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Gov. Emmanuel sacks Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency



Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom Wednesday relieved Mr Uduak Udo-Inyang, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency of his duties.

Dr Emmanuel Ukuwem, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) disclosed this in a statement in Uyo.

Ukuwem, however, did not disclose the reason for the sack.

“Prof. Nse Essien should immediately take over the functions of the former Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency.

“Gov. Udom Emmanuel has relieved the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, Mr Uduak Udo-Inyang of his duties with immediate effect,” he said.

Ekuwem said the governor thanked the former commissioner for his service and wished him good luck in his future endeavours.

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Osun Govt mobilising available resources against COVID-19- Deputy Governor



Osun Government says it is mobilising all available human and material resources to tackle the ravaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.

The State Deputy Governor, Mr Benedict Alabi, who also doubles as the Chairman, Osun COVID-19 Task Force, said that the state government was satisfied with efforts made so far to curb the spread of the virus in the state.

Alabi, while briefing newsmen on Friday in Osogbo, commended Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, for being proactive and his laudable level of commitment to activities of the task force to flatten the curve of the pandemic.

“I will like to commend Oyetola for providing leadership and for giving the needed support to fight this battle against the ravaging pandemic in Osun.

“With the level of preparedness of our governor, we were able to rise up to the occasion on time in curbing the spread of the pandemic, which helps to keep the figures relatively minimal,” he said.

The deputy governor said that Osun had more than 350 beds in its isolation centres, aside the ICU facility put in place.

He said the state government had also trained more than four thousand medical personnel to combat the virus.

Alabi, however, reiterated the resolve of the task force not to rest on its oars at ensuring that the spread of COVID-19 was contained.

He added that sample testing of suspected cases and enforcement of precautionary measures remained effective in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the state has 47 confirmed cases.

It also has 35 treated and discharged, eight currently receiving treatment at isolation centre and four deaths recorded.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ (NAN)
Olagoke Olatoye

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Delta Govt. appoints state index, Austin Eruotor, as COVID-19 ambassador



The Delta Government on Friday in Asaba named and appointed 50-year-old Chief Austin Eruotor, the state index case of Coronavirus (COVID-19), as COVID-19 Ambassador in the state.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, who made the disclosure to newsmen, said that the youngest victim of COVID-19 in the state was a two-month-old baby whose mother was also positive.

Ononye addressed the media in company of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu.

He said, however, that the baby and her mother were currently being managed at the Asaba Specialist Hospital Isolation Center, adding that they were stable.

The health commissioner disclosed that the state had 116 confirmed COVID-19 cases as at Thursday.

He stressed that being COVID-19 positive was not a death sentence but that people should report cases to the relevant authority for quick intervention.

“The challenge we are facing has been that of stigmatisation and we want the media to speak against this and we must understand that COVID-19 is real and we must observe all the rules,” he said.

The SSG, while decorating the ambassador, charged the people to obey laid down rules regarding the pandemic as government would not need to pursue people about, to save them from it.

According to him, the pandemic is real and government has put some measures in place, including border closure and curfew, to contain the disease.

On his part, the commissioner for information said that the state government was determined to deepen sensitisation to ensure that the people stayed safe.

“The more people we are able to win through sensitisation, the better for us; though it’s a personal responsibility to stay safe, you have to protect the life of others by observing all rules,” Aniagwu said.

In his testimony, the COVID-19 ambassador said, “I hail from Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state.

“I am popularly known as Austin Koko in Abraka town, where I fell sick before being taken to the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara, after testing positive to COVID-19 on April 7, 2020.

COVID-19 is real; I want to thank God for healing me, and I want to thank Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for his intervention and for making me an ambassador for COVID-19 in the state.

“Many people say that COVID-19 is malaria and all sort of claims, but this is not true.

“I live in this country and I know what malaria is like. The trauma and pains associated with COVID-19 is different from those of malaria.

