The Bayelsa Government on Thursday assured its athletes of sustainable support to enable them to excel at the postponed National Sports Festival and other competitions.
Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the State’s Deputy Governor, gave the assurance at a meeting with the officials of the State Ministry of Sports in Yenagoa.
The government’s assurance was contained in a statement signed by Ewhrudjakpo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi.
The deputy governor pledged that the present administration would do everything within its reach to promote sports and youths development in the state.
He noted that restoring Bayelsa’s sports glory would not be too difficult, saying that the administration was ready to tap from the wealth of experiences of veterans, including Gov. Douye Diri, a former Commissioner for Sports.
Ewhrudjakpo, commending the state’s athletes for demonstrating true commitment and patriotism, enjoined other Bayelsa people, particularly the political class, to emulate them.
“First of all, I want to thank you for your patriotism, commitment, determination and the Ijaw spirit that is firing in you, because the Ijaw man is not a man whose conscience is bought.
“The true Ijaw man is prepared to be hungry than going to steal or beg. That is why I have always said that Ijaw man is one of the proudest persons in the world.
“And that is what you have demonstrated. I want to assure you that this Douye Diri-led government will reciprocate your determination, commitment and patriotism to our state.
“If every person shows this kind of patriotism in their little offices and corners, including our politicians in Abuja, Port Harcourt and wherever they are, Bayelsa will not be what it is.
“I want to also assure you that anytime the sports festival will take place, by God’s grace, I will be there at the opening ceremony, as the person supervising the sports ministry.
“I will march round with you to set example for others, as a way of encouraging you.
“I will carry the banner alongside the Commissioner for Sports, or the Permanent Secretary, as the case may be, to march in front of you,” he said.
Reacting to the athletes’ demands, the deputy governor assured them that the state government would put in place the machinery to employ athletes and clear their outstanding bonuses.
He directed the Permanent Secretary and Director of Sports, Ministry of Sports and Youths Development, to work out the cost implications for the employment of athletes as well as payment of their bonuses.
“Subject to the governor’s approval, the permanent secretary and director of sports should work out the total cost of employing these athletes.
”You should also work out the payment of the outstanding bonuses in two, three and four instalments.
“I want the proposal to get to me latest by next week Wednesday, so that we can present it to the governor.
”We want to see what we can do, so that at least ‘something’ will be coming your way every month, to clear the backlog,” he said.
In their separate remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Tukuru Patimidi, and Director of Sports, Ministry of Sports, Braveman Wodi, commended the deputy governor’s commitment to tackling sports challenges in Bayelsa.
They, however, appealed to the state government to take quick measures to forestall losing its best athletes to other states.
According to them, the measures include clearing the backlog of bonuses owed athletes, as well as employing those who have consistently made the state proud in both national and international sports competitions.
In his contributions, one of the athletes, Mr Tuburu Tamarakuro, urged the state governor to demonstrate his love for sports by motivating Bayelsa’s sportsmen and women.
Tamarakuro was optimistic that the state would excel at the sports festival, if the pressing issues affecting the athletes could be tackled headlong.
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
COVID-19: Nigeria’s total hits 44,433 as NCDC announces 304 new cases, 910 deaths
The NCDC made this known on its official twitter handle on Tuesday.
According to it, as of Aug. 4, 14 deaths were recorded in the country.
Till date, 44,433 cases have been confirmed out of which 31,851 cases have been discharged and 910 deaths recorded nationwide.
Others were Edo (6), Bauchi (4), Kwara (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Bayelsa (3), Plateau (3), Niger (3), Nasarawa (2) and Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the agency warned that the coronavirus does not care if a person ‘believe’ in use of face masks or not.
“You may not believe in the virus, but the virus sure believes in you.
“Do not wear masks with valves.
“Why? Because a valve acts as an open doorway, allowing your breath to leave the mask and putting those around you at risk of catching COVID-19.
“Again, there are many ways to wear a mask incorrectly, but only one way to maximise protection; wear a well-fitted mask with gaps.
“Check if your mask fit before going outside, it is really simple.
“Step 1, inhale: Your mask should pull on your face.
“Step 2, exhale: Your mask should expand.
“Step 3, check leaks: There should be no major leaks.
“Readjust your mask if there are leaks for best protection, your mask should fit well,’’ it advised.
“Even if you wear protective mask in public, it is important that you also use other preventive measures, stay at least two metres away from other people.
“Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
“Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; cover your coughs and sneezes.’’
It, however, said that coronavirus could not overwhelm Nigerians.
“There’s an end; let’s just do the needful,’’ it stated.
The figures have reduced significantly over the past seven days with the lowest figure over this timeline, being 288 recorded on Aug. 3.
Between June and July, new cases had risen to as high as 790 on July 1.
With the recent trend, the case rate is slowing down in the country.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
EEDC nabs 2 suspected electricity installation vandals
The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it nabbed two notorious electricity installation vandals in Osisioma community near Aba, Abia, along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
EEDC’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Emeka Ezeh, told newsmen in Enugu on Tuesday, that the duo had been handed over to the Osisioma Police Station, Abia, for interrogation and further investigation.
Ezeh said that the two suspected vandals were caught red handed and apprehended on Aug. 3, by members of Osisioma Electricity Committee while vandalising electricity cables belonging to the company.
