Army Major Takes Over Kaura-Namoda Emirate

GOVERNOR Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria, has confirmed the appointment of a serving Major in the Nigerian Army, Sanusi Muhammad, as the new Emir of Kaura-Namoda.

A statement by the state government signed by Mr. Jamilu Iliyasu, the Press Secretary to the governor in Gusau said the appointment of the new Emir was a confirmation of his selection by the Kaura-Namoda Emirate Kingmakers in accordance with the provision of Section 17 of Zamfara State Emirate Council Establishment Law 2000, Law No. 15, Section i- iii and Section 3 of Chiefs (Appointment and Deposition) Law, 1997.

The statement added that the appointment letter was presented at a brief ceremony attended by other Emirs in the state, a few government officials and politicians at the governor’s private residence in Gusau.

The governor appealed to the people of the Emirate to give the new traditional ruler all necessary support and cooperation for the development of the entire Emirate.

He pledged his administration’s readiness to respect the dignity of the traditional institution, which, he noted, plays vital roles in maintaining peace in the state.

The new Emir in his response said he would follow the footsteps of his father and forefathers by carrying all his subjects along for the unity and development of the Emirate.

He thanked the state government for the honour done to him while appealing to all to pray for him to succeed.

The new Emir succeeded his father, Late Alhaji Muhammad Asha, who ruled for 15 years but died on May 6.



In Borno, Health Workers Test Positive For Coronavirus


SEVEN health workers in Borno, northeast Nigeria, have tested positive for coronavirus.

The secretary of Borno High Powered Response Team on Convid-19, Dr. Salihu Kwaya-Bura, disclosed this in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, on Friday while giving an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the state adding that the state recorded 15 cases which include two deaths.

“145 contacts of the confirmed cases have been traced and are being monitored.

“We received nine alerts from the public; seven were investigated and none is worthy of follow up while two are still being investigated,” Kwaya-Bura said.

He commended the sacrifice and level of compliance shown by the public on the second day of the lockdown, saying the committee was considering modifying the lockdown in the spirit of Ramadan.

“We want to see how we can allow those selling ice water, bean cake, tea, and bread to operate within their wards so that people can break their fast,” Kwaya-Bura said.

SOURCE: NAN (News Agency of Nigeria)




COVID-19 Reduces In Kaduna


CASES of coronavirus spread in Kaduna State are reducing by the day, according to the state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Amina Mohammed-Baloni, who disclosed on Friday that three more patients had been discharged.

She said the three patients who were among the six cases in the state were released after testing negative twice.

“The three patients have each tested negative for two consecutive tests, and have now been discharged,” Mohammed-Baloni said.

One of the patients had been earlier discharged, bringing the number of discharged persons to four. She disclosed that the remaining two cases had not been resolved.

“This brings to four the number of persons (who) Kaduna State has discharged this week. There are now only two cases of COVID-19 that are yet to be discharged and we look forward to being able to discharge them soon,” she added.

She reminded residents that preventing the disease is safer and easier than treating it, while she also acknowledged the efforts of the various stakeholders in combating the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“I wish to acknowledge the sterling efforts of the medical team, surveillance teams, members of the Emergency Operations Committee and other stakeholders involved in the efforts of the Ministry of Health to manage and contain COVID-19.

“The Kaduna State Government wishes to remind residents of Kaduna State that it is safer and cheaper to observe preventive measures than to treat COVID-19.

“Citizens are advised to wash their hands regularly with soap and water and scrupulously observe social distancing. They should also avoid large gatherings and stay at home, except it is absolutely necessary to go out. Wherever they are, they should also practice respiratory hygiene,” the health commissioner admonished.




Okowa Imposes Dusk-To-Dawn Curfew Plus Another 14-Day Lockdown


IN addition to extending the lockdown by another 14 days, the Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state, in further efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The first 14-day lockdown which expired on Tuesday took effect on first of April.  

The governor, who made a broadcast to residents of the state, said the curfew would run for the same 14 days as the lockdown.

He explained that painful as it may be, extending the lockdown and imposing the curfew were inevitable in view of current developments in the state, including three confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the disobedience of the restriction rules by some persons.

He stated that the curfew would be from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. during the period.

“Having taken cognisance in the upscale of cases nationally, standing at 343 today, spread across 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory, and the need to ease the process of contact-tracing, the stay-at-home order has become more necessary,” said Okowa.

"For the safety of our people and to enable us track, identify, isolate and test all contacts, by the powers vested on me in line with the Quarantine Act and the subsequent Infectious Disease Regulation 2020, I hereby extend the stay-at-home order for another period of two weeks.

"We do know that this will impose some pains to our people but it is for public good and for the interest of our health and I want to urge all Deltans to please observe the stay-at-home order.

"We believe that in the next two weeks we will be able to track all contacts, identify all possible cases and be able to take the needed actions.

"We will be able to use this opportunity to produce enough quantities of face masks for our people and I hope that we will be able to return to duty thereafter.

"We pray to God that the cases we have in Nigeria will not escalate beyond what we have at the moment,’’ he added.

The governor thanked Deltans for complying with the lockdown, and health officials, security agencies, donors and all others who contributed to the effective implementation of the lockdown.

He particularly commended the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, for taking immediate action in dealing with policemen who caused pains to some health workers.

He assured medical and health workers of the state government's commitment to provide better welfare package for them for the job they were doing, adding that the state’s committee on COVID-19 would soon announce hazard allowances to be paid daily to the health workers.

He recalled that the state recorded the Index case on April 7, adding that since then three cases had been reported but lost one of them at the Isolation Centre at Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara.

The governor explained that the case was presented late and that the patient had other ailments, which led to his death even before the result of the test conducted on his samples, which was positive, was returned from the laboratory at Irrua in Edo.

He stated that some of the traced contacts had been self-isolated in their homes, while those who could not be isolated in their homes were being isolated at three different centres in the state.

"We have two cases that are active; one is being managed at Delsuth, Oghara and the other at our Infectious Disease Centre at Asaba, and both persons are doing very well,’’ he said.

The governor also announced that the state's food bank recently established because of the hardship posed by the restrictions associated with COVID-19 would be opened in a few days for distribution of food items to peoples.

"We have also put up a food bank and we are getting the last supplies of our initial orders and by the grace of God, in the next 48 to 72 hours, food will be sent across to support those who do not have access to food in all wards of the State.

"We use the Federal wards as a means of distribution, concerning this and the items will go to all Deltans and not restricted to party politics.

"Let me use this opportunity to thank all those who have made donations to our various accounts and those who have made donations in kind to our food bank, and I want to encourage all Deltans to continue to assist the poor through this means.

"We will remain accountable and we will ensure that the monies and the food items donated are put into proper use,’’ he said.

Okowa reassured health workers that they would be adequately remunerated in the course of their duties on the pandemic and said that the government was working out the details.

"We must appreciate them for the great work, for the great commitment because they are in the line of duty,’’ he said.

He added that the state government was producing face masks which would be distributed to Deltans free-of-charge.

"The distribution of the face masks will start by the end of this week and we will continue to distribute the face masks as much as we are able to produce.’’



New Guidance For Evaluating, Testing For Coronavirus


By Diana Ernest RhP

THE American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated the guidance for evaluation of persons under investigation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), expanding the criteria to a wider group of symptomatic patients. As more diagnostic testing becomes available, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs/symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested.
  • Decisions for testing should be made on local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness (most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness).
  • Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness (e.g. influenza).
  • Priorities for COVID-19 testing may include: 
    • Hospitalized patients who have signs/symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in order to inform decisions related to infection control.
    • Other symptomatic individuals such as, older adults (≥ 65 years) and individuals with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, receiving immunosuppressive medications, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
    • any persons, including healthcare workers, who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset, or a history of travel from affected geographic areas (China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea) within 14 days of symptom onset.  

