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NDDC to provide ventilators, oxygen

The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development
Commission, NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, has promised that the agency will
provide ventilators and oxygen as part of its contribution to the fight against
coronavirus.

He said they would intervene to protect the people of Niger
Delta from the dreaded disease.

Speaking at the NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt on
Tuesday, Pondei said as an interventionist agency, the commission would
collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “We have started looking at different isolation
points in the nine states of the Niger Delta region. We are interacting with
the states to find out what is on the ground and we are taking stock of the ventilators
and oxygen in health facilities across the region.”

Pondei said the treatment of the disease was not limited to
drugs, but included the ability to make sure that the patients were able to
breathe properly and this should be done using ventilators.

Pondei said, “This morning we found that there are about 500
ventilators in the entire country. We are exploring avenues to see if we could
intervene in providing ventilators. Similarly, oxygen is difficult to procure
in the country.

“The Federal Government through the ministry of health has a
policy on oxygen, which has not been disseminated very well. There are very few
oxygen production plants in the country and some of the existing ones have
actually broken down. But the provision of oxygen is key to the treatment.”

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Kaleidoscope

Manu Dibango: Sax Legend Dies of COVID-19

The African saxophone legend Manu Dibango has died in Paris
after catching coronavirus.

Dibango – best known for his 1972 hit Soul Makossa – is one
of the first global stars to die from Covid-19.

The 86-year-old fused jazz and funk music with traditional
sounds from his home country, Cameroon.

He collaborated with numerous artists over a long career,
including US pianist Herbie Hancock and Nigeria’s Afrobeat pioneer Fela
Anikulapo Kuti.

The Cameroonian musician filed a lawsuit in 2009 saying
Michael Jackson had stolen a hook from his song, Soul Makossa, for two tracks
on the world’s best-selling album, Thriller. Jackson settled the case out of
court.

Born in the Cameroonian city of  Douala in 1933, which at the time was under
French colonial rule, Dibango’s musical career spanned across more than six
decades. 

He grew up in a religious Protestant family, and his first
musical influences came from the church. But he drew on many influences and was
well known for his eclectic style.

He was sent to high school in France, which is where he
learnt to play the saxophone.

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LGs mobilize against virus

The Honourable Commissioner for Information and
Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim has charged Local Government Chairmen to
engage Traditional Rulers, Community Development Committee as well as Town
Announcers to sensitize the grassroots.

  At the meeting with
the  council and community leaders, he
said,”people migrate to Port Harcourt in their hundreds everyday. So as a
responsive government, His Excellency, Chief Barr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike felt
strongly that there is need for proper awareness creation, to pass prevention
messages at the grassroots.

 You are the ones that
are closest to the people.For you local government chairmen, as the leaders of
the grassroots, you are the ones closest to those at the rural communities.
Your role in passing this preventive messages cannot be over emphasized. We are
enjoining you to use all the various stakeholder groups at the ward level, to
create awareness.  If you need to use
town announcers, use town announcers. If you need to get Traditional Rulers, or
the CDCs even though we have engaged them at the state level, engage
them,” he added.

The representative from the Ministry of Health and Director
of Epidemiology, Dr. Nwadiuto, explained that each local government, like every
hospital has been mandated to set aside an area of isolation in their various
general hospitals, and advised chairmen to install veronica bucket which is a
low cost handwashing method across their Local Government Areas for residents,
to ensure the first step of prevention, washing of hands, is facilitated.

She urged the chairmen to cooperate with health workers to
spread the word across their LGAs by carrying out door to door sensitisation in
the language the locals understand, to be safeguarded from the Coronavirus.

Speaking on behalf of all the chairmen present, the chairman
of all chairmen, Hon. Victor Ihunwo Nyeche promised to ensure that all local
government chairmen adhere to the directives, as the health of their residents
is their priority.

In line with the directive of the Governor of Rivers State,
Chief Nyesom Wike, banning public activities in the state till further notice
due to the menace of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Mayor of Port Harcourt City,
Hon Victor Ihunwo, has announced the ban on all public gatherings in the city.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Bob Abayomi, in
his office, last Monday, in Port Harcourt, Ihunwo   directed that all night clubs, lounges,
cinemas and public parks remain closed till further notice beginning from
midnight of Monday, March 23, 2020.

