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COVID-19: Nigeria Records 1,332 Cases In One Week, Fears 5th Wave

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…names Lagos, FCT, Rivers, Kano as flashpoints

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has again warned of a possible fifth wave of the Covid-19 virus in the country, given the resurgence in the number of confirmed cases. It disclosed that about 1,332 cases were recorded in one week.

It, therefore, called on states to ramp up testing as it asked Nigerians to embrace the safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus. “In the last eight weeks, the test positivity ratio has continued to increase,” the NCDC added.

It was gathered that as of July 22, 2022, Nigeria has recorded no fewer than 260,339 confirmed cases. While 253,566 cases have been successfully discharged, 3,147 lost their lives to complications arising from the virus.

As of Friday, the World Health Organisation reported that there were over 565 million cases globally, out of which over 6.3 million persons lost their lives. About 9,181,118 cases had however been confirmed in Africa. It noted also that over 12 billion doses of vaccines of the virus, covering first, second, and booster jabs, had been administered as of July 19.

NCDC data obtained on Saturday by our correspondents from the latest situation report of the disease however revealed that testing in the country had reduced by 53.42 percent.

According to the NCDC data, the country recorded 478 new cases between July 16 and 18, with Lagos State having 325 cases; Rivers State, 60; Federal Capital Territory, 29; Delta State, 25; Edo State, 17; Oyo State, eight; Kano State, six; Bayelsa four; and Ekiti four.

From July 19 to 20, not less than 235 confirmed cases were recorded in six states and the FCT. Lagos had 138; Rivers, 36; Delta, 21; Kaduna, 17; FCT, 13; Edo, nine; and Kano, one case.

Also, from July 21 to 22, there was a sharp increase in the number of cases as the country recorded 619 new cases from Ekiti (364); Lagos (62); Rivers (58); Delta (27); FCT (22); Oyo (19); Cross River (16); Abia (14); Kano (12); Bayelsa (11); Nasarawa (eight); Gombe (three); Plateau (two) and Bauchi (one).

It was also gathered that the number of inbound and outbound passengers who tested positive was on the increase. For inbound international travelers, the NCDC noted that In weeks 25 and 26, 858 travelers were tested, out of which 28 persons tested positive, compared to 17 out of the 904 persons tested in weeks 23 and 24.

Also, in weeks 25 and 26, 4,447 outbound international travelers were tested, out of which 133 persons tested positive, compared to 52 out of 3,987 that tested positive in weeks 23 and 24.

Though no death was reported during the referenced period, the NCDC noted, “In the last eight weeks, the test positivity ratio has continued to increase with the highest increase being in this reporting week. The majority of the cases were reported from Lagos, FCT, Rivers, and Kano states.”

The NCDC, however, said hospitalization and fatalities had remained low, suggesting the recorded cases were mostly mild to moderate. It noted in its report that it had reached out to states to increase their testing, adding that the addition of laboratories was ongoing.

According to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, as of Friday, 26,127,761 persons have been fully vaccinated in Nigeria, representing 23.4 percent of the total eligible population, while 11,819,911 have been partially vaccinated.

It was earlier reported that Nigeria missed the 40 percent herd immunity deadline set by global leaders in a bid to ensure fast vaccination drive and herd immunity in the various countries across the world.

Ekiti reactivates protocols

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Oyebanji Filani, said on Saturday that the state recorded 74 fresh cases, which necessitated the reactivation of the preventive measures.

Filani said residents must adhere to the measures including wearing face masks in public gatherings, proper handwashing in flowing water or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, social or physical distancing, reporting at the nearest health facility when sick, getting tested, and isolating if positive, and adherence to Covid-19 measures by banks and other institutions.

In a statement titled, ‘Ekiti announces return to strict COVID-19 preventive measures to mitigate increasing nationwide spread’, the commissioner harped on the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines, saying, “Vaccination remains the most effective means of curbing this pandemic and we encourage all residents of the state to get vaccinated. As of today (Saturday), 384,730 persons are fully vaccinated (in Ekiti State). However, this is not sufficient to achieve herd immunity, hence the re-enforcement of preventive protocols.”