In a recent press statement, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD provided an update on the current state of diagnostic testing for COVID-19. As of March 7th, the CDC has shipped tests to public health laboratories sufficient to test roughly 75,000 people, with labs in areas of highest need receiving additional tests. In addition, 1.1 million tests, manufactured by Integrated DNA Technologies, have been shipped to nonpublic health labs and another 400,000 are expected this week. According to Hahn, other manufacturers are also scaling up production which could mean an additional 4 million tests by the end of next week. 

“A very important point I want to make here is about the reporting of numbers,” said Hahn. “The actual number of tests that have shipped is larger than the number of patients that can be tested. With current estimates (and this could change), 2.1 million tests would roughly translate to 850,000 Americans being able to undergo testing.” Hahn noted that once the tests are received, labs will need to verify the tests and train staff; the number of tests that can be run will also vary based on the size of the lab.  

SOURCE: Renalandurologynews




Delta, Others Shut Schools Over Coronavirus


GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has directed closure of all primary, secondary and tertiary schools in the state with effect from Thursday, March 26, 2020 for 30 days in connection with Coronavirus pandemic.

Okowa gave the directive in a state broadcast in Asaba on Friday and said that the closure of the schools for 30 days in the first instance was aimed at preventing possible spread of the virus.

He stated that as at March 20, Delta was free from the Coronavirus but had to take precautionary measures to ensure that the pandemic does not come to Delta.

The governor assured that the State Government had taken several measures,, including the establishment of a purpose-built and well-equipped isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba to handle any emergency, to guard against further spread of the virus.

He added that the state government was assisting in the local production of alcohol-based hand Sanitisers, assuring that while government would not spare any effort or resource to ensure the health, safety and protection of citizens.

Okowa advised that it was important for people to know that observing proper hygiene and World Health Orgainsation-mandated safety protocols remained the best way to protect citizens and stop the spread of this virus.

He said, "as you are aware, the world is currently battling with the Coronavirus also known as COVID-19 pandemic. 

"As at March 16 this year, cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 151 countries and in Nigeria, there have been 12 confirmed cases recorded so far. 

"There is yet no confirmed case of Coronavirus in Delta State. However, we have taken some proactive steps to prevent the spread of the disease and stop transmission if it occurs.

"The State Government has already established a purpose-built and well-equipped isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba to handle any emergency.

"We have embarked on training of healthcare personnel to work at the isolation ward, training and engagement of 129 Red Cross workers across the State is currently on-going.

"We have identified and established holding rooms in all zonal and all state hospitals across the State as well as training of five members of the Rapid Response Team in each local government area.’’

The governor also said "the state government has embarked upon training of laboratory scientists on sample collection, adding that "Arrival cards are to be completed by all in-bound passengers and crew in the two airports (Warri and Asaba) and three seaports (Warri, Koko, and Sapele).

``As a further precautionary measure, all passengers arriving Asaba Airport are already subject to temperature measurement and all incoming sea vessels are to observe a 14-day quarantine period to be cleared by the Port health personnel before berthing in any seaport in Delta.

``Furthermore, the Ministries of Health and Information have been mandated to intensify public enlightenment campaigns to inform and sensitize the public on safety protocols regarding COVID-19.’’

He disclosed that COVID-19 currently had no cure, adding that the virus was believed to spread mainly by person-to-person contact and could be transmitted through handshakes, coughing and sneezing by a carrier as the droplets could fall on the mouths and noses of people around, or possibly inhaled.

Okowa cautioned that the best way to prevent the virus was to avoid being exposed to it, ``by avoiding close contact with people who are sick or appear to be sick’’.

"We must practise social distancing; avoid handshakes and hugs, maintain about five feet distance when talking with people."

"We must wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds after leaving the office, workshop, market, bus/taxi, motor parks, and public gathering of any sort. Do the same after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, he said

"I want to appeal to all of us to remain calm and vigilant. We must not panic. We can easily overcome this threat if we abide by the above measures and all other information from the National Centre For Disease Control (NCDC). 

"We will easily defeat the spread of this virus if everyone sees himself/herself as a potential carrier who does not want to spread the virus. To adopt a superstitious approach as many of us do that ‘it is not my portion’ could prove to be fatal.

"This is no time for self-medication. If you notice at any point in time that you have fever, do not hesitate to call on the relevant authorities/ or visit the nearest hospital.

"As a further precautionary measure, I wish to direct that all primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are to be closed effective Thursday, March 26, 2020 for 30 days in the first instance. 

"Parents should endeavour to provide hand sanitizers for their children and hand wash stations must also be provided at easily identifiable points in the markets. 

"All offices must ensure that they are fitted with the right type of sanitizers. Supermarkets, malls, churches and other places of worship should provide hand sanitizers for customers/worshippers.

"We are carefully monitoring developments around the country and the State and will update Deltans accordingly and, where necessary, take drastic actions.

"I advise all Deltans to desist from publishing unverified information capable of causing panic and fear, especially on the social media. 

"At this point, what we must fear most is the spread of false information not even the virus itself; infodemic is a greater danger than the pandemic. Deltans are, therefore, advised to get information from only official channels," he stated.

The governor gave 0803 075 8179 – State Epidemiologist; 0803 507 8541 – State Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer; 0803 352 1961 – State Incident Manager; 0906 503 1241 – State Health Educator as contact lines to be called for emergencies..

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the governor’s broadcast, the State’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Mordi Ononye, debunked the rumour of an alleged case of COVID-19 in Warri.

According to him, so far, there is no confirmed case of the virus in Delta, so far. “We are not interested in creating panic in the state,” he said.

He added that the state government had been proactive in ensuring that preventive measures were taken. “If before the 26th March, there is a reason to change the decision to shut down schools, we will definitely do so," he remarked.
Ogun, Lagos, Anambra and a few others had earlier aanounced the shutting down of all schools in their respective states.

Observers are of the view that ongoing panic measures and propaganda in some states are capable of causing worse insecurity in the country.

A principal of a major public school in Lagos mainland said she would not subscribe to panic measures.

She said she happened to witness the 2002 pandemonium in Lagos after bomb explosion at a military facility such that she wouldn’t run when everyone runs.

“I was a teacher then; many people who fled their homes in Oshodi perished in the Isolo Canal, whereas nothing happened to their homes from where they fled. One has to understand the situation before running. Panic measure will not solve any problem.” she advised.

Government of Delta State, however, appeared quite proactive. Before now, all primary and secondary schools in the state had been scheduled to write the second term examination in four days to ensure that nothing would be lost when the schools reopened after 30 days.






Okowa Congratulates Ochei On His Appointment


DELTA State governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has congratulated Engr. Victor Ochei on his appointment as Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services at Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Ochei, a former Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, was recently appointed and inaugurated into the NIMASA board following the re-organisation in the agency’s top hierarchy.

In a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, the governor said that Ochei's appointment was well-deserved and urged him to use his good office to attract development to Delta.

He particularly charged him to look the way of Warri Port and other sea ports in Delta, which had been roundly neglected and therefore, very inactive and ensure that they were revived, adding that the executive director should also make the protracting issue of dredging of the approach to Warri Port his utmost concern.  

Okowa remarked that Ochei, an engineer, lawyer, former lawmaker and businessman, was ably qualified for the position considering his years of service to the state and country.

