April 6, when two new cases of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) were announced in Ogun State, the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration had plumbed into the depth of its resourcefulness and sense of duty to curtail and contain its spread. The state’s index case, an Italian who has since been discharged from the Infectious Disease Hospital, Lagos, was announced March 9.Between then and now, the United States of America has experienced a frightening spike in COVID-19 cases with deaths, at the time of writing, pegged at about 11, 000. The cases in Lagos currently stand at 238 with five deaths and 35 patients fully recovered and discharged. Ogun is the closest state to Lagos; proximity that comes with its merits and demerits. Perhaps if the Italian harbinger of COVID-19 had not visited Ogun, the state would have been without a case or its first case would have been delayed judging by the measures quickly put in place by Governor Abiodun.The moment there was an outbreak in the state, Governor Abiodun reacted by putting the 28 people suspected to have had contacts with the Italian in quarantine at the isolation facility located in the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu. The governor promised then that the centre would be upgraded to a full-fledged bio-security and containment centre to attend to anyone who contacts the virus.Within a few weeks, the state government constructed purpose-built isolation centres in Ikenne and Sagamu which have 128 beds and 21 beds respectively. The governor recently commissioned the centres as the third centre, located in Iberekodo, Abeokuta, with 100 beds, was being completed.As part of measures to further flatten the curve, President Muhammadu Buhari announced a 14-day lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun. “All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period,” the president said in an address to the nation.However, Governor Abiodun, who understands the peculiarity and challenges of his people, would not be goaded into hastily locking them in. Rather, he sought and got President Buhari’s consent to allow Ogun indigenes time to fetch necessities before observing the stay-at-home order. The Ogun lockdown effectively began four days after the initial date. Before it commenced, the governor had put in place a robust palliative package, which he said would cushion the adverse socio-economic effects of the lockdown directive on his people.The packages, to be delivered to 500, 000 homes with an average of four persons each, contain staple food, anti-bacteria soap bars, detergents and hand sanitizers, which were produced by the State Ministry of Health to the World Health Organisation’ standard. He emphasised that the distribution exercise is being monitored to ensure that the people remain well-fed and healthy during the lockdown. To this effect, the state government announced that it had finalised plans with all local government transition chairmen on the distribution process.According to a statement released by the state government, the transition chairmen were expected to “organise sensitisation programmes for people within their LGAs where they will enlighten the people, as the state government has so far done, on the symptoms and preventive measures of the coronavirus. The chairmen will also ensure that everyone is aware of the pattern of distribution so that all households will be reached effectively.”The governor added, “It is worth emphasising for the umpteenth time that each of the pack of seven food items is meant for a household of the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable and not for any street, group, or Community Development Association to unbundle and start sharing the items in bits and pieces. This will defeat the purpose of the palliative. In the first phase, between 250-300 households are targeted in each ward, and distribution will continue in phases until 1,500 to 2,000 households reach is achieved in each of the 236 wards in the state, approximating to about 2.5 -3 million citizens.”All these measures were before the two new cases were announced. On April 6, the governor addressed the state again saying, “The fight against coronavirus is a relentless one and the reality of it stares us in the face with increasing figures of the number of positive cases and deaths globally and even on our shores.”He continued, “Today, I have the unpleasant task of announcing two new positive cases in Ogun State bringing the total to six from the index case identified late February. Though out of the 6 cases, three have been discharged and one is also responding to treatment and on the verge of being discharged, the two new cases may be erroneously considered few but certainly very significant. One of the cases is from Obafemi-Owode Local Government in Ogun Central whilst the other is from Yewa South in Ogun West, thus each of the three senatorial districts in the state has one case at least.“This is significant, particularly when the two new cases have no recent travel history or close contact with any positive case with travel history. Indeed, one of them is from Mowe, a border town with Lagos State. They have since been moved to one of the isolation centres in the state. It is therefore important for us all to protect ourselves and our community from this invisible but dangerous virus by observing all the guidelines and shed off any carefree attitude that some may have been adopting toward the virus. COVID-19 is real. It is here also in Ogun State.”As such, the governor said that his administration considered it expedient to unveil new measures to combat the spread of the pandemic which include; “Provision of a special welfare package for our frontline health workers in view of their higher risk of exposure to the deadly virus in the course of providing healthcare to others.“Identification and enrolment of specific private hospitals in the state as incident centres/first responders in the management of the pandemic. Their staff will be trained in coronavirus case management and provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other items. These private hospitals will complement the over 500 government health facilities, including Primary Healthcare Centres spread across the nooks and crannies of the state.”The governor further said that all political office holders at the state level from Senior Special Assistants to Special Advisers and Commissioners are now part of the State Task Force that can be contacted by the public for information, feedback and complaints.“We are concluding plans to take delivery of our molecular laboratory while plans are underway for a mobile testing laboratory. In addition, the government is also establishing a drive-through testing facility all in an effort to test as many as possible so as to truly confirm that numbers of positive cases we have are a true reflection of the situation in our state,” the governor said.While promising that his administration would stop at nothing to stop COVID-19 in its track in Ogun State, the governor added that they would continue to review the measures and strengthen its preparedness to ‘combat the corona monster on an on-going basis.’
Inclusive Foundation Mourns Veteran Actress, Rachael Oniga
Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation, a non-governmental organisation has expressed its heartfelt sympathy to family, friends and the entire movie industry over the loss of the veteran actress, Rachael Oniga who died at age 64.
The CEO of the foundation, Chief (Mrs.) Pat Eleto, in a condolence visit to the family, on Saturday, July 31st, said the news came as a rude shock to many, but she believes that the late actress has created a great impact with her career, and her legacy should never be forgotten.
