Courtesy, Agencies News

Zambia, Ghana, Burundi And The Democratic Republic Of Congo have licensed Ervebo,an EBOLA Vaccine produced by Merck’s for use.

The Vaccine pre-qualified by the World Health Organization according to a press release is expected in additional Countries in the coming weeks.

By this latest development, the manufacturer is to distribute the Vaccine enmass to African Countries at risk of the disease outbreak

The Vaccine according to experts has shown to be safe and protective against the Zaire Strain of Ebola Virus.

The Vaccine is said to consist of a vesicular stomatitis Virus which is an animal virus that causes flu like illness in humans.







· Government Slashes PCR Test Fee in Private Facilities

· Test Remains Free in Approved Public Health Laboratories

· Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) Deactivates Passports of PCR Test Defaulters

The Lagos State Government has announced that while the fourth wave of COVID has tapered out, it will continue to ensure heightened public surveillance for COVID and ensure access to free PCR testing at all its public health facilities. Testing at the designated public health facilities remains free of charge.

The Government also announced a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at its accredited private laboratories from N50,400 to N45,250 per PCR test commencing on the 28th of January 2022.

Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who announced the reduction today at his office in Alausa, Ikeja noted that the COVID-19 PCR test cost was reviewed by Lagos State COVID-19 Incident Command Structure and approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Abayomi said the reduction in cost was to cut the expenses to be incurred by citizens who need the PCR tests for travel, work, or other purposes other than COVID symptoms or contact tracing.

He said: “In line with the directive of Mr. Governor, the Lagos State Biobank has reviewed the processes involved in conducting a COVID-19 PCR test at the accredited private laboratories consortium and based on this, made a recommendation to the Governor for a reduction.

“For those that need to travel and require a private PCR test, the Lagos State Government has recommended a reduction in the cost of COVID-19 PCR test at the accredited private laboratories consortium from N50,400 to N45,250 per PCR test commencing on the 28th of January 2022.

“You will recall that N50,400 initial PCR test fee charged at the private laboratories was a fixed amount approved by the Governor during the expansion of our testing to include the private laboratories consortium in the first wave. This strategy was to expand testing outlets available to the public but more importantly to ensure price control standardization and avoid exploitation of the public, as there were huge cost variations in PCR testing in the private sector ranging from N70,000 to as high as N300,000 per PCR test.

“Mr. Governor has approved the reduction in cost of the PCR test, bringing us to the new cost of N45,250 per PCR test. What this implies is that the Lagos State Government will enforce the new cost of PCR tests conducted at the private laboratories’ consortium”.

The Commissioner called on citizens, particularly inbound passengers who are required by law to test on arrival, to reciprocate this gesture by booking, paying and presenting themselves at any of the accredited laboratories’ consortium at approved days for their PCR tests on arrival in Lagos. He added that further reviews will be made in due course, especially as the ongoing COVID vaccination campaign gains momentum.

Abayomi, however, noted that PCR tests at approved public health laboratories and sample collection centers around the State remains absolutely free for citizens who need to test for COVID; either because they have COVID like symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case.

He frowned at the dubious and irresponsible actions of some inbound passengers who present fake PCR tests and COVID vaccination cards and fill in false travel information in an attempt to bypass the national COVID guidelines.

“It has come to the notice of the State Government that certain returning passengers present themselves at the airport either with fake COVID-9 PCR tests or fake vaccination cards or registering as children under 10 years to bypass the National guidelines or providing false COVID related information.

“These acts will not be tolerated as they represent the main catalyst of all the four waves which have had major impact on the State public health systems and the economy. Whilst we understand that it may not have been the fault of passengers but facilitated by unscrupulous individuals assisting them, we have taken a decision not to submit their passports for deactivation by the Presidential Steering Committee, in the first instance, but give them an opportunity to present themselves at our mobile court to defend themselves and help identify where they are obtaining the fake documents if applicable”, Abayomi said.

He disclosed that confirmed defaulters would be subject to fines or community service as the acts are criminal in nature.

