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COVID-19: UNFPA donates PPEs to FCT

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COVID-19: UNFPA donates PPEs to FCT

By Mustapha Sumaila

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated some Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and Life Saving Commodities to two area councils in FCT to help prevent COVID-19.

Presenting the items on Wednesday in Abuja, Dr Babatunde Adelekan, UNFPA representative, said the gesture was aimed at preventing the spread of the pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Civil Society Organisation Engagement (CSOE) COVID-19 response project was being implemented by UNFPA and Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN).

Adelekan anounced that the items being distributed were 15,000 pieces of surgical face masks, 15,000 pieces of latex globes and 10,000 pieces of surgical globes.

He said other commodities distributed included 1,100 liquid disinfectants, 1,100 pieces of hand sanitisers and 200 safety goggles.

According to him, Abuja Municipal Area Council and Bwari are chosen as beneficiary councils because of their high burden cases in the territory.

Adelekan disclosed that this project was being implemented in nine states, including Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Ogun, Kano, Sokoto and FCT, simultaneously.

He said the project also cut across 320 facilities and in 30 local governments areas of the country.

Similarly, the official noted that UNFPA was also working with relevant stakeholders to bring down the upsurge of Gender Based Violence in the country.

In his remarks, the Director of Finance and Operations of PPFN, Mr Nnamdi Agha, commended the development partner for the gesture which would help in no small measure to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Agha said UNFPA had been working in partnership with PPFN to address issues bordering on COVID-19 and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Mr Farigua Olusegun, the FCT/UNFPA Programme Coordinator, expressed appreciation for the support.

Olusegun said that UNFPA had always collaborated with the territory in addressing pregnancy related challenges and maternal mortality before the pandemic.

He disclosed that the organisation had been sensitising women and other stakeholders on Gender Based Violence.

In his closing remarks, Dr Okai Haruna, the PPFN Director of Advocacy and External Relations, appreciated the intervention and solicited for sustained robust partnership to upscale reproductive health and end COVID-19 pandemic and GBV in the country. (NAN)

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Omo-Agege harps on observance of COVID-19 protocols as Muslims celebrate Eid-El-Fitr

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Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege while felicitating with Muslims at this years Ed-El-Fitr celebration emphasised the need for careful observance of Covid-19 protocols
Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Deputy President of the Senate Yomi Odunuga, in a statement in Abuja on Thursday noted that while Nigeria has been relatively safe thus far, the world is yet to overcome the pandemic.
He said, even with the conclusion of Ramadan fasting, Nigeria and the entire world needs a continuation of the self-control, godliness and generosity towards others.

Omo-Agege commended the Muslim Umar for their passionate observance of the Ramadan fasting and adherence to holy  injunctions.
“I felicitate with all Muslims across the Nigerian federation as they celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitri which was begun by the holy Prophet of Islam. It is a special day for expressing gratitude to the Almighty Allah for all that we are and all that we have.
“The lessons of this period, including the virtues that the Holy month of Ramadan emphasise are worth being sustained towards making our nation and indeed, the world, a better place.

“I therefore call on all our Muslim brothers and sisters across Nigeria to continue to reflect on how their spiritual lives and cultivation of human virtues can contribute more towards fostering peace, unity and progress in our dear nation,” the Delta Central lawmaker stated.

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Media reports on new COVID-19 restrictions not true, says FG

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The Federal Government has described as false media reports that it has re-introduced new restrictions on COVID-19.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the clarification at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
The minister insisted there were no new restrictions, pointing to the fact that the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19 only reiterated existing regulations to control the spread of the disease.
He indicated that the committee’s national incident manager Mukhtar Mohammed was quoted out of context during the briefing of the committee on Monday in Abuja.
He said the only thing that was newly introduced was that anyone, including Nigerians travelling from Brazil, Turkey or India, must go through compulsory quarantine.
“What we did was the need to remind people of the existing extant regulations on Covid-19.
“Government has not introduced anything new. You can still travel by air or road or any other means but ensure you wear your face mask.
“We have not opened night clubs, the regulations on social distancing, social and religious gatherings, use of face mask are still are still in place.

“The curfew between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. is still on and we are saying people must obey the existing protocols,’’ he said.
The minister said the emphasis became imperative because Nigerians were taking things for granted and behaving as if COVID-19 had gone.

