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COVID-19 progress made threat in global health —UN



The United Nations says the novel coronavirus pandemic is threatening the progress made in global health over the past two decades.

The Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Winnie Byanyima, said this recently when the UN team held a half-day strategic brainstorming retreat with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 amid indications of a second wave of the pandemic.

Byanyima  also said, “COVID-19 is threatening the progress that the world has made in health and development over the past 20 years, including the gains we have made against HIV. Only global solidarity and shared responsibility will help us beat the coronavirus, end the AIDS epidemic and guarantee the right to health for all.”

According to UN statement titled, ‘COVID-19 in Nigeria: Know Your Pandemic And Know Your Response’, the retreat reviewed the current epidemiological status of the COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

“The retreat further acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic is indeed behaving differently in the Nigerian/African context, in terms of cumulative cases, severity of morbidity and case fatality rate. While the evidence is still evolving, it was suggested that the early and aggressive action by public health authorities, as well as a younger and healthier population, may have played important roles in preventing the worst from happening thus far,” the statement partly read.

In his remarks at the retreat, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, welcomed the adoption of a new language and approach from HIV – “know your pandemic and know your response”.

He said, “Knowing our pandemic and our response, allows the Government to decide when to shift our policies and strategies. National health-related COVID-19 Response Plan needs to be domesticated within activities of the various States in the country. To this end, a COVID-19 Compact with the States will be explored to enhance ownership and compliance.”

On his part, UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon, said, “We may be tired of the coronavirus but the virus is not necessarily tired of us. Nigerians may have been largely spared the severity of the pandemic to-date, but Minister Ehanire’s advice from the onset of the pandemic still applies: ‘we must prepare for the worst while hoping for the best’. The strong national leadership and multisectoral collaboration that has so far proven effective will be needed going forward. COVID-19 is not over, and we need a transition from pandemic response to whole-of-health approach.”

Also in attendance at the retreat are Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen; PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu; Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Akin Abayomi; World Health Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Walter KazadiMulombo, amongst others.

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Customs Corner

COWA PTML Command Spreads Love to Orphans, Vulnerable Children



Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Customs Officers Wives Association (COWA) Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML) has reached out to orphans and vulnerable children in the spirit of the season.

The women visited the Chosen Child Orphanage and Care Centre and So-Said Charity Homes, both in Ajegunle, Apapa, Lagos, on Tuesday, 13 February, 2024.

Donating cash gifts and household items to the children of both homes, the Chairperson, COWA PTML Chapter, Princess Ojoede stated that the gesture is one that is being carried out both at National and State level.

“Our National President, Mrs Kikelomo Adeniyi, has mandated us, as our core objectives to make sure that we carry out this outreach to the children, to empower them and to show them love and care”. She said.

“She is also happy that we are delivering and implementing her core mandates of putting smiles on the faces of children and doing this welfare program”.

She emphasized the importance of the outreach saying that, it is their burning desire that all children should live happily and be well taken care of.

“As COWA members, we care with humility, and we want to show that care and love to the children here so this is just a little minute pack of the achievement we want to deliver in Lagos, Zone A”. She said.

While Fielding questions from the women, the Coordinator of Chosen Child Orphanage and Care Centre, Mrs Loiusa Ayuba noted that the home is registered with the Lagos State Government and caters to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.

“We want to take them further in life, not having a father or mother is no longer an excuse to deny any child the opportunity to have the priviledge that other children enjoy”. She said.

She expressed gratitude to the women for their visit and donations.

Similarly, the Admistrative officer, So-Said Charity Homes, Pauline Okoro, expressed deep appreciation to the women for their kind gesture towards the children, while also offering prayers for them.

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Customs Officers Thwart Illegal Elephant Tusks Export



Three Arrested in Joint Wildlife Protection Operation

Author: Lucy Nyambi.

Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, Special Wildlife Office and the Customs Police Unit, in an intelligence-led, joint enforcement operation with the Wildlife Justice Commission, have arrested 3 suspects for facilitating the illegal export of Wildlife to Asia.

The 3 illegal Wildlife Traders were arrested during the sale of 5 pieces of Elephant Tusk on the 25th of January 2024, the 4th and 6th of February 2024.

The items weighing 25.35kg are worth about 16,000 USD in the Country of destination, which is equivalent to N23,520,000.00.

According to the Officer in charge of the Nigeria Customs Services’ Special Wildlife Office, Assistant Comptroller Abimbola Isafiade, “trafficking of Wildlife is a criminal offence punishable under law, and so Nigeria Customs Service will continue to support the global effort to fight Wildlife crime.”

“This act contravenes the Endangered Species Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Nigeria Customs Service Act.” She emphasized.

AC Abimbola restated the Nigeria Customs Services’ commitment to leaving no stone unturned to end Illegal wildlife trade.

She assured that the Service is determined to dismantle the Wildlife criminal networks operating within the country.

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Customs Corner

Customs MMIA Holds Free CGC’s Medical Outreach to Mark International Customs Day



Author: Lucy Nyambi.

The Nigeria Customs Service, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, in partnership with Rotary Club District 9110, has held a free medical outreach as part of activities to mark International Customs Day (ICD).

The free medical outreach held at the Medical Centre, Nigeria Customs Training College Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, January 26, 2024, during the ICD celebration.

While Inspecting the exercise, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR commended the medical Officers’ support and the synergy during the outreach.

He expressed delight at the quality of service with the quantity of medication for the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The CGC further expressed optimism for future partnership with the Rotary Club, saying, “We hope that this will not be a one-off thing; we will explore other areas where we can partner together.”

He also commended the Customs Area Controller, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command, Comptroller Charles Orbih, for the initiative.

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