NO DTS 1210: COVID-19: SHELL DONATES MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO DELTA
NO DTS 1211: DTSG PLEDGES CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR COVID 19 PATIENTS
NO DTS 1212: DELTA DISTRIBUTES MORE SETS OF FURNITURE TO RIVERINE SCHOOLS
NO DTS 1213: OKOWA CONDOLES WITH UGHIEVWEN CLAN ON INDUSTRIALIST, DJEBAH’S DEATH
NO DTS 1214: TIDI TASKS CORPS MEMBERS ON DILIGENCE
NO DTS 1215: ADJARHO, OBIORU COMMEND OKOWA OVER TRANSFORMATION IN ORHUWHORUN
NO DTS 1216: OUR INSTITUTION OUT FOR WORLD CLASS EDUCATION- RECTOR
NO DTS 1217: SPECIAL FEATURE: OKOWA, COVID-19 AND THE SAFETY OF DELTANS
Editor: Churchill Oyowe
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NO DTS 1201: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
COVID-19: SHELL DONATES MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO DELTA
Efforts by Delta Government to increase testing of COVID-19 cases received a boost on Wednesday as Shell Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) donated a machine capable of conducting 1, 000 tests daily.
The company also donated an ambulance vehicle, suction machine and other critical items needed to make an isolation centre functional.
Managing Director of SPDC and country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okumbor, made the donation to the state government in Asaba.
He stated that Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration had shown great commitment in the fight against Covid-19 in the state.
Okumbor, who was represented by Mr Evans Krukrubo, Stakeholders Manager of the company, said that Delta Government deserved support from SPDC, acknowledging that the company had also received a lot of support from the government and people of the state.
He stated that the government had showcased that “when you want to know what ease of doing business is, you have to come to Delta’’.
“The Excellency’s leadership of the state’s response to the spread of Covid-19 enables us to keep hope alive that we shall tame and overcome this challenge.
“The SPDC, in conjunction with our joint venture partners – NNPC, TEPN and NAOC – remain committed to supporting government’s efforts at managing the pandemic and recognise as a key gap, the absence of adequate testing capability globally and in Nigeria.
“We are today presenting the State with Covid-19 compatible PCR machine and extraction kits for 1, 000 tests as well as other critical equipment to operationalize the Covid-19 isolation centre.
“The PCR machine is approved by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to deliver Covid-19 molecular screening tests.
“We are also donating critical care hospital beds and mattresses, ICU-ambulance, defibrillation, suction machines, infra-red thermometers, respiratory nebulisers, hospital grade oxygen cylinders and oxygen concentration.
“Others are N95 face masks, nitrite procedure gloves, surgical face mask, gum boots, disposable high-tech overall, DuPont Tychem 2000, goggle and face shields and hand sanitizer,” Okumbor said.
A representative of NNPC at the event, Mr Simon Obasi, stated that the donation was to cushion the effects of combating Covid-19 on the state government.
Receiving the equipment, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, thanked the donors for complementing the government’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic.
He said that Okowa’s administration had shown great commitment to curb Covid-19, noting that while great efforts were made to provide adequate care for the victims, measures were also put in place to check the spread of the virus.
“These are very tough times for everybody and one thing that I can assure you here in Delta is that from the very beginning, we took Covid-19 very seriously.
“The governor chairs the committee and we meet periodically to review our activities, and we have tried as much as possible to make available facilities for the treatment and management of Covid-19 patients.
“We are committed to providing the right kind of care for those that have the virus and this PCR machine will enable us to increase testing; we will deploy this immediately as it means that we will be doing more testing.
“We will be more aggressive in our contact-tracing, to treat those who are infected,” the SSG said.
NO DTS 1211: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
DTSG PLEDGES CONDUCIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR COVID 19 PATIENTS
By Oghenero Orovwuje
The Delta State Government said it will continue to provide a conducive environment to care for patients that have contracted the Corona virus.
The Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG) Mr Chiedu Ebie made this known when he received on behalf of the State Government, medical equipment donated by the Oil and Gas Industry Intervention Initiative on COVID-19 under the NNPC and Shell Joint venture for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
The SSG said the State Government took the issue of Covid-19 pandemic very seriously hence it set up a Covid-19 Committee chaired by His Excellency, Senator, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa which met regularly to review issues with the medical team.
He equally stated that because of the State Government’s commitment in the treatment of the virus, it had established various treatment centers across the state with the recent commisioning of the temporary 70 – bed treatment center built by the NNPC/Agip Joint venture at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
Mr Ebie said it was worrisome that people still did not believe that the Covid-19 virus is real despite the rising number of cases recorded in the State even as he stated that as at today there were 317 confirmed cases with 224 active while 76 person’s had been discharged and 17 persons had also lost their lives.
