Nigeria Launches First World Neglected Tropical Disease Day

Experts on Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) converged in Abuja recently to hold the first World Neglected Tropical Disease Day in Nigeria.

The aim is to review its activities, discuss progress and proffer solutions to some of the challenges in eliminating the Epidemic in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire according to a press release signed by Enefaa Bob Manuel, Head Media & Public Relations,  made this known while briefing the Press in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) day with the theme:  Beat NTDs, For Good: For All.

The Minister stated that NTDs are old disease that prevail in poor countries and that they have been almost totally eliminated in the developed world.

He noted that Neglected Tropical Disease are diverse group of communicable diseases that spread across tropical and sub-tropical conditions. These diseases are singled out because of their adverse impact, relative obscurity and the availability of tools to combat them.

Dr. Ehanire disclosed that people afflicted by these diseases are usually poor, vulnerable and left on their own to face the debilitating consequence of the NTDs. There are over 20 of these diseases which include blinding trachoma, buruli ulcer, guinea worm disease, endemic treponematoses. Lymphatic filariasis, onchoceraciasis  and many others.

He added that ‘’Children who  suffer from NTDs shy away from attending schools, grow up with no skills and are hindered in basic occupation, like farming and fishing, or any avenue of earning a living and thus trapped in a cycle of diseases and poverty.

He stated that NTDs and poverty are therefore so interlinked that fighting NTDs has direct benefit on productivity and ability of citizens to contribute to the nation’s GDP. Therefore, NTD elimination also eliminates poverty.

The Health Minister also hinted that the government and the development partners have been working assiduously to tackle the scourge of these diseases and Nigeria’s plan for action for 2013 to 2020 was supported and executed by the federal, State and local governments.‘’

The focused execution of the plan of action led to incredible successes being recorded which included the eradication of guinea worm from Nigeria, the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) in Plateau and Nasarawa states, elimination of onchocerciasis (river blindness) from Kaduna, Plateau and Nasarawa states and the elimination of blinding trachoma from84 local government areas of the 112 where it is endemic.

Dr Osagie maintained that ‘’With the dawn of a new decade we shall continue to strengthen our health system and pursue opportunities for mainstreaming NTD control within several programs of the Ministry of Health geared towards providing Universal health coverage for its citizenry”

He highlighted that the 2013 -2020 master plan will be evaluated to ensure seamless continuation to a 2021-2026 plan in order to sustain the gains made so far’’.

The Permanent Secretary, Health, Mr Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, stated that statistics showed that globally, NTDs caused the loss of up to 534,000 lives and 57 million disability-adjusted life years daily’s each year while about 100 million persons in Nigerians are at the risk of one  or more of these neglected tropical disease (NTDs).

He added that the commitment to beat Neglected Tropical Disease (NTDs) is both ambitious and realistic, and it is in line with the National Health Policy (Section 4.1.2.); and the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (Section 5.30); World Health Assembly (WHA), Resolution 66.12; as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.3).

Mr Abudullalhi noted that the World NTDs Day has presented Nigeria a golden opportunity to scale up awareness in order to make the campaign against NTDs a priority thus ending the chronic neglect associated with NTDs.

The Officer in charge of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peter, explained that although treatments for NTDs are accessible, Nigerians must make sure everyone affected by the disease get treatment in order to eradicate the disease.

Police, Road Safety Take Measures On Illegal Use of Siren, Revolving Lights

Sequel to the working visit of the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi,  to the Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A. Adamu, at the Force Headquarters on, the IGP has ordered all state Commissioners of Police to forthwith impound all vehicles illegally using Spy number plates, sirens, revolving lights or covered number plates and ensure diligent prosecution of the offenders.

To this end, all vehicles found to have Spy number plates not duly issued, using sirens, or revolving lights without permit or having covered number plates will be promptly impounded. These practices are illegal and pose monumental security risks to the nation and its people.

The Corps Marshal, as was contained in a press release signed by DCP Frank MBA, Force Public Relations Officer who visited the Force Headquarters in company of his management team sought for improved collaboration between the Police and the FRSC in key operational areas.

The IGP while responding, restated his commitment to the continued partnership between the Nigeria Police and the FRSC especially in the areas of operations, training, intelligence sharing, and prosecution of offenders.

Meanwhile, the IGP has commended the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, for personally taking the charge against these unwholesome practices, especially the unauthorized concealment of number plates and other related offences.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development Hon. Mustapha Shehuri has stated that the Federal Government would partner Global Fortunes Ltd. to establish Agricultural Industrial Parks (AIPs) across the Six-Geopolitical Zones of the country in order to create jobs and ensure food sufficiency in the Agricultural Value Chain.

