Mr Peter Obi, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Feb. 23 election, has called for peaceful and credible polls on March 9.
Obi made the call in an interview with newsmen on Thursday in Onitsha, saying that free and fair elections were required to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
He urged the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government not to allow the alleged electoral malpractices witnessed during the Feb. 23 elections reflect in Saturday’s exercise.
He said: “The idea of trying to disrupt the exercise in the South-South should be discouraged because the area is critical to the development of the country.
“Once election is peaceful and without rigging, there won’t be any violence.
“But we have heard people say they will capture Akwa Ibom and Delta states, where we have two of the best crop of governors in the country.
“The South-South governors are already doing well and should be encouraged. If you go to Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states, you will see visible and clear performance by their governors.”
Obi urged the people of the South-East to remain peaceful during the polls.
The former governor of Anambra further spoke on the need for a robust and dynamic legislature at the state and national level.
He said that such dynamism was important for the executive to function effectively.
“Even if you have a majority of the legislators from other political parties, you can still deliver on your electoral promise as a governor.
“I once governed Anambra with diverse legislators and I did not have problems but rather achieved my set goals.
“People should be free to choose whoever they want to serve them,” Obi said.
He appealed to security agencies to be fair and impartial to everybody in the discharge of their duties during the polls.
He said: “They must know that their children live in the society and that if they leave it to be abused, it will take revenge on them.
“The society we abuse today will take revenge on our children tomorrow.
“That is why it is important for the sake of the country and posterity that what happened in the last election should not be allowed in Saturday’s exercise.”
Anambra has 8 active COVID-19 cases – Obiano
The governor also said 69 persons were on home isolation while two others were at the state’s quarantine facility.
“We are ramping up our testing capacity to ensure that we slow down the spread of this pandemic in our dear state.
Obiano urged traders and religious leaders not to relax in ensuring that their members continued to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols while noting that it had been observed that most of them had jettisoned the safety measures.
“I want to warn that we may consider shutting down the markets if this trend is not halted with immediate effect, I have also received similar reports from churches and other religious groups in the state, most of whom have discarded wearing of face masks.
“This approach will minimise the chances of patients spreading the virus through multiple contacts.
“All members of the Nigerian Medical Association practicing in Anambra are expected to inform the Ministry of Health once they collect samples of suspected COVID-19 patients for testing.
“A situation where some members collect samples and send to testing centers on their own is no longer allowed,” he said.
NIMR, Mobihealth launch first home COVID-19 self-swab test
The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, in partnership with the Mobihealth on Tuesday launched the first home Teleconsultation COVID-19 self-swab test in the country.
Prof. Babtunde Salako, Director-General of NIMR, said the do it yourself swab testing would help to increase the number of testing.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that NIMR had earlier in a statement said the partnership would help to pilot research into the efficacy of developing telemedicine guided COVID-19 home self-swab test sample collection.
It said the programme would involve 2,000 sample collection over a period, while individuals will be guided on how to conduct a self-swab test sample collection.
The institute added that the objective is to collect rapidly and safely in order to test large samples of people for the virus.
The statement said the system will limit face to face testing and reduce the spread of infection, especially among health workers.
Mobihealth, in partnership with medical logostics firms and Lifebank, will facilitate the contactless smooth delivery and collection of self-swab test to the subject home.
Mobihealth is an international innovative telemedicine and digital healthcare platform with a mission to provide everyone on the planet timely access to quality healthcare services from around the world.
NIMR was established in 1977 to conduct research on diseases of public health importance in Nigeria.
WHO warns of disturbing rates of antimicrobial resistance during COVID-19 pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday warned that the world is “losing its ability” to use critically important antimicrobial medicines.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Monday, the WHO chief said that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates.
Calling the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time,” Tedros urged the world to find new models to incentivize sustainable innovation in this regard.
“On the supply side, there is essentially very little market incentive to developing new antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, which has led to multiple market failures of very promising tools in the past few years,” he said.
A press release issued on Monday also showed that high rates of resistance among antimicrobials frequently used to treat common infections, such as urinary tract infections or some forms of diarrhea, indicate that the world is running out of effective ways to tackle these diseases.
