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Health: Nigeria At High Risk Of Importing Ebola, NCDC Warns

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says Nigeria is at high risk of importing Ebola from Uganda.

Uganda had declared an outbreak of Ebola after a 24-year-old male exhibited symptoms of the disease, tested positive, and later died.

As of September 29, the Uganda ministry of health has reported 54 cases (35 confirmed and 19 probable) and 25 deaths (seven confirmed and 18 probable).

In a statement on Tuesday, NCDC said its multi-sectoral national emerging viral haemorrhagic diseases technical working group (NEVHD TWG), in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, has conducted a rapid risk assessment to guide in-country preparedness activities.

“Based on available data, the overall risk of importation of the Ebola virus and the impact on the health of Nigerians has been assessed as high,” the statement reads.

“The likelihood of importation to Nigeria is high due to the increased air travel between Nigeria and Uganda, especially through Kenya’s Nairobi airport, a regional transport hub, and other neighbouring countries that share a direct border with Uganda.

“The likelihood of spread in Nigeria following importation is high due to the gatherings and travel associated with politics, the coming yuletide as well as other religious gatherings and festivals during the last few months of the year.”

The NCDC, however, said despite the risk assessment, Nigeria can respond effectively in the event of an outbreak.

“We have the diagnostic capacity to test for the EVD presently at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital’s Centre for Human and Zoonotic Virology Laboratory,” the statement reads.

“However, diagnostic capacity will be scaled up to other laboratories in cities with important Points of Entry (POE) and others as may be required.

“Currently, no case of EVD has been reported in Nigeria. Nonetheless, the Nigerian government through NCDC’s multisectoral NEVHD TWG has put several measures in place to prevent and prepare for immediate control of any outbreak of the disease in-country.”

The agency also advised Nigerians to avoid non-essential travel to locations where the outbreak is reported for the moment; avoid direct contact with blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids of people with suspected or confirmed Ebola; and call 6232 to ensure all persons with suspected symptoms of Ebola are promptly taken to designated healthcare facilities.

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UPDATE: 9 Confirmed Dead As Container Falls Off Truck In Lagos [VIDEO]

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An articulated truck conveying a 20ft container fell on a commercial bus at Ojuelegba, Lagos on Sunday killing nine persons.

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the truck lost control while ascending a bridge.

“Upon arrival at the scene, a truck conveying a 20ft container was found to have landed on top of a commercial bus.

“Investigation revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge.

“A total of nine fatalities were recovered, comprising four adult males, three adult females, a girl, and a boy.

“After suspending the container load with the aid of LASEMA’s forklift, an adult woman was extricated alive and taken to the trauma center,’’ he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said LASEMA’s heavy-duty ambulance and Lagos State Fire Service were on hand for a rescue operation, just as LASTMA and Nigeria Police were on ground to control traffic.

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INSECURITY: Three Officers Killed As Gunmen Attack Ebonyi/Enugu Border Checkpoint

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Three police officers have been killed by gunmen at the border checkpoint along Enugu/Abakaliki expressway.

The police officers were reportedly shot dead on Saturday night.

The gunmen, who operated in a Sienna bus, reportedly opened fire at the checkpoint, injuring one officer in the leg and killing three.

The Ebonyi police command confirmed the incident.

Chris Anyanwu, the command’s spokesperson, said the attack occurred around 6pm.

“The attack by gunmen at Ebonyi/Enugu boundary took place at about 18:08hrs ” he said.

“Three police personnel of Operation Safer Highway were fatally injured and later confirmed dead.

“The hoodlums operated in two sienna vehicles, drove into the checkpoint, and opened fire on the policemen.”

He said the officer who was shot is receiving treatment at a medical facility in Abakaliki, the state capital.

In December, two people, including a police officer, were killed following an attack on a police checkpoint in Abakaliki.

One of the gunmen was also killed in the attack.

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Naira Redesign: We’ve Collected N1.9trn Old Notes So Far, N500bn More To Go — Emefiele

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Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says N1.7 trillion worth of naira notes have been returned to banks so far — with N500 billion more to go.

He was silent on how much cash will be left outside the banking system with the naira redesign.

The bank on Sunday extended the deadline for the swap of the old notes for new ones at the commercial banks from January 31, 2023 to February 10.

Those who still have the old notes after February 10 will enjoy a seven-day “grace period” to deposit them directly with the CBN.

After February 17, the old notes will cease to be legal tender, the governor said.

In a press release on Sunday, Emefiele said: “Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown that in 2015, Currency in­ Circulation was only N1.4 trillion. As at October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking Industry and N2.7 trillion held permanently in people’s homes.

“Ordinarily, when CBN releases currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of currency in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.

“So far and since the commencement of this program, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion.”

He said to achieve effective distribution of the new currency, the CBN has took a number of steps.

“We held several meetings with our Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) arid provided them with Guidance· Notes on processes they must adopt in the collection of old notes and distribution of the New Notes to all Nigerians. These includes specific directives to DMBs to load new notes into their ATMs nationwide to ensure an equitable/transparent mechanism for the distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians,” he said.

“We commenced a nationwide sensitization through the Print and electronic media to create an awareness on the redesigned notes to Nigerians including collaboration with the National Orientation agency to reach all Nigerians across multiple channels.

“We deployed 30,000 Super Agents nationwide to assist in our Cash Swap initiative in the hinterlands, rural areas, and regions underserved by banks in the Country to ensure that the weak and vulnerable ones amongst us can swap/ exchange their old notes.

“We deployed all our staff, particularly the Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors and Directors· in Abuja to proceed to all CBN branches Nationwide to join the mass mobilization campaign and monitoring programs, working with the Deposit Money Banks , agents and our Branch controllers across the 36 states of the Federation. This is meant to ensure compliance with all our guidelines already issued for smooth implementation of the program. Although we have received some reports of breaches by some bank branches, we have agreed with Executive Chairmen of the EFCC and ICPC to assist us, by sending their staff to all CBN and DMB branches nationwide to join in monitoring the implementation of these guidelines. The aim is to ensure compliance with the laid down guidelines.

“We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system. Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN Senior staff nationwide sensitization team exercise.

“Aside from those holding illicit/ stolen Naira in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have Naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange.”

Emefiele thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, who he described as an “incorruptible leader”, for approving the naira redesign programme.

“I’ve just ended a meeting with Mr President. The purpose of the meeting is to provide Mr President with updates about the implementation status of the CBN currency redesign program currently going on across the Federation,” he said.

“First, I’d like to continue to thank Mr President for giving the CBN the approval to embark on this ambitious program because, like I had said in the past, the Central Bank of Nigeria hasn’t had the opportunity to embark on such currency redesign program in last 19 years and indeed, let me emphasize that only an incorruptible leader of the President’s stature can give such approval to the CBN.

“From the on-set (outset) of this currency redesign program, we made it clear that for 19 years, the CBN hasn’t been able to conduct this important aspect of its mandate, whereas this should normally have been be done within a 5-8 years window.

“Our aim is mainly to make our Monetary Policy Decisions more efficacious and like you can see; we’ve started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable. Secondly, we aim to support the efforts of our Security agencies in combating Banditry and Ransom taking in Nigeria through this program and we can see that the Military are making good progress in this important task in Nigeria.”

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