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Nigeria’s COVID-19 Cases Exceed 1,000

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Nigeria on Friday recorded 114 cases of COVID-19, bringing the total recorded in the country to 1095.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in a tweet Friday night said the new cases were recorded in nine states. These are Lagos, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ogun, Gombe, Zamfara, Edo, Oyo, Kaduna and Sokoto states.

As of the time of reporting, 27 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease.

For the second consecutive day, no case was recorded in Kano. Although no official reason was given for this, PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday reported how the Kano testing centre suspended its operations due to scarcity of materials and because some of its staff tested positive to the virus. Although the health minister, Osagie Ehanire, later said the testing materials had been made available, a Kano health ministry official told PREMIUM TIMES the testing would be suspended for at least 48 hours.

On Thursday, Zamfara State recorded its first cases of the virus since the beginning of the outbreak in Nigeria in February.

Also, Lagos State reported its highest daily figure, 80, since the index case was detected in the state.

A breakdown of the latest update shows that 80 of the new cases were reported in Lagos, 21 in Gombe, 5 in FCT, 2 in Zamfara and Edo, and one in Ogun, Oyo, Kaduna and Sokoto states.

NCDC said as of 11:50 p.m. on April 24, there were 1095 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria. Of these, 208 infected people have recovered and have been discharged while the death toll rose to 32 from 31 reported on Thursday.

A breakdown of all the cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 657 cases, followed by FCT – 138, Kano – 73, Ogun – 35, Gombe – 30, Katsina – 21, Osun – 20, Edo – 19, Oyo – 18 cases, Borno – 12, Kwara-11, Akwa Ibom – 11 cases, Kaduna – 10, Bauchi has recorded eight cases, Delta – six, , Ekiti – four, Ondo and Rivers three apiece.

Jigawa, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, and Abia have two cases each while Benue, Anambra, Adamawa and Plateau state have a case apiece.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on Friday said that the high number of cases was as a result of ongoing community transmission and active case search.

He said most of the affected age group is from 31-40 years, while the highest COVID-19 fatality is in patients who are 50years and above.

He also said that the government has deployed COVID-19 starter packs to all tertiary health institutions and federal medical centers, to complement what had earlier been sent to states.

The starter packs, he said, consist of medical consumables to ensure the protection of frontline workers.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) expressed dismay that some of its members have contracted the virus in the process of discharging their duty.

Health workers are prone to contracting infectious disease when discharging their duties as they are the first line responders for disease control.

The association in a statement released on Friday said that over 40 doctors and other health workers have tested positive, with three doctors and one nurse dead from the virus.

It lamented that the health workers contracted the disease within the society and at private health facilities as some of the patients refused to disclose important medical and travel information that would have increased the suspicion and facilitate the early diagnosis of COVID-19 infections.

NMA therefore appealed to the government to expedite action on distribution of PPEs to public and private hospitals without delay.

“We remind our members all over the federation to consider everyone presenting at the hospital for any ailments as potential COVID-19 patient until proven otherwise,” the NMA said.

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The Country’s Economy Sliding Into Depression – Gov. El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said Nigeria’s economy is going into a state of depression.

The governor said all the states are presently dealing with very difficult situation as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

El-Rufai said this while speaking to State House correspondents on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The economy is going to go into depression; there is nothing we can do about that; revenues have collapsed; yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities.

“Most of the leaders have to invest in treatment despite the condition and weighed to invest in security.”

He added that it is a difficult time for those at the leadership positions even as he called on all leaders to work in unity.

“This time is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and pray for God to end this Coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a major problem, but we are working together,” El-rufai added.

The Kaduna Governor, however, added that Nigeria will surely overcome as a resilient nation.

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Maikanti Baru, Former NNPC GMD, Dies at 60

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Maikanti Baru, the immediate past group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is dead.

He was 60 years old as at the time of his death, and only two months away from his 61st birthday.

This was disclosed by Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the state-run oil company.

“My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night,” Kyari said.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”

Baru was appointed NNPC GMD by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016, a position he held up until 2019.

Baru announced his retirement from NNPC in July 2019 when he clocked the age of 60.

“Today, having clocked the statutory age of 60, I have retired from the services of NNPC. I wish the new GMD Mallam Mele Kyari and his Team success. Thank you President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve,” he tweeted on July, 2019.

Baru was born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi state.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos for his secondary education where he graduated in 1978.

In 1982, he obtained his bachelor of engineering degree from Ahmadu Bello University.

Baru has a doctorate in Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He was the 18th GMD of NNPC.

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Court Jails Six Air Force Personnel Over Badeh’s Killing

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A general court martial in Abuja has jailed six personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) who were attached to Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff (CDS).

The late Badeh served as Nigeria’s chief of defence staff between January 2014 and July 2015.

Badeh died from the gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack on December 18. He was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road when he was shot dead.

In a statement on Saturday, Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, said the six officers, who were supposed to provide armed security for Badeh, were jailed on Friday. But he did not indicate the jail terms of the convicts.

He said the personnel involved are Tom Gwani, Amu David, Philemon Degema, Sabo Simon, Mukhtar Abdullahi and Alfred Alexander.

“Six NAF personnel, who were aides to the former CDS were awarded various sentences by the GCM sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja,” he said.

“The personnel were standing trial for various offences. Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges.

“These included their failure to perform military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS, while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, for giving false statements.

“The charges against the accused also included other civil offences of criminal conspiracy and miscellaneous offences relating to property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.”

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