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Public Health Expert Prof Adetokunbo Lucas Dies

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Prof Adetokunbo Lucas Dies

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A public health expert, who was the pioneer chairman of the Nigerian Medical Research Council (NMRC), Professor Adetokunbo Oluwole Lucas, has died at the age of 89.

The deceased, who was once the Director of Special Programmes for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, was said to have died today.

The presidency, which confirmed this in a statement issued by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said the demise of Prof Lucas was a huge loss to the country.

In the statement issued today, said President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with the family, friends, medical community and academia.

He said the global health leader for Africa was recognised for his outstanding support for research on tropical diseases especially malaria, bilharzia and leprosy.

The President urged the numerous former students and admirers of the eminent scholar and researcher to build on the solid foundations laid by Prof Lucas for national growth, praying that God Almighty consoles all those who mourn the well-respected “teacher of teachers” and grant the soul of Prof Lucas peaceful rest.

The respected health practitioner was the Professor and Head of Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University College of London in Ibadan, (later University of Ibadan); Chairman of the Committee on National Health Policy, Professor of International Health at Harvard University, Boston, and adjunct professor, among other national positions.

Prof Lucas studied medicine at Durham University, England, graduating with honours in 1956, followed by postgraduate training in internal medicine and public health.

He was a Professor of internal medicine and public health in University of Ibadan, Nigeria, from 1960 to 1976, after which he directed the Tropical Diseases Research Program of WHO for 10 years, from 1976 to 1986.

He later became involved in maternal and child health programs and worked to prevent maternal morbidity and mortality. He was named Professor of International Health at Harvard University in 1990, which position is held in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he remains an adjunct professor in population health in the Department of Global Health and Population.

He continues to serve on numerous expert and advisory committees for national and international organisations involved to international health issues. Such institutions include the Rockefeller Foundation, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Carter Center, and the Wellcome Trust Scientific Group on Tropical Medicine.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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COVID-19: Jesus Christ Would Have Supported Vaccination—APC Group

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Register for COVID-19 Vaccination

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A group known as the APC Mandate Defenders has slammed Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Mr Paul Enenche, for criticising the federal government for directing federal civil servants to receive the COVID-19 vaccination by December 2021.

The cleric had described this directive as one from the pit of hell, while the Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Mr Monday Ubani, threatened to sue the federal government if this was enforced.

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the APC group said the central idea behind the vaccination was to save lives, stressing that Jesus Christ would have done the same if he were to be alive in this generation, saying compulsory vaccination is not from the pit of hell.

In the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Mr Ifeanyi Emeka, it said it was very proud of Mr Enenche for leading the Christian folks back to God especially the several charitable works and donations made during the lockdowns but then, the pastor ought to have known that COVID-19 was still constantly looking for who to kill on daily basis.

“However, we are praying that God will further open the spiritual eyes of pastor Enenche and other men of God opposed to compulsory vaccination so that they can see how deadly the virus is and probably recommit themselves to the ongoing battle against the virus,” it stated.

APC Mandate Defenders used the opportunity to condemn Mr Ubani for threatening to sue the FG, noting that the virus is a biological war waged against humanity that requires the deployment of all weapons to win the battle, emphasising that the lawyer ought to have known that in war all is fair.

“Since the law is made for man and not man for the law, compulsory vaccination for civil servants is one of the fundamental ways of flattening the curve,” it said.

“Accordingly, Dr Ubani and others opposed to compulsory vaccination should note that civil servants do travel to other countries for training and other essential assignments on behalf of the country and it will not be right if Nigerians are denied access to such countries as a result of their vaccination status or vaccine Passport which is the new normal in the world today.

“As a learned gentleman, Dr Ubani ought to have also known that sometimes, what is right may not be legal and what is legal may not be right.

“Therefore, it is in Nigeria’s national interest that civil servants be forced to take the vaccines for the safety of Nigerians and for the preservation of our corporate existence as members of the inter-connected world.

“We, therefore, advise Nigerians to take the vaccines and join the battle to flatten the curve in the country,” the statement noted.

