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Anambra resident doctors adamant on lingering strike



Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, says there is no going back to the industrial action embarked upon by members.

Dr Nonso Aniagboso, Chairman of the branch disclosed position of the resident doctors in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Tuesday.

Aniagbaso said the position was reached at its congress where members unanimously rejected the outcome of its leadership’s engagement with the state government last week.

NAN reports ARD, COOUTH branch on May 13 commenced indefinite industrial strike over alleged poor working conditions.

The chairman said the association would continue with the strike until their demands were met.

He said they might be compelled to report doctors who were hired to act their place noting that it was dangerous to leave patients at the mercy of House Officers when resident doctors were not there.

“On May 17, we met the governor on the industrial strike, our demands included full implementation of Consolidates Medical Salary Scale (CONMESS) as against payment of 40 per cent to members, funding of the residency programme for optimal efficiency and support for the association.

“His Excellency empathised with us and expressed commitment to meet the demands but did not address them.

“He said he was ready to implement minimum wage and that we should wait for when Internally Generated Revenue must have improved for him to pay CONMESS.

“At our congress on Monday, we concluded that the state government did not have any offer and that we shall continue with the industrial action for as long as possible, until the demands are met.

“We are prepared for this struggle which primarily is in the best interest of the public,” he said.

Aniagboso said that the association had the mandate of the national body to call out private doctors who were employed by the management of COOUTH to render critical medical services in their place and may invoke that power soon.

He said it was in the interest of the state government and management of the hospital to address the demands of the resident doctors rather than hire private practitioners at exorbitant cost.

He said that ARDs were worried that staff of the mother institution, COOU were getting their pay in full while those in its teaching hospital were being paid 40 per cent of their due.

According to him, this is unfair disparity as we are under the same government.

“In 18 months, our membership dropped from 70 to 45 before it grew to 56 now, the condition of service has made COOUTH a transit point for doctors, they leave as soon as they get better offer from sister institutions.

“The residency programme is just not working because it is not being funded, we have not had consultants in the last three years,” he said.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu



Anambra has 8 active COVID-19 cases – Obiano



Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra says there are currently eight active COVID-19 cases being treated at Protective Care Centres in the state.

The governor also said 69 persons were on home isolation while two others were at the state’s quarantine facility.

Obiano who disclosed this in a special broadcast to the state on Tuesday in Awka,  said his administration was making efforts to enhance the testing capacity of the state for coronavirus.

He said he had signed the COVID-19 Bill, which made not wearing face mask a punishable offence with fine and community service.

“As it stands now, we have eight patients in our Protective Care Centers, we also have 69 individuals on home quarantine and two individuals in the quarantine facility.

“We are ramping up our testing capacity to ensure that we slow down the spread of this pandemic in our dear state.

The COVID-19 Committees that we have set up in Wards and Local Government Areas across Anambra are helping us in driving the campaign to every nook and cranny of the state.

“I will like to assure you that we have made adequate arrangements to handle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As you are probably aware, on Thursday last week, I signed the COVID-19 Bill into law. Under this law, it is an offence to be seen in public without a face mask.

“The offence attracts a fine of N10, 000 or some hours of community service, I will like to re-emphasise that my administration is determined to enforce this law,” he said.

Obiano urged traders and religious leaders not to relax in ensuring that their members continued to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols while noting that it had been observed that most of them had jettisoned the safety measures.

He urged healthcare institutions to set up holding centres to keep patients who exhibited symptoms of the virus to check the possibility of spreading it in Anambra.

“I want to warn that we may consider shutting down the markets if this trend is not halted with immediate effect, I have also received similar reports from churches and other religious groups in the state, most of whom have discarded wearing of face masks.

Every hospital in Anambra must set up a mini holding ward where patients whose samples have been taken for COVID-19 test can be kept while the result of the test is awaited.

“This approach will minimise the chances of patients spreading the virus through multiple contacts.

All members of the Nigerian Medical Association practicing in Anambra are expected to inform the Ministry of Health once they collect samples of suspected COVID-19 patients for testing.

“A situation where some members collect samples and send to testing centers on their own is no longer allowed,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Police nab 4 suspected motorcycle thieves in Anambra



The Police Command in Anambra on Monday, said it arrested four suspected hoodlums, who specialise in snatching motorcycles in the state.

