Strange Outbreak Ravages Lagos Community, 20 Dead, 34 More Infected

An outbreak described as fatal febrile rash illnesses has been recorded in Otodo Gbame community in Eti-Osa LGA, area of Lagos State.

It was identified by the Medical Officer of Health of the LGA on the 9th February. The report indicated that many children died as a result of the outbreak.

Already 20 children had died as the cause of the outbreak remains unknown, just as 34 cases of sick children with described as Febrile Rash Illnesses (FRI) have been line listed.

The fatality of the outbreak was also confirmed as the graves of 20 children who died from the FRI since the day of onset of signs and symptoms in the first case on 6th January 2016, were identified by their parents.

Thirty-Four cases have been listed so far with 17 males and 17 females. 17 dead patients have been identified with nine males and eight females. All are within the age range of eight to 72 months.

Health Commissioner, Lagos, Dr Jide Idris said his ministry has notified the Federal Ministry of health (FMOH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and immediately constituted a team of Epidemiologists to investigate the outbreak and institute appropriate measures to prevent further spread of the disease.

Dr Idris said: “The ministry drew up an investigation plan to investigate the outbreak, verify reported deaths and report findings and recommendations. The disease causing the outbreak is yet to be confirmed. However, the signs and symptoms are suggestive of Febrile Rash Illnesses. Blood samples (and throat swabs) from the patients and water samples from the community have been taken to the Virology Reference Laboratory at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and Lagos State Drug Quality Control Laboratory (DQCL), LASUTH, Ikeja respectively. The source of the infection is still under investigation.”

The Commissioner described the place where the outbreak is recorded- Otodo Gbame community as an expansive, sandy riverine, flood prone and camp-lie settlements with an estimated population of 100,000 people.

“The people are mainly Egun, however there are other tribes in the minority. The community is a slum with waste deposited at different spots. There are many scattered shallow wells in the community. The water from the wells is found to be used mostly for bathing, washing and cooking. Majority of the citizen claimed it is not used for drinking but a few said they sometimes drink from the well. The community head Chief Hunpe Dansu confirmed the outbreak of the Febrile Rash illnesses,” said Dr Idris.

Dr Idris said: “The government is presently intensifying efforts to conduct mapping of all slums and blighted areas in the state towards reducing the health hazards associated with such areas. The people are hereby enjoined to join hands with the government in the identification of slums and in ensuring environmental sanitation at all times. And members of the public and health workers are to report any strange illness to the nearest health facility or call the following lines- 08037170614, 08055281442 and 08023169485.”

To control the disease and prevent further spread and avert additional deaths, the ministry has intensive awareness creation and community mobilisation and health education is ongoing through meetings and community dialogues. Continuous health education of the community on immunisation, measles and personal and environmental hygiene are on-going.

“House-to house search for cases is still ongoing. Forty seven sick children were found, out of which 34 were line listed as Febrile Rash Illnesses. Immediate immunisation of children with measles vaccine is on-going in the community. A total of Five Hundred and Eighty-Seven eligible children were immunised with measles vaccine and administered with Vitamin A. Eight  blood samples and seven throat swabs were collected from cases of FRI and sent to the laboratory for measles and other possible viral illnesses. Follow up on suspected children who are undergoing treatment to monitor recovery and intervene with further medical attention if required. Seven cases were already followed up as at 15th February, with Six recovering while one who was still ill was immediately taken to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Ikate for further medical attention, while further investigation is still on-going,” said Dr Idris.

Lagos Light Rail Will Be Functional By December

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday restated his administration’s commitment to ensure that the Blue Line of the Light Rail Project is up and running by December 2016.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the 5th Lagos Corporate Assembly, a forum for public-private sector engagement held at the Banquet Hall of Lagos House, Ikeja, while responding to questions from captains of industries and members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), debunked claims that work had stopped on the first phase of the project connecting Mile 2 to CMS, saying the allegation was totally untrue.

“The truth is, you might not see the contractors but they are actually working on the waters for now and by December this year, the project will start running. So, work is seriously ongoing,” Governor Ambode assured.

He said that government was also about concluding on the channelization of the waterways in Lagos to improve on water transportation so as to encourage investors and reduce the pressure on the road networks in the state.

He assured members of the OPS as well as would-be investors that the state is more than willing and ready to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive with the overall aim of improving on the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizens.

The Governor said as a government, he was ready to partner with existing and would-be investors for industrial growth so far such investors are bringing value to the state.

