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NAF inaugurates additional accommodation for personnel, strengthens measures to combat COVID:19

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has inaugurated four newly remodeled and renovated blocks of 36 x single-bedroom flats for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) at Sam Ethnan Air Force Base (SEAFB) Ikeja.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Daramola said the accommodation was part of the continued efforts of the NAF to ensure decent and comfortable accommodation for its personnel for effective service delivery and professional performance.

“The projects were aimed at ensuring conducive living environment for the 144 benefiting personnel and their families as a motivation to discharge their duties more effectively and efficiently.

“The NAF has also continued to strengthen measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 through sensitisation of its personnel and emplacement of appropriate precautionary measures,” he said.

Daramola said the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, during inauguration ceremony on Monday, disclosed that since assumption of office, the current NAF leadership had prioritised the provision of decent housing for personnel.

This, Abubakar said, had resulted in large-scale construction of new office and residential accommodations and massive renovation and upgrading of the existing accommodation that were in various states of disrepair.

According to the COAS, we shall continue to undertake such laudable projects whose resultant effects would revitalise your professional competence and yield higher quality output”.

Abubakar said that the NAF, in collaboration with sister security agencies, would continue to work assiduously to ensure the restoration of peace and security in all parts of the country.

He said this would be through the effective projection of Air Power as well as the contribution of its Regiment and Special Forces personnel for internal security operations across the country.

The air chief urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that the facilities were used with high sense of responsibility, whilst continuing to contribute their quota to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians in their various places of deployment.

Abubakar was represented by AVM Lawal Alao, the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command (AOC LC) at the inauguration.

Earlier, the Commander 651 Base Services Group, Air Commodore Rasaq Olanrewaju, expressed gratitude to the COAS for the priority attention given to the welfare needs of personnel.

He disclosed that the disinfection and sanitisation of SEAFB was at about 90 per cent completion, in accordance with NAF Headquarters (HQ) directives.

Alao said that the sensitisation had also been sustained to educate the Base community on ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The commander said that with the support of HQ NAF, SEAFB had emplaced palliative measures to alleviate the sufferings of the Base Community occasioned by the lockdown of Lagos State as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He further disclosed that one of such palliatives was the establishment of a COVID-19-Compliant Mobile Farm Market on the Base, with the assistance of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture.

Daramola added that those present at the event were NAF Director of works, Air Commodore Abiola Amodu, as well as some Unit Commanders in the Lagos area.

He added that the High point of the inauguration ceremony was the presentation of keys to some of the beneficiaries.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Maureen Atuonwu
(NAN)

 

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

Defence/Security

COVID-19: NAF produces ventilators to support fight against pandemic

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The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has produced locally-made ventilators as its contribution to national efforts towards fighting the novel coronavirus disease.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal (AM) Sadique Abubakar, announced this during Eid-el-Fitri lunch with troops of the Air Component of “Operation Lafiya Dole” at the Airforce Base in Maiduguri on Monday.

Abubakar said that the locally-made ventilator was a product of research development programme by the Nigerian Airforce in partnership with Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

He said that the ventilators would be commissioned on May 27.

He explained that as part of the measures to combat the pandemic, NAF had distributed reusable face mask to all its personnel while PPE and ventilators were provided at the Nigerian Airforce Hospitals in Maiduguri.

“I wish to remind us of the need to maintain continues vigilance and ensure strict adherence to necessary guidelines and protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19,’’ he said.

The CAS said that despite the challenges of competing resources, occasioned by the COVID-19 induced lockdown, NAF has maintained the tempo of its operations, not only in the North East, but other parts of the country.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Defence/Security

NAF trains 94 Special Forces, 35 personnel in RTC Bauchi – Air Chief

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Training
Katsina, 25, May 2020 The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal (AM) Sadique Abubakar said that 94 Special Forces (SF) and 35 personnel had been trained at the Air Force Regimental Training Centre (RTC) Annex, Bauchi.

Abubakar said this over Eid el-Fitr lunch with troops of the Air Component, “Operation Hadarin Daji” at the 213 forward operation base in Katsina on Monday.

He explained that the gesture was in line with his vision to build capacity for the service with a view to tackling the present security challenges as well as the emerging ones in the country.

“In the past four and the half years, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken giant strides by inducting new platforms and reactivating grounded ones.

“The service has also trained many pilots, engineers, technicians, more especially the Regiment Specialty and SF personnel,” he said.

The Air Chief said that he was happy to be in Katsina to wine and dine with the troops on the occasion of Eid el Fitr in the mission area.

Abubakar said that the gesture had become the tradition since he assumed office as Air Chief in order to further strengthen the affinity and oneness in the NAF family.

He charged officers and men of the service to take responsibility against COVID-19,  advising that face masks should be worn at all times while personnel should maintain physical distancing at public gatherings.

