COVID-19: Kwara gets Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has approved the constitution of a nine-person Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to advise him on the modalities for release of some prison inmates as part of the national strategies to contain COVID-19.

Members of the Advisory Council comprises the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Bar Salman Jawondo (Chairman); Gabriel Deji (member); Oluwole Osundeyi (member); Isiaka Olaide (member); Dr Bolakale Saliu (member); Khadijat Alao (member); Abdulrasheed Lafia Ibrahim (member); Abdulkareem Olayiwola Ayinde (member); and the Director of Public Prosecution from the state’s Ministry of Justice (Secretary).

The setting up of the committee followed Federal Government’s directives of April 1 that prison decongestion be carried out urgently as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Council is to advise the Governor on the exercise of the prerogative of mercy conferred upon him by Section 212 of the Nigerian Constitution.

The categories of inmates to be considered in the prerogative of mercy include inmates with option of fine not exceeding N50,000 and those with minor offences and having no pending cases; convicts serving three years and above and have less than six months to serve out their term; inmates of 60 years and above; inmates suffering from mental health issue with medical report attached; convicted women and those having children in custody; and convicts who have spent 75% of their remaining sentence after remission.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
April 15, 2020.

COVID-19: ALGON Commends Governor on Containment Measures *Praises Residents on Compliance

The efforts of Kwara State government to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state has been commended by members of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Kwara State chapter.

The proactive moves by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq towards checking inflow of affected victims and containment of the spread as well as distribution of palliative measures were highly commended.

In a statement by Hon. Joshua Olatunji Omokanye and Hon. Abubakar Abdullahi Bata, ALGON Chairman and Secretary respectively, the association also praised citizens for the high level of compliance to the total lockdown order to guard against the spread.

Government’s decision to set up more isolation centres across the three senatorial districts and training of local government medical personnel on how to attend to cases arising from corona virus were also commended.

The association appraised the Technical Committee on COVID-19 in the state, headed by the deputy governor, Mr. Kayode Alabi as one that is inspiring in it’s promptness and proactiveness .

They assured the governor of (ALGON) continuous support towards ensuring the state is COVID-19 Free even as they implore Kwarans and security operatives to foster cooperation.

Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic crept into the state last week as two cases were discovered; it is believed it would be curbed soon.

COVID-19: Kwara reviews market opening, vehicular movt · Congregational prayers remain banned · Trucks carrying foods, services exempted

Kwara State Government has reviewed its earlier decision to allow vehicles to move on days earlier designated for restocking of foods and other essentials, directing residents to instead patronise neighbourhood shops and observe all safety protocols.

The review means that commercial and private vehicles are now barred from operating, except trucks and trailers conveying food stuffs, medicines and other essential services earlier exempted by the government in its effort to contain COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is an emerging public health development across the world and governments are studying situations and making adjustments to cope with the emergency,” Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Technical Committee on Covid-19 Kayode Alabi told a news briefing on Tuesday.

Alabi said marketers may now set up shops in schools and open spaces in their neighbourhood between 8 am and 12pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He however said all congregational prayers remain banned as before.

His words: “Kwara now has four cases of COVID-19. They are two males and two females. As you may be aware, we have carried out a total of 42 tests, 29 of which were negative. We are waiting for nine results which may come in possibly later this evening. As I said earlier, we have four confirmed cases. Three of them show no symptoms. Only one is showing some symptoms but is stable. Of these four cases, one is a contact of the index case. The other was a patient at the UITH but now at the state’s isolation centre. There is a risk of community transmission which must be curtailed. The good news is that our rapid response team is in firm control of the situation — thanks to the support of the NCDC team led by own son Dr Shuaib Belgore and the COVID-19 Committee.

“Last week, the Kwara State Technical Committee announced some measures to enable people go out to get food and other essentials on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. In handing down these measures, the government called for respect for social distancing and other safety protocols.

“We experimented with the measure on Monday and observations were made. Accordingly, the committee is making the following adjustments:

· Government is hereby restoring full-scale lockdown across the state for the rest of the 14 days earlier declared
· Movement of all vehicles are banned except commercial vehicles carrying food, medications, goods and services. Trucks and trailers are to be allowed to pass through especially those coming from Lagos to the North. Trucks carrying raw materials and finished products are to be exempted.
· Marketers may use neighbourhood schools and open spaces to set up shops to meet the demands for food in the community while maintaining social distancing and all restrictions on social gatherings;
· Neighbourhood shops may also open between 8am -12pm Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
· All previously announced restrictions on social and religious gatherings remain in force. For record, congregational prayers remain banned.
· Previous exemptions (such as for farmers, health workers, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, journalists, government contractors, banks, petrol stations) remain valid.
· For emphasis, except as stated above, all vehicular movements are banned including on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that markets are to open. People are encouraged to patronise markets in their neighbourhood.

