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One man’s opinion about my regime doesn’t matter — Buhari

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has dismissed the claim by a former Minister of Defence, Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (retd.), that Nigeria under his watch is in a big hole.

Danjuma had, at a recent event in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, scored Buhari low in governance and anti-corruption war, claiming that Nigeria under the retired general’s watch “is in a big hole.”

He had said that most Nigerians would be seriously disturbed if he declared what he knew about what was going on in Buhari’s government.

While speaking at the University of Ibadan, during a book launch, Danjuma was quoted by to have said, “In Yorubaland, everybody seems to have lost their voice, scared. And people appear not to care about what is happening. If I tell you what I know is happening in Nigeria today, you will no longer sleep.

“So, Chief Ayo Adebanjo’s warning and advice are very timely. If you want details, I will give it to you privately.

“We are in a big hole as a nation. And people who put us in this hole have continued today. So, we’ve to wake up. Only we can save ourselves.”

But Buhari in an interview he granted the current edition of The Interview Magazine, said he cared less about Danjuma’s comment, noting that the ex-minister’s comment was a one-man opinion, compared to the majority of people whose votes he garnered to return as President for a second term in 2019.

Buhari said, “And what is the vote of confidence of Nigerians in me, as expressed in the polls last year? That is what matters more, not the opinion of one man.”

Buhari, in the interview, also said the relationship between him and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo “is perfect” despite the perception in certain quarters that there may be a cold war between the two.

He also denied the existence of a ‘cabal’ in his regime, said to be dictating the pace of governance in the country.

Asked about his relationship with Osinbajo, he replied, “Perfect. Or has he complained to you? Thank you very much.”

On the alleged existence of a cabal, Buhari said, “I addressed this matter before. I was the one who went around the country on campaigns, and I was the one voted into office as President twice.

“No one else did, and no one else took the oath of office, and can exercise the powers of a President.”

When asked whether some of the actions of his regime were not in direct opposition to his claim of being a “reformed democrat,” Buhari said he did not expect critics to praise him.

According to him, his satisfaction is that Nigerians have confidence in him, as expressed during the last polls.

“You called them critics. If they are critics, you would hardly expect them to garland me. Rather, they would look for things to try and de-market me.

“But, I am glad that as they do that, millions of Nigerians know who their President truly is, and they have made it clear in 2015 and 2019 presidential elections. All countries, including the old democracies, must maintain law and order. If you look around the world, our policing operations are as restrained as any,” he added.

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Inside Nigeria

FG Directs NAFDAC to Evaluate Local COVID-19 Cures

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On Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Chairman, Mustapha,  said the PTF would continue to support efforts to invent a local cure for coronavirus,  adding that the ministry of health had started evaluating some claims.

He stated, “For some time now, there have been claims of inventions and cures related to COVID-19. The PTF, as part of its mandate, remains supportive of and receptive to outcomes of the research. It, however, finds it imperative to reiterate its position on the need for such discoveries to undergo the scientific validation processes.

“The PTF is aware that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Department of the Federal Ministry of Health has been evaluating such claims and forwarded some that have met the preliminary requirements to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.”

Also, the ministry of health in its letter to the NAFDAC DG noted there was no definite treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.

It stated, “This has necessitated countries to look for solutions from within, and Nigeria is no exception. It is worthy to note that Nigeria is blessed with medicinal plants which could be exploited.

“It is heartwarming to note that the Department of the  TCAM has taken the pains to research into scientific materials to come up with a formulation intended for the management of cough in COVID-19 and other cough-related infections.”

According to the ministry, the formulation is a Cov-herbal cough mixture.

It said, “Interestingly, all the ingredients that make up the formulations are medicinal plants that are widely used as food materials and medicines.

“They include Allium Sativa (garlic); Allium cepa (onions); Zingiber officinale (ginger): Piper guineense (West African Black Pepper); and Adansonia digitata (baobab fruit). The innovation here is the composition of the formulation.

“These medicinal plants have documented scientific evidence of long use for the management of cough and other respiratory infections, with medicinal properties of mucoiytic, antitussive, expectorant, soothing, demulcent, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.”

The ministry stated that it was determined to “walk the talk” in the promotion and integration of herbal medicine into the health care delivery system.

“In view of the foregoing and the desire of the ministry to showcase to the public a product that is 100 per cent sourced locally, you are requested to carry out the necessary procedures for listing.”

On Thursday, NAFDAC Director of Public Affairs, Dr Abubakar Jimoh,  explained herbal drugs were listed after it had been confirmed that they were not toxic.

