New Nigerian Newspaper NNN Sun, 05 Apr 2020 07:52:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 100775232 HEKAN Set Aside Monday, Tuesday For Fasting/ Prayers, Urges DCC’s, LCC’s To Reach Out To Needy Sun, 05 Apr 2020 07:52:31 +0000
In its quest to continuously seek divine intervention against the dreaded CoronaVirus, the United Church of Christ in Nations (HEKAN) has again set aside  Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th April for Fasting and prayers against the covid-19 disease.

President of the church reverend Amos G. Kiri said the church will not relent in prayers considering the increasing number of cases of the Virus in Nigeria and other countries of the world. 

In a  statement made available to newsmen in Kaduna, the National leadership of HEKAN church directed all District and Local church councils to extend hands of love to the vulnerable and the needy in the society, as many are going through hard times under the lockdown 

” The leadership of HEKAN has agreed that on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th April, 2020 the entire HEKAN family will fast and pray, seeking the face of the LORD against the coronavirus disease” 

“We seriously need God’s intervention in this global COVID-19 pandemic. Technology and men’s wisdom have failed us” 

“We have directed all DCCs and LCC’s Chairmen and their leadership to as a matter of urgency assist/help the vulnerable and the needy members in the best way they can,” Kiri said.

The HEKAN President also appealed to all Christians to be the source of strength and hope to one another.

“In times like this we seriously need to encourage one another. I pray that God give us same attitude of endurance and encouragement toward each other.

“The only way out of this chaotic situation is for all mankind to humbly return to their creator.

” God in his word says, If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I (GOD) will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and will heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:13-14)”

According to the number one HEKAN Member, the holy book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Teaches believers to always thank God for his grace upon their lives, adding  that the situation the world is going through is a storm and we will come out of it stronger and victorious 

“I pray that you remain true to the Lord with all of your hearts. COVID-19 pandemic has only come at the time it was ordained for it to come.

“Whether it is God’s plague or man made, we shall together lift up our voices to God Almighty and ask for mercy.”

He further appealed to the privilege members in the church to give a helping hand to the needy, as he enjoyed them to be their brothers keeper and practically demonstrate our love. 

” The holy Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)”

The HEKAN President further enjoined all Christian faithful to continue to dwell in the presence of the Most High at all times as he is the only solution to every situation. 

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AMDF Seeks Nigerian Journalists, Newsrooms Partnership on COVID-19 Collaborative News Platform Sun, 05 Apr 2020 06:24:45 +0000

Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) a media development organisation that provides professional support to journalists is seeking partnership with Nigerian Journalists and Newsrooms to run a Collaborative News Reporting Platform on COVID-19.

This was expressed in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Iliya Kure, made available on Sunday April 5, 2020.

“It is no longer news that the world is witnessing a pandemic, as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), such as it has never seen in the past.

“The novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. It was initially referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.

“Of course, there were outbreak of flu diseases in the past including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), from the same family of virus, but none has impacted on the world like what we are seeing today,” it said.

AMDF explained that the crisis has proven that no government was adequately prepared to handle crisis of this magnitude, as many of them are still battling to contain the situation.

“In Nigeria, efforts are ongoing by government to expand testing centres to cover every zone of the country. Those that have tested positive are either on self-isolation or receiving treatment based on the advice of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“But, like many other Africa countries, the action and inaction by both the federal and state governments of Nigeria have raised many questions, which citizens are yearning for answers,” it submitted.

It further said the Nigerian Media & COVID-19 crisis has taken many professionals (including journalists) unaware, as to how to address the issue. 

“For journalists, it is how to report it, especially with the inadequate media resources that speak to reporting on the disease.

“Most of the media reports in Nigeria have centred on figures of people infected as provided by the NCDC, with little or no depth. This may not be unrelated to unavailability of resources to obtain information beyond what the government, or hospitals provide.