The Air Chief thanked Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari and the people of the state for their support to NAF since the establishment of the 213 Forward Operating Base in the state.

In a remark, Wing Commander Bashir Abubakar, the Commander of the base, thanked the chief of air staff, the state’s governor, and people of the state for their tremendous support to the unit and troops deployed to fight bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers, and armed robbers in the area.

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Foreign

Palestinian workers prepare desserts “Konafa” at restaurant in Gaza City

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A Palestinian worker prepares a dessert “Konafa” at a restaurant in Gaza City, on May 20, 2020. Konafa is a traditional dessert served during the holy month of Ramadan. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)

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General news

NAFDAC harps on need to promote local manufacturers

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has restated the need for Nigeria to promote local manufacturing sector.

The Director General of the NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this assertion at a news conference to commemorate the launch of palliatives for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) on Friday in Abuja.

According to her, the launch of the palliatives for MSMEs is as a result of the agency’s drive to promote the country’s economy and to cushion the effect of the present hard times on the sector.

“We did this because times are hard and people are faced with many challenges, this is an opportunity for us to look inward and support the country through MSMEs

“This is one of the reasons we are focusing on MSMEs.

“Micro small businesses are significant in terms of driving the country’s economy, without them, our economy may suffer, without them recession might come in.

“Today mark what we are going to do for the next 90 days, the first 200 micro small businesses will get the opportunity to register free,” she said.

Adeyeye said that the agency had also reduced the fees for registration by 80 per cent for companies that had already established but are yet to renew their licenses.

She said that the fines on those companies that had already registered but yet to renew their licences would also be waived to encourage growth.

The NAFDAC boss, however, said that importation of so many products, particularly drugs have negative impact on the nation’s economy.

She expressed concerns that Nigeria depends so much on foreign goods.

She said that the dependency on foreign goods would not grow our economy but, rather retard its development.

The DG noted that the country had over neglected local industries and local production, adding that COVID-19 pandemic has caused increase in prices of imported goods.

She said Nigeria should look inward and improve on its local production of the citizens essential needs instead of relying on foreign goods.

“We need to wake up and do what we are supposed to do, that means, less dependence on other countries, if we can learn this lesson, COVID-19 will be a blessing

Adeyeye commended the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria and Ministry of Finance for seeing the need to pay more attention to local industries.

She also said that there has not been any vaccine yet both home and abroad to cure the virus, adding that effort is ongoing in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany to secure vaccines for it.

The DG,  however, welcome any herbal practitioners, who is ready to show his or her experience with scientific prove to treat the COVID-19.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Defence/Security

NAF graduate 126 Special Force, Combat Search Rescue Personnel in Bauchi

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday  graduated 126 Special Force and Combat Search and Rescue Personnel in Bauchi.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar at the combined graduation ceremony in Bauchi, said the graduates comprised of Special Force and Combat Search Rescue Personnel for safe conduct of air operations.

He said the use of Special Forces operatives by Armed Forces around the world dated back to the First World War when the Royal Naval Air Service used armoured cars to rescue drowned air crew.

”Since then, air forces around the world have deployed well trained Special Forces to provide situational awareness for air crew with a view to reducing collateral damage and enhancing the safe conduct of air operations,” he said

According to him, in realising the capability gap in Special Forces and Combat Search and Rescue operations, the Nigerian Air Force established the Special Operations Command with its headquarters in Bauchi and Quick Response Groups.

”We have Wings in Gusau, Owerri, Ipetu-Ijesa, Katsina, Birnin-Gwari, Agatu, Nguroge and Doma, as well as the Combat Search and Rescue Group in Kerang, Plateau State,” he said

Abubakar explained that the NAF trained over 1,060 personnel both overseas and locally in its bid to generate special operations forces and CSAR teams to man the units.

”Hence, international training partners were engaged to train our personnel so as to stimulate and sustain Special Forces training in the Nigerian Air Force,” he said   

He commended the graduates for being worthy to become members of the Panthers and CSAR operators of the NAF.

”You are graduating at a time when the nation is in dire need of your skills to give impetus to operations being conducted to restore normalcy in restive parts of the country.

“Your job will not be an easy one as you will be required to operate in hostile environments to ensure that the NAF achieves its objectives,” he said.

The CAS urged the graduates to imbibe the attributes of honesty, courage, perseverance and adaptability expected of them.

He also implored them to always remember the core values of integrity, service and excellence when deployed, as these would ensure success.

Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding  (AOC) Ground Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Idi Amin, said the combined graduation of the Special Forces Course 6/2020 and Combat Search and Rescue Course 2/2020, had successfully completed rigorous training at the entre.

”Although the Combat Search and Rescue course have earlier had other training sessions in Ipetu-Ijesa and RTC Kaduna, they only underwent the concluding part of their training in Bauchi,” he said.