He also announced the ban on the following activities,
public burial ceremonies, weddings, religious crusades, birthday parties with
more than 50 guests.

The statement reads, “The Mayor has said that all church
services to hold in the city must have not more than 50 worshippers per service
with proper spacing.Residents of Port Harcourt are encouraged to practice
proper personal hygiene and social distancing.

“Anybody or group of persons that runs foul of this
directive will be summarily dealt with as that person is truly against the
existence of humanity.As a responsible government the protection of lives is
our cardinal objective and will never be taken for granted.

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Wike Heads Task Force on Public Gatherings

Governor Nyesom Wike 
is heading a12-man task force raised to enforce the embargo on public
gatherings in Rivers State following the rising cases of Coronavirus across the
federation.

Members of the panel include the Commissioner of Police;
Garrison Commander, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army; Air Force Commander; Naval
Commander; NSCDC State Commandant and DSS State Director.

Other members are the Secretary to the State Government (SSG);
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Chief of Staff, Government
House; Commissioner for Health as well as the Commissioner for Information and
Communication who is serving as secretary.

Meanwhile The Rivers State Government closed down the
popular Oil Mill Market with effect from Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

According to the Honourable Commissioner for Information and
Communications, Rivers State, anyone found trading in the market will be
arrested by security agents.

The weekly Oil Mill Market hosts heavy commercial activities
with people coming from neighbouring states.

Also, Chairman of the 5-man Rivers State Inter-ministerial
Committee on COVID-19 Public Enlightenment, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has called
for selflessness on the part of message porveyors in the quest to prevent the
virus from the State.

Making the call in an address to Environmental Health
Officers in the State, preparatory to the commencement of Coronavirus campaign
to traders in markets and car parks in the State, the Chairman urged them to do
their best in ensuring that the populace becomes aware of what is required of
them to be in good stead to protect themselves from infection.

Nsirim, who is also the State Commissioner for Information
and Communications, told the staff of the Ministry of Environment that the
campaign is part of the new strategy of the Committee towards ensuring creating
necessary awareness on Coronavirus infection prevention in the State.

He urged them to go “to the markets, in the first
instance, and also go to the parks, just to ensure that people know what they
should do as it concerns this virus, especially as it has to do with hand
washing, how to also maintain social distance, how people should practice good
respiratory hygiene, and then our social behaviour – hand shake and
hugging”.

He explained that considering the manner in which the virus
is contacted and the speed with which it is spread, Governor Nyesom Wike deemed
it necessary to adopt preventive measures at this stage that the State is free
of the virus.

Also speaking, to the Chairman’s call, the Commissioner for
Environment, Dr Igbiks Tamuno, reminded members of staff of the Environment
ministry to view it as their contribution in the fight against the virus.

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Kaleidoscope

Sanusi Out Of Exile, Rejoins Family

Deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has left Awe and
rejoined his family in Lagos after the Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed
Adamu, ordered his release. Sanusi was reportedly flown to Abuja before he
taken to Lagos.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, last Friday ordered the
release of the dethroned Emir  from
detention in Awe, Nasarawa State.

 Justice Anwuli
Chikere who granted the interim order following an ex parte application moved
by Sanusi’s lawyer Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) also ordered that the order for the
release of the deposed monarch should be served on the respondents to the
application.

The respondents are the Inspector-General of Police,
Muhammed Adamu; the Director-General of the Department of State Service, Yusuf
Bichi; the Attorney-General of Kano State, Ibrahim Muktar, and the
Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Sanusi’s stay on the throne for over six years expired on
Monday, March 9, 2020, after the Kano State Government announced his removal.

Secretary to the state government Usman Alhaji said the
Sanusi was removed for his “total disrespect to lawful instructions from the
office of the governor and other lawful authorities.”

He stated that Sanusi’s dethronement was necessary to
preserve the “sanctity, culture, tradition, religion and prestige” of Kano
people.

The former Central Bank Governor, was escorted out of the
palace amid heavy security after his removal through the Malam Aminu Kano
International Airport at exactly 6.40 pm 
to Loko Town in Nasarawa State. 

Sanusi reportedly arrived the village by midnight and
checked into an undisclosed house by the bank of River Benue where he will
spend the rest of his life without the royal paraphernalia of  a first class emir in the country.

