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‘You Lead On The Medals Table’ —– PDP Taunts Buhari Over Medical Tourism Comment

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop seeking medical help outside Nigeria in order to lead by example.

The opposition party said this in response to the president’s comment on the need for citizens to stop traveling abroad for medical treatment as a result of the state of the hospitals in the country.

The president, who was represented by Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of science and technology, spoke during the inauguration and handover of completed projects to the management of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, on Friday.

Buhari has embarked on numerous trips to the UK to seek medical care since he assumed office.

In a statement on Sunday, Kola Ologbondiyan, spokesman of the PDP, said Buhari “leads on the medals table, as self-indicting and raises public apprehensions on high-level deceits in governance.

“Our party describes as ridiculous, a situation where a President, who patronizes foreign hospitals for treatment & even check-ups; whose administration has failed to provide adequate healthcare in his country could turn around to pontificate to other citizens against foreign treatment,” he said.

“While the PDP does not approve of proliferated foreign medical tourism, especially by leaders & public office holders, our party holds that a leader who has failed to lead by example and whose government has neglected and wrecked our healthcare systems lacks all rectitude to issue directives against foreign treatment.”

“Mr President can then discover that our health system has suffered untold neglect under his watch, leading to dilapidated infrastructure, empty drug shelves, decrepit and worn-out equipment, brain-drain and a demoralized workforce worse than his 1983 recollections.

“It is even more disheartening that all the investments and robust programmes of successive PDP administration, including the comprehensive National Strategic Health Development Plan, Saving One Million Lives Initiatives, National Health Insurance Scheme, among others, have been degraded and impaired by the dysfunctional APC administration.”

The PDP called on Buhari to take concrete steps to improve on the nation’s healthcare system so that Nigerians can have access to adequate and affordable healthcare at all levels.

The party also said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has reduced the office of the president to issuing condolences whenever there is an attack on Nigerians.

The party said this in reaction to the recent killing of 19 persons in Tawari community in the Kogi local government area of Kogi state.

“The PDP notes that the invasion of the helpless Tawari community and the killing spree, which reportedly lasted unrepressed for several hours, despite earlier security apprehensions in the area, points to government’s direct negligence to its primary duty to protect the people,” it said in another statement.

“The PDP also blamed the unabated killing and violence in various parts of the country on security lapses under the present administration as well as the manifest failure of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to decisively track down and prosecute killers and perpetrators of violence in our country.

“Our party recalls that no decisive steps have been taken to prosecute the perpetrators of mass killings that shook our nation in Benue, Kaduna, Katsina, Bauchi, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara, Kano, Niger, Rivers, Ebonyi, Abia and of course Kogi state, under the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.

“It is indeed disheartening that the APC administration is now trying to reduce the functions of the office of the Commander-in-Chief of our nation to issuing press releases and condolences message each time marauders invade communities and massacre defenceless compatriots, instead of tracking down and dealing with the perpetrators.

“Such failures by government embolden killers, insurgents, marauders, and kidnappers who have now virtually taken over our highways and holding citizens hostage in their homes, forests and caves.”

The opposition party said it is standing shoulder to shoulder with Nigerians to demand an immediate step to end wanton killings and bloodletting in the country.

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Orji Uzor Kalu Regains Freedom, Leaves Kuje Prison[PHOTO]

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Barely 24 hours after the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered his release, Senate Chief Whip, and former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has regained freedom after six months of incarceration.

He stepped out of Kuje Correctional Centre this evening after the completion of his release formalities.

The court had transmitted the judgment as well as Warrant of Release duly signed by Justice Liman to the authorities of Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja this morning to facilitate the senator’s freedom.

Justice Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos had on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Kalu. He also set aside the trial, conviction, and sentence of the former governor to 12 years imprisonment on December 5, 2019, in accordance with the earlier ruling of the Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Justice Liman ordered Kalu’s immediate release from prison as well as set aside the earlier trial and order given by Justice MB Idris that Slok Nigeria Limited be wound up and its assets forfeited to Federal Government.

Kalu had gone to court asking for his release in line with the Supreme Court’s judgment last month nullifying his trial and conviction.

The Supreme Court had ruled that since Justice Idris was elevated to the Court of Appeal, he had no jurisdiction to have concluded Kalu’s trial.

The apex court therefore nullified the conviction and ordered a retrial.

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BIG STORY

#JusticeForBarakat: 18-Year-Old Undergraduate ‘Gang-Raped’, Murdered In Ibadan

Gbemileke Ajayi

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An 18-year-old girl, identified as Bello Barakat, was reportedly gang-raped and murdered by unknown men in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

The incident was said to have occurred on Tuesday in the Akinyele area of Ibadan, Oyo state.