While responding to issues raised by captains of industry and members of the organized private sector at the forum tagged “A+ Meets Business”, Governor Ambode said as part of measures aimed at encouraging investment, his administration created the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund to give soft loans to entrepreneurs just at three percent, while the Office of Overseas Affairs and Investments otherwise known as Lagos Global, the Office of Civic Engagement, as well as the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment Generation were equally established, all in a bid to promote investment opportunities.

He said as part of measures to further improve on the creation of enabling environment for businesses to thrive, his administration was also in the process of establishing Lagos Micro Finance Bank, which would go a long way in providing succor for business owners.

He said: “As we speak, we are in talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on this and very soon we shall come up with the Lagos Micro Finance Bank and this is another effort geared towards the economic wellbeing of our people.”

Governor Ambode said that the government was also in the process of transforming the Kuramo beach into a World Trade Convention Centre, assuring that he was very much committed to showcasing the economic potentials of the state to the rest of the world.

Speaking on the strategy to drastically reduce traffic in Apapa and make life comfortable for people and businesses in the axis, Governor Ambode recalled the security tour he recently embarked upon to Ishawo and Oke-Oko creek in the suburb of Ikorodu where he met with military personnel carrying out the “Operation Awatse”, a joint military operation of all the security agencies to tackle the menace of pipeline vandalism in the Arepo axis.

“The idea is that when we open up the area and construct the Ishawo-Oke-Oko creek road to connect the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from there, we would have greatly reduced the traffic gridlock on the expressway and then finally put a stop to the activities of pipeline vandals so that we can begin to directly pump petroleum products from Atlas Cove in Apapa to Mosimi, and then the tankers will have no business to come to Lagos to lift product,” Governor Ambode said.

The Governor, who spoke on several issues affecting businesses in the state, assured that he would work on perfecting a methodology for collection of rates, and that he would soon come up with a grand plan to permanently tackle the menace of touts.

On power, Governor Ambode said between now and 2017, he had an agenda to create clusters of Independent Power Projects (IPPs) across the state to improve on power generation and ensure 24hours power supply in Lagos.

Earlier, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, said the forum was a vehicle for government and private sector to interact and discuss issues that are germane to the industrial growth of the state.

He assured the private sector that the Ambode-led government was poised to assist the industrial sector to maximize its potentials for greater contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.

In her presentation, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Mrs. Nike Akande commended Governor Ambode for programmes aimed at securing lives and property and encouraging economic growth, but urged the Governor to expedite action on the issuance of land titles, and also prevail on the Federal Government to fix the rail system in Apapa and relocate Tank Farms in the axis.

Also, Chairman of Apapa Branch of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Folaranmi Odunayo commended Governor Ambode on the Light Up Lagos initiative, and sought the inclusion of industrial areas in the project.

He also advocated collaboration between the Federal Government, Lagos and Ogun States in addressing the traffic gridlock and establishment of Building Code to control erection of structures especially along the expressway.

There were also presentations from the National Association of Small Scale Industries, DFID, representatives of Dangote Refineries, Nigeria-America Chamber of Commerce, Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce, African Women Entrepreneurship Programme, among others.

200 Lagos West Youths For Entrepreneur Training

Two hundred youths drawn from the 10 local government areas of Lagos West Senatorial district are to undergo a three-day entrepreneur training starting from tomorrow in Lagos preparatory to possible empowerment to
establish their businesses.

Disclosing this information to a delegation of youths that visited him in his office in Abuja, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West) said he is organizing the programme in conjunction with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigerian, SMEDAN, and a private organization, Abilele Industry Ltd adding that the training programme is meant to prepare some of them for the rudiment of business management.

“The era of just giving empowerment or grants for business without requisite training to ensure success is gone. This is why we are training youths to have some guidelines on how they can make a success of opportunities available to them” he said.

Senator Adeola said that he already have many empowerment equipment like sewing machines, grinding machines, freezers and hair dressing equipment that will be distributed during his town hall meeting adding that there are also opportunities for  outstanding youth to get grants from SMEDAN  in due course.

“Generally participants in the training will be university degree holders, HND/OND/NCE holders and those with WASC with at least 5 credits” the senator stated.

Leader of the youth Mr. Kunle Adimula commended the senator for putting the youths at the centre of his empowerment programme stressing that many of the parents whose wards benefitted from the 500 free JAMB forms
distributed as part of educational empowerment of youths in January are appreciative of the senator’s gesture.

German President Visits Governor Ambode

German President, Mr. Joachim Gauck visited Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Monday, pledging that Germany will assist Nigeria with the technical know- how to successfully fight terrorism.