Shehuri made this disclosure when he received a delegation of the Global Fortunes Ltd led by Mr. Kidron Israel, in Abuja over the weekend.

The Minister pointed out that the project is going to be Public Private Partnership driven; adding that with the Federal Government is committed to the development of the agricultural value chain in Nigeria.  He said the project if implemented would ensure food security and create more employment for Nigerians.

He also noted that ‘’even with the huge infrastructural deficit in Nigeria, we can still embark on this project, because the government is focused on diversifying the Nigerian economy.’’

The Minister said he will visit the Taraba State Agricultural Industrial Park with the relevant directors to see the model of the park that is the state.

He stressed the need for the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Government and other relevant agencies to partake in the project in order to fastrack progress.

In his remarks, the Director, Department of Agribusiness, Dr. Aminu Babadi, said the project is a welcome development but mentioned that some of the challenges that could hinder the smooth take off include; energy and space utilization.

In his presentation, the Manager, Global Fortunes Ltd, Mr. Kidron Israel said that the company is using this opportunity to establish Agricultural Industrial Parks across the six geopolitical zone of the country.

He also said that the system is the fastest way of changing the old farming culture to a state-of-the-art modern farming and also the fastest way of growing the economy.

CISLAC Gives Kudos To FG For Repatriation Of Looted Assets to Nigeria

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has appreciate the Government of Nigeria in their effort to repatriate the stolen Nigerian assets abroad.

The Civil Society executive director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) in a statement observed that this is demonstrated by the just announced landmark agreement between the Government of Nigeria, the Island of Jersey and the United States of America for repatriation of assets looted by Sani Abacha.
“On behalf of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, is expected to sign a tripartite agreement with the Island of Jersey and the United States of America for repatriation of hundreds of millions of looted assets.”

“Once the full volume of assets is repatriated to Nigeria and put to use for the benefit of Nigerian citizens, an important milestone in the ongoing effort of the Nigerian government, Nigerian civil society and like-minded international partners, will be achieved.”

CISLAC and our Nigerian and international partners have long been campaigning for unconditional and swift repatriation of Nigerian and African wealth stolen by kleptocratic leaders aided by the international financial enablers.

They have been consistent in urging the Government of Nigeria to establish an accountable and transparent system, which would enable 100% accountable utilization of the repatriated assets to the corruption victims, in most cases, the entire Nigerian population, whose common wealth has been systematically plundered and illegally exported abroad for many decades.

However,  CISLAC supports the investment of the recovered assets for infrastructure projects.

“In the context of technical problems, controversies and heavy transaction costs associated with some previous international recoveries, the recovered assets may be invested into infrastructural projects which may be easier to independently verify, and their completion and usage observed by the Nigerian population without expensive verification mechanisms by third parties.”

“As we still await full disclosure of the details of this deal, infrastructure projects namely for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano road and the 2nd Niger Bridge, are reported to be funded by these repatriated assets.”

“However, we shall insist that the Government complies with the 10 Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles as signed by the Government of Nigeria in 2017 in Washington, DC. In particular, the principle four (4), Transparency and Accountability, should be upheld. The Nigerian public, through independent and competent civil society, should be given an unrestricted access to the contractual arrangement by all three parties of this agreement. “

The Nigerian public must have unhindered access to the contractual arrangement of this deal to prevent re-looting and misuse of these assets by well-connected individuals and companies. The public has the right to know how these infrastructure projects were selected, which party will oversee the procurement, how the quality of the work will be verified and all other relevant details.

Let us recall that GFAR principle five (5), Beneficiaries, urges that recovery of stolen assets should benefit the victims of the corrupt practice. The principle of Preclusion of Benefits to Offenders must prevent corrupt individuals from benefiting from this hard-won repatriation of these assets totaling close to 5 billion USD, which Sana Abacha and his cronies had stolen.

We further urge the Government of Nigeria, the Government of United States and the Jersey authorities, to comply with the GFAR Principle 10 – Inclusion of non-governmental stakeholders. Whereas there have been informal consultations between the concerned governments and some civil society leaders, well-respected and competent non-governmental parties must be formally invited to supervise the utilization of these assets. In the Nigerian context where over 70% of corrupt proceeds emerges from large-scale procurement of public projects, independent oversight is indispensable. With other billions of dollars awaiting repatriation, Nigeria cannot allow mismanagement or mishandling of already recovered assets.

