The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI) has attributed quackery, poor maintenance culture and use of substandard materials as some of the factors responsible for buildings collapse in Nigeria.
The acting Director-General of NBRRI, Prof. Samson Duna, made this assertion at a media briefing on the forthcoming International Conference slated to hold from July 2 to July 4.
Theme of the conference is: “Construction Practices in Nigeria: Issues, Prospects and Solutions.’’
Duna said that the conference would address critical and topical national issues in accordance with its key mandate of capacity building.
“Construction practice in Nigeria, as we all know, is robust and vibrant.
“It is saddled with lots of issues such as use of substandard construction materials, poor maintenance culture, urban and regional issues, among others.
“The conference will address contemporary issues, proffer solutions to enhance performance, relevance, sustainability, improve local content and competitive edge in line with the National and Global practices,” Duna said.
He said that the construction industry, being multi-dimensional, deals with issues including policies, ethics and standard of practice, infrastructure collapse, procurement processes and project financing issues.
Others are research development, maintenance practices and culture in construction industry.
He listed others as challenges of urban and regional issues; quality assurance in construction and other ways of improving the quality of life of its citizens in the construction industry.
“The conference is a yearly event; the impact of the conference has made drastic reduction in the collapse of building in the country.
“The idea of the conference is to create awareness by bringing professionals in building industry together to deliberate on how to address the challenges and proffer solutions,” he said.
Duna said that mandate of the institute was to conduct integrated applied research and development in building, road and construction sectors of economy.
“The institute does not have mandate for enforcement in terms of substandard construction materials,” Duna said.
Reps want e-learning system instituted in education sector
The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Education to urgently develop a national policy and framework for online education for schools at various levels.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the resolution was sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Aniekan Umanah (PDP-Cross River) at the plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion, Umanah said that the outbreak of coronavirus has altered the educational calendar globally.
Quoting UNESCO, he said that most governments around the world had temporarily closed schools in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The lawmaker said that the closures were impacting over 72 percent of the world student population.
“This has brought significant setback to academic endeavours, with far-reaching impacts on the more vulnerable and disadvantaged countries, such as Nigeria.
“The closure of schools, occasioned by COVID-19, has kept over 1.2 billion children out of the classroom and as a result, education has changed drastically, with the increase in the use of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
“This sudden event has caused a shift from the classrooms in our nation’s schools.
“Teachers and students have been forced to adjust and adapt to this unplanned rapid move to online teaching and learning, with no structure, training and equipment tools, and are faced with inadequate preparations,” he said.
According to the lawmaker, e-learning approach takes time and it is a gradual system of learning, adding that schools and colleges will have to develop modular structure for it.
He also said that a database and e-learning pattern, supported with efficient communication and internet, must be in place.
Umanah recalled that the Federal Ministry of Education had announced a free e-learning portal, intended to create access to online education across the nation as well as radio and television classrooms.
He said that this had remained mere intentions, as reports had indicated that it was not working and, therefore, not serving the desired need of closing the educational gaps.
Umanah attributed this to lack of instructional design and implementation, including lack of cognitive psychology tools to support e-learning.
He said that with the present situation, Nigeria’s educational system was lagging behind by not being functionally awake to the present reality of online education.
The lawmaker said that research had shown that the level of online learning and preparedness in Nigeria was about 10 percent.
He stressed the need for urgent steps to salvage the already battered educational system, which he said, had further been humbled and bruised by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The house urged other educational regulatory bodies across the country to incorporate online education and modular system into school curricular across the country.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the House Committees on Basic and Tertiary Education to ensure compliance.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
Stockbrokers elect Amolegbe as new institute’s president
The Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) on Tuesday announced Mr Olatunde Amolegbe, as its new President and Chairman of the Governing Council.
He succeeded the incumbent President, Mr Adedapo Adekoje at the institute’s maiden virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Amolegbe, an accomplished investment analyst, and a Fellow of the Institute was until his election, the First Vice President.
Also, Mr Oluwole Adeosun, the Second Vice President, became the First Vice President, while Mr Oluropo Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Network Capital, won the keenly contested election to emerge as the new Second Vice President.
Mr Adedeji Ajadi, the institute’s Registrar and Chief Executive, said in a statement, that Mr Garba Kurfi, Mr Jude Chiemeka and Mrs Nkoli Erika, were re-elected to the council.
Ajadi said in the statement that Mr Babarinde Sunday, Mr Martins Olaolu and Dr Momoh Mohammed, were also elected into the council.
By the institute’s convention, Adekoje would formerly hand over to Amolegbe at a later date in a high profile ceremony, called investiture.
In his valedictory speech, Adekoje, who assumed office as the President in April 2018, expressed satisfaction that his administration was able to achieve landmark projects in spite of the inclement operating environment.