Gauck, in a late hour visit to the Governor at the State House, Ikeja, which entered into the night said the purpose of his visit to the country was to strengthen the cordial relationship between the two countries and to forge additional trade ties.

Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule welcoming President Joachim Gauck of Germany (2nd right) who is on official visit to Lagos State, at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed International airport, Ikeja on Monday, February 8,2016. With them are German Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Michael Zenner (2nd left) and the Nigeria foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama,
Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule welcoming President Joachim Gauck of Germany (2nd right) who is on official visit to Lagos State, at the presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed International airport, Ikeja on Monday, February 8,2016. With them are German Ambassador to Nigeria Mr. Michael Zenner (2nd left) and the Nigeria foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama,

Speaking through an interpreter, Gauck said he was willing to share his country’s experiences in the field of science and technology, especially in the areas of capacity building, expressing confidence in steps being taken by the present government in the country to address the nation’s challenges.

“I am delighted to be here in Lagos and we in Germany and in Europe are more than aware of the importance of this city as a centre of business, of political development, of creativity and intellectively in the art of West Africa. At the same time I am delighted to be here in Lagos on my very first visit to Nigeria. I am happy to learn more and hear more about the successes of this country and the problems it has to tackle.

“My visit is meant to underline the friendly close ties existing between Germany and Nigeria. We have great interest in the area of trade. We in Germany are ready to share our experiences in those areas where you think they might prove helpful or necessary and we are happy to share the experiences we have acquired in fostering security and fostering social security.

“We are happy to share the knowledge we have acquired in the field of science and technology and cooperate with you and we are also happy to the knowledge we have when it comes to bringing about a fruitful cooperation between the business communities to bring about benefit for all,” he said.

According to him, “That is all we want to talk about and look at the potentials on these subjects and other matters. I am happy not only to get an opportunity to meet the representatives of the business community and to get to know more about the strength of assisting this country in those areas but also to have the opportunity to learn more about the culture in diversity that this country has to offer.

“I refer to business delegation that is accompanying me on this visit. Amongst them you have experienced personalities, people who have been here for quite a while and have acquired crucial beneficial experiences in doing business here on the ground. At the same time we also want to be of assistance when it comes to providing training; we believe that the German model in the area of training can be adopted here.”

Speaking, Ambode told the German president that his administration had instituted security and legal reforms to ensure a thriving business environment.

He said his administration was ready to explore the common interests between the state and Frankfurt, which is also Germany’s financial capital.

PM News

60,000 Jobless Youths In Lagos Jostle For 1,200 LASTMA Jobs

The grim level of unemployment in the country manifested Monday in Lagos as over 60,000 applicants applied for the Lagos State Government’s traffic job, with openings for only 1,200 applicants.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State is planning to beef up the traffic manpower of its traffic agency, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, and the Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIO.

The state government placed an advert for recruitment last month in some newspapers and over 60,000 graduates comprising HND and degree holders applied for the jobs, P.M.NEWS investigation has revealed.

The State’s Ministry of Science and Technology handled and designed the online application job portals and has been able to capture the data of over 60,000 applicants for the vacant positions.

State’s Head of Service, Olabowale Ademola says 1,200 successful applicants from the lot would be employed into LASTMA, VIO and other lesser positions in the civil service.

Last week, thousands of shortlisted HND holders thronged the State’s Civil Service Commission, SCC, for screening, with the examination to be conducted in batches at the Public Service Staff Development Centre, Lagos (PSSDC), Magodo.

P.M.NEWS was at the PSSDC Monday where thousands of HND holders came for oral screening, while the screening for degree holders also kicked off simultaneously at the CSC’s office, with thousands of degree holders shortlisted showing up for screening, while their oral examination would be conducted next week.

Ajibola Aribiyi, Permanent Secretary, CSC, who spoke with P.M.NEWS at Magodo, venue for HND screening, refused to disclose the actual number of applicants, but said he would do that after the conclusion of the exercise.

He said it was too premature to disclose the number of applicants now or the number the government wanted to employ as more applicants were still coming in from interested bodies.

Aribiyi said by Friday, he would call our reporter to disclose the actual figure to him, but that he would prefer to keep mum for now and face the ongoing screening squarely.

“As I speak with you now, many people are in the commission undergoing screening,” he said, saying that it was after the screening that the actual figure would be known.

Efforts to persuade him to speak further proved abortive, but P.M.NEWS investigation revealed that over 60,000 jobless graduates might have applied for the job.

