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COVID-19: ECOWAS must explain criteria used in appointing Buhari to champion fight – Frank

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A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has threw the coins at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for appointing General Muhammadu Buhari to champion the fight to end the deadly COVID-19 Pandemic in West Africa.

In a series of tweets on his twitter handle @RealTimiFrank on Friday, the former APC spokesman questioned ECOWAS’ credibility and the criterion in which they selected General Buhari as head to champion fight against this Pandemic that is slowly sweeping the world.

Frank said that General Buhari has long displayed incompetence in taking the lead, adding that ECOWAS has “compromised in their leadership and they’ve clearly fitted that their basis of selecting Buhari was political.”

In one of his tweets Frank said: “It is a disgrace to Ecowas for appointing incompetent Buhari to champion fight against COVID-19. For a man that doesn’t know what COVID-19 means. How can he now lead fight on what he doesn’t understand. You can’t give what you don’t have. May God help Ecowas regions for this mistake.”

The Bayelsan activist also warned ECOWAS of endangering the regions in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

He further said it was the same mistake African Union (AU) made by appointing Buhari as Ambassador to champion the fight against Corruption in Africa, considering the fact that corruption has ravaged Africa.

“So I call on ECOWAS to revert their position on Buhari to lead the fight against COVID-19. This was the same mistake AU made when they appointed Buhari as Champion to fight Corruption in Africa. And now corruption is a usual breakfast in Africa. May God help us to save Nigeria.”

The outspoken activist also drew lines between selecting based on competence and merit, or selecting based on the size of a Nation.

He however praised the likes of Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Tanzania’s Dr. John Magufuli, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, and Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed for their remarkable achievements in and across Africa.

He labelled them true leaders who doesn’t compromise Africa for their selfish gains.

“Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia are not up to the size of Nigeria in terms of population and Eeconomic size. But they’ve done far better than Nigeria in recent times. How can Ecowas rely on a Buhari that Nigerians doesn’t have access to. Nigeria has lost the mantle of being the Giant of Africa under Gen. Buhari’s watch.”

He ended his assertion by saying that “If it is by the basis of competence and ideas to lead any nation, then Gen. Buhari shouldn’t be called. He understands nothing. Except the ECOWAS and AU are only trying to embarrass Nigeria. Because he’s so incompetent, he can’t perform any assignment given to him.” Timi Frank stated.

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Health

COVID-19: FG Hasn’t Introduced New Lockdown – SGF Clarifies

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…We Are Only Maintaining Existing Regulations, He Says
Boss Mustapha

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee, (PSC) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has clarified misrepresentation in the briefing of the PSC on Monday.

Mustapha, who spoke to News Agency of (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, said it was erroneously reported that the had re-introduced nationwide curfew between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. as part of the COVID-19 safety protocols.

 

 

He, However, said the announcement by the National Incident Manager, Dr. Mukhtar Mohammed, during the PSC press briefing was taken out of context because the did not relax the curfew imposed earlier under Phase Three of the eased lockdown.

Rather, he explained that what Mohammed said was that the was maintaining the curfew under the Phase Four of the phased restriction of movement.

 

 

“Under the Fourth Phase of restriction of movement, night clubs, gyms and others will remain closed till further notice; while all citizens will also ensure that mass gatherings outside work settings do not exceed maximum of 50 people in an enclosed space.

“These restrictions have been in existence under the Third Phase but are being maintained under the Phase Four of the phased restriction of movement,” said the SGF.

 

 

He further said because people had been violating the safety protocols, they had forgotten that the protocols were never relaxed in the first place.

“Therefore, the PSC hereby reiterates that there is no newly introduced lockdown. There is no need for the panic that followed the announcement of the Fourth Phase of the phased restriction of movement.

 

“We will continue to appeal to members of the public to comply with these restrictions because they are necessary safety measures against contracting the dreaded coronavirus, which is still ravaging human populations across the world,” said Mustapha.

NAN reports that approved the transition of the Presidential Task Force () on COVID-19 to PSC on COVID-19, which took effective from April 1, with a modified mandate to reflect the non-emergent status of COVID-19 as a potentially long-term pandemic.

“The structure of the PSC shall reflect the new focus of the response with a targeted approach on vaccine oversight, risk , international travel quarantine processes and sub-national engagement; and that the tenure of the PSC shall last till 31 December, 2021,” said the president.

He added that the PSC would maintain the present constitution, functions and strategies of the ; be supported by a slim technical and administrative structure.

Mohammed is expected to formally take over from the National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, and function as the Head (Technical Secretariat) and member of the PSC. (NAN)

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Health

FG Reintroduces COVID-19 Restrictions, Shuts Bars, Recreational Centres, Limits Public Gatherings

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The Federal Government has reintroduced COVID-19 restrictions across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This new directive is to take effect by midnight of Tuesday, a member of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Mohammed, declared.

Mohammed, who is the Head of Technical Secretariat of the PSC, made the announcement while briefing reporters on Monday in Abuja.