Amin explained that the curriculum of the Special Force course entailed intensive training in shooting skills, unarmed combat, navigation, field tactics, communications, endurance and combat swimming, amongst other areas.

He added that the trainees were also taught to operate the RGD 5 grenade, PKM gun and the RPG 7 launcher, which were recently acquired by the present administration of the NAF.

AVM Amin reiterated that trainees underwent a month long practical and theoretical combat medic course, in addition to other advanced SF modules.

He pointed out that out of the 275 personnel screened for SF 6/2020, only 117 were inaugurated to start the course,

”While 94 personnel comprising 5 officers, 89 airmen and airwomen are graduating today, it is indicating a success rate of about 50 per cent.

”Similarly, 35 personnel comprising 5 officers and 30 airmen were initially nominated for the CSAR course and only 32 students completed the requirements to be CSAR operators,” he explained.

The AOC reiterated that  only the fittest trainees equipped with the right attitude were able to complete the course to qualify as Special Operation Forces also known as Panthers and CSAR operators of the Nigerian Air Force.

Amin commended CAS Abubakar for convening the course in addition to the tremendous strides in the NAF operations and infrastructural development of all the NAF Bases.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: NAFDAC warns against use of Chloroquine

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has, again, warned Nigerians against taking Chloroquine as treatment for  Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Nobody should buy Chloroquine and use. If you have COVID-19, go to a doctor. We have warned Nigerians and shall do that again. Do not take Chloroquine,” Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC’s Director General, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

“The delay in approving some of the drugs for treatment of the virus is because of the clinical trials the agency is carrying out on them.

“So far, no group or individual has proffered any solution to the treatment or management of the pandemic,” she said.

According to Adeyeye, the Chinese government carried out lots of trials on Chloroquine before it approved its use for treatment on some COVID-19 patients.

”Clinical trial is not a thing one can handle casually; it requires guidance, supervision and experiment before approval so that it will not cause further damage.

“The trial is to determine whether it is actually working or not, after a sustained observation. NAFDAC is supposed to be the centre of the regulation of clinical trial effects.

“Nobody can do any job of clinical trial in the clinic or anywhere without passing through NAFDAC protocol.

”If such protocol is found defective or tend to compromise the health of Nigerians, we will not approve it,’’ she said.

The NAFDAC boss further said that whatever procedure was coming up for the cure or curtailment of COVID-19 must be submitted for trial to the agency for appropriate processing.

She said that the agency must also ensure that all the procedure used in arriving at their experimental processes for the cure or curtailment of COVID-19 must be submitted with relevant proof.

Adeyeye advised researchers and traditional medical practitioners to follow the normal protocol before the approval of their work for public consumption

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Health

COVID-19: NAFDAC DG praises Madagascar, confident of similar breakthrough soon

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Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has commended Madagascar’s initiative that ensured its herbal remedy for the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We are proud of them (Madagascar). They appreciate what they have. We do not.

“All the herbs they have and are using, we have them. But we do not use them the way they are doing.

“They appreciate their brains and use them. We must do same here if we want to develop as a nation,” she told the News Agency of Nigeria , on Thursday in Abuja.

She regretted that Nigeria had consistently depended on what others were bringing to it, and emphasised the need to look inward for solutions to our concerns.

Adeyeye said that the novel Coronavirus had jolted the country, and challenged those in authority to make the health sector a major priority.

COVID-19 has slapped us in the face. It has kicked us back and front. We are now facing the stark realities of being insecure.

“There is drug insecurity, medical devices insecurity, test kits insecurity; we have always depended on other nations for everything.

“India, for instance, is not supplying medicals to us again because they are thinking about their own people.

“We have been using Dogonyaro (Neem tree) for ages. Some other African countries have developed their herbal remedies.

“Which one can we claim to have developed in Nigeria? What we are looking for in Madagascar, we may have it in our backyard,’’ the director general said.

Adeyeye said that Nigeria had been a slave to China and India in terms of drug reliance, adding that the challenge posed by the pandemic would make the country to look inward.

According to her, it is time for Nigerians to make use of their talents by looking inward and coming up with something.

She said that the coronavirus pandemic had created opportunity for Nigerians to start making good use of their talent and attempt to create something on their own.

Adeyeye, however, called for a policy that would ban importation of drugs and compel Nigerians to look inward and start the development of home made drugs.

“Madagascar has done it. They have looked inward and came up with herbs; Nigeria has over relied on the white for everything,

“Some of us claim to love this country, but we do not. We have good weather, good environment, natural resources, but we are not making good use of them,” she said.

“We must take the health sector serious by showing all sense of responsibility and we must work to stop importation of drugs,’’ the director general said.

The director general also called for investment in research, adding that without it, Nigeria would not move forward in the quest to develop herbal medicine.