According to the statement, Okowa said: “As a Speaker, Ochei was brilliant, vibrant and exceptional as he carried his office with finesse and contributed immensely to the development of infrastructure at the State Assembly complex.

"On behalf of the government and people of Delta, we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing our illustrious son, Engr. Victor Ochei, as Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services in Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

"At the House of Assembly, Ochei related very well with his colleagues and I have no doubt that he will bring his wealth of experience garnered over the years to turn things around in NIMASA.

"I therefore urge him to remain a good ambassador of Delta as he is expected to use his good office to attract further development to our people."




Enugu Police Declares Man Wanted


ENUGU State Police Command has declared fleeing Mr. Ifeanyi Ukwuani wanted for allegedly raping and defilement of a-10-year-old girl in Egede Community, Udi Local Council Area of the state.

A statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, on Monday called on security operatives and residents to provide it with credible information which would lead to the arrest of the suspect.

The statement reads in part:
“Sequel to a report on the defilement of a 10-year-old girl at Egede Community received at 9th Mile Police Division on March 9, Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmad Abdurrahman, directed that a full-scale investigation be carried out to arrest and prosecute the suspect.

“The Commissioner further ordered the transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for a discreet investigation that will lead to bringing the fleeing suspect to book.

“So that it will serve as a deterrent to those hell-bent on committing such callous and mindless offences in the state.

“The investigation further reveals that the said suspect had left his wife and children in Enugu metropolis and gone to his mothers’ house on the said date and place to perpetrate the offence and thereafter, fled to an unknown destination.”

The statement said such information should be reported at the nearest police station or by calling the Command on 08032003702, 08075390882 or 08086671202.

Observers however advised the police to produce the photograph of the fleeing suspect for easy tracking.



Edo Women Medics Embark On Campaign Against COVID-19


EDO State chapter of Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) held a sensitization rally last Sunday in Benin-City, advising people to keep personal hygiene and adhere to the UN’s health guidelines in preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The chapter’s president, Dr Adesuwa Urhoghide-Edigin, who gave the advice at an awareness programme on the novel disease at Ekiosa market in Benin-City, said COVID -19 could be prevented through regular washing of hands; avoiding crowds, moistureed human bodies and keeping a clean environment.

“In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections. The most recently discovered coronavirus is codenamed COVID-19.

“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, dry cough, congested chest and difficulty in breathing at night. Once you have these symptoms, please visit the hospital.

She further explained that the symptoms “are usually mild and begins gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.”

She noted that most people recover from the disease without needing special treatment; adding that older people; high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetic patients are prone to develop serious illness.

She advised that anyone who may observe any of the symptoms should visit the hospital for early treatment.
“About two per cent of people with the disease have died and mostly in China. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

“The virus is not yet in Edo and there is no need for panic but our hygiene must be taken seriously,” she said.
She promised that her group would go round the state to sensitize the people on threatening health challenges and to conduct free cancer screening.

“MWAN would visit at least 18 local government areas of Edo to create awareness about any current health challenge as they conduct their free cancer screenings”, she promised.

She however warned that people should not panic or spread untrue rumours about the novel disease.



Coronavirus: Symptoms And Prevention


TO date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 5 cases of 2019-nCoV, a novel coronavirus colloquially known as “Wuhan coronavirus” after the city in China’s Hubei province from where it was first identified.1 What do we know – and not know – about the disease so far?

What Is the Novel Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. These viruses are found in different species of animals and in some cases can evolve to infect and spread among humans.2

In December 2019, health officials in China reported an outbreak of respiratory illness in Wuhan. Initially, many of the people affected had a link to an animal market, suggesting that the disease spread from animal to human. It was later found that numerous patients confirmed to have the disease had not been exposed to animal markets, suggesting that the disease can also be transmitted between people.3

What Are the Symptoms of Wuhan Coronavirus?
Generally, the virus is characterized by mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.3 There have also been reports of nonrespiratory symptoms including diarrhea and vomiting.2 Symptoms can surface in as few as 2 days or as many as 2 weeks after exposure.3

Who Is At Risk?
Many patients recover from 2019-nCoV in as little as a few days, while others – such as the young, elderly, and those with a weakened immune system – are more prone to serious infection.2 Those who have died from the illness tended to have underlying health conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. However, there’s still much to be discovered about the origins, clinical features, and severity of the virus.4

How Widespread Is the Virus?
As of the time of this writing, health officials in China have confirmed nearly 6000 cases of 2019-nCoV. They have announced 132 deaths as a result of the virus – a number that has been steadily rising.4 Due to its rapid spread throughout the country, Chinese authorities have imposed an unprecedented lockdown on travel affecting more than a dozen cities with a combined population upward of 50 million.5

Some experts have suggested that the actual tally in Wuhan may be as many as 30 times larger than the official number reported.4 In the United States, the CDC expects more cases to be identified in the coming days. “Given what has occurred previously with MERS and SARS, it’s likely that person-to-person spread will occur, including in the United States,” the agency cautioned.6

Is There a Vaccine Available?
Presently, there is no vaccine for 2019-nCoV. Scientists are working at breakneck speed to create one, however. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has vowed to provide 3 companies a total of $12.5 million to develop a vaccine. These efforts began after researchers in China posted a sequence of 2019-nCoV in a public database. However, “even when experimental vaccines work in clinical trials, mass producing them quickly is inevitably a huge challenge,” noted Jon Cohen in his column for Science Magazine.7

Related Articles

How Can the Disease Be Prevented?
In the absence of a vaccine, the CDC says the best way to prevent infection and spread of respiratory viruses is to avoid exposure to the virus and take precautionary actions8:

  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Keep a distance from people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

How Concerned Should You Be?
Some clinicians contend that the novel coronavirus is not something you should worry about on a personal level. “Unless you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus – which right now, typically means a traveler from Wuhan, China who actually has the virus – you’re likely to be safe,” said Todd Ellerin, MD, director of infectious diseases and vice chairman of the department of medicine at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in a Harvard Health essay. “We should not panic, even though we are dealing with a serious and novel pathogen.”2

In an article for Slate, Tracey Goldstein, PhD, professor of pathology, immunology, and microbiology at the University of California, Davis, added: “The important thing to remember is that while there are a lot of cases, a lot of them are not severe. I’m not worried right now about my personal risk.”9

It is, however, worth thinking about global health. “I think that our first concern can rightly be the people in China,” said Simon Anthony, an epidemiologist at Columbia. The speed at which the virus is spreading and the constant, albeit necessary, news coverage of this global health story may fuel the feeling of panic. “I’m certainly more concerned now than I was a week ago,” Anthony commented.9



Source: Pulmonology Advisor





Okowa Congratulates Diri On His Swearing-In As Gov


DELTA State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has congratulated Bayelsa Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on their successful inauguration in office on Friday.

Diri, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was announced winner of the Nov. 16, 2019 governorship election in the state, following Thursday’s Supreme Court disqualification of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in the election over certificates forgery and irregularities in the November 16 governorship election.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, on Friday, Okowa described the emergence of Diri as "an act of God" and called on protesting supporters of APC to sheathe their sword and give peace a chance.

"It is heart-warming to see you emerge as Governor of Bayelsa against all odds and I am grateful to the Supreme Court and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for doing the right things as required by the laws of our land.

"We have also been inundated with news of violent protests trailing your emergence as Governor, and I appeal to the good people of Bayelsa to take the ruling as an 'act of God' and give peace a chance, knowing sincerely that you will not disappoint them," he said.

The governor urged Diri to immediately commence the process of reconciliation and bridge-building within and outside the PDP, saying that he should be ``governor for all Bayelsans’’.

He advised the governor to adopt peace and unity as prime components of his mantra, insisting that Bayelsa deserved good leadership ``which I am certain you will provide’’.

