AIT Chairman, Raymond Dokpesi dies

Media mogul and founder of AIT & Raypower, Chief Raymond Dokpesi has passed on. The philanthropist who pioneered private television broadcasting in Nigeria. He was aged 71. A statement from hisorganization, AIT reads below.

“With immense grief and deep sadness, the Dokpesi family regrets to announce the passing of their great leader, High Chief Raymond Aleogho Dokpesi, Ph.D, (Ezomo of Weppa-Wanno Kingdom)

The sad incident occurred on Monday May 29, at about 2:30pm, at an Abuja hospital where he was admitted after taking ill.

As a family, it is a loss that is almost impossible to come to terms with, and it is a grief collectively shared by the board and staff of DAAR Communications Plc, which he founded over two decades ago.

Dokpesi was a well-accomplished businessman, a pioneer in the media industry, and a philanthropist who dedicated his life to the service of his country and his community.

But more importantly, he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, a friend and mentor to many.

He leaves behind a legacy which generations now, and those after him will be proud of.

We remain deeply grateful and comforted by the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. We ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn the loss of our patriarch.

Further details on the funeral arrangements will be released in due course.

May his soul rest in peace.


Chief Raymond Dokpesi (JNR)
Chairman, DAAR Communications Plc

Slovenia becomes first country to declare end of coronavirus pandemic.

Slovenia has declared an end to its coronavirus epidemic, opening its borders to European Union citizens and scrapping a requirement for a 7-day quarantine for arrivals. However,  measures implemented to slow the virus from spreading will remain. Some of those restrictions will continue through the end of the month.

Slovenia registered its first coronavirus case on March 4. It imposed emergency measures just over a week later, on March 12.  Data from its National Institute for Public Health revealed that the nation, with a population of around 2 million recorded a total of 1,465 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths as of May 14. 35 cases of coronavirus had been recorded in the last 14 days. It also noted a reproductive rate below one.

Slovenia also announced all other team competitions could resume from May 23.

Also Read: Mauritius is now coronavirus-free.

Earlier this week, the government said some shopping centers and hotels would be allowed to reopen next week. Public gatherings remain banned while social distancing rules and wearing of mask remain mandatory in public spaces.

Even with the declaration, infectious diseases expert Mateja Logar claimed that the disease was still present in the country.

“No other European state has so far declared the epidemic was over so we should be cautious in Slovenia too, The virus remains present.” Logar added.

There are 4.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide. More than 300,000 lives have been claimed globally, and more than 1.5 million people diagnosed with the virus have recovered. The United States has the highest number of cases, followed by Russia and the United Kingdom.


Buhari orders the use of Madagascar’s herbal drug to treat covid-19 patients.

President Muhammadu Buhari  President has given instructions for the airlifting of Nigeria’s allocation of the Madagascar COVID-19 Syrup for prevention and cure of Coronavirus. He also gave clear instructions that it must be subjected to the standard validation process for pharmaceuticals, Boss Mustapha. Secretary to the Government of the Federation.SGF disclosed at today’s at the daily briefing of the task force, which is headed by him.


“Madagascar has made allocations to various countries & sent them to Guinea Bissau. We‘re supposed to make arrangements to freight’s allocation from Guinea Bissau; it‘ll be subjected to the standard validation process for pharmaceuticals.” Mustapha confirmed 

As all countries are interested in finding a cure to the deadly COVID-19, Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria will get the herbal product and subject it to analysis to see how it works and how it is used.


“Concerning the question on the cure from Madagascar, this has been making the news and we have the promise of being able to get a sample of the herb/botanical product for analysis and also probably use that opportunity to speak with the health authorities particularly the scientific community on how they use it. We will also give that to the research community with us here (in Nigeria) to examine and do what they can do with it. We will like to compare the sample with the strain here in our country whether they are identical or similar and see what properties it has. Things like that are normally subjected to analysis to find out how it works,” Ehanire said.

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Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina officially launched Covid-Organics (CVO), an organic herbal concoction, claiming that it can prevent and cure patients suffering from the novel coronavirus. He attributed recovery of 105 COVID-19 patients in Madagascar to its use.