CISLAC would also like to highlight the fact that many unfulfilled reforms in the assert recovery regime still needs to be adopted by the Government of Nigeria. We still lack clear guidelines for domestic and international recoveries. Domestic recoveries, which surpass in their totality by far the international asset recovery, operate under a chaotic system prone to misuse and abuse by agencies with the mandate to seize and confiscate assets. Crucial legal framework called Proceeds of Crime Act has been inexplicably stalled.

Civil society leaders have supported the Nigerian government in the international effort. CISLAC endorsed the asset recovery principles agreed in Washington, DC. in 2017, participated in OECD policy rounds in Paris and spared no effort to appeal to international partners to unconditionally return vast proceeds of corruption stashed around the globe and in Nigeria. The Executive Director of CISLAC also supported two recent resolutions on asset recovery adopted by the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Abu Dhabi in December 2019. The Nigerian Government needs to be credited for submitting and pushing these important resolutions at the global stage. All countries robbed by criminal networks profit from these efforts.

We urge the Government of Nigeria to continue to push for reforms which will lead to the establishment of accountable and transparent monitoring framework. Only then we can channel domestic and international recoveries towards the implementation of SDGs and other initiatives targeting the most vulnerable in our society.

Today, we celebrate an important milestone. However, dozens of other international cases and thousands of domestic asset recoveries await successful conclusion. We urge the Government of Nigeria, international partners, civil society leaders and others to push for addressing root causes of grand corruption and illicit financial flows, which are responsible for robbing Nigerians and others of large parts of national revenues.

Malami Departs For U.S To Sign PACT Over Looted Assets

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has departed Nigeria to attend a three-day meeting of the United States-Nigeria Bi-national Commission in Washington DC.

This was made known in a press statement issued from the office of the HAGF and signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu which stated that the Minister departed Nigeria on Sunday 2nd February, 2020.
The statement said, “At the meeting, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is expected to, on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, sign a tripartite agreement with Nigeria, the Island of New Jersey and the United States of America for repatriation of $321m looted assets, as part of the Federal Government’s efforts to recover more stolen funds stashed abroad”.
According to the Minister, the meeting is not an an adhoc event for addressing impromptu concerns, but a friendly bi-national meeting that holds annually devoid of intervening concerns or relating to the internal affairs of the participating states.

The meeting is an annual event between Nigeria and United States of America aimed at reviewing bilateral relationship and taking necessary steps to advance mutual interest in all diplomatic areas among the two countries.

In addition to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Abubakar Malami, SAN the Nigerian government delegation expected to be part of the meeting included Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), Minister of Foreign Affairs; Geoffrey Onyeama, National Security Adviser; Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Sadiya Umar Faruk.

Sanwo-Olu Expresses Sadness over Martin Street Inferno

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed shock over the fire that razed down eight  buildings on Martins street including Anambra House in Lagos Island.

He observed that it was a sad development for the State to experience another fire under an absolutely avoidable circumstance.

Sanwo-Olu said the recent fires being experienced in the State and the colossal loss could have been averted if the residents took the simple safety advice being propagated by the government.

The Governor, who led other top Government functionaries to the scene of the fire ordered the security agencies to cordon off the entire Martins/Breadfruit streets for proper enumeration of the affected buildings and integrity tests to be conducted on the remaining ones to enable the government make informed decisions on whether to leave them or pull them down.

He said: “I want to first express shock and regret, coming here for the second time in three months. We’ve been going round telling the people that this is harmattan period. The weather is very harsh and it easily attracts fire.

“We have said to the people times without number that they must remove their generators from the top of buildings. Going round, we still have fire in these rubbles yet people keep generators in adjoining buildings.”

The Governor charged members of the Community Development Association and Community Development Committee to put the interest of the residents above pecuniary obligations, saying no amount of money can give back a lost life. He said a situation where residents would place multiple generator sets in a building should not be tolerated.

The Governor said “there must be control in the market place. The CDA’s and CDC’s must take charge of safety and security. It shouldn’t be about the money that you collect from the traders, you must care about their safety and wellbeing too.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu said the latest fire incident has thrown up the debate on the need to build a proper market in Lagos Island. He said the current arrangement where most of the office buildings are being converted to market stalls and shops will be not be accepted.

He said: “we will do a proper enumeration of the people in these markets, plan with them for us to build modern markets.