“At first when I had the symptoms of cold and coughing, I thought it was malaria and I was treated for malaria for six days to no avail. In the process I spent about N110, 000 for treatment and testing which yielded no result.

But I was diagnosed and I tested positive to COVID-19 and was taken to Oghara Teaching Hospital Isolation Center, by the team led by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye.

“I was at the isolation centre for 36 days before being discharged; my lung was traumatised. I had cough and difficulty in breathing and was under oxygen for 5 days,” he said.

Eruotor expressed surprise that some people still doubted the existence or reality of the pandemic.

“I was born and brought up in Nigeria and can tell the difference between malaria and COVID-19 disease.

“I am appealing to everybody to observe the rules and I am ready to go through the length and breadth of the state and even to any part of the country to sensitise the people on the danger of COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

Also, Mr Jerry Azinge, a lawyer who tested positive to COVID-19 and was admitted in the treatment centre in Asaba Specialists Hospital, said he spent 18 days in the isolation center where he was treated.

“I was fatigued and had sleeping difficulty at night. I had no cough but I tested positive to coronavirus and had to be in the facility for 18 days before being discharged.

“The treatment was free and I had free meals three times a day in a well-furnished and air conditioned center; I was traumatised by the disease and was lonely.

“The disease is real, though it presents in different ways but I will suggest that anyone with running fever in any hospital for more than seven days should be tested for COVID-19,” he said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Make Lagos more natural, greening, Expert urges Govt, corporate bodies



Prof. Babajide Alo, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos (UNILAG), has called on Lagos State Government, corporate bodies and individuals to embrace greening as a way of improving the health and wellbeing of the citizenry.

Alo made the call on Friday in Lagos, at a Virtual conference organised by the University of Lagos Green Club to commemorate the World Environment Day 2020 (WED).

He also urged the state government to return and improve on the parks and garden beautification era to provide and make the state more natural and greening.

The topic of the conference was: “Nurturing Nature Between the Town and Gown.”

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Environment Day was observed annually on June 5.

It stresses on the importance of active participation in environment conservation and sustainable living.

The theme was: “Celebrate Biodiversity.”

Alo said that greening has a great impact on the health of citizens and the environment, by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide.

He said biodiversity was important to man as an ecological life support, providing functioning ecosystem that supply oxygen, clean air, water and other ecosystem services.

The expert, however, noted that biodiversity was under threat due to human activities.

“Universities have opened up more to the external world, and have given much attention to the diffusion and economic exploitation of their research.

“There is need to focus more on making the gown assist the town, our communities to conserve nature to protect biodiversity,” he said.

Alo said biodiversity and the ecosystem loss had generated tremendous concern globally, as the extinction of plants and animal species were decreasing earth’s biodiversity, thereby depriving humans of potential resources such as food, medicine and enjoyment of nature.

He identified global trade in wildlife and global shipping as issues affecting and destroying nature and biodiversity.

Alo said with the COVID-19 experience, there was need for action for nature.

“The outbreak and experience of Coronavirus disease has left a significant environmental and health impact in the world.

“The pandemic is teaching us to take biodiversity conservation and protection seriously, and it reminds us that biodiversity degration leads to destruction of Mother Earth and planet gets impacted.

“Hence, this pandemic must, therefore, be teaching us a lesson that it is time to re-build for people and the planet,” he said.

Alo called on the universities to develop systematic environmental and biodiversity data collection for improved management and application.

He said: “Universities can join in the vanguard to reverse the degration; we must encourage all experts in biodiversity.

“We must fund them and make our curricula to have compulsory courses in biodiversity conservation and protection.

“Universities should make our teaching and research at all levels incorporate nature studies, inclusion of studies and text on biodiversity conservation into the national primary and secondary education as stipulated in the 2015 National Implementation document.”

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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German gov’t supports local fleece manufacturer to boost face mask production




The German government subsidized the expansion of fleece production by local company Innovatec in order to boost production of face masks in the country, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) announced on Friday.