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Madagascar slams WHO for not endorsing its herbal cure

“A marked improvement was observed in the health of the patients who received this remedy just 24 hours after they took the first dose. The cure was noted after seven days, even ten days. This remedy is natural and non-toxic,” he added.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 positive tally moved to 4,399 last night with 248 new cases and 143 deaths announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).


1,000 COVID-19 tests per day to begin in Kano.

 The Aliko Dangote Foundation  has contracted 54Gene, a molecular diagnostics company specialized in research, and diagnostics, to immediately set up a 400 test/day capacity laboratory in Kano State. 54Gene is accredited by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and has already set up labs in Lagos and in Ogun States.

The lab, which was inaugurated yesterday will start with a testing capacity of 400 tests a day, increasing to 1,000 tests a day by May 10th.  The lab will be set up at Muhammadu Buhari Hospital in Kano, where an isolation center is currently operational.

Aliko Dangote said the foundation is directly supporting the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 containment efforts in Kano State. According to Dangote, this new investment in support of increasing nation-wide testing, comes in addition to ADF’s support through the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

He explained: “CACOVID is already setting up a 310 bed isolation center at Sani Abacha stadium in Kano. We are extending that capacity by another 150 beds at the Abubakar Imam Urology Centre in Kano, which is being converted into an isolation center now. These two centers will be operational pending the final validation by the Infection Prevention and Control team, which we expect will be completed in the coming days.”

Dangote pledged the Foundation’s commitment to reduce the number of lives lost to diseases, such as COVID-19, Ebola and other deadly viruses in the State.

He said the foundation would not relent in using its investments in health, education, and economic empowerment to help lift people out of sickness and poverty.

Speaking on the efforts of the Foundation to assist the Federal Government in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, added that ADF is also supporting the Rapid Response Teams in their work to identify suspected covid-19 cases across the healthcare centers in Kano. “ADF will immediately handover to the Kano RRT, 10 new ambulances (4 that ae immediately available and 6 over the next week), two vehicles and PPEs to support the transportation of patients from different parts of the state”, she said.

She said that the Foundation is also supporting the Kano State Covid-19 contact call center that responds to citizen queries and concerns around Covid-19 and refers people to the proper place for follow up, by providing extra phone lines and ICT infrastructure as well as training for the call center staff.

On training, she disclosed: “We are supporting training and incentives for covid-19 health workers.  We will provide hazard incentives and protections for the healthcare and lab workers who are working on the covid-19 response. We are also providing training to them, initially online and via distance learning, and will complement his with in-person training in Kano under strict IPC protocols developed in conjunction with the NCDC.

“ADF will continue to provide PPEs to the Kano State Covid-19 Taskforce, which will then be distributed to the hospitals as appropriate. Items already supplied include coveralls, gloves, masks, respirators, goggles, boots and sanitizers. We are expanding the CACOVID communications strategy in Kano by adding more communications and advocacy around Covid-19 prevention across radio, TV and traditional and community leaders.”

Commending ADF, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje stated: “There’s no doubt we started on a shaky foundation, with assistance of ADF, we can see that a friend in deed is a friend in need. We are very grateful for the mobile testing Centre witch will launch with 400 samples per day and after a week, increase to 1,000 tests  per day. It is now left for us to intensify efforts to collect samples. We will ensure that all that 44 Local Government Council have collection centres.  Here in the metropolitan local government, we will have 100s of collection centres because this is where the majority of the population is”.

The governor added that the state has intensify efforts to create awareness about the reality of coronavirus.
Speaking on the collaboration, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, the 40ft structure built with container technology, provides a unique plug-and-play solution.

Ene-Obong explained that the mobile laboratory is also fully kitted with vital instruments including an autoclave, bio-safety cabinet, centrifuge, heating blocks, vortexes, pipettes, and PCR machines to support COVID-19 testing.

He stated: “Our mobile lab is fully equipped with all the vital instruments required for COVID-19 testing, and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport. Its unique plug and play feature eliminates the logistics of shipping samples to another location for the processing which reduces turnaround times for test results and allows clinicians to manage and treat patients accurately, sooner rather than later.”

Ene-Obong said the company has also helped build capacity by equipping molecular scientists with the necessary skill set required to handle the instruments in the mobile lab as they would in regular molecular testing laboratories.

“Our mobile lab removes the restriction imposed by permanent buildings and allows us to quickly offer our services to multiple states due to the ease of transport and