“In the meantime, we have submitted the first 200 names of individuals who have failed to present themselves at the mobile courts to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and their passports have been deactivated for a period of one year. These will be published in the dailies in the coming week and the next set of names will follow in the coming month. We encourage all those who have received a text message to present themselves at the mobile court to avoid these sanctions”, the Commissioner stated.


Tunbosun Ogunbanwo

Director, Public Affairs

26th January 2022

Anambra 2022 Governorship Transition Is A Family Affair.


Joe C Anatune*
Writes from Awa.


*Anambra 2022 Governorship Transition Is A Family Affair.*

The main goal of the Transition Committee is to get the incoming administration of Cee Cee Soludo fit and ready to govern from day one. In addition, it will strive to ensure that the outgoing government departs in a blaze of glory. Fortunately, it is a change of power from one APGA government to another- a family affair.

In furtherance of the foregoing, the government team is led by the Secretary to Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu while that of the incoming administration is led by Dr Oby Ezekwesili. The two are working as one. The beauty of this extended unified team is the deliberate adoption of a fine blend of institutional memory, insights and comparative experience in proposing practical ideas that will make the journey to the liveable and prosperous smart Megacity a fruitful one for Ndi Anambra. O yes Ndi Anambra can’t wait.

Anambra State Governor Chief Willie Obiano plans to host and appreciate transition Committee members who are paying to serve the state in their next physical meeting. He was in Abuja attending to urgent state matters during the inaurguration. The Governor- Elect attended the opening ceremony and was on hand to thank members for their sacrifices during the winding up of sessions of the first plenary. He reemphasised that the transition project is a family affair and restated his high expectations from the Committee, assuring that the mantra- One Anambra, One people and One Agenda will underscore his liveable and prosperous smart Megacity vision that will be developed holistically.

In all, the seamless transition of power will ensure that Ndi Anambra continue to enjoy the dividends of democracy which APGA governments are known for. It marks a new dawn in the South East where specialised human resources are harnessed across the states in the zones to overcome development challenges and advance progress.

Having provided a clear template for problem solving to members, Ezekwesili is optimistic that her team will not come up with wish lists but people-oriented policies, projects and programmes that will help Governor- Elect take Anambra state higher and higher and bring smiles to the faces of the people.

Apparently, Anambra is poised to break the glass ceiling.

Be of good cheer!!

*Joe C Anatune*
Writes from Awa.

Nurturing The Men And Women That Will Build And Sustain The Anambra One State Liveable Megacity.*


Joe C Anatune*
Writes from Awa.


*Nurturing The Men And Women That Will Build And Sustain The Anambra One State Liveable Megacity.*

My good friend and late Yerima of Auchi, Prince Tony Momoh, never ceased to counsel that in building great cities, it is always better to first build the men and women who will sustain it. From March 17, 2022 when Governor Elect Cee Cee Soludo will be sworn in, Anambra will commence the journey to a Livable Megacity. This will not be a hundred-metre dash but the benefits of birthing a prosperous, heathier and happier society outweigh the grind. In “The Soludo Solution: A People’s Manifesto For A Greater Anambra”, the pathways for nurturing the men and women that will build and sustain the Anambra liveable Megacity are well summarised. But let’s digress.

The annual Christmas and New Year celebrations and their attendant dire straits on our existing infrastructure underpin the imperative of this beautiful Soludo’s Liveable Megacity vision. You may have come to terms that accessibility and sustainable mobility is one of the five pillars of a liveable city. We all know that vehicular movement in Anambra has become a huge challenge during the Christmas and New Year festivals when our people usually flock home from every part of the world. The situation gets worse each passing year and something needs to be done to continue harnessing the economics of this home coming.

The foregoing demands that we nurture men and women who can think and work through such challenges and bring happiness to the people. The good news is that Soludo envisions an educational system that will produce world class products that meet the challenges of the post-oil economy and the 4th industrial revolution. In essence, Anambra’s educational system will produce graduates fit for the world. The critical success factor is the teacher who will be trained, retrained certificated and empowered to be in tune with latest local and international trends in the sector. Of course, there will be a rigorous quality assurance of the system to ensure that standards are maintained. While infrastructure in government owned school will be upgraded, curricula at all levels will be reviewed to provide functional education for the digital age with the objective of developing graduates that are problem solvers in addition to imbuing them with ICT and coding skills, Al, Robotics etc.

