Human Rights and Governance in COVID-19 Bulletin
Weekly Bulletin Tuesday, 9th June, 2020
Published by the Secretariat of the Joint Action Civil Society Coalition (Nigeria Mourns)
Nigeria’s first 100 days of COVID-19
Nigeria, on Saturday 6th June, 2020, attained the milestone of 100 days since the index case of COVID-19 was recorded in the country on 27th February, 2020. The first 100 days of COVID-19 in Nigeria has made more glaring the weaknesses inherent in the nation’s health care systems. These challenges were the crux of discussions at the weekly national briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid19 (PTF), where Government committed to ensuring investment in the healthcare system. Within the 100 days under review, the PTF noted modest accomplishments that were recorded in the national healthcare system. The accomplishments listed can be found here.
The PTF however stated that in spite of these accomplishments, Nigeria, like the rest of the world had witnessed a steady rise in the number of infections. It has become obvious that Nigeria has entered the community transmission phase and this has significantly helped in identifying 20 high burden Local Government Areas (LGAs) that accounts for over 60% of infections in Nigeria. Eight (8) states and FCT account for these 20 LGAs in the country, namely Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi, Borno, Edo, Ogun and the FCT. The PTF is already pursuing precision actions on these high burden LGAs; it is therefore important for Nigerians to recognize the need to take responsibility and the significant role community ownership and risk communication will play in the future of National Response.
As the relaxation on lockdown and the ease of restriction on places of worship unfolds, Nigeria continues to record substantial increases in the number of cases. As at midnight on Monday 8th June, Nigeria had recorded 12,801 confirmed cases, 4,040 cases have been discharged and 361 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory, having carried out 78,244tests.
In commemoration of the 100th day of CVID-19 in Nigeria, the PTF also visited the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja to witness, first hand, the processes for testing. Currently, there are thirty-three (33) laboratories across Nigeria that can test for COVID-19 and they are all in the NCDC molecular laboratory network. it is important to note however that, while information exists on the numbers of new confirmed cases, it appears that the testings done per state are not disaggregated and this affects the true understanding of the spread of the disease.
The Federal Government unveiled a special package to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, 3rd June. The package includes: N1 billion bailout for pharmaceutical companies; release of N10 billion to the Lagos State Government to battle the virus – the state has the highest number of victims. In addition, the Japanese government provided a grant of $18.2 million to strengthen the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed also announced that the Federal Government was working on fiscal stimulus measures to provide fiscal relief for taxpayers and key economic sectors.
CBN COVID-19 Loan
As part of measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses in Nigeria, the Federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced COVID-19 support loans for Households, SME and MSME in April, 2020. The CBN has now waived the requirement for the provision of guarantors by Households and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) applying for its N50 billion COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility, this reduces the burden on applicants trying to access the loan.
Agric COVID-19 Palliative
The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan, on Wednesday, 3rd June, disclosed of donating one tonne of seeds each to six states in South-West geopolitical zone as agricultural COVID-19 palliative ahead of the 2020 planting season. Extension services by the institute are now running as e-extension services because of the raging COVID-19 pandemic; the farmers are to observe any problem on their farms, or if they need any form of assistance, they are to call the institute and would get an immediate response.
State of the Nation
A Rape Epidemic
Whist individuals and Civil Society Organisations have in time past advocated vehemently against sexual and domestic violence, it would appear that the circumstances around COVID-19 has brought this subject matter to the front burner of the affairs of the nation amidst the COVID pandemic. Just last week, we had highlighted three rape indecencies across the nation; #JusticeforUWA trending the highest on social media platforms and in the media.
The Executive Director, Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, said in an interview that “two million women and girls are raped every year and that rape cases often go reported for various reasons, including the fear of stigmatisation, police extortion, and a lack of trust in the criminal justice system. Victims are deterred by too many factors.
Just days after Miss Vera Omozuwa Uwaila was raped, on Monday, 1st June, Miss Barakat Bello, an 18-year-old student of the Federal College of Animal and Production Technology, Ibadan, was reportedly raped to death at her residence at Akinyele Local Government Area of the state. Her body with deep cuts all over it, was discovered at the back of her house.