He attributed this to divine intervention and unflinching support of every member of the institute.
Adekoje pledged to continue to support the institute in whatever capacity, urging members to rally round the incoming administration for sustainable achievements.
“On top of this, the general macro-economic situation of the country also meant that getting grants from benevolent institutions became very difficult.
“We tasked ourselves in council, financially and otherwise; sacrificed a whole lot of our normal privileges, and like true generals, led the battle from the front.
“By so doing, we gave inspiration to other members who came out to serve in various committees and others who expressed their supports in various other ways.
“It gives me exceeding fulfilment to note that I am leaving the office of president with a solid foundation laid for the financial recovery of the institute.
“Our renewed march toward the restoration of the Securities and Investment profession as the major driver of the Nigerian economy is well on course.
“I am very happy to announce that, not only have we fully paid for our secretariat building, but a transformational renovation is being carried out to create a truly befitting ambience and world class working environment for the staff.
“The institute, through its very successful Special Membership Window, is beginning to address one of its major weaknesses, as we now have several fully qualified members in diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy, such as the academia, public sector and topmost echelon of corporate Nigeria.
“One of our cardinal objectives during my tenure was to devote much more energy, resources and creativity to our advocacy activities, with the ultimate aim of elevating the status of the capital market in the scheme of things nationally.
“In this regard, we have engaged government at the very highest level, with strategically structured communication with the Presidency and the National Assembly,” Adekoje said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Institute supports farmers in South West states with maize seeds
The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has distributed five tonnes(1,000kg) of high yield maize seed variety resistant to downy mildew and streak diseases to farmers in the South-West Zone.
The institute’s Executive Director, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan that the five states of Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Lagos and Ekiti received one tonne (1000kg) each.
Obatolu said that farmers in Oyo State would soon receive their own from the seed store of the institute.
She said the seeds distributed were for cultivation of 50 hectares of land in each state.
Obatolu explained that since maize was a source of some major food in the South West Zone, the institute decided to address likely seed shortage for maize cultivation.
She said that access to quality seeds remained the bedrock of agricultural productivity, adding that the outbreak of COVID-19 was likely to affect economic strength which may make quality seeds inaccessible to farmers.
“This may likely encourage seed adulteration and invariably lead to reduced yield and hunger.
“The aim of the distribution is also to reduce likely stress of accessing quality seed by farmers due to various forms of lock down,” the executive director said.
She advised farmers to make good use of the seeds and maintain physical distancing while on field.
“COVID-19 has come, it will go by God’s grace, rain has come, it will not wait for us, so now is the time for farmers to go to the field and plant the seed for us to be food secured during and after COVID-19,” she said.
NAN reports that IAR&T is a multi-commodity national research institute that serves as a national center for integrated research on improvement of genetic potentials of crops such as maize and livestock.
The institute also works on improvement on seed supply, yield and quality as well as utilisation of food and industrial crops and livestock that are adaptable to agro-ecological zones of the South-West Zone.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
COVID-19: Institute distributes food items to Lagos slum
The Institute for National Transformation (INT) on Friday distributed food items to over 120 indigents in Monkey village, an inner-city slum in Opebi area of Ikeja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that each of the beneficiaries received a bag containing 2kg gari, 5kg rice and 5kg beans.
Femi-Ajala said that the institute would also embark on intervention programmes in various slum communities in Lagos State.
According to her, the intervention programmes include welfare, housing, medicals, education, entrepreneurial and leadership training.
“In order to develop a nation, we need to first develop the people and change their mindset by re-orientating them.
“From the communities we visited in Ayobo and Monkey village, we tried to identify their basic needs apart from food.
“Having identified their needs, we intend to attack it by first changing their mindset and training them based on what they want in terms of skills.
“For monkey village, we are teaming up with stakeholders around the area to find out ways to make something good out of the place,’’ she said.
Femi-Ajala added that the institute would begin to change their mindset on proper waste disposal and recycling so they could begin to see money from waste.
She noted that community engagement through community leaders was an effective approach to data collection and key to the success of intervention programmes.
“One of the strategies that have been working for us is collaboration with the community leaders, to know the exact state of affairs,” she said
She also urged Nigerians not to rely solely on the government to live improved lives.
“We cannot wait for the government for everything. Whatever we can do in our community, let us do it,” she added.
Also speaking on the deplorable state of Monkey Village, Mr Tunde Akindele, INT board member, said the community was faced with hardships such as access to clean water.
“There are over 1,000 people living in the area including children, the elderly, youths. They have no water and as a result, they have to walk about 2km to get clean water.
“So, as a matter of urgency, we are going to rally with other people to see how we can construct borehole so they can have easy access to clean water. At least if they have food and clean water, they can be alive.