“Research is an important ingredient that can create confidentiality agreement between herbal practitioners and NAFDAC.

“Research is important to help us know the content of the herbal mixture we even need to take

“Before COVID-19, we had inaugurated Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee, precisely in March 2019. We have wasted a lot of money and opportunity to develop our herbal medicine and cannot continue that way,” she said.

The director general also called for mutual trust among the herbal practitioners to facilitate inventions in the medical sector.

Edited By: Cecilia Ologunagba and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19 pandemic’ll give birth to indigenous pharmaceutical companies – NAFDAC DG

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Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the Coronavirus pandemic will give birth to so many indigenous pharmaceutical companies in the country.

Adeyeye said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

The director general said that God had endowed Nigeria with abundant resources to turn the crisis into great opportunity by manufacturing raw materials for productions of drugs.

“One thing that will come out of COVID-19 is that companies will start manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients, even if it is one or two.

“Let us start something instead of importing everything; let us invest in our country.

“I am very confident of that because God gave us brains. We go out of this country and most of us in diaspora become stars in different fields,” she said.

Adeyeye emphasised that God had given Nigerians the best brains to transform the country in all the sectors of the economy.

“All we need is to focus on the areas of priority. If government does not focus on education, instructing the university lecturers to prioritise research and development, we may not achieve drug security.

“Also, we need to address the issue of incessant strikes; I am not saying that some of the reasons of going on strike are not genuine, but that is not the way to solve our problems.

“I was a professor for 30 years, in USA where I worked, it is strange to be on strike.

“We take planning seriously, so that is the reason why if we want to get there, we have to change our ways,’’ she said.

According to her, Nigeria needs to change its ways and have good development policies.

China has a policy on family planning but here we don’t want to restrict the number of children we have; we keep talking about our grandchildren having so many children but they are all farmers.’’

Adeyeye said that NAFDAC had received applications from people seeking to register their facemasks producing outfits and would treat the applications to support local content.

“We are now testing them in the laboratory to see how safe and thick they are.

“The quality of the materials will determine if it is safe to stop your droplets from getting to somebody else; it is the thickness that matters.

“The quality of the material determines whether is safe or not,’’ she said.

According to her, the important aspect of facemask is that it must protect the user from getting  droplets out or inhaling any.

“So, it is the thickness that matters for the general population. The thickness should stop droplets from getting out of the user’s system.

“Also, the materials should be soft enough not to irritate the user,” she said.

 

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Health

COVID-19: NAFDAC plans ahead, targets strong health sector after pandemic

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As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says it is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address drug insecurity in the country.

“We are working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to address drug insecurity in the country; that is part of our postCOVID-19 plan to revamp the heath sector,” Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.

She said that the agency had been meeting with relevant stakeholders to achieve the feat.

Adeyeye said the agency had started working on the production of herbal medicine since March 2019.

“As soon as I came in as the DG, I started singing it everywhere I go that we have drug insecurity.

“If you manufacture 30 per cent of your drugs locally and import 70, you have made your nation a slave to the country that is supplying.

“We were slaves to China and India; we depended so much on them. With the outbreak of Coronavirus, China had their issues and everything stopped.

“India also stopped their own supplies because they want to conserve. It left us stranded, but the  pandemic lingers on,’’ she said.

According to her, the agency met with the CBN governor two months ago to address challenges facing the sector.

“The CBN Governor has listened to some of the things that came from NAFDAC in terms of drug insecurity. He has said that it was high time for Nigeria to start looking inward.

“We have had series of meeting and NAFDAC is the go-between now.

NAFDAC is the brigde between CBN and pharmaceutical manufacturing groups of Nigeria.

“We had a meeting last Saturday, so part of what the government has realised is that the health sector has been neglected.

“We have realised that we have to take care of some aspects of the health sector.’’

The director general said that the Federal Government had been responding by allocating N100 billon to qualified pharmaceutical manufacturing companies for production of indigenous drugs.

“We left industrialisation decades ago but we are going back to where we came; the government is supporting and more companies are getting approval.’’

Adeyeye emphasised that Nigeria’s over-dependence on medicine importation had affected production of locally made drugs.

She said that the lack of accessible raw materials had also posed similar challenge, adding that the challenge needed to be tackled before Nigeria can attain a state of drug security.

“The CBN said we need to do sanitisers locally, that is the beginning of COVID for us; I told them, sanitiser has three ingredients and we import all the ingredients.

“We should wake up as a country; we import alcohol, one of the ingredients for sanitisers. We cannot continue like this,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19: NAFDAC committed to supporting treatment initiatives–DG

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it is committed to supporting any intervention aimed at facilitating the treatment of the COVID-19.

The Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Adeyeye, part of the efforts to advance herbal products development for the treatment of COVID-19 informed the setting up of the Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee (HMPC).