Members of the Community Development Association, Lagos Island Local Government, while explaining the remote cause of the fire appealed to the Governor for executive backing in enforcing environmental and safety controls in the market.

Other Executive members that joined the Governor at the inspection are the Commissioner for Physical Planning, Dr. Idris Salako, his Special Duties counterpart Mr. Tayo Bamgbose-Martins and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Central Business District, Mr. Oyerinde Olanrewaju.

Coronavirus : LASG Inaugurates Incident Command System

In a bid to prevent an outbreak of the fast spreading Novel Coronavirus, the Lagos State Government on Monday launched an Incident Command System.

The health emergency structure is being set up to help with containment in the unlikely event of outbreaks of the virus in the State.

Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that the Novel Coronavirus is a new pathogen to the human race and as such, research is still ongoing on how to arrest it.

According to him, no suspected or confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus has been found in Lagos, warning residents against rumour mongering on public health and safety.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while launching the Incident Command System said the measure is not to stigmatise citizens of any country but a precautionary one taken in the interest of the people.

The Command System will have the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Incident Commander while the Commissioner for Health will serve as the Deputy Incident Commander.

The Governor noted that relevant health professionals, in conjunction with the Federal ministry of health, would be deployed to the Lagos International Airport for a higher level of monitoring.

The Governor assured that the Government and Non Governmental Organisations will continue to escalate communication and create public awareness.

He said: “What we have started to do is to have what we call a heightened state concern on the Coronavirus. We are not declaring an emergency in any form but creating a heightened state concern.

“Also, the Honourable Commissioner through his Ministry will identify relevant health professionals that would, in conjunction with the Federal ministry of health, be deployed to our International Airports in Lagos where we would see higher level of monitoring as well as organised level of incidence reporting layout.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu said that although the team expects people to be self quarantined, he however stressed that the State will carry out a supervised quarantine where details about immigrants will be taken at the point of entry while the team will do daily follow-ups through phone calls to identified individuals for a period of two weeks.

According to the Governor, the command will be in operation for the period of time the risk lasts. He assured that adequate preparation has been carried out to tackle the virus.

The Governor said: “This command will go on until when we believe and we have been given assurance that we have a stable and controlled environment but in the meantime, this exercises are going to be put in place and we are going to start things immediately.

“I also want to mention that we have started providing both human and material logistics required for this exercise.

“All of our major General Hospitals are also being prepared in event of an outpour into any of them. The hospitals in mainland have tents coming up and extensive resources are being put in that particular health facility for them to be on standby in case of any suspected or identified case.”

Abayomi further added that the WHO has declared the novel coronavirus a global health concern, saying this will make the State Government step up scrutinising travellers coming in from mostly affected region.

“We need to really ramp up the human capacity at the airport to be able to scrutinise all travellers coming in from particularly  the South East Asian regions.

The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; the Consul General of People’s Republic of China, Chu Moaming and the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji were among the dignitaries present at the event.

Ban On Motorcycles, Tricycles : Commuters Sufferings Increases, LASG Rolls Out 65 Buses As Palliative Measures

Since the restriction of motorbikes and keke from operating in six local government areas, nine local council development areas, 10 major highways and 41 bridges across the state with  effect on February 1, 2020,  the sufferings of Lagos residents have increased.

Workers, business men and women, school children and most road users were seen trekking long distances to their different destinations.
 And at each bus stop,  National light observed that people jostle for few buses that were seen while  many were stranded as Okada and Keke are not available to  transport them as usual. The  Police were seen stationed  at strategic places to ensure compliance to  the order.
Meanwhile, few cyclists, who decided to operate at the risk increased their fare and so also were bus fare.
Speaking on this, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter, lamented  the hardship being experienced by some Lagosians as a result of the restrictions saying that the action of the state government has shown that the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is an elitist government that is insensitive to the plight of the masses.
It said it is alarmed that the Lagos State government can commence the anti-masses move without providing alternatives to suffering populace especially traders, students and other low income earners.
It said it is surprised that the state government can commence the restrictions when the 800 buses it promised as an alternative means of transport is still lying fallow at the ports waiting to be cleared.
We have declared that this is a fraudulent, ‘yahoo-yahoo’ government. It is a fraudulent government in the sense that they are making people believe that Lagos is already a mega city and smart city.
“In order to give that erroneous impression to the international community that they have attained that status and to continue to get the grant which by right every mega city get from the World Bank Development Agency, they have come up with this inhuman policy.
“Since 2007, we have challenged them to come and account for those money released from Brazil to support Lagos State’s claim of being a mega city which status you attain once you have a population of 10 million. Now they are treating Lagosians with disdain, saying because they want Lagos to become a smart city, Lagosians must suffer.
“When the Commissioner for Information appeared on television three days ago, he said they have 800 buses lying at the ports which are not yet cleared. This is a clear indictment of a government that puts the cart before the horse. What they are doing is worse than what is happening in Somalia where citizens are deliberately made to suffer for political reasons.”
However, Lagos State Government has rolled out 65 high capacity buses in addition to the existing buses as part of palliative measures to the restriction of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in parts of the State.

