Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja, Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri, Obinna Odogwu, Awka
American Government, yesterday, said it evacuated it citizens from Nigeria for safety reasons.
The United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria, in a Facebook message said: “In times of emergency, the first priority of the U.S. Department of State is the safety of American citizens overseas. For that reason, throughout the world, we are working to ensure that Americans who want to return home are able to get home.”
The statement followed the mission’s earlier message to citizens living in Nigeria of plans to make arrangements for flights to the US.
The mission, however, appreciated the efforts of the Nigerian government in ensuring that everyone living in the country was safe, sating it was also understandable that many Americans will want to return to be with their friends and family at this time, especially those who did not plan for an extended stay in Nigeria.
“Please note that the U.S. Mission is still operating and plans to continue the important work of representing the American people here. We ask all Americans who remain to join us in abiding by the rules the Nigerian Government has put in place to keep us all healthy and safe. By working together, we will get through this crisis together,” the mission said.
UN announces COVID-19 emergency response for IDPs
The United Nations said it has put in place emergency response measures to mitigate the spread to persons in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs) in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
The UN warned that the humanitarian crisis from the pandemic could be high should it spread to the North East.
“We will not wait for COVID-19 to reach camps for internally displaced persons before we act. They have already suffered enough from the decade-long conflict and our priority is to ensure the continuous delivery of life-saving assistance, especially health services, to the most vulnerable women, children and the elderly who need special attention,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon said.
Kallon said it was crucial for vulnerable IDPs to have access to water, soap, shelters, food, education as well as protection.
He said the UN in Nigeria was supporting the governments of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in developing emergency response plans that take the reality of the living conditions in many communities and IDP camps into account.
He disclosed that the plan includes specific mitigation measures particularly in overcrowded camps and camp-like settings where the risk of disease outbreaks is higher.
Kallon said the UN was collaborating with other partners including Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in IDP sites across the North East states.
ACF calls for tracking of COVID-19 Emergency Fund
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has called for effective tracking of the utilisation of the emergency fund to ensure that the money was properly utilised to tackle the challenges.
The ACF made the call in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmauel Yawe in Kaduna.
The forum commended the efforts of the Nigerian private sector coalition for contributing billions of Naira to support the war against coronavirus.
The forum said the funds should be “applied mainly for developing the required infrastructure in which Nigeria is solely deficient and without which we cannot have the capacity to fight the pandemic”.
The ACF, however, commended President Muhamadu Buhari for the measures he outlined to confront the pandemic.
“The forum believes that coronavirus is global pandemic and calls on all Nigerians to see it so.
“Nigerians should not read local ethnic, political or religious meanings into it’s emergence,” the ACF stressed.
Obasanjo, regional leaders seek concerted efforts to combat pandemic
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and 11 other African leaders on Tuesday called for effective regional cooperation and an emergency plan to combat the spread of the coronavirus on the continent.
The call was contained in a statement signed by Obasanjo and the African leaders in Abeokuta by Mr Kehinde Akinyemi.
The statement said the mitigating effect or otherwise by the preparatory and preventive actions made by different nations and international organisations to combat the killer virus since its outbreak.
It also observed that the results had been related to the seriousness of preparation and preventive measures taken, including the level of healthcare measures and delivery.
According to the statement, the epidemiological progression in already affected areas has indicated that the worst case is yet to occur in Africa.
“Taking into account the weak healthcare bases in Africa, the conurbation and the communal living of our people particularly in ghettos and poverty-stricken areas of our cities, the outbreak of COVID-19 in these areas of African communities and cities will be a monumental disaster,” it said.
It therefore called for serious measures to be taken for the containment and for addressing any national epidemic.
The other African leaders were Festus Mogae (former President of Botswana), Hailemariam Desalegn (former Prime Minister of Ethiopia), John Kufour (former President of Ghana), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (former President of Liberia) and Joyce Banda (former President of Malawi).
Others were Joaquim Chissano (former President of Mozambique), Thabo Mbeki (former President of South Africa), Kgalema Motlanthe (former President of South Africa), Benjamin Mkapa (former President of Tanzania), Jakaya Kikwete (former President of Tanzania) and Mohamed Marzouki (former President of Tunisia)
Makinde: I’m normal, my temperature is 36.5°C
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, yesterday, spoke from isolation, saying he had not been showing symptoms and that his body temperature was normal at 36.5°C.
He disclosed this during a live telephone interview on a special programme of Fresh FM 105.9, Ibadan, known as the COVID-19 Situation Room, anchored by the ace broadcaster, Isaac Brown, which was monitored by this correspondent.
When asked what symptoms he had been experiencing, he said he was asymptomatic and had with him a digital thermometer that could read his temperature and at the same time articulate the result.
Makinde, who stated that “all governors who attended the National Economic Council meeting, were advised to self-isolate once one of the attendees tested positive. So, based on that advice, I started self-isolating a week ago. In fact, I had to cancel the face-to-face Executive Council meeting for Tuesday last week because of that.
“What we are dealing with right now is that well, I have done the test, it is positive, I have the virus. So, it is something that we know is real and we have to deal with it.”
Makinde also fielded questions on the possibility of total lockdown of Oyo State the same way it was done in Lagos and Osun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), saying: “everything that can be done to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Oyo State is on the table. We will continue to assess the situation and take additional measures where necessary.
“Yes, Lagos can be on lockdown, and Ogun can be on lockdown. In Oyo State, yes, people have been saying we should have a total lockdown. Then, I have been asking them questions. What will be the benefits here? Are there alternative courses of action for us to take?
“If you ask people not to come out, you lock down the market places, there are people who what they sell today – the profit from today’s activities, is what they will eat tomorrow. There are many people like that within our environment. So, are there alternatives available to us?”
When asked if selective lockdown could be appropriate in the state, Makinde explained: “I think everything is on the table but it has to follow a logical pattern and it will need the inputs of experts. We are not just going to lockdown because everyone is locking down.”
I never tested positive to COVID-19 –Onyeama
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has refuted the rumours that he tested positive to COVID-19 alongside his personal assistant.
The minister said the insinuation that the two index cases in Enugu, were his personal assistant and himself, was a fabricated and malicious report.
A statement by his media aide, Sarah Sanda, said: “The minister and his aide were in Abuja at all material times. Furthermore, the minister is a member of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and all the members were recently tested and found to be negative.”
Sanda said the authors of the stories were well known, and that it was their motive to embarrass Mr. Onyeama and spread panic during a national emergency.
“For that reason, as well as to curb this kind of criminal behaviour, the matter has been brought to the attention of the law enforcement agencies for investigation and severe sanctions as a deterrence for the future,” Sanda saidtheir APC leader did when they were fighting about their chairmanship and he said, well, the virus has gotten into the party.