She said that the platform had brought together manufacturers, academics, researchers and relevant stakeholders by bridging the gap created between traditional medicine practitioners and drug manufacturers.

“This collaboration brokered by the agency aims at translating research of herbs into products of commerce with proven safety and efficacy.

“The committee has met three times since inception, on March 15, Sept. 6, 2019 and the most recent one being a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 8, 2020.

“Call for expression of interest for the COVID-19 related medicines was made; several researchers and practitioners have responded and are being guided to submit such medicines to NAFDAC for expedited review.

“The agency continues to encourage all stakeholders to present the products of their research findings and allow these remedies go through internationally recognised process of approval,” she said.

The director general added that NAFDAC, as an agency with the mandate to regulate the conduct of clinical trials in the country, was committed to encouraging sponsors with appropriate guidance for effective intervention to treat or prevent COVID-19.

(
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Insurgency: NAF to deploy more troops in Borno, says CAS

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The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, says the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is to deploy more forces to Maiduguri in the ongoing fight against insurgency.

Abubakar made this known during a working visit to the Air Task Force of “Operation Lafiya Dole” on Wednesday in Maiduguri.

According to him, the deployment of more forces was to strengthen the task force.

The CAS who inaugurated some projects including accommodation during the visit said it was meant to cater for the additional personnel to be deployed.

“The security challenges faced by Nigeria are obstacles to development that can only be surmounted if we remain resolute in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality.

“I, however, make bold to say that we have, so far, confronted these elements head-on, and for that, I am proud of you all gallant officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force.

”The NAF, through the Air Task Force Op LAFIYA DOLE, has continued to perform very critical roles in providing the much needed air support required for ground operations.

“In pursuit of NAF constitutional roles, and in line with my vision for the force, I have constantly sought, not only to evolve strategies that will enable the Service adequately project air power to effectively and efficiently deal with prevalent security threats.

”But to also see to it that personnel welfare is given utmost priority,” the air staff chief said.

He said that his administration would continue to do its best to ensure that accommodation problems are eradicated in the NAF.

”As we inaugurate these projects today, I urge you all to utilize the facilities with a high sense of responsibility.

“It is my expectation that you will reciprocate by dealing with more effective punches against the remaining Boko Haram insurgents.

”I urge you not to relent as we have to continue fighting until the insurgents are completely eliminated,” Abubakar said.

The CAS further cautioned officers and men on the  challenge of COVID-19 and urged them to follow all precautionary measures directed by medical experts to remain safe from the pandemic.

Earlier, the Air Task Force Commander, Air Commodore Precious Amadi, who briefed the CAS on activities of the command since January to date, said it flew for 1669 hours in 889 missions to deliver 1,075 sorties.

Amadi lauded the support by CAS in areas of welfare and discharge of their assigned task.

According to Amadi, apart from supporting ground troops, the command also engaged in humanitarian services to host communities to win their support and confidence.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Group wants NAFDAC begin investigations into local claims for COVID-19 remedies

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A non-governmental organisation, Movement for Fundamental Change, has called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to begin  investigations into local claims  for the treatment of novel coronavirus.

The Head of Policy Positions of the organisation, Chief Martin Onovo, made the call in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

According to Onovo, COVID-19 has been treated easily by some people across the world, using home remedies.

He said that Madagascar, Ghana and Senegal had all shown remarkable capacity to contain COVID-19 with local remedies.

Onovo said that Nigeria should list such claims if found useful.

“These claims include Pax Herbal’s CVD Plus, the Ooni of Ife’s remedies, Prof. Maurice Iwu’s product and  Ben Amodu’s drug.

“It is for NAFDAC to confirm the safety of the remedies and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to test their effectiveness with volunteer COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Onovo said that successful products from Nigeria would establish another source of foreign exchange ‘in this period of low crude oil prices’.

Onovo urged the government to support Madagascar to obtain African and global acceptance for its COVID-19 remedy in line with the country’s foreign policy focus.

He said that Madagascar had not recorded any COVID-19-related death, adding that the mortality rate in Ghana was only 0.6 per cent because the people were  using local remedies to fight the virus.

Onovo said that COVID-19 was not death sentence and could easily be prevented and cured.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has directed NAFDAC to begin the procedure for listing of a new herbal formulation to fight against novel coronavirus.

The directive  is contained in a circular entitled, “Formulation of A Phyto Medicine-Based Cough Mixture /Syrup For the Management of COVID-19 Patients”.

It was issued by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi.

It said that the formulation was the brainchild of the Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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Defence/Security

NAF wings 2nd female helicopter pilot, 11 others

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday decorated another female helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Chinelo Nwokoye, and 11 other male pilots in Abuja.

