The number of confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Africa has reached 4,330,666 as of Saturday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said. The Africa CDC, the specialised healthcare agency of the African Union (AU), said the death toll from the pandemic stood at 115,191 while 3,888,495 patients across the continent have recovered from the disease. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, and Egypt are among the African countries with the most cases in the continent, according to the Africa CDC. South Africa has recorded 1,556,242 COVID-19 cases, the most among African countries, followed by Morocco, at 500,984 cases, and Tunisia at 268,837 cases, it was noted
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, on Saturday, said there was no identified case of the new subvariants of the Omicron variant of SARS CoV-2 virus, named EG.5r and BA.2.86 has not been identified in Nigeria.
The NCDC also assured Nigerians that the Agency is monitoring the new subvariants.
Disclosing these in an official press statement on the new COVID-19 Subvariants, the Director General of Director General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, explained that the EG.5 variant is a descendant of XBB.1.9.2 (itself a descendant of Omicron).
Adetifa stated that as of 7th August 2023, the EG.5 has been reported in 51 countries including China, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, and Spain among others.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, has classified EG.5 as a “variant of interest” (VOI) and conducted a risk assessment which found this new variant poses a low risk at the global level. In addition, EG.5 has not been associated with any change in symptoms/clinical manifestation and has not produced an increase in severity of illness and/or hospitalisations or difference in death rates in reporting countries.
EG.5 causes symptoms like those seen with other COVID-19 variants, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, and sore throat. So far, only one case of EG.5 has been seen in Africa, it has not been identified in Nigeria.
Adetifa in the statement said: “The recently discovered/reported BA.2.86 is a descendent lineage of BA.2 (a sublineage of Omicron, also found in Nigeria in 2022).
“As of August 23, 2023, the BA.2.86 variant had been reported in a handful of countries – the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, and the United States. It has been classified by the WHO as a “variant under monitoring” (VUM) because it has multiple genetic differences that make it substantially different from its ancestor, BA.2, and from other currently circulating XBB-derived SARS-CoV-2 variants. Since there are few cases identified so far, there is not enough information to make conclusive assessments of virulence, transmission, and severity. However, we do not expect it to be much different from other omicron descendants currently circulating. Although the ancestor, BA.2 has been previously found in Nigeria, no BA.2.86 variant has been identified in Nigeria.”
He added that the NCDC’s COVID-19 Technical Working Group (COVID-19 TWG) is closely monitoring COVID-19 epidemiology – local, regional, continental, and global – including emerging variants.
“Our influenza sentinel surveillance sites continue to provide information on COVID-19 prevalence in patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness. We have not observed any increase in the trend of COVID-19 in this patient group. We continue to carry out genomics surveillance even with the low testing levels and encourage testing locations in states to ensure their positive samples are sent to the NCDC for sequencing.
Unrelated to the news of these emerging variants, the NCDC and partners are working on implementing an enhanced COVID-19 testing exercise in four states to obtain complementary and more detailed information about circulating variants in the country.
“In addition, COVID-19 rapid diagnostic kits are being distributed to improve bi-directional COVID-19 testing.”
He urged Nigerians including media practitioners to act responsibly and share only verified information.
“There is no need to cause unnecessary anxiety and panic. As we have consistently advised, COVID-19 is here to stay and is now mainly a problem for those at high risk – the elderly, those with underlying chronic illnesses, especially hypertension, and diabetes, those on cancer treatment, organ transplant recipients, and those whose immune systems are suppressed for one reason or the other.
“The actions required to protect our friends, families, and selves remain the same as before: Get tested for any febrile illness and respiratory symptoms regardless of how mild.
Prompt testing can help identify cases with a high risk of becoming severely ill and also provides samples for testing that provide information on circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and disease trends
“Ensure you and your loved ones make use of every opportunity the government has provided to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination protects against severe disease symptoms, hospitalisation, and death should you contract the virus. Continue the practice of good hand hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap under running water. Wear a mask if you have flu-like symptoms like coughing, sneezing, etc. If you are at risk of severe disease, use a mask in crowded and other high-risk situations.
Adetifa stated: “We continue to monitor situations around the globe and especially in countries where the new variant has been confirmed and keep Nigerians updated as may be required with scientifically sound and evidence-based information on any changes in SARS-COV-2 epidemiology and genomics that may threaten public health
Kwara Gov receives VP Kashim Shettima in Ilorin hails peace harmony in Kwara
Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Saturday received Vice President Kashim Shettima (GCON) in Ilorin, the state capital, amid a rousing welcome by several APC leaders and people of the state.
Vice President Shettima was received by the Governor at the Tunde Idiagbon Airport, joined by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Rt Hon Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Sen Salihu Mustapha (Kwara Central); Sen. Sadiq Umar (North); some members of the state executive council; and CEO KAM Holdings Nigeria Alhaji Kamaru Yusuf.
