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Nigerian, 60 per cent more likely to contact Hepatitis B – Fellow

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Nigerian, 60 per cent more likely to contact Hepatitis B – Fellow

Photo caption:

Miss Jemimah Jatau, Addressing Students of Kaduna Polytechnic, during Sensitisation campaign against Hepatitis B Virus, organised by Kashim Ibrahim Fellows.

Sensitisation

Kaduna, June 10, 2019 Dr Tasiu Ibrahim, a medical doctor and a fellow of the Kashim Ibrahim Fellows (KIF), says an average Nigerian is 60 per cent more likely to contact Hepatitis B Virus.

Ibrahim stated this in Kaduna on Monday at the roll-out of a five-day sensitisation campaign against Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), as part of the fellowship Community Service Week (CSW).

Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i had in August 2018 inaugurated the KIF, a one-year programme for 16 fellows from all over Nigeria to develop and nurture their leadership abilities and public service.

Ibrahim said at the inauguration of the five-day long campaign at Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna State, that Nigeria was among countries with the highest prevalence of HBV.

He said that with a national prevalence of about 15 per cent, the virus has infected about 27 million Nigerians.

According to him, less than five per cent of the 27 million infected Nigerians know they were infected.

“Chronic HBV disease also affects 350 to 400 million people globally, with at least one million persons dying from the disease every year.”

He said that the sensitisation would be conducted in partnership with various government and nongovernmental organisations.

He outlined the line of activities to include outreach campus camp, rally at Sheik Abubakar Gumi Central Market, outreach to people living with disability, training for hairdressers and barbers, and public lecture.

“The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness on HBV, provide free voluntary screening and counselling and engage stakeholders to advocate for policy change regarding the virus.

“Hepatitis B infection, caused by the HBV is commonly transmitted via body fluids such as blood, semen and vaginal secretions.

“Sexual activity, accidental needle prick or sharing of needles, blood transfusions and organ transplantation are other routes for HBV infection,” he said.

He explained that infected mothers can also pass the infection to their new-born at the point of delivery.

The fellow equally attributed the high rate of HBV infection to unwholesome or unhygienic socio-cultural practices in the country.

“Many Nigerians go to hairdressing and barbing salons without their manicure, pedicure or barbing kits and share objects with people they do not know.

“Some people still give tribal marks and perform circumcision on children with unsterilised instrument.

“These among others are significant means of spreading the infection besides sexual route,” he added.

Also speaking, Ms Jemimah Jatau, in charge of Media and Communication, said that the CSW, tagged “KIF Against Hep-B”, was orgainsed to educate, screen, sensitise and counsel residents about the Hepatitis B Virus infection and the need to know their status.

“With this frightening phenomenon, the ‘KIF against Hep-B’ CSW programme is a timely intervention to join the global fight towards combating the rising incidence of new infections in Nigeria and Kaduna state in particular.

“We want to interact and communicate with the general public, particularly hairdressers and barbers on the dangers of Hepatitis B Virus, its infection and method of prevention.

“We will also educate hairdressers and barbers on international best practices to prevent the spread of the virus, discuss with people with disability,” Jatau added.

Some of the students commended the KIF for bringing the free counselling and testing to their doorstep.

One of them, Mr Mu’azu Mu’azu said he does not know much about Hepatitis B, adding that the campaign has provided him the opportunity to learn about the virus and know his status.

Another student, Ms Blessing Joseph, who equally do not know her status lauded the initiative and described it as ‘life-saving’.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the campaign began with Outreach Campus Camp for students of Kaduna Polytechnic after a rally round the school to sensitise students about the free services.

After the rally, the students were counselled on reproductive health issues, free HIV, Hepatitis B and C test.

The KIF also solicited for voluntary blood donation which was handled by National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS).

Economy

FBNQuest educates Nigerians on estate planning, wealth transfer

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FBNQuest Trustees, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, says it is offering expert guidance on estate planning as an important requirement for successful wealth transfer.

Mr Adekunle Awojobi, FBNQuest Managing Director, said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.

Awojobi said FBNQuest through the Legacy Series campaign themed ‘Building a Legacy’ would help individuals understand how to plan for the protection and seamless transfer of their assets during their lifetime and after.

