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BIG STORY

FG: We’ve Developed COVID-19 Test Kit That Produces Result Within 40 Minutes

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The federal government says it has developed a test kit — SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) — that enables rapid testing of COVID-19 within 40 minutes.

Olorunnimbe Mamora, the minister of state for health, who stated this on Tuesday at the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing, said the kit was developed by the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).

Mamora said the test kit produces results faster than the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), which is currently the sole source of testing in the country; the PCR test takes several hours to produce results.

“It is the SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) which can be performed by low skilled personnel with minimum training. This test which is ten times cheaper than the PCR can be deployed for point-of-care detection and surveillance,” he said.

Speaking on the need to improve the country’s health sector in the event of future outbreaks, Mamora said there are plans to ensure that all states have at least one infectious disease center.

“Our goal is to have at least one standard infectious disease center in every state. We shall therefore work with states to establish purpose-built treatment centers that will ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks in the country,” he said.

The minister appealed to governors to speed up testing in their respective states, adding that it is only through testing and isolation that the curve of the coronavirus can be flattened.

“I shall again renew my appeal to state governments to continue to ensure that we step up case findings, sample collection, and testing. It is only by testing that we can identify those with the infection for isolation and treatment,” Mamora said.

As of September 28, over 500,000 samples have been tested for COVID-19 in Nigeria, with close to 60,000 persons confirmed to have contracted the virus; however, close to 50,000 patients have recovered.

BIG STORY

Six Foreigners, Nigerian Jailed Seven Years For Oil Theft In Rivers [PHOTOS]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft.

Justice Kolawole Omotosho gave the sentence yesterday after three years of prosecution of the convicts by the Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They include Mohammed Ejaz and Nasser Khan – Pakistanis; Oleksandr Nazarenko and Oleksandr Kashernvi – Ukrainians; Romeo Annang – Ghanaian, Fredrik Omenu – Indonesian; and David Otuohi – Nigerian.

The convicts were arraigned for oil theft alongside four other persons – Victor Mikpayi (Beninois), Francis Ahorlu and Kwesi Attah (Ghanaians), and Victor Azebiri (Nigerian).

But the four others were discharged and acquitted by the court.

They were all docked alongside a company – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA, and a Vessel, MT. TECNE (also known as MT STAR), on four counts of conspiracy, dealing in petroleum products without a license, and tampering with oil pipelines.

When the charges were read to them, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to them.

Their pleas prepared grounds for their trial that lasted three years during which the EFCC presented evidence and witnesses who testified against the defendants in court.

In his judgment yesterday, Justice Omotosho found the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eleventh defendants guilty of all the four charges and sentenced them to seven years imprisonment, with an option of a fine of N2 million each.

According to the court, the sentences run concurrently from their date of arraignment.

On the other hand, the first, eighth, ninth, and tenth defendants were discharged and acquitted on the ground that “they were not linked to the commission of the crime”.

The company involved in the crime – Asztral Shipping Corporation SA – was wound up by the court while the vessel carrying the offensive crude oil was forfeited to the Federal Government.

The suspected oil thieves ran into troubled waters when their ship was intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA on April 25, 2017, at Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Afremo ‘A’ Terminal, South East of Escravos in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The ship was seized for illegal loading of petroleum products suspected to be crude oil.

Members of the crew, according to the EFCC, connived with Victor Azeberi, one Peter Ala, and David Ogoma (who is at large), to siphon about 1905.836 cubic liters of crude oil.

The ship had no clearance from relevant Nigerian maritime agencies to navigate in Nigerian waters and all the foreign crew on board the ship had no valid documents to enter the country.

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Court Orders Arrest Of Maina’s Son, Summons Surety

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

Neither Faisal, his surety, nor his lawyer was present at the Tuesday’s proceedings.

Abubakar, therefore, applied the revocation of his bail and his arrest citing section 184 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act.
The prosecution also applied for the court to order his trial in absentia as provided by 352(4) of ACJA.

“My third application is for the issuance of summons on the surety, and for him to show cause why he should not forfeit the bail bond,” Abubakar added.

The judge granted the prayers and adjourned till Wednesday.

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#EndSARS: CNN Dares Nigerian Govt, Releases Second Report On Lekki Shootings [VIDEO]

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Amid threats of sanction from the Federal Government over its investigative report on the shootings at Lekki toll plaza during the #EndSARS protests, CNN has released a second report on the incident.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had last week described CNN’s report on the Lekki shootings as poor journalism, adding that the network deserved to be sanctioned.

Mohammed also followed up the threat with a letter addressed to the management of CNN in Atlanta.

However, the network on Tuesday did a second report with more damning footage showing soldiers shooting at unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

The fresh report also shows the Commander, 81 Division, Brig. Gen Ahmed Taiwo, admitting before the judicial panel in Lagos that his men indeed took live ammunition to the tollgate.

The CNN report also highlights the fact that Brig. Gen Taiwo’s claim is at variance with the minister’s who had claimed last week that the army fired blank bullets.

The fresh report also shows protesters running as soldiers open fire at the tollgate.

The National Broadcasting Commission, which is overseen by the information minister, had last month slammed hefty fines on three Nigerian television stations for daring to use some of the footage which CNN has also used.

The Federal Government has been receiving flak from members of the United Kingdom Parliament and Amnesty International over the killing of protesters.

 

Video Credit: CNN

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