Director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, says by the end of the week, the agency would have capacity to carry out 1, 000 COVID-19 tests on a daily basis.
Ihekweazu, who was responding to questions at a press briefing on Tuesday, said laboratories were like power plants and could not be built overnight but the agency is putting in efforts to improve and increase capacity.
“As at last week we are testing about 500 per day, or we had the capacity to test 500 per day. By the end of this week, we will be at a thousand per day, and next week we plan to take it to a 1, 500 per day, just by increasing the number of labs,” he said.
“We are managing and improving the supply sides, but at the same time, we need to reduce the demand side to those that really need it. So, in Lagos there is a big problem of a lot of anxiety and everybody wants to get tested. We need you to help us give this message to people. We have a case definition for COVID-19; either you have respiratory symptoms plus travel plus contact with a confirmed case or respiratory symptoms of unknown explanation. If you have cancer or something like that, we rule that out.
“These are the three groups, you must have symptoms and this is an important message because the more people force themselves into being tested the less we have the capacity to test those that really need it. These people that really need it will be transmitting it into the community and more people will get infected.
“So, there is a consequence, not just for you as an individual but for the rest of society. So, we need to get to those we need to get to. And by testing those that don’t need it, the worried well, we block the system from those that need it, and the outbreak continues. So, there is a price to pay for testing all these asymptomatic individuals.
“The quickest set of laboratories to convert for COVID-19 testing have been the laboratories we’ve been establishing over the last few years for lassa. That is where our molecular diagnostic capacity lies. Yes, we haven’t done enough over the last few years and now there is a need to do a lot more very quickly. Collectively, this is not just a federal government responsibility, this is a responsibility of all the states governments, and unfortunately just like power plants, we cannot build molecular labs overnight, so we are going to work extra hard.”
He said the private sector is coming in and the state governments are injecting funds in the health sector in order to increase the number of laboratories that would be up in the next few months.
He added, however, that the quick solution is not a new laboratory but increased capacity in existing labs.
According to the ministry of health, there are currently six functional laboratories with the capacity to test for COVID-19.
Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”
Ogun To Arrest Illegal Occupants Of Forest Reserve
The Ogun State government said it would soon start combing its forest reserve to arrest and prosecute illegal occupants .
The State Commissioner for Forestry , Tunji Akinosi , said this while responding to questions from journalists in Abeokuta , the state capital.
Akinosi said the government had written letters to the traditional rulers in the areas asking them to tell the illegal occupants to leave or be arrested .
He said, “ We have asked those that are illegally occupying our lands to leave , and now we are moving to the second stage of combing the areas ourselves and arresting those that are still residents in the reserve. ”
The Commissioner, while speaking on the depleted condition of the forest reserve, said, “ In the last 18 months , this administration has taken the bull by the horn in getting the Imeko and Aworo Forest Reserves back and running .
“ Unfortunately , the depletion did not start right now , it has been there and government this year alone had met twice with the Iledotun project coordinators and had taken 108 ,000 hectares of the forest reserve in Imeko and Aworo for regeneration .
“ We call it LND project , Land Degradation Neutrality project where you bring people of diverse nations to regenerate that place , and I am sure that between now and the next few months , you will see the work that would start there in reclaiming all the land that is there .”
Police Misconduct Responsible For #EndSARS Protests —PSC
The Chairman , Police Service Commission , Musiliu Smith , has attributed the # EndSARS protests to the misconduct of officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
Smith , a former Inspector -General of Police , decried the level of misconduct in the police force saying his office was always inundated with complaints from Nigerians .
The PSC chairman stated this at a retreat with the IG and his police management team , in Abuja on Tuesday .
Smith ’s statement contradicted claims by the Minister of Information and Culture , Lai Mohammed that the October protests were instigated by political and religious leaders .
He also said the demonstrations which were subsequently hijacked by hoodlums leading to widespread violence and looting , were aimed at overthrowing the Federal Government .
But puncturing these claims in his first public comment on the incident , the retired IG said, “ We are always having a lot of complaints from the members of the public against police officers. I believe that # EndSARS resulted from serious misconduct of some of our personnel .
“ I want to advise that we review the arrangements we are making for investigating such cases . Let ’s ensure that investigations are thoroughly conducted and whoever is the police officer that has been indicted will be punished according to the law . If we are doing that , some of the public complaints will go down . ”
Smith , who had been at loggerheads with the police leadership on the recruitment of police constables , also admonished IG Mohammed Adamu to work closely with the commission on the recruitment of credible Nigerians into the force.
Smith added that the number of court cases against the police was alarming , stressing that the force may not be able to pay the damages awarded against it .
In his remarks earlier, the IGP noted that the retreat was to bridge the communication gap and engender a better understanding and working relationship between the force and the police service commission .
The Attorney – General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubukar Malami , who also spoke at the retreat, harped on the need for a harmonious working relationship among all the agencies of the government .