“For instance, the rate of resistance to ciprofloxacin, an antimicrobial frequently used to treat urinary tract infections, varied from 8.4 percent to 92.9 percent in 33 reporting countries,” the press release noted.
COVID-19: Ekiti inaugurates 400-testing capacity mobile laboratory
The Ekiti government, on Monday, inaugurated a 400-testing capacity mobile laboratory to ease testing of COVID-19 cases in the state.
According to Gov. Kayode Fayemi, this is part of steps to curtail further spread of the pandemic in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the laboratory, installed at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH), Ado-Ekiti, was in partnership with 54gene, a company set up to provide genomic data for Africa.
NAN also reports that this was coming barely a month after government unveiled the state COVID-19 Response Hub, a Geographic Information System-based application, created to manage data on the pandemic in the state.
Speaking at the occasion, the governor said with the installation and inauguration of the laboratory, the state now had capacity to test up to 400 cases daily.
He said that the laboratory was fully equipped with vital testing instruments and bio-safety materials, including an autoclave, bio-safety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing.
He said that 54gene would also furnish the government with operational support and molecular scientists, with the necessary skills to handle the instruments in the mobile laboratory.
Fayemi said that the state would now be conducting tests in all the 16 local government areas to facilitate early detection of COVID-19 and ensure timely and adequate treatment of any infected person.
He said that the laboratory would remain in the state, even after the pandemic might have abated and would be used as a fully-functional molecular laboratory.
This, according to him, will bolster the state’s molecular testing capabilities, adding the facility might be used by medical researchers and clinicians in the state in the event of future outbreak of any disease aside coronavirus.
NAN further reports that the laboratory was pioneered by 54gene, a health technology company accr
Edited By: the (NAN)Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is already testing for COVID-19 in Lagos, Kano and Ogun states.
The initiative is also one of the interventions being facilitated by the state COVID-19 Response Resource Mobilisation Committee, set up by the governor, to attract effective support base and respond to the threats posed by the global pandemic.
Rep lauds Buhari over appointment of Obioma as NECO Registrar
Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia), has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Prof. Godswill Obioma as Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO).
Kalu, who represents Bende Federal Constituency in Abia said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
He said the appointment came at a time, the examination body was confronted with several challenges, which had undermined its operations.
The lawmaker, however, expressed confidence that Obioma’s breadth of experience and wealth of academic achievements would be used to address the challenges.
Kalu disclosed that he had been privileged to preview the registrar’s proposed 11-point roadmap for NECO, which showed a determination to reignite hope in inclusive and quality education for Nigerian children.
“Following the fourth UNESCO COVID-19 Education Webinar, organised on April 9, 2020 to examine the coping strategies currently considered by various countries to manage high-stake exams, it has become clear to me that unique home grown solutions are required for the peculiarities of our own challenges.
“NECO’s leadership must figure out exam delivery modes that are complaint with new public health standards and technological realities while remaining inclusive and accessible to the millions of Nigerian children in rural areas.
“This responsibility is an intricate dance which will require the innovativeness and insight of a leader, possessing extensive local and international experience.
“Obioma’s breadth of experience, academic achievements, as well as his far reaching contributions to education policy reforms in national and global contexts, distinguishes him as the right fit for the job; the square peg in a square hole,” he said.
U.S. Minnesota activates “full mobilization” of state’s National Guard to stem riots over Floyd’s death
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on Saturday activated “full mobilization” of the Minnesota National Guard after four straight nights of violent protests in the midwest state’s biggest city Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody.
The move represents the largest domestic deployment in the Minnesota National Guard‘s 164-year history, local media reported.
More than 1,000 additional Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen will be activated on Saturday, according to a tweet from the state’s National Guard.
This is in addition to the 700 that were on duty as of late last night, the tweet said.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis Friday night, defying a citywide 8 p.m. curfew that had been announced earlier that day. Businesses were burned and vandalized, as the rioting continued, said local media reports.
“So, let’s be very clear. The situation in Minneapolis is no longer, in any way, about the murder of George Floyd,” the governor said at a press conference on Saturday morning. “It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities.”