With the restrictions imposed, mass gatherings in public spaces have been restricted to 50 people at any given time.

Access to government institutions would also be denied to anyone not wearing a face mask while government meetings and travels have been limited to the virtual platform.

According to Mohammed, the government has directed that bars and nightclubs should remain closed and the nationwide curfew will be in force until further notice.

He added that only essential international travels would be encouraged, and all existing protocols must be strictly adhered to.

The PSC member, however, stated that there was no limitation to intra-state travel.

A file photo of a healthcare worker holding a COVID-19 test kit. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said returning foreign passengers who fled the quarantine facilities and violated the compulsory requirement would not go unpunished.

He noted that the committee has received reports that some persons who recently returned to the country violated the mandatory quarantine requirement under the advisory by escaping from the facilities.

Mustapha, who is also the PSC Chairman, condemned the violation of the nation’s laws and hospitality, noting that the committee was awaiting the report of ongoing investigations and would impose appropriate sanctions on the violators.

He revealed that the PSC has considered several pre-emptive measures to be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the variants of COVID-19, should they get imported into Nigeria.

The SGF explained that the step became important in view of the fragile state of the nation’s health systems, the disruption to the delivery of vaccines, and the lack of compliance with the extant public health measures and social measures contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.

According to him, it is imperative to reinstitute the various public health measures that were put in place under the health protection regulations.

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Aviation

COVID-19: Nigeria Bans Flights From India, Brazil and Turkey

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Reduces PCR Test to 72 Hours from 96 Hours

…To Fine Airline $3,500 For Each Defaulting Passenger

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,  has reduced the COVID–19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for all Nigeria-bound passengers from 96  to 72 hours.

This is just as the Committee also stated that PCR test results older than 72 hours before departure shall not be accepted;

The Committee came to this conclusion after due consideration and agreed to implement these  protocols as it concerns Brazil, India and Turkey.

According to the Committee non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents, who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria, adding that this regulation, however, does not apply to passengers who transited through these countries.

The  Committee said that the following measures shall apply to airlines and passengers, who fail to comply with I and II(a) above:
Airlines, it said  shall mandatorily pay a penalty of $3,500 for each defaulting passenger while non-Nigerians will be denied entry and returned to the country of embarkation at cost to the Airline.

A statement signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation/ Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19,Mr. Boss  Mustapha, explained that Nigerians and those with permanent resident permit who visited Brazil, India or Turkey within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria shall be made to undergo seven  days of mandatory quarantine in a Government approved facility at the point-of-entry city and at cost to the passenger.

The following condition , he said shall apply to such passengers within 24 hours of arrival shall take a COVID-19 PCR test. adding that if positive, the passenger shall be admitted within a government-approved treatment centre, in line with National treatment protocols.

If Negative, the passenger shall continue to remain in quarantine and made to undergo a repeat PCR test on day 7 of their quarantine.
Mustapha said that passenger(s) arriving in Nigeria from other destinations must observe a 7-day self-isolation at their final destination.

The passenger shall carry out a COVID-19 PCR test on day 7 at selected laboratory. and shall be monitored for compliance to isolation protocol by appropriate authorities.

The Committee warned that passenger(s) who provided false or misleading contact information will be liable to prosecution while person(s) who willfully disregard or refuse to comply with directions of Port-Health staff, security agencies or evade quarantine shall be prosecuted in accordance with the law.

“State Governments are required to ensure that all returning travelers from ALL countries are monitored to ensure adherence to the mandatory seven-day self-isolation period and the repeat COVID-19 PCR test on the seventh day after arrival.

“We urge members of the public to adhere to all COVID-19 preventive measures in place including adherence to the national travel protocol, proper use of face mask, regular hand washing and physical distancing.

“This travel advisory shall come into effect from TUESDAY 4TH day of May 2021. The guidelines provided in this document shall be subject to review after an initial period of 4 weeks,” the Committee said.

The Committee said that its action is part of effort to continue to safeguard the health of the Nigerian population, as well as to minimize the risk of a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Presidential Steering Committee carried out a risk assessment of countries with high incidence of cases.

The risk assessment, according to the Committee  took into consideration the epidemiology of cases, prevalence of variants of concern and average passenger volume between Nigeria and each country among other indicators.

It stated that of the countries assessed, this interim travel advisory applies to three countries in the first instance and that these precautionary measures are a necessary step to minimize the risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases introduced to Nigeria from other countries, while national response activities continue.

It  advised Nigerians to avoid any non-essential international travels to any country at this period and specifically to countries that are showing rising number of cases and deaths.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 said it has over the last few weeks been monitoring with concern, the increasing trend of COVID-19 cases in several countries, with additional focus on countries with high incidence, fatality rate and widespread prevalence of variants of concern.

The Government of Nigeria, the Committee  deeply empathizes with the citizens and governments of these countries and assures them of our commitment, unflinching support and solidarity at this time of need

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