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We must step on toes to restore glory of Warri, environs – Agency



“We are going to Warri with an open mind; Warri is full of kiosks, caravans and in making Warri a clean environment, we are going to step on toes and people must be ready to make that sacrifice for the twin cities of Warri and Effurun to become cities of our dream.”



COVID-19: Police Area Commander donates N400,000 worth food items, PPE, to officers wives in Warri



The Area Commander of the Nigeria Police Force in Warri, ACP Mohammed Garba, on Saturday made a personal donation of food items and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth N400,000 to wives of officers in his command.

Presenting the items in Warri, Garba said that the gesture was to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items included 100 cartons of Indomie noodles, 140 tubers of yam, 120 loaves of bread and some  face masks.

He said that the donation was to complement the exemplary leadership qualities of the Inspector-General of Police  and the Delta Commissioner of Police (CP) Hafiz Inuwa.

“I decided to present over 100 cartons of Indomie noodles, 120 loaves of bread, 140 tubers of yam and facemasks to wives of policemen serving in my command to cushion the effect of the pandemic as some are widows,” he said

The area commander urged the beneficiaries to  always be safety conscious as COVID-19 was real.

“Adhere strictly to the safety rules of the COVID-19, wash your hands regularly with soap and running water, use hand sanitiser and wear facemasks,” he advised.

Responding, Mrs Promise Uyanwanne, Woman leader, Police Wives at the Warri Area Command, thanked Garba for the gesture.

“We the police wives thank the Area Commander for the package. It will go a long way in cushioning the effect of the COVID-19 on us” she said.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey (NAN)

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Afghan fighting claims 38 lives as warring sides intensify operations




At least 38 fighters were killed in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours as warring sides stepped up activities to gain more ground ahead of expected intra-Afghan talks to end the war in the country, officials confirmed Sunday.

Up to 19 militants were killed in the southern Uruzgan, western Farah and eastern Khost provinces over the past 24 hours, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the statement, seven militants have been killed and four others injured in Poshtrod district of Farah province since Saturday, while six Taliban insurgents were confirmed dead as fighting planes struck their hideout in Khas Uruzgan district of Uruzgan province on Saturday.

The security forces have killed six militants and wounded seven others in Khost province over the past 24 hours, said the statement of the Defense Ministry.

Taliban attack on a security checkpoint in Mohammad Agha district of eastern Logar province claimed the lives of eight security personnel and wounded five others on Sunday morning, according to provincial government spokesman Didar Ahmad Lawang.

Afghan fighting planes targeted a Taliban assembly in Dasht-e-Archi district of the northern Kunduz province on the same day, killing eight insurgents.

Taliban attacks also claimed the lives of three police in the western Badghis province on Saturday, provincial police chief Mohammad Mahfoz Walizada said.

Spike in fighting has been seen amid trading accusations between government and the Taliban in the wake of deadly attacks on a maternity hospital in Kabul and a funeral ceremony in Nangarhar that claimed dozens of lives including women and children a few days ago.

The Afghan government has blamed the Taliban for organizing the deadly attacks, but the armed group rejected its involvement and in counter-accusation pointed finger at the government and said “Kabul administration” is behind to sabotage the peace process.

Following the deadly attacks, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani ordered his forces to resume offensives against the militants.

Observers predict more fighting in the coming weeks and months as the weather gets warm.

“The U.S.-Taliban so-called peace deal inked on Feb. 29 to facilitate intra-Afghan talks has obviously failed as it could not arrange direct talks between government and the Taliban and instead fighting has intensified,” political analyst Nazari Parianit told Xinhua.


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Fighting rages in Yemen’s Hodeidah as warring parties trade blame for violating cease-fire




Fighting erupted in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah on Friday as the government forces and Houthi rebels traded blame for breaching a cease-fire that was brokered by the United Nations to avert an offensive on the Red Sea port city.

Residents said heavy clashes and shelling lasted hours on the southern outskirts of the Houthi-held port city.

The government-run Yemen TV said “the Houthis fired rockets and mortar shells on several sites in Hays district.” The Houthi-run al-Masirah TV accused the government forces of breaching the cease-fire by shelling the airport and other sites in Durayhimi district.

There were no reports of casualties.

Hodeidah port city, a vital lifeline for millions facing starvation, has seen a shaky cease-fire between the warring parties since both sides reached a UN-sponsored truce agreement in Stockholm in December 2018.