“We intend to significantly expand our production capacities for protective equipment in Germany and thus effectively reduce our dependence on imports,” said German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier when handing over the first notice of funding for fleece production.

Innovatec would invest more than 11 million euros (12.5 million United States dollars) in two new units for fleece production and could manufacture an additional 1,500 tons of fleece in the future, enabling the production of more than 1.5 billion face masks, according to BMWi.

The program was aiming to stimulate an additional fleece production of 4,000 tons per year. However, Altmaier stressed that “our long-term goal is to cover the entire value chain, from machines to filter fleece and protective masks.”


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COVID-19: Enugu Govt calls for prayers, as religious group donates palliative



Mrs Cecelia Ezeilo, the Deputy Governor of Enugu State has called on religious leaders to seek God face over COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.

Ezeilo made the call when she received cartons of hand sanitiser at the Enugu State Government House from a religious group under the umbrella, Igbo Christian Restoration Assembly (ICRA); South East in Enugu on Friday.

She thanked the religious group for coming to assist in the fight against the deadly pandemic.

”I understand that you are here to handover these cartons of hand sanitiser to the government to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

”The fact that you people feel the pains of your brothers and sisters motivated the move to donate this palliative.

”As we accept this palliative, we also call for your prayers because our hope is only on God to take this pandemic away from the state, Nigeria and the world at large,” the deputy governor said.

In his speech, the National Coordinator of ICRA, Bishop Obi Onubuogu, congratulated the state government for witnessing low case of the pandemic.

”We are here today to present to the state these items in support of the fight against COVID-19.

ICRA also wish to congratulate the governor and the good people of Enugu state as we celebrate God’s safety and His preserving grace in our state.

”God has been with the state since the outbreak of this global pandemic called COVID-19.

”We are happy with the government for its strategic steps taken in checking the spread of the pandemic which has resulted in very few number recorded cases in the state,” he said.

He said that it was on record that all the cases in the state were imported from outside.

We thank God also for the treatment and discharge of almost all the recorded cases,’’ he said.

The coordinator said that the group believed in what the state government was doing against the pandemic and to keep people of the state safe.

He said that the group wished to congratulate the members of the state task force led by the deputy governor, saddled with the responsibility of combating the pandemic.

”We enjoin the entire people of the state to continue to cooperate with the state government as we battle this evil pandemic of our time together,’’ Onubuogu said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that present at the presentation were, Commissioner for Transport, Mr Matthias Ekweremadu, Chairman House Committee on Information, Mr Jeff Mbah and Executive Secretary to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mrs Nkechi Eneh.

Others were Commissioner for Inter-Ministerial, Mrs Mabel Agbo, Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture, Mr Mike Ogbuekwe, among others.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Finnish gov’t strengthens role of public healthcare in reform




Finnish government on Friday announced details of its health care reform that would strengthen the role of public healthcare without change to the current dual system in basic care.

According to the government statement, while the country’s over 300 municipalities have been in charge of public healthcare so far, responsibility should now shift to 21 provinces and the capital Helsinki.

Sirpa Paatero, the Finnish minister of local government, underlined at a press conference that in the future, the public sector would play the main role, while private services would offer supplementary services under public sector control.

Krista Kiuru, the minister of family affairs and social services, said at the press conference that some of the current agreements on outsourcing health care to private operators do not meet the new criteria and would be canceled.

The concept of provincial responsibility was already in the plans of the previous government. The change will require the establishment of a provincial administration and elections for provincial assemblies to be arranged in 2022.

However, the reform will not change the current dual system in Finnish basic health care. Besides the public municipal health care centers, a separate health care system for employees is taking care of some 1.5 million citizens, with no cost for the patient to pay. The employee health care system is financed jointly by employers and the government.

Both systems send patients to same hospitals and higher level care. However, while the employee health care system usually gives same-day access to a doctor, patients using public health centers may have to wait for up to three months, which has been complained about by Finns for a long time.