The SSG commended the NNPC/Joint venture for donating the medical equipment including the PCR machine which he said would enable the State to carry out more test as the machine has the capacity of testing 200 people in a cycle.
He assured that the medical equipment would be deployed immediately and put to maximum use.
Earlier in his remarks the Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr Osagie Okunbor represented by Mr Evans Krukrubo, External Relations Manager, SPDC commended the State Government for it’s untiring efforts and vigilance to keep the people and communities of Delta State safe in the face of the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said SPDC is committed to supporting the State Government at managing the pandemic even as it recognized the absence of adequate testing capacity globally and in Nigeria.
The items donated are Automated Electric Device (AED), Sunction Machine, Infrared Thermometers, Surgical gloves and Hand Sanitizers.
Others are Google Face Shields, Oxygen Concentrators, Folding Stretchers, Surgical Face Masks, Hospital Beds, PCR machine, Medical Ambulance and Oxygen Cylinder.
NO DTS 1212: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
DELTA DISTRIBUTES MORE SETS OF FURNITURE TO RIVERINE SCHOOLS
In continuation of the distribution of sets of furniture across public primary and secondary schools in the state, two primary schools in riverine communities and a secondary school in Warri North Local Government Area have taken delivery of theirs.
Iwere College, Koko, received 100 students’ tables and chairs, 10 tables and 10 chairs for teachers.
Awamba Primary School, Awamba, a riverine community, got 100 students’ tables and chairs, 15 tables and 15 chairs for teachers, while Ugbeni Primary School, Ogheye, another riverine community in the area, also received 100 students’ tables and chairs, 15 tables and 15 chairs for teachers.
A total of 760 sets of furniture were last week given to three secondary schools in Warri South and Warri South West Local Government Areas of the state.
The distribution exercise continues.
NO DTS 1213: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
OKOWA CONDOLES WITH UGHIEVWEN CLAN ON INDUSTRIALIST, DJEBAH’S DEATH
Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has condoled with the Djebah family and Okwagbe community in Ughelli South Local Government Area on the passing of their patriarch and renowned industrialist and community leader, Chief Philip Djebah.
Djebah reportedly passed on peacefully on Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 95 years old.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, today in Asaba, Okowa also commiserated with the people of Urhobo and recalled that the late nonagenarian was an industrialist of repute, who pioneered steel stocking business in the Midwestern part of Nigeria.
He said that the deceased was a worthy statesman and community leader, who excelled in service to his people.
The governor described him as an “accomplished businessman who founded P. B. Djebah & Company Limited, his 72-year-old business empire from the scratch’’.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the passing of an illustrious son of Urhobo nation and an accomplished businessman, Chief Philip Bivese Djebah.
“He was an elder statesman whose demise leaves a huge leadership burden on the Urhobo people and his sprawling business, which he founded in 1948.
“He was a community leader of immense repute and lived a life of great accomplishments.
“He was a gentleman, who distinguished himself in the service of his people, especially as a one-time President-General of the Ughievwen Union, Ukpedi Sub-Clan of Ughievwen Kingdom in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta.
“As a successful entrepreneur, the late Chief P.B. Djebah contributed immense resources to the development of Ughievwen people through his passionate philanthropy and business activities spanning several decades.
“His contributions to the economic growth and development of Warri, Urhobo nation, Delta and Nigeria, will remain in the consciousness of generations of Deltans and the Urhobo nation in particular,’’ he said.
He prayed to God to accept the deceased’s soul and grant fortitude to the family to bear the loss.
NO DTS 1214: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
TIDI TASKS CORPS MEMBERS ON DILIGENCE
By Blessing Okoribe
The National Youth Service Corps members have been charged to be diligent and meticulous in their places of primary assignment to the nation.
The charge was made by the Chairman of Warri South Local Government Council, Dr Michael Tidi, today, in his office at the Warri South Council Secretariat in Warri, when the National Youth Service Corps group paid him a courtesy visit.
While expressing the need for more health related NYSC corps members to be posted to the council, he stressed the need for Deltans to protect, accommodate and care for those posted, to enable them serve their fatherland effectively.
The Warri South Council boss, advocated for sensitization because many of them are people that came from different background, culture and ethnic groups, so there should be appropriate communication and interactions amongst them.
Tidi further urged them to be good ambassadors and industrious, learning skills rather than waiting for white-colar jobs, and assured them of every necessary support.