Sanusi, shortly after arriving  Loko town was airlifted in a helicopter and
relocated to Awe Local Government of Nasarawa State. On Friday, he received the
Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Nasir El-Rufai in his new home in Awe. 

The Kaduna state governor has already given the deposed emir
two appointments as Chancellor of the state university and vice chairman of
Kaduna investment panel.

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Mama Put Entrepreneur Wins Princewill’s Trust Fund

A food vendor, Miss Lidia Thelema Soberekon has emerged
winner of the February edition of “Help the Hard worker” monthly competition
organized by a non-governmental organization, Princewill’s Trust for
entrepreneurs, youths and other residents engaged in micro business ventures
and all forms of hard work in Rivers State.

Lidia, a graduate of Linguistics Studies from the University
of Port Harcourt beat over three thousand contestants in the competition.

Receiving the cash prize of One Hundred Thousand Naira at
the Rumuoikini Central market where she sells food like rice, beans and stew
popularly called “Mama put”, the very elated Lidia who is also the first female
winner of the competition thanked the Princewill’s Trust for the gesture which
she noted came at a time she was in need of funds to upgrade her business.

The Kalabari born Linguistics graduate turned food vendor
further noted that, it has always been her dream and desire to own a restaurant
for native Rivers foods and delicacies as a business, hence her venture into it
last year to not only fend for herself but to also create jobs.

She therefore called on youths in the state to be creative,
endeavor to engage themselves in productive activities and not to wait for
white collar jobs which are not as available anymore.

Chima Chukwu, youth Leader of Rumuikini who thanked the
Princewill’s Trust for   picking a
resident of the community as winner of such a laudable programme aimed at
assisting small scale business to grow.

He further noted that he was going to spread the good news
all over the community and also encourage the indigenes and non- indigenes
alike to participate fully in future editions of the competition which he
described as real.

Speaking on behalf of the Princewill’s Trust, Bar. Ken
Sarowiyo stated that the aim of the Trust is to contribute to the economic
development of Rivers State and called on the winner to make judicious use of
the money in upgrading her business.

He noted that it was very apt that a woman had finally won
the competition and had done so courtesy of a Mama Put now that Mama Put has been
formally recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary and Google.

He reiterated that Princewill’s Trust has a special place
for the voiceless and encouraged more women, more youths and the disabled to
enter the contest.

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For Communal Peace, Ogu Hosts Tai, Eleme Neighbours

To forge a common front and  attract peace, development and other social
harmony, the Amayanabo of Ogu kingdom, His Majesty, King Nicholas Ibiebele
Nemenibo,  Loko IX  played host to six neighboring communities
namely; Eteo, Eleme LGA, Nonwa, Tai LGA, Barayira, Tai LGA, Barale, Tai LGA,
Simie, Tai LGA and Nonkpo also from Tai LGA. The event which was the high point
of several peace building meetings brokered by the senator representing Rivers
East Senatorial District, Sen George Thompson Sekibo witnessed the signing of
the peace document by the traditional rulers and representatives of the
communities. 

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Finally, Coronavirus Arrives From Italy

Like a long awaited visitor, he
arrived from Milan, Italy, and went to his company in Ogun state bearing in his
body the life threatening coronavirus ravaging the world in epidemic
proportion. So officially, Nigeria joins the league of countries with cases of
COVID 19.

The federal government says it
has deployed rapid response teams across the country to ensure that Coronavirus
doesn’t spread across the country.

Minister of Health, Osagie
Ehanire, stated this during a press briefing in Abuja  last Friday following the confirmation of the
first case of the virus in Lagos.

Asked how prepared the government
was in ensuring the virus doesn’t escalate, the minister assured Nigerians of
the preparedness of the government to tackle the viral disease, adding that
there is no reason to panic.

“The Federal Ministry of Health,
through Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, will continue to provide updates
and will initiate all measures required to prevent the spread of any outbreak
in Nigeria,” the minister said.

“The multi-sectoral Coronavirus
Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has
immediately activated its national Emergency Operations Centre and will work
closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to this case and
implement firm control measures.

“I wish to assure all Nigerians
that we have been beefing up our preparedness capabilities since the first
confirmation of cases in China, and we will use all the resources made
available by the government to respond to this case.”

