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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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Labour Of Our Heroes Won’t Go In Vain,’ Govs Celebrate Armed Forces Remembrance Day

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Governors across states of the Federation have joined in the celebration of 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day.

The Federal Government had earlier ordered the closure of parts of the roads accessing the arcade of the federal secretariat complexes and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja to mark the event in the Federal Capital Territory.

In the South-West, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde at the event held on Saturday at the Remembrance Arcade, Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, promised to keep encouraging and working closely with members of the armed forces and the survivors of the fallen heroes

He commended the officers and men of the security agencies for their efforts in battling insecurity in the state, urging them to continue to do their best to ensure that peace reigns in the state and the country at large.

Governor Seyi Makinde

“For Nigerians, some people made sacrifices for us to be where we are right now and also paid the ultimate price.

“So, I believe we should not allow their toil to go in vain,” the governor said.


In Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, it was a solemn moment as the state governor, Dapo Abiodun joined other dignitaries which include the heads of security agencies, traditional rulers to lay the wreath in remembrance of the Nation’s fallen heroes at the arcade ground in the state capital.

The 21-gun salute was also shot in memory of the fallen heroes and the supreme price they had paid for the unity and peace of the country.

Governor Dapo Abiodun

 

The governor who also inspected the parades and the colour party called on Nigerians to sustain the quest for unity, peace and progress of the country, for socio-economic development and progress.


In the Eastern region, Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi led other members of the state executive council to the event held at the Unity Square in the state capital.

Security Agencies represented at the event include the Nigerian Army; the Nigeria Police Force; the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); and the Nigeria Immigration.

Governor David Umahi

The Nigerian Legion Ebonyi State chapter at the event called on both the state and Federal Government to make available enhanced welfare packages as well as provision of job opportunities to the children of servicemen and women who have paid the supreme price defending the country.


Also in Imo State, resident joined their counterparts in other parts of the country to mark the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.

The event which took place at the Ndubuisi Kanu square in Owerri, the Imo state capital, witnessed match past by the armed forces and security operatives as well as the presence of top government functionaries in Imo State.

Governor Hope Uzodimma

Delivering his speech, Governor Hope Uzodimma asked Nigerians to take the opportunity of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration to reflect more on the meaning and importance of sacrifice as it affects the interest of the Nation.

He described the military as the noblest and patriotic profession.

In the South-South, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa represented by his deputy Kingsley Otuaro led top military and para-military officers to lay wreaths at the statue of the unknown soldier.

The event was held at the cenotaph where the governor inspected the guard of honour mounted by the Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce and members of the Nigerian Legion.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa

 

A minute silence was observed while a 21-gun salute was taken in honour of the departed heroes.

Some widows of the fallen heroes also used the opportunity to ask the Federal and State Government to look into their plight and provide support for them to be able to fend for themselves and their families.

Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki in his address held in Benin, the state capital said unguarded talks about Nigeria’s unity will cost lives and the efforts of fallen heroes would have been in vain.

Governor Godwin Obaseki

 

He also disclosed plans to include wives of the fallen heroes in the state’s welfare programmes, adding that some of the legionnaires have already been integrated into the security architecture of the state.


In Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel called on Nigerians to embrace dialogue in resolving thorny issues in the country.

Governor Udom Emmanuel

 

The governor said most of the circumstances that caused bloodshed in the country’s history would have been settled peacefully if the key players embraced dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

In Kwara State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq urged Nigerians to continue to provide information to the military in order to end the insecurity in the country while also urging the country to appreciate the sacrifices being made to keep the country together.

He also commended the efforts of the Federal Government in enhancing their welfare.


Meanwhile, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal appealed to the Federal Government to sustain the payment of pension and gratuity to retired military personnel.

While laying a wreath at the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Sokoto, he said this will enable the retired personnel to live well and take care of their needs and it will also serve as an encouragement to the serving personnel to do more in the service of the nation.

He said their services in unquantifiable in ensuring the unity of the nation by laying their lives for the service of the nation.

However, Katsina State Government restated commitment to restore peace and normalcy in the state with several strategies, approaches and mechanisms been introduced by the state to eradicate terrorism in the state.