Floyd, aged 46, died on Monday after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, held him down with a knee on his neck though he repeatedly pleaded, “I can’t breathe,” and “please, I can’t breathe.” Chauvin was arrested and charged with three-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.
Floyd’s plea before his death evoked African Americans‘ painful memories and sparked a nationwide cry for justice. In 2014, a cellphone recorded an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” when a New York officer held him in a chokehold before his death in police custody. Since then, the plea has become a rallying cry at demonstrations against police misconduct across the country.
Gov. Obiano inaugurates 16-member committee for public procurements
Anambra Government has inaugurated a 16-member committee for Public Procurement Council and Public Procurement Bureau in Awka.
Gov. Willie Obiano, who performed the ceremony on Friday, said that the council and the agency were key requirement for the newly signed laws to drive the procurement act.
He said that the procurement bureau was for the formulation of general policies and guidelines, while the public sector procurement was to monitor the prices of tendered items, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the council are Chief namely: Henry Manafa as Chairman, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the State Government as Vice Chairman while Mr Melie Onyejepu would serve as Secretary.
Others are: Chief Primus Odili, Anambra Chief of Staff, Mr Harry Uduh, Anambra Head of Service and Dr Uju Nworgu, Anambra Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
Also, Mr Ifeatu Onejeme, Mr Mark Okoye, Ven. Ameachi Okwuosa, Rtd, Air Vice Marshal Ben Chiobi, Mr Chris Azor representing Civil Society Organisations and Mr Confidence Azodo, representing the local government system.
Others included Mr Edisson Obianyo representing the Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr Chike Okonkwo representing Nigeria Society of Engineers, Mrs Chinyere Nwabachili, Mr Emeka Eze and Mr Law Chinwuba.
Manafa assured the government that the committee would perform to the best of their knowledge, as public procurement focuses on value for money, ethics, fair deal, equity, transparency and accountability.
NAN reports that Mr Melie Onyejepu, the General Manager of the State Public Procurement Bureau represented by Mr Afam Mbanefo thanked the governor on behalf of others for the confidence reposed in them.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Felix Ajide (NAN)
Obiano signs COVID-19 Prevention Bill into law
Speaking at a ceremony before signing the bill into law, Obiano called for strict compliance with the law, saying that his administration was committed to enforcing the law to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
He commended the Speaker of the state’s house of assembly, Mr Uche Okafor, for the speedy passage of the bill.
Obiano also signed the Public procurement Amendment bill into law.
Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Volkswagen announces two-bln-euro investment in electric mobility in China
Germany’s largest carmaker Volkswagen announced on Friday that it would invest around two billion euros (2.22 billion U.S. dollars) in electric mobility in China.
Volkswagen would invest one billion euros by increasing its stake in the e-mobility joint venture with Chinese JAC Motors from 50 to 75 percent and also acquire 50 percent in JAC‘s parent company JAG, the company stated.
“Together with strong and reliable partners, Volkswagen is strengthening its electrification strategy in China,” stated Herbert Diess, chief executive officer (CEO) of Volkswagen.
Founded in 2017, the JAC Volkswagen joint venture is an all-electric company which develops, produces and sells new energy vehicles (NEV). According to the German carmaker, an expansion of up to five additional battery electric vehicles (BEV) models by 2025 is planned, as well as building a “full-scale e-model factory.”
Furthermore, Volkswagen announced to acquire a 26 percent stake in Chinese battery manufacturer Gotion High-Tech Co., Ltd. also for around one billion euros, thus becoming the Chinese company’s largest shareholder.
Volkswagen would become the first global automaker to invest directly in a Chinese battery supplier, said the company. The partnership with Gotion, was an “opportunity” for Volkswagen to “achieve deeper know-how in the field of batteries.”
The electric car segment was “growing rapidly” and offered “a great deal of potential for JAC Volkswagen,” said Diess. With the investment in Gotion, Volkswagen would be “actively driving forward the development of battery cells in China.”
According to Volkswagen, Gotion would maintain its projects over the entire battery value chain from sourcing, development and production to recycling and was “in the process of becoming a certified Volkswagen Group battery supplier in China.”
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