The agreement was seen as the first phase toward a nationwide cease-fire to end Yemen’s more than five years of civil war.

The war started in late 2014, when the Iran-allied Houthi rebels seized control of much of Yemen’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed over 20 million to the brink of famine.

On Thursday, UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said he has seen “significant progress” on negotiations between the Yemeni warring parties, “in particular with respect to the nation-wide cease-fire.”

“We all hope to see these negotiations soon come to a successful close,” Griffiths said in his briefing to the UN Security Council.


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Olu of Warri hails Gambari’s appointment as Chief of Staff



The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli has hailed the appointment of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as the new Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The monarch in a statement on Thursday in Warri, described the appointment as a well-deserved one.

According to him, Gambari is a detribalised Nigerian with huge wealth of experience in conflict prevention and resolution among others.

“The appointment of Prof. Gambari as the new CoS to President Buhari came to us in Warri as good news.

“Good news because we know the professor as an intelligent, well-travelled, well-read and a detribalised Nigerian with vast knowledge of the country.

“I, therefore, write on behalf of myself and the entire people of Warri kingdom to congratulate and wish him resounding success in this assignment.

“Prof Gambari comes to this job with huge credentials, one of which is his versatile experience in conflict prevention and resolution.

“We hope he will bring the experience to bear in performing his duties to assist the President in the continued peaceful resolution and development of the Niger Delta,” the Olu of Warri said.

The monarch was optimistic that with the huge credentials of the new CoS and long-time good relationship with the President, Gambari would contribute immensely to the actualisation of the next level agenda of the President.

“I join other well-meaning Nigerians to pray for him and Mr President.

“May the Almighty God protect and give him the wisdom to succeed and do the job in a creditable manner,” he prayed.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Warri LGA Chairman inaugurates disinfecting hydrohygiene tunnel in market



Dr Michael Tidi, Chairman, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta, on Monday inaugurated a disinfecting hydrohygiene tunnel at Igbudu Market in the metropolis.

The disinfecting tunnel was built by Hypo Homecare Products Ltd., and donated it to the market as a measure to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tidi lauded the company for the initiative, noting that it would go a long way in preventing the spread of the global scourge.

The council chairman also advised
traders and others coming into the market to take advantage of the gesture to protect themselves from contracting the virus.

“This hygiene tunnel encourages us to protect ourselves from the dreaded COVID-19.

“The most important thing for us now is prevention, because Coronavirus is real, and we must do everything possible to make sure the virus do not spread.

“I thank the management of Hypo for building this disinfecting tunnel for the benefit of the general public.

“I am not only here to inaugurate this project, but to also tell you that the state government and people of Warri South are indeed very grateful for your kind gesture.

“The importance of this tunnel cannot be overemphasised, because it is better to stay safe than to be in an isolation centre.

“Those who have gone through that road can tell you that it is not a good experience,” Tidi said.

In his remarks, Mr Festus Oroh, South South Area Marketing Manager of the company, said the donation was part of the company’s efforts to help government in tackling the spread of COVID-19.

Oroh said the tunnel would be placed at the entrance of the market to enable those going into the market to disinfect themselves.

“We want to thank the chairman, Warri South for giving us the approval to install this hydro hygiene tunnel in Igbudu Market.

“We also want to assure him that we will continue to work together for the progress of the council.

“We have completed the tunnel, people can now use it to disinfect themselves against contracting the Coronavirus,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Health ‘warriors’ key to India’s attempts to slow COVID-19 spread



India faces shortages of testing kits – just like so many other countries – in the battle with the new coronavirus.

That’s why it has called on its key asset – people power – to help turn the tide.

India has reported more than 23,000 cases and 700 deaths from the contagion so far, which seem like modest figures for the second-most populous nation, with its 1.3 billion inhabitants.

But community health workers are tracking and containing infections in an effort to prevent the outbreak from overwhelming its tattered health care system.

Tens of thousands of health care workers are going door-to-door to trace and quarantine people who might have had contact with those infected.

People are usually tested only if they develop flu-like symptoms.

Epidemiologists say the surveillance strategy – along with a 40-day lockdown – helped India cut transmissions and minimise infection spread; avoiding large outbreaks like those in the U.S. and Europe. Significantly, it has also given India time to ramp up testing and health infrastructure.

“There were concerns over not enough testing in India, but it has been done in an appropriate manner.