He said that the legacy series, now in its seventh season, was delivered in line with its commitment to educate individuals and improve the understanding of the concepts of estate planning.

Awojobi said individuals would be empowered to identify opportunities, protect their investments, and efficiently transfer their assets to their beneficiaries.

“There is a decent appreciation for the importance of investing to secure one’s financial future.

“However, the average individual has paid little attention to the structures that are needed for efficient management of their assents and the seamless transfer of their wealth.

Through the Legacy Series, we continue to drive this message, as Estate Planning must be an integral part of everyone’s plan – even if it’s one’s first property or major asset”, he said.

Awojobi added that FBNQuest Trustees also offers unique expertise in Islamic Estate Planning services.

“We realise that Islamic Estate Planning is a dynamic and often challenging subject.

“The fractional approach to distributing assets might be intimidating.

“That’s why we have built expertise to enable us support our clients by creating Al-Wasiyya, Waqfs and other acceptable forms of charitable giving in line with the tenets of worship” he stated.

According to him, the company has organised several webinar series to educate the public on the principles of Islamic Estate Planning.

He said the webinar series addressed areas such as importance, structure and operations of Islamic Estate Planning and Administration, Wills, the concept of Waqf (an endowment made by a Muslim to a religious, educational, or charitable cause), among others.


Edited By: Angela Okisor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

Report any rape case in your vicinity, NAPTIP DG urges Nigerians

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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has urged Nigerians to report cases of  Rape within their vicinity to the agency or the nearest police station.

Mrs Julie Okah-Donli,  Director General of the Agency, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, following the rising cases of rape in the country.

The DG said both old and present cases should be reported to the Agency.

According to the her, reporting the case of rape is the only way the trend can be stopped in the society; the agency will not compromise its work for anything if such case is reported to it.

“Rapists are now getting away with their illicit acts along with murder; these cases of domestic servitude are cases that take place behind  closed doors.

Our job in NAPTIP is to protect Nigerian men and women, we are not going to compromise our work if they report such case, we will ensure justice is done.

“Rape cases are not reported because of stigmatisation of the victims and this makes the cases to rise. Very soon, the name of rapists will be published with their pictures in the media,” she said.

She said that sex offender register had already been opened in the agency where the names of rape perpetrators were documented for further actions.

Okah-Donli however, appealed to the media to assist in creating more awareness about this trend to put the perpetrators on alert.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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Agriculture

Embrace agriculture to ease effect of COVID-19- Expert tells Nigerians

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Chief Godson Ezenagu, an agriculture expert in Anambra, has called on Nigerians to engage in agricultural practices as a measure to cushion the effect of looming food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Ezenagu, a two-time commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra, made the call in an  interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

The expert said that the aftermath of the global pandemic of Coronavirus and the economic lockdown that followed it, would be acute food shortage.

He said that every family should own a farm no matter how small and called on state governments to roll out incentive to encourage the people.

Eze Agu, who is also a politician, said the long period of stay at home should be time for civil servants, businessmen and artisans to engage in food production.

He said that engaging in food production, did not require people to travel far distance to get to their farms hence the need to embrace it.

According to him, the lockdown period is not the time to stay at home and be idle.

“People should engage the empty land nearest to them, those who don’t have land should rent.

“There is going to be serious food crisis and the best way to forestall it is to go into massive food production.

“Government should encourage people by providing soft loans, affordable and improved inputs, equipment as well as prizes for any individual who cultivated the largest expanse of land.

“They should also provide security for the farms from herdsmen by mobilising community vigillannce team to ensure that these farms are not destroyed, we can’t stop farming because of cattle menace,” he said.

Ezenagu, who supported the partial easing of the lockdown, agreed with the argument that interstate borders should still be restricted to reduce spread of COVID-19 but decried the non effectiveness of the closures.

He said the figured from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was still worrisome that total ease of lockdown for full economic activities may cause a national health boomerang.

According to him, the borders should be closed for as long as it is safe to open but unfortunately people are still finding their ways across the states because of the porous policing of the borders.