Kiuru said the government reform wants to “play safe” and will not tackle the future of the dual system. “It will be left for future reforms,” she added.

The current overall cost of Finnish healthcare and social services is 19 billion euros. Kiuru said at the press conference that the reform does not aim at cost cutbacks but better control of the spending.


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Libya’s UN-backed government reports new advances against rivals



Forces allied with Libya’s internationally recognised government said they had captured a major city from rivals on Friday, a day after they regained control of the capital Tripoli.

In recent weeks, forces from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli have made swift territorial gains against the rival self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.

The GNA’s military spokesman, Mohammed Gnounou, said on Friday government forces were in complete control of the city of Tarhouna, about 90 km south-east of Tripoli, and Haftar’s last stronghold in western Libya.

“Our heroic forces have taught Haftar’s terrorist militias an unforgettable lesson,” Gnounou added on Twitter.

Mostafa al-Majai, another GNA military spokesman, said the government forces had entered Tarhouna without any fighting after LNA forces had pulled out of the city into the desert.

“No reprisal acts have taken place inside the city. A large number of residents left the city days ago. This has made it easy to establish security there,” he told.

A source in Haftar’s forces confirmed on Friday that LNA forces and their allies had left Tarhouna.

Haftar’s loyalists seized Tarhouna following the start of their campaign in April last year to capture Tripoli from GNA.

Later Friday, the GNA military said its forces had also taken full control of al-Urban, a town about 130 km   south-west of Tripoli.

GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has vowed to bring all Libyan territory under his government’s control, according to the official Twitter account of the GNA forces.

“There is no concession in applying justice and law to bring to account everyone involved in perpetrating crimes against Libyans,” he was quoted as saying.

The GNA government has repeatedly accused Haftar and his forces of committing war crimes.

Libya has been in turmoil since a 2011 revolt toppled long-time dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

The oil-wealthy country is divided between two rival factions that are supported by different regional powers.

Turkey, along with Qatar, backs the GNA against Haftar, who is supported by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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World Evironment Day: Kano State Govt. to promote policy on environment and pollution



Kano State Government says it will promote its policy on environment and pollution control as well as forestry and enforce compliance amongst the people.

The state Commissioner for Environment, Dr Kabiru Getso, made this known in Kano at a news conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day.

Getso expressed the need to pay attention to biodiversity, conservation and restoration of degraded lands.

He also said that it was important to address issues of climate change, fight against dessertification and desert encroachment in the state.

“It is also vital to embark on more methods of pollution control, environmental sanitation, erosion and also prevent flooding,  ” he said.

The Commissioner further revealed the state government’s efforts at biodiversity conservation, saying that it had embarked on water conservation and provision of minor irrigation facilities in some local government areas of the state.

“We also call for collective efforts to conserve the ecosystem because land degradation is responsible for the decline in ecosystem service, food insecurity and reduction in the resilience of natural climate variability,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United Nations has set aside June 5 of every year to celebrate the World Environment Day globally.

The theme of the 2020 the World Environment Day is:  “Celebrate Biodiversity/Time for Nature”, with a focus on its role in providing essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.

Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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UN-backed gov’t announces takeover of rival army’s last stronghold in western Libya




The UN-backed Libyan government’s forces on Friday announced the takeover of Tarhuna city, the last stronghold of the rival east-based army in western Libya.

“Our brave forces took control over the entire city of Tarhuna, and taught forces of Haftar (east-based army’s commander) a lesson they will never forget,” said Mohamed Gonono, spokesman of the government forces, in a statement.

The government forces have sent a team to “search the city for any secret prisons or mass graves in order to uncover the fate of dozens of Libyans kidnapped or missing” during the fighting against the east-based army, Gonono added.

Tarhuna is located some 90 km southeast of the capital Tripoli.

Gonono on Thursday announced takeover of all Tripoli by expelling the east-based army from the capital city.

For more than a year, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign trying to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

Amid repeated international calls for cease-fire, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in the fighting while more than 150,000 others fled their homes.


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