The Managing Director of Lagos Bus Services Limited, Idowu Oguntona, announced this deployment at a press conference in Lagos.

Oguntona disclosed that these buses, which started work today have recorded about 10,000 customers in the early hours of today, adding that the 65 buses will convey a total of 35,000 Lagosians daily.

He also disclosed that the buses will ply seven routes across the affected areas.

“We are here today to witness the official deployment of additional 65 buses into the bus service to basically ease the current pressure that may be experienced on Lagos roads.

“We have Oshodi-Ajah, Inner Marina-Ajah, Obalende-Ajah and CMS-Ajah. Addressing the challenge in Ikeja, you have Ikeja-Ojota, Ikeja-Ogba, Berger-Ojota.

“Those are the seven routes the 65 buses will be deployed on and the impact will be such that at least 35,000 Lagosians will be in a very efficient, safe manner across the Metropolis,” he said.

Speaking on the question of introducing mini buses to ply the nook and crannies of Lagos, Oguntona assured that 550 medium capacity vehicles for feeder routes will be injected as soon as possible.

He said: “We recognize the fact that some of the buses cannot go on the feeder roads, so the plan is to inject 550 medium capacity buses that can carry about 30 people and those mini buses will be deployed on the feeder roads, so there won’t be any significant impact.”

Coronavirus Emergency : What You Should Know

A new strain of coronavirus (officially named 2019-nCoV), which has caused respiratory diseases in China, and spread to at least 23 other countries, has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are the basic facts you need to know about the virus (figures correct as of February 3 2020).

According to WHO reports, at least 361 people have died from the novel coronavirus, which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. More than 17,200 cases have been confirmed in China, and experts say they expect the numbers to rise in the coming weeks.

Although the vast majority of cases have been in China, the virus, which can cause pneumonia, is worrying global health authorities. Some 151 cases have been confirmed in 23 countries, and the first death outside of China was recorded in the Philippines. Most of those affected by the virus had travelled from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

This is only the fifth time that the World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency of international concern.

What is a public health emergency of international concern?

A public health emergency of international concern is declared by the WHO in cases of “an extraordinary event” which constitutes “a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and potentially requires a coordinated international response”.

This definition implies a situation that is “serious, unusual or unexpected; carries implications for public health beyond the affected State’s national border; and may require immediate international action”.

Speaking at a meeting of the WHO Executive Board on Monday, the agency’s chief, Tedros Gebreyesus, explained that the decision to announce a PHEIC was made because of signs of human-to-human transmission outside China, and WHO’s concern regarding what might happen if the virus were to spread in a country with a weaker health system.

International solidarity, preparedness, not panic

Mr. Ghebreyesus also noted the importance of containing the virus in China: “if we invest in fighting at the source, then the spread to other countries is minimal and also slow. If it’s minimal and slow, what is going outside can also be controlled easily. It can get even worse. But if we give it our best, the outcome could be even better”.

Several countries have already put travel restrictions in place, but Mr. Ghebreyesus pointed out that WHO is not recommending measures that “unnecessarily interfere with travel and commerce”.

The WHO chief called on all countries to implement decisions that are “evidence-based and consistent”, support nations with weaker health care systems, accelerate the development of effective vaccines, and “invest in preparedness, not panic”.

With the virus now present in some 23 countries, international solidarity is of utmost importance, said Mr. Tedros, because “we are all in this together, and we can only stop it together”.

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses consist of a core of genetic material, enclosed within an envelope of protein spikes, which resembles a crown (or, in Latin, corona). They are a large group of viruses that cause respiratory diseases and, sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms.

Diseases can range from the common cold to pneumonia, which can be fatal. In most people symptoms are mild, but some types can cause severe disease.

These include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), first discovered in China in 2003, or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which originated in Saudi Arabia in 2012. MERS caused more than 2,400 cases and 850 deaths, and more than 800 people were killed by SARS.