“It is true that the economy is biting but there should be a balance between saving the economy and protecting public health,” he said.


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Education

Experts urge Nigerians to embrace natural foods, proper hydration

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A Professor of Biochemistry at Lagos State University (LASU) has urged Nigerians to embrace natural foods and proper hydration to boost their immune system to fight against COVID-19.

Prof. Babajide Elemo made the call at the sixth LASU Virtual Public Lecture, entitled; “COVID-19: Effective Use of Science in Overcoming the Pandemic,” on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said that regular consumption of natural foods and balanced nutrition were part of the keys to stay free from contracting COVID-19 and any other diseases.

World Health Organization recently published a nutrition advice that people should eat fresh and unprocessed food, drink enough water, eat moderate amount of fat and oil, amongst others.

“Balanced diet and hydration are vital during COVID-19 pandemic, while nutrition status plays an important role in the functioning of the immune system,” Elemo said.

Dr Josephine Sharaibi, Lecturer, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, LASU, said that absence of cure for COVID-19 necessitated that everyone consumed the right foods and herbs as a means of boosting the immune system against the virus.

Sharaibi said that plants were critical to both the prevention and eventual cure of the disease and advised participants on the responsible use of herbs and herbal medicines in their search for solution to the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that there were many local herbs which included ginger, garlic, tumeric and cinnamon that could be taken as immune boosters.

“There are also anti-malaria herbs such as moringa lucida (Brimstone tree), alstonia boonei (God’s tree), enantha clorantha (African whitewood) and the popular Dogonyaro tree, all of which can be used to treat symptoms of the virus.

“We should also regularly detoxify our system by taking herb drinks and natural fruit smoothies but avoid processed foods and as much as possible, stay natural,” Sharaibi advised.

Also speaking, Prof. Sunday Omilabu, Director, Centre of Excellence on Human and Zoonotic Virology, Lagos State Biobank, warned against unapproved testing process of COVID-19.

Omilabu said that till date, no serological testing platform had been licensed for COVID-19, and even when available, was not meant to replace the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of the virus.

Prof. Richard Adegbola, Research Professor and Consultant, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, recommended three pronged approaches to prepare for future pandemics.

Adegbola said that the three approaches were consistent surveillance for data aggregation and trend monitoring; modelling for prediction and forecasting; and translation and research that turned basic research into health-improving products.

He said there was need for multidisciplinary approach to problem solving because research alone would not be enough to solve all science-related problems.

“Technology and other fields, have major roles to play in keeping our world together,” Adegbola said.


Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Oil & Gas

Nigerian Content Board intervenes in NLNG, Macobarb N970m rift

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), has waded into the N970 million dispute between the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), and a Nigerian company, Macobarb International.
News Agency of Nigeria
gathered that the N970 million contractual dispute is being mediated by the NCDMB as reconciliatory meetings were held at NCDMB’s headquarters in Yenagoa.
Macobarb
wants to be paid about N970m by the NLNG for what it termed wrongful termination of a contract and value for downtime and equipment on site over a period of time.
Several organisations have made unsuccessful efforts to mediate in the dispute including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, and Office of Attorney-General of the Federation amongst others.
NAN sources at NCDMB said the board got the complaint in October 2019 and invited both parties and the first sitting was held about Dec. 10, 2019 at the Yenagoa head office of the board.
A senior official of the board, Mr Alexis Emele, chaired the reconciliation meeting.
The source who participated in the talks said Macobarb asked for what it called ‘Standing Time Amount’ when the NLNG kept the company’s equipment and key personnel doing nothing on offshore contract for 559 days.
The Nigerian company said it calculated the claim with contract standing time rates to get N958 million, plus outstanding balance on turnstile and vehicle barrier Macobarb supplied the NLNG as part of the contract, all totaling N970m.
Macobarb
had complained to numerous organisations that it had been rated as a top performer in contracts with the NLNG until it was upgraded and awarded a Turnstile and Security contract in 2014.
The company said the contract’s biggest term was that there would be no mobilisation fee paid to Macobarb, but that every milestone achieved and approved would be paid for, failing which the defaulter would pay penalty.
The CEO of Macobarb, Mr Shedrack Ogboru, said that when it was time to pay the first batch, after all due technical approvals, one man in NLNG stopped payment without offering any reason.
He said the unwarranted development affected the job so badly that performance was impossible.
He said that he had taken loans from a bank to execute the early stages of the contract, only for payment to be stalled.
He expressed regret that the NLNG only turned round to terminate the contract, leading to protracted dispute.
The NLNG Management, led by Mr Tony Attah, had in a reaction said that the contract was terminated due to non-performance.
At the NCDMB brokered talks, the NLNG was said to have insisted that it terminated the contract on grounds of non-performance and paid the contractor the value of work done.
Macobarb was said to have rejected it, saying the terms of the contract were grossly violated by pushing the company into non-performance through non-payment of milestones achieved.
It was gathered that both sides tabled their positions and that the NCDMB asked them to report back on a date early in January 2020.
The NLNG was said to have disputed figures tabled by Macobarb but the mediators asked Macobarb to furnish the Board with the information itemising all outstanding claims being allegedly owed by NLNG on the contract.
The Board was said to have also asked the NLNG to revert with information concerning the status of payments on demobilisation for the contract and the 20ft container kept in their place by the contractor as part of the contract terms.
Macobarb expressed optimism that the matter would be resolved by the NCDMB instead of resorting to court so that other Nigerian companies affected in the contract could heave a sigh of relief.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists lose more high ranking commanders, equipment to Nigerian troops