“But as the watchdog of the society, the Nigerian media has no excuse, it must rise up to its responsibility by ensuring adequate reportage that answer questions. Some of these questions include;
• COVID-19 has impacted negatively on businesses (small, medium and large) in Nigeria, how are the business owners coping?• The lockdown imposed in many parts of Nigeria is impacting on the citizens and communities, especially the low-income families, how are they coping?•  The lockdown is impacting on the homeless, how are they coping, have they been provided shelter?• Restriction of movements is affecting even essential service workers, including the media, how are they coping with means of transportation and overzealous security agents?• Are there increase in other ailments in the hospital?• Many wealthy Nigerians have made donations, are there mechanism in place to ensure effective and transparent utilisation of these funds, as well as check corrupt tendencies?• What ongoing efforts are there by government and private sector to expand testing centres to cover every state in the country?• There have been strong calls by experts for people to avoid crowded areas, what are the plans in place by government on decongesting the prisons and IDP camps?”
AMDF suggested collaborative reporting.
“In view of the above, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is introducing a one-year long Collaborative News Platform aimed at bringing interested partners (journalists and newsrooms) to leverage on each other’s resources and report on the COVID-19 crisis and issues around it. 

“This we believe will help address the scarce resources in reporting the disease and story challenges faced by media organisations.  

“Our aim is to have in place a central platform that will provide vast, accurate, untold and timely news stories and information to our various audiences, who should be adequately informed on the coronavirus crisis in Nigeria.
“The platform will also feature a section that contains resources (audio, text, videos and multimedia) from credible experts, organisations and governments for journalists and media organisations to consult for stories on the COVID-19.
 “If you (a professional journalist) or your organisation’s newsroom is interested in participating. Kindly send an application on your letterheaded paper indicating your interest to;
“The Executive Director,Africa Media Development FoundationImam House, Ahmadu Bello way, Kaduna, Nigeria.

“Email your scanned application to; We shall respond to you as soon as we receive your application.”

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COVID-19 And The Zamfara Example Sun, 05 Apr 2020 06:08:29 +0000


When the outbreak of CoronaVirus hit Nigeria a few weeks back, both Federal and state Governments did not take it lightly, especially that the infections grew in number, affecting more people than initially imagined. Indeed, the Governor of Zamfara State, Dr Bello Mohammed (Matawallen Maradun), did not rest on his oars as he immediately rolled out plans to handle the situation in the state.

Zamfara State is one of the states in Nigeria where a case of covid-19 has not been recorded and not a single suspected case ever reported anywhere in the state. However, that is not enough reason to to be complacent in the face of an international pandenic such the one at hand. 

Hence, Governor Bello Mohammed ordered for the closure of all schools in the state for an initial period of one month which was complied pronto. He asked civil servants to stay at home and, himself, adopted a skeletal service to run the affairs of government on precautionary measures. 

He then, ordered the closure of all the borders of the state. In an emergency state wide broadcast, he ordered the closure of the borders where no one is allowed to go outside the state, nor enter the borders into the state for an initial period of two weeks. The idea here is to prevent anyone with the virus coming into the state to spread it and at the same time, preventing those inside the site to mix with others outside the state with a likelyhood of contacting the virus and returning it back to the state. 

To enforce this directive, Governor Matawalle personally monitored the borders himself where he encouraged the security operatives to be honest and committed to their responsibilities in this regard. At the Yan Kara border with Katsina state, Governor Matawalle met hundreds of stranded vehicles denied either entry or exit from the state. He, however, immediately ordered the release of all vehicles carrying food and drugs so as to ease the pressure of the little that is abound with the people. 

Then, His Excellency ordered for the formation of two separate committees to handle the matter at home. 

The first committee was for the prevention and control  of the disease which was placed under the leadership of the Speaker of the State House of Assembly who himself, is a trained Health personnel, Rt. Hon. Nasiru Muazu Magarya. 

The second one was the Impact and relief committee which was rightly placed under the chairmanship of His Excellency, the Deputy Governor, Barr. Mahdi Aliyu Gusau.

 Both committees swung into action where all their members move around on daily basis to feel the pulse of the people and take informed decisions on the appropriate measures to take in handling the calm nature of the situation we have in Zamfara State. 

Governor Matawalle further directed for the purchase of all what is required to protect the citizens from unnecessary contact with the dreaded virus. His administration purchased hand sanitisers, face masks and fumigation equipments and their required chemicals. 

These have all been deployed to use in the public domain. The Government did not stop people from their normal day to day activities, but were strongly advised to observe the safety rules such as maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowd and staying at home unless otherwise necessary to go out.

Governor Matawalle personally went round to enforce the mandatory steps all public establishments ought to take in order to safeguard the people.

 For instance, this took him to many banks where he observed their teller machines were not provided with hand sanitisers for customers. He warned that if they failed to provide the sanitisers, his administration will definitely close down their operations. 