There is no gain -saying that Anambra’s greatest asset is its human resource. Fortunately the Governor Elect is well positioned to make the best of this resource being a teacher himself. This is one area the Transition Committee should pay serious attention to as it is foundational to other things.

It is well with Anambra.
Be of good cheer!

*Joe C Anatune*
Writes from Awa.

LAGOS TO REDUCE PREMATURE DEATHS THROUGH MENTAL HEALTH PROMOTION …As Experts Advocate Building and Sustaining Investment in Mental Health





…As Experts Advocate Building and Sustaining Investment in Mental Health

Lagos State Government has made known its plans to reduce by one-third, premature deaths in the State through prevention, treatment and promotion of mental health and well-being, in tandem with the Sustainable Development Goal for Health.

Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu while speaking Tuesday at the Lagos Mental Health Conference organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Health disclosed that the State government has set the groundwork for the development of sustainable mental health care programs and services that will ensure improved health outcomes in the long-term.

The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kadiri Hamzat, noted that the implementation of the groundwork will enable Lagos to become one of the forerunners in the delivery of sustainable, efficient and effective mental health services to its citizens in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.

He said: “Mental Health is one of those issues in our society that is still very largely misunderstood and whose conversations still happen in secret. This is despite the fact that we all know someone who is struggling with one form of mental health challenge or the other, like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and those we have lost to suicide.

“Our goal is to reduce by one-third, premature death through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being, in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goal for Health”.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the promotion of mental health and well-being, and the reduction of stigma and discrimination of mental illness, are priorities within the state’s development agenda for Health, stressing that is geared towards ensuring that every citizen has access to effective and sustainable service delivery models.

“We recognize the difficulties in accessing mental health services not necessarily because of non-availability of these services, even though the existing institutions and resources that provide these services are stretched to the fullest, more important factors are the lack of courage to come forward and seek help, or insufficient awareness of where these services can be accessed.

“Our commitment to mental health is symbolized by the development of the Lagos State Mental Health Policy and Lagos State New Mental Health Law which was passed in 2019. This law provides for the protection of those suffering from stigmatization because of their illness and sets the framework for developing an effective and robust Mental Health Service for all Lagosians.

“As a Government, we are working to partner and collaborate with other sectors, to create a strong network of operations, facilities and programmes that will address some of these challenges”, he stated.

As part of its mental health and wellbeing promotion, the Governor disclosed that, mental healthcare has successfully been integrated into the General Hospitals and the Primary Health Centres services in the State.

“We are also building a first class mental health institution in Ketu Ejirin. When completed, it will be one of the largest in West Africa, if not in sub-Saharan Africa as a measure of our commitment to healthcare services, research and rehabilitation”, Sanwo-Olu added.

The Governor noted that the psychosocial wellbeing of a community, city or state is a reflection of the physical, social and environmental safety nets that exist in that society adding that there is no health without mental health because health is not just the absence of disease but a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing of a person.

“Finally, I urge us in the spirit of community and partnership to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, and let us make each day a little brighter and better for everyone around”, Sanwo-Olu concluded.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi stated that the promotion and protection of the health of residents of Lagos State has a positive impact on social development and quality of life adding that the continuous improvement in quality of health service in the State is a core mandate of the State Health Ministry which is uniquely positioned to utilize its resources to actualize same.

Giving a narrative of the increase in percentage of citizens with mood disorders, anxiety, substance abuse and psychotic disorder before COVID-19 and after the pandemic, Abayomi said that the new Lagos Mental Health Law that was passed in 2019 seeks to protect citizens against stigmatization and discrimination and increase access to mental health services.

Meanwhile, mental health experts and stakeholders at the conference have advocated building and sustaining investment in mental health to promote, protect and restore mental health of citizens. They noted that better information, awareness and education about mental health and illness; improved health and social services for persons with mental disorders; and enhanced legal, social and financial protection for persons, families or communities adversely affected by mental disorders will better improve health outcomes

In attendance at the Conference were; the Lagos State Head of Service, Dr. Hakeem Muri-okunola; Chairman, Lagos Health Service Commission, Dr. Atinuke Onayiga; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye and Former Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris.


