Dr Walter Kazadi, new World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, says Nigeria’s political commitment to COVID-19 response is commendable and that the country is among countries making the difference in Africa.
Kazadi said this in a statement issued from WHO Nigeria Office in Abuja on Friday.
According to the statement, Kazadi made the remarks when the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, received the new country representative to Nigeria at a brief ceremony.
Kazadi was in Onyeama’s office to present his letter of credence to him, signaling his formal assumption of duties in Nigeria.
He appreciated the warm reception in Nigeria, noting that the country’s commitment to the COVID-19 response was laudable
He assured the minister that he would work with other UN agencies and partners to support government in surmounting coordination challenges, especially in the humanitarian sector.
Kazadi is a longstanding and well respected WHO international expert, a public health epidemiologist, leader and manager with over 30 years of progressive experience.
“Kazadi brings to Nigeria, extensive experience in the management of primary health care, an important attribute.
“An important attribute and an asset in the Nigerian context with primary health care.
“With primary health care as the bedrock of the National Health Policy and National Strategic Health Development Plan II in support of Universal Health Coverage and health related Sustainable Development Goals,’’ the statement stated.
Also speaking, Onyeama said Nigeria was behind WHO in the critical moment of a global fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister urged the country representative to remain focused in addressing not just the pandemic but other health challenges.
Onyeama, however, acknowledged the enormous contribution of WHO over the years towards attaining the highest levels of health for Nigerians.
He specifically appreciated the role of WHO in the response to COVID-19, saying that the Presidential Task Force as well as other coordination mechanisms benefitted from WHO’s technical expertise.
“I have no doubt that you will make a positive impact on the health of all Nigerians,” he said.
The minister mentioned coordination among partners, especially in the humanitarian crisis as a challenge.
WHO and Nigeria signed the first bilateral agreement in 1962 and since then, WHO continued with a technical advisory role.
Of late, the cooperation is more structured and is based on a jointly prepared document – the Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS).
The strategy is well aligned to the national priorities and allows WHO to support the government’s efforts to improve the health status of all Nigerians.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
Army says ‘soldiers’ involved in bullion van robbery not its personnel
The Nigerian Army says that purported soldiers allegedly arrested for bullion van robbery in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State are not its personnel.
Col. Aliyu Yusuf, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations in 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Enugu.
Yusuf, who in the statement titled: “Re: Police Nab Soldiers, Others For Bullion Van Robbery’’, noted that the two alleged soldiers are not serving in any of Nigerian Army’s units, commands, formations or divisions.
“The attention of Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to on-line publication on the unfortunate Bullion Van Robbery incident at Abakaliki, Ebonyi State on July 29 which led to the arrest of two suspected dismissed soldiers and other gangsters involved in the act.
“It is necessary to inform the public that the so-called soldiers in the report are not personnel of the Nigerian Army since 2015 and 2018; when both Corporal Ayeni Samuel and Corporal Emeka Harrison were dismissed.
“Available record shows that Dismissed 03NA/53/088 Corporal Ayeni Samuel was dismissed in 2018 for desertion and pipeline vandalism at 174 Battalion.
“The dismissed soldier was attached to 174 Battalion from Command Day Secondary School, Ikeja for United Nations mission in the year 2013. Dismissed Corporal Ayeni deserted the Unit and was later arrested for pipeline vandalism at Ikorodu in Lagos State in 2018.
“In line with Nigerian Army extant rules and regulations, Ayeni was officially tried and awarded dismissed regiment as a Corporal and not Sergeant; as claimed in the online story.
“Also, dismissed Corporal Emeka Harrison was tried and dismissed regiment from 7 Division Garrison, Maiduguri since 2015,‘’ Yusuf said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Australia records deadliest day of pandemic as Melbourne cases surge
Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria has experienced another record-breaking daily increase in COVID-19 cases and related deaths, making it the country’s deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state recorded 725 new virus cases and 15 COVID-19-related deaths, including a man, aged 30 years, Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said on Wednesday.
Both figures mark the worst day of the pandemic for the state, as well as nationally, since the pandemic started.
The death toll from the virus in Victoria is now 162, while it is 247 nationally.
Most of the new cases and deaths overnight were in Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne.
For more than a month, Victoria has consistently recorded triple-digit daily case numbers amid a second wave that broke out in Melbourne in late June.
The state’s previous record was 723 new cases on July 30.
Earlier this week, Andrews declared a state of disaster and imposed tough new restrictions on Melbourne, including a night-time curfew and closing down businesses, retail shops and manufacturing.