So far, his call for well to do citizens and organisations in the state to support the people in this trying moments was yielding very positive result. 

Individuals and groups such as the former Governor of the State, Alhaji Sani Ahmad (Yariman Bakura), the State Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Ibrahim Mallaha, Amb. Bashir Yuguda, Alhaji Usman Dan Kalili, The Emir of Zurmi and Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, to mention a few, have all responded with donations of food stuff and millions of naira to assist in cushioning the effect of economic slow down among the people. Governor Matawalle ordered for the immediate disbursement of all donations received to the needy only. 

As we enter the second week of our watch, no single case of the disease has so far been reported in the state. Governor Matawalle promised to continue observing the rules as well as monitoring compliance among the people. 

He also promised to fully come in to assist the people more in the next coming week, should the index of the pandemic refuse to relax. Indeed, the measures taken so far in the state leaves us much more comfortable and less threatened by the pandemic. 

However, that is not a basis for complacency. Everyone has the responsibility to remain vigilant and supportive. 
Bappa writes from Gusau.

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COVID-19: Reps Seek 2-Month Electricity Payment Waiver For Nigerians Sun, 05 Apr 2020 05:34:43 +0000 By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON

The House of Representatives is to consider a fresh Stimulus Bill that will ensure that Nigerians get free electricity supply for two months to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Speaker Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said.

The Speaker said the proposed Bill is to help in boosting the economy through the informal sector as the country prepares for the aftermath of the coronavirus.

The proposed Bill, which will be the second Stimulus Bill by the Green Chamber, is to be considered immediately the House reconvenes from its ongoing break, declared due to the pandemic. 

It has, however, been agreed by the leadership of the National Assembly that the resumption date, initially slated for April 7, will be extended by one week in compliance with government’s 2-week stay-at-home policy. 

Gbajabiamila spoke at the National Assembly on Saturday during a meeting between the National Assembly leadership and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmad, the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, among others.

The Senate President, in his opening remarks, noted that the meeting, the second in about 10 days, was a testimony of the commitment of both arms of government at addressing the issues holistically.

He assured that the Nigerian parliament would perform its constitutional roles towards ensuring that Nigerians benefit from all efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of the disease.

While noting that Nigerians must be assisted to weather the storm of the virus, Lawan added that critical decisions needed to be taken but must be legal, which makes it important that the legislature is part of the entire process. 

On his part, Gbajabiamila said the country could not afford to be unprepared for the effect of COVID-19 on its economy.

Explaining the necessity for the proposed stimulus bill for the electricity sector, the Speaker said electricity, being a commodity consumed by every household, has a greater effect on the people and that since more Nigerians are in the informal sector, the effects would be more felt by the economy.

“The issue of electricity, you’ll agree, because the Minister did say that she has been inundated by the public, just as we are, on several suggestions and ideas and I am almost a hundred percent sure that, from those ideas will be the issue of some kind of shelter, as far as electricity is concerned.

“It is one thing that will touch every household. As I said earlier, when we engaged, I discussed with the electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) that packaged whatever they would require, if the government can give them, for us to allow for two months free electricity for Nigerians, they would be able to guarantee it.

“We have the figures. I think we should look very seriously into that as part of our package for economic stimulus, because stimulus means something that will stimulate the economy. When you are stimulating the economy, most of it will come from the informal sector.

“When you are saving people their electricity and the fact that they now have stable electricity for two months, you are also saving the monies that would go into the payment of those bills at least for two months.”

On the need by the Executive arm to source for funds in the fight against coronavirus and its socio-economic effects, the  Speaker restated the determination of the National Assembly to partner the Executive in efforts aimed at mitigating the effects of the disease on Nigerians and the economy. 

He, however, noted that all government funds and private donations must be transparently accounted for. 

He said: “Definitely, you will be taking loans from the Special Accounts, and as the Senate President said, it has to be backed by law, which again emphasizes the need to collaborate as earlier stated by the Minister. 

“There has to be a collaboration. It cannot be a unilateral decision from the National Assembly; it can’t be a unilateral decision from the Executive; there has to be a collaboration. I’m glad that we are on that trajectory.

“I’m glad that my earlier discussion with the Honourable Minister on food and other items seized by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has been taken care of, as stated by the Minister. 

“We need to, as soon as possible, and let the public know. On the issue of Presidential Task Force (PTF), none of us here, I don’t think any legislator can point to, who exactly is in charge. Where does the buck stop?