A 12-year-old girl (name withheld) was also allegedly raped by a 42-year-old man, Dennis Ojah at Otada community in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue state. On Saturday, 6th June, the suspect who is currently on the run had lured the little girl to his house pretending that he had wanted to send her on an errand and when she got into the house he beat her up and raped her threatening to deal with her if she disclosed what happened to anybody.
Police detectives from the Warri Area Command, Delta State have arrested the Founder/General Overseer of Victory Revival Fasting & Prayer Ministry, Bishop Elijah Orhonigbe for allegedly raping a nineteen-year-old girl (name withheld) in Warri, following a complaint by the victim’s mother. The Bishop alleged drugged the girl in the pretext of administering ‘spiritual deliverance’, and thereafter raped her.
A Chief Magistrate’s court in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, has remanded a 38-year-old man, Simon Emeka, at a correctional centre after he was charged with raping his seven-month-old daughter.
A 50-year-old man has been arrested by the Niger State Police Command for raping his two daughters ages of 20 and 22, in the Suleja Local Government Area of the state. The suspect, Peter Ayemoba, was picked up by the police after a complaint by a relation of his family. Ayemoba was alleged to have engaged in this act for over six years.
NO fewer than 80 cases of rape have been recorded in parts of Anambra State since the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic. The worrisome figure was given on Monday, 8th June, at Isuaniocha in Awka North local government area of Anambra State by the director of child welfare services in the state Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Welfare, Mrs. Nkechi Anazodo. Anazodo said there had been only 32 cases of rape in the ministry before the lockdown
Rallying behind the campaign against sexual abuse, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, sought a declaration by the governors against the menace. The governor spoke on Friday, 5th June, in Ado Ekiti while signing into law the Compulsory Treatment and Care For Child Victims Of Sexual Violence Bill. The bill meant to strengthen the Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law, 2012, had earlier been passed by the House of Assembly. Its enactment was against the backdrop of the rising incidence of sexual violence in the country.
Education still on hold
The Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Uwajiuba, on Monday, 8th June, said that no date had yet been fixed for the reopening of schools across the country. He stated that this would require the advice of experts on when it would be safe to reopen schools, stressing that the government would avoid the mistake of experimenting with the welfare of nation’s children and shipping them in and out of school. “What we are planning is to bring those that will be exiting from Junior Secondary to Senior Secondary and those who will be writing the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to come for their examinations.
Across the Regions
Abuja residents trooped out to worship
Following the lifting of ban on religious centres across the country by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, residents of the country’s capital, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja trooped out en masse to worship. The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), commended the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and other church leaders across the Territory for ensuring compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines for religious organisations after the team went on inspection of some churches to monitor compliance. Abuja currently has a record of 986 confirmed cases, 270 recoveries and 23 deaths.
Kogi State Coronavirus Index Case Discharged
The disputed Kogi state coronavirus index case, Sheikh Ahmad Ejibunu has been reportedly discharged from the National Hospital, Abuja. Ejibunu, who is the Chief Imam of Kabba, whose identification as the first Covid-19 case in Kogi heightened altercation between the state and authorities of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is said to be in better condition and could return anytime soon to Kabba. He was reportedly discharged from hospital on Friday. Kogi state now currently has a record of 3 confirmed cases and all 3 are active.
The Director for Special Services and Politics in Gombe State, Dies od CCOVID-19
The Director for Special Services and Politics at the office of the Secretary to the State Government and member of the Gombe State task force on COVID-19, Shuaibu Danlami, has died from coronavirus complications. The Chairman of the State task force on COVID-19, Idris Mohammed, made this known to newsmen on Wednesday, 3rd June, and said that the office of the Secretary to the Gombe State Government, SSG, as well as the Government House clinic, will be closed for decontamination after a confirmation that the coronavirus test result of the government House staff who died Sunday returned positive. Contact tracing has also begun following the confirmation. Gombe state currently has a record of 230 confirmed cases, 135 recoveries and 10 deaths.