"On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate you my brother Governor, Senator Douye Diri and your deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on your successful assumption of office as Governor and Deputy Governor of Bayelsa respectively.

"It is my prayer that God will grant you wisdom, knowledge and the needed resources to attend to your campaign promises to Bayelsans," Okowa added.




Deltans Appeal For Information On YAGEP, STEP


AN appeal has been made to the Delta State Government to give adequate publicity to the call for application into its Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Training (STEP) and the Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP).

The appeal was made by aspirants who could not enroll for the ongoing belt due to paucity of information about the programme even as more Deltans continued to react to the recent enrolment of 850 trainees for the 2019/2020 Programme Cycle of the state government’s STEP and YAGEP programmes.

The Communication Officer with the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer, Mrs Gertrude Onyekachukwu-Uteh, compiled some of the mixed reactions expressed by the people over the just concluded enrolment as many of them claimed the call for application was not adequately publicized as it used to be.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a parent who visited the office on a fact finding mission stated that he had followed with keen interest the achievements of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa through the Job Creation Scheme which he said had afforded many previously unemployed Delta youths the opportunity to become gainfully employed either in vocation skills/businesses or in agricultural enterprises.

He said the successes recorded by the young entrepreneurs across the three senatorial districts of the state had increased the demand for the programme as many youths understood that one must not be engaged in a white collar job for legitimate means of livelihood.

While commending the state government for these achievements, he complained that he had three unemployed graduates whom he had hoped would apply to be trained in the STEP and YAGEP programme in the 2019/2020 Programme Cycle, stressing that they missed the opportunity because the collection of forms was not publicized.

He appealed to the state government through the Office of the Chief Job Creation Programme to publicize the collection of application forms for the next cycle in order to avail more Delta youths the opportunity to key into the programme which has transformed the lives of many in the state.

In the same vein, Linda Okolosi, a beneficiary of the 2016/2017 Cycle in Catering and Confectionery, in a telephone chat expressed dissatisfaction over lack of publicity on the call for application, stressing that many youths were disenfranchised from the programme because the collection of forms was not made public.

She recalled that the process which brought her into the STEP programme three years ago was very transparent as the general public was duly notified to apply and to collect the forms from the Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer or to apply online.

She however applauded the state government’s efforts at tackling youth unemployment through the job creation programmes, STEP and YAGEP. She pointed out that she had made remarkable progress as her own boss and an employer of labour.

Mudiaga Akpteta who reacted through the Facebook official handle of the Delta State Office of the Chief Job Creation Officer said he had applied, on many occasions, to be part of the programme, but was not successful.

He appealed that the call for application be made at public and government online platforms as it had been the practice in the past. He prayed for a free and fair process of screening by which all qualified Delta youths could benefit from the scheme irrespective of political affiliations.

Okowa Invites Ogboru For Support, Supreme Court Confirms 3 Other Govs


THE governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on Deltans to be more united following the re-affirmation of his victory at the polls by the Supreme Court which confirmed him as the duly elected Governor of Delta State.

The governor made the call on Wednesday evening at a thanksgiving service held at the Government House Chaplaincy, Asaba to celebrate the Supreme Court verdict.

"I want to thank Deltans for all your prayers and support and as we move forward, it is time to work for the good of the state; I cannot do it alone; as a government we require the cooperation of all; it is time for us to partner together; it is time to forget the bitterness.

"I will use this opportunity to call on my opponent, Chief Great Ogboru for him to realize that it is time for him to work together with the state government to build our state; I believe that truly everyone can make his contributions and impact whether he is in office or not as it is truly time for us to be united as it is in the best interest of the state to work together and continue to pray for God’s strength to move this state forward.

"God took us through the elections, through the tribunal, Appeal Court and now,  the Supreme Court and in each of the victories, we have always returned thanks to God because He alone has made it possible. We trusted in God and He has seen us through and today we have victory.

"This victory is dedicated to God because God willed it to be, to settle the state and to ensure that there is peace; to bring oneness among us because without peace and without oneness we cannot move forward as a people."

The governor attended the thanksgiving with his wife, Dame Edith; his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top government functionaries.

He used the occasion to speak on 2023 elections saying, "I know that 2023 is not so far but, it is also not too near; so, there is a time for everything and now, it is truly time as a government to work for the people. When the time to play politics comes we will play politics."

"For those of us in government, I want to plead that the best thing for us to do now is to work. There will be room to play the politics and by His grace when the time comes, everything will work out smoothly; no one can make a governor; only God can decide who becomes governor; so, now we have to work together to achieve a Stronger Delta as we need to spend the next few years working for the people of Delta State."

Chaplain of Government House Chaplaincy, Venerable Charles Osemenem in his sermon, said, God works in miraculous ways, further asserting that, "many a time when you see results, you forget that there was a battle over which God gave you victory; we thank God because this victory is a sign of what He will do in Delta State."

The Supreme Court had earlier same Wednesday, reaffirmed the March 9, 2019, election victory of Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa. 

In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Centus Nweze, the court held that the appellant, Mr. Great Ogboru of All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to prove his allegations of over-voting at the polls.

The judgment which was concurred to by six other justices of the court, held that the appeal lacked merit.

Nweze said that the appeal was a waste of the precious time of the apex court.

He noted that majority of the documents tendered by the appellants were based on hearsay, adding that the petition was a sheer waste of the genuine time of the court.

"There are plethora of decisions of this court on the position of card readers and they are too numerous to begin to mention them or for the appellant to claim they are not in the know.

"The appeal was against the valid election of Governor Okowa and it is hereby dismissed for lack of merit," he declared.

The Supreme Court also dismissed appeals brought against Governors Okezie Ikpeazu, Darius Ishaku and Abubakar Bello of Abia, Taraba and Niger States, respectively.




Atiku Commends Army, Police For Impressive Performance


FORMER Nigeria’s Vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has commended the country’s police and the army for proactive efforts foiling last Saturday’s attempt to rob a bank in Abuja.

In his tweeter handle, Atiku said he was “proud of the proactiveness of the Nigerian Army and the Police in foiling the robbery in Abuja,” hoping that such efforts at curbing crime would continue in the country.

A gang of eight robbers had stormed a branch of First Bank at Mpape area of Abuja last Saturday. A local source said sighting the robbers, a guard in the bank alerted the police which mobilized its men and engaged the robbers in a prolonged shoot-out. Soldiers were mobilized as the robbers remained holed inside the banking hall exchanging fire with the security operatives.

One of the robbers was killed, while four of the invading robbers were arrested. It is not clear how three of the robbers escaped, but Abuja Police Command said it was investigating the incident. Unfortunately, a soldier was killed in the operation.

Despite the death of the soldier, observer noted that security operatives in the country have come up with impressive performance in recent times.

Recall that some gunmen who invaded the country home of former President Goodluck Jonathan on Christmas Eve were frustrated by the security men attached to the home. A soldier was also killed during the attack.

Recall also that over 30 terrorist members of Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, who attempted to invade Damaturu, Yobe State capital recently, were killed by the military, which foiled the attempt. Two soldiers were reportedly “wounded” during the operation.

Observers note that while combat instructors and trainers should ensure that no soldier is killed in such future operations, the country’s Police and the Military are to be commended for good performance in recent times.



Delta To Spend N18bn On Warri, Uvwie Drainages


DELTA State governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the State Government would spend N18 billion to construct six storm drainage projects to solve flooding problems in Warri and Uvwie areas of the state.

He disclosed that the contracts for two of the projects had been awarded to CCECC Ltd and Levante Construction Ltd at the sum of N9.5 billion.