“We continue to appreciate our health workers for their priceless contributions to this effort. We urge the people of Kwara State to remain patient. We call for increased personal hygiene. This is the time for everyone to take responsibility for our individual and collective health.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
14th April, 2020.

Kwara alleges plots to cause civil unrest over COVID-19 lockdown

Kwara State Government on Monday said it has uncovered plots by some prominent opposition figures to incite the public to protest against the lockdown order in the state.

“We have an intelligence report that some prominent members of the opposition have perfected a plan to incite the public against the government. The plot is to incite the people to disregard the directive of the government to stay at home and stay safe at this time of global pandemic,” Commissioner for Communication Murtala Olanrewaju said in a statement.

“Whatever the intent of these people, we warn them to desist forthwith as the government will take every measure to ensure that nobody goes against the directive to protect the people from the rampaging virus. Such plot shows that the people behind it cannot distinguish between politics and public safety.”

Olanrewaju urged the people to continue to respect the lockdown directive as failure to do so could prove fatal to the entire population.

“We must avoid anything that may expose all of us to the virus and attendant calamity. We do not want to bury any of our people on account of this pandemic. Anyone who has followed the trend in Europe and the US will understand that this is no time for the kind of politics these people are playing. We urge those behind this dangerous plot to drop it immediately..”

Quoting the NCDC, the statement said the virus spreads easily from person to person when people gather together, and called for increased adherence to social distancing and other safety measures.

Olanrewaju said the government’s decision to allow people to go out on designated days and time was to allow for restocking of foodstuffs and other essentials since “we cannot afford to feed everybody.”

“Even so, the government is reviewing the decision to see how we can balance the need to flatten the curve of transmission, which was the reason behind the lockdown, and the need to not let our people go hungry or totally cripple the economy,” he added.

Signed:

Alhaji Murtala Olanrewaju
Hon. Commissioner for Communication
13 April, 2020

COVID-19: Kwara fumes as ex-commissioner recants claim on ventilators · Govt may demand public apology

Former Commissioner for Health in Kwara State Suleiman Alege has recanted his earlier claim that the Abdulfatah Ahmed administration left three ventilators in the state, a few hours after the state government challenged him to provide proof or be dragged to the anti-graft agency to produce the facility.

“To say there was no ventilator in Kwara State before now is a fat lie,” Alege claimed in an article that went viral on Saturday, adding: “We had three in good working condition in Kwara State before the advent of the present government.”

Alege was apparently trying to play down the recent purchase of 10 new ventilators, among other key ICU equipment, by the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration. The incumbent had said that Kwara had no single ventilator until now, questioning the capacity of the state hospitals to manage respiratory diseases.

Extreme cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, may require ventilators for a lifeline as patients lose their capacity to breath on their own. Kwara currently has two asymptomatic cases of the virus as at Sunday afternoon.

In a statement countering Alege’s claim, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Rafiu Ajakaye insisted the government inherited no ventilator and said the former commissioner might be required to help the security agencies to locate the ventilators he claimed were bought by the previous administration.

“If what (Alege) said is true that they procured ventilators, then somebody in their team possibly made away with the ventilators or money was released and they were never bought because we inherited no such thing. We therefore found in his claim an urgent need to retrieve for Kwarans what should belong to them,” Ajakaye said.

Alege, apparently responding to government’s position, quickly withdrew his earlier statement — in what has now generated public uproar amid calls on the government to get to the roots of the phantom claim.

“Further investigation revealed that the last administration decided to prioritise the procurement of more oxygen concentrators in order to service many hospitals since the ventilators are only key in intensive care unit,” Alege said, clearly turning 360 degree from his earlier claims.

“Findings revealed that all other medical equipment were procured; only the ventilators were stepped down for the reason stated above.”

