The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has activated three laboratories to test disease outbreak samples, its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu, who disclosed this during a media tour of the NCDC National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja, said that the three new laboratories were at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), and the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
He said that the laboratories would provide primary testing for yellow fever, measles and rubella diseases.
“The teaching hospitals where these laboratories are located will provide leadership, staff, power and water supply as well as other resources they will require to function,” he said.
The official said that the NCDC had the mandate to lead the coordination of public health laboratories by ensuring standardisation of testing methods, quality assurance, supply chain management as well as supporting preventive and corrective maintenance.
The NCDC boss said that the National Reference Laboratory was working toward full accreditation to serve as a reference laboratory for yellow fever.
“Three years ago, this place was just an empty building, but today, a lot has been put in place and we hope to replicate this capacity across the country.
“We are committed to strengthening our engagement with the media and using their platforms to communicate better with Nigerians,” he said.
He recalled that in 2017, Nigeria recorded an outbreak of yellow fever in Kwara, 21 years after the last case had been detected in the country.
“Since then, we have continued to record clusters of cases across the country
“Also in 2019, we recorded a high incidence of measles cases across the country, especially in Borno State in the North East.
“Prior to 2019, we had only four laboratories in the national yellow fever, measles and rubella laboratory network located at Maitama District Hospital, FCT, Yusuf Dansoho Memorial Hospital, Kaduna, Central Public Health Laboratory, Lagos and Gombe Specialist Hospital.
“There was no laboratory in the South-East and South-South with this capacity, putting a strain on other regions,” he recalled.
According to him, to build Nigeria’s capacity in line with global standards, NCDC, with support from its partners, included the three new laboratories in the national network as part of the global laboratory network.
“The support we provide to these laboratories is in partnership with the World Health Organisation, Resolve to Save Lives, US Centres for Disease Control, GAVI, and others.
“At the national level, we have continued to work closely with our sister agencies like the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and the National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre (NAVRC), toward the prevention of and response to yellow fever outbreaks,” he said.
Prof. Darlington Obaseki, Chief Medical Director, UBTH, in a remark, pledged commitment to ensuring that the required leadership and resources were provided to ensure full functionality of the laboratory.
Also speaking, UNTH representative, Mrs. Chioma Benjamin-Puja, an Assistant Director, Medical Laboratory Services, said that the institution had advocated inclusion for a long period of time given the incidence of yellow fever in some parts of the South-East.
“The new laboratory for the South-East will greatly reduce turnaround time for testing of sample and eliminating time spent in sending samples to Lagos or FCT.
“We are very grateful for this opportunity and express our full and strong commitment to ensure that the laboratory serves its purpose,” she said.
Edited by: Folasade Adeniran and Ephraims Sheyin
Only teachers resume in public secondary schools in Nsukka
Students in exit classes in public secondary schools in Nsukka, Enugu State were yet to resume classes as only teachers were present in schools visited, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Some of the secondary schools visited by NAN included Urban Girls Secondary School, Nsukka, Urban Boys Secondary School Nsukka , St Catherine Comprehensive Secondary School and Ejiofor Secondary School.
Mrs Roseline Abugu, the Principal of Urban Girls secondary school told NAN in Nsukka on Monday that Enugu State Ministry of Education directed that only teachers in public schools should resume on August 4.
Abugu said this was to enable teachers to help to put in place all the COVID-19 protocols required before students would be allowed to resume.
“We are expecting some people from Enugu State Government that will fumigate the school compound today.
“In my meeting this morning with staff, we have arranged for the clearing of grasses in the compound, provided hand washing buckets, soap and sanitizers in strategic locations inside school compounds and classrooms.
“To ensure physical distancing, no classroom will contain more than 20 students,”she said.
The principal said some students who resumed school were sent back home pending when the state government would approve for students to resume.
‘The State Education Ministry says it will inform us when exit students will resume,” she said.
The story was the same at Urban Boys Secondary School Nsukka.
At Ejiofor Secondary School, Nsukka, a private school, the Principal Mr Casmir Ozioko said students of the school would resume Aug. 10 as staff of the school would use this week to put all necessary arrangements in place.