He, however, said that such listed drugs were not usually given full registration.

In a  related development, the leadership of NAFDAC  met with 35 players in the herbal and alternative medicine sector as part of efforts to find a treatment to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual meeting, which was convened by the Director-General of NAFDAC,  had in attendance over 35  players in the herbal medicine sector including two professors of Pharmacognosis,  Maurice Iwu and Anthony Elujoba, who was once an acting Vice-Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.

Some others at the meeting were Prof. Martins Emeje of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development; the Managing Director, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc, Matthew Azoji; and Prof. McDonald Edu of the Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, University of Benin.

Others are Executive Director, Yemkem International Group, Mr Akinyemi Ayeni; and Dr. Oluwatobi Abiola, Managing Director of Ablat Nigeria Limited, manufacturers of Yoyo Bitters.

The meeting also had in attendance representatives of the Ministry of Trade and Investment as well as the Department of Traditional and Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the Ministry of Health.

The meeting was the third edition of the Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee symposium which seeks to explore herbal solutions to health challenges in the country

However, the NAFDAC DG said only one firm had so far approached the agency for approval, and it was for the treatment of the symptoms of COVID-19, not the virus itself.

Adeyeye said all claims must go through necessary testing before clinical trials can commence.

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Inside Nigeria

Kogi is under pressure to announce false COVID-19 case — Dr. Saka Haruna

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On Thursday, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna, claimed in a statement that the state is under pressure to declare that it has COVID-19 cases where there is none.

He, however, said the state would not succumb to the pressure.

The statement followed a report, which claimed that four persons suspected to be COVID-19 patients had died at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja in the last one week.

He said that as the state commissioner for health, a member of the Governing Board of the FMC Lokoja, and also the incident manager for COVID-19 in the state, he had yet to be informed of any claimed cases.

“There is also a representative of the FMC Lokoja in the state’s squadron against COVID-19 /Lassa fever and never for once was any such case raised in our meetings.

The commissioner alleged that the aim of those putting pressure on the state was to politicise the situation as they are not happy that the current administration has been scored high by local and international observers on health care.

He added, “First and foremost, it is imperative that the public realise that there is no state government that can deliberately put her people in harm’s way for whatever political reason and the current administration has been scored high by local and international observers on health. We have and will continue to put the health of our people as first priority.

“We have been in an annual fight against Lassa fever as the state is located in the Lassa fever belt, recording several cases with regrettable losses. We were first to establish a Biosafety Laboratory for Lassa fever in Nigeria, and this year alone, we have confirmed 30 cases of Lassa fever that was duly announced. To accuse the state of a cover-up of COVID-19 cases is mischievous and at best politically inclined.”

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Inside Nigeria

Banditry is more Pressing than COVID-19 in Katsina – Masari

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On Wednesday via Twitter, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, disclosed how pressing an issue armed banditry in the state is over COVID-19.

He said over 50 persons had been killed by gunmen in the last two weeks.

Masari said, “We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the security agencies in the fight against banditry, but we must also state that the situation has become so overwhelming. We are running out of words to convince our people that we are on top of the problem.

“They are, by the days, losing confidence in us as their leaders, saddled with the responsibility of securing their lives and properties.

“I am so saddened with the situation we are in now, because to most of our people in the troubled areas, COVID-19 is not even an issue. It may have taken over the world and the news about it but not here.

“Attacks by armed bandits have become a daily affair. In about two weeks, we have lost more than 50 people.

“At our end and within the resources available, we have provided support to the security agencies. We even brokered peace through an Amnesty and reconciliatory drive. Some of the bandits repented and joined us in the fight. They were, however, overpowered by the unrepentant ones who are more sophisticated.”

The governor urged the leadership of security agencies in the country to up their ante in combatting the activities of gunmen in the state.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as of Wednesday night, the state has recorded 95 coronavirus infections with eight recoveries and eight deaths.

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Inside Nigeria

FG Extends Ban on Flights by More Four Weeks

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The ban placed on flights in the country as part of efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for four more weeks by the Federal Government.

On Wednesday, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, disclosed it at the daily briefing of the task force.

He said, “Tomorrow marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights.

“We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks.”

On other efforts being made to curtail the spread of the virus, Mustapha said the PTF had continued to interface with state governors.

He disclosed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control would be visiting Kogi and Cross Rivers States to provide support to the State EOCs.

This, he described, as a giant leap in the dialogue and collaboration process.

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