Earlier speaking, Chikwe
Ihekweazu, director-general of NCDC, stated that Nigeria Centre for Disease
Control (NCDC) has deployed its rapid response teams in Lagos state and other
parts of the country to manage the situation adequately.

As it stands, Nigeria becomes the
third country to confirm the disease in Africa and the 52nd in the world.

The patient, an Italian citizen,
was said to have entered Nigeria on February 25 from Milan, Italy on a business
visit.

Over 80,000 cases of coronavirus
have been recorded globally, out of which more than 33,000 people have
recovered.

Ihekweazu said health facilities
must remain on high alert and assured Nigerians of their safety against
COVID-19.

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Maths Teacher Creates Fashion Prints From Equations

Through geometric designs, the
Sokhna print was used to create tie-dye like designs. Maths teacher Diarra
Bousso Gueye was grading a set of algebra papers when she had a Eureka moment.

Gueye, who had long harbored
fashion aspirations from her childhood when she made clothes for her dolls,
pondered what if she took the equations she taught to create drawings and
prints for clothing?

After that classroom moment, her
brand Diarrablu started using math concepts such as geometric transformations
and quadratic transformations to create multiple prints in bold colors.

“My work is fully focused on the
use of mathematics for the creative process,” she said.

The Joal print is named after an
iconic coastal town in Senegal called Joal Fadiouth.

One of her prints, the Joal
print, was inspired by a class on exponential and quadratic functions.

According to Gueye, the seashell
shapes were digitally-generated and graphed to create clam seashell shapes on
swimsuits, kimonos, and dresses.

Math equations were digitally
generated and graphed to create the seashell shapes on the Joal print. I am
proud to call myself a creative mathematician and I spend my day doing or
teaching math. As a result, all my creations have this DNA,” she said.

Gueye launched the clothing label
in 2015 and started using maths equations in her designs a few years later. She
currently shuttles between the US, where she teaches maths in a Silicon Valley
high school and Senegal, West Africa, where her clothes are made.

Her place of birth features
heavily in her work and one of her current collections, the Joal print, is
inspired by a Senegalese coastal town.

“I developed the Joal print for
SS20 which is the result of graphing essential seashells instead of drawing
them, to recreate the ecosystem of Joal Fadiouth, an iconic coastal town in
Senegal, “ she said.

When she was sixteen she moved to
Norway to finish high school. Upon graduation, she moved to the US where she
studied Maths, Economics, and Statistics. She later got a job on Wall Street
working first at an investment bank, then later on the trading floor.

But she never forgot her first
love — fashion and eventually started a blog where she documented fashion
inspiration on the streets of New York.

In 2013, Gueye eventually left
Wall Street and registered her fashion brand. She started organizing fashion
weeks and events in countries including the US and Senegal before embarking on
a Master’s in mathematics at Stanford University.

Gueye is part of a creative wave
of designers who are innovating African fashion, an industry that is expanding
rapidly.

According to a 2015 report by
Euromonitor, Sub-saharan Africa’s apparel and footwear market is reportedly
worth $31 billion.

Labels such as Nigeria’s Maki Oh
— worn by Beyonce — and South Africa’s Mantsho are establishing themselves as
international brands beyond the continent.

Like many of these fashion
brands, Gueye’s growth in Africa has been exponential. In coming years, she
says she wants more collaborations between designers on the continent.

“I am happy that African
designers are taking stronger ownership of the narrative and I encourage us to
keep writing our own stories and create our own validation,” she noted.

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Mexico Returns Ancient Sculpture To Nigeria

The Mexican government delivered
to Nigeria last Tuesday an ancient bronze sculpture seized by customs agents at
Mexico City airport as its buyer tried to bring it into this country.

The sculpture, from the 6th
century southwestern Yoruba city of Ife, shows a man wearing woven pants and a
hat, sitting with his legs crossed and holding an instrument.

“Specialists from the National
Institute of Anthropology and History determined that it was a piece of Yoruba
origin. A beautiful bronze piece, and that being of Nigerian heritage, it
should return to its home.” Diego Prieto, head of the agency, told a press
conference.

Officials did not offer more details
about the sculpture’s exact origins or the circumstances of its confiscation.

“It was also determined that it
had been illegally exported,” the Mexican foreign ministry said.

Nigeria’s Ambassador Aminu Iyawa
acknowledged the work of the Mexican authorities in recovering the sculpture.

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