“It is clear that we haven’t missed major areas of transmissions and hotspots are being controlled,’’ said Giridhar R Babu, Head of life course epidemiology at the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Kits are a major constraint worldwide, but we have health workers in every rural area, so we have to find every active case out there.

“This is definitely possible, we have done it for several diseases, over several decades,’’ babu added.

Community surveillance and contact testing have been immensely useful in disease containment in India, be it for polio, malaria, leprosy, HIV or swine flu, former Health Secretary, Sujatha Rao, says.

India’s national surveillance network, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme, has capacities to reach every one of its citizens for disease response and control, as attested by the country’s efforts to defeat polio, which were acclaimed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Countries like South Korea isolated infected people via widespread testing.

In contrast, surveillance-guided testing helped India control infections and is instructive to countries facing kit shortages.

In the last few weeks, India markedly improved on its low testing rate.

It had conducted 500,000 tests by Wednesday, compared to merely 14,500 a month earlier, senior government official, CK Mishra, said.

Mishra added that testing was becoming a main pillar of India’s control strategy.

“Our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand,’’ he said.

India has identified a total of 12.4 million volunteers, health professionals and workers as ‘COVID-19 Warriors’ who can be drafted in the fight against the virus.

Some 1,600 WHO staff, including its expert team that helped India’s polio programme, will join the COVID-19 fight and bolster the ongoing surveillance, WHO India representative, Henk Bekedam, said.

“We are going to live with the virus.

“Post lockdown, we should aim for a surveillance system that is very sensitive, which guides us not only to areas of outbreaks but also picks up new cases in new places.”

On the front line are 3.5 million Accredited Social Health Activists (Asha or Hope in Hindi) and Anganwadi workers, drawn from local and rural communities who form a key element of India’s primary and community health programmes.

They take care after maternal and child health, carry out immunisation campaigns and enrol people in health programmes but are now first responders in the crisis, educating families about isolation, monitoring them for symptoms and identifying contacts of confirmed and suspect cases.

KK Shailaja, health minister of Kerala state, which reported India’s first case, but has flattened the curve of infections despite shortage of testing-kits, gives much credit to these workers.

Dubbed as virus detectives by the press, the workers carry out contact tracing, sometimes using closed circuit footage for clues as well as mass quarantine and rigorous checking.

“If we tested all families, the kits would finish. Our field workers keep a close watch on every case daily, if they develop even sore throat or fever, we hospitalize them immediately. That is how we maintain balance between testing and our resources,” Shailaja said.

Kerala conducted 20,000 tests with 438 positive cases and just three deaths.

“Our decentralised health care system helped by local communities ensures detections and quarantine is strictly enforced,” she said.

There are challenges, however.

The health workers network is weak in urban areas.

The front line workers are poorly paid and, in new concerns, are being shunned or attacked by locals over fears that they might infect them.

The coming weeks are crucial for India as studies warn there could be a second wave of infections after the lockdown ends on May 3.

If 10 per cent of the population are affected, as virologists estimate, India’s beleaguered health system may be overwhelmed on a greater scale than worst-hit countries.

India has less than one bed and one doctor per thousand people, far below WHO recommendations. It has fewer than 50,000 ventilators, which critical patients need to survive. Doctors and workers are stressed about a lack of protective gear as dozens of them have been infected.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19: Delta CJ frees 49 inmates in Warri correctional centre



The Chief Judge of Delta, Justice Marshal Umukoro, on Thursday set free 49 inmates at the Warri Correctional Centre.

The Chief Justice, who was accompanied by the State Controller of  Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS)  Mr Friday Esezobor, said the decongestion exercise was part of measures at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

He said that only inmates who were 60 years of age and above and those with health issues likely to terminate in death were eligible for the amnesty.

According to him, inmates who are convicted with options of fine and convicts serving three years or above with less than six months to serve are also eligible.

Umukoro advised beneficiaries of the amnesty to be of good conduct and thanked the authorities of the Nigeria Correctional Service for their support in providing security at the centre.

He said that the decongestion exercise was a nationwide exercise  initiated by the Controller-General of the NCS, Mr. Ja’afaru Ahmed.

Umukoro charged the released inmates to reciprocate the gesture of the Federal Government by ensuring  that they engage in meaningful ventures and stay away from crimes.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event in Warri brought to an end,  a week-long decongestion exercise of the five correctional centres in the state, namely Warri, Kwale, Agbor, Ogwashi-Uku and Sapele Crrectional Centres.