The new pilots were trained in Nigeria and United States.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the event was remarkable because NAF now had a second female helicopter pilot.

Abubakar said the young pilots met the criteria for the award of the prestigious NAF flying wings.

“Indeed, this event marks another milestone in the history of the NAF and I must say that I am glad to be part of it.

“The 12 pilots being winged today had their flying training in Nigeria and abroad, and have completed the 9 months comprehensive training programme.

“I am happy that we have among the 12 pilots, the second ever female helicopter pilot.

“As at today May 5, the NAF has successfully winged a total of 114 pilots since July, 2015,” he said.

According to Abubakar, NAF currently has a total of 26 student pilots undergoing or scheduled to begin basic flying training abroad. Out of these 26 Student Pilots are two female officers.

“Upon completion of their training, one would become the second ever fighter pilot in the NAF while the other would graduate as the first ever Qualified Flight Instructor in the 56 years history of the NAF.

Abubakar said that NAF had also increased its capacity for in-country flying training.

He said that currently there were 39 student pilots undergoing various stages of training in NAF flying schools.

Abubakar urged the pilots to remain disciplined and constantly develop a balanced mix of critical thinking, leadership skills and the right attitude.

He told them to oblige to learning and pay attention to details so as to avoid errors as there was no room for errors in the sky.

“I, therefore, urge you to be ready to respond swiftly wherever and whenever you are called upon in the defence of our national sovereignty and interests,” he said.

Speaking to newsmen after the ceremony, Nwokoye said that flying should not be stereotyped as a man’s job, adding that a woman could also do what is seen or termed a man’s job.

Flying Officer Joseph Iwebi, one of the male pilots, said that his motivating factor was to serve his country and contribute to nation building.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

NAFDAC disassociates itself from PAXHERBAL claim on drug for treatment of COVID-19

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has disassociated itself from PAXHERBAL advertorial claim that it has developed a drug for the treatment of COVID-19.

PAXHERBAL is a clinic and a research laboratory, also known as Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratory, a Nigerian alternative medicine product manufacturing company.

It had issued an advertorial to the public titled: “An official statement by Pax herbal on the treatment of COVID-19”.

The advertorial claimed that Pax herbal Clinic has developed a new drug called: PAX CVD PLUS for the treatment of COVID-19, and that the laboratory is working with NAFDAC to speed up approval for the use of the drugs.

The advertorial was also alleged to have claimed that NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has appointed experts to work with Paxherbal on what the laboratory described as a special project.

Meanwhile, in a statement obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Saturday, NAFDAC DG refuted the collaboration, adding that the laboratory was yet to be registered with the agency or listed for the treatment of COVID-19.

“The attention of the Agency has been drawn to an advertorial from Paxherbal clinic and research laboratories, NAFDAC wishes to inform the public that PAX CVD PLUS has not been registered nor listed for treatment of COVID-19.

“To set the records straight, at no time did the DG or anyone in the agency appoint any expert or staff to work with Paxherbal on any project.

“The company wrote a letter to NAFDAC informing the agency about their development of an antiviral plant based drug with potential to treat COVID-19 and an invitation to join their research team.

“The Agency politely declined since as a regulator of clinical trials, participation would be a conflict of interest.

“However, we encouraged them to carry out clinical trials which should be under strict supervision of the agency to establish efficacy of their product.

“However, the clinical trial has not taken place,” NAFDAC said.

According to the agency, it was unfortunate that PAXHERBAL have made claims that were not backed up by facts and this response was intended to correct the erroneous impression created by the advertorial.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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General news

No approved drug, vaccine for COVID-19 yet — NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has not approved any drug or vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19.

The Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said in a statement on Saturday that NAFDAC had not granted approval for any vaccine for the treatment and cure of COVID-19.

“To put the record straight, no drugs or vaccines have been given approval in the country for cure of COVID-19.

“While the medical researchers globally, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Health Organisation (WHO), are working tirelessly on the discovery of vaccines and drugs to cure COVID-19, the agency urges the public to desist from making unsubstantial claims.

NAFDAC is the only authority in the country to grant approval to such drugs and vaccines,” Adeyeye said.

She said that NAFDAC would continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to safeguard the health of Nigerians and that in the event of any approved drug or vaccine for the cure of COVID-19, the agency would not hesitate to inform the public.

Adeyeye, however, advised Nigerians to comply strictly with measures issued by NCDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19, adding that these include the use of face covering masks, social distancing, washing of hands and use of alcohol based sanitisers.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Health

Disregard social media claims on Golden Penny Semolina -NAFDAC

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged the general public to disregard the trending social media claims on Golden Penny semolina.

The Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made the call in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Adeyeye, NAFDAC attention has been drawn to a social media video showing a woman washing Golden Penny Semovita in a sieve using cold water.

She said that the claim of the woman that she got a plastic residue after sieving the content was a ‘total false’.