In her statement, Chief (Mrs.)Eleto said:
“It is with a heavy heart that I grief with the family of a sister, friend and adviser of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
“Mrs. Oniga, is one of our great ambassadors, and we were actually working on a project that is meant for the later part of this year when the sad news of her demise came.
“Death is inevitable, we pray for the repose of her soul, and may God comfort all the people she left behind. We also hope and pray that all her good legacies, be sustained because, she was indeed a pillar of support to our foundation, and also one of veterans that contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood,” the statement reads.
A native of Delta State, Oniga was one of the ambassadors of Inclusive Social Welfare and Empowerment Foundation.
Alaafin Shuns Ooni-Backed Group Over Alleged Anti-Buhari Posture
The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Friday, at the last minute, allegedly cancelled an appointment he gave to a Yoruba group, Ooni’s Caucus, on the alleged complaint that members of the group are “notorious critics” of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Ooni’s Caucus, which was inaugurated at the palace of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on July 20, 2021, is made of many influential Yoruba persons and is being coordinated by a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Akin Osuntokun.
PUNCH learnt that Osuntokun led about 14 members of the group to Alaafin’s palace for the alleged 11am appointment on Friday, but after waiting for about two and a half hours, the influential monarch sent words to them that he would not be seeing them.
According to a source, who spoke to PUNCH on condition of anonymity, some of the group’s members who went to Alaafin’s palace with Osuntokun were a monarch, the Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Alao; a former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe; a former commissioner in Osun State, Muyiwa Ige; a former Minister of Defence, Mrs Dupe Adelaja; a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Taiwo Lakanu, Oye Oyewumi, Sola Lawal, among others.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, is also said to be a member of Ooni’s Caucus, but he was not on the delegation to Alaafin’s palace on Friday.
The source, who is a member of the group, claimed that the group had through the Olugbon secured an appointment with Alaafin since Monday, and the same appointment was confirmed on Thursday, only for them to get to the palace and the Alaafin refused to see them on the claim that they were anti-Buhari and were also loyalists of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The source explained that the main purpose of the meeting was for the newly-inaugurated group to get Alaafin’s blessings and to possibly discuss the issue of the embattled Yoruba Nation agitator, Chief Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho, who is currently being held and tried in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The source said, “The Olugbon, a member of the caucus, was the one who booked the appointment, but he said the Alaafin said he didn’t want to see us because we’re notorious critics of the Buhari government.
“He (Alaafin) confirmed the appointment yesterday (Thursday). But when we got there today, he kept us waiting; after a while, he asked to see the Olugbon. He (Alaafin) didn’t come to see us; we were told he said he wouldn’t see us because we are notorious critics of Buhari’s government and that some of us are close to Obasanjo, who is also critical of the government.
“We were made to wait for about two and a half hours; he gave us an appointment for 11am; we got there at 11am and at about 1.30pm, that was when it was obvious to us that he wasn’t coming (to see us). But he initially asked to see the Olugbon, who went to see him for about an hour. When the Olugbon eventually came back, he said Alaafin would not see us, saying we are a group that is critical of the Buhari government and some of us are loyalists of Obasanjo.”
On whether the group’s mission to Alaafin’s palace was to discuss Sunday Igboho’s matter, the source said, “Of course, the issue (of Igboho) would come up but that was not the purpose of the visit. The issue of Igboho concerns all the Yoruba people but that was not our reason for going to him.”
On whether the group would try and book another appointment, the source said, “I don’t know; we were all surprised that a Yoruba oba can refuse to see his children on account of not wanting to be on the bad side of Buhari’s government. I would have thought that an oba is supposed to take everybody as his children, whether they are supporters of Buhari the All progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party or whatever party.”
But when contacted by PUNCH, the Media Director to the Alaafin, Bode Durojaye, said the reason his principal did not see the group was because they did not have any prior appointment with him.
Durojaye said the Alaafin would be willing to entertain the group if they booked an appointment.
He said, “Those who came are men of honour and kabiyesi did not say he did not want to see them. He did not say he would not see them because they are critical of President Buhari or they are former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s men. Obasanjo himself is a friend of Kabiyesi, so you can see that what you were told was not what happened.
“Kabiyesi said he could not see them because they did not give him prior notice that they were coming. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see them again. They can notify him and he will give them an appointment. You cannot just come and say you want to see him, there are protocols to follow and due process is always adhered to at Alaafin’s Palace.
“There was no rancour, no ill-feeling even when they were going; I was there and I saw them off to their vehicles. If anybody told you that kabiyesi said he didn’t want to see them because they are critical of government or they are Obasanjo’s men, that is a lie.”
NMA Reacts As Bandits Break Into, Pick Nurse At Zamfara General Hospital
Suspected bandits invaded General Hospital, Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday, resulting in the abduction of a nurse and caregiver.
Residents said that immediately the men stormed the medical facility, the armed men headed to the outpatient ward in search of a doctor or nurse.
“When they couldn’t find anybody there, they started going from one ward to another. A nurse and a caregiver were abducted. They then moved to staff quarters looking for doctors and nurses but could not find any.”
“The armed criminals had earlier attempted to attack Maigoge, a community located six kilometres north of Dansadau town.
“But when they laid siege to the community, the vigilantes otherwise known as Yan Sakai firmly defended the village. The vigilante killed some of the bandits and injured several others.
“They then invaded the hospital to kidnap nurse and doctors that will treat their injured brothers in the forest.”
Maigoge is one of the few communities in Dansadau Emirate known to be firmly defending themselves against bandits.
“The staff of the facility are not carrying out night duties now. They only attend to patients at day time. They then move inside the town to spend night usually at undisclosed locations,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in Zamfara state, Dr Mannir Bature, who confirmed the attack said the association is worried by the unfortunate incident.
He said they would hold an emergency state officers council meeting on Saturday.
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