The Vice President touched down at the airport at exactly 3p.m., accompanied by his Special Assistant on Political Matters Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; and top APC chieftain Dr. Isia’q Modibbo Kawu; among others.
Shettima headed to the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, where he commissioned the institution’s Nursing Science Complex, which has been named after him.
The Vice President then delivered the university’s 13th convocation lecture that was themed ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’.
Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Inspector General of Police IGP Kayode Egbetokun, who has just received his doctoral degree from the institution; founder of the University Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji (OFR); and Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Noah Yusuf.
Shettima, in his lecture, said Nigeria’s reliance on oil since the early 70s and the neglect of the agricultural sector are responsible for what has today become a national security challenge in the form of food insecurity.
He said the challenge assumed a disturbing proportion as a result of policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters, among others.
He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu understands the nexus between food production and national security, and has declared a state of emergency on food security alongside a policy commitment to improve productivity by injecting more funds in the sector.
Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the Federal Government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum, the vice president said.
He said no appreciable progress can be made in agricultural production without mechanization, calling for increased and efficient use of modern technology to maximise yield.
The Vice President described Governor AbdulRazaq as a prudent leader and commended him for various agricultural initiatives the administration has introduced to boost food production in the state.
Speaking about the cultural composition of Ilorin, which he said exemplifies a spirit of brotherhood, Shettima said Nigeria has a lot to learn from the ancient city, calling on all indigenes of Ilorin to continue to be tolerant and supportive of one another.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
December 9, 2023
Japa: Feel free to leave, Bishop Kukah tells Nigerian youths
The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has advised young Nigerians wishing to leave the country (the popular Japa syndrome) not to hesitate.
However, he prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday. It was the school’s convocation ceremony.
The Bishop said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.
“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.
“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.
“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”
Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.
According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.
“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.
“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.
“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.
‘How pilot delayed plane for me’
He narrated an experience: “I have a personal experience of coming late to catch a flight to Sokoto. I was the last person to get on the plane.
“Miraculously, the plane continued to wait and when I got to the aircraft, the pilot was waiting at the foot of the plane.
“I tried to take my seat and knelt to greet me. I was quite embarrassed because I had never seen this gentleman in my life. But he said, ‘Well, Bishop, I have to kneel and greet you because you are the one who recommended me over 10 years ago for the job as a pilot’.
“We never know as teachers. Do not fall victims to the claim that your rewards are in heaven. Your rewards are actually here and they will also be in heaven.”
He congratulated the management and staff of the university, headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ichoku Hyacinth.
Kukah said the VC’s outstanding leadership and qualities “have been very clearly enunciated on how far the university had travelled.
“We hope that this university will achieve the elasticity that all those who started with Veritas will be able to secure the place.”
He appealed to the bodies that regulate university admissions to expand the opportunity for some universities, including Veritas University so that they can contribute their quota to the education of the citizens.
… to parents
Turning to the parents and guardians, Kukah said: “As a chairman of the Council, I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that people have made. (I am) also taking notes of the rising amount of internally generated revenue without necessarily punishing anybody.
“These things, we don’t take for granted. I, therefore, salute the management and staff of Veritas University for their courage and determination in fulfilling their obligation.
“As Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Veritas University, we assure you of the unequivocal support of the council for the ongoing development of Veritas University.
“Once again, we appeal to you to please let your name be printed somewhere in this university. It doesn’t matter how big and how little. Step forward and make your commitment because it is through this that we can expand the frontier of knowledge through Veritas University.”
PHOTOS: El-Rufai, Former Emir Of Kano, Visit Kaduna Community Bombed By Army
The Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, have visited Tudun Biri in Kaduna State where villagers attending Maulud celebration were bombed on Sunday evening.
The village was struck by an accidental airstrike on Sunday during a Maulud celebration, resulting in the loss of scores of lives.
The two leaders joined other leaders from the Tijjaniyya Islamic sect for a visit to the village on Friday.
Sanusi is a spiritual leader in the Tijanniyah Sufi order of Nigeria.
Credit: X | MuyiwaAdekeye
General3 weeks ago
BREAKING: Appeal Court Sacks Zamfara Governor, Orders Fresh Election
General3 weeks ago
BREAKING: Appeal Court Sacks Mutfwang declare APC candidates Goshwe as Plateau Governor
General3 weeks ago
JUST IN: Appeal Court Sacks Abba Yusuf, affirms Gawuna as the elected governor of Kano State
General2 weeks ago
Kwara PDP crisis deepens as Organizing Secretary, Bilikisu Oniyangi resigns
General3 weeks ago
Governor Adeleke appoints new Acting CJ for Osun
General2 weeks ago
BREAKING: Appeal Court Sets Aside Tribunal Judgement, Affirms Abdullahi Sule As Nasarawa Gov
General2 weeks ago
Rukayat Shittu Wins, as A’Court Upturn Tribunal Judgement
News3 weeks ago
‘Era Of Government Jobs Is Fading, Start Business’ – Shettima Tells Nigerian Graduates