A total of 150 inmates were freed across the state.

The breakdown showed that 49 inmates were freed in Warri, while 46 inmates were released in Agbor, 27 in Ogwashi-uku,  25 in Kwale and three in Sapele.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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COVID-19: Central Hospital, Warri Isolation Centre ready – CMD



Dr. Paul Okubor, the Chief Medical Director of Central Hospital, Warri, has said that the hospital’s Isolation centre for the treatment of COVID-19 patients is ready.

Okubor who disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Warri also said that the treatment centre could take14 patients.

He said that the hospital had all the basic requirements needed to treat any infected persons, adding that the caregivers had been properly trained to attend to patients.

“The treatment centre in Central Hospital, Warri, is up and running and we are ready to receive patients. The centre can take up to 14 patients.

“We have all the basic equipment needed to treat anybody that comes.

“Ourvarious caregivers have received adequate training and are ready to take any patient,” he said.

Okubor expressed worry over the attitude of some individuals who still doubt the existence of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, such persons are likely the ones flouting the directives of the lockdown order by the state government thereby endangering their lives and that of others.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa had ordered the lockdown on the state with effect from April 1 as a measure to tackle spread of the global pandemic.

“Some people still feel that COVID-19 is a scam, it is very unfortunate.

“I want to appeal to those still doubting, that it is extremely dangerous for them to continue to doubt.

“If you are still doubting, it means you have not taken the necessary precautions to protect yourselves against the pandemic,” he said.

He commended Okowa for the proactive measures taken to tackle the spread of the rampaging scourge.

“Gov. Okowahas done so well, we have four treatment centres in Delta with well trained personnel.

“He has also tried to contain the spread of the pandemic through the stay-at-home order and ensure that the people are safe.

“We all have to be alert and for us to stay at alert, we need to take all the necessary precautions.

“You also have to abide by the rules and regulations in the hospital, wear your face mask, especially with regards to COVID-19, it is very important,” he said.

The medical expert also advised people on regular washing of hands with soap and running water or used alcohol-based sanitiser.

“Maintain social distance and if you must cough, cough into you elbow, wash your hands regularly with soap and running water or use hand sanitiser,” he said.

Okubor said that the facilities to test everybody was not available in the hospital at the moment.

“However, those who have the need to be tested, especially those who have significant contact with Covid-19 patients will be tested.

“It is not everybody that is being tested for now,” he said.

Edited By: Kayode Olaitan (NAN)

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Lockdown: Warri South LG takes delivery of palliatives Delta Govt.



The Warri South Local Government of Delta has taken delivery of a truckload of food items from the state government for distribution to the vulnerable groups in the area.

The council Chairman, Dr Michael Tidi who received the items on Saturday in Warri, said the palliatives were meant to cushion the effect of the lockdown on the people, especially the vulnerable.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa gave a two weeks sit-at-home order on April 1, and on April 14, extended the lockdown period by additional two weeks.

Tidi said that the items included 220 bags of beans each weighing 100 kilogrammes, about 480 bags of rice each weighing 50 kilogrammes and cartons on Indomie noodles.

The chairman who received the items alongside some political office holders in the local government area said the distribution of the palliatives would begin on Sunday.

“The template for distribution as handed down by the state government is to ensure that a considerable number of the vulnerable have a feel of the state government’s gesture,” he said.

He said that political office holders in Warri South local government area had also pooled resources to buy food items that would be added to those supplied by the state government.

“In addition, we reached out to member representing Warri Federal Constituency, Thomas Ereyitomi and Senator representing Delta South Senatorial District, James Manager and they made huge donations.

“The money was sumed up to buy food items which we added to those from the state government,” he said

He said the distribution of the items would not be along political affiliations, but would be “community-driven.”

“It is the community leaders that will help us identify the vulnerable in their midst. We cannot sit in the confines of our offices and identify them,” he said.

He said the council, in collaboration with members representing the two Warri South Constituencies in the Delta Assembly had embarked on a robust sensitisation of the people on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The chairman urged the people to comply with the lockdown order, observe personal hygiene and other precautionary measures, to prevent the spread of the virus.

Also speaking, Mr Austin Oruoye, member representing Warri South Constituency One in the state assembly, also gave the assurance that the items would be judiciously distributed. NAN)

Edited By: Ejike Obeta (NAN)


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