It was gathered that her dad found her dead body around their home after her body was examined, they discovered that she was raped, then she got murdered.

Bello Barakat, aged 18, was a year one student of the Federal College of Animal Health and Production in Ibadan.

It was gathered that she has been buried according to Islamic rites.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest, zone D has demanded justice for the deceased who was assaulted and murdered.

Her death has continued to attract outrage nationwide as Nigerians have taken to social media to express their displeasure over the rising cases of Rape in Nigeria with the hashtag #JusticeforBarakat.

Recall that Ms Omozuwa, a 100 level Microbiology student of the University of Benin, was assaulted inside a hall in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Ikpoba Hill, Benin City on May 13, where she went to study.

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BIG STORY

COVID-19: If You’re 55 And Above, Avoid Mosques, Churches For Now —- FG

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The Federal Government on Tuesday gave an advisory to Nigerians saying “If you are 55 years old and above, avoid churches and mosques’.

Those with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, among others, are also enjoined to stay at home to worship, the government added.

It noted that the advice was necessary because places of worship have been recognised as a major avenue of the potential spread of Coronavirus.

The government stated this through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control. It released the guidelines for states to follow in discussions with religious leaders before the reopening of churches and mosques for worshippers.

The government said the protocols made available would be the baseline which the states are not expected to go below while firming up an agreement with religious leaders.

Nigerians have been pressuring the government to reopen worship centres in spite of the spike in COVID-19 positive cases, leading to easing of restrictions on religious centres.

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Aliyu Sani, who announced the guidelines said religious centres should keep a record of attendees.

Dr. Sani said this would allow for contact tracing in the case of virus spread.

He urged worshippers experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19 to stay away from churches and mosques.

He said: “We are strongly advising vulnerable individuals such as those with underlying conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV, cancer and those above the age of 55 years to please stay at home and consider remote participation or non-contact attendance.

“When we look at the death rate for persons who have died from COVID-19 in Nigeria, the case fatality rate; more than half of those that died were above the age of 50.

“Secondly, the case fatality rate if you are above the age of 50, is 17 per cent. If you are above the age of 55, it is 18 per cent. It is almost a one in five chances of dying if you catch COVID-19 and you fall within that group.

“Worshippers should be reminded not to attend in person if experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath or have had close contact with an infected person in the last 14 days.

“All worshippers noted to have a temperature or are symptomatic should be turned back and not allowed admission.

“Places of worship should ideally keep up to date record of their staff including contact details and if possible, a record of attendees of church services for instance or an even small mosque to enable contact tracing in the event that somebody comes up positive.

“Considering the dangers posed by the pandemic, we strongly recommend that religious visits to homes by religious clerics should be discouraged.”

The national coordinator said: “It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for spreading COVID -19 infection among worshippers and this has been clearly demonstrated in several outbreaks globally linked to religious gatherings.

“Places of worship that are unable to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.

“Churches are to open from 5 am and close by 8 pm. Each service should be for a maximum of one hour with an interval of 20 minutes in-between services to allow time for disinfection.”

He said the task force will not hesitate to shut down religious centres if they fail to comply with the protocols developed for their reopening.

“These guidelines provide a baseline for the states to then develop their own policies specific to their areas depending on the prevalence of COVID-19, depending on whether or not people are likely to follow and comply fully.

“But we will be reviewing these guidelines from time to time and we will definitely review them if it looks like we are having issues with regards to this relaxation and I plead with the public to understand with us but more importantly, continue to stay safe.

“It is better to stay at home and worship than to go into a place of worship,” he emphasised.

Sani reminded Nigerians of the dangers posed by the virus, noting that now is not the time to relax measures against the pandemic.

“Let me make some clarifications because I understand there has been a lot of concern nationwide about the opening of places of worship.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 is still around, there is no doubt that it is safer for you to stay at home and there is also no doubt that it is safer for you to worship at home.

“The PTF is providing safety advisory or guidance in the event that you need to upgrade your spiritual needs and you cannot do it at home but we are not making recommendations that people should go to places of worship but if they chose to, we are providing advisory to enable them to do so safely.

“COVID-19 has not gone away. You only need to look at the numbers. We are in the exponential stage of the illness. We have moved as a country right up to the third position in Africa and because of our population, we could also move to the second position or even the first.

“So now is the time to continue to take precautionary measures. Now is not the time to relax. I hope I have made that clear.

“In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID -19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of vulnerable members of the population.”

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