“Our next step is to look for those who are literate among them who we can train on various skills.
“We will ensure they are empowered gradually until they are able to stand on their own and eventually leave the environment to make something good out of themselves,” he said.
Receiving the food Items, Mr Volume Kupa, a community leader in Monkey village, expressed gratitude for the food package saying “it will go a long way.”
Kupa said the community was facing prolonged lack of electricity, exposure to wildlife, lack of clean water, among others.
He also pleaded with the institute to provide other relief materials such as mosquito nets and repellents as they were very susceptible to malaria.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Institute weighs in on 5G controversy, tasks FG on smooth transition
The Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE) has weighed in on the controversy that next generation telephone networks, popularly known as 5G technology may be harmful to human beings.
In a statement signed by the National Chairman of the institute, Mr Kings Adeyemi, in Lagos on Wednesday, the institute said that the frequency that drives speed in technology as well as the technicalities behind 5G operations can never pose hazards to human health.
He said that the institute would continue to support government and other stakeholders to ensure that right decisions were adopted to ensure smooth 5G mobile technology deployment.
Adeyemi said that Nigeria was lagging behind in its transition to 5G mobile network which, according to him, drives both telecommunication and internet connectivity speeds.
He called for increased investments in 5G network, which according to him is expected to be launched by 2030.
“The rollout of 5G networks is still at infancy stage globally. There is no 5G deployment in Nigeria as at this time.
“NIEEE will continue to advise government and organisations and educate the public on matters within the jurisdiction of electrical and electronic engineering profession. 5G will co-exist with predecessor generation networks.
“Kindly note that this publication is not intended to contend against existing procedures and regulatory instruments (local or international) but as insights to the concerned stakeholders,” he said.
Adeyemi identified concerns around the evolution of 5G network, noting that by NIEEE’s professional training, safety was of highest priority to all electrical engineers.
“Mobile telecommunication is based on radio wave propagation, which is similar to other commonly known forms of radio communication such as broadcast radio and television.”
He explained that the systems operate in designated frequency bands within the electromagnetic spectrum and that every new generation mobile networks (G) had its delights and skepticisms.
The chairman said that evolution of every stage, spanned 10 and that 5G was a product of 10 years of research, planning, testing and fine-tuning.
“It is obvious that 5G is not just about human communication only but machine/devices communications and interactions with applications.
”It therefore, means that 5G will usher in interconnection of people, things and applications with little or no human intervention.
“In as much as the set goals are laudable and novel, the first concern is for researchers to identify the technologies that can bring these goals into reality.
“The six fundamental technologies that we can address are millimeter wave; small cell or mini base station and plenty or massive Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO).
“Others are advanced beam forming; Non-Orthogonal Multiple Access (NOMA) and Mobile Edge Computing. These technologies are not new,’’ he said.
MIMO is a method of multiplying the capacity of radio links using multiple transmissions and receiving antennas to achieve multipath broadcast.
NOMA on the other hand is a design technique used for radio wave access for 5G wireless networks and beyond usually designed to serve multiple users and computer applications.
Adeyemi explained further that wireless communications operated within certain calibrated frequencies with 5G services falling into three sub-bands affected by low power and short coverage should not generate fears.
“Natural behavior of radio waves obeys Newton’s inverse-square law of electromagnetic propagation, meaning that each time the distance from the transmitter is doubled, the received power at that point is reduced to one-fourth of the power at the transmitter.
“Some say high speed kills, this does not apply to high data speed. World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Adeyemi noted that there was no significant difference in the frequencies used for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G because the 5G could operate on all earlier network frequencies.
According to him, focus should be on the frequency and the power, rather than the technology as international standards are the main pillars of mobile telecommunications.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Expert urges FG to establish Emergency Medical Services institutes with COVID-19 funds
The Medical Director, Olohun Osebi Hospital in Ilorin, Tiamiyu Idowu, has urged Federal Government to establish Emergency Medical Services (EMS) institutes, using funds donated in support of fight against COVID-19 in the country.
Idowu, who is a trauma and critical care specialist, said this in a statement which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday.
”It is quite unfortunate that the whole world is facing a health challenge that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives because of its pathological effect on human beings with focus on human respiratory system
Idowu noted that with N250 million, the Federal Government could establish a standard training institution with international accreditation, using part of the funds donated to fight COVID-19.
”In the alternative, professionals in the EMS health sector are ready to set up the institute with support in form of grant or soft loans since government alone cannot do everything,” the EMS expert said.
The medical expert described critical and trauma care as the “hallmark or heart of any functional health system which determines whether a patient will survive or pass on.
”The primary focus of managing respiratory illnesses such as Corona virus is air way support management first before other diagnostic care.
