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COVID-19: NGO network calls on Kogi, NCDC to end squabbles

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COVID-19: NGO network calls on Kogi, NCDC to end squabbles


The Kogi Non-Governmental Organisations Network (KONGONET) has called on the state COVID-19 Squadron Committee to provide clarifications on the state’s COVID-19 status and end conflict between the state and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Th KONGONET Chairman, Mr Idris Muraina, made the call in its 2nd Quarter 2020 press statement on the state of affairs in the state.

He issued the statement to newsmen on Saturday in Lokoja.

Muraina said the conflict was detrimental to the health of the people, noting that both the state government and NCDC were determined to save lives.

He said that COVID-19 had adversely affected all sectors of the nation’s economy and required collective efforts to curbs its spread.

He said the network admitted the existence of a committee put together by Kogi Government to provide guidance and direction on preventing the outbreak of the disease in the state.

“While the state government is yet to officially acknowledge COVID-19 cases in the state, the NCDC continues to stick to its guns that Kogi State has four COVID-19 cases.

“It is our hope that the state COVID-19 Squadron Committee will provide clarifications on the needless squabbles with NCDC.

“Both are set up to save lives. Who gets the trophy for the needless competition?

“We join the state government in the call on Kogi people to avoid panic and adhere to the protective guidelines as provided by the NCDC.

“We also hope the Squadron Committee, under the leadership of Chief David Edward Onoja, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State, will do the needful by implementing multiple sensitisation programmes,” he said.

Muraina noted that the state was witnessing much upgrade and construction of health facilities but noted that the level of attention provided for patients in government health facilities left more to be desired.

He said that civil societies working on health and wellbeing had reported that the state’s ministry of health’s annual budget in the past three years was not adequate.

He called for more spending on the state’s health sector.

”The coalition is trying to come to terms with the recent withdrawal of donor-agencies from the state, with the attendant unusual increase in public health challenges.

”It, therefore, calls on the Kogi Ministry of Health and, by extension, the state government to come up with strategies to stem tuberculosis.

“The epileptic release of funds to Kogi State Agency for the Control of Aids for planned activities still remains an issue unresolved, compounding the challenges of control in the state,” he said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

Friday Idachaba: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

COVID-19

LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19

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The Lagos State Government says it is engaging a holistic approach to restarting the state’s economy and re-imagining its operations toward surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in its year 2021 budget.


Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.

Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.

“The state government has increased commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to help them during and post COVID-19.

“We intend to adopt consolidation and tactical redirection to areas that would help employment, food production and security, particularly to overcome the effects of COVID-19.

“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.

“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.

He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.

“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.

“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.

“In view of the dwindling revenue of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) due to the pandemic, LASG is committed to growing the state’s IGR to sustain its developmental projects.

“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.

“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.

For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.

He added that the state also focussed on agriculture as plans to finish the Rice Mill at Imota and undertake a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concession afterwards was underway.

“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.

“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.

“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.

The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.

On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.

Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.

Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.

Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.

He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.

The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19

Resumption: Lagos schools comply with COVID-19 protocols

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Secondary Schools in Lagos State are complying with the COVID-19 prevention protocols, as students in exit classes resume.


The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents, who visited some schools in the state, report that water, soaps , alcohol-based hand sanitisers and infrared thermometer were provided by the schools.

Also, compulsory wearing of nose masks and social distancing in classrooms were observed by students and teachers.

A big banner displaying World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines was seen at the entrance of the Honeyland Schools, Ipaja.

At the Senior High School, Alimosho, students wore face masks or shields while receiving lectures in their classrooms.

Mr Oluyemi Faleke, Principal of Honeyland Schools, said that SS3, students of the school were ready for the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Faleke said that during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the school engaged its students through virtual learning.

He said that participation was compulsory.

“We do not just collect money from parents, we make sure students get good quality education.

“We have many classrooms for students to practise social distancing , it is possible for five students to sit per class during the examination,” he said.

Kehinde Fadaka, Head Boy of Honeyland Schools, said that he was ready to write the examination.

