…Africa’s confirmed cases exceed 1.06m, death toll nears 24,000***
…As Communique urges media to hold government accountable for COVID-19 funds***
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported Wednesday, zero death and 453 new cases from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak in the country, hinting that the nation is now grappling with the pandemic more effectively.
The health agency on its official twitter handle also noted that the new cases pushed the nations infection total to 47,743 in the country.
According to it, as of Aug. 12, 2020, 453 new confirmed cases and no death were recorded in the country.
The NCDC said that, till date, 47,743 cases have been confirmed, 33,943 cases have been discharged and 956 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
It stated that the 453 new cases were reported from 16 states- Lagos (113), FCT (72), Plateau (59), Enugu (55), Kaduna (38), Ondo (32), Osun (26), Ebonyi (20), Ogun (9), Delta (8), Borno (7), Akwa Ibom (6), Oyo (5), Bauchi (1), Kano (1) and Ekiti (1).
The NCDC’s statistics show that eight states including Lagos, FCT, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Kano, Rivers and Ogun are majorly responsible for over 70 per cent of the cases recorded in Nigeria.
Nigerians are advised not to be tired in complying with the COVID-19 preventive guidelines from the NCDC.
“Wearing face masks could prevent nearly 75,000 COVID-19 deaths in Africa.
“Over 600 coronavirus deaths could be prevented in Nigeria if people adhere to non-pharmaceutical preventive measures,” it stated.
However, Africa CDC Director, John Nkengasong puts the figures from Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Wednesday on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa as 1,064,546 with a death toll rising to 23,839.
John Nkengasong made the observation in Addis Ababa.
The Africa CDC, in its latest situation update issued on Wednesday, said the number of COVID-19 cases across the African continent has risen from 1, 055, 964 on Tuesday to 1,064, 546 as of Wednesday.
The Africa CDC also noted that the continent-wide COVID-19 related death toll registered an increase of 257 deaths compared to Tuesday’s 23,582 to reach 23, 839.
The continental disease control and prevention agency also said the number of people who recovered from their COVID-19 infections also reached 758,292 so far.
South Africa currently has the most COVID-19 cases at 566,109.
The country also has the highest COVID-19 related deaths, with death toll currently standing at 10,751, according to the centre.
Egypt comes next with 95, 834 COVID-19 cases and 5,059 COVID-19 related deaths, followed by Nigeria which has so far recorded 47, 290 COVID-19 cases and 956 deaths.
The Southern Africa region is the most affected area in terms of confirmed cases, followed by Northern Africa and Western Africa regions, the Africa CDC said.
In another development, participants at a media webinar in Lagos have called on journalists to hold the three tiers of government accountable, for funds received toward the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
In a communique released at the end of the two-day workshop on “Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for Investigative Reports on Campaign Finance and COVID-19 Accountability Issues,’’ the participants said that media performance in holding government accountable for COVID-19 proceeds was “grossly inadequate”.
The workshop was organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) in partnership with the Media
Rights Agenda (MRA) and European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).
According to the communique, the media is also not doing enough to unravel the mysteries surrounding political and campaign finance in Nigeria, as many issues of importance and significant implications for governance remain uninvestigated and unreported.
“Investigative reporting remains a painstaking process of gathering evidence which may require
journalists to submit several requests for information to different public institutions and possibly private entities.
“The FOI Act is a potent tool as it makes investigative reporting much more feasible as it reduces the risk associated with obtaining information through other means while also making the process of information gathering easier.
“To be able to meaningfully report on campaign finance, a journalist must be conversant with all the
laws, regulations and policies which guide campaign financing,’’ it said.
The communique pointed out that the media could play a vanguard role in overcoming the barriers that often militate against disadvantaged groups such as women, youths and persons living with disabilities and their participation in elections.
It noted that for journalists to embark on investigative reports, they must be creative, inquisitive and constantly on the lookout for opportunities that exist for those in authority to profit from the system.
The participants, who were drawn from the public and private media in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo,
Ogun and Edo States, resolved to familiarise themselves with the provision of the FOI Act to effectively use it for verification or fact-checking in the course of investigations.
They agreed to read and digest relevant sections of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), so as to be able to report on the state of compliance with campaign finance disclosure and accounting obligations by political parties and candidates.
They also agreed to read and digest the Companies and Allied Matters Act, the Public Procurement Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act and other relevant instruments to assess the state of compliance with such legislation, regulations and laws guiding budgeting and award of contract.
The participants resolved to individually and collaboratively undertake investigative reports, share ideas and experiences going forward.