”The majority of deaths recorded in Nigeria during COVID-19 was as a result of low level of care and availability of qualified EMS personnel to provide air way management support to those that tested positive.
“And lack of training institution to train these critical health workers hands on with EMS skills and continuous professional education in trauma management and Basic Life Support (BLS) is a major challenge in Nigeria’s health system.
“Even if you are a professor of medicine and you are not trained on BLS skill, you may not be able to resuscitate your patient safely.
“These are basic knowledge and skill that determine patients’ diagnosis and survival in any acute settings,” Idowu said.
He, therefore, appealed to benevolent individuals and corporate bodies to join hands with experts to invest in setting up standard EMS institutes in the country.
“We need this institution as a matter of urgency to alleviate the chronic shortage of manpower in health field in our country.
“We also call on wealthy Nigerian individuals and corporates to help us with flexible grant or loan to pay over period of years.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Coronavirus: Nigerian varsities, research institutes capable of developing vaccine – Immunologist
Arinola, a staff of the Department of Immunology, University of Ibadan, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Ibadan against the backdrop of the 2020 World Immunisation Week.
NAN reports that the World Immunisation Week celebrated worldwide in the last week of April is aimed at promoting the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against diseases.
The don said that Nigerian researchers and scientists could develop viable vaccines against the virus with governmental support and political will.
” This is an important and responsible decision.
“There are many groups working on potential vaccines for COVID-19 using viral proteins and modified virus.
” Host proteins such as serum of infected persons containing anti-coronavirus antibodies can be used as passive immunisation but this is usually short-lived.
“COVID-19 vaccine like any other vaccine must be safe, widely used, elicit enough protective immune response and must have passed through development and testing such as exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing and quality control. This takes a lot of time.
“Nigeria has capacities in universities and research institutes to develop vaccines but with government support and political will.
“There are capacities to isolate the virus, kill or attenuate the virus, sequence the virus genes, develop antibody against the viral proteins and separate specific antibodies from immunised serum among other capacities,” he said.
The immunologist also warned against the use of traditional herbal medicines being touted as coronavirus vaccines or cure.
According to him, many of the herbal medicines only have anecdotal evidence based on studies carried out on different animals which are genetically different from humans.
“The credibility of ethnomedicine in fighting epidemics in the past is appreciated in biomedicine.
“Herbal and plant-based remedies “may” have the edge over pharmaceuticals due to their easy and cheap availability, complex and synergistic nature of components.
“However, these herbs or plants are mentioned to have immune-boosting, antioxidant- and antiinflammatory properties but the side effects are not discussed.
“Viral diseases like COVID-19 can be difficult to cure and antiviral drugs are difficult to develop because Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SAR-CoV 2) lives inside the host’s cell using host genetic machinery where they are protected from drugs and can mutate easily because it is an RNA virus.
“Moreover, COVID-19 is a new viral disease, there is need for enough direct evidence to support cures of these traditional remedies.
“The safety and direct effects of these herbs or plants on SARS-CoV 2 have to be assessed widely and the data from trials be published in peer-reviewed journals including other internationally accepted procedures,” he said.
The global health body has, however, advised against the use of traditional herbal remedies for COVID-19, saying that “though some of them alleviate some of the milder symptoms of COVID-19, they do not kill the virus directly.”
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Institute urges FG to utilise community structures to contain COVID-19 spread
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), has urged the Federal Government to utilise all community structures for contact-tracing and sample collection to check the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Dr Patrick Dakum, the institute’s Chief Executive Officer, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja.
Dakum said that the government should engage the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), State Agencies for the Control of AIDS (SACAs), Primary Health Care, (PHC) structures under National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (NPHCDA), among others.
He said that these agencies had critical roles to play as the country experienced community spread of the virus.
He explained that most of them could be used as sample collection sites.
“All PHCs should have capacity for sample collection and adequate data-driven logistics,” he said.
“The geographical spread of the contacts will provide a rough estimate of communities at higher risk. Geo-mapping of index cases and their contacts is key.
“The virus is highly infectious and can spread when contacted from someone who has it.
“Therefore, we must ensure that both primary and secondary persons who are in contact with someone who is exposed are traced.”
He said that although maintaining social distancing was very difficult in densely populated areas, the directive should not be relaxed until the virus was contained.
He stressed the need for intensive campaigns to be carried out in the communities on disinfection of surfaces and regular washing of hands.
Dakum said that the surge in infections of the virus could be handled with quick detection, isolation and treatment.
He called on the elderly and those with underlining diseases to be cautious as the virus could easily knock off their natural defence.
