The Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, has been strengthening measures to ensure an outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly. The multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group, led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has since activated its national Emergency Operations Centre and will work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and implement firm control measures. “I wish to assure all Nigerians that have we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case. “We have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria. Please be reminded that most people who become infected may experience only mild illness and recover easily, but it can be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illnesses. All Nigerians should take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the precautions below: 1. Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser. 2. Maintain at least 1 & half metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 3. Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd. 4. Make sure you and people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene, meaning cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. 5. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number which is available day and night, for guidance- 0800-970000-10. Do not engage in self-medication 6. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health. Citizens must not abuse social media and indulge in spreading misinformation that causes fear and panic. The Federal Ministry of Health, through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak in Nigeria,” announced Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Hon. Minister of Health. As at the time of filing this article, over 9,000 cases have been confirmed in Nigeria, over 3,000 cases have been discharged and about 300 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, having carried out 48,544 tests. AKWA IBOM COVID-19 INDEX CASES -Dr Otobong Asuquo, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, after recovering from the disease at Ibom Specialty Hospital. As at April 1, 2020, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 5 cases of the disease in Akwa Ibom State, and Dr Otobong Asuquo, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was one of the cases. Dr Asuquo, in his detailed account after recovering from the disease at Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo, said he received a call immediately from the state COVID-19 team to get set that an ambulance would be coming to pick him. Different thoughts went through his mind: his dear wife, children, and when he saw how others in different parts of the world were passing away, he thought his end was near! At the isolation centre, Dr Asuquo said he enjoyed his stay because of the privacy, the modern facilities, and equipment at the hospital. “You don't know what is happening and who is in the next room. Constant water and light, it's like having the U.S. in Akwa Ibom,” he said in a video chat. He added that he was surprised to know that all the rooms there are equipped with Television sets (with DSTV) and that there's free WIFI for browsing the Internet, which made him stay updated and worked on his personal project. Although he was silent on the treatment he received that led to his recovery in less than two weeks, he was thankful to the state government for a job well done. “I want to give kudos to the Akwa Ibom State Government because I know without them, this wouldn't have been possible and also for the [COVID-19] team.” Akwa Ibom State so far has 35 active cases of the disease, with 2 deaths and 14 recoveries of which Dr Asuquo is one of them.
Penultimate Thursday, July 18, 2019, the government of Akwa Ibom State apparently re-opened the stale chapter of the now familiar pestering menace of floods and erosion in the state, bringing its sobering contents on the table of discussion once again.
Courtesy of the fresh state Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, the state government has deemed it pertinent at this point in the administration of Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel to direct government’s attention to this perennial and recurring disaster that has not only posed a severe threat to lives in the affected areas, but is fast claiming chunk of arable and inhabitable landmass from the people.
By this, the attention of the Federal Government of Nigeria and relevant interventionist agencies is bound to be drawn to this plague that, when dastardly incidents recorded across the states of the federation are put together, the overall socio-economic and demographic losses of government are quite enormous.
Like other states of the federation, especially those around the coastal regions, Akwa Ibom has witnessed huge devastation arising from persistent seasonal floodings that have defied government effort to stem its tide of occurrences.
When the Hon. Commissioner embarked on an on-the-spot assessment tour of erosion and flood ravished sites in Akwa Ibom State a few days after assumption of office, it made clear government’s resolve, in conjunction with the federal government and relevant agencies, to fight the menace.
The Hon. Commissioner who had just assumed office Monday, July 15, 2019, and who carried out the exercise in company of top officials of his ministry and those of Nigerpet Structures Ltd., contractual erosion managers in the state, stated that it was pertinent for him to have an on-the-spot assessment of areas most affected by erosion and flood disaster in the state.
Addressing newsmen during the exercise, Ekong Sampson said “Now that I have just assumed office, I felt that I should have a firsthand knowledge about the state of affairs about our environment.
“What the public should expect is government intervention. We have a governor who is very passionate about the environment, and very passionate about the wellbeing of his people. That is why I am here to see things for myself, even under a heavy downpour like this.