Tunbosun Ogunbanwo

Director, Public Affairs

18th January, 2022



*Joe C. Anatune*
Writes from Awa


Governor-Elect Cee Cee Soludo has shown by the galaxy of accomplished men and women in the Transition Committee that he desires Anambra not only to be the light of the nation but also the enemy of the ordinary. There is joy everywhere you go in the state.

He has further demonstrated that he is at home working with the best and brightest. Like the great Andrew Carnegie, Soludo is comfortable in his skin putting in his service for the best interest of the state, with men and women as good as himself or better in their various areas of competencies. The list seeks to exploit the beauty of diversity which brings new ideas and experiences for better problem solving. Ultimately, Anambra will be better for it and today, Ndi Anambra are applauding.

The Lagos many of us cherish has been in the forefront of harnessing talents particularly from the south west states. There are countless of people serving at national and international levels who cut their teeth in public service in Lagos State. Like a good football club that sources talents across the globe, Lagos State has continued to soar. Ben Akabueze for instance, is from Anambra State but Lagos State gave him the platform to launch into the federal assignment he is currently engaged in.

Now, we must not be held hostage by the past, when technology has unleashed split-second disruptions in the present. Recruiting talents from other south east states to join some of our best hands to work out a seamless transition from the current administration to the incoming one is a breath of fresh air and most commendable. Truth is that fruitful changes happen when we thread different paths as may be dictated by both the local and global contexts and trends. The post-oil economy and the 4th industrial revolution offer different challenges and demand fresh solutions.

Yes, the morning tells the day. The composition of the committee signals the commitment Soludo attaches to the collective resolve of Ndi Anambra to transform the state to a one state Megacity that is Livable and prosperous and inhabited by healthier and happier citizens.

That is why he was the People’s Choice and was overwhelmingly voted for by the people . He is about to set sail with a crack team of wise men and women to enthrone global best practices in governance in Anambra State, in order to take the State higher and higher.

Be of good cheer!!

*Joe C. Anatune*
Writes from Awa

LAGOS TO HOST MENTAL HEALTH CONFERENCE …Seeks Collaborative Multi- Sectoral Approach for Improved Mental Health Services





…Seeks Collaborative Multi- Sectoral Approach for Improved Mental Health Services

Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health, is set to hold a mental health conference geared towards drawing attention to the importance of a multi-sectoral approach to provideimproved mental health interventions for citizens as well as chart a positive and realistic course towards providing the mental and social health assets and infrastructures needed in the State.

The conference themed:“Responding to the Mental Health Needs of a 21stCentury Megacity”, is scheduled to hold atLandmark Event Centre, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos on Tuesday 18th January, 2022.

Giving details about the conference, State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the Mental Health Conference is an offshoot of the Livable City Conference held in 2013; which led to the drafting and enactment of the Mental Health Law of 2019 and the proposed establishment of a state-owned tertiary psychiatric hospital, amongst others.

He said: “This conference is a sequel to a previously organized event in 2013 where the Governor of Lagos State, top Government functionaries from the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, Private Sector Care Providers, Mental Health Professionals and Social Justice and Security Experts gathered to discuss, engage, and address the Mental and Social Needs of Lagos State.

“This event served as the springboard for the implementation of the State’s Mental Health Policy, drafting and enactment of the Lagos State Mental Health Law and strategic programs including integration of Mental Health into existing prevention and health promotion programs of the State to improve access to mental health services”.

The Commissioner noted that the mental conference will be a forum and a platform for key Government Ministries and Agencies, Healthcare Professionals, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations to discuss prevailing issues in Mental Health, identify opportunities and areas for collaboration, as well as professional networking in the Mental Health sub-sector

He added that the outlined objectives of the conference include;highlighting the growing scourge of Mental Health issues in Lagos State and providing a forum for dialogue amongst academics, decision makers, policy implementers and the society, with a view to developing new policies, and redesigning existing one

Other conference objectives, according to him are; providing a platform for all stakeholders to identify opportunities for strengthening investments towards a sustainable and collaborative mental health strategy in the state; display the achievements and strategic interventions which have been employed in implementing the Lagos State Mental Health Policy and proffering and harmonizing multi-sectoral recommendations in tackling the mental and social health needs of Lagos as an urban State.