One of the shortlisted applicants who came for screening at PSSDC on Monday and craved anonymity, said the oral interview was just to know the origin of the applicants as the interviewers asked questions pertaining to certain places and locations to ascertain if they were truly from the areas they claimed.

The last stage of the interview for the shortlisted candidates would be fitness test as they would be ordered to engage in a short distance marathon to ascertain their fitness for the LASTMA and VIO jobs. That has been scheduled for a later date.

PM News

Lagos Introduces PIN For Students

The Lagos State Government has announced the introduction of Personal Identification Number, LASPIN, to capture the biometrics of students in all public primary and secondary schools.

This is contained in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday in Lagos by the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Jide Lawal.

The statement quoted the Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule, as saying that LASPIN would be a unique identity for each student throughout his or her study in the state’s education system.

Ms. Adebule, who supervises the ministry, said the transfer process of students in the state would now be streamlined, using the LASPIN.

According to her, LASPIN will control and discourage abuses and make the process of transfer from one school to another, more transparent.

The deputy governor was also quoted as expressing government’s determination to improve on the pass ratings for Lagos State students in external examinations from three per cent to 60 per cent by 2019.

She said that government was committed to the adoption of e-curriculum platform/solution to assist teachers in accessing the subject curriculum and syllabus directly from the National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC).

“The introduction and adoption of e-curriculum platform/solution will guarantee uniformity and ease the development of lesson plan and teacher’s guide from the ministry’s portal,’’ she said.

Ms. Adebule said that the intensive monitoring and supervision of teachings and learning activities in schools by the quality assurance office were aimed at meeting the set standards.

The deputy governor said the standards were set by both the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO).

“Government will undertake the systematic introduction and exposure of students to ICT- based teaching and learning tools (e.g. learning tablets) starting from the senior secondary level.

“This is in order to make our teachers and students compete globally and be compliant with modern trend,’’ she said in the statement.


Lagos RSS Helicopter Located Bristow Helicopter Crash Site

The quick location and rescue of the Bristow Group helicopter which crashed while heading to Lagos from Port Harcourt on Wednesday was aided the three helicopters of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) recently purchased by the state government.

The RRS helicopters are part of the security equipment purchased at a cost of N4.7billion by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration with the aim of beefing up security as well as aid in emergency rescue operations.

Commander of the RRS, Olatunji Disu, said that immediately the command was alerted of the crash on Wednesday morning, the three helicopters were immediately deployed to commence a search for its possible location.

“We knew they just took off at the airport. Everybody thought the helicopter crashed in their air field. But we immediately deployed the three RRS helicopters into the air and started the search.

“After some time the crashed helicopter was located 68 nautical miles out of Lagos on the ocean and we were able to communicate with the company”.

He said Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies provided speed boats, while the RRS Marine Boat was also deployed to join the search and rescue operations.

“LASEMA, Airport Police and others and the Fire Service were at the airport waiting, because they had thought that the crash occurred at the airport, but the RRS helicopters acting on information hovered around the air until the location of the crash was identified in the ocean”, Disu said.

He said all the 11 persons on board the crashed helicopter; nine passengers and the two crew members were rescued alive, attributing it to the adherence of safety measures by the passengers and the timely intervention of rescue operations.

“The joint effort of the rescue team spearheaded by the RRS in collaboration with Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies went a long way to save the lives of those on board. Only the pilot sustained injuries”, he said.

SF Market Announces Launch Of Alpha Bond Index

SF Markets, an index provider that focuses on providing transparent and rules-based indices for the Sub-Saharan African region announces the introduction of the Alpha Bond Index (AlphaX) which has been designed to provide an independent insight into the performance of the Nigerian Sovereign (Federal Government) Bond Market.

The index will serve as an underlying for various investment products such as Index Funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). As of 04 January 2016, the index tracked over NGN 5.790tn ($29.13bn) of Nigerian Sovereign debt.

“With the uncertainty of oil prices in 2016, the Sovereign bond market has become an even more important and
strategic part of the financial system in Nigeria i.e. monetary policy; financing government deficits; capital
expenditure (infrastructure projects) etc,” said Amonire Rewane, CEO of SF Markets.

“We are very pleased to be among the first index providers to introduce a Nigerian fixed income index that is
available in multiple currencies and uses continuous evaluated pricing,” he added. “What this means is that there
are index values available on an intra-day basis. The delivery of a Nigerian bond index to further complement the
Nigerian equity indices we launched back in September 2015 reiterates our commitment to delivering rules-based and transparent indices for the African region.”