The governor stated this on Monday while fielding questions from newsmen in Warri after inspecting some ongoing  projects being executed by the state government in Warri South, Uvwie and Udu Local Councils.

He said that special attention was being given to flooding challenges in the area given the terrain.

He assured that his administration would continue to prioritize resources in order to provide necessary infrastructure for the people.

Okowa expressed appreciation to people in the area for coming out in large number to welcome his entourage.

According to him, the large turnout was an affirmation of the satisfaction derived from the projects being executed.

"We are in the Warri area inspecting roads; it is an effort to ensure that we put contractors on their toes. 

"There are lots of more roads that are ongoing and if we find time before the Christmas, we will go out for more inspection; otherwise from January, we will go out to inspect more roads to ensure that our roads are properly done and that contractors are actually meeting up with specifications that we requested them to meet.

"We are managing our resources and that is why we are giving special attention to drainage projects in Warri and Uvwie area because they have a huge flooding problem.

"Whatever was done in the past was not just good enough considering the terrain in the area.

"We have been able to carry out proper studies and we will embark on six storm drainage projects estimated at about N18 billion.

"We have awarded two out of the six projects, to CCECC and Levant Construction Limited who won the bid, according to the State Tender Board.

"These two projects will be costing us about N9.5 billion and that essentially will drain a major part of Warri and Uvwie when completed," he said.

The governor likened the construction to the kind of drainages being constructed in the state capital, Asaba.

"We all will be here to witness the kind of drains we are talking about which is like the kind of drains we are constructing in Asaba.

"It may not follow in the same manner like that of Asaba because we are going to use 'Mat Concrete' because of the terrain. 

"We will tackle the drainage problem to ensure that at the end of this tenure we will be able to beat our chest that we have done something good for Warri people," he said, adding "once we have solved the drainage challenges, it becomes much easier to construct more roads."

He added that besides the drainage projects, the government had other road projects being embarked on in Warri and its environs. 

"The Ifiebor Street road in Warri is one out of the 10 roads we have awarded in that area. We also have a secondary school building which we are constructing for the Okere-Urhobo people."

Okowa, who was conducted round the projects by the Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye, inspected the construction of concrete paved Dimony Street at Okumagba Layout in Warri; ongoing construction of Ifiebor Street with side drains as well as construction of classroom blocks at Okere-Urhobo Secondary School, Warri.

Other projects inspected included completed construction of Ogiyede Road, Off Ogunu Road, Warri, construction of concrete-paved NPA- Refinery Link Road, Ekpan, which the governor said would help to decongest traffic from ever-busy Refinery-Shaguolo-Ubeji Road.

The governor also inspected ongoing dualization of Ubeji Road, reconstruction of DSC-Ovwian-Udu Road; reconstruction of Orhuwhorun Road and construction of Ekrovie road, Orhuwhorun, Udu Local Council.





Ijaw Youths Accuse Buhari Of Victimization, Cutting Off Regions


THE Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of cutting of parts of the country which he considered never voted for him.

In a statement signed last Monday by its president, Pereotubo Oweilami, the youths alleged that even the projects began by his predecessors had been abandoned,

The statement reads in part:

“President Buhari despite spending four years in government is still treating some parts of the country below the belt. His policies and programmes are not for the benefit of the South-South and the South-East parts of the country.

“It seems Buhari is still ruling this country along voters’ dichotomy. Just recently on Wednesday the 27th of November, 2019, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the sum of N19b to construct roads in northern and western parts of the Country.

“Despite the deplorable states of the federal roads in the Niger Delta region, none was considered by FEC. East-West Road, Warri-Benin Road, Benin Asaba Road amongst many others are now death traps to road users.”

“In fact, movement from Warri to Benin federal highway has been cut off as the road is completely damaged.

“Similarly, the East-West Road is no longer motorable as some portions of the road, especially from Bayelsa to Rivers State axis have been damaged.

“Regrettably, these are the only roads that connect the Niger Delta to other regions.

“Even the Minister of Works is paying lip service to our plight as commuters are undergoing excruciating pains and agonies in plying these roads. Babatunde Fashola’s reference to the deplorable state of the Warri-Benin road as a mere media hype is an insult to the Niger Delta people.

“If the South-South or the Niger Delta region is part of Nigeria, then President Buhari, his Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, and other top government functionaries should take a visit to the roads in the region from Cross River State down to Edo State and see things for themselves.

“From the way and manner the present government implements its policies and programmes, it appears that Buhari did not see Niger Delta region as part of Nigeria.

“The East-West road project which was awarded since 2006 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been completely abandoned by Buhari’s government. The present government has displayed an unmitigated hatred for the Niger Delta people, perhaps due to our political leaning in the past elections.

“Niger Delta people cannot fold their arms and allow the government to use the resources from their land to develop other regions, while they watch with grimace faces. The present government should not by act or omission incite Nigerians against one another. You cannot claim to be propagating one Nigeria dream when some parts of the country are not feeling the dividends of democracy under your watch.

“The ruling government should have a rethink of its policies and programmes. The President’s actions and body language are polarizing this country along political-cum ethno-religious lines. He should be a uniting factor and not one that keeps Nigerians further divided.

“If Buhari kept on allowing this political apathy and alienations against Niger Delta people to fester, then we are afraid that the existing peace in the oil sector may not be sustained in the long run.

“The signs are just there, staring us in the face. Mr. President should save this country from another economic crisis in the oil sector. Nigeria belongs to all of us. We all have equal rights to development if we must continue to live as united partners.”

Indeed, some of the roads mentioned are worse than stated. Some state governments in the South-south region embarked on the repair of some of them, but quality was compromised. For example, Abaraka-Sapele-Warri Road refurbished by the Delta State Government a few months ago is all damaged by erosion. Construction of East-West Road has been abandoned in the past four years. Deep failed portions on Benin-Asaba Road have been responsible for ghastly auto-crashes on the described roads in recent times.

However FERMA equipment were seen recently around Ubulu-Uku and Okpanam junction of Benin-Asaba Highway patching up some failed areas of the road.





ASUU Splits Further As CONUA Directs Members To Enroll On IPPIS


ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), further splits as a faction of it, the Congress of Nigerian University Academics CONUA) has directed its members nationwide to go ahead and enroll on Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The National Steering Committee of CONUA gave the directive on Saturday after its meeting, saying that “CONUA members are in full support of every policy and effort of government to reform the Nigerian public financial system with a view to combating corruption and thereby sanitizing our educational system.”

A statement signed by the group’s national coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu and, the national publicity coordinator, Dr Ernest Nwoke, said the group agreed to enroll on the programme having noted “the Federal Government’s promise to address any other issues that may arise, through the desk offices” which would be placed in the bursary unit of the respective university.
The statement added “that, in view of the foregoing, CONUA implores members to enroll on the IPPIS platform with a strong belief that government would reciprocate our good faith.”

ASSU had rejected the enrolment, arguing that the programme did not take into cognizance the peculiar nature of the universities. After failure on the part of the government and the executives of ASUU federal government gave a deadline and directed the head of civil service to stop the salaries of federal government workers who fail to enroll after the deadline.

But some university academics rejected the position of the executives of ASUU and went ahead to form a new association, the CONUA.

The new group is arguing that ASUU leadership failed to appreciate the programme and that a Nigerian university don was being seen as notorious, given the incessant opposition to government policies and too rapid strikes, which they argued have negated the nation’s universities and quality of graduates produced over the years.




Okowa applauds Jonathan at 62; SEC extends 'retention' period


DELTA State Government has announced the extension of period of final payment of road construction contracts in the state to two years.