NAFDAC said that upon receiving the alert from various quarters in the community, the agency swift into action by conducting an emergency post-marketing analysis using different brand of semovita.

“The agency has investigated this claim by conducting appropriate analytical testing in her internationally accredited laboratories.

“The result showed that there was no plastic or any similar harmful contaminants in Golden Penny Semovita.

“It contained the expected components plus the required vitamin A. NAFDAC, therefore, wishes to inform the general public that the claim in the social media video is false and misleading.

“The alleged golden penny semovita is a brand of semolina, a very popular flour made from wheat and consumed in several parts of the world. Semolina contains mainly water, carbohydrates, protein and gluten.

“Gluten is made up of two classes of proteins -glutenin and gliadin, which upon addition of water combine to form gluten, a protein that gives nutritive value,” Adeyeye said.

The DG however, reassured the public that Golden Penny semovita and indeed all other semolina products registered by the agency are safe for human consumption following science-driven regulatory diligence.

She said that there was no cause for apprehension by consumers as such approved products are manufactured in line with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

Adeyeye said it was also in compliance with the Nigerian industrial Standards, which was continuously monitored by NAFDAC.

“ Members of the public are implored to exercise discretion in the use of social media to address any suspicion they may have on regulated products.

“The social media has the tendency to cause fear and panic; if suspicion is made on any product, NAFDAC should be contacted via its nearest offices nationwide,” she said.

The DG said that the public could also contact NAFDAC via its online channels at [email protected] Or Call: 0800-1-NAFDAC (0800-1-623322) for immediate response.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: NAFDAC guides companies on donation/sale of breast milk substitutes

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised companies involved in donation or marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) to keep to the World Health Organisation (WHO) code.

Prof. Moji Adeyeye, Director General (DG) of NAFDAC, gave the advice in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Adeyeye said that such substitutes for infants should not be provided through health workers.

She said that breastmilk products were not expected to display company brand as the intervention was not meant for brand promotion.

“In keeping with the WHO International Code of Marketing of BMS, NAFDAC wishes to provide the following clarifications regarding donations of BMS in the context of lockdown and financial barriers occasioned by the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Companies that market foods for infants and young children should not provide free products, samples or reduced-price foods for infants (below 6 months old) to families through health workers or health facilities.

“They can only provide such products as supplies distributed through government or officially sanctioned health programmes.

“Also, the WHO International Code of Marketing of BMS requires that products distributed in such programmes should not display company brands.

`In this specific instance, the unbranded packaging is to focus on the need to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where necessary, in terms of infant and young child feeding.

“This will discourage the use of the pandemic as a platform for brand promotion.”

She advised infant food manufacturers/distributors and NGOs wishing to make foods for infants and young children available for distribution to adhere to the clarification provided above and approach NAFDAC for the necessary guidance.

“The importance of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and the continued protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be over-emphasised.

“Breast milk is the best food for the newborn child as it protects them from sicknesses.

“Breastfeeding is especially effective against infectious diseases as it boosts the child’s immunity by directly transferring antibodies from the mother to the child.”

She urged the general public to consult authorities for information on the proper feeding methods for infants in the midst of the Corona Virus pandemic.

She said: “For specific advice on breastfeeding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic please visit the following websites:

“WHO for the guidance titled ‘Breastfeeding advice during the COVID-19 outbreak available at :http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/breastfeeding-advice-during-covid-19-outbreak.html

“UNICEF for the guidance titled Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic’ available at: https://www.unicef.org/eap/breastfeeding-during-covid-19

The DG reassured the general public that NAFDAC would continue to safeguard public health, including neonates and older infants, within the purview of its mandate, as Nigeria continues to confront the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

NAF inaugurates Single Officer’s Quarters for personnel in Zamfara

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The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Wednesday inaugurated Two Block of 10×1 Single Officer’s Quarters for Nigerian Air Force Personnel at 207 Quick Response Group at Nigeria NAF Base Headquarters, Gusau.

News Agency of Nigeria report the Air Chief was represented by the Air Officer Commanding, Special Operations Command, Air Vice Marshal, Charles Ohwo.

Abubakar said providing training facilities with decent living accommodation for our personnel remains one of the priorities of NAF Headquaters under his leadership.

“These development efforts are in recognition of the fact that right training incentives and motivation impacts positively on troop morale.

“With this appropriate infrastructure the airmen are better equipped to perform their duties effectively and efficiently,” he said.

He said the 2×1 of single Officer’s Quarters building being inaugurated was aimed at boosting troops’ performance and provision of decent living condition to enable good rest for enhanced work productivity.

“I appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and ensuring that the NAF was provided with the necessary required resources to fulfill our statutory responsibilities,”  he added.