Edited By: Joe Idika (NAN)
Germany records 1,478 new COVID-19 cases: Robert Koch Institute
Germany registered 1,478 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, raising the total cases to 159,119, said the federal government’s agency for disease control and prevention on Thursday.
The death toll grew to 6,288, up 173 within the same period of time, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
At the height of the epidemic in Germany, more than 6,000 new infections were recorded on a single day by the RKI.
On Tuesday, RKI President Lothar Wieler asked his countrymen not to risk the results achieved in containing the virus.
“We want to continue to defend this success, and we can do so if we stick to certain rules,” he said. Enitem
Institute donates food items to 500 households in Alimosho LGA
The Institute for National Transformation has provided food relief packages to over 500 households in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Team Lead for the Institute’s food bank project, Mrs Olubukola Femi-Ajala, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday.
Femi-Ajala said the move was part of the Institute’s intervention programmes for the vulnerable in various communities during the period of the lockdown.
According to her, recipients were drawn from two constituencies, including people living with disabilities across six Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Alimosho and vulnerable residents of Orisunbare community in Ayobo.
“The first phase of the distribution was done to 250 persons with disabilities in Alimosho Local Government.
“We first had a meeting with the Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Lagos State Chapter and he gave us the heads of each cluster in Alimosho.
“We worked with the data that was given to us and we gave the representatives of each cluster to distribute the items to their members who are in need.
“The second phase was to go into the communities and ask the community leaders to identify those who are less privileged, widows and other vulnerable because we are not interested in those who already have.
“So far, we have been able to reach over 550 households which has surpassed our initial target of 500,” she said.
According to her, each of the over 500 beneficiaries got food packs containing 5kg rice, 5kg beans and 5kg gari.
She added that the project was going to expand to other local governments in its next phase.
Femi-Ajala also called for proper structure in distributing relief materials at the grassroots to ensure they reach the intended beneficiaries.
She said that the institute had set the standard in its previous distribution programme which was in line with the its core values of responsibility, integrity, compassion and excellence.
She said donors ought to go through the community leaders since they had accurate information on the number of houses and the vulnerable in the community.
“We have seen rowdy and disorganised food outreaches conducted across the state where people who are supposed to benefit do not get the materials.
“So we took cognisance of this and decided to show a better way of doing it in our distribution process and that is the key to our success.
“We worked with stakeholders and community leaders by asking them to provide data on how many houses are in the community and identify those who are the vulnerable.
“The crux of our message is that there is a better way to distribute in an orderly manner which is through the community leaders. They are the ones who really know the people,” she said.
Receiving the items, Mr Ezekiel Olawale, Chairman Oloko Oba Orisunbare Community in Ayobo, expressed gratitude to the institute for coming to the aid of the community members in this trying time.
NAN reports that the Institute for National Transformation focuses on nation building and has its presence across many African countries, the United Kingdom and United States of America·
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
COVID-19: Bauchi govt. institutes fines on violators of lockdown
Gov. Bala Mohammad of Bauchi state has instituted fines on violators of the partial lockdown order by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
This was contained in an executive order signed by the state governor in Bauchi on Tuesday.
Going by the order, tricycle operators that do not observe social distancing would pay N10,000, while people on essential duty that fail to wear masks would pay a fine N5,000.
The order also stressed that all the motorcyclists who had been banned from operating would pay N5,000 if caught operating.
“The executive order is in furtherance of the directives that we have given, which is to stop the spread of COVID-19. It is tagged: ‘Bauchi State Infectious Disease Prevention and Regulations 2020.’
“In the order, we have spelt out penalties for offenders, those who violate the partial lockdown order and pedestrians will pay N5,000.
“We are mandating those on official duty to wear masks, failure of which they will pay N5,000. Physical distancing, if violated in any event will attract N5,000.
“We have motorcyclists that we have banned, if they are caught, they will pay N5,000, tricycles that are not exercising social distancing will be paying N10,000 naira.
“Vehicles going beyond the borders that we have effectively locked down will attract N20,000, a bus coming from Jos (Plateau state) or Kano without order, will pay N20,000,” the governor said.
He reiterated that his administration adhered strictly to the rule of law, and urged the Chief Judge of the state and the Speaker, State House of Assembly, to expedite action to ensure that the order was executed.
He advised that a mobile court should be established for the enforcement of the executive order.
The governor said the partial lockdown was introduced to the protect lives and properties of the citizens of the state.
The News Agency of Nigerian reports that the Bauchi state government, on April 26, directed a partial lockdown to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko (NAN)
COVID-19: Institute begins deliberations on protocols to protect engineers
The Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers commenced deliberations on Tuesday in Lagos to develop a code of practice for engineers in the face of the raging coronavirus.
