyari, in a video clip seen in Abuja, disclosed this on Thursday during a tour of the ongoing construction work on the Agbara-Badagry road, Lagos.

He said the N1tn would come through the Federal Government road infrastructure tax credit scheme.

He said, “We are very happy about the state of this road development. We are very happy with this intervention across the country not just in this place. We are doing 1,800km across the country. We are taking another set of over N1tn of investments in road infrastructure in the country.

“We believe that this tax credit system which Mr. President has put in place is the game changer for our country.

“We believe that in the next 24 months, there will be massive change to the entire road network in this country and this is why the NNPC is your company and working for all of us.

“We think that it is the best way to intervene and bring up our infrastructure. We are adding another set of cash, we have not reached the final numbers, but I know it is over N1tn.”

According to a Punch report, the NNPC in the third quarter of 2021 announced its intention to provide funds for the reconstruction of selected road projects in order to ease the movement of petroleum products.

This was executed under the tax credit scheme that was funded by the NNPC through the Federal Inland Revenue Service in accordance with the President’s executive order 007.

The construction exercise was under the management of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, as the NNPC provided funds for the construction of 1,804.6km of roads at a cost of N621,24bn.

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Military under pressure to compromise elections, says CDS Irabor

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has disclosed that the security agencies and the military have been under pressure to compromise general elections through financial inducement.

He however assured Nigerians that the military would maintain neutrality in the whole electoral process.

He spoke at the weekly ministerial press briefing on Thursday in Abuja and gave updates on strides made by the military in the fight against insurgency, terrorism and banditry.

He stated that military personnel were being trained to follow the codified rules of engagement before, during and after the elections.

The CDS disclosed that over 300,000 persons had been freed from the hands of abductors since 2016 while refugees who fled the North-East owing to insurgency were already returning.

General Irabor who admitted there were few sabotaurs within the military asserted that they had not succeeded.

He debunked a recent allegation by an international news media which accused the military of carrying out over 10,000 illegal abortions on female victims of the war in the North-East.

According to him, it is impossible for the military to have been engaged in a planned abortion programme since 2013 and as the military commander in charge of Operation Lafia Dole between 2016 and 2017, he never heard of any such thing.

The CDS also revisited the alleged Lekki tollgate massacre in 2020, insisting that the Nigerian military is not interested in killing its own people, but more concerned about protecting the citizens.

He added that the efforts of the military in the fight against crude oil theft had been yielding positive results with the increase in the crude oil production of 1.6 million barrels per day.

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FG recovers N120bn from crime proceeds —Lai Mohammed

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Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has said it had realised at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure at a news briefing where Minister of Environment presented the scorecard of the ministry under the Buhari administration in Abuja, yesterday.

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Mohammed said:  “I have an update on the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act (POCA), 2022. In line with the new law, all relevant agencies of government have now opened ‘Confiscated and Forfeiture Properties Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

“I can confirm that so far, the Federal Government has realised over N120 billion, among other currencies, from POCA. This money will be used to fund the completion of ongoing critical infrastructure projects in the country such as the Second Niger Bridge as well as Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano Expressways. We will continue to update you on this,” he added.

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