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Amidst Festivities, Africans Should Be On High Alert To Avoid Surge in COVID-19 Cases – WHO

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COVID-19 Vaccine

In light of the festive period, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urges African countries to be on high alert for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases this season.

The health organisation stated, in a new report, that nearly 20 countries in the African region have experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

While the first wave of COVID-19 cases was triggered by hotspots in Southern Africa, the latest increase is likely to be driven by the North African Region where temperatures are already falling.

Despite reports of a downward trend in the plateau, COVID-19 cases have been increasing since early October in Africa.

The World Health Organisation statement revealed that out of the 47 countries in the WHO African Region, 19 countries have reported over a 20 percent increase in new cases in the past 28 days compared with the previous four weeks.

However, there has been a 20 percent decline in the number of new cases in 17 countries over the past 28 days, compared with the previous four weeks.

The report also states that there have been increasing records of health worker infections and deaths, particularly the experienced health workers.

WHO has identified that Large group gatherings and mobility are high-risk factors that increase the spread of COVID-19 and the approaching festive/holiday season can promote these risks, which might lead to super spreader events.

According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, he said “As we near the time of year when people get on the move to spend their holidays together, there is a bigger risk of COVID-19 transmission”

“New clusters of cases can emerge in places that have so far been unaffected as people travel or gather for festivities. But we can lower the risks by wearing masks, limiting the numbers of people who come together, observing physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. We can celebrate yet do so safely”. He explained.

WHO emplored member states to conduct risk assessment at all levels, ensure all safety measures and precautions are put in place.

In an effort to re-energize key public health measures, WHO is launching the “Mask Up, Not Down”. The campaign aims to reach over 40 million young people in Africa with positive messages on the correct use of masks through social media and to combat complacency, fatigue and misunderstanding around COVID-19 prevention measures.

Dr. Moeti said “In the face of COVID-19, complacency can be dangerous”.

“At this critical moment as Africa begins to see an uptick in cases, we need to re-energize and recommit to wearing masks. I know many are finding the public health measures cumbersome, but without action from everyone, Africa risks a new surge in COVID-19 cases”. He added.

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Npower News: CBN Job Options for Exited Npower Beneficiaries

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The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria has launched an online portal called N-Exit to enable exited Npower Beneficiarieas apply for Central Bank of Nigeria Empowerement Options.

The ministry stated a statement signed by Bashir Nura Alkali, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, urged interested exited npower beneficiaries to log on to the portal and add other additional information required for placements into the CBN intervention options.

The minister also stated that the NEXIT Portal will determine the suitability of the interested exited beneficiaries of Npower for teh CBN affiliate programes.

The statement reads, “The NEXIT portal is to determine the suitability of the beneficiaries for the CBN affiliated programs and is dependent on meeting the criteria and conditions set by the CBN for the said programs”.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is very proud of the milestones you have achieved during your period of service to the nation. As we prepare to exit into prospective endeavors, we are confident that you will be able to channel all you have learnt over the years into successful ventures that will improve the economy of the country and create further opportunities for you and other citizens.

“Chasing a dream requires effort, passion and hard work which you are now halfway through. I congratulate you and wish you a very successful future”.

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ASUU Expects to Call Off Strike Today as More Universities Accept FG’s Offer

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is expected to call off the ongoing strike later today or tomorrow following reports that most universities under the union have accepted government’s offer.

Last week, the government exempts ASUU from the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and offered to raise Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) from N30 billion to N35 billion and the revitalisation fund from N20 billion to N25 billion.

Therefore, the Federal Government offered the union a total sum of N65 billion and IPPIS exemption to call of the strike.

While some universities like the Ahmadu Bello University Branch had accepted the offer and insisted payment should be made before the union call of the strike, the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi (UAM) ASUU voted to continue with the strike until government implements what was offered during the negotiation.

Ezekiel Agbalagba, the Chairman of ASUU at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Delta State, said the congress accepted the EAA offer but rejected the N25 billion for the revitalisation of the universities.

However, Nigerians expect the union to call of the strike today or tomorrow after today’s meeting between the Federal Government and ASUU.

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Staff Assured of Job Security After Dissolution of LAUTECH Joint Ownership

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After the dissolution of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) by the National University Commission (NUC), the staffs of the institutions have been assured of job Security by Osun State Government “indigenes of Oyo and Osun State working in either of the two entities will retain all their rights and obligations stipulated in their letters of engagement.”

On Saturday Mrs. Funke Egbemonde, Osun State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation disclosed in a statement she made available to the media that, “Osun Students will not be subjected to fees or admission differentials. They will pay the same tuition fees as their Oyo counterparts”.

She said, “Government of Osun wishes to assure its citizens that the dissolution of its joint ownership of LAUTECH, following new terms of management spelled out by the National University Commission (NUC), is in no way skewed against the state.

“All workers of Osun extraction either in the College of Health Sciences and LAUTECH ceded to Osun or those in Ogbomoso are assured of job security. There will be no intimidation or discrimination against them in the discharge of their duties.

“The agreement states that indigenes of Oyo and Osun State working in either of the two entities will retain all their rights and obligations stipulated in their letters of engagements, therefore the State Government of Osun wishes to inform citizens that there is no need to fret about the dissolution, as all workers of Osun extraction are assured of the security of their jobs.

“Both Osun and Oyo states have mutually agreed that the joint ownership of LAUTECH be formally dissolved following extensive mediation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), on the need to restore tranquillity and conducive learning environment in both institutions. The decision became necessary as a result of governance and management challenges”.

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