The National Chairman of the institute, Mr Kings Adeyemi, made the announcement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Adeyemi said the institute decided to mark its 2020 “World Day for Safety and Health at Work”, in spite of the current lockdown, to ensure that members were kept abreast of prevailing health issues.
According to him, the institute is currently hosting an interactive webinar to address various issues affecting engineers in their day-to-day struggles to make their living.
Adeyemi said the webinar would focus on three broad sub-divisions of electrical engineering, including power, telecoms and ICT as well as instrumentation and control engineering.
“Since the essence of the annual event is to promote the awareness of health and safety standards at workplaces, our campaign on safety and healthy habits at this time is in order.
“We use electrical slogans to promote awareness on the dangers of fire outbreaks and electrocution both at home and the workplace.
“One of the slogans of electrical engineers is precaution is better than cure’ because there may be no cure after all or the cure may arrive too late.
He noted that safety was key to the practice of engineering, especially electrical engineering.
“Safety first is the first thing we learnt in electrical engineering. Electrical engineers will say: Safety is a way of life.
“Electricity does not have respect for anybody and it does not forgive when its rules are violated. The penalty for its violation ranges from slight sensation to electrocution and loss of properties.’’
Speaking also on the increasing incidents of fire outbreaks in public and private buildings, Adeyemi called for the use of certified made-in-Nigeria cables and appliances.
“Common causes of electrical fires in buildings are misuse of extension cords, circuit breaker failures, low wiring capacity, faulty appliances, use of sub-standard products and quackery jobs, among others.
“This is why we usually recommend the use of certified made-in-Nigeria cables and appliances.
“From generation, transmission to distribution, electricity was mentioned 13 times in the Nigerian Constitution. That is to tell you how important this sector is to everyone.
He said that the institute was collaborating with various safety and standards regulations organisations in the country to address common challenges and curb quackery.
Speakers at the event include Mr Bako Wakil of the Nigerian Communications Commission and Mr Peter Ewesor, Managing Director/CEO of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency.
Edited By: Emmanuella Anokam/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Syrian vocational institutes make masks amid COVID-19 infections
Syrian vocational institutions are making face masks as part of protection against COVID-19.
Run by the Syrian Education Ministry, vocational institutes started making masks as the education in these facilities had been suspended as part of the government’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In one institute in the Mazzeh area west of Damascus, teachers come every day to make the masks since the growing demand for protection masks amid the high prices of the imported ones.
Sitting behind sewing machines, the teachers cut fabrics and make them in the shape of masks before finishing and packing them in plastic bags.
Razan al-Rai, a sewing teacher, told Xinhua that she used to teach students how to make clothes, but now she was making masks to “help the society.”
She said it’s the duty of every person to volunteer to help the country and the people.
“We do all we can and we are making masks. We feel happy because we are doing something humanitarian to help the people and society,” she said.
For his side, Sulaiman Younes, director of Damascus education directorate, told Xinhua that they finished the first stage of production by making 12,000 masks, adding that they make around 3,000 masks per day.
He said the Education Ministry and the vocational education directorate must play a social role by confronting the virus.
“We have the ability to provide masks for protection and this is an opportunity to prove that we are active in society.”
Indian academic institute develops probe-free COVID-19 testing kit
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has developed a probe-free testing kit for COVID-19, which they claim has been approved by country’s top health research body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), officials said Saturday.
“Researchers at IIT Delhi Kusuma School of Biological Sciences (KSBS) have developed a detection assay for COVID-19 which has now been approved by ICMR,” reads a statement from IIT Delhi. “The assay has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100 percent. This makes IITD the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real-time PCR-based diagnostic assay.”
According to IIT Delhi, the test kit was the first probe-free assay for COVID-19 approved by ICMR and it will be useful for specific and affordable high throughput testing.
The assay can be easily scaled up as it does not require fluorescent probes, IIT said.
“Using comparative sequence analyses, the IIT Delhi team identified unique regions (short stretches of RNA sequences) in the COVID-19/SARS COV-2 genome. These regions are not present in other human coronaviruses providing an opportunity to specifically detect COVID-19,” the statement said.
“This method uses primers targeting unique regions of COVID-19 that were designed and tested using real-time PCR. These primers specifically bind to regions conserved in over 400 fully sequenced COVID-19 genomes. This highly sensitive assay was developed by extensive optimization using synthetic DNA constructs followed by in vitro generated RNA fragments.”
The research team was targeting large scale deployment of the kit at affordable prices with suitable industrial partners as soon as possible.
India is currently battling COVID-19 amid imposing a countrywide lockdown. So far 775 people have been killed because of the virus and total cases in country have reached to 24,506.
Physics institute says no connection between 5G and Coronavirus
Aboh said: “The NIP does not believe that wireless communication of whatsoever generation, now or in the future, is exposing mankind to more radiation energy than we already have in our environment.
