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FG Shortlists Three Local Drugs for Investigation, Laments Inability to Cope with Rising COVID-19 Cases

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said the Federal Ministry of Health has shortlisted for further investigations, three Nigerian drugs, which have the potential to cure  COVID-19 or treat its symptoms.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Wednesday at the PTF press conference in Abuja, where the ministry of health warned that Nigeria’s health system could not cope with increasing COVID-19 cases.I

But Mustapha said three shortlisted drugs would be subjected to further investigations by relevant health agencies.

The PUNCH had on Tuesday exclusively reported that the Federal Ministry of Health was screening 19 local firms for  production of herbal drugs that could possibly treat or cure COVID-19.

The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, who confirmed the screening to The PUNCH, said the companies had been asked to submit samples of their drugs.

At the PTF press briefing on Wednesday, Mustapha  disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health had held a virtual meeting with some researchers and scientists who had made claims about COVID-19 cure and shortlisted three for further research.

He stated, “As a measure of the importance attached to research and development of local capacity for finding a cure to the COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health held a virtual meeting with a number of researchers and scientists with claims to cure for COVID 19 and out of the numerous claimants, three were found to deserve further investigation and have been forwarded to the relevant authorities for appropriate review.

“Similarly, efforts are being made by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to subject some locally manufactured COVID-19 equipment to verification and subsequent certification.”

The task force also backed the decision of the World Health Organisation to suspend clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of the novel coronavirus.

The PTF Chairman, Mustapha, therefore cautioned the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and other relevant agencies to ensure that all claims to treatment by scientists and researchers were subjected to scientific certification protocols.

The WHO had on Monday suspended the hydroxychloroquine trials because of  the  high mortalities among patients the drug was administered on.

On Tuesday, NAFDAC Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency would go ahead with the trial on the grounds that it had been effective in the treatment of COVID- 19 patients, especially those at the mild stage of the virus.

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Finally, Buhari Fires Service Chiefs, Names Replacements

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After years of complaints by Nigerians about the worsening security situation amidst the overstay of Nigeria’s military chiefs in office, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday relieved the officials of their positions.

Presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said in a statement, Tuesday, that Mr Buhari “accepted the immediate resignation of the Service Chiefs, and their retirement from service.”

The four men – Gabriel Olonisakin, a general and Chief of Defence Staff; Tukur Buratai; a lieutenant general and chief of army staff; Abubakar Sadique, an air marshal and chief of air staff, and Ibok Ibas, a vice admiral and chief of naval staff – were supposed to have retired over two years ago based on their years of service.

But President Buhari kept them in office even as the security situation across the country worsened with bandits wreaking havoc in the North-west and North-central states, the Boko Haram carrying out attacks in the North-east and kidnapping becoming the norm in several states across Nigeria.

As the security situation got worse and more Nigerians called for the replacement of the service chiefs, Mr Buhari stuck to his guns, insisting they were doing their best and did not deserve to be replaced.

Even when he finally relieved them of their positions on Tuesday, the president praised the officials for their “overwhelming achievements in our efforts at bringing enduring peace to our dear country.”

President Buhari’s claim of “overwhelming achievements’ by the outgone military chiefs not only contradicts the perception of many Nigerians but also contradicts the position of the National Assembly dominated by members of the president’s party, APC.

At least on three different occasions, the National Assembly called for the sack of the service chiefs based on the worsening security situation. On each occasion, the president ignored the lawmakers and retained the Olonisakin-led service chiefs who were appointed on July 13, 2015, after President Buhari assumed office.

In his statement, Mr Adesina announced that the president appointed Leo Irabor, a major general, as the Chief of Defence Staff.

Mr Irabor formerly led Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram as the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole.

Ibrahim Attahiru, also a major general, was named the new Chief of Army Staff. Like Mr Irabor, Mr Attahiru had also led the war against Boko Haram.

The president also appointed A.Z. Gambo, a rear admiral, as Chief of Naval Staff and Isiaka Amao, an air vice marshal, as Chief of Air Staff.

“The President congratulates the new Service Chiefs, and urges them to be loyal and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibilities,” Mr Adesina said.

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Just In: Chelsea Fire Manager Frank Lampard

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Chelsea announced on Monday they had sacked manager Frank Lampard after a poor run in the Premier League.

“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” said owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea are struggling in ninth place in the Premier League table, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United.

They have lost five of their past eight Premier League matches after a good start to the season.

Former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel in line to take over, reports said.

(AFP)

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Eagles Captain, Ahmed Musa Set to Join West Brom

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Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa is set to join Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a short term deal.

The 28-year-old has been unattached since quitting Al Nassr in October 2020.

According to Daily Mail, the Baggies have requested a visa for the winger and have also scheduled him for a medical on Wednesday.

Capped 95 times by Nigeria, Musa’s career has stalled since he left CSKA Moscow in 2016. Having scored 55 goals in 167 appearances for the Russians, he joined Leicester City in the summer of that year.

Things did not work out at the King Power Stadium, as the African made just seven league starts in 21 outings.

He joined after the Foxes had claimed the Premier League title and hoped to be part of something special with the club.

But he was loaned back to CSKA for the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.

He was then sold to Al Nassr in January 2019 and played 62 times in all competitions before being released.

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