The Delta State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mrs Olutayo Samuel, appreciated the council chairman for his support, applauding him for taking his time to accept and support corps members sent to the council to serve the country.
Mrs Olutayo encouraged Dr Tidi to visit the NYSC orientation camp and see the activities and programmes going on there.
The coordinator was accompanied by the Assistant Director and Inspection, Corp Welfare, Mr Duru Chijioke, amongst others.
NO DTS 1215: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
ADJARHO, OBIORU COMMEND OKOWA OVER TRANSFORMATION IN ORHUWHORUN
By Ambrose Ologide
Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Orhuwhorun, Udu Local Government Area, Chief Akpojotor Adjarho and Chief Sam Obioru have commended Governor Ifeanyi Okowa over the rapid transformation of Orhuwhorun community.
The commendation of the two PDP stalwarts was contained in their separate speeches during the visit of executive members of PDP Orhuwhorun Federal Ward 9 to their residents in the community last weekend.
The PDP leaders in the area stressed the need for the party members to be united and win the forthcoming local government council elections and other subsequent elections one hundred percent
They also urged the people of the community to express their appreciation to Governor Okowa for the transformation by supporting the PDP at all times.
The duo acknowledged and appreciated the member representing Udu Constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly Chief Peter Oviejitobor for his numerous contributions to the growth of PDP in the area.
Comrade Efeta Okolosi and Chief Honda Gometi (Chairman and Secretary of Orhuwhorun Federal Ward 9 respectively) who spoke to our correspondent, explained that the visit was aimed at charting the said way forward for the party.
Other executive members of party present at the events in include: Mr Lucky Apoyi (Vice Chairman) Mr Emmanuel Kotu (Youth Leader) and Madam Okrigbolor Katherine (Woman leader). The pioneer chairman of the party in area Hon Ejiro Kayan was also sighted at the weekend events.
NO DTS 1216: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
OUR INSTITUTION OUT FOR WORLD CLASS EDUCATION- RECTOR
The Rector, Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashiuku, Professor Stella Chiemeke, said the institution is conscientiously providing access to world class education.
She made the remarks in a chat with newsmen in her office at Ogwashiuku.
Professor Chiemeke said that the polytechnic was currently ranked among the top three higher institutions in Delta state, emerging 8th best among Nigeria polytechnics and 102nd position among all higher institutions in Nigeria.
She said the achievement of emerging 8th best in the current ranking of the polytechnics by the webometric was a huge success, saying that in July 2019, the institution was first ranked and emerged at a distant of 232nd position among all Nigeria institutions available on webometric.
According to her, the achievement called for pomp and pageantry and ceremonial splendor, adding that it was the most recent success of the several successive successes in which the institution has become synonymous with.
The rector said the achievement of the institution with regards to the webometric ranking could be seen as a function of the vision of Delta State Government in providing world class education to Nigerians through access to modern education facilities and high calibre manpower.
She said that the institution’s management was fully committed to the vision of delivering world class polytechnic education to Nigerians at a minimal cost, adding that the focus underscored the need for the polytechnic to be among the very best, not just in Africa but the world at large.
NO DTS 1217: ASABA, NIGERIA, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17, 2020
SPECIAL FEATURE: OKOWA, COVID-19 AND THE SAFETY OF DELTANS
By Fidelis Egugbo
What if COVID-19 has come to stay? What if Nigeria starts to witness the number of deaths as witnessed in other countries like Italy, United States of America, Britain, Russia and others as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
What if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa decides to pretend that Covid-19 does not exist and allows Deltans to live as they were living during pre-COVID-19 era?
These were some of the questions that bugged my mind last Saturday morning on our way to the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba for the inauguration and handover ceremony of a 70-bed space hospital that has been mounted in anticipation of increased number of cases of COVID-19 in the state.
The last question, “What if Governor Ifeanyi Okowa decides to pretend that COVID-19 does not exist and allows Deltans to live as they were living during pre-COVID-19 era?” kept reverberating in my head. Was it wrong that Governor Okowa took proactive steps to safeguard the lives of Deltans? In the face of adversity, what sterner stuff is a good leader made of?
These are certainly not the best of times; and, there is no Deltan that is not aware of the ravaging global disease. Yes, every Deltan knows about the pandemic! A situation that has kept children out of school for more than three months, kept families and citizens indoors for more than two months and still counting, a situation that also kept majority of civil servants at home cannot be a child’s play; and, certainly no one can claim ignorance about its existence.
The fact that most people on the streets can be seen with masks leaves no one in doubt that there is a new norm.