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The Boko Haram/Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists have lost more high ranking commanders to Nigerian troops following a failed attack on troops’ location at Banki Junction and Firgi in Borno, recently.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.

Enenche said that troops of Operation Lafya Dole (OPLD) on May 26, killed high ranking commanders of the Abubakar Shekau’s faction of the Boko Haram terrorist’ group during a counter attack against the terrorists.

He explained that the Boko Haram/ISWAP commanders that were killed include Manzar Halid, Amir Abu Fatima and Nicap among others with 72 fighters of the sect also neutralised in the attack.

According to him, others wounded with narrow chances of survival include some high profile commanders and fighters are, namelyamratu AL-Naweer, Kaka Bana and Tareta Babakari.

“Equally, a large number of their equipment including gun trucks, motorcycles and bicycles were destroyed by troops in collaboration with the Air Task Force during fighters’ withdrawal which was in disarray.

“Furthermore, credible information indicates  that the camp is in chaos and presently unable to conduct any offensive due to heavy losses.

“Additionally, the blockade of their spy routes, networks, crossing points and logistics supplies had further crippled the terrorists and limited their freedom of movement and action to the advantage of own troops.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, congratulates the gallant troops for their resilience, courage and dedication to ending the North-East security challenge.

The High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby encourages all troops of OPLD to sustain the onslaught against the terrorists,” he said.


Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Education

Stakeholders advocate research management in Nigerian varsities for national development 

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Stakeholders in the education sector have stressed the importance of research management development in Nigerian universities as a tool for promoting national development.

According to the stakeholders, it will also ensure realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prof. Ayodele Jegede, the Director, University of Ibadan Research Management Office (UI RMO) disclosed this in a statement in Ibadan on Wednesday.

Jegede in his reflection on the 10th anniversary of RMO as well as well as its achievements, said the help of collaborators was also worthy of note.

Also speaking, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), eulogised the pivotal role of RMO in the development of the institution and how it had opened a new chapter for the institution.

UI will professionalise research management in order to open up job opportunities in research administration.

“The university will digitise the research management system in order to ensure that the institution remains the choice brand for cutting-edge multinational institutional research collaborations.

“Considering the role of research in national development, government should channel resources to research management.

“As a properly organised research management system is a necessary condition for a nation to maximise the opportunities in the fourth industrial revolution and knowledge based economy.”

Also, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, a former Vice Chancellor of the university, noted that multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary researches were veritable tools to address national development initiatives.

He, however, stressed the importance of the triple helix which involves government-academia-industry partnership as a powerful tool for achieving socio-economic development of nations.

“With the government facilitating the flow of research-driven knowledge and innovation from universities to the industrial space, the power of the triple helix toward the building of industrial competitiveness with the centrality of academia -universities and polytechnics – is illustrated by the case of Tshumisano Trust Agency of South Africa.