It has been estimated that 20 per cent of patients infected with the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV have severe symptoms. People who have other health problems (such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease) are particularly vulnerable.

How deadly is novel coronavirus?

As of Monday February 3, 361 people had died from novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This represents about 2 per cent of cases. By comparison, around 25 per cent of MERS cases resulted in the death of the patient.

However, at this stage it is still too early to determine how deadly the virus is: thousands of patients are being tested, with around 2,110 in a serious condition, and it is not yet known how these cases will evolve.

 Where does Coronavirus come from

The first cases of novel coronavirus occurred in a group of people with pneumonia, linked to a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, where many fish, reptiles, bats and other live and dead animals were traded. The disease then spread from those who were sick, to family members and healthcare workers.

Coronaviruses circulate in a range of animals and can sometimes make the jump from animals to humans, via process known as a “spillover”, which can occur due to a mutation in the virus, or increased contact between animals and humans.

It is not yet known how novel coronavirus was first transmitted to humans: in the case of MERS, it is known that people caught the virus via direct or indirect contact with infected camels, and SARS originated in civet cats.

Is the virus transmitted from person to person?

The transmission of the virus from person to person has occurred mainly in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, but also in other parts of China and outside the country.

The exact way that the disease is transmitted is yet to be determined but, in general, respiratory diseases are spread via drops of fluids when someone coughs or sneezes, or by touching a surface infected with the virus.

According to Chinese scientists, people who get the virus are contagious even before they show symptoms. The incubation period –  the period from when the infection occurs until symptoms develop – is between 1 and 14 days.

How fast is the virus spreading?
A large number of new cases are being reported on a daily basis (in the 24 hours period between February 1 and February 2, for example, over 2,590 new cases were confirmed in China), but this is not surprising, as more and more controls are being put in place to detect and confirm infections.

The total number of cases is expected to be much greater in the coming weeks.

What can I do to protect myself?
There is no vaccine currently available to treat novel coronavirus, but WHO is recommending several precautionary and hygienic measures. For example:
•    Avoid direct contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections,
•    Wash your hands frequently, especially after direct contact with sick people or their surroundings,
•    Avoid direct contact with farm animals or wild animals, living or dead,
•    People with symptoms of a severe respiratory infection should try to keep their distance from other people, and cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Victoria Abiola Ajayi awarded ACCA Africa Regional Advocate of the Year 


ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has recognised Victoria Abiola Ajayi, Deputy Chief Finance Officer at TV Continental (TVC), with its Regional Advocate of the Year Award for Africa.


Victoria was lauded for her contributions to developing professional accountancy across Nigeria, particularly in the media sector.


Jamil Ampomah, director – Africa said, “Victoria is an active advocate and role model with a strong employer and business network. Her connections and eagerness to use her influence to promote ACCA is one of our greatest assets. Well done Victoria on being awarded ACCA Africa Regional Advocate of the Year 2019.”


Thomas Isibor, head of ACCA Nigeria said: ‘Victoria has contributed tremendously to the growth of ACCA in Nigeria and beyond, most notably in the TV space where we now have a great relationship with the national broadcasting house.  Her contribution is noteworthy and very significant and has helped ACCA to build a great working relationship with the national broadcaster TV Continental (TVC).


‘Because of her sphere of influence in the broadcast sector of the media, ACCA is receiving awareness in the targeted places such as the government and regulatory space in the past 12 months. We truly would not have been able to achieve this without Victoria. Congratulations Victoria on your great achievements for ACCA.’


ACCA launched the regional advocacy awards in 2017 to recognise members who go above and beyond in expressing public support for the accountancy profession, embodying ACCA’s values. These advocates are also members who deliver public value, display ethical professionalism and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.


The Advocacy Awards are not about career achievement but about the way that ACCA members give back to their communities and help ACCA to develop the next generation of professional accountants. 


The full list of ACCA Regional Advocate Award winners for 2019 are:


  • ACCA MESA Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Maaz Masood Ansari from Pakistan
  • ACCA Emerging Markets Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Rajeev Giri from India
  • ACCA ASEAN ANZ Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Mariam Riza from Australia
  • ACCA Europe and Americas Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Eilis Quinlan from Ireland
  • ACCA Africa Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Victoria Abiola Ajayi from Nigeria
  • ACCA Greater China Regional Advocate of the Year 2019: Jennifer Tan from Hong Kong SAR.

For more information about ACCA’s advocates, please visit