As a colleague of mine, Dantes Odogwu had wondered aloud recently: “Assuming you could see COVID-19 on the street, would you go out still?” If it is a government scam as being speculated in some quarters, what does the government stand to benefit from that? If you should wash your hands regularly, wear facemask for your own safety, go out only when it is absolutely necessary and engage in actions that will safeguard your life, why is government so committed to your being healthy?
Deltans are lucky to have a Governor who is not just educated, but one who is intelligent, smart and a true democrat. He saw what the pandemic was doing in other nations, swiftly took actions and brain-stormed with his working team on the best ways to contain the novel Coronavirus.
Though described as World War III that began in China’s industrial city of Wuhan, the governor was not deterred, nor did he hesitate or wait for the dreaded disease to get to our doorsteps in Delta before dusting his battle armour. As an experienced political General who consults widely as a democrat, he promptly asked: “What if it enters Nigeria, what should we do?”
Expectedly, the COVID-19 crept into Nigeria through Lagos, the country’s busiest international gateway, and snowballed as the influx of people in and out of Lagos across the country continued. True to expectation, it was only a matter of time before the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) would announce steadily climbing cases in other states outside Lagos. Rivers State locked its borders with other states. The situation became dicey. Bearing in mind the socio-economic impact of locking down a state such as Delta, Governor Okowa and his team were apparently on the edge watching as events unfolded. Cases were reported in neighboring Edo State, but the state government would not close its boundaries to contain the spread. Delta was left with no other option than to close its borders with other states and followed it up with the lockdown of the entire state.
The Federal Government followed suit by placing a ban on inter-state movement and also, imposed curfew. The lockdown subsisted while the people cried out that what has come to be known as “hunger virus” was capable of killing faster than COVID-19.
Governor Okowa as a true democrat who believes that his major interest was to safeguard the lives of the people, as the people’s servant, heeded the cries of the people to lift the ban on the lockdown. However, that was done but with strict warning that people obeyed health and social distancing protocols put in place for their safety.
As I write this piece, most people still doubt the existence of COVID-19 despite all that is going on; and, because of that, many have continued to throw caution to the wind. Facemask that was made compulsory has become chin mask. Most people hold face masks not because of their safety, but because they are afraid that security officials may apprehend them without their masks, even if it means having such in their travelling bags.
The axiom, “Unease lies the head that wears a crown” as noted in William Shakespeare’s King Henry the Fourth, is very applicable when one considers what the governor, as the General, is doing to deflect the new Coronavirus bullets from touching Deltans.
From the date the lockdown was eased off, the number has jumped from less than 20 cases to more than 300 cases. These cases are not just computer-generated figures; they are our fathers, mothers, relations and friends.
That same fateful Saturday that the 70-bed hospital at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba was inaugurated and handed over to the Delta State Government, one question that came to mind was, “Who will these patients be?” Governor Okowa is in a vantage position to know and in an emotion-laden voice, observed that the spread of COVID-19 was yet to reach its peak. Yet, there was no adequate community testing to contain the virus.
Okowa said, “We are happy with the interventions of the operators of the oil and gas sector with Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and wish that there is an interface with the Nigerian Governors Forum for the states to be given what they need to fight COVID-19.
“As a state, we have no fewer than 30 ventilators and so far, it is only one case that we have had to use ventilators. The earlier we are able to get test kits in all the states of the federation, the better; because if you watch the trend, some states are no longer testing for the virus and by the time they resume testing, the cases must have skyrocketed.
“Early and continuous testing makes it easy to identify those affected and also ensure quick contact-tracing. The earlier we get enough test kits across the country, the better for the management of COVID-19”.
With the speech of the governor, free movement across the state and the very likelihood that interstate lockdown will soon be lifted, more of such isolation centres as donated last weekend is urgently needed. If Delta could get more than 300 cases of COVID-19 with all the strident measures put in place by Governor Okowa and his team, imagine what will happen when there will be free movement across the country. Those states that have “I don’t-care” attitude towards COVID-19 will no doubt make a mess of those states that have invested so much funds, time and otherwise to contain the disease and keep their people safe. This is one reason there should be true federalism in place to check the activities of those who are not committed to the welfare of their people. Without true federalism in practice, I envisage a situation where people in those states that are not carrying out tests at the moment will rush to other, safer states, thereby putting more people at risk.
Naturally, during a war situation, people are inclined to run to safer areas, and if COVID-19 is yet to reach its peak in the country, bearing in mind our careless attitude towards it and the prevalence of the rainy season with its attendant cold, in which coronavirus thrives, Nigeria as a country should brace up for the worst. The “expert” permutation of at least 300,000 deaths from the disease should not be allowed to come to pass.