“To me, it is better to inspect erosion and flood sites under the rain, so that I can see how the situation is really like. So, even under the rain I am here with my team and the officials of Nigerpet Structures Ltd., the company that has been working on a number of locations affected by gully erosion.”
The Environment Commissioner who reiterated the state government’s concern regarding the high level erosion disaster in the state, especially in the areas visited during the tour, hinted that the state governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, has directed that remedial measures be put in place as soon as possible.
He therefore appealed to the federal government for immediate intervention, as, according to him, “Akwa Ibom State is under threat”, saying it should see the erosion and flood situations in Akwa Ibom State as very peculiar and pressing, as the environment is under pressure.
On the preventive measures of government, Barr. Sampson noted that government is sensitizing the people on the need to take the issues of erosion and flood very seriously, even when undertaking their construction work, saying that “total compliance with the basic construction standards has to be respected.”
Regarding the corrective measures on those whose breach of construction measures has fueled the flood crisis in the state, he responded that government advocacy has been on the increase that all members of the public should take the issue of protecting the environment very seriously, saying that the issue should not be left to government alone.
Also speaking during the inspection, the Managing Director of Nigerpet Structures Ltd., Mr. Muyeed Wadud, posited that his establishment has been working closely with the state government to bring the situation under control.
The areas toured during the exercise are: Uyo Prisons, Udo Inwang Street ravine, Ubara Street in Use Offot and Etim Okon Usanga Street ravine, all in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
World Bank released N32bn for flood erosion control to Akwa-Ibom-Nigeria
June 26, 20170
Generically speaking, flood has posed an annual recurrent challenge to thousands of people on planet earth, causing landslides, and erosion as consequence of poor drainage control in undeveloped and developing cities of the world.
Particularly in poor African and Asian countries, flooding has leveled settlements and communities, swept away houses, roads and bridges, and has wiped away vulnerable inhabitants of areas prone to incessant flood hits.
In Akwa Ibom State, there have been repeated heartrending reports on occurrences of high level devastation from effect of heavy flooding and erosion that have been the cause of deep concern for the citizenry and the state government.
Devastating flood occurrences have been an age-long issue that have been beleaguering the state, even though development and climate change have constituted a major factor that has been the reason for heightened devastation in flood-prone areas across the state. But the wave of hits has continued to rise, especially in the wake of the Akpabio Administration in the state till date, with an unprecedented water overflows in major roads of Uyo Metropolis such as Oron Road between Four Lane traffic point and Uruan Street junction, Oron Road end of Two Lane, Itiam Street by Udo Umanah junction, chiefly mid IBB Way, etc.
The severity of the flooding has always depended on the level of rainfall of that season, and the state government has been having an uphill task in its attempt to put an end to flooding in communities across major cities of Akwa Ibom State, with emphasis on the perennial flood site at IBB Way in Uyo.
To tackle the recurring flood and erosion menaces that were wreaking untold havoc in many local government areas across the state, the Akwa Ibom State government about two years ago received the World Bank financial support N32b that was earmarked for the management and control of the mounting disaster.
The then Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, while speaking over the World Bank relief grant to newsmen in Uyo, also hinted that the project would be executed in partnership with the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP).
He stressed that proper drainage channel project would be implemented in phases, and when completed, it would reduce the incidence of flooding in the state, adding that floods in the affected communities would be channeled through a 7.5 km drain to an outfall at Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.
Going by the position of the then state Environment and Mineral Resources Ministry, the World Bank and its partners have indicated serious commitment geared toward tackling the challenge of erosion in the state.
“For the IBB Way flood control project, designs have been put in place and the initial cost of N52 billion reduced to about N32 billion.
“Once the drainage is constructed, the number of catchment areas around Atan Offot, Atiku Abubakar, Abak Road and the state secretariat complex would be completely de-flooded,” Essien said.
While maintaining that the N32 billion World Bank relief package would also aid in financing two major erosion sites at Etim Usanga and Anua, both in Uyo Local Government Area, Dr. Essien intimated that there were over 1,000 erosion sites across the 31 local government areas of the state.