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Lassa fever kills 168 Nigerians in eight months, Ondo, Edo top chart



Ondo and  Edo states are leading in the number of confirmed cases of Lassa fever as Nigeria records 168 deaths from the disease since January 2022. New data released on the disease by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) this week, covering the 15th to 21st of August, showed there were 88 suspected and five confirmed cases.

There was no death from the disease during the week. Two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in two states recorded the cases. The data showed a reduction in confirmed cases from nine in the previous week to five in the new week. The cases were reported from Ondo and Edo States.

Cumulatively, from January 1 to the previous week, 168 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.8 per cent. The CFR for the same period in 2021 was 23 per cent. This year, 26 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 101 local government areas. Of all confirmed cases, 70 per cent are from three states, namely Ondo (31 per cent), Edo (26 per cent) and Bauchi (13 per cent).

The predominant age group affected is 21 to 30 years. The number of suspected cases has increased compared to what was reported for the same period in 2021. There are now 6,392 suspected and 894 confirmed cases of Lassa fever in the country this year, out of which 168 persons have died.

The Centre said 101 LGAs have logged cases from 25 states. Compared to the same period in 2021, there are more suspected cases and deaths this year. Similarly, more states and local government areas have recorded Lassa fever cases this year than in the previous year. While there are 6,392 suspected and 894 confirmed cases this year, figures for the same period last year were 2,790 and 83, respectively.

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Cases were confirmed in 80 LGAs within 14 states in the previous year, but this year’s tally has 101 LGAs reporting cases in 25 states. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control, Lassa fever is an animal-borne, or zoonotic, acute viral illness spread by the common African rat. It is endemic in parts of West Africa, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

The Centre notes that there are about 100,000 to 300,000 infections of Lassa fever annually worldwide, with approximately 5,000 deaths. The World Health Organization says humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus through exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected Mastomys rats. The ICIR reports that Lassa fever is one of the diseases to which Nigeria is endemic.


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Supreme Court to deliver judgement on Kogi APC guber primary Oct 23



• Usman Ododo and Smart Adeyemi
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, adjourned an appeal filed by Senator Smart Adeyemi against the judgments of the lower courts, on the Kogi APC Governorship primary election, to October 23, 2023, for judgment.

Adeyemi had filed a suit at the Federal High Court seeking to nullify the primary election of the All Progressive Congress, which produced Usman Ododo as the party’s flagbearer for the state’s governorship election slated for November 11.The case was dismissed by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.

The apex court, while hearing his appeal, on Thursday, told his lawyer, Musibau Adetumbi, SAN, that his client was appealing against concurrent findings of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which stated that primary elections were held in Kogi State but that he had failed to challenge these concurrent findings.

However, the appellant’s counsel said he would go ahead to argue the appeal.

The Supreme Court therefore adjourned the appeal to October 23, 2023, for judgment.The representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission, All Progressives Congress and Usman Ododo include Chief Anthony Adeniyi (SAN) Abdulwahab Mohammed (SAN) and M.Y. Abdullahi, SAN; respectively.

The Court of Appeal had, on August 18, 2023, held that the appeal argued by Adekunle Otitoju on behalf of Adeyemi was completely bereft of merit.

In a unanimous judgment of a 3-man panel of Justices of the Court, Adeyemi was said to have failed to establish all grievous criminal allegations made against the conduct of the primary election by APC and its leaders.

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50 poisoned at wedding party



No fewer than 50 people were poisoned at a wedding in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk due to spoiled food, local media reported.

According to the report, the incident occurred in the town of Hawija, west of Kirkuk, the capital city of the cognominal province.

The provincial health chief, Ziyad Khalaf, said some of the cases were mild while some were serious.

He added that all the patients have received the necessary medical treatment in the hospital.

The incident came a day after a deadly fire ripped through a wedding hall in a predominantly Christian town in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, killing 114 people and injuring more than 200. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Make a difference in Niger Delta, Ogbuku charges new directors



The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, has enjoined the newly promoted Directors of the Commission to make a difference in the discharge of their duties and take the Commission to greater heights.

Ogbuku, who gave the charge at the closing session of a two-week course on Leadership and Performance Management for directing staff of the NDDC in Abuja, said that the provision of quality services to the people of the Niger Delta was a collective responsibility and should be given priority.

According to him, the reason for sending the new Directors for training was to ensure they took the administrative knowledge acquired back to the Commission in order to make a difference for the overall benefit of the region.

He said: “We are supposed to be training and retraining our staff. This is just the beginning. I want the directors to take back the knowledge they have gained to others in the NDDC to better appreciate their roles and understand the expectations from them.

“We want to do things differently. We want to improve on our services. We want to take up challenges. We want to start with the staff first to ensure that all the staff are properly trained and they understand their roles.”

Ogbuku urged the directors to ensure they utilised the experiences gathered from the training to improve the administrative processes in NDDC to ensure that things were done differently.

He said further: “As new directors, you need to understand your roles and understand your boundaries. You also need to understand your strengths and understand when to use them and when not to.

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“You need to understand that you are public servants and not civil servants. So, these are some of the things we thought you ought to be equipped with.”

“Over the years we have seen a situation where the staff of the NDDC seem to act as politicians, but as directors who have been inducted into Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), I believe that you are not only going to be ambassadors of NDDC, you are also going to be worthy ambassadors of ASCON,” he said.

He stressed that his expectation was to work with directors who understood that they were career civil servants, and aspiring to get to their peak as professionals, not those who want to be nepotic or tribalistic.

Ogbuku noted that directors should be wary of their actions, adding that some of their actions could mislead their subordinates who are looking up to them as role models.

In her address, the Director General of ASCON, Mrs. Cecilia Gayya noted that training was essentially an activity that was designed to make an employee more efficient and productive in the performance of their functions.

She said that the focus of training was to ensure efficient and effective application of knowledge, skills and attitude for improved performance, noting: “The programme was carefully designed and implemented to provide the needed knowledge, skills and capacity to adequately and promptly discharge their responsibilities and thus, make meaningful contributions towards the attainment of the mission and vision of the NDDC.

“The conscientiousness with which you participated in this programme for the past two weeks is a testimony to your preparedness for the challenges ahead and thus gives us hope that this training will impact positively on your performance, especially as you rise higher in the strategic realm of the management of the Commission.

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