Nigeria: 72% of Lassa Fever Cases Found in Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi - NEC

(file photo).
27 February 2020

The National Economic Council (NEC) has said that 72 percent of Lassa fever cases were discovered in Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi states.

Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this on Thursday while addressing State House reporters in Abuja, added that the ministry of health and federal government were concentrating on the three major states.

Speaking on the level of preparedness on COVID-19, he said the two ministers in the Ministry of Health re-assured NEC of the measures put in place to stop the disease from spreading into the country.

Sanwo-Olu said the chairman of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) just returned from Ethiopia, while some of the state commissioners had also travelled to Geneva as part of efforts to prevent COVID-19 in Nigeria.

"We were briefed about the status of COVID-19, which is the Coronavirus worldwide disease by the ministers of health, and the director-general of the national primary health board.

"As of February 25th, worldwide, we have confirmed over 80,239 cases; we have over 2,700 deaths worldwide. In Africa, it's been confirmed that only Egypt and Algeria have confirmed cases but we have seen a transition in countries outside of China - Italy, South Korea, and a few other countries.

"In Nigeria, the good news is, yes there have been a total of 11 suspected cases but all the 11 have turned out to be negative. In fact, there was a scare in Lagos yesterday (Wednesday), about two cases, but all have been confirmed negative as we speak.

"But Nigeria still places itself on high risk, as also advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). So, what the federal and all the states are doing is that we are looking at all the international airports that we have as major entry points: Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu and Port Harcourt.

"They have continued to be a major source of external in-road to the country. The alertness in each of these airports is very high. But we also have coronavirus testing facilities and are ready at the NCDC lab in Abuja, LUTH in Lagos, in Edo State and also the University of Osun, all have been activated and all state governments have been told to have a level of preparedness."

He said regarding update on polio eradication and improving routine immunization in Nigeria, Africa would be declared polio-free by June 21, 2020.

He said the Vice President will be flagging off an outreach programme on March 16,2020 in Abuja, while states will start theirs by March 21, 2020.

Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state, who earlier said an awareness campaign had been launched against coronavirus, Lassa fever and Cholera in states, local government areas and communities, added that the governors were rising up to the challenges of insecurity in the country.

The deputy governor of Edo State said the NEC also received Local Organising Committee (LOC) of Edo 2020 National Sports Festival who presented a document to the level of preparedness for the coming event.

Governor Umahi, who also briefed journalists on the issue of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), said the states that had met the requirements would not only provide letter of intent and counterpart funding, but also state livestock transformation office and community engagements.

Umahi, who described the notion that the Excess Crude Account had been depleted as untrue, said $250million was an agreed investment by governors and federal government on National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) which was doing very well.

He said: "They are handling our infrastructure so nicely that it was further agreed that we should reinvest into it. When these investments are made, the federal, state and local governments all get their investment certificate. So, we are together in this.

"You also asked where the other $4million is... It was used in paying consultancy and services that would have caused the fund about $500million. It was renegotiated to $4million because some people went to court over certain transactions in NNPC and so the federal government had to engage consultant to handle that. We would have paid the consultant five percent of the cost that they were seeking and it would have translated into $500million.

"So, if you add $250million plus $4million, you will get $254million and if you add $71million, you get $325 million; we are back to where we were. So, no money is missing."

On budget support facility, the governor said each State, which was still renegotiating the current arrangement, was paying N152 million every month.

The NEC also received the new governor of Bayelsa state, Douye Diri.

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