“Who is in charge of the disbursement? Who is in charge of the distribution of cash? Who decides what money goes where? 

“Now, it is incumbent on the National Assembly to follow the money. Constitutionally, any money that comes into Nigeria, there has to be oversight.

“That is why, we in the House have directed our Committees on Health, Disaster Management and Preparedness and Donor Agencies to talk to the PTF, talk to the Minister of Health and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“I wrote letters to all these people, but I wasn’t sure where exactly the buck stops. We need to clearly define exactly who is handling the money, who is handling what?

Gbajabiamila also urged the Finance Minister and her team to consider all options put forward by experts on preparation against the economic effects of coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier, the Minister for Finance,  said among other measures, the establishment of a N500bn Covid-19 Crisis Intervention Fund is on the table.

She said the money is expected to be raised from various Special Funds and Accounts in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly.

The intervention fund will be utilized to finance the Federal Government’s support to state in improving their healthcare facilities and also finance the creation of a Special Public Works Programme.

She also explained the need to revisit the 2020 national budget has become imperative, saying, “It has been established that Nigeria is currently facing significant fiscal risks due to the worsening global economic outlook. 

“Specifically, Nigeria is highly vulnerable to the current global economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis; and exposed to the risks of both a pronounced decline in oil prices and spikes in risk aversion in the global capital markets.”

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5 CoronaVirus Victims In A’Ibom Stable, Responding To Treatment – CMD Sun, 05 Apr 2020 05:31:57 +0000


The Chief Medical Director of Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo, Professor Emmanuel Ekanem has disclosed that the five persons who tested positive to COVID-19 in the state are in a stable condition and are doing well and do not need ventilators. 
Prof Ekanem made the disclosure at the weekend, while taking delivery of hand sanitizers and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Akwa Ibom State branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). 
He applauded the unity among health workers while assuring that there will be no mortality in the state at end of the COVID-19 scourge in the state as Governor Udom Emmanuel had given marching orders and provisions for best management of cases. 
Addressing the management of the specialist hospital, the state chairman of PSN, Dr Akwaowo Akpabio said the society produced alcohol-based sanitizers in collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo. 
He revealed that PSN will be visiting the Infectious Disease Hospital, Ikot Ekpene and other health facilities to donate sanitizers as a means of fighting the pandemic as well as encouraging safety of health workers as government alone cannot provide all that is needed .
On the Corona virus outbreak in Akwa Ibom state, Dr. Akpabio said it was not time for anyone to contest results of the NCDC, but to team up with government at all levels to fight the scourge. 
He noted that the Pharmaeutical Society of Nigeria was ready to provide volunteers to assist hospitals accross the state as the quest to end the pandemic intensifies. 
On her part, Akwa Ibom state Chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Mrs. Emilia Eleazar, who was also part of the entourage expressed happiness that the recommendations made to government by healthcare professionals in the state have yielded results.

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LASEMA Raises Alarm Over NNPC Pipeline Leakage Sun, 05 Apr 2020 05:28:49 +0000


Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline along the axis at Mosan Bus Stop, Kakatin Area, Ipaja, Lagos State, is leaking.

Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, the Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), confirmed the development on Saturday.

According to him, “immediately we (LASEMA) received an alert from our office concerning the pipeline leakage at about 9:30 a.m., we contacted NNPC officials.”

He said that the agency (LASEMA) and other first respondents intended to remain on high alert until the repairs are carried out by NNPC officials.

Oke-Osanyintolu, however, urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution in and around the area to prevent any form of explosion or ignition from the naked flame or other activity.

He promised to continue to provide an update on the pipeline leakage.

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Akwa Ibom Police Command Demotes Sergeant To Corporal For Assaulting A Doctor At Road Block Sun, 05 Apr 2020 05:26:21 +0000