The Police spokesman, Mr Haruna Mohammed, said in Awka that the suspects were arrested in a bush at Nri in Anaocha Local Government Area of the state.

Mohammed said the suspects were arrested following an alleged robbery and injury inflicted on one Nnamdi Ebegbe.

He listed the suspects as Francis Ezeibekwe, 22; Ndubuisi Kaliaozor, 20; Ugoji Chibuzor, 19 and Elochukwu Anyaoke, 29.

On June 1, at about 1:30p.m., following a distress call, Police operatives attached to Neni Division in collaboration with vigilance group arrested four robbery suspects.

“The suspects specialise in snatching motorcycles along Nri-Neni axis.

“The suspects were arrested in their hideout inside the bush at Nri by Neni after allegedly robbing one Nnamdi Ebegbe of his Top Star motorcycle with registration number NSK 426 QJ,” he said in a statement.

Mohammed said the hoodlums also snatched a phone and an unspecified amount of money from the victim after chopping part of his right ear with a knife.

The police spokesman said one cutlass, the motorcycle and a phone belonging to the victim were recovered from the suspects.

According to him, the case is under investigation after which the suspects will be charged to court.

He reiterated the warning by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang, that motorcycle and tricycle operators should be wary of activities of such syndicates, so as not to fall victim.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Autocrash: Commercial motorcyclist dies in Anambra



The Anambra State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Andrew Kumapayi, on Monday, confirmed the death of a commercial motorcyclist at Enugu-Ugwu, along Awka-Onitsha old road.

Kumapayi, who confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka, said the motorcyclist was hit by a Toyota Camry car.

The commander said the accident, which occurred at about 9.32 a.m. was caused by speeding and distraction.

“The crash involved a purple coloured Toyota Camry marked KPP-979 PJ and a blue coloured commercial motorcycle with registration number UX 28-JJT.

“A total of three adult males were involved in the crash; the driver of the Camry, the motorcyclist, who lost his life and a passenger, who sustained some degree of injury.

“The motorcyclist, who was identified as Okafor Chibuzor, 26, was confirmed dead by doctors at Zion Hospital, where they were rushed to by some good Samaritans before the arrival of the FRSC rescue team.

“His corpse has been deposited at the hospital morgue while the driver of the Toyota Camry has been handed over to the police for further investigation,” he said.

Kumapayi said that the clearing of obstruction was going on at the scene of the crash to ensure free flow of traffic.

He warned motorists against driving above recommended speed limit and urged them to drive with maximum concentration devoid of any form of distraction.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)

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Lockdown: Anambra, Delta adopt strategies to check movement on Niger Bridge



The Anambra and Delta Governments on Tuesday agreed on strategies to check the heavy human and vehicular traffic across the Niger Bridge amidst the ban on inter-state travel.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Secretary to the Government of Anambra, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu and his Delta counterpart, Mr Chiedu Ebie, held a meeting at the Asaba end of the bridgehead.

The Commissioners of Police as well as COVID-19 Task Force teams from both states were also present during the meeting.

The meeting was held to douse tension between the two state governments over iron barricades built on both sides of the bridge on the orders of Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra.

The iron barricade on the Asaba end of the bridge was reportedly pulled down last weekend by some Delta youths.

Addressing newsmen after their deliberations, Chukwulobelu said both governments had agreed to further move away their check points from the foot of the bridge to enable free flow of traffic.

“The idea is that those trucks that are not essential or not carrying essential commodities, can be turned back very quickly while those that come into the bridge can have faster exit.

“This will ensure that there are no heavy trucks parking on the bridge at any point in time and further minimise the waiting time and suffering of people running this bridge,” he said.

The Anambra SSG also said that both parties agreed that each truck crossing the bridge would have just a driver and two helpers.

“If you are carrying more than three including the driver, that truck will not be allowed to proceed and may be impounded,” he warned

He said that the two states further agreed to swap personnel to build confidence in the process.

“The two state governments have agreed to ensure that construction workers and materials, especially those for Federal Government projects are not hindered from crossing,” he added.

On his part the Delta SSG, promised that the state government would collaborate with Anambra government to ensure that the strategies were implemented to guarantee flow of traffic.

“But our plea to everyone is that, if you have no business on the bridge, respect yourself and stay away.