Governor Aminu Masari during the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration held at the Katsina Peoples’ Square said the relative peace currently being enjoined in the state is due to the dedication, competence and discipline of the troops and other sister security agencies.

He commended the army for the untiring sacrifice towards securing the lives and property of Katsina citizens.


In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Bello said the security agencies should remain resolute to end the security challenges in the country.

Bello disclosed this at the 2022 Nigeria Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at the Permanent Cenotaph, Minna.

He also commended the efforts of the Federal Government in enhancing their welfare.


Meanwhile, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal appealed to the Federal Government to sustain the payment of pension and gratuity to retired military personnel.

While laying a wreath at the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Sokoto, he said this will enable the retired personnel to live well and take care of their needs and it will also serve as an encouragement to the serving personnel to do more in the service of the nation.

He said their services in unquantifiable in ensuring the unity of the nation by laying their lives for the service of the nation.

However, Katsina State Government restated commitment to restore peace and normalcy in the state with several strategies, approaches and mechanisms been introduced by the state to eradicate terrorism in the state.

Governor Aminu Masari during the 2022 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration held at the Katsina Peoples’ Square said the relative peace currently being enjoined in the state is due to the dedication, competence and discipline of the troops and other sister security agencies.

He commended the army for the untiring sacrifice towards securing the lives and property of Katsina citizens.


In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Bello said the security agencies should remain resolute to end the security challenges in the country.

Bello disclosed this at the 2022 Nigeria Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at the Permanent Cenotaph, Minna.

He commended the men of Nigeria Armed Forces and other security agencies for protecting the lives of the people especially in dealing with insurgency and criminal elements, urging them not to relent.

The governor urged them to continue to protect the integrity of the nation, promising the support of the state government towards ending the insecurity.

“My call is on the military to remain resolute. Today is a special day where we come to remember our fallen heroes that have lost their lives in wars and in the course of their assignments”, he said.

Highlights of the event were the release of pigeons as a symbol of peace, exchange of pleasantries with the widows of the fallen heroes and members of the legions as well as the inspection of the guard of honour by the Governor.

Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku in his address urged the Nigeria Army to sustain the momentum against insecurity and ensure that peace reigns across the country.

He said his administration will not relent in supporting the military and other security agencies to ensure that criminal elements are wiped out of the state, as well as avert the recurring herders, farmers clashes and communal crisis.

The governor, who was was represented by his Deputy Haruna Manu assured of prioritising the needs of ex-servicemen and fallen heroes families.

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Former Oyo State Governor, Alao-Akala Passes On

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Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala, a former Governor of Oyo State, is dead.

Details of his death are sketchy but sources close to the politician confirmed the tragic incident to SunriseNigeria.

The politician, who had been battling terminal ailment for a while, died in his Ogbomoso country home, on Wednesday morning, according to sources.

A top source in the All Progressives Congress (APC) who confirmed his death to Daily Trust on Wednesday morning, said he died in his room.

“It is true that Oga is dead. He died in the early hours of Wednesday in his room in Ogbomoso. He was full of life last night. In fact, I head he was playing with his children before he went to bed. We are in a mourning mood now,” he said.

Akala was the governor of the state between 2007 and 2011.

Born on June 3, 1950, at Ogbomoso in the Ogbomoso North Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alao-Akala had his elementary school at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso before proceeding to Kamina Barracks Middle School, 5th Battalion of Infantry in Tamale, Ghana.

This is the third known death of a prominent Ogbomosho native in a month.

On December 12, 2021, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, the Soun of Ogbomoso, passed on.

On January 8, 2022, Prof Taibat Danmole, his daughter who was a lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU), also died.

The deceased, who was a professor of education was married to another university don, Prof. Hakeem Danmole, who is the Dean College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin

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Former Nigerian Leader, Ernest Shonekan Dies, Aged 85

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Ernest Shonekan

Chief Ernest Shonekan who headed the Interim National Government that succeeded the junta of General Ibrahim Babangida, has died.Shonekan died in Lagos at the age of 85.

He was the interim head of the Nigerian Government between August 26 and November 17 1993 when he was ousted in a coup led by late General Sani Abacha.

 

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