“As the state Ministry of Health continues to monitor the recent increase in Covid-19 cases across the country and a recent spike in the state with 74 persons currently positive, all residents of Ekiti State are hereby advised to adhere strictly to the government’s public health and social measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

He asked residents of the state to visit vaccination posts nearest to them for their complete jabs.

Speaking on the reason for the surge, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, in an interview, attributed the surge to the weather and low vaccination rate.

He stated, “There are two hypotheses: the weather is getting colder and it’s like flu. In a cold season like this, we may have more cases when people have not been vaccinated and our immunity is not up to the level of fighting the virus.

“Also, our vaccination rate is low. There are some countries already taking second and third boosters but we are still on the first booster. The tests show that we are dealing with a new strain, so people need to get vaccinated. We have been saying this but people do not adhere to our instructions. Covid-19 is going to be with us for a long time, so it is better for people to get vaccinated.”

Also, a former chairman of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Dr. Tunji Akintade, advised Nigerians to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical protocols.

He said in an interview, “The increase in cases is as a result of an increase in testing. There was a time we were not reporting more cases; it was because there was not much testing.

“People need to go back to the non-pharmaceutical protocols like wearing face masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing,” he added.

The immediate past president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, also stressed that prevention was key.

“People need to do the needful; they need to get vaccinated, maintain social distancing and wear their masks. It is obvious that there is a surge in the infection globally and people need to take care of their health because the government cannot do everything for us,” he added.

Also speaking in an interview, a professor of medical virology at the University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba said the country might not be able to withstand another lockdown and that testing and the vaccination drive should continue.

Baba added, “There is a need for Nigerians to embrace the non-pharmaceutical measures. The coronavirus is a virus that mutates and when you have more variants coming up then you see newer characteristics.

“When you look at what is going on in Nigeria now, you will see that most people act as if the virus has gone and that is wrong. There is also no need for states to slow down on testing. I know most people won’t go for a test until they discover symptoms, but that is not fair enough. We are still in a pandemic. This is not the time for us to joke about it.”

Another health expert at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Prof Victor Olumekun, said virulent variants were coming up and that the pandemic had yet to be over.

“The only thing is that it is not as deadly as it used to be because we are approaching herd immunity. That means the virulence and the infectivity will reduce; that does not mean it has gone. People who are yet to get vaccinated should go and do so.”

Report has it that countries such as the United Kingdom have continued to witness a recent spike in cases. A report from the Office for National Statistics stated that the number of people testing positive for the virus in the UK within seven days rose to 3,760,200.

In the United States, President Joe Biden was a few days ago diagnosed with the virus and is experiencing “very mild symptoms”, a White House statement said on Thursday.

His deputy, Kamala Harris, had tested positive for the virus in April.

Symptoms evolving – Expert

A consultant paediatrician and former chairperson, Medical Advisory Committee, National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Seyi Oniyangi, on Saturday said symptoms of COVID-19 were still evolving as he advised Nigerians to embrace the safety protocols.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Oniyangi spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, during the eighth Kola Olafimihan Endowment Lecture at the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, titled ‘The Pandemic Now and Next Time – Matters Arising’.

Oniyangi said the symptoms ranged from zero to life-threatening situations. “Severe illness is more likely in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. These symptoms are most commonly respiratory with pneumonia-like illnesses, difficulty in breathing, cough, and loss of smell among others,” she said.

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JUST IN: FG Bans Production Of Movies Featuring Money Rituals

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The federal government has prohibited the production and distribution of any movies or cinematography that feature money rituals and glamourising vices.

Shaibu Husseini, CEO of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) made this known at an event in Enugu State on Wednesday.

The event was organised by the NFVCB and Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).

Movie producers, directors, actors from different parts of the country, and leaders of various guilds and associations in the Nigerian film industry were present at the event.

Husseini said, “Today, we are facing an industry emergency requiring bold and ambitious actions from all parents, guardians, and stakeholders. When my predecessor approached the former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, on the need to make subsidiary legislation to curtail the display of smoking in Nigerian movies, he saw the need to include money rituals.

“Others included in the regulation are ritual killings and glamorising other crimes in order to further sanitise the film industry. Today, I am delighted to announce to you that the Minister of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, pursuant to section 65 of the NFVCB Act 2004, has approved the regulation.”

