…New NIN registration may spike cases -NMA
Olalekan Adetayo, Friday Olokor, Okechukwu Nnodim, Ife Ogunfuwa, Ade Adesomoju, Dayo Ojerinde, Raphael Ede, John Charles, Enyioha Opara, James Abraham, Umar Muhammed, Wale Oyewale and Daud Olatunji
The Nigerian Medical Association on Thursday said that the Nigerian Communications Commission’s fresh directive on the national identification number could lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The NCC had on Tuesday directed telephone companies to deactivate telephone lines of users who failed to link their NIN to subscribers’ identification modules within two weeks.
Findings by one of our correspondents showed that the country had witnessed an increase in COVID-19 cases as 5,809 people were infected between December 7 and December 16.
Advising Nigerians on gatherings at the NIN registration centres, the NMA President, Professor Innocent Uja in an interview with The PUNCH, said more people could be infected at the NIN centres if they disregarded safety protocols.
Uja said, “People and those officials should ensure strict compliance with the NCDC (Nigeria Centre Disease Control) protocols, such as social distancing and wearing of face masks. If people do not comply with the protocols, it may cause another wave.”
According to the figure released by the NCDC 5,809 cases were recorded in the country between December 7 and 16, 2020.
On December 7, the country recorded 390 cases; 550 cases on December 8; 474 cases on December 9; 675 cases on December 10 and 796 cases on December 11.
The country also recorded 617 cases on December 12; 418 cases on December 13; 201 cases on December 14; 758 cases on December 15 as well as 930 cases on December 16.
Lagos State and the Federal Capital Territory, have, however, recorded more confirmed COVID-19 than other states. While FCT had recorded 1,629 cases in 10 days, Lagos had recorded 1,586 cases.
There is risk of super spread of COVID-19 at NIN centres –Virologist
Also expressing concern, Professor Olufemi Olaleye of the Department of Virology, University of Ibadan, said the risk of spread of COVID-19 could increase as a result of large crowds at the NIN centres across the country.
Giving a response on the possibility of a spike in cases, the don said, “Yes, indeed, there is the possibility of a super spreading situation if mouth/nose coverings are not used just at large gathering without appropriate precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 virus.”
The Federal Government on Thursday confirmed that Nigeria had entered a second wave of coronavirus virus infections, with a warning about the risk of losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months and likely casualties.
The acting Chairman of the PTF and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated this during a press conference in Abuja.
Sirika stood in for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PTF, Boss Mustapha, who went on self-isolation, after some members of his family tested positive for coronavirus.
He said, “The real threat is upon humanity and the progress made in the global health sector in the last five decades or more.
“In Nigeria, the indication is that we have entered a second wave of infections and we stand the risk of not just losing the gains from the hard work of the last nine months but also losing the precious lives of our citizens.
“The PTF believes that if we do the right things, adhere to the NPIs and step up our testing and detection, loss of lives will be minimized and the rising curve will begin to flatten out.”
Osinbajo, governors raise the alarm over spike in COVID-19 cases
On their part, members of the National Economic Council on Thursday raised the alarm over the astronomical increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
At their meeting, NEC members consisting of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and state governors, said the development was putting pressure on the nation’s already fragile health system and was threatening the economy that was in recession.
They made the observation at the council’s virtual meeting presided by the Vice-President.
In regretting the spike in positive cases, members of the council resolved to put in more efforts in their various states and the Federal Capital Territory to enforce non-pharmaceutical interventions aimed at curtailing further spread of the virus.
The resolution was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, titled “NEC alarmed over spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.”
According to Akande, the state governors and the relevant ministers were “alarmed that the current trends are now approaching or surpassing the levels reached during the lockdown imposed at the height of the epidemic earlier in the year.”
The presidential aide said the council, in response to the spike, expanded the membership of its ad hoc committee on COVID-19 and mandated it to quickly come up with additional measures to deal with the situation.
“The country is now experiencing a huge resurgence of COVID-19 patients needing intensive care and the existing health facilities are fast becoming overwhelmed,” the statement quoted the council members as saying.
People throng NIN centres in Enugu, Benue, Ogun, FCT
Two days after the NCC gave its directive, many people thronged the NIN centres in Enugu on Thursday. But they were disappointed as they found it difficult to get the NIN.
The problem was worsened by the fact that the National Identity Management Commission was burnt down during the #EndSARS protest in the state a few months ago.
One of our correspondents, who monitored the registration, observed that because of the development, staff of the commission were sent to many locations such as Enugu State High Court Complex, Shoprite Complex, Government House and local government headquarters to register people.
Unfortunately, many people, who trooped to the office of the commission along Enugu – Abakaliki road, were told to go to either Shoprite or the state High Court to register.
One of them, Mr Onyeka Ogenyi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “When I got to the High Court Complex to register, I was told that they had a network problem. As you can see, people are here but the network is too slow.”
In Benue State, hundreds of people on Thursday besieged the NIMC office at the Federal Secretariat in Makurdi, the state capital.
But The PUNCH correspondent, who went there, observed that there was a network problem as people struggled in vain to register.
One of them, Mr Henry Terso who spoke to one of our correspondents, lamented the delay in the exercise, the reason, he said, the officials hinged on poor network.
He stated, “I came here at 10am this morning and I nearly ran back due to the large the crowd.
“And when I inquired, I was told that the poor network was responsible for the slow exercise, by the time it got to my turn, I discovered that the processes were cumbersome.”
Scores of residents of Ogun State also lamented that the process of registration for the NIN was slow.
Some of the people spoke to one of our correspondents at the NIN centre, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
A resident, Tajudeen Awwal, said he spent almost seven hours at the centre .
Another resident, Ajekiigbe Bukola advised the government to create more offices for the exercise.
The Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Prof. Peace Babalola, who was at the centre, described the government’s deadline as a wake- up call to the Nigerians .
She said she was prompted to go for the registration because of the deadline . “It is a wake- up call. It is really good to give a deadline.”
It was observed on Thursday that many Nigerians thronged the headquarters of the National Identity Management Commission in Abuja.
However, officials of the commission stated that the crowd at the NIMC headquarters was not due to the recent directive of government.
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