The government has said it is reviewing Alege’s comment and may demand him to make a public apology for misleading the public and falsely contradicting government’s position that Kwara had no ventilator until now.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
April 12, 2020

Kwara exempts registered farmers, journalists from lockdown · Al-Hikmah Varsity, others donate to COVID-19 campaign

Kwara Farmers who can identify themselves with any registered farming associations are allowed to go to their farms during the total lockdown the government has declared to prevent the spread of Corona Virus in the state, a statement said early Saturday.

The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 also exempted journalists on duty from the lockdown in line with global best practices during such emergencies.

“The Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 hereby permits such farmers to do their job unhindered during the lockdown to the extent that they can identify themselves as legitimate farmers. Even then, they are not expected to violate any of the safety protocols in the course of doing so,” Rafiu Ajakaye, CPS to the Governor and spokesperson for the Technical Committee, said in the statement.

“The committee urges all the enforcement agencies to please grant free passage to such farmers after identification. It is also to be noted that previous waivers to manufacturing firms are still valid on the condition that they maintain social distancing and scale down their operations. Petrol stations, banks, and hospitals are also exempted from the lockdown on the condition that all safety protocols are adhered to.

“Similarly, journalists are essential workers and should be given right of passage. Presentation of their work place identity cards duly issued by their organisations shall be enough to let them move around to do their work unhindered. This privilege shall apply only to all the media houses operating in the state. While reporters are known to move in groups during developments like this, the committee urges them (reporters) to maintain social distancing and other safety protocols at this time.

“We want to emphasise that all health workers remain exempted from this lockdown. They should be granted free passage at all time once they present their workplace identity card.”

The statement said pharmaceutical stores are also exempted from the lockdown.

The committee meanwhile said it has so far received a total of N98,469, 880 donations from corporate organisations and private individuals in support of its COVID-19 exercise — many of which had earlier been acknowledged.

Latest donors included the Al-Hikmah University (N5m); Into-University Educational Consult (100,000); Prince Victor Kolade (Victor Signs) (N100,000); Peter Pelumi Bamidele (N1,000); Amolegbe Oluwadamilola Fatimah (10,000); Promakar Farms Nigeria Limited (10,000); Aiyelabegan B. Rasaq (N2,000); Inyang Victor (N100,000); Amasa Mukhtar Olaide (20,000); and Suleiman Sadiq Umar (N500,000).

“We commend everyone who has donated to this humanitarian cause whether in cash or in kind. We thank every indigene and resident of Kwara for staying the course. We assure them that we will definitely come out of this stronger and better together,” the statement added.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor/
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19
April 11, 2020

COVID-19: AbdulRazaq revamps Kwara’s oxygen plant *Gov says recovered looted funds help COVID-19 campaign *Kwara gets more ventilators

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has refurbished the state’s oxygen plant, over nine years after it last functioned at usable capacity.The revamped facility bolsters Kwara’s capabilities to manage Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients who may require ventilators for a lifeline. Kwara currently has two COVID-19 cases — both of whom are asymptomatic at the moment. “This facility comes handy at this time. If for whatever reason any of our patients require oxygen, Kwara does not need to buy oxygen from any private sources or other states,” AbdulRazaq said on Friday in Ilorin at a brief ceremony to hand over the facility for use. “In fact, the plant’s capacity is such that we can sell to private hospitals and some other states. Yesterday, we supported the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) with 13 small cylinders and one big cylinder of oxygen.”

The Governor commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for helping the state to recover looted funds which have become useful in the campaign against COVID-19.AbdulRazaq said the recovered funds strengthened Kwara’s ability to put in place necessary facilities, among other counter-COVID-19 efforts.“We have bought five new ambulances (three on the ground and two are on the way). We have 10 ventilators now and we expect to have 30 by the end of the month and that’s one of the highest in the country today. We now have a mobile x-ray machine too,” he told reporters. Kwara had no ventilator until now. The Governor said the recovered loot became useful in the face of dwindling allocations arising from the global oil crisis.He said the government has turned around the Sobi Specialist Hospital which is now the COVID-19 response center of the state. He said the administration is now working on having an isolation centre in Offa after which another would be created in General Hospital Kaiama. The oxygen plant last worked at required purity level in 2011.

Engineer Ben Babatunde, the plant manager, said the oxygen now has 93% purity level and can fill 24 (7mm) oxygen cylinders in one day. The facility has only worked for 56,156 hours (six years four months) cumulatively since it was established in 2004. Fixing the long abandoned oxygen plant aligns with AbdulRazaq’s policy of reviving the state’s critical infrastructure — rather than abandoning them to rot away.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
April 10, 2020.