“Those who defy the directive will have their trucks impounded; before you depart your station, ensure you are not carrying frivolous goods.

“We noticed that some commercial transporters play smart by discharging their passengers shortly before the bridge and then crossing to pick them up at the other side.

“We will be smarter this time around to ensure that such buses are impounded as well,” Ebie stressed.

Earlier, Julius Berger Project Manager for Second Niger Bridge, Mr Friedrich Wieser, expressed concern over the integrity of the bridge as a result of accumulation of heavy traffic.

“We have the mandate from the Federal Government to continue work even under the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course, we resumed work in May but the company finds it difficult to move daily to site due to traffic.

“If the bridge can be free, it will be beneficial to the construction of the second Niger Bridge,” Wieser said.

The project manager also appealed to the two state governments to consider materials used for the construction work as essential, saying that certain work could not be postponed due to the rising level of water.

NAN reports that afterwards the two teams jointly checked a few vehicles to ensure compliance.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Motorcyclist dies in Anambra accident



The Anambra State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Andrew Kumapayi, on Tuesday confirmed the death of a motorcyclist at Orie Akwu-Ukwu on the Owerri-Onitsha highway.

Kumapayi, who confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka, said the unidentified motorcyclist was hit by a Toyota Siena car.

The commander said the accident which occurred at about 10 a.m. was caused by over-speeding

“It was gathered that an unregistered motorcycle was hit by a Toyota Sienna with registration number YAB 549 WD.

“One out of the two male adults involved in the crash, who happened to be the motorcyclist lost his life.

“On getting to the scene of the accident, the FRSC rescue team reported that operatives of the Nigeria Police Force were already on ground. They took the corpse of the victim to Gateway Mortuary in Oba, near Onitsha.

“The policemen also took the driver of the Toyota Sienna to their station.’’

Kumapayi said that clearing of obstruction was going on at the scene of the crash to ensure free flow of traffic.

He warned motorists against over-speeding, which he said, could lead to loss of control and road accidents.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Silas Nwoha (NAN)






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COVID-19: Anambra, Delta hold talks to check movement on Niger Bridge



The Anambra and Delta Governments are currently holding talks to check the influx of people, seeking to cross the Niger Bridge in defiance of the presidential order restricting inter-state movements.

Mr C-Don Adinuba, Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Onitsha on Monday.

Adinuba was commenting on the barricade built on the bridge on the orders of Gov. Willie Obiano at the Asaba-end of the bridge.

The iron barricade was reportedly pulled down at the weekend by youths in Delta.

NAN learnt that the development necessitated a meeting where the two governments resolved to jointly police the Niger Bridge to curtail movement of ‘strange persons.’

“Top officials of both Delta and Anambra State Governments have met thrice today and will meet again tomorrow or so.

“The meeting is to conclude arrangements on how to check the influx of people, who defy the presidential order restricting inter-state movements as part of the far-reaching measures to check the spread of COVID-19,” Adinuba said.

According to him, the meetings have been held in convivial and brotherly manner.

“Subsequent meetings will follow the same trajectory of peace and solidarity as each party is quite committed to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic,” Adinuba said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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COVID-19: Correctional Service releases over 454 inmates in Anambra



The Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Anambra Command, says it has so far released more than 454 inmates from its custodian centres across the state, in a bid to decongest prisons due to dreaded coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Emmanuel Nwakaeze, the state Controller of the Service disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Sunday.

He explained that 54 inmates with federal offences received presidential amnesty under prerogative of mercy of the governor, while about 400 others were released on bail by the State’s Chief Judge from the four custodian centres in Nnewi, Onitsha, Ekwulobia and Awka.

Nwakaeze said the service presently has a total of 1720 inmates, adding “apart from the number already released, we are compiling list of awaiting trial inmates that have stayed more than five years so as to release them in furtherance to decongest the four centres.

“While this is done, my office has stepped up sensitisation campaign in all the centres with the aim to making the inmates being release to understand that it was God that gave them the opportunity courtesy of the coronavius pandemic.

“I drum it into their ears that any of them who so benefit from the gesture must be of good behaviour because coronavius pandemic does not occur every now and then,’’ he said.