The AlphaX adopts a market value weighted indexing system and is calculated intra-day and denominated in Naira
and US Dollars for total return and clean price versions. The index series is reviewed monthly with daily index history data available from the 4th of January 2010. Only sovereign bonds with a minimum amount outstanding of NGN 150bn and a minimum time to maturity of one year are eligible.

Seven Lives Lost To Boat Mishap In Lagos

No fewer than seven persons died yesterday when a passenger boat capsized in Ikorodu, Lagos.

The boat belonging to Aki Marine was said to have capsized at about 10:30am at Ijede after it collided at a dredging point enroute Ijede.

The General Manager Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, (LASEMA), Michael Akindele, confirmed that the 20-passenger capacity boat had 17 passenger and two crew members on board.

Contrary to reports from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the LASEMA boss said four victims have been rescued.

He added that those rescued were presently receiving treatment at Ijede General Hospital.

According to him, rescue operation was still on to recover the remaining eight passengers still missing.

He said the agency was expecting the boat manifest while further investigation would be carried out by the appropriate agencies to ascertain the actual cause of the accident.

Akindele advised boat operators and passengers to observe necessary safety measures such as the use of life jacket and regular checks of their engines.

The Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) has summoned an emergency meeting with all commercial boat operators in the state on Tuesday to check future incidence.

The agency also vowed to clamp down on boat operators who continue to contravene the rules and regulations guiding their operations.

A statement by the Managing Director of LASWA, Mrs. Abisola Kamson, said the meeting, which will focus on the compliance of safety standards of vessels operating on the state waterways, will hold at the LASWA office in Falomo Ikoyi by 9:30am.

”The Lagos State Government will not tolerate the operation of Substandard Vessels on the Waterways.

“Any individual or corporate entity found to be operating vessels not deemed water worthy will be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the law,” she said.

She said although all passengers on the boat were wearing their life jackets, the covered design of the boat made rescue efforts challenging and difficult.

Lassa Fever: Lagos Places 534 Under Surveillance

The deadly Lassa Fever has claimed another victim in Lagos, making it two people who have died of the disease while 534 people who have contacts with Lassa Fever patients have been placed under surveillance.

The Lagos State Government says the number of people who have tested positive to he disease are now four, out of which two have died, while the results of three more suspects were being awaited.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said it was doing everything possible to defeat the deadly Lassa fever like it did during the outbreak of Ebola virus, just as it urged residents of the state to be on red alert by embracing personal and environmental hygiene.

He advised residents to block all holes in their homes through which rats could gain entrance, and also refrain from eating rat meat as well as any food already contaminated with urine, saliva and faeces of infected rat.

Idris said so far, the state has recorded 20 suspected cases, out of which 14 tested negative, while 4 cases were confirmed positive.
He said three results were still being awaited, while 537 contacts have so far been listed, out of which 534 were currently being monitored.

The commissioner said that the last confirmed case was a 27-year-old lady who travelled to Edo state on December 24, 2015 and returned to Lagos on January 2, 2016.

He said the lady, who reportedly travelled for burial of her relative, became ill on January 14, 2016 and received care in one private hospital and three churches before she was referred on January 23, 2016 to Ijede General Hospital with fever, vomiting, diarrhea and body weakness.

Idris said that the patient eventually died within few hours of admission, while the case was confirmed as Lassa fever on January 26, 2016.

The remains of the diseased, according to Idris, has been kept in the morgue in leak proof body bag, while she would be buried after due consultation with her family.

Out of that case alone, the Commissioner said 90 persons had so far been listed as contacts as at January 26, 2016, while contact tracing is currently on-going.

“Members of the public are being sensitized to note that Lassa fever can be contacted through: ingestion of foods and drinks contaminated by the saliva, urine and faeces of infected rats; catching and preparing infected rats as food; inhaling tiny particles in the air contaminated with infected rat urine or droppings, and direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids, through mucous membranes like eyes, nose or mouth,” he said.

While assuring that Lagos State under the leadership of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode would continue to provide quality, affordable and accessible healthcare to the people towards achieving universal healthcare to all, the Commissioner assured that the government would overcome Lassa fever just as it defeated Ebola virus disease.

He urged residents to maintain basic environmental sanitation, including proper disposal of refuse and avoiding open defecation. He further asked the residents to embrace regular hand washing with soap and water, and maintain high level of personal hygiene as well as adequate nutrition.

While advocating early report of suspected cases, the Commissioner also urged health workers adhere strictly to infection control measures, while mortuary personnel must wear elbow-length gloves, face mask, gowns and other personal protective equipment while attending to remains of dead patients.