He said that he studied hard with the assistance of the school’s virtual learning and personal timetable.

“The classes we are having now are to help me revise all I have read and prepare me for further.

Miss Opeyemi Hamzat, SS3 students of Senior High School, Alimosho, said that she was very happy to resume.

Hamzat said that she read everyday during the lockdown and participated in the WAEC revision programme aired on television by Lagos State Government.

Mrs Betty Attah, Executive Director, Mandate Schools, Akerman in Alimosho said that the school followed the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Attah told NAN that the students would resume as boarding students during WASSCE.

”We have prepared our boarding facilities for all SS3 students, the arrangement will accommodate three students instead of 10.

“We have six students in each class in order to practise social distancing,” she said,”Attah said.

Mrs Grace Ikazan, Principal of Sophem High School, Ipaja – a private school, said that the school was doing revision for SS3 students.

Ikahan said that only SS3 students resumed, adding that the students’ temperatures were being checked regularly and social distancing observed.

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Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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COVID-19

Risks of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding negligible — WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the risk of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding is negligible and has never been documented.


Dr Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Head of the organisation’s Food and Nutrition Action in Health Systems unit, stated this on Tuesday, according to the United Nations.

In a report, the UN quoted Grummer-Strawn as making the statement at a news briefing on the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week where he appealed for greater support for the practice. 

This year’s event is coming amid warning by the WHO that lack of mother’s milk is linked to 820,000 child deaths a year, costing the global economy 300 billion dollars (N114 trillion).

WHO has been very clear in its recommendations to say absolute breastfeeding should continue.

“We have never documented, anywhere around the world, any (COVID-19) transmission through breastmilk,” Grummer-Strawn said.

He said exclusive breastfeeding for six months has many benefits for the infant and mother which far outweigh any risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the advantages included the fact that breastmilk, including milk which is expressed, provides lifesaving antibodies that protect babies against many childhood illnesses.

“This is only one of the reasons why new mothers should initiate skin-to-skin contact and room-in with their babies quickly.

“The risks of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from a COVID-positive mother to her baby seem to be extremely low”, the WHO official said.

He explained that the conclusion followed the testing of the breastmilk of many mothers around the world in a variety of studies.

Grummer-Strawn said although a few samples had the virus followup tests showed that the virus was not viable and could not be infective.

 

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Education

Zamfara Govt directs schools to resume on August 9

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The Zamfara Government has directed secondary schools in the state to reopen from August 9, to enable exiting students sit for Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE).


The State Commissioner of Education,  Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi disclosed this while speaking to newsmen in Gusau on Tuesday.

Abdullahi said the state is complying with the Federal Government directives for the reopening of schools for the exit classes at Junior and Senior level.

“Based on this, Governor Bello Matawalle has directed the Ministry of Education to immediately commence the process of reopening schools for exit classes as directed by the federal government.

“As you can see, we have just conclude deliberation at management level, we have taken all issues under consideration, we have analysed all the problems and opportunities, we have resolved that.

“All the boarding schools will be reopened on the 9th of August, while the day schools will be reopened on 10th of August.

“The decision is to allow both public and private schools to make proper arrangements and prepare for the examinations in line with the  COVID-19 protocols”, the commissioner said.

Abdullahi said that the state government would fumigate all its 193 schools and examination centers across the state.

“We enjoin parents and guardians to ensure prompt resumption of their wards to school and also take certain responsibilities of equipping their children with certain palliative as well as adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

“The state would provide hand sanitizers, washing detergents and thermometers among others at the examinations centers and schools.

“We are going to deploy health workers to all schools and examinations centers.”

The commissioner further said that the state government was also making plans to reopen schools for other clases very soon.

He said that the government was considering Aug. 24, for the resumption of JSS students, as well as SS 1 and SS 2, and primary schools.

Abdullahi directed all public and private schools to ensure adherence to COVID-19 protocols, and appealed to all stakeholders to join hands with government for the successful conduct of the examinations.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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