Nwakaeze, who gave reasons for the stoppage of visitors to Nigeria Correctional Service and Custodian Centres, explained that the action was in line with the directive of the Controller General of the Service, Mr Ja’afaru Ahmed to avoid the spread of coronavirus to its facilities.

“Since the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus in our country, the management lined out measures to ensure the safety of inmates and very prompt among the measures was the stoppage of people from visiting the inmates in our custodies.

“Rather than allow people whose status cannot be readily ascertain, we now advise people to bring cash or raw food items for such to prepare and give to the inmates ourselves  because that for us is better than to expose them to COVID-19 risk,’’ he said.

He said, so far a number of personalities including Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Diocese, and Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, wife of Anambra State Governor etc. have donated food items to the inmates.

Nwakaeze did not dispel nor accept the report that the organisation now rejects fresh persons sent to their custodies, but simply said, “we are abiding by health protocols to protect those already in our centres.’’

He further said that the NCS authorities across the nation have beefed up its intelligence gathering department as well as fortified security around all the custodian centres with a view to preventing any attack or jail break.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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COVID-19: Onyeama, Air Peace CEO, donates testing kits, other items to Anambra govt.



The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Air Peace airline, Mr Allen Onyema, has donated testing kits and medical items worth millions of naira to the Anambra government, as part of his contributions to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items included 1,500 pieces of hand gloves, 5,000 face masks, 900 testing kits, 240 personal protective equipment (PPE), 100 pieces of infrared thermometers and 250 head covers.
Presenting the items on Saturday in Awka, Onyema, represented by his brother, Mr Maxwell Onyema, expressed satisfaction with the measures so far taken by government in the fight against the pandemic in the state.
He noted that the donation was to complement government’s efforts at halting the spread of the virus in the state.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr Paschal Agbodike, the Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, expressed gratitude to Onyema for answering the call for support from state government.
Agbodike described the gesture as a “show of love towards the entire people of Anambra.”
Receiving the items on behalf of the state government, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, described Onyema as a “good-hearted philanthropist,”
Okpala commended Onyema for the kind gesture and for always supporting the government, whenever the need arose.
The commissioner further noted that all the donations received so far had helped government to successfully fight the spread of the pandemic.
He reassured the donors that the state Committee on COVID19 would continue to make judicious use of all the items.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Group petitions CP over alleged harassment, intimidation by monarch in Anambra



Some aggrieved indigenes of Awba-Ofemili, Awka North Local Government Area, Anambra, have petitioned the Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang, against their traditional ruler, Igwe Ezekwesili Maduagwuna.

A copy of the petition made available to newsmen on Friday in Awka was filed through their Solicitors, G. C. Enekwechi and Co. (Grace Chambers) and signed by Mr Obinna Nnajiofor.

The petitioners copied the Inspector-General of Police and Public Complaints Committee of the National Assembly.

The petitioners, Chief Solomon Ozuah, Chief Reuben Iloka and Chief Matthew Nwaobu accused Maduagwuna of harassment, extortion and intimidation of indigenes.

They also accused the traditional ruler of threatening peace and stability in the community and using local security guards to intimidate and assault indigenes.

“Igwe Maduagwuna has for a long time unlawfully laid claim to people’s lands and claiming same to be communal land, unlawfully appropriate to himself the powers to dispose of those lands at his whims and caprices.

“He operates an illegal dungeon where the citizens are unlawfully detained, tortured and treated inhumanly,” they alleged.

They further accused the the traditional ruler of using the local guards to extort N5,000 from Aguenu youths before accessing their farmlands or harvesting produce, among others.

They also appealed to the state commissioner of police to intervene and settle the crisis rocking Awba-Ofemili community allegedly instigated by the traditional ruler.

Meanwhile, the traditional Prime Minister of Awba Ofemili, Chief Benard Nwanelo who spoke on behalf of Igwe Maduagwuna dismissed the allegations.

Nwanelo said: “nobody intimidated or extorted the people for going to farm.”

“Our monarch is peace loving and has never got involved in any land dispute with his subjects. There has never been any mayhem of such in Awba-Ofemili as quoted in the petition.

“The only problem is that some people who lost out in the kingship contest with Igwe Maduagwuna have vowed to displace him, but we won’t allow that to happen.”

In the meantime, the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba, has appealed to the people of the area to remain calm, saying efforts were on to settle the crisis.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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