He added, “The minister has approved the ‘prohibition of money ritual, ritual killing, tobacco, tobacco products, nicotine product promotion and glamorisation display in movies, musical videos and skits regulations 2024’. We have also forwarded the approved copy to the Federal Ministry of Justice for Gazette.”

Mr Husseini said the sensitisation programme was to educate stakeholders on the danger inherent in smoking in Nigerian movies.

According to him, besides the health implications, glamorising smoking in films poses a negative influence on teens and young adults, who constitute the largest segment of Nigerian movie viewers.

He said the film board was set to undertake detailed enlightenment programmes in secondary schools, tertiary institutions, local communities, faith groups and other institutions.

The NFVCB boss said, “As you all know, the film industry occupies a central position in the entertainment and creative sector, and it is imperative that we continue to place the highest premium on the progress of the film industry.

“The NFVCB supports smoke-free movies and supports smoke-free Nollywood, and we therefore seek your collaboration to develop creative content that discourages smoking and promotes positive health messages.”

He noted that after a series of engagements, the NFVCB, in collaboration with the CAPPA, decided to make “subsidiary regulations” to address smoking in movies since this aspect was not expressly spelt out in the extant law.

(c) News Agency of Nigeria.

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President Tinubu Appoints Shehu Mohammed As FRSC Corps Marshal

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Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has appointed Shehu Mohammed as the corps marshal and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Segun Imohiosen, director of information in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (AGF), announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday.

Imohiosen said the appointment is for an initial period of four years with effect from May 20.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Assistant Corps Marshal Mohammed Shehu as the Corps Marshal/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),” the statement reads.

“President Tinubu tasks the appointee to bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment.”

Mohammed will succeed Dauda Biu as the FRSC corps marshal.

In December 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Biu as the substantive corps marshal of the FRSC.

Before the appointment, Biu was the acting corps marshal of the commission.

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JUST IN: Verydarkman Remanded In Police Custody For Cyberbullying, Hearing To Hold Next Wednesday

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The controversial social media critic Martin Otse, also known as VeryDarkMan, has been placed under arrest till his next hearing, which is scheduled for this Wednesday of next week.

Otse reportedly entered a not guilty plea to five counts of cyberstalking involving the Nigerian police, Nollywood actresses Iyabo Ojo and Tonto Dike, when he was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

The police prosecuting team told Judge Mobolaji Olajuwon that they needed more time to react to his lawyer Deji Adeyanju’s bail plea, thus the court postponed the bail hearing to May 29.

The prosecution sought to have the blogger remanded in prison custody, but his lawyers successfully argued for his remand in police custody instead.

The court granted this request, and Verydarkman was subsequently taken to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The charges against him read, “1. Posting a video on October 29, 2023, on his Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’ that contained offensive, pornographic, or menacing information, falsely alleging that Iyabo Ojo had an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter, violating Section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

“That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 29th October 2023, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’, which video contained information that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character wherein you stated that one Iyabo Ojo is having an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter knowing or having reasons to believe that the information in the video you posted on your Instagram handle is false and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

2. Posting a video on January 19, 2024, on Instagram, falsely accusing King Tonto Dikeh of criminal conversion of crowdfunding proceeds and being behind the Gistlover blog, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 3 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th January 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing the information you know or had reasons believe to be false, wherein in the video you falsely published that King Tonto Dikeh is accused of criminal conversion of the proceeds of crowdfunding for Justice for Mohbad Movement, and being the person behind the gistlover blog, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the person of the said King Tonto Dike and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015

3. Posting a video on March 19, 2024, alleging that senior police officers and lawmakers were involved in sexual activities with Bobrisky, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 4 That you, Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja, on or about 19th March 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’, containing information which you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated the following, ‘I put it to you say the DIGs of the Police dem dey knack Bobrisky. The senators for senate house dey knack Bobrisky…I dare the Nigeria Police, I said what I said, the DIGs are knacking him, the Lawmakers, the Senate are knacking him in the National Assembly’ which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the persons of the DIGs of the Nigeria Police Force and members of the National Assembly and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

4. Posting another video on March 19, 2024, claiming that Bobrisky was pimping young boys to senators and senior police officers, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 5 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th March, 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing information you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated that Bobrisky is pimping young boys for Senators and Senior Police Officers to sleep with, which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury.”

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