He commended Zamfara Govenment, traditional rulers and entire people of the state for their hospitality and cordial relationship with the Nigerian Air Force.

“l wish to state that no doubt NAF enjoys the peace and hospitality for which Zamfara is know for,” Abubakar said.

In his remark, Gov. Bello Matawalle commended the efforts of Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies for working hard to maintain peace and stability in the state.

Matawalle represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Mahadi Aliyu said going by the minimum time frame within which the Air Force Base had come to stay in Zamfara.

“It clearly reflects the quality of leadership as demonstrated by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar in developing the 207 Quick Response Group, Gusau.

“Your presence as a security outfit in our state contributed greatly in complementing our efforts to curtail banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other major and monitoring security challenges bedeveiling the well being of our society.

“Let me at this point, on behalf of the state Executive Governor and entire people of the state, appreciate the recent operation at Gidan Jaja in Zurmi Local Government area by Officers and Men of the Nigerian Air Force that effectively neutralised hundreds of bandits and their camps,” Matawalle said.

The governor assured of continued support and cooperation to the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies.

Earlier, the Commander 207 Quick Response Group, Gusau, Air Commandore Jeff Ekwuribe, said that Group is one of the units that make up the Special Operations Command.

Ekwuribe said the unit was established primarily to complement the efforts of other security agencies operating in the state to curb the menace of insurgency within and around the state.

“We are today witnessing the commissioning of another 2 block of Single Officer’s Quarters for the proper accommodation of our personnel.

“It is worthy to mention that other structures are under construction, in not too distance time we will gather here again to commission other projects.

“We express our gratitude to Chief of Air Staff, we are indeed most grateful to this unique honour done to us,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Defence/Security

 [email protected]: NAFOWA reaches out to aged, less privileged in Lagos community

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The Nigerian Air Force Officers Wives Association (NAFOWA), Logistics Command, Ikeja on Monday reached out to the aged, women and  the less privileged in Mushin/Idi-Araba community of  Lagos State.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the association distributed 10kg bag each  of rice, 5kg bag each of beans, 5kg bag each of semolina, a carton each of noodles, vegetable oil, tomato puree, salt and maggi  as palliatives to 200 families from the community.

 

The association said that it was  giving out the palliatives to mark  56 years of establishing the Nigerian Air Force.

 

NAN reports that NAF was established on April 18,1964.

 

Mrs Abies Oghomwen, who represented Mrs Nanfe Alao, the Chairperson, NAFOWA, Logistics Command, Ikeja said that the association picked Mushin/Idi-Araba community  because of the large number of vulnerable people living  there.

 

She said, “As part of the landmark celebration; which, unfortunately, coincided with the present  efforts at combating Coronavirus, aka COVID -19 pandemic, our National President, Hajia Hafsat Sadique Abubakar, decided to reach  out to some host communities to alleviate the sufferings they may be facing during this lockdown.”

 

Oghomwen said the distribution of the gifts at the Idi-Araba High School  was in line  with the association’s motto of: Service to Humanity.

 

She also urged the community to abide by the Federal Government’s order of social distancing and washing of hands with soap and running water  as well as rubbing their hands with alcohol-based sanitisers during the period.

 

“We have faith that this pandemic will soon end, and as such let’s believe that  in the good days ahead  that we will hug and shake hands with friends again.

 

“Until then, we appeal to you all to adhere to the Federal Government’s order of social distancing, constant washing of hands and to stay at home to avoid contracting the virus.

 

“And if we must go out, we must wear face masks and gloves,” she said.

 

Also, Mrs Adenike Keenan, the Secretary, NAFOWA, Logistics Command, said that the leadership under Hajia Hafsat Sadique Abubakar believed in giving out something that could sustain a family for up to two or three weeks.

 

“The association is happy to make these categories of people smile and nothing beats such joy, ” she said.

 

Alhaji Idris Haruna, the Seriki Hausawa of Idi-Araba/Mushin Local Government Area, thanked NAFOWA for reaching out to his community, especially, during this pandemic period.

 

“We thank NAFOWA very much for this gesture. What you brought to our community will go a long way in reducing hunger during this period,” he said.

 

Edited By: Joe Idika/Peter Dada (NAN)

 

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Defence/Security

COVID-19 : NAF postpones entrance examination into schools

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The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has postponed the entrance examination into Air Force Comprehensive Secondary Schools and Air Force Secondary Schools until further notice.

Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

Daramola said the examination which was earlier scheduled for May 2, has been postponed in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The spokesman said a new date would be announced in due course.

” This is to inform parents/guardians of candidates that applied for admission into the Air Force Comprehensive Secondary Schools and Air Force Secondary Schools that the entrance examination, which was earlier scheduled for May 2, has been postponed until further notice.

” This is in compliance with precautions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. A new date will be announced in due course,” Daramola said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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