According to Ezeh, last month, a suspect was arrested by youths of Amichi community for vandalizing Ebenasa 300KVA 33/0.415KV distribution substation, located at Amichi.
“Part of the items recovered from the suspects included: 4 feeder pillar bars, 4 feeder pillar units and 3 feeder pillar fuses.
“It was also gathered that the suspects’ accomplice fled and is currently at large.
“However, effort is on to get him arrested along with the identified buyer, who is in possession of 300mm 2 x 4 single core upriser cables, 10 meters earthen wire, as well as some bolts and nuts,” he said.
In a similar development, the EEDC spokesman said that one suspect was arrested by members of Ogbu Edda community, Ebonyi, for vandalising a 300KVA 33/0.415KV distribution substation, located in the community.
“The suspect was caught in possession of 150mm-2 upriser cable and has been handed over to the Afikpo South Divisional Police Headquarters for further investigations,’’ he said.
Ezeh said that the company had been expressing concerns, over the rising cases of vandalism within its network, and had appealed to customers to be more vigilant in ensuring that the installations serving them were not vandalised.
The EEDC spokesman however, commended the youths of Amichi, people of Ogbu Edda community, Ebonyi and members of Osisioma electricity committee, for their support in apprehending the suspected vandals.
Ezeh said that the company would work closely with the police to ensure that the suspects were prosecuted so that the law could take its course.
“The activities of these vandals not only affect our organisation’s finances, but adversely impact on the quality of services to our customers who are subjected to darkness and untold hardship whenever the electrical installations serving them are vandalised.
“We are not relenting in our effort in tackling the growing trend of vandalism and also call on well-meaning and law-abiding customers to join hands in this fight,’’ he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
COVID-19: Bayelsa schools ready, safe to re-open – Gov. Diri
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Tuesday announced that the state had put in place measures to check the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among students in exit classes billed to resume on Wednesday.
Diri gave the assurance at the ‘Safe School Reopening Train-the-Trainer’ programme in Yenagoa.
He said that the government had provided 10,000 face masks, temperature scanners, soap and water for all public and private schools in Bayelsa.
The governor inaugurated a 10-member Safe Schools Reopening Committee headed by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Peter Akpe, to monitor implementation of the safety protocols across the state.
Diri urged the committee to ensure compliance with the safety protocols to curb infection.
He noted that Bayelsa had 339 COVID-19 cases at the moment.
Diri also noted that Rivers had 1,842 cases and Delta 1,520, saying that Bayelsa was listed the 23rd out of 36 states in infection rate.
“Out of the responsibility for the health of our dear children, we decided to close schools on March 26 even before we recorded the index case in Bayless, on April 27, 2020.
“I commend the efforts of our healthcare professionals who I describe as generals in the battlefield.
“With the steps we have taken, teachers have joined in the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic.
“We seek the cooperation of parents, teachers and other stakeholders to prevent teacher-to-student transmission of the virus and vice versa,” Diri said.
In his remarks, Dr Nathaniel Apoku, Co-Chairman of Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, said that 90 per cent of the 339 positive cases out of 5,000 people screened for the virus had been discharged.
“We have so far tested 5,000, we have only 24 active cases under our care.
“Our isolation centres are virtually empty, this is due to the commitment, dexterity and funding support by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other members of the Safe Schools Reopening Committee include Mr Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, and Mr Walter Liverpool, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
NUC says 32 universities involved in research to tackle impacts of COVID-19
Rasheed, who was represented by Dr Suleiman Yusuf, Deputy Executive Secretary, Academics, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at a news briefing on the contribution of the Nigerian University System toward mitigating the impact of COVID-19.
He noted that the research would be building up over the coming months.
According to him, the universities will not relent on their efforts until COVID-19 was consigned to history and lessons learned for tackling future national epidemics and global pandemics.
” As at June 22, not less than 32 universities are involved in different stages of research aimed at galvanising research toward the development of vaccines and non vaccines.
“Only few institutions have been able to utilise open and distance learning system to keep students engaged while the pandemic lasted and only few laboratories continued with research and development activities.
” Nonetheless, the few who engaged in research and innovation work have demonstrated the need for a well-funded and robustly organised national research and innovation system to catalyse the national
response,” he said.
Rasheed added that in the area of Genomic research, the African Centres of Excellence (ACE), particularly the Centre for the Genomics of Infectious Diseases at the Redeemer’s University, Ede was collaborating with the University of Cambridge for the development of vaccines.
He said that other ACEs in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Universities of Lagos, Benin, Port Harcourt and Jos, which served as national
testing and screening centres had proved that world-class research and development was possible in Nigeria.
He, therefore, added that the country’s university system could be readily effective and relevant to national development if research was valued and adequately funded and the institutions provided with resources to motivate researchers and innovators including students.
On the current efforts of herbal remedies, Rasheed said the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari on herbal and natural products development was acknowledged, following the great demonstration of enviable political leadership by the President of Madagascar.
“Furthermore, Nigeria needs to develop homegrown capabilities in the production and manufacture of the most basic medical and pharmaceutical products such as PPEs, WASH accessories, and ventilators.
” Limited developments are reported from the few ongoing research, but these give some hope that the NUC can provide the R&D base for responding to these needs and much needed structural reconfiguration of the economy.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)