That Governor Okowa and his team are doing their best cannot be over-emphasised. However, what can they do without the people? COVID-19 is all about the people. If you play safe, you will not contact the virus; you will not be putting your life and the lives of others at risk. Already, the state government has set up isolation centres at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, the Asaba Specialist Hospital, Delta State University Teaching Hospital Oghara, the NYSC Orientation Camp, Issele-Uku and at the Warri Central Hospital. Despite the cheering news about victims of the virus recovering at the isolation centres, is it not better for one not to be locked up for a period of two weeks or more without physical contact with family members or any other person?
Yes! Deaths have been recorded too but it has been stressed that when it is detected early, when the patients report early at government approved facilities for the treatment of COVID-19, there are greater chances of surviving from the ailment. So, is it a death sentence? The answer is, No! But there must be early detection for commencement of treatment.
Again, the greatest solution is obeying government-set health protocols. This is because, while government is battling to save lives, it is impossible for givernment to arrest all those who are flouting the instructions. As you are reading this piece, you are aware that a lot of persons are not washing their hands regularly or making use of facemasks, not to talk about social distancing.
On Sunday, June 7, 2020, yours sincerely was in the team of the Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, when he went to monitor the level of compliance with the regulations on COVID-19. One thing that no one can take away from Asaba is that the city has a lot of fun-spots. Asaba is a city where there is no dull moment; drinking joints dot the ancient city by the River Niger and, of course, it plays host to several hotels of international standards. And, in all, they were all getting deserved patronage till the advent of COVID-19.
Thus, it was no surprise that some persons still clustered to take drinks at the bars despite the restrictions. That Sunday evening, the SSG and members of his team visited some major hotels in Asaba – Hampton Towers, Golden Tulip, Vienna International, Toscana Villa, Top Rank Galaxy, and Elomas Hotels. Apart from few of the hotels, the bars in others were filled to capacity by fun-loving Deltans without regards for safety measures and laid down rules for hotels to serve food and drinks to their guests in their individual rooms.
What else should government do to save Deltans or help the people to save themselves? If the state is locked down again, it will not be in the best interest of all. Governor Okowa, his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, the SSG and other concerned Deltans have been on the road monitoring compliance to government directives. Most of us are adults who know what is right, but as Nigerians, is it not right for us to do the right thing? If COVID-19 has been likened to a war situation, could you venture into the battlefield stripped of protection, and without being armed?
Mr Ebie’s statement to the fun-seekers at those hotels elicited sober reactions from those he addressed as he said, “You have come here to drink, you don’t know who is positive and, to you, it doesn’t matter; but to us as a government it is not a joke. It is our duty to enforce the protocols because, these are unusual times.
“We cannot compromise the lives of our people, the people should buy the drinks and go to their rooms. If one person is discovered to have COVID-19, this hotel will be shut down and you can imagine what it will cost to engage in contact tracing of everyone who is here. Don’t encourage people from outside to come in here to drink.
“We got information that people were coming from outside the hotels to drink and we are committed to ensuring full compliance for the safety of our people. Deltans should help us by staying safe. For those that flouted the directives, we sealed some parts of their hotel. Help us contain the virus as any hotel found to be flouting the directives will be shut down.”
On Monday preceding the visit to the hotels, a Warri-based lawyer, Ofure Okhifo, who was infected with the COVID-19, was discharged from isolation and treatment centre of the Asaba Specialist Hospital. Ofure was among the lucky ones like Barr. Jerry Azinge of Asaba and Chief Austin Eruotor.
To the discharged patients, who were bold to recount their experiences, COVID-19 comes with different symptoms and the victims were also treated based on the symptoms manifested. Of course, the state has recorded some deaths, which the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, attributed to the fact that the deceased had prevailing health conditions before their infection with Covid-19.
That government is commiting so much human, financial and material resources in treating numerous patients and generally containing the novel Coronavirus would be an understatement. However, for the moment, it is hardly about cost implications as nothing can equate with life. All over the world, businesses are crumbling, many people are losing their jobs, but, what is most important for now is survival.
Consequently, implementation of the 2020 budget was endangered, which led to the review in the budget especially in Delta State, as the governor believes in practicable and realistic budget.
With all the isolation centres being established, what are you doing to ensure you are not a guest at those centres?
May God continue to guide and guard all of us through Christ our Lord. Amen.
*Egugbo, a special assistant, media, to Delta State Governor, writes from Asaba.