‘Only teachers resume today, we will use this week to fumigate the compound, clear grasses as well as put all Nigeria Centre for Disease control (NCDC) required protocols in place before allowing exit class students to come back next week,” he said.
However, the story was different at St Catherine Comprehensive Secondary School Nsukka owned by Nsukka Catholic Diocese where students have resumed.
“All students in exit classes after morning assembly today attended a brief seminar organized by the school.
Idoko explained that the aim of the seminar was to teach students on how to maintain personal hygiene, physical distance as well as wearing of face mask and washing of hands.
“All students, staff and visitors coming into the school compound must wear face mask and wash hands at the gate.
“We have put necessary measures in place to ensure the safety of our students, till the end of their exams,” she said.
Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Court sentences man to 1 year imprisonment for impersonation
Adamu of Egume village, Dekina LGA of Kogi, had pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of impersonation and forgery preferred against him.
The Magistrate, Aliyu Shafa, however sentenced Adamu to six months imprisonment for each offence or an option of N5,000 fine for each offence.
Shafa cited the Holy Bible and Quran to buttress his sentencing, adding that he was satisfied with the evidences given by the defence witnesses about the good character of the defendant.
He said the punishment would serve as a deterrent to anyone planning to trail that part in the future.
Shafa also warned Adamu to desist from committing crimes and be of good behaviour.
Earlier, the defence counsel, Khalid Salaw, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, adding that the defendant was a family man with four children and a pregnant wife.
Salaw said that the defendant was a first offender and had no criminal record or arrest in the past.
The defence counsel told the court that the defendant had learnt his lessons and would not repeat the act in future.
The prosecutor counsel, Victor Ejelonu told the court that the defendant cheated by impersonating as a staff of SSS at varying locations within Abuja while conveying passengers.
He said that the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 321 and 363 of the Penal Code.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Obike Ukoh (NAN)
Man in court for allegedly stealing 3 cell phones worth N180, 000
A 20-year-old man, Kelvin Sashak, on Tuesday appeared in a Life Camp Magistrates’ Court for allegedly stealing three cell phones worth N180,000 and other items.
The police charged Sashak, who resides at no 25 Bamako Street Wuse Zone 1, Abuja, with two counts of joint act and theft.
The Police Prosecutor, ASP Peter Ejike, FCT Command, Abuja, told the court that Mr Nivea Momoh who resides at Bamako Street Wuse Zone 1, Abuja, reported the matter at the Wuse Zone 3 Police Station on May 10.
Ejike alleged that the defendant and one Innocent, currently at large, entered into the complainant’s room and stole three cell phones and other personal belongings.
The Prosecutor alleged that the items stolen are two Nokia phones valued at N50,000 each, a “British” mobile phone valued at N80, 000, a Nigerian and British passports, National identity card, shoes, belts and clothes.
He said the offence contravenes the provisions of section 79 and 287 of the Penal Code.
The defendant however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Magistrate Chinyere Nwecheonwu in her ruling admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N200, 000 and one surety in like sum.
Nwecheonwu ordered that the surety be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and should deposit a valid means of Identification which must be verified by the court registrar.
She adjourned the matter until Aug. 31, for hearing.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Scavenger in court for allegedly stealing generator set
A scavenger, Sani Abubakar, on Tuesday appeared in Magistrates’ court in Kuje, FCT, for allegedly stealing a generator set valued at N45, 000.
Abubakar, 25, who resides at Anguwan Mada Area of Kuje, is charged with house breaking and theft.
The prosecutor, Doris Okoroba, told the court that a resident of the area, Micheal Denis, reported the matter at the Kuje police station on Aug. 2.
Okoroba alleged that Abubakar broke into Denis’ house pretending to gather scrap materials within the compound.
She alleged that the defendant he broke into the complainants house and stole the generator set.
The offence, she said, contravened the provisions of sections 96 and 287 of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, Abubakar pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Magistrate Jim Taribo admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N50, 000 with a surety in like sum.
Taribo adjourned the case until Aug. 26 for hearing.
Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)