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COVID-19: FG begs philanthropists for treatment centres, says Nigeria has only 5,324 bed spaces

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The Federal Government has said that as the number of confirmed coronavirus [COVID-19] cases increase in the country it may not have the capacity to cope with their isolation and treatment.

The minister of state for health, Olorunimbe Mamora, said this on Wednesday at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing.

Mamora, thus, appealed to philanthropists to set up treatment centres across the country.

He said,

“As the number of confirmed cases increases, there is an urgent need to expand our treatment centres across the country. I, therefore, call on the state governors and philanthropists to take active and deliberate steps to scale up the number of beds for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases in their states.”

Explaining the dire situation, Mamora noted that 21 states have fewer than 100-bed spaces each for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

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He  added that only five states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had at least the prescribed 300 beds.

The minister also stated the country has 112 treatment and isolation centres in the 36 states and the FCT with a total of 5,324 beds.

He said,

“Though not surprising, we are concerned about the increasing number of confirmed cases. This is because very high cases could seriously exceed the capacity of our health system to cope. Routine cases may also suffer as a result. Therefore, non-pharmaceutical preventive approach is still our best strategy.

“At present, we have a total of 112 treatment and isolation centres in all the 36 states and the FCT with 5,324 beds. While only five states including the FCT have at least 300 beds as prescribed for isolation and treatment, 21 states have less than 100 bed spaces.

The health minister said the Nigerian medical researchers working with foreign partners had been able to ascertain that the strain of COVID-19 in Nigeria was the same in Wuhan, China, where the virus first broke out.

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Independent candidacy: ECOWAS court dismisses suit against Nigeria

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ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Court of Justice has dismissed a suit by Obinna Umeh and six others, challenging Nigeria’s laws, which bars independent candidacy in election contests.

A three-member panel of justices presided by the court’s President, Justice Edward Asante, held that Nigeria did not breach any convention or charter.

The case was brought before the court in November 2018 by Obinna Umeh, Kenneth Roberts, Dr. Matthew Oguche and Emmanuel Agada.

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They urged the court to compel Nigeria to allow independent candidates to contest in elections.

They argued that the mandatory membership of political parties as pre-requisite to contest elections infringed on their right to vote and be voted.

They argued it also infringed on their human rights as enshrined in the African Charter and Universal Declaration on Human Rights, International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a signatory.

However, Nigeria argued that the ECOWAS Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the suit which has direct bearing on its constitution.

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The community court said it had examined all treaties and protocols that Nigeria is signatory to and it were clear the country had not erred in its laws.

The presiding judge also said it was only a matter of common sense that giving the population and diversity of Nigeria, allowing for independent candidacy will be almost impossible to handle.

“Law also in a way goes with common sense. It is clear that a country with a population of over 200 million, if in an election, 400 people decide to contest the presidency, you are going to have a ballot paper of over 50 pages.”

“That is why the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the Electoral Laws thought it wise to make people belong to such groups.

 

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Army won’t dialogue with bandits, says Buratai

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said that the military will not engage in dialogue with bandits or any criminal to bring an end to insecurity.

Buratai stated this at a news conference to mark the commencement of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2020 on Wednesday at the Army Special Super Camp, Faskari, Katsina State.

He said that dialogue with criminals was not a military option in dealing with insecurity, adding that he did not believe in dialogue with bandits.

“May be when I drop the uniform, I may consider that but for now, it is not the military option,” he said.

Buratai, however, explained that if the civil authorities decided to go for dialogue, the military would have no option than to support them to achieve peace.

As far as the Nigerian army is concerned, dialogue is not an option; it is not on our table; it is absolutely political decision.

“Some newspapers quoted me as saying that the troops should move into the bush and defeat them tactically; that is our mission and that is what we want to achieve. Anything short of that will only prolong the insecurity.

“So we are determined to deal with them in the bush or wherever they are, even in the town and cities. We will deal with them accordingly,” he said.

Buratai also described false the allegations that the troops were not always responding to distress calls from some communities during attacks by bandits.

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He said that the allegations were being promoted by those who had decided to politicise the security situation in the affected places.

According to him, those who often propagate false allegations always go behind to apologise to the authorities.

While accusing politicians of always trying to drag the military into the political domain, the COAS, however, said that army personnel would continue to remain professional in the discharge of their constitutional roles.

“It is unfortunate that some politicians are taking military operations beyond what it should be, that is, to the political domain.

“All those allegations are false. We are a professional army; we are responsive, and I have always stressed that we must be responsive to our operational needs, to the challenges of our country and to our troops’ welfare.

“Some have even gone further to say that the Nigerien forces are coming in to intervene to deal with bandits in our territory.

“We will continue to resolve any insecurity that comes.

“We will only be seen not to have done anything when we don’t respond, but on all the insecurities across the country, whether in the North-East or North-West, a lot has been achieved,” he said.

Buratai, who said that security challenges were dynamic in nature, called on Nigerians to support the military in tackling the menace.

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He stated that NADCEL was an annual event being organised by the Nigerian army celebrate its fallen heroes and review all its activities from inception so as to know how far it had gone.

According to him, NADCEL 2020 is combined with an operation that is aimed at showcasing the army’s capability and capacity to address the security challenges, not only in the North but also, across the country.

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Newsmen report that the week- long event has as its theme:

“Nigeria’s Territorial Defence and Sovereignty: the Imperative for Nigerian Army’s Sustained Training and Operations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAN

 

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COVID-19: FG gives reasons for reopening of schools for graduating students

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Wednesday, said that the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, timetable is not determined by Nigeria.

The PTF Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, while speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, stated that the Federal Government will not want a spill-over in the nation’s academic calendar which will end up affecting graduating students.

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According to him, this is the main reason why schools will be reopened nationwide for graduating students with immediate effect.

He said

“We already have a large number of students that are in their exit year and they really need to move on.

“We have exams that are not specific only to Nigeria but in West Africa, WAEC for instance.

“So, we need to find a way to safely get these students to do their exams and exit, otherwise we will have a serious spill-over when it comes to education.

“COVID19 will go away eventually even though we don’t know when but It may take a year or longer, and what we don’t want is for it to have such a significant impact on our educational program where children are unable to move at home where there is no mobility.”

Recall that the PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, had on Monday, said that schools will be reopened nationwide for graduating students with immediate effect.

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He explained that the measure was to allow the graduating classes prepare for their final examinations.

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