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UN to Cut Food Rations in North-East Nigeria

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Cut Food Rations

By Adedapo Adesanya

*Internally Displaced Persons Hit 2 million in September

*Needs $55m

The United Nations through its World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that it may soon be forced to cut food rations to more than half a million women, men and children in north-eastern Nigeria.

This was disclosed by WFP’s Regional Director for West Africa, Mr Chris Nikoi, in a statement over the weekend, explaining that there was a need for urgent funding to continue life-saving operations in crisis-ridden Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.

The WFP director stated that the cuts would come just as severe hunger reached a five-year high in the country, in the wake of years of conflict and insecurity, noting that the situation had been worsened by the socio-economic fallout from COVID-19, high food prices and limited food supply.

“Cutting rations means choosing who gets to eat and who goes to bed hungry. We are seeing funding for our life-saving humanitarian work dry up just at the time when hunger is at its most severe,” the director stated.

Mr Nikoi warned that if at least $55 million was not received in a matter of weeks, WFP would have no choice but to cut food rations and reduce the number of people it serves, where assistance is already prioritised for the most vulnerable as early as November.

“Our food assistance is a lifeline for millions whose lives have been upended by conflict and have almost nothing to survive on. “We must act now to save lives and avoid disruptions to this lifeline,” Mr Nikoi added.

He said that the number of Internally Displaced People (IDP) forced to flee their homes in search of safety in northeast Nigeria had been rising steadily, reaching a new all-time high of over 2 million in September 2021.

The WFP director said that current food security analyses showed that 4.4 million people in northeast Nigeria did not know where their next meal would come from, and over 1 million children are already malnourished.

He cited continued attacks on communities by non-state armed groups, harsh lean season conditions amid an economy dealing with the fallout from the COVID-19, as portending great danger for the people.

Mr Nikoi added that high food prices and a severe reduction in household purchasing power had also contributed to a bleak outlook for the most vulnerable people in northeast Nigeria, warning that despite increasing needs, WFP may soon be unable to sustain life-saving operations in the conflict-riddled north-east.

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Land Grabbing: Group Tells Lagos to Obey Supreme Court Judgement

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Shangisha Magodo Supreme Court Judgement

By Mohammed Kerimu

Members of the Shangisha/Magodo Landlord Association of Nigeria have advised the Lagos State Government to obey and execute the judgement of the supreme court ordering the allocation of 549 plots of land them.

This call was made on Friday at a press conference organised by the group, where the Chairman of the association, Mr Adebayo Adeyiga, addressed newsmen in Lagos.

The group appealed to the state government to complement the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari by executing the court order and not to continue to show attitudes suggesting that the state is operating a different constitution other than the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which President Buhari and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State swore to defend.

The body emphasised that as long as Lagos State was still part of the Nigerian federation, it must operate within the context of the law because the state itself is a creation of the Nigerian Constitution.

The group wondered why Lagos State Government that is among the states clamouring for the implementation of a court decision on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) even when the matter is still in the court could turn a blind eye to the execution of the supreme court judgement ordering the allocation of 549 plots of land to members of the group.

It will be recalled that about 37 years ago, the Lagos State Government collected Shangisha/Magodo land belonging to members of the association under the guise that it will use it for the construction of an international standard hospital; relying on the over-riding public interest classification of the Land Use Act of Nigeria.

Accordingly, the state evicted the landlords and pulled down their houses and other immovable properties in the area but to the surprise of everyone, the then administration, instead of using the land for its intended purpose, allegedly converted the land to personal properties; allocating plots to their family members, friends and cronies despite the excruciating pains the original owners were subjected to.

Angered by such development, members of the association initiated several court actions up to the apex court before the supreme court finally ruled that the land should be returned to its original owners since the intended objective was not achieved.

However, the state government paid deaf ears to the judgement behaving as if Lagos State was above the law of Nigeria.

The group, therefore, called on President Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami to prevail on Lagos State government to execute the judgement of the apex court, saying justice is distorted when the victim pays for the conducts of the accused.

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