The Government also approved the upgrading of Directorate of Youths Development to a full Ministry with a view to increasing government's attention to youth capital development in the state.
Information Commissioner, Mr. Charles Aniagwu who spoke to newsmen, Wednesday, in Asaba said the State’s Executive

Council extended the period to ensure that roads constructed by the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in Delta State would stand the test of time.

"What this extension means is that one year is not enough time for us to understand whether a contractor has done a good job, and roads constructed should be subjected to a minimum of two rainy seasons,” Aniagwu said.

A certain percentage of total contract sum known as ‘retention funds’ is usually withheld by the government until the executed contract is certified by the government.

With this development, quality of any road project in the state would have gone through two rainy seasons and certified before the ‘retention’ is released to the contractors.

The commissioner stressed that the government was not only committed to the construction of roads across the state, but would also ensure that quality jobs were executed.

"This is for us as a government to really understand how much quality the contractors brought to bear in the road projects as there have been some complaints about the unreliable state of some roads which do not last as we intended them to. So, what government has now done is to extend the retention period from one year to two years.

"At the end of one year from the two-year period, 50 per cent of the five per cent retention fee will be paid while leaving behind another 50 percent; so that after two years and we are satisfied that the contractor has done a good job, the remaining 50 per cent of that retention fee will be paid to that particular contractor," he said.

Aniagwu also disclosed that the Council approved the construction of township roads in Benekruku, Warri South West council area; as well as the construction of additional storm drains in the state.

"The Exco also approved the construction of storm water drainage projects along Ogwashi-Uku/Ubulu-Uku/Ubulu-Unor road which is aimed at controlling erosion in that particular area and the reason for the construction is to help extend the lifespan of the road as well as channel water to appropriate quarters."

The government also approved the upgrading of the Directorate of Youth Affairs to a full ministry.
"Also approved by the Exco is the renaming of the Directorate of Youth Affairs to the Ministry of Youths Development,” Aniagwu added.

"The renaming will also come with some reforms in terms of restructuring of some departments as two professional departments have been added – one to deal with the issues of investments which will help in repositioning our youths to embrace enterprise and the other is to bring about education and mobilization of the youths,” Aniagwu said.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika also confirmed to CourtlyNews, the change in status, hoping it would enhance youth capital development initiative of the Okowa administration.

SEC also approved the contracts for the construction of eight of the 19 new technical colleges in the state. Nine were earmarked for construction in the first phase of the project.

"It is also, worthy to inform you that the executive council also approved the contracts for the construction of eight out of the nine technical colleges approved in the first phase of the establishment of 19 new technical colleges across the state," the commissioner added.


Okowa lauds Jonathan's enviable personality

In another development, governor Okowa has congratulated former President Goodluck Jonathan on his 62nd birthday anniversary.

Okowa lauded the former Nigerian leader for his peaceful disposition towards politics, power and issues of life, describing him as "a committed patriot and father of modern democracy" in Nigeria.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, the governor remarked that Jonathan possessed leadership prowess, laced with wisdom, adding that his administration deepened democracy in Nigeria, especially when he conducted a credible election that led to his ouster from office. 

According to him, the former president’s exemplary contributions aided the institutionalization of democracy and improvement of elections in Nigeria through his personal sacrifice and leadership by example.

Okowa stated that Jonathan’s place in global history was assured at the backdrop of his famous quote of “my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian”, which he aptly demonstrated when he made that patriotic but rare telephone call conceding defeat in the 2015 general elections.

"On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate our leader and statesman, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, as he celebrates his 62nd birth anniversary. 

"Your Excellency, it gives me pleasure to celebrate you for your continuous role in deepening democracy in our dear country.
“Your administration will long be remembered in history as the government that epitomized the rule of law and freedom of expression as there were no records of human rights abuses when you led the country.

“The government of Delta under my watch will continue to leverage on the peaceful disposition, legacies of leadership, solidarity and support of accomplished, highly respected statesmen and committed patriots like you as we vigorously pursue our Stronger Delta Agenda.

“I join your family, friends and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for His continued guidance, protection and provision for you in the past 62 years of a life of forthrightness and great accomplishments,” the governor said in the statement.



TAF drugs, better alternative for HBV treatment


SWITCHING from tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) to tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF) is safe and effective in patients with chronic hepatitis B (HBV). It was linked to improvements in bone, renal, and kidney function, according to results of several studies presented at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases’ The Liver Meeting, held November 8 to 12, 2019, in Boston, Massachusetts.1-3

In a randomized, multicenter, phase 4 study ( identifier: NCT03241641), researchers assessed whether switching from TDF (300 mg once daily) to TAF (25 mg once daily) may demonstrate better efficacy, safety, and tolerability (including bone and renal outcomes) in patients with chronic HBV who have genotypic resistance to entecavir and/or adefovir.1 Patients receiving TDF monotherapy for at least 96 weeks were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to either switch to TAF or continue on TDF for 48 weeks. The primary efficacy end point was the proportion of patients with HBV DNA <60 IU/ml.

Of 174 eligible patients, 87 switched to TAF and 87 continued on TDF. At week 48, the percentage of patients with HBV DNA <60 IU/mL in TAF group was noninferior to the TDF group (98.9% vs 97.8%; P =.99). In addition, the percentage of patients with normal alanine transaminase (ALT) tended to be higher in the TAF group compared with the TDF group (92.0% vs 79.3%; P =.06). Participants in the TAF group also showed a significantly higher increases in bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine compared with the TDF group (mean percentage change, +1.84% vs 0.08%; P =.01).

Compared with the TDF group, the TAF group also demonstrated a larger increase in estimated glomerular filtration rate as per Cockcroft‐Gault (eGFR) from baseline (mean percentage change, +8.2% vs +4.5%; P =.06). 

The improved bone and renal safety as well as increases in eGFR observed in this study was also observed in another study comprising patients with chronic HBV who attained viral suppression with hepatic impairement.2 In this phase 2 study conducted at 18 sites in 7 countries ( identifier: NCT03180619), 31 patients with chronic HBV who had a Child‐Turcotte‐Pugh score of ≥7 and ≤12 who were virally suppressed for ≥24 weeks and had HBV DNA <20 IU/mL were switched from TDF and/or other antivirals to TAF for 96 weeks.

Week 24 results showed that all patients had HBV DNA <20 IU/mL and a high proportion had normal ALT. Switching to TAF resulted in increases in hip/spine BMD, decreases in bone turnover markers, an increase in eGFR with decreases in tubular markers. Moreover, TAF was well tolerated with only 2 patients having grade 3 or 4 adverse events. There were no serious adverse events related to study drug or discontinuations.

In a real-world cohort study comprised of 103 patients with chronic HBV and chronic kidney disease (CKD) from 9 academic institutions across Canada, switching from TDF to TAF also led to improvements in kidney function, particularly in those with stage 2 CKD.3

Patients were categorized according to their CKD stages using eGFR before switching to TAF and were followed for 104 weeks after initiation of TAF. Of the 103 patients receiving TAF, 81 switched from TDF, 3 switched from another nucleot(s)ide analogue and 14 were nucleot(s)ide analogue-naive.

Among the nucleot(s)ide analogue switch group, HBV‐DNA and hepatitis B surface antigen significantly declined after starting TAF.

