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Sanwo-Olu, Uduaghan, Obasa, Kyari, Others For The Witness Newspaper Foundation Launch

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The Witness, a credible Nigerian newspaper in digital and print formats, is set to launch a non-governmental organization, ‘The Witness Newspaper Foundation’, in commemoration of its fourth year anniversary.

The event is billed to hold on Sunday, October 24th, 2021, at the prestigious Lagos Continental Hotel (formerly Intercontinental Hotel), Victoria Island, Lagos.

A statement on Monday by the managing director of the newspaper, Mr. Julius Akpovire-Enyeh, stated the foundation which is the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of the newspaper will focus on enhancing the education, health, and empowerment of the less-privileged and vulnerable children, youths, widows and the aged in the society.

According to Enyeh, “Today, there are many children and youths who have dropped out of school due to lack of adequate support; there are a lot of less-privileged widows and the aged who are yearning for help.

“As a responsible organization, we aim to ameliorate the pains of these individuals and in turn contribute to nation-building.

“The underprivileged widows and their vulnerable children constitute a significant component of every country’s population. Available statistics show that Nigeria has over eight million disadvantaged widows with over 21 million children. Many are stigmatized and blamed for their husband’s death and displaced from their marital homes.

“The aged constitute 5.2 percent of Nigeria’s population and the figure is expected to hit 6 percent by 2025. But it’s sad that in 61 years of independence from the colonial administration, Nigeria is yet to enact a national policy on the care and welfare of older persons.

“The rate at which the elderly are dying in the society as a result of inadequate healthcare and poverty is alarming and embarrassing to the country.

“The foundation will also tackle poverty and empower less-privileged youths. Although Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil exporter with the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, it was reported by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2019 to have 83 million people living below the nation’s poverty line. Still, unemployment and underemployment are on the increase.”

The chief host of the event is Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, executive governor, Lagos State while Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, the immediate-past governor of Delta State, is the chairman of the occasion.

Among the other expected dignitaries are Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; Mallam Mele Kyari, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC); Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, managing director, Ecobank Nigeria Limited; Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director-general/CEO, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Adaeze Udensi, executive director, Titan Trust Bank Limited and Dr. Victor Adoji, a former senatorial candidate and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Witness was founded in October 2017, with the mission of bringing its readers accurate and reliable information without bias, about happenings within the nation and abroad.

The online version of the newspaper – www.witnessngr.com, has consistently recorded massive hits and heavy traffic and is updated regularly.

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BIG STORY

New COVID Variant Of ‘Serious Concern’ Detected In South Africa

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A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in South Africa.

The variant, B.1.1.529, is said to have a high number of mutations, which may be a source of concern in relation to immunity and transmissibility.

Confirming the discovery in a statement on Thursday, the NICD said 22 positive cases of the new variant have so far been detected in the country.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, confirms that through collaborative efforts with private laboratories and the NGS-SA members, a new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected in South Africa,” the statement reads.

“Twenty-two positive cases of variant B.1.1.529 have been recorded in the country following genomic sequencing collaborations between the NICD and private laboratories. In addition, other NGS-SA laboratories are confirming more cases as sequencing results come out.”

According to the statement, Adrian Puren, NICD acting executive director, said it is “not surprising” that a new variant has been detected in South Africa.

“Although the data are limited, our experts are working overtime with all the established surveillance systems to understand the new variant and what the potential implications could be. Developments are occurring at a rapid pace and the public has our assurance that we will keep them up to date,” Puren said.

The institute said Joe Phaahla, the country’s health minister, confirmed that the new variant has also been detected in Botswana and in Hong Kong.

He said the variant was of “serious concern” and behind an “exponential” increase in reported cases, making it “a major threat”.

Michelle Groome, head of the division of public health surveillance and response at the NICD, also said provincial health authorities remain on high alert and are prioritizing the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples.

“This means that individuals should get vaccinated, wear masks, practice healthy hand hygiene, maintain social distancing, and gather in well-ventilated spaces. Individual compliance to preventative measures can have a great collective impact in limiting the spread of the new variant,” she added.

As of September 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had identified five COVID variants — Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Mu.

While it is not unexpected that there will be more variants of the coronavirus, prior to the detection of the B.1.1. 529, the Delta variant had been linked to a high infection rate.

The Delta COVID variant was confirmed in Nigeria in July 2021, and is currently the most dominant strain in the country.

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BIG STORY

Reps Order Probe Of FG’s Abandoned N97bn Cancer Centre

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the National Cancer Control Plan established by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, to determine why fewer Nigerians with cancer cannot access treatment at the special centers.

The House particularly mandated its committees on Health Institutions and Health Care Services to “investigate the Federal Government’s implementation of the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022 to ensure its implementation.”

The committees are also to “ascertain the status of all radiotherapy cancer treatment centers in the country to come up with a workable plan to subsidize treatment for cancer patients.”

These resolutions were sequel to the unanimous adoption of a motion moved at the plenary on Wednesday, which was titled, ‘Call for Federal Government’s Intervention in Cancer Treatment in Nigeria’.

A member of the House, Olusegun Odebunmi, while moving the motion, recalled that the President had on December 29, 2017, signed the bill for the establishment of the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment of Cancer Patients in Nigeria.

Odebunmi also recalled that in 2018, the Federal Government launched the National Cancer Control Plan, which was to be implemented between January 2018 and December 2022, and with a proposed budget estimate of N97,321,725,422.53.

The lawmaker noted that both the federal and state governments were required to provide 75 percent of the funding to implement the plan, while donors and development partners would bridge the gap with 25 percent.

He said, “The House is worried that in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded an estimated 116,000 new cancer cases with 41,000 mortalities and since then, the mortality rate keeps increasing, with breast and cervical cancer being the major causes of the mortality cases.

“The House is also worried that despite the increasing rate of new cases, only four out of the eight treatment centers in the country are functional.

“The House is concerned that Nigerians barely have access to cancer specialists for proper diagnosis and adequate treatment.

“The House is also concerned that for a cancer patient to go through a complete session of radiotherapy, an approximated amount of N750,000 is needed, an amount Nigerians suffering from the ailment cannot afford.”

 

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: EFCC Places Anambra Governor Willie Obiano On Watchlist

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed Willie Obiano, governor of Anambra, on its watchlist.

The development comes months before Obiano is expected to leave office as governor.

According to a letter dated November 15 and addressed to the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the anti-graft agency asked to be informed whenever Obiano is seen attempting to travel out of the country.

It is not clear why the EFCC placed Obiano on its watchlist.

However, according to sources, the Anambra governor is being investigated by the commission.

More to follow…

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