An erring police officer, one Sgt. Edidiong Alexander has been demoted to the rank of corporal after an altercation that went bad between him and one Dr Daniel David Edet of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Akwa Ibom State.
Sgt. Alexander attached to Safer Highway allegedly assaulted the doctor at Nung Oku junction where he was on duty Friday evening.
Dr. Edet was said to have been returning from the hospital when Sgt. Alexander stopped him at the road block, struck him with stick despite his explanations and proof of identification as a medical personnel.
CSP Nnudam Frederick, Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO) in the state who confirmed the incident said that the Commissioner of Police had ordered for his arrest and detention. 
CSP Frederick added that the erring officer who has been in detention was “subjected to orderly room trial in line with the Police Act and Regulations and was found guilty by the adjudicating officer. 
“The orderly room  proceeding was reviewed and he was reduced in rank from Sergeant to Corporal.
“Also, the CP had met with the Chairman NMA , Chairman Resident Doctors Association and the victim where he apologized to the entire members of the Nigeria Medical Association Akwa Ibom State Branch, for the unwholesome act/ conduct of the police officer and assured the victim of the required medical attention, and enjoined them to continue to work with the police in this trying time in order to contain COVID-19,” the PPRO stated.    According to him, the Commissioner, CP Edgal has subsequently directed all Area Commanders and DPOs to effectively supervise their officers and men, and warned them  to discharge their duties professionally as any further act of indiscipline would be met with unpalatable consequences.
It would be recalled that the medical professionals in the state had, based on the brutal attack on their member, threatened to down tools if the Commissioner of Police failed to yield to their demand which included disciplining Sgt Alexander as well as rendering public apologies.
The state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel had on Thursday night ordered a total lockdown of person and vehicular movements in the state for 14 days effective on Friday April 3.
The order came on the heels of five confirming positive cases of Coronavirus in the state within the week, just as it is one the measures adopted by government to stop the spread of the virus in the state.

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Kaduna To Get CoronaVirus Testing Centre Soon – Deputy Governor Sat, 04 Apr 2020 21:42:07 +0000 By; FUNMI ADERINTO, Kaduna

Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe has revealed that  the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has promised  that Kaduna State will soon have a COVID-19 testing centre.

Dr Hadiza Balarabe who made this known  during a state broadcast on Friday, was giving an update on the activities of Kaduna COVID-19 Task Force.
Dr Balarabe said that  the Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed Baloni  and her counterparts from other states  met with NCDC officials last week, ‘’where that commitment was again emphasized.’’
 ‘’As an interim measure, Kaduna State Government is in talks with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria for use of the PCR machine at the African Center for Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases,’’ she added.
The Deputy Governor promised that when talks between the state government and ABU Zaria  are finalized, the general public will be informed accordingly.
According to Dr Balarabe, Government has identified a location that will be used as an isolation centre for asymptomatic people.
‘’The States Facility Management Agency has been mandated to quickly renovate and make the identified location conducive and purpose-specific for these categories of individuals,’’ she said.
‘’ However, this is a stop-gap arrangement, pending when a permanent structure is built. To this end, Government will be approaching private donors to support this project so that we can scale up our response to this pandemic’’, she added.
 The Deputy Governor  also said that Government  has bought palliatives in the form of food items and other commodities, to be distributed to the vulnerable members of the society.

 ‘’Right now, the palliatives have have been sent to some identified local governments in the first instance, for onward distribution to clusters and households. In fact, households will start receiving these palliatives immediately,’’ she said.
Dr Balarabe said that donations have been trickling in from well meaning individuals, corporate organizations and Non Governmental Organizations.
‘’In addition, the Commissioner for Local Government will fashion out ways and means to enable solvent Area Councils to donate their widow’s mite,’’ she further said.
 The Deputy Governor who noted that Nigerians are  living in tough times, pointed out that the situation requires ‘’us to not only be our brothers’ keepers but to also be cheerful givers, especially to the less privileged amongst us.’’
The Deputy Governor lamented that before the stay-at-home order was reviewed, the Quarantine order was variously breached in several respects.
‘’Although most places of worship remained closed, some clerics defied the law by insisting on holding congregational prayers. The clerics have been duly arrested, arraigned before the court, for onward prosecution,’’ she said.
According to her, the Government has  have reviewed the situation with security agencies to ramp up enforcement of the restriction of movement in the interest of the safety of everyone.

The Deputy Governor warned that the Quarantine order will continue to be  enforced and ‘’this time around, anyone who runs afoul of the law, will be dealt with irrespective of his or her status.’’

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Over 400 Vehicles Impounded For Flouting Lockdown Order In Lagos – Sanwo-Olu Sat, 04 Apr 2020 21:37:38 +0000


Lagos State Government has arrested over 400 vehicles for flouting the lockdown order.

Governor Babajide Sanwo revealed this during a live update to residents of the state on steps taken by his administration to contain the COVID-19.