“We do not particularly believe that the low energy packets and intensity of 5G antennas will transform to an organised aggregate of DNA molecules that constitute the Coronavirus as being peddled.”
He noted that energy of about 14 electron volts and above, called ionising radiation, like x-ray and gamma ray, could disassociate water molecules that made up most human cells.
This, according to him, could eventually lead to undesirable health effect.
He, however, said that on the contrary, all communication networks, including 5G operate in frequencies of Giga Hertz (GHz or 1012 Hz) and below.
“This corresponds to energy packets thousands of times smaller than what can dissociate water molecules and cause health issues in humans.
“Radiation in this category are referred to as a non-ionizing radiation, which dissipate their energy as heat in the skin and the tissue directly beneath the skin when absorbed.
“For example, 90 GHz frequency band in 5G technology correspond to energy less than 0.0004 electron volt compared with X-rays used in medical diagnostic which has energy in thousands of electron volts.
The president insisted that it had not been substantiated by any research that wireless communication had any potential for health effects on humans at their present transmission intensity, particularly 5G.
He stressed that technological innovation was a product of rigorous scientific research.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Chinese lab chief says Wuhan institute not source of coronavirus
“There’s no way this virus came out from us,” Yuan said in an interview with state television, the English-language transcript of which was published by Chinese media on Sunday.
“We clearly know what kind of virus research is going on in the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples,” he added.
More generally, he said, “there is no evidence to prove that the virus has artificial or synthetic traces.”
None of the laboratory staff had been infected with the coronavirus, the director said, adding that he understood why people had jumped to conclusions about his institute in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic originated.
“But it’s bad when some are deliberately trying to mislead people,” added Yuan.
“I know it’s impossible. This is entirely based on speculation,” said.
“I don’t have any evidence that it was a laboratory accident,” Birx said, while cautioning that the origins of the virus were still shrouded in mystery.
“We are still a long way from figuring it out. We know it originated in China. We just don’t know how and where,” she added.
The comments come a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. was investigating whether the virus could have originated in the Wuhan lab.
“It seems to make sense,” he told reporters at a daily briefing at the White House.
Scientists have doubted whether the coronavirus could have come from a lab.
The first infections with the coronavirus were linked with an animal market in Wuhan.
Experts believe the virus comes from bats and might also have been spread via another host animal.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Feature: 71-year-old Thai patient cured of COVID-19 at private medical institute in India
The Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to contain the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the country. Simultaneously, the private sector is working in tandem with the government offering requisite medical facilities for quarantine, isolation and ventilators.
The “Saraswathi Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS)”, a private Medical College-cum-Hospital in the Hapur district of northern state of Uttar Pradesh, has successfully cured a 71-year-old Thai national despite a huge language barrier.
Discharged from SIMS on Saturday, the Thai national, identified as Daha Dasae, had come to India last month to participate in the “Tablighi Jamaat (TJ)”, the annual congregation of Muslims at Delhi-based Nizamuddin mosque. Later, he moved to a village in Hapur district, and stayed there till he was picked up for COVID-19 testing.
Thousands of people, including from overseas, had gathered at Delhi’s Mosque for the annual event, despite strict guidelines from the Centre and Delhi state government to maintain social distancing.
It was too late when many of them were found suffering from COVID-19, as most of them had already travelled and returned to their respective homes in India. Along with local Indians, many foreigners also travelled to many parts of the country to spread “TJ” teachings, it was discovered later.
When the news spread about TJ participants spreading to different parts of India, a hunt was launched to track them down. In one such effort as many as four Thai nationals were found at a village in Hapur district. All of them were tested for COVID-19, so did Daha Dasae. Soon he was sent to SIMS.
Speaking to Xinhua, SIMS Principal R.C. Purohit said that the patient was brought to the institute on March 31. “Once he tested positive we kept him in the Isolation Ward for 14 days. After that he was tested twice and he tested negative. We discharged him on Saturday and handed him over to the district administration,” said Purohit
According to him, the Institute has enough COVID-19 facilities, including 100 isolation beds, 10 ventilators, and 50 quarantine beds. “At present we have about 70 patients kept under quarantine. For testing we send samples to the government-run Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College in the nearby Meerut district,” he said, adding that they are working in tandem with the district administration and close coordination with the local chief medical officer for COVID-19 control.
Confirming that the Thai national was fully cured and discharged from SIMS, Hapur’s Chief Medical Officer Rekha Sharma said the patient was admitted at the private Institute on March 31 after tested positive for COVID-19. “We have identified three private medical colleges, including SIMS, in the district for building up medical facilities to cure COVID-19 patients. The private colleges and institutes are extending crucial medical services amid these critical circumstances,” she added.
