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Coronavirus: FG abandons 200 students on NDDC scholarship abroad

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Niger Delta Development Commission

The Federal Government has abandoned 200 students that were given scholarship by the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The students, who are mostly in European countries, have been left to fend for themselves for the last seven months but their plight has now worsened no thanks to the shutdown of commercial activities caused by the Covid19 pandemic.

One of the scholarship beneficiaries, Andrew Saba, who is studying Pharmacy at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, asked the government to come to their aid.

Saba, said this while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.

He said, “We’ve been here since last September and we were assured when we were coming that we were going to be paid and our fees would be paid. But in over seven months and counting, nothing has happened and now, with the Covid19 situation in the UK and the economy shutting down, movement restricted, we are in a very difficult situation.

“It is difficult to live in a foreign country especially if you don’t have the money to take care of yourself.

“We have reached out to them severally. I don’t think we have to keep appealing to get money for a scholarship that was awarded since July last year. We have tweeted at the NDDC. To be fair, the commission said on Tuesday that they would soon pay but we have been hearing that for too long. In this period, it is best we get it sorted.”

Describing the dire situation which the students have been put in, Saba said many of them had to go hungry and sit at home.

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He said even the monies spent on purchasing flight tickets and visa processing had not been reimbursed.

He said about 200 students were affected.

Saba added,

Many of us are in serious conditions. Some people have had to work in different places to get by but now, with companies shutting down, people who are on zero-hour contract, will not get paid because they are not working.

“The people selling food in the grocery store will not understand that. If you are in a situation where the economy is shutting down, it becomes difficult for a scholar to survive.

“We were told to open accounts where you were to study and you would put your bank account details in a portal because we were supposed to be paid money to facilitate visa, flight tickets but up till now, we have not been paid. Some of us actually took loans to fund their trips to the UK.

Reacting to the plight of the students on Tuesday, however, the Acting Managing Director, NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, said through the commission’s Twitter handle that they would all be paid soon.

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The tweet reads:

“Monies for NDDC overseas scholars shall soon be paid to their respective schools and the beneficiaries.”

General

JUST IN: Nasarawa Attorney General tests positive for COVID-19

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Nasarawa Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Abdulkarim Kana, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Commissioner for health, Pharmacist Yahaya Ahmed, confirmed the incident to The Nation in a telephone interview in Lafia, the state capital.

He said:

“Yes I’m aware. I can confirm that, however he is in self isolation at home and is in a stable and clear condition. We are taking care of him.”

The Attorney General is a member of the State Task Force on COVID-19.

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Details shortly…

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Coronavirus

Africa urged to test more as coronavirus cases exceed 500,000

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health workers

African countries must carry out more coronavirus testing and make people use masks, a regional disease control body said on Thursday as cases topped half a million in the continent.

New cases in Africa were up 24% over the past week, with data from governments and the World Health Organization showing it had 512,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 11,930 deaths.

“The pandemic is gaining full momentum,” John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a virtual news briefing from Addis Ababa.

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Nkengasong said African countries, many of which do not have reliable data, must adopt an aggressive approach to encourage the wearing of face masks and ramp up testing and tracing.

“This will save lives and save (the) economy.”

Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Algeria account for 71% of infections on the continent, Nkengasong said.

READ ALSO: WHO set to begin study on origin of Covid-19

Some governments have been reluctant to acknowledge epidemics or to expose crumbling health systems to outside scrutiny, while others are either too poor or conflict-ridden to carry out significant testing.

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Nkengasong said it was inevitable that as cases rise, hospitals will become overwhelmed.

“That is something that is happening already. We will continue to see it as the pandemic expands,” he added.

Although many have also started gradually easing lockdowns to reopen hard-hit economies, governments are conscious that opening up too quickly could lead to a spike in new cases.

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The African Union Commission said on Thursday it had launched a consortium for vaccine clinical trials to be headed by the Africa CDC, which aimed to secure more than 10 late-stage vaccine clinical trials as early as possible.

South Africa and Egypt are already running human trials for a potential vaccine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reuters

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COVID-19 cases in Nigeria hits more than 30,000 with 460 new cases

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The  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 460 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 30,249.

Also, the death toll from the virus has hit 684, as 15 new deaths were reported on Wednesday.

There was a drop in the number of confirmed cases reported Wednesday compared to what was reported on Tuesday (503).

The health agency in a tweet said the 460 new cases were reported in 21 states including Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, Delta, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Anambra, Kano, Plateau, Edo, Bayelsa, Enugu, Osun, Kwara, Borno, Ogun, Kaduna, Imo, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, and Adamawa.

All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.

As of the time of reporting, all 36 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

Lagos State remains the epicentre for the disease with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths in the country, while Zamfara has not reported any new confirmed case in the past 51 days.

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The other five states with the highest number of confirmed cases are FCT, Oyo, Edo, Delta, and Kano State.

The 460 new cases were reported from 21 states: Lagos – 150, Rivers – 49, Oyo – 43, Delta – 38, FCT – 26, Anambra – 20, Kano – 20, Plateau – 18, Edo – 14, Bayelsa – 13, Enugu – 13, Osun – 12, Kwara – 10, Borno – 8, Ogun – 7, Kaduna – 6, Imo – 4, Bauchi – 3, Gombe – 3, Niger – 2 and Adamawa – 1.

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