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Over 40 Health Workers Test Positive For COVID-19 – Minister

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Thursday, said that over 40 health workers in the country have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), as a result of exposure.

He stressed that it has become critically important for health workers to maintain a high index of suspicion and protect themselves adequately with personal protective equipment (PPE) in the line of duty.

Ehanire, who made this known at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, said that: “I applaud our health workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government will continue to provide you with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and I urge you to take all necessary precautions for your own safety.

“Please do not treat any patient without using adequate PPE, frontline health workers must undertake refresher training on IPC at intervals.
“This advice is become necessary due of the number of health workers who have tested positive, over 40 now, for COVID-19 or been quarantined, in the last 2 weeks due to exposure, and therefore not being able to contribute to the health sector effort. I urge you all to remain vigilant in the line of duty and maintain a high index if suspicion for COVID-19.

“We are still on hazard allowance for frontline health workers, as proposals have to be validated by the PTF. They also have to be validated by other authorities like the Minister of Finance etc. Therefore, there are other processes that will take place before it is announced. it is a work in progress and will not be hidden.”

The Minister decried the underutilisation of the ‘excess’ testing capacity of the country, explaining that even though Nigeria has the capacity to test 1,500 persons daily, daily testing still averages around 600.

According to him, “Today Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratories have capacity to test 1,500 samples per day in 13 laboratories across the country. However, we are testing on average 600 samples per day because that is all the samples collected and sent for testing. This means that there is a certain underutilisation.

“Factors implicated in the process may include surveillance sample collection and mode of transportation, which can be improved to increase operational efficiency.

“In fact, we have excess capacity for the 13 laboratories that are functioning, but our own strategy is that of smart testing, that is, testing where you feel you will have yield. We have to be very careful about our reagents.

“We are also trying to use our resources as wisely as possible because we have an estimated population of 200 million people, so we have to be ready to cater for all of them.

“This is where a little investment can help. The results of such intensification of efforts can be seen especially in Lagos where improved logistic management increased sample collection and significantly reduced turnaround time.

“As we further increase our testing capacity and accredit more laboratories, an even more robust sample transportation infrastructure will be in place, to promptly convey samples to any of the 13 labs activated so far.

“Nigeria’s strategy is to admit all persons who test positive for COVID-19 into designated accredited treatment facilities to contain the spread of the virus and ensure prompt management to forestall complications.”

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Focus On Gumi, Shekau Before Chasing Me, Igboho Tells FG

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Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo , better known as Sunday Igboho , has advised the Federal Government to channel its energy towards arresting Boko Haram leader , Ibrahim Shekau , and Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been holding meetings with bandits .
Igboho said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Friday while reacting to the face – off between him and security agents around the Guru Maharaji bus stop along the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway .
The Yoruba activist, who has been in the news for serving a quit notice on Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the South -West , said he was never invited before they attempted to arrest him .
When asked if he would honour a police invitation, Igboho said , “ Go and ask them to invite Gumi and Shekau first before disturbing me . Let them face the bandits instead .”
Igboho also said he would not run , adding that he had returned to his base in Ibadan .
When asked if he would go into hiding , he said , “ What for ? I am in the neighbourhood . I cannot run . ”
Igboho also affirmed that his bank account was initially frozen but the restriction was lifted recently .
He said he had done nothing wrong but fight for the rights of his people .

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EFCC Arraign Insurance Brokers For N26bn PHCN Severance Benefit

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, arraigned Abiodun Waheed Hassan and his company, Bestworth

Insurance Brokers Limited, before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal
Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a five count charge of
alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the
tune of over Twenty Six Billion Naira (N26billion).
The defendant allegedly diverted humongous sums of money earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the corporate account of entities.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited on or about 15th January 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit:

the sum of N26,236,594,986.00 (Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and
Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred
and Eighty-six Naira only) paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF Severance Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did
commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by
dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N2,500,000,000.00( Two Billion
Five Hundred Million Naira only) thereof when you transferred the said
sum into Kakatar CE Limited’s Zenith Bank Account No.1012637660 and you
thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.”

Count Five states, “that you , Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited on or about 18th December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction
of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being
entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00
(Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred
and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-six Naira only) paid
into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No.
1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N6,000,000,000.00 ( Six Billion Naira only) thereof when you
transferred the said sum into PJO Venture Limited’s Skye Bank Account
No.1771645235 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under
Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,
(Abuja) 2004.”

The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’, when the charges were read to him.
Based on his plea, prosecution counsel, Benjamin Lawan Menji, ask for a
trial date and prayed the Court to remand the defendant at the
Correctional Service pending the trail.

Counsel for the defendant, Ade Olusalako told the court that the defense
had filed a motion for bail of his client and pleaded for the remand of
the defendant in the custody of the EFCC pending the determination of his bail application on the grounds that “the defendant has been on administrative bail for almost five years and he has an underlining sickness”.

However, the prosecution counsel objected to the application. “As he
rightly submitted, we received the application but we shall vehemently
be opposing the application; we said vehemently so that the court will
know that we have a strong opposition. Moreover, our facility is
overstretched because of the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the little
we have we are trying to manage them. The proper place of detention or
custody is the Correctional Service which the government has done its
best in providing”, Menji told the court.

However, Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for
hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.

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Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja

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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. ”

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