Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, on Monday reiterated the commitment of the PAP Office to provide quality empowerment packages for beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. This, he says will reduce the ex-agitators’ dependence on the monthly N65,000 stipends and give them a decent and more sustainable means of livelihood.
This statement has become necessary due to the recent calls for the payment of non-statutory allowances such as the Transitional Safety Allowance (TSA).
A statement from the office of the Interim Administrator, signed by his SA Media, Nneotaobase Egbe explains that the TSA is not statutorily provided for and therefore, not captured in the budget provided by the Presidency.
The Transitional Safety Allowance was a direct payment made by the then Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Hon. Kingsley Kuku, who got the approval from the Federal Executive Council to pay ex-agitators who had been disarmed, and on their way out of the disarmament centres.
This payment was made for the purpose of transportation, accommodation and to cushion the social effects at that time for the ex-agitators transitioning from the creeks to residences within and outside their respective communities.
This TSA payment was a one -off to all ex-agitators documented in batches in 2010, 2013 and 2014 and was not captured or documented as a recurrent annual payment.
The Interim Administrator has frowned at the incessant agitations to resume the TSA payment and is appealing to those agitating for these payments to instead refocus their energies to forming cooperatives for entrepreneurial purposes which he is willing to support.
It will be recalled that the Presidential Amnesty Programme was created to stabilize, consolidate and sustain security as well as fast-track development in the Niger Delta region through effective implementation of the total Amnesty Package, which includes reintegrating the ex-agitators back into the society by providing quality training and empowerment to help them become net contributors to the economic prosperity of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole.
Col. Dikio (rtd) has assured delegates that the Presidential Amnesty Programme is focused on actualizing its original mandate by directing available resources to achieve optimum results.
COVID-19: FG To Build 38 Oxygen Plants As Demand For Medical Oxygen Rises
Following the approval of over 16 million dollars by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government says it will build 38 oxygen plants across the country.
This project is meant to address the surge in demand for oxygen as a result of the daily rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
In the National Economic Council meeting held on Wednesday, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed said that the construction of a new oxygen plant was necessary due to the continuous increase in numbers of COVID-19 patients in need of oxygen.
In a statement, the FG said it had allotted an additional $671,000 for repairs of existing oxygen generation facilities in five hospitals.
According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi,_ “a large number of patients who are currently on admission in the isolation centers are largely dependent on oxygen. A patient with a critical case may use about six cylinders of oxygen in 24 hours”_ Abayomi explains.
In the commercial capital Lagos, the epicenter of Nigeria’s outbreak, demand for oxygen at one of its main hospitals had increased fivefold in recent weeks to 350 6-liter cylinders a day according to the state government.
COVID-19: Nigeria to Receive 100,000 Doses of Pfizer Vaccine By Early February
According to officials, Africa’s most populous country will receive 100,000 doses of COVID-19 by February 2021.
Health expertise at Pfizer affirmed that the COVID-19 vaccine has to be stored in a cold temperature and this might prove difficult when getting them to rural areas.
However, it was reported that Nigeria has found a way to beat the challenge through its ultra-cold chain equipment.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, director-general of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) said “What we do have coming to the country is the Pfizer vaccines that require about -70 degrees Celsius,
“This is why we are actively making sure that we have those vaccines and also bearing in mind that additional vaccines might be brought from the Covax facility that will require these types of temperatures.”
According to Dr. Shuaib, the NPHDA has put in place three Ultra Cold Chain (UCC) equipment that will be used to bring in the vaccine.
He said, “Three of them have a total capacity of 2,100 liters. So, we have more than enough space for the 100,000 doses of the vaccine that will be brought in the first instance”.
“We will be focusing more on those vaccines that do not require these kinds of complicated cold chain mechanisms. So the Oxford-Astrazeneca types of vaccine that require +2 to +8 degrees Celsius are what we are going to be focusing on,” he added.
As of January 22nd, Nigeria reported 118,138 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 1,490 deaths since the outbreak of the virus.
First COVID-19 Vaccine Expected to Arrive Nigeria In February
The largest African economy, Nigeria has been working with World Bank to ensure it receives its first doses of COVID-19 vaccine as early as February.
The information was passed across in a communique issued by Kayode Fayemi on Thursday.
Fayemi who is the head of Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum affirmed that the country has been working with the World Bank to ensure that Nigeria is not left behind in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
He assures that Nigeria will receive her first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February.
“Nigeria is among 12 countries in Africa that have indicated the readiness of the 92 qualified countries for the facility and will by end of February 2021 receive its first shipment of vaccines,” Fayemi said.
As of January 22nd, Nigeria reported 118,138 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 1,490 deaths according to the update by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Friday.
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