Bauchi State Deputy Governor positive for COVID-19
The Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Sen. Baba Tela, who is also the Chairman, State Task Force on COVID-19, has been confirmed positive for COVID-19. He has claimed that he contracted the disease while discharging his responsibilities as the chairman of the committee. Consequently, Sen. Baba Tela has gone into self-isolation in Bauchi state where he is being managed by healthcare professionals. Bauchi state has recorded 295 confirmed cases, 224 recoveries and 9 deaths.
COVID-19: Cause of Unexplained Deaths in Kano
Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control reaffirmed on Monday, 8th June that most of the “unexplained deaths” in Kano state in April were caused by Covid-19. This report came after a Ministerial Task Team had gone to the state to carry out an investigation on the deaths; they reported that, 50 – 60% of the 979 deaths in April were linked to COVID-19. The report further showed that the deaths were spread across eight municipal Local Government Areas, at a rate of 43 deaths per day. Fifty-six percent of deaths occurred at home, while 38 per cent deaths were recorded at hospitals. Also, most deaths occurred among individuals aged 65 years and above. The intervention of the ministerial task force has been a game changer for Kano and some northern States. Kano state currently has a record of 999 confirmed cases, 450 recoveries and 48 deaths.
31 Patients Discharged In Lagos State
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos state revealed that Lagos which currently has the highest recorded number of confirmed cases with a total of 5,895 out of Nigeria’s 12,801 cases, has discharged 31 patients having undergone coronavirus treatment across the isolation centres in Lagos State and have fully recovered and tested negative to COVID-19. Lagos has recorded 944 recoveries and 72 deaths.
COVID-19 Patient selling at a market in Ondo State
In Ondo state, a lady who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Imo state, was found selling second-hand wares popularly called Tokunbo at a market. She was subsequently arrested by the state government task force on COVID-19. The Health Commissioner, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, said that the lady after being diagnosed with the virus at lmo state escaped to Ondo State despite the interstate lockdown, resulting in both the Imo and Ondo governments mounting surveillance on her till she was eventually found and picked up at the market. The Commissioner said that the contact tracing of the patient’s family, friends and neighbours had begun and urged all who had transacted business with the woman to report for diagnosis.
Football Viewing Centres Banned In Ondo State
The Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu on Monday, 8th June, banned football viewing centres across the 18 local government areas of the State, as the European football league season commenced, noting that the increasing spread of the virus was as a result of non-compliance of the residents, to the directives of the State government. Ondo state currently has a record of 42 confirmed cases, 21 recoveries and 7 deaths.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State positive for COVID-19
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the fourth governor to test positive for the virus in the country. This was confirmed on Monday 8th June, 2020, after the governor dropped samples twice for the test. On Saturday, 30th May, 2020, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu volunteered his sample for COVID-19 test. On Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020, the result of Governor Ikpeazu’s test returned negative. On Thursday, 4th June, 2020, the Governor submitted another sample at NCDC laboratory for confirmation and the result returned positive. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has gone into isolation, as required by relevant NCDC protocols, and he is being managed by medical practitioners. Subsequently, he has directed all members of the state executive council and the COVID-19 Inter-ministerial Committee should immediately undergo Covid-19 tests and thereafter isolate selves pending the outcome of their tests. Abia state currently has a record of 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 7 recoveries and no deaths.
Cabinet Members in Ebonyi State Recovers from COVID-19
Two cabinet members in Governor David Umahi-led administration in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, the Principal Secretary, Chief Clement Nweke and the State Commissioner for Finance, Professor Ogbonnaya Chukwu, alongside 15 others have been treated of the dreaded COVID-19 and were discharged on Monday from the Virology Centre of Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA 2). Speaking with journalists at the centre during their discharge, Mr. Nweke noted that his contact with the virus remained a mystery to him. Ebomyi state has recorded 103 confirmed cases of COVID, 25 recoveries and no deaths.
COVID-19 Awareness Creation Committee in Rivers State
More than 100 days into the Covid pandemic in Nigeria, the Rivers State government on Wednesday, 3rd June, inaugurated a COVID-19 awareness creation committee. The committee is to begin street-to-street enlightenment and education of residents on the dangers of the pandemic. The state currently has recorded 364 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 152 recoveries and 21 deaths.