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There was also a significant increase in eGFR after switching to TAF, a trend that continued after the first year of follow-up (week 0, 74.2; week 52, 75.7; week 104, 77.1; P <.001). Among patients with stage 2 CKD (eGFR 89‐60), eGFR significantly increased after switching compared with pre‐TAF (+0.20 per month; P =.05 vs -0.51 per month; P =.01, respectively).
Switching from TDF to TAF is safe, well tolerated, and effective.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

1. Lim Y-S, Gawk G-Y, Choi J, et al. Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) for multiple drug‐resistant hepatitis B: a randomized, multicenter trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of switching from TDF to TAF vs. continuing TDF in CHB patients with genotypic resistance to ETV and/or ADV. Presented at: AASLD: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Poster 499.
2. Lim Y-S, Lampertico P, Bae HS, et al. Safety and efficacy of switching to tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) in virally suppressed chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients with hepatic impairment: week 24 results from a phase 2 open‐label study. Presented at: Presented at: AASLD: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Poster 501.
3. Farag MS, Fung SK, Tam E, et al. Tenofovir alafenamide fumarate is effective and has superior renal safety mainly among stage 2 chronic kidney disease (CKD): real‐world study from the Canadian Hepatitis B Network (CANHEPB). Presented at: Presented at: AASLD: The Liver Meeting; November 8-12, 2019; Boston, MA. Poster 481.




Okowa enjoins Nigerians to show kidness to one another


GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, South-South Nigeria, has urged Nigerians to live exemplary life by doing and being good to others.

"As a people, we should continue to contribute positively to the development of our society, be committed to creating a better society by engaging in good activities. 

"As I wish all of us old age, we should continue to impart on the lives of people through good deeds," Okowa said.

He made the call on Friday at Afiesere-Ughelli, during the funeral rites of late Chief James Edevbie, father to Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief David Edevbie.

 Okowa, who was impressed with the achievements of the deceased, stated that Nigeria would be a better place if citizens engage in kind gestures. 

"We have come to identify with a friend, Olorogun Edevbie, as he bid his father farewell. 

"When a man has lived for 93 years, we have to rejoice, bearing in mind that he also lived a good life and we can see that he has been given befitting rites of passage.

Earlier at a funeral service held at All Saints Cathedral, Anglican Communion,  Ughelli, the Bishop, Rt. Rev. C.O. Odutemu stated that the Church was after winning souls for Christ and not for money-making, adding that everyone would account for his or her actions on the day of judgment. 

"Office or positions will not excuse us from giving account on the last day when we will appear before God; we will all give account for our actions,” the Reverend said.

"You live in affluence, yet, your next door neighbour cannot feed, you will give account; you should remember your God; the position that you are holding is an opportunity to serve; and God will judge us according to our deeds,” he noted; adding that those whom society condemn “may even make heaven when they repent.”
He enjoined everyone to always have the fear of God in all actions. “Let us accept
 Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour," he said. 

The event attracted other dignitaries around states of the nation. They include governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; former Governor James Ibori of Delta State; Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege;
 former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Minority Leader, House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Delta State Deputy Governor Kingsley Otuaro; and a renowned banker, Mr. Tony Elumelu.





IPPIS Enrolment: Federal Govt shifts deadline to November 30


FEDERAL Government of Nigeria has extended deadline for its workers to enroll on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS). The date shifted from October 31 to November 30, according to the acting Head of Civil Service, Folasade Yemi-Esam; is to enable those who had not enrolled be integrated in the new system.

“It is pertinent to emphasize that failure of any MDA and/or employee to comply with the content of this circular will lead to stoppage of the salary of the entire MDA and/or the affected employee on the IPPIS platform,” she said.
“By this extension of the deadline, the federal government has given federal civil servants till November 30 to update their human resources records on the IPPIS or have their salaries suspended,” she stated firmly,” the circular reads in part.

The presidency had, in 2007, issued directive that all workers on the payroll of the Federal Government should migrate to IPPIS for harmonization. Most workers of the federal government have migrated.

Office of Head of Service had threatened that at the end of the exercise, it would remove the names of those not registered. The threat is repeated in the secular issued by the Head of Service last Wednesday.

Such trade union as Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resisted the directive and warned that it would embark on strike if the government insisted on removing the names of its unregistered members from the payroll.

The government, however, refused to compromise but rather postponed the deadline. According to an aide to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, “it is subversive to threaten the government and resisting directives of the president,” referring to ASUU’s resistance.

The Presidency had earlier directed the National Universities Commission (NUC) to negotiate with ASUU on the need to abide by the government’s directive and allow its members to enroll as directed.

President Muhammadu Buhari had explained, while presenting the 2020 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly, that the programme was designed to enable the government manage personnel cost..



Another Nigerian killed in South African fresh attack


ANOTHER Nigerian has been killed while two others were wounded in a resumed xenophobic attack in South Africa last weekend.

Mr Odefa Ikele, spokesperson for Nigerian Union South Africa, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.

Ikele said the incident that led to the death of Mr Chikamso Ufordi, who hailed from the Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State and injuries sustained by the two others happened at about 7pm on Saturday, in Nigel.

Nigel is a small gold mining town in Gauteng Province, East Rand near Johannesburg.

“One of the witnesses informed us that the deceased, Mr Chikamso Ufordi, from Awgu LGA Enugu State was trailed by some unknown gun men, and was shot point blank while in his car with two other Nigerian friends.

“His friends also sustained injuries, but the late Chikamso died immediately before help could arrive from the province’s Emergency Medical Services team.

“The injured were rushed to the nearest hospital. A case of murder and attempted murder has already been opened at Nigel Police Cluster,’’ Ikele told NAN on telephone.

About four Nigerians were killed among other foreign nationals during renewed xenophobic attacks on foreigners on October 22 in Witbank, Mpumanlaga Province of South Africa.

Reprisal protests were staged in parts of Nigeria leading to shutting down some firms believed to belong to citizens of South Africa. They were reopened following the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari who met his South African counterpart, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa over the crisis.



NCC Permits Airtel To Disconnect Glo


SUBSCRIBERS to GlobaCom, Nigeria, making calls to Airtel network will likely begin to experience more difficulties getting through effective October 28.

This is because the sector regulator, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has granted an approval to Airtel to somewhat disconnect Globacom from its network for the latter’s failure to pay accumulated debts accrued over time from interconnectivity charges.

After the disconnection, callers from GLO network may not be able to connect to Airtel, though may receive calls.

A public statement signed by NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, the commission said it granted Airtel application based on the provisions of Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.

The Commission said after examining the crisis between the two operators, it granted AIrtel’s request having established that GLobacom had no reason for not settling the accumulated debt running into billions of naira. The statement reads in part:

“The Nigerian Communications Commission hereby notifies the general public and subscribers of Glomobile Limited that approval has been granted to the partial disconnection of Glomobile from Airtei Networks Limited as a result of non-settlement of interconnect charges. Glomobile was notified of the application and was given opportunity to comment and state its case. The Commission having examined the application and circumstances surrounding the indebtedness determined that the affected operator does not have sufficient reason for non-payment of interconnect (interconnectivity) charges.

“All subscribers are, therefore, requested to take notice that the Commission has approved the partial disconnection of Glomobile by Airtel in accordance with Section 100 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 and the Guidelines and Procedure for Granting Approval to disconnect Telecommunication Operators.

“At the expiration of 10 days from the date of this notice, subscribers on the network of Globacom will no longer be able to make calls to Airtel but will be able to receive calls. The partial disconnection, however, will allow in-bound calls to the Glomobile network.”




Man Jailed For Raping 19-Year Old


A 31- year old man, Emeka Akile was on Tuesday sentenced to 12 years jail term by an FCT High Court in Apo area of Abuja for raping a 19-year-old in Lugbe, Abuja, NAN reports..

Delivering his judgment, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, sentenced the convict under section 2B of the Violence Against Persons, VACA (Prohibition) Act 2015.