Abayomi explained that conference participants will be drawn from a cross section of the society with representation of top decision makers from the public and private sectors with the right influence and expertise to drive the purpose of the engagement.

While noting that the last Livable City conference provided the mileage need to create the environment for improvement in the legal framework and access to mental health service, the Commissioner said the State government through the plenary engagements of the mental health conference intends motivate and stimulate improved investments in mental health from the private sector and donor agencies.

He added that government will through the conference demonstrate to the international community, Lagos’ unequivocal commitment to Mental Healthcare and create a potential for global collaborations as well as allow all stakeholders develop a clearer understanding of the emerging issues towards developing short- and long-term improvement approaches for a more livable city and identify resource prospects required to achieve them.

“The Event will consist of two keynote speakers and two panel sessions. The keynote lectures; “Shaping the Future: The Impact of Urbanization on Mental Health and “Building and Sustaining Investments in Mental Health” will provide a current and professional perspective on the subject areas and will be delivered by experts in the field of Mental Health.

“It is also intended that from the multi-stakeholder engagements, the State as a whole, with its partners in both the public and private sectors will collaborate and develop sustainable short- and long-term improvement approaches for a more livable city”, Abayomi said.

He said experts who would speak at the conference include the lead speakers; Dr. Vincent Udenze; a United Kingdom based Consultant Psychiatrist and CEO of Intersect Consortium in Nigeria and Prof. Akinyinka Omigbodun, a Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.

Others according him are; Prof Cheluchi Onyemelukwe, a leading health lawyer in Nigeria; Dr Yewande Oshodi, a Consultant Psychiatrist & a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry, LUTH; Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, a Senior Lecturer & Consultant Psychiatrist with the Department t of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and Prof. Abiodun Adewuya is a Professor of Public Mental Health and Chairman, Lagos Mental Health Advisory Committee.

The Commissioner harps on the need for improved mental health services in the country stressing that in recent years, the role of mental health in sustainable development has received greater recognition especially with the global public health crisis.

“With the growing incidence of substance abuse, which have significant mental health implications, and increasing self-awareness and demand for care, it becomes imperative to review the national approach to mental healthcare. For us as a State, this is important to ensure that every Lagosian has access to effective and sustainable mental health service delivery models that are robust and sustainable”, he said.


Tunbosun Ogunbanwo

Director, Public Affairs

16th January, 2022





The Nigerian government has urged the Saudi Authorities to as a matter of urgency review the travel restrictions it placed on Nigerians over the Omicron outbreak as already done by many countries.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada made the appeal when he met with the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Faisal bin Ebraheem Al-Ghamdi to discuss the recent restrictions placed on Nigerians intending to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Zubairu Dada stated that although Nigeria understands fully the reason for the ban by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was for the best interest of its citizens, but that the steps taken so far by Nigeria Authorities to curtail the spread of the Omicron Variant have made it possible for many countries to consider Nigeria safe and removed it from the blacklist countries.

He commended the cordial relationship that existed for years and continue to exist between the two countries.

While expressing optimism for a timely response on Nigeria’s request from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Minister also pledged to continue to give every necessary support and cooperation to the Ambassador in the discharge of his responsibility.

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Faisal bin Ebraheem Al-Ghamdi while responding to Nigeria’s request for the lifting of the travel ban, expressed satisfaction with the effort the government is making to contain the spread of Omicron and promised to convey Nigeria’s message to the relant Authorities back home in Saudi Arabia

He said just like in Nigeria where there are Bodies in charge of monitoring the fight against the corona virus Pandemic, Saudi Arabia also has similar agencies that are responsible for monitoring and recommendations on the issues of corona.

Ambassador Al-Ghamdi thanked the Minister for his commitment towards improved bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.