“We have reviewed the situation, we are aware. It is true that we have seen a lot of people trying to flout the rules especially when it gets to 7, 8:00 (pm).

“Today, we have arrested almost 400 vehicles, all yellow buses, that the Commissioner of Police reported to us and they have also been given the directives that the lockdown is 24/7.

“It is not that you are meant to restrict at any point of the day. It is 24/7 and people need to obey the rules. People need to comply fully.”

According to the governor, the state government will not relent in arresting commuters who may want to flout the lockdown policy.

While vowing to arrest more culprits for disobeying government’s directives on the restriction of movement, Sanwo-Olu explained that security agencies have been asked to make to more arrests.

Speaking further, he said: “We are going back to ensure that nobody is spared. If they need to continue to arrest your buses, they will do.

“Over 400 or so have been arrested from what we were told. And they will continue to do that. That is why we need to continue to encourage that people stay away until when all of these is over,” he said.

On palliative measures to cushion the effect of lockdown on residents of the state, the governor announced that the government would be offering free medical services to pregnant women and other persons with health emergencies.

He noted that the development is an additional measure to complement the welfare food stimulus package already in place in the state.

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Lagos Govt To Offset Medical Bills Of Pregnant Women, Patients On Emergency During Period Of Lockdown -Sanwo-Olu Sat, 04 Apr 2020 21:32:18 +0000


Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday, introduced more palliative schemes for vulnerable residents who might be affected by the ongoing 14-day lockdown directive imposed by the Federal Government in the State.

For the duration of the lockdown, the State Government will be offsetting the medical bills of any patient admitted into the State-owned secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, Gov. Sanwo-Olu announced in a briefing after the State’s Security Council meeting held at the State House in Marina.

The new palliative scheme, Sanwo-Olu said, will cover the medical equipment expenses of pregnant women on maternity delivery and other categories of patients in emergency, casualty cases, laboratory testing and surgeries.

Also, the Governor said the cost of any medication bought at the State-owned secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities will be borne by the Government during the period of lockdown.

The move, Sanwo-Olu said, is to ameliorate the difficulties that may be experienced by the those whose wellbeing may have been affected by the ongoing restrictions initiated to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the State.

Lagos is worst hit of the three states currently locked down by the Federal Government. Others are Ogun State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Sanwo-Olu said measures had been put in place to ensure the scheme was not compromised, adding that the palliative would make great impact on those in need of medical attention in the period of lockdown.

He said: “Lagos State Government will, for the duration of the restriction on movement, be taking full responsibility for the medical bills of all patients who fall in the following categories at all Lagos State-owned secondary healthcare facilities.

“The first category are patients in emergency, casualty cases, including registration, laboratory tests, surgeries, and drugs. Those in the second category are maternity cases. We will bear the full cost of pregnant women on normal delivery and Caesarean sections in our hospitals in this period of lockdown.

“What this new scheme means is that, at this time, patients with the listed medical conditions will not need to pay to access treatment and care in all our 27 General Hospitals across the State.”

The Governor said the State had started to review the process of distribution of food relief package, which was introduced at the beginning of the restriction, admitting that the programme had made positive difference in the lives of the intended beneficiaries.

He, however, pointed out that there was ongoing appraisal of the social intervention programme, which, he said, was necessitated by pockets of irregularities observed in its implementation.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the restrictive measures had started to pay off, stressing that lockdown had afforded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to keep up and make appropriate progress in tracing of contacts.

“The restrictions have started paying off; the Nigeria Center for Disease Control has told us that they have been able to take advantage of the absence of traffic on our roads to make appreciable progress in their contact tracing,” the Governor said.

He said all patients in the State’s isolation centres were doing well and recovering faster despite the surge in Covid-19 case in Lagos. A patient, Sanwo-Olu said, was discharged on Saturday afternoon, making it 24 COVID-19 patients treated and released by the State.

Sanwo-Olu reiterated his Government’s commitment to security of residents’ lives and property, warning hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the ongoing restriction of movement to rob. The Governor ordered 24-hour security surveillance across residential areas and asked the police to dislodge hoodlums in various spots across the State.

He also said more measures would be introduced to ensure the lockdown remains effective.

On whether there would be extension of the lockdown, Sanwo-Olu said: “We are in the period of national emergency and the ongoing restriction was declared by the President. If there’s need for an extension, the Federal authorities will decide that based on the outcome of the ongoing measures.”

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