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COVID-19: FG okays 5 states, FCT for WHO’s clinical trials ……Advises States to Liaise With Catholic Bishops For Isolation Spaces



COVID-19: FG okays 5 states, FCT for WHO’s clinical trial
•Warns patients against attacking health workers
•To subject ‘Madagascar’s cure’ to analysis; over 27,000 tests conducted so far
•We’re not aware, but clinical trial is a normal process — NMA President

The Federal Government has enrolled the Federal Capital Territory, FCT as well as Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Kaduna and Sokoto states in the “solidarity trials”, an international clinical trial to help find a cure for COVID-19 being spearheaded by the World Health Organization, WHO.

The government also warned COVID-19 patients in its isolation and treatment centres against attacking doctors and other healthcare workers who are catering for their medical needs, describing such actions as inhuman, unacceptable and reprehensible.

It also said it has conducted over 27,000 tests so far, while about 600 Nigerians in diaspora had been evacuated and are now in isolation.

The government equally confirmed that it has reached out to Madagascar for its elixir named “Covid Organic,” but said the product will be subjected to scientific analysis to ascertain its genuineness and perhaps begin its local production.

This is even as the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, announced yesterday that it received a total of 104 complaints on rights violations from 27 states across the country.

…….WHO solidarity trials

Speaking at yesterday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, listed the states that would be participating in the trials.

The solidarity trial, which is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, was launched by the WHO and partners.

More than 100 countries have joined the solidarity trial and to date, over 1,200 patients have been randomized from the first five countries to evaluate the safety and efficacy of full drug and drug combinations.

WHO had announced that Nigeria had recently indicated its readiness to join the trials.

Giving an update on the trials, the minister said: “The Federal Government is cooperating with WHO on treatment regimen solidarity trial, with the following states enrolled:  Lagos, FCT, Ogun, Kaduna, Sokoto and Kano.”

………We are not aware but it is a normal scientific process — NMA

Contacted on the issue, President of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile said although the NMA was not aware of the trial, the process was a scientific procedure to get drugs and vaccines approved.

“We have been involved in other clinical trials not only on COVID-19 but in drug formulations.   It is a normal thing in science and it does not mean that the Federal Government wants to use Nigerians as guinea pigs. They must have passed through a lot of processes before they want to do trials.

“It is a normal scientific process of getting drugs approved as well as getting vaccines approved. We are not aware of this one the Federal government is planning but it is a normal process.”

…….Attack on health workers

Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, said most of the demands made by patients are such that health workers are not in a position to meet.

There had been reports of COVID-19 patients attacking health workers and asking for improved welfare or be released.

He said: “The PTF has also continued to receive, rather sadly, reports about challenges facing the front-line health workers. They have received threat to lives, experienced detention by patients they are actually nursing to health and suffered other forms of harassment.

An Isolation centre

“Let me underscore the fact that these front-line workers constantly put their lives on the line to make sure persons infected are provided with the best care possible to enable them become healthy citizens again.

“It is, therefore, inhuman and unacceptable that patients engage in acts of locking them up and making demands that these front-line officers, most of the time do not have the capacity to address. The PTF views such behaviour as reprehensible and should be deprecated. We call on all state governments to take this up appropriately.”

He added that the PTF was identifying and assessing all low to medium and high burden areas, with a view to assessing and modifying its strategy to strengthen community ownership in the national response.

……States to liaise with Catholic Bishops

The Federal Government also asked states to liaise with Catholic Bishops in their areas in order to access more spaces for isolation of COVID-19 cases.

He said it would soon be impossible for state capitals to contend with the number that would be thrown at them, hence the need to accept every offer of bed space from good-spirited individuals and organizations.

“We wish to confirm that states have been encouraged strongly to set up isolation centres, wards (including ICU) with a minimum of 300 beds each. This will help accommodate levels 1 & 2 cases. “However, with the increase in numbers, we are beginning to experience a shortage of bed spaces in the isolation centres, especially in the high burden areas.

“We are conscious of the need to take care of different categories of persons e.g. people living with disabilities, terminal conditions and other underlying factors/co-morbidities.

“As part of efforts to support states in the establishment of isolation and treatment centres, I wish to remind our governors that the Catholic Bishops Conference has volunteered all the 425 hospitals and clinics nationwide for adaptation and use as isolation centres.

“Governors are encouraged to please approach Catholic Bishops in their states to access these facilities,” the SGF said.

…..Madagascar’s cure to be tested

Madagascar’s CovidOrganic

The SGF said the product which is currently in Guinea-Bissau, would soon be freighted to Nigeria and subjected to all necessary validations before usage.

He said: “With respect to the Madagascar syrup, it has been freighted to Guinea-Bissau by the President of Madagascar. Certain allocations have been made to different countries. We have an indication of the quantity that has been allocated to Nigeria and we are supposed to make arrangements to freight it out of Guinea-Bissau to Nigeria.

“I have received instructions from Mr President to make arrangements to freight it home with a clear instruction that I should subject it to the validation process similar to what would happen to any other medicine or syrup or vaccine that is discovered or created internally.

“So, it will be subjected to the same process before it is put into any form of use. There will be no exception on that.’’

Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria would analyze the syrup to see if it could be reproduced here.

He said: “We have a promise of being able to get samples of the herb or botanical product for analysis and also probably use that opportunity to speak with the health authorities there, particularly the scientific community on how they use it.

“But obviously, to also give back to the research community here to examine and see what they can do with it.

“We understand that it is something called ‘Artemisia Annua’ which also grows here but we will like to, if we get that sample, compare it with the strain here, whether they are exactly identical or whether they are two different strains and see what properties it has and subjected to further analysis to find out what works there, how it works and the use in getting a cure.

“Obviously, countries in the world are interested in finding a cure and we are not different. So, we are looking at all possibilities, all options, all promises that are made, we examine them, and before we give them to our people, we make sure they are actually safe and that they work.”

On the number of tests conducted so far, the minister said: “At the end of yesterday (Sunday), Nigeria has ramped up testing by 1,127 to a total of 27,078 tests, which yielded 4,399 cases in 35 states, with a gender ratio of 70 to 30 percent for men and women.

“778 persons have been discharged home and we have sadly recorded 143 fatalities, giving a case fatality rate of 3%.

“Senior management of the Federal Ministry of Health and clinical case managers in our hospitals this morning participated in a multinational teleconference with Chinese medical and academic experts in Beijing, where much insight was gained into the treatment strategy of China and other matters of common interest were discussed. The learning from this intervention is invaluable in reexamining our methods,” he added.

……New 500-bed space in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration on its part, has unveiled a 500-bed capacity isolation centre in the Idu district of the territory.

FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, while commissioning the isolation centre, appealed to residents to take responsibility and follow all the laid down protocols by health experts to halt the spread of coronavirus.

…..Rights violations

The SGF also announced that it had received a letter from the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, detailing incidences of rights violation by security operatives enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions.

Executive Secretary of the commission, Tony Ojukwu, had in a report, documented the various thematic areas in which the violations occurred, the nature of the violations, the disaggregated data on state reported violations, the agencies of government responsible for the violations as well as the response/action taken to remedy the violations.

The violations occurred between April 13 and May 4, 2020.

Ojukwu listed the states as Abia, Adamawa; Akwa Ibom; Kano; Jigawa; Cross Rivers; Ebonyi; Edo; Enugu; Ekiti; Delta; Imo; Lagos; Nasarawa; Niger; Ogun; Osun; Borno; Bayelsa; Kogi; Benue; Anambra; Kaduna; Gombe; Zamfara and Rivers.

According to the NHRC report, Enugu State has the highest recorded cases with 13 incidents, followed by Imo State with 12 incidents; Akwa Ibom and Nasarawa states recorded 10 incidents each, while Delta and Abia states recorded nine and seven incidents respectively.

“Lagos State recorded five cases, while FCT and Benue state recorded four cases each, followed by Niger, Zamfara, Osun and Rivers states with three incidents each. Anambra, Jigawa, Bayelsa and Edo States recorded two incidents each; while Ogun, Kogi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Kano, Cross River and Ekiti states recorded one incident each.

“The complaints of human rights violations were received and documented in the areas of extra-judicial killings, violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention, seizure/confiscation of properties, sexual and gender based violence, SGBV, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment and extortion.

“There were 11 documented incidents of extra-judicial killing leading to 11 deaths. Out of this number, four deaths were recorded in Abia state alone. Delta state recorded two deaths, while Niger, Jigawa, Lagos, Anambra and Rivers states recorded one death each.

“The report further shows that out of the 11 deaths, the Nigeria Police Force was responsible for seven deaths, while the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), non-state actors and the Abia State Task Force on COVID-19 were responsible for one death each.

“Investigation is still on-going as at the time of the report to unravel the perpetrator of the extra-judicial killing that occurred in Jigawa State,’’ Ojukwu said.

The report also showed other types of violations recorded within the period to include 34 incidents of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, 14 incidents of violation of right to freedom of movement, unlawful arrest and detention, 11 incidents of seizure/confiscation of properties, 19 incidents of extortion and 15 incidents of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, SGBV.

He added: “The report finds that the Nigeria Police Force accounted for 59.6 per cent of the total cases of violations, followed by non-state actors that is mostly private individuals in SGBV related cases which accounted for 18.3 per cent of the total cases.

“The various task forces on enforcement of COVID-19 regulations across the states accounted for 10.5 percent of the total cases, while the Nigeria Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, accounted for 7.7 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively.

“The Department of State Services, DSS, also accounted for one percent of the total cases, while a perpetrator representing the other one percent is yet to be determined at the time of this report.

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FG Approves Establishment of Teaching Hospital in Taraba



The Federal Government has approved the citing of a teaching hospital in Taraba State.

The teaching hospital to be sited at the federal university in Wukari local government council of the state was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a letter dated 26th of September 2022, the President gave the nod to the leadership of the institution to go ahead with the establishment of the health institution.

The letter which was signed on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, by the Director of Health, Teaching Hospital Division, Dr. Noah Andrew, urged the leadership of the university to make sure that all the needed facilities are in place.

He said, “kindly ensure that the University provides a conducive environment for the clinical training of paramedical students in medical and Allied Science.”

This, as stated in the letter, a copy of which was on Thursday made available to our state correspondent, can be actualized by “building lecture theaters.”

More to the requirements, the need for the leadership of the institution to as well build laboratories and hostels in the “newly established federal teaching hospital, Wukari” the letter said, has become necessary.

Part of the letter reads, “I am directed to refer to a letter dated 2nd September 2022 referenced SGF 6/T/380 from the Secretary of the Government of the Federation to inform you that His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari, has graciously approved the establishment of a federal teaching hospital for the federal University, Wukari, Taraba State.”

Overwhelmed by the tidings, some members of the host community who bared their minds on the development believed that the much-desired development would be heralded not only to the community but the local government council at large.

They were also of the view that several unemployed youths from the council and the state at large would be engaged by the hospital.

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Nigeria Abrogates Pre-travel Covid Tests for Citizens, Visitors




The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has lifted travel testing requirements for COVID-19 vaccinated Nigerians and visitors.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman PSC on COVID-19, on Monday in Abuja, said that the revised International Travel Protocols would take effect from 4th April 2022.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria joined other countries in adjusting its COVID-19 regulations.

Some leaders are keeping some restrictions on travel and gatherings, while other countries are easing their restrictions.

The World Health Organization has urged countries to follow science rather than imposing flight bans in a bid to contain the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman PSC on COVID-19,

According to Mustapha, In-bound (fully vaccinated) passengers arriving in Nigeria will no longer be required to take a pre-departure PCR COVID-19 Test.

He said that on arrival, for fully vaccinated passengers, a sample would be taken at the airport for rapid antigen test by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC ), within the arrival hall of all the country’s points of entry and airports.

“Passengers who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated shall take a COVID-19 PCR test 48 hours before departure, or do a Day 2 and day 7 test on arrival. Such passengers will be expected to pay for their PCR tests through the travel platform.

“Fully vaccinated passengers will not be charged for arrival rapid antigen tests at the airport;
“Rules that apply to fully vaccinated adults also apply to children aged 10 – 18 years; they will not be required to have pre-arrival PCR tests but will have a sample taken at the arrival hall but not charged.

“All passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and to fully comply with COVID-19 protocols and requirements in their country of destination,” he said.
The SGF said that the PSC continues to strongly recommend the use of face masks in enclosed environments, adding that in open spaces, the use of face masks is discretional.

The SGF disclosed that the country still has the National Response in place as it continue to monitor global trends and adapt them with the situation in the country.

U.S.Citizens undergoing test during the evacuation from Lagos, Nigeria. 2020

He stressed that there had been a consistent decline in the number of cases around the world but that does not give Nigerians the leverage to let their guards down yet.

Mustapha said there were predictions of rebounds as seen in China, South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, France, and Hong Kong.

“In fact, China has reintroduced lockdowns in some cities due to the spike in cases.

“So far, the world has recorded over 471 million confirmed cases, 6 million deaths and over 11 billion vaccine doses administered, while in Nigeria, we have recorded 255,103 cases and 3,142 persons have died.

“We have vaccinated over 20 million persons with at least the first dose. This number is not very encouraging, hence, the need for all eligible Nigerians to come out and be vaccinated,” he stated.

Syndicate of Covid-19 fake certificates producers nabbed at MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos

He disclosed that the Port Health Services have so far screened about 2,357 Nigerians evacuated from Ukraine for COVID-19 out of the over 8,000 residents or students living in Ukraine.

He said that out of these passengers, 193 tested positive to COVID-19 and were managed according to the country’s protocols.

He warned Nigerians to be mindful of scammers, especially in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, who come to assist them in accessing the NITP and in the process, register them as children to avoid paying post-arrival test.

According to him, the PSC wishes to put Nigerians on notice that two major religious festivities (Easter and Sallah) are approaching and we shall be experiencing increased passenger traffic in and out of the country.

“While the PSC prepares to escalate surveillance and other control activities, we urge the States and all Nigerians to also increase their vigilance and take measures to moderate activities.


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Painful How Dr. Mailafia Was Allowed to Die By Doctors 



By Dr. Isuwa Dogo

The death of the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada, Abuja,  this morning came to us as a great shock. As someone who relentlessly participated in the activities of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), his untimely death has dealt  a deadly blow on ethnic nationalities of not only the Middle Belt but the country at large.

Arising from various enquiries from Nigerians over the circumstances of his death, the Forum wishes to state as follows: That Dr Mailafia arrived Abuja last Sunday September 12, 2021 from Akure and was received at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport by his wife.

On arrival at home, the wife noticed he was not in the best of health conditions and seemed to be suffering from malaria. After three days of treatment without signs of improvement, he went to the CBN Hospital on Friday September 17, 2021 where he was shabily treated. It took the intervention of a senior medic who immediately placed him on oxygen and admitted him.

Dr Mailafia’s was later given the option of choosing three hospitals: Gwagwalada Hospital, National Hospital and EHA Clinics. The wife opted for the third choice. On arrival at the EHA Clinics, the wife was subjected to yet another moment of anxiety as it took a direct order from the top management of the hospital to accept him.

After few hours of treatment, the EHA Clinics told the wife that it was expedient to transfer the former CBN Deputy Governor to Gwagwalada as the clinic was not fully equipped to handle the case.

The wife opposed the decision and insisted that she was opposed to the idea of taking her husband to Gwagwalada. Mailafia’s wife only succumbed when the consultant assured her that nothing bad will happen to her husband.

Yesterday, Saturday September 18, 2021, Dr Obadiah was transfered to Gwagwalada. on arrival, the name of the doctor that was billed to attend to Dr Mailafia was not on duty. Even when an attempt was made by foreign health consultants to save the situation, the doctor on duty got angry and said he was not obligated to listen to any foreign consultants that had been brought into the matter with the sole purpose of ensuring nothing  goes wrong.

Wife of the former CBN Deputy Governor was asked to pay the sum of N600’000 as deposit even when it was a referral case, with accruing medical bill to be settled by the CBN. At a point, Dr Mailafia complained over his breathing problems and pleaded with the doctors to place him on a ventilator. The doctors flatly refused.
Even after the doctors declared Dr. Mailafia dead, foreign consultants who were brought into the matter through Dr Mailafia’s son that is  living abroad, had directed a family member who is a medical professional, with the wife of the CBN Deputy Governor, to mount pressure on the chest of Dr.  Mailafia for  resuscitation and thereafter place him on a life support.

The doctors in Gwagwalada refused all entreaties by the family members of Dr Mailafia to follow the advice of the foreign consultants, insisting that they have already pronounced him dead. Even when the wife could feel the pulse of her husband, the doctor flatly declared there was nothing they could do since they had already pronounced him dead.

While the above narration sums up the circumstances under which Dr Mailafia died,  we still  await the result of the actual cause of his death. As a nationalist and patriot that he was, Dr. Mailafia  was completely dedicated to the emancipation of ethnic nationalities from the clutches of oppression. The economist was never afraid to speak truth to power just as he remained committed to the enthronement of justice and equity to all citizens across ethnic and religious  divides.

In the twilight of his life, this consummate technocrat and global scholar of repute beamed his searchlight on the raging insecurity ravaging our country. He expressed regrets over government’s incapacity to rein in the activities of insurgents and criminal groups terrorising the nation.

As a former presidential candidate in the 2019 poll, Dr Mailafia sought to deploy politics to bring about the dream he had for his country. Even after he lost the election, he never let down the bar in demanding for a fair treatment for all Nigerians.

The Forum recalls his patriotic zeal in standing up for truth and justice. He was never a letdown in being at the forefront of  showing the way for national greatness as he was willing to lay down his life for Nigeria.

The Forum is inspired by his altruistic disposition and contributions to national development. We remain proud of his footprints on the political, economic and social sands of our nation.

In this period of grief, we extend our sympathy to his immediate family members and pray to the Almighty God to grant each and everyone of them the fortitude to bear the pain of this irreparable loss.

The death of Dr Mailafia today represents a dark day for not only only the Middle Belt but also for all citizens  who yearn for a new dawn for justice in Nigeria.

▪︎ Dogo is the National Publicity Secretary, MBF


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