Travel Restriction: Buhari, Politicians Visiting UK For Medical Tourism Most Hit, Says Deji Adeyanju
Activist Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians has said that medical tourists to the United Kingdom including the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will be most affected by the travel restrictions slammed on Nigeria by Britain.
He stated this in a chat with The PUNCH, adding that the travel restriction by the Boris Johnson administration, as well as other nations, was baseless as there was no need for panic.
Britain had on Saturday banned Nigerian travellers after it said it discovered 21 cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in people who recently visited Nigeria, saying the measure was a temporary measure aimed at protecting its public health.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, subsequently said the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 would respond to the travel restriction, describing the measure as discriminatory, even as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, Sharafa Ishola, described the restriction as apartheid.
Speaking with Punch correspondent, Adeyanju said, “The people who will be most affected are not just the bourgeoisie – the leaders – but real people; so many people travel to these destinations for Christmas.
“I believe that Nigerians will be most hit by these policies. Some of the people who are travelling for medical tourism among the political elite like the President who is a perpetual visitor to the United Kingdom will be affected but Nigerians will be most hit by this action.”
In recent years, the UK has become a choice destination for the Nigerian elite including the President; and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; who frequent London for medical tourism while perpetual industrial actions, lack of modern equipment, failure of government to pay doctors’ salaries, amongst others, mar Nigeria’s health sector.
In 2021, Buhari had been to London for medical check-up a number of times and had spent a total of over 200 days on medical leave in the UK since his regime began on May 29, 2015.
Despite Buhari’s preference for foreign medical care, the Federal Ministry of Health has consumed a total of N2.3tn from 2016 to date, while the State House Medical Centre has received N6.2bn, according to the respective appropriation acts available on the website of the Budget Office of the Federation.
The presidential clinic caters for the President, Vice President, their families and members of staff of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Former Managing Director of the defunct Benue Cement Company, Gboko Engr. Barnabas Gemade has described the late famous Tiv tycoon and member of Ijir Tamen i Tiv, Chief Denen Tofi as a committed, trustworthy, and indefatigable businessman during his lifetime saying, the Tiv nation should emulate now that he is gone.
Senator Gemade while glorifying God for the long life of enormous wisdom, strength and blessings he enjoyed while alive, said he was one of the major shareholders and distributors of cement in Benue he made when he was in BCC as MD, adding that the Ijôr Igboughul i Tiv was always fair, transparent, and accountable in all his transactions with the company in all assignments.
Chief Tofi's genuine business lifestyle made him excelled in all he ventured in, and was able to accomplish many things life expects, couple with the blessing of old age and good health which is only God that bestows.
On the transient nature of life, he maintained that death is a natural phenomenon that comes at any time to anyone, and it's the only way to our creator, so when it comes, we have no option than to take it in good fate, and return glory to God.
The Benue State gubernatorial hopeful heartily shares in the grief of the family, asks for consolation, and the fortitude for them to bear the loss of their patriarch.
Comr. Solo Dzuah,
Media and Publicity aide to Sen. Gemade.
November 30, 2021
Senator Ben Obi has faulted former Senate President Ken Nnamani’s claim of scuttling the alleged third term bid of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obi, who represented Anambra Central in the Fifth Senate, noted that he and a number of others were the arrowheads.
He told The Guardian that Nnamani’s submission at the recent presentation of his book, ‘Standing Strong, Legislative Reforms, Third Term and other Issues of the Fifth Senate,’ was a misrepresentation of facts.
Obi said the erstwhile Senate President was not even a member of the Movement against Third Term, which spoke and worked against the elongation plan.
The Anambra State native listed Senators Uche Chukwumerije, Olorunnimbe Mamora, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Badamasi Maccido and Seidu Dansadau as the first set of lawmakers that joined the pressure group he reportedly formed and coordinated to stop the project.
He added that he was rather the person briefing Nnamani on the activities of the group, not under compulsion, but as a mark of recognition to him as the presiding officer of the Senate.
His words: “I was the one meeting and briefing all the governors that supported us as well as the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. At a particular meeting, I told members that I would be briefing Senator Ken Nnamani, who has become the Senate President at that time since he was the one presiding, but I was so thoroughly abused by my colleagues for allegedly being a traitor.
“They felt I was leaking the secrets of the group to Nnamani, who was not one of us.”
Senator Obi claimed that at the time Nnamani put the questions before his colleagues, he was not aware that “two principal promoters of the third term bid – Senators Dalhatu Tafida and Ibrahim Mantu, who were guiding him on actions to take,” had left his camp and joined his group.
He continued: “If you recall, that was the reason Nnamani, looking at Mantu and Tafida said: ‘I put this question before you…,’ and they were looking at him.”
He had put the question, expecting to get an answer from these two people, but he couldn’t believe what happened. Then he said: ‘Let me put the question the second time…,’ again. The people were just looking at him. Then, he hit the gavel. That was how we carried the day.”
Obi added: “So, the story of the third term was very clear (as regarding) those who were in it and those who were not in it.”
He insisted he masterminded the failure of the third term in the Senate for fear that “ex-President Obasanjo might become too dictatorial if allowed to continue in office.”
“We started seeing the signs of certain dictatorial tendencies. He was using Nuhu Ribadu of EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) to attack whosoever was not in his good book,” Obi alleged.
Canada said Sunday it has detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of COVID, in two people who had traveled recently to Nigeria.
Both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts, said federal and Ontario provincial officials.
“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.
“As the monitoring and testing continues,” he added, “it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada.”
The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital Ottawa.
The World Health Organization has listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” and countries around the world are now restricting travel from southern Africa, where the new strain was first detected, and taking other new precautions.
The WHO says it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for COVID vaccines, tests and treatments.
On Friday, Canada banned travel from seven African countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron strain. Nigeria was not one of them.
The World Health Organization warned Monday the new Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a “very high” risk globally, despite uncertainties about the danger and contagion levels of the new strain.
The UN health agency said the Covid strain first discovered in southern Africa was a “highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations… some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility.”
“The likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” WHO cautioned in a technical note.
To date, no deaths connected with the Omicron variant have been reported, it added.
But even if the new variant does not prove more dangerous or deadly than previous ones, if it spreads more easily it will spark more cases and more pressure on health systems, and thus more deaths, the organisation said.
“If another major surge of Covid-19 takes place driven by Omicron, consequences may be severe,” it said, concluding that “the overall global risk related to the new VOC (variant of concern) Omicron is assessed as very high.”
WHO said countries should enhance their surveillance to try to get a clear overview of where and how fast it is spreading.
It also urged accelerated vaccination against Covid, especially among vulnerable populations who have yet to receive any jabs.
But it has cautioned against imposing travel bans, fearing that blocking travel from countries where new variants are first spotted could be unfair and dissuade surveillance.
“With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity,” said WHO regional director Matshidiso Moeti.
A growing list of countries have already imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa, including Britain, Indonesia, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States.