Missing Corpse in Rivers State
Anxiety gripped Rivers State residents on Friday following speculations about the whereabouts of the corpse of Odiari Princewill, who until his death on Wednesday, 3rd June, was the Executive Chairman, Asari-Toru Local Government Area of the state. He allegedly died of complications from Covid-19 and was subsequently buried at the Port Harcourt public cemetery on Thursday morning by officials of the state Covid-19 committee, in accordance with guideline of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). However, residents woke up yesterday to hear that about 10 unknown gunmen stormed the cemetery on Friday evening, 5th June, and exhumed the body and the casket and escaped through a nearby jetty to unknown destination.
Delta State to shut down hotels
The Delta State Government has threatened to shut down hotels flouting the State Government’s guidelines in their operations as contained in the COVID-19 protocols released by the government. The guidelines for the re-opening of hotels, allows the opening of in-room dining only, while restaurants, bars and night clubs in or attached to hotels are to remain closed, to both in-house guests and the public till further notice. According the the government’s spokesperson, If the hotels continue to flout the guidelines, they will leave the government with no other option than to shut them down indefinitely as they portend great danger to residents of the State. The state has also seen a rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19, this the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Mr. Olisa Ifeajika blamed on increased community testing and the easing of the lockdown in the state. Delta state currently has a record of 155 confirmed cases, 35 recoveries and 8 deaths.
COVID-19 in Africa
There are now more than over 190,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic. According to the latest data by the John Hopkins University and Africa Center for Disease Control on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when they come up. As at May 13, every African country had recorded an infection, the number confirmed cases now stands at 196,368 across the continent, while 86,111 patients have recovered and 5,364 deaths have occurred from the deadly disease.
Ghana’s case load is heading towards the 10,000 mark. As at close of day on June 8, the tally stood at 9,910. Deaths have also risen to 48. President Akufo-Addo in his tenth address announced that whiles borders remained closed, some categories of academic institutions were allowed to resume, religious places could also reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols.
Ethiopia crossed the 2,000 mark on Sunday, 7th June, when 86 new cases took the tally to 2,020. The country joins the region’s top infected nations, now only behind Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia. The Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, while addressing the new opening of parliament defended the decision of the national flier, Ethiopian Airlines, to continue flights to many countries- including China. He also spoke about not imposing lockdowns as a virus containment measure.
Botswana remains one of Africa’s least impacted countries, one of a handful with less than 100 cases of COVID-19. The Botswana Government has in the past month taken drastic measures including a strict lockdown. President Eric Masisi’s called for national prayers in efforts against COVID-19. He asked the populace to dedicate Friday (June 5) till Sunday (June 7) as days of prayer. He, however, stressed the need to wear masks and to observe all necessary health protocols as a means of virus spread prevention. Botswana currently records 40 confirmed cases, 23 recoveries and 1 death.
Algeria is easing lockdown restrictions. The government issued directives that will see the North African country have a progressive reopening in the coming weeks. Some shops started reopening in Algeria as part of a series of measures to ease the lockdown in place to fight COVID-19, while partial confinement remains in force in most of the country until June 13. Algeria currently records 10,265 confirmed cases, 6,799 recoveries and 715 deaths.
South Africa is still the country with the highest caseload on the continent with 50,879 confirmed cases. School children are returning to class amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has closed schools for several weeks. The first group of students: 7th and 12th graders, returned to class on Monday, 8th June, 2020, as part of a gradual loosening of coronavirus restrictions. The restart of the school year was delayed after the teacher’s union attempted to create a work stoppage, advising teachers the school system was not equipped with sufficient masks and gloves. Although school staff checked the temperature of children entering schools and masks and gloves were handed out, some parents were not sure the schools were ready.
WHO: When and how to use masks.
On Friday, 5th June, 2020, the World Health Organisation, WHO, published updated guidance on the use of masks for control of COVID-19. This guidance is based on evolving evidence, and provides updated advice on who should wear a mask, when it should be worn and what it should be made of. WHO developed this guidance through a careful review of all available evidence, and extensive consultation with international experts and civil society groups.