NAN reports that Adeniyi did not give the convict an option of fine.
“After the final analysis, I hereby sentence him to the minimum prescribed by the provision of section 2B VACA without an option of fine.” Adeniyi ruled.

He further said the sentence would count from the day he was arraigned and remanded in prison.
NAN reports that Akile was arraigned on March 16, 2016, by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons under the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015.

He pleaded guilty on September 30.

Malik Esomi, the NAPTIP counsel, said that the convict raped a 19-year-old in Lugbe, Abuja.
The prosecutor said the offence contravened the provisions of Section 1 of Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015.
In his plea for mercy for the convict, the defence counsel, Paul Uleyo, informed the court that the convict was the bread-winner of the family.

Uleyo also told the court that he was a first time offender who was remorseful.
Source: NAN





Nature Of Meat Intake Affects Breast Cancer Risk


Breast cancer affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States, making it the second most common cancer in women behind skin-cancer.
Study Examines Meat Intake in Relation to Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers explored the link between consuming different types of meat and the incidence of invasive breast cancer. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Cancer.
The investigators examined data from 42,012 women aged 35 to 74 years who had taken part in the Sister Study, a large prospective cohort. They tracked participants for an average of 7.6 years, during which time 1536 cases of breast cancer were diagnosed.
Dietary data were collected at baseline using the Food Frequency Questionnaire. The researchers sifted through data including type of meat consumed and how the women prefer their meat cooked (from rare to charred).
Red Meat vs Poultry
The investigators found that eating red meat was associated with increased risk for breast cancer: the women in the highest quartile of consumption were 23% more likely than those in the lowest quartile to develop the disease.
Conversely, they found that consuming white meat was associated with reduced risk for breast cancer: the women who ate the most white meat were 15% less likely to develop the condition compared with those who consumed the least.
The investigators used substitution models to predict how breast cancer risk would change if an individual who consumed a large amount of red meat were to switch to white meat or vice versa. They found that the associations were “more pronounced in substitution models, indicating that substituting poultry for red meat decreases breast cancer risk when the total consumption of red meat and poultry is fixed.” Further, “substituting red meat for poultry increases breast cancer risk when total consumption of red meat and poultry is fixed.”
Substituting Poultry for Red Meat
The authors concluded that “red meat consumption increased the risk of invasive breast cancer, whereas poultry consumption was associated with reduced risk, particularly for postmenopausal invasive breast cancer.” Although further investigation is needed to understand the reasons behind the protective association of poultry on breast cancer risk, “it may be beneficial to replace [red] meat with poultry.”

  1. How common is breast cancer? American Cancer Society. Revised January 8, 2019. Accessed August 13, 2019.
  2. Lo JJ, Park YM, Sinha R, Sandler DP. Association between meat consumption and risk of breast cancer: findings from the Sister Study [published online August 6, 2019]. Int J Cancer. 2019;doi:10.1002/ijc.32547




Dogged Handling Cardiovascular Disease Risk In HIV Positives improves Performance
By Zahra Masoud

STEP-BY-STEP trouble shooting (Algorithms) may help predict cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in people living with HIV (PLWHIV), according to a study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

All assessed CVD risk prediction algorithms reasonably distinguished individuals who developed CVD from those who did not.
There is a higher burden of CVD observed in PLWHIV compared with people who are not infected with HIV. This is most likely a result of an interplay between HIV-related factors and CVD risk factors, which include persistent inflammation and immune activation, certain antiretrovirals, and damage to the immune system. Guidelines that outline how to manage CVD risk recommend initiation of primary prevention that is based on a person’s individual risk. Currently, there are 3 commonly used algorithms used to predict CVD risk; however, they were based on the general population and do not consider HIV‑related CVD risk factors.

Therefore, an algorithm was developed to more accurately predict the risk for CVD in PLWHIV, called the Data Collection on Adverse Effects of Anti-HIV Drugs (D:A:D) algorithm. However, previous studies have shown conflicting results on whether this algorithm is superior in predicting CVD risk in PLWHIV. This study evaluated the performance of 4 commonly used algorithms to estimate CVD risk.

In total, data from 16,070 people living with HIV were used. Participants were aged ≥18 years, were in care between 2000 and 2016, initiated first combination antiretroviral therapy >1 year ago, had no preexisting CVD, and had available data on CD4 count, cholesterol, and blood pressure measurements. The predictive performance of the following 4 algorithms was performed, using a Kaplan-Meier approach: D:A:D, Systemic Coronary Risk Evaluation adjusted for national data (SCORE-NL); Framingham CVD Risk Score (FRS);, and the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Pooled Cohort Equations (PCE). Model discrimination was assessed using Harrell’s C-statistic. Observed vs expected rations, calibration plots, and Greenwood-Nam-D’Agostino goodness-of-fit-tests were used to assess calibration.

Results suggested that all 4 algorithms showed acceptable discrimination with a Harrell’s C-statistic of 0.73 to 0.79. On a population level, the D:A:D, SCORE-NL, and PCE algorithms slightly underestimated CVD risk, whereas FRS slightly overestimated CVD risk (observed vs expected-ratios, 1.35, 1.38, 1.14, and 0.92, respectively). The algorithms that best fit the data were D:A:D, FRE, and PCE, but were still statistically significant in their lack of fit, whereas SCORE-NL performed the poorest. The researchers highlighted that although these algorithms are useful in clinical practice, clinicians should be aware of their limitations when using them.

van Zoest RA, Law M, Sabin CA, et al. Predictive performance of cardiovascular disease risk prediction algorithms in people living with HIV [published April 23, 2019]JAIDS. doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000002069

SOURCE: Infectious Disease Advisor





Hope Rises For HIV/AIDS Cure

  • Two Patients Achieve Sustained HIV-1 Remission After Treatment Cessation

Natasha Dyal

A second patient has attained sustained remission of HIV after cessation of treatment.

A second patient has attained sustained remission of HIV-1 after cessation of treatment, according to a press release from the University College of London.

Researchers at the University College of London and the Imperial College London report that the patient has been in remission for 18 months after discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy (ART), documented by regular testing of the patient’s viral load. Akin to the first patient to report such an event, this individual was also a recipient of a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.

The patient is a male resident of the United Kingdom who was diagnosed with HIV in 2003 and had been receiving ART since 2012. In 2012, he was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, for which he received moderate-intensity chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in 2016.

The donor, researchers noted, possessed 2 mutated copies of the CCR5 allele — similar to the donor in the first case of HIV remission. Individuals with 2 copies of this genetic mutation are resistant to HIV infection, as the mutation prevents expression of the virus.

Researchers also noted that chemotherapy alone may contribute to eradicating HIV infection, as it kills dividing cells and allows for replacement of immune cells with cells that do not have the CCR5 receptor.

The transplant was complicated by a mild case of graft-vs-host disease, which is similar to the first patient to achieve HIV remission. Researchers posited that this phenomena in both patients may have played a role in the loss of HIV-infected cells.
Achieving remission in a second patient with HIV using similar methods demonstrated that the first occurrence was not anomalous. However, citing the use of total body radiotherapy in the first individual, but not in the management of the current patient, researchers highlighted the importance of future strategies for HIV remission to be based on preventing CCR5 expression.

Professor Eduardo Olavarria, MD, PhD, of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Imperial College London stated that “While it is too early to say with certainty that our patient is now cured of HIV, and doctors will continue to monitor his condition, the apparent success of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation offers hope in the search for a long-awaited cure for HIV/AIDS.”

HIV remission achieved in second patient [press release]. London, England: University College of London; March 5, 2019. Accessed March 5, 2019.

Source: Infectious Disease Advisor


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