Andrews said, on Wednesday, that essential workers will be required to show they have a permit to leave their homes if asked by the Police from Thursday onwards.
While healthcare workers and police officers can use their official identification, all others have to apply for the permit online.
Restrictions, which are in place until Sept. 13, also prohibit residents from travelling more than five kilometres from their home to go grocery shopping or exercise.
All recreational activities and weddings have been banned and face masks are mandatory.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Dollar slips as yields dive on recovery worries
The dollar fell in Asia on Wednesday, hitting a five-month low on the yuan.
A hardening perception that the United States recovery is lagging Europe has buttressed the euro, which has repelled a rebound in the dollar and rose back above $1.18 on Wednesday.
At the same time speculation that stalemate over fiscal policy in Washington could leave the Federal Reserve with more to do, has hastened a steady decline in United States yields – undermining the dollar more broadly.
Sterling, the Australian dollar and the kiwi all climbed back toward pre-pandemic highs, while the yen rose and gold soared as real yields plumbed record lows.
“United States economic outperformance, relative to the eurozone and Japan, is no longer guaranteed given the damage from the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ said Tai Hui, J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s chief strategist in Asia.
“Dollar interest rates are also converging to other developed economies’ interest rates, which means that the dollar is less appealing,’’ Hui said.
He added it is difficult to see the Fed easing policy ahead of its global peers.
The Australian dollar led gains among the majors with a 0.4 per cent rise to $0.7189.
Ten-year Australian government debt now yields about 31 basis points more than 10-year United States government debt, up from 16 basis points two months ago.
The New Zealand dollar rose 0.3 per cent to $0.6646, catching some support from a surprise dip in the jobless rate.
The yen rose 0.1 per cent to 105.60 per dollar and sterling edged higher to $1.3091.
Even the Chinese yuan, which had struggled to capitalise on the dollar’s weakness amid simmering Sino-United States tensions, forged higher to a five-month top of 6.9570 per dollar in onshore trade.
Other Asian currencies also made gains, notably the Malaysian ringgit, which was stronger than 4.2 per dollar for the first in five months.
The dollar has been sliding since March, but its prime antagonist in recent weeks has been the euro, which in July posted its best month in almost 10 years.
That has the common currency more or less back where it began life in 1999 and has many investors convinced it can keep climbing as a Europe-wide fiscal relief package anchors recovery and allays perennial worries about the bloc’s stability.
“Right now, looming long-term negative United States issues – like the dollar’s reserve status as the United States and China decouple – are at the forefront of FX concerns and not the euro’s structural problems,’ said Deutsche Bank strategist, Alan Ruskin.
“The door to $1.20+ remains wide open,’’ he said.
For now, eyes are on Washington where White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of this week.
Investors expect steady services growth in Europe and a slowdown in the United States in hiring, with surprises on any front likely to illuminate the apparent divergence between Europe and the United States
Analysts at ING have also noted that equity investors have yet to really buy into the European recovery story – and say a pile-in could provide even more support to the currency.
“Buy-side surveys suggest that investors are still heavily overweight United States equities, especially tech stocks, and are minded to rotate into the Eurozone and see the euro as cheap,’’ said ING’s global head of markets, Chris Turner.
“If that rotation comes to pass … then euro/dollar may be a $1.25 story after all.’’
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Mobile Police Training School, not personal asset of I-G – Police
The Police say the Mobile Police Training School in Nasarawa State was a national security legacy project and not a personal asset of the Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mba said establishing the school in Endehu, Nasarawa State, was informed by overriding national security consideration on the need to strengthen the operational capacity of the special forces of the Nigeria Police Force.
He said that the IGP had not used his office to threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the project.
”It is on record that the parcel of land where the institution was sited was donated to the Police with the full complement of the Certificate of Occupancy by the Governor of Nasarawa State.
“The acquisition of the land was, therefore, without any financial commitment by the Police.
”The construction of the facility was achieved with the support of the Nasarawa State Government and well-meaning corporate bodies within the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
”All the support so extended were not in cash but in form of donation of materials,” he said.
Mba said that the only involvement of some Squadron Commanders was to ensure the delivery of some of the construction materials so donated by the corporate bodies.
He said the construction of the project through corporate intervention was a demonstration of the commitment of the Force leadership to meet its obligations to citizens.
According to him, this is not the first time corporate organisations and governments at all levels are assisting the police to bridge operational and infrastructural gaps.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)