According to her, now the Thai national was kept in a quarantine cell arranged by the district administration.
As per the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as many as 507 people have died of coronavirus and there are over 15,700 positive cases in India, and 2231 people have been fully cured and discharged from hospitals across the country.
India continues to be under Lockdown. A 21-day Lockdown was there with effect from March 25, and it was subsequently extended till May 3.
While announcing the extension of lockdown on April 14 for another 19 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that some relaxations could be given from April 20 in those areas where no fresh cases are reported and people strictly follow lockdown restrictions.
Produce world-class crop yields, Gov. Bagudu tasks agric research institutes
Bagudu stated this in Birnin Kebbi when he received the Director, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna State, Prof. Mohammed Faguji-Ishiyaku, who paid him a courtesy visit.
He said there was an urgent need for the institutes to encourage farmers in the country to produce adequate food for local consumption and exports.
He said: “We have to empower our farmers to compete favourably with their contemporaries across the globe, bolster employment generation and boost the revenue base of the country, with nearly 200 million citizens to feed.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has already provided the needed political will and leadership in this direction.”
Bagudu also noted that the country had yet to harness its full potentials in agriculture. “This is a formidable challenge which you have to urgently deal with.
“There should be more efficacious and mutual collaboration between research and practice as well as between research and policy.
“There is the need for more agronomic research to support agriculture, as the research is the heart of the sector,” he said.
Bagudu commended the institute for its dogged determination to come to the aid of Nigerian farmers, in spite of its myriad of daunting challenges.
The governor, however, expressed his administration’s willingness to collaborate with the institute for the development of agriculture at the state and national levels.
Earlier, Feguji-Ishiyaku commended the governor for his efforts at raising rice production in the state, adding that this had fetched the state and the country at large huge sums of money.
He said: “After taking over the leadership of IAR, I was attracted by what I saw in the state and so, I decided to come to Kebbi to seek collaboration.
“I came to share what IAR has in place and make suggestions to the governor, who is the Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Committee in the country.
“The partnership between the state government and the institute will address the issue of sustained agricultural development, support crop production and also assist farmers, even in the face of the COVID -19.”
He listed some of the areas which the institute had been researching to include: cereals, fibres, legumes, oil seeds, developing design and disseminating mechanisation tools.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that improved seeds developed by the institute through research were presented to the governor.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
15 medics at Egypt’s cancer institute test positive for coronavirus
At least 15 medics at Egypt’s main cancer hospital have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and placed under quarantine, an official said on Saturday.
Three doctors and 12 nurses are infected with the virus, Dr Reem Emad, the manager of the hospital of the National Cancer Institute affiliated to Cairo University, said in statements.
“All the patients have been admitted to quarantine hospitals for treatment,” she said, adding that all the medical staff and cancer patients are being tested and the institute has been sterilised.
Cairo University spokesman Mahmoud Alameldeen said in a statement that the institute’s clinics would only receive emergency cases.
Egypt has so far reported 985 infections of the global pandemic, with 66 fatalities.
Egyptian authorities have already imposed a two-week curfew on the country, which began on March 25, in an effort to control the spread of the virus.
Schools, universities, cinemas, theatres, mosques, and churches have closed and staffing at government offices has been reduced.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Institute: Coronavirus crisis could cost Germany hundreds of billions
Institute: Coronavirus crisis could cost Germany hundreds of billions: The coronavirus crisis could cost Germany more than 500 billion euros ($535 billion) and more than 1 million jobs, a leading research institute said on Monday, as the government prepared to agree a large package of economic measures.
“The costs will likely exceed anything we have seen with economic crises or natural disasters in Germany over the last decades,’’ Clemens Fuest, the President of the Munich-based ifo institute, said in a statement.
“Depending on the scenario, the economy would contract by 7.2 to 20.6 percentage points.
“That corresponds to costs of 255 to 729 billion euros,’’ he added.
“Massive upheavals’’ are also expected in the labour market, Fuest said.
Up to 1.8 million employees, who are subject to social insurance contributions could lose their jobs, while more than six million people might have to work on short time, ifo estimates.
“It is thus worthwhile to mobilise almost every conceivable amount for health-related measures,’’ Fuest said.
The German cabinet is expected on Monday to approve wide-ranging economic measures, including significant protection for companies, employees and clinics.
Tenants are also to be protected from eviction if they develop financial problems because of the crisis.
A fast-track procedure could see the measures become law on Friday.
The government is planning a supplementary budget of 156 billion euros for 2020.
The cabinet meeting is expected to be led by Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, as Chancellor Angela Merkel is in home quarantine after having had contact with a doctor, who then tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Merkel is to take part in the meeting via telephone, a government spokesman told dpa on Monday.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde