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We are prioritising acquisition COVID-19 vaccine ― Osinbajo

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• PTF worried over mental health of coronavirus survivors

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that that one of Nigeria’s main priorities now is getting the COVID-19 vaccine, saying this is a matter of utmost concern to the federal government.

He stated this on Thursday at the opening session of the virtual edition of the Paris Peace Forum which featured presentations by some Heads of State & Government alongside international organizations, on a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande in Abuja while stating what Nigeria’s priorities are in its COVID-19 response said: “The priorities of Nigeria in the post-COVID-19 era include improved healthcare and the economy. First, we need to keep the virus under control. While our guards are still firmly in place, getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a matter of utmost concern.”

Osinbajo added: “On this, we are encouraged by the efforts of WHO and other international agencies working to ensure that vaccine delivery will be equitable across all countries, regardless of the priority of orders and ability to pay.”

Underscoring the importance of prioritizing interventions and investments in the healthcare system, the Vice President said, “we are encouraging private investment to upscale our health sector, with emphasis on improved facilities and affordable universal healthcare.”

While appreciating leaders across the world for their prompt response and cooperation in controlling the spread of the COVID-19, Prof. Osinbajo said, “the sheer scale of disruptions to our lives and livelihoods caused by COVID-19 certainly caught us all by surprise.”

Restating the call for debt relief for developing countries, the Vice President said, “the pandemic underscores the need for adequate financial buffers to cope with the ‘black swan’ events. For many developing countries, the debt burden makes this all but impossible.”

Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo noted that: “We call for debt relief for these countries, and the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) at least until the end of 2021 as well as commercial debt relief where needed.”

The statement recalled that the Vice President had in previous international fora earlier in the year made a case for debt relief for developing countries, noting that “the Debt Servicing Support Initiative of the G20 is welcome and will no doubt bring some relief to relevant African countries.
“However, it remains inadequate because it does not address the problem of commercial debt service obligations.”

He assured that Nigeria stands with all countries of the world, in the effort to eradicate the virus, and leverage experiences for a healthier and more prosperous world.

Meanwhile, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the COVID-19 Pandemic has expressed concern over the rate of testing in the country, noting that it is too low to defeat the outbreak in the country with a population like Nigeria.

The chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, stated this during its weekly media briefing in Abuja on Thursday.
Comparing Nigeria to other African countries, he said: “​Let me use this opportunity to urge all Nigerians to come out for regular testing. Our testing rate is very unencouraging.

“Mauritius has the highest tests per million (218,535) while Nigeria stands at 3,605 per million. This is grossly too low to be at a comfortable stage of defeating the pandemic considering the size of our population.”

He said the PTF is still monitoring situations around the world and will continue to raise the flag so that Nigerians pay adequate attention to the rising number of cases, especially in high burden countries.

Mustapha noted that this will particularly help in planning to or not to, embark on trips, saying: “The candid advice of the PTF still remains that non-essential trips should be totally avoided.”

He pointed out that global cases crossed the 52 million mark with USA, India and Brazil accounting for 48% of all global cumulative burden.

According to him, the USA has been recording over 100,000 cases daily in recent times and the rate of fatalities is increasing in the UK and other European countries.
While noting that five countries (USA, Brazil, India, Mexico and UK) account for 53% (685,176) of global deaths, he added that on the African continent, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia reported the highest cases in the last 24 hours while South Africa now accounts for 38% of total cases on the continent, up from 50% as at September.

Mustapha also announced that Nigeria now ranks 6th in Africa, adding: “And we don’t have to let our guards down for a second wave. The number of cases has been fluctuating lately and that is an indication that we are not out of the woods yet. The cases in Lagos where multiple infections were recorded in two schools are typical examples of the danger of reopening institutions without the required measures.”

The PTF urged Nigerians to take responsibility to keep the nation safe by adhering to all COVID-19 preventive measures, saying: “It is our collective responsibility. We must all rally round each other to stop this pandemic from destroying our lives and economy.

“The PTF believes strongly that now is the time to raise the tempo of not just our national response but also our preparedness for a new wave of the pandemic or any other epidemic for that matter.

“For example, it has been strongly observed that places of worship, gatherings and other events have dumped the use of face masks and adherence to other NPIs.”

The SGF expressed concern over the mental health of COVID-19 survivors in the country and is intensifying response under the treatment and post-treatment regimes.

He stated: “The PTF is still very much concerned about the mental health of survivors of the COVID 19 virus. In this regard, the PTF is following reports from researches around the world regarding the state of psychiatric health of survivors and has intensified plans for in-country response under the treatment and post-treatment regimes.”
Mustapha regretted the death of former Ghanaian President, Jerry Rawlings and Palestinian Chief Negotiator, Saeb Erakat, who both succumbed to complications from coronavirus.

He said: “This afternoon, we received the report of the demise of the former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings. We commiserate with the President, Government and people of our sister country and pray for the repose of his soul.
“Similarly, on the 10th of November, 2020, COVID took another high-profile victim in the person of Saeb Erakat, PLO Chief Negotiator. We also commiserate with the Palestinian Authority on this great loss. This will no doubt have a tremendous impact on the peace process in the Middle-East.”

He thanked PTF’s development partners, the CACOVID and the media for their support to the task force.

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University Student Delivers Quintuplets

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A 400-level student of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umudike, Abia State, Oluomachi Nwojo, has been delivered of a set of quintuplets.

The 24-year-old student of Environmental Management, a native of Abriba in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia State, was delivered of the babies on Monday at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia through caesarean section.

Oluomachi had two baby boys and three girls.

Speaking, the final-year student expressed happiness at the delivery of her babies, describing it as a wonderful experience.

She said: “This is my first delivery and I am grateful to God for making me a partaker of this wonderful blessing.

“I believe God knows the best for my children; I am feeling fine and gradually recuperating from the birth of my babies.

“I am calling on the government and good-spirited individuals to help me in training the babies because I cannot carry the burden alone.

“At this stage, I need assistance to buy milk and other necessities for the babies.”

The Director of Protocol at the hospital, Darlington Madubuko, said the delivery of the quintuplets was the first of multiple deliveries at the facility.

“The hospital records more than 50 multiple births annually and our staff are well trained to successfully handle such cases.

“We have had quadruplets before now, but this is the first time the hospital is recording the birth of quintuplets in the recent past.

“The two male babies are in the neonatal unit of the hospital receiving treatment and the three female babies are with their mother in the postnatal ward,” Madubuko said.
(PRNigeria)

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Relief, as Remaining Abuja-Kaduna Train Kidnap Victims are Released!

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The families and friends of the 23 remaining passengers who were held hostage by bandits following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train, can now heave a sigh of relief following their release by the Nigerian Military Wednesday afternoon.

This development was confirmed in a statement issued Wednesday by the Secretary of the Chief of Defense Staff Action Committee (CDSAC), Prof. Usman Yusuf.

The terrorists had attacked the Kaduna-bound train on 28 March, 2022 and captured scores of passengers.

While many had been released on paying huge ransom to the terrorists, 23 abducted passengers remained with the bandits.

Secretary, Chief of Defense Staff Action Committee (CDSAC), Prof. Usman Yusuf, said on Wednesday that the remaining captives had been released this afternoon.

He said they were set free around 4.00pm on Wednesday.

“I am pleased to announce to the nation and the world that at 1600Hrs. (4:00pm) today, Wednesday 5-10-2022, the seven-man Presidential Committee assembled by the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), General L E O Irabor, secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining passengers held hostage by Boko Haram Terrorists following the attack on the Abuja to Kaduna train on 28-3-2022,” he said.

Yusuf stated that the country owed a debt of gratitude to the Nigerian Military under the leadership of the CDS who conceived and guided the operation from start to finish.

He added that all sister Security Agencies and the Federal Ministry of Transportation contributed immensely to this Operation.

“The unwavering support of the President and Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR is what made it all possible.

“Members of this Committee are grateful for the rare honour and privilege to be part of this Humanitarian Operation. May God Almighty Heal Our Wounds and Bring Peace to Our Land,” he said.

The statement however, did not say if the release was secured through negotiation with the bandits, or the use of force.

It was also silent on the fate of a female member of the victims who was said to have been taken as wife by the bandits’ leader.

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Court Awards N540M to Prophet Omale in Case Against FCMB

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A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja has awarded the sum of N540 million in damages to Prophet Emmanuel Omale against a commercial bank over alleged negligence and defamation.

Justice Yusuf Halilu on Tuesday held that the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) breached its fiduciary duty of care to Prophet Omale, which caused him to be summoned by the Judicial Panel of Inquiry investigating a former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, including defamation of his name.

Omale, who is the General Overseer of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International, an inter-denominational deliverance and prophetic ministry, had filed the suit through his counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN) demanding the sum of N5 billion in damages against the bank.

According to the Prophet, the judicial panel of inquiry summoned him in July 2020 after the bank sometime in 2016, negligently and falsely in its computer system generated weekly automated report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of a “suspicious” credit inflow of N573, 228, 040. 41 (Five Hundred and Seventy Three Million Naira, Two Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand, Forty Naira and 41 kobo) into the church’s corporate account No: 1486743019 in line with the Money Laundering Prevention Act; the Economic and Financial Crimes Act and the Terrorism Prevention Act, which mandates it to report any suspicious financial transaction of its customers.

He said the false alert and the summons caused his name to be dragged in the mud in the media which caused him untold hardship, trauma and great financial losses, which the bank owned up in its letter published in three national newspapers.

The judge awarded an aggravated damage of N200 million, special damage of N140,500 million, and N200 million in general damages.

“The conduct of the Defendant in this case, clearly from the evidence that have been made out, is certainly careless and negligent; it is certainly not careless and negligent but unprofessional”, the judge said

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