“This is being done through its funding of research-driven innovation for transfer to the target industrial sectors to improve competitiveness.

“Under the programme, universities and technicians in polytechnics are challenged by the government with industrial problems with research-driven solutions deployed to the relevant Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“In a continual process of increasing the industrial competitiveness of these actors, significant results are being achieved under the scheme,” he said.

Bamiro said that there were a great number of researches from Nigerian universities that litter the system proudly displayed in research fairs with no takers to commercialise them.

He added that maximising the triple helix was the way forward and toward relevance of universities and problem solving.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: Expert urges Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems

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A medical expert, Dr Chijioke Asogwa, has advised Nigerians to adopt cashless payment systems to keep and stay safe this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

Asogwa, who is the Board Chairman of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), gave the advice while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu on Wednesday.

He noted that the advocacy on use of cashless payment systems, which was in conformity to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) cashless policy, had become necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 in communities in the country.

According to him, since the cash or paper money has surface, the same surface can also act as medium of spread.

Asogwa, a public health physician, said anyone that handle cash infected with the virus through human sneezing, coughing or mouth liquid droplets can get infected unknowingly through this process.

“As we are in the community transmission of the virus, one must be very careful to always monitor the surfaces he or she touches including touching surfaces of money.

“I advocate that all Nigerians should adopt the CBN cashless policy.

“This is a situation where one does all his or her monetary transactions electronically, by monetary/payment online transfers, ATM transfers and POS among others without touching physical cash.

“As we are in the community transmission stage of the virus, it is difficult for you to know or trace where the cash or physical money you want to collect is coming from.

“As far as the physical cash has a surface it can be infected with the virus even through asymptomatic patients of COVID-19.

Asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 are healthy carriers of the virus that show no sign of having the virus and they go about their daily business mingling with people and touching cash as well,’’ he said.

The health expert urged Nigerians to be circumspect in all they do and follow strictly NCDC and health ministry directives.

“As a matter of necessity, you must take personal responsibility for your health and that of your family members this season,’’ he added.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Nigerians mourn African music artist Majek Fashek

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Nigerians on Tuesday mourned legendary singer Majek Fashek who died in New York at the age of 57 — marking the end of an illustrious career over a span of three decades.

The guitarist and song composer, whose real name was Majekodunmi Fasheke, died in his sleep, said his manager Omenka Uzoma.

“He’s done a lot for Nigeria and Africa. This is a time for us all to celebrate his achievements, and not mourn,” said Uzoma.

Millions of his fans have paid tribute to the music talent on social media. “Legends don’t die. They live in our hearts forever,” said Oluwatosin Nwodo, a reggae enthusiast who described herself as one of Fashek’s hardcore fans.

Majek Fashek was a quintessential legend whose works will live forever … For he was a soldier and tool for change that reggae musicians are, symbolically,” Nwodo further wrote in a short tribute on Facebook.

Fashek shot to stardom in the 1980s. His musical style resembled Bob Marley, one of the pioneers of reggae music, who had a great influence on Fashek.

Through his inspirational reggae music, “Majek Fashek was a rare gift to mankind,” said Felix Duke, president of Nigeria’s Creative Industry Group.

“His music was always positive, his lyrics unique; a rare breed. Majek Fashek inspired his generation and a lot of us, even the new generation, through his music,” said Duke.

Local media reported that the cause of his death is not clear for now, but he had been ill for some time.

In December 2005, while preparing for a music tour, Fashek said his own death would only occur after his music reached every part of the world.

“I’m not gonna die until my music reaches the ends of the earth,” the African singer told his close associate and former record label owner Charles Novia in a private chat released on Tuesday.

In 2015, there was a hiatus in his career when he landed in a drug rehabilitation center in Nigeria’s capital city Abuja, where he recovered and then returned to music.

“I will always remember Majek Fashek for writing Free Africa, Free Mandela, a song he made to lend a voice for the release of Nelson Mandela, then a leader of the African National Congress in South Africa,” said Sammy Wonder, a Nigerian music instructor.

(XINHUA)

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