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YIAGA Africa optimistic Senate will address Grey areas in public health emergency Bill

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The coordinaor of YIAGA Africa Center for Legislative Engagement, Dr. Ernest Ereke has assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Senate will address the grey areas in
the provisions of Quarantine Act 2004 (Amendment) bill, being considered by the Senate.
Ereke spoke at the one day public hearing on the Bill for an act CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Enact the public Health Emergency Act 2020 and for other related matters 2021″
Alleged infractions on extant laws by some provisions of the bill came to the fore at the one day public hearing held on the bill by the Senate Commitee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases at the National Assembly in Abuja Frid

Specifically the Minister of Health, Dr Emmanuel Ehanire had faulted some provisions that will overlap with functions already being performed by NCDC.
Alligning his position with that of the minister, The Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said what constitute public health emergency must be clearly defined in avoiding operational clashes between the proposed task force and NCDC  as he advocated for the provisions  proposing the Task Force to be deleted.
The coordinator in his response said it is the real essence having the public hearing and engagement with lawmakers so that the grey areas can be streamlined.
YIAGA Africa, a non- governmental organisation, had earlier sought for the protection of citizens rights in the proposed legislation

Accordjng to Dr. Ereke, the lawmakers eventually will retreat after the public hearing and take a look at all the extent laws as far as health energencies and disease control in the country are concerned and so at that point all of these views that have been expressed by both the ministry of health and the DG NCDC will be taken into account.
“For us we believe that going by some of the event that followed the declaration of lockdown measures by the excutive in 2020 we have a lot of gaps in existing laws to be able to tackle some of the fallout from that imposition of lockdown.

“Now whether it is to ammend the NCDC act as they have recommended that such gaps need to be filled up, whether it is to enact a new legislation that addresses broadly some of these gaps. The most important thing is that Nigeria needs an effetive legislation that takes care of the shortcommings that we had noticed.

Nigerians will recall that some times 2020, shortly after the National Assembly Reconvene from the COVID 19 Pandemic first recess. “Two bills were introduced; one in the lower chamber, Titled the Control of Infectious diseases bill Sponsored by the Speaker and some other members and then in the senate there was also the COVID Health Emergency Bill similar to the control of infectious diseases bill.”
He said, the objective of those two bills is to ensure that Nigeria is bequeated with an effective legislative framework to tackle Public Health emergencies in the magnitude of the Covid 19 pandemic drawing from the weaknesses and the limitations of the extant laws of the quarantine act 2004.
He reminded Nigerians that when the two bills were introduced there was a huge outcry by citizens that a lot of provisions and clauses in the two bills derogates citizens constitutionally guarranteed rights.

“Given that outcry by Nigerians as a civil society oranization in the campaign for citizens led Government for the citizens right, We felt we owe it to the citizenry and to the Country to ensure that whatever legislation that is passed or enacted by the parliament is in conformity with the wishes and aspirations as well as desires of Nigerians and that such legislation must not trample on the rights that the constitution already guarrantees for Nigerian citizens.

“So we moved into the National assembly as we have always done. Working with the two committees of both chambers, we were able to get them to listen to citizens and hence they incorporated a lot of the citizens views in to the bills.
“We had a lot of citizens, stakeholders engagement with the lawmakers. In appreciation to the lawmakers they listened to the voice of Nigerians. Again not just to ensure that citizens voices are heard, the YIAGA Africa Citizens for engagement mandate, a mandate to ensure that the legislature is equiped with the necessary capacity to perform its functions of legislation, representation and Oversight.
“So the support that we are providing for the senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable diseases is just one of such support that we provide for the legislature as an institution as critical institution of democracy.

He said the position of YIAGA is that they have made known to the National Assembly that it must not derogate from citizens right.
A lot of the provisions before now have been cleaned up, we must admit, given our advocacy the biUt.
“The chairman of the committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi did mentioned that this bill has been redrafted and cleaned up and it is devoid of those draconian dicisions that the peolle earlier kicked against.
“We believed that the quarantine act of 2004 which was bequeated to us by the colonial masters was anachronistic and requires to be rt-enated or reviewed to ensure that contemporary realities as far as public health challenges and emergencies are concerned are incorporated into an effective legislation that will empower the Nigerian State to be able to fully react to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you recall, at the outbreak of the pandemic Nigeria was really at a lost as to how to begin to respond to such emergencies. So we believe that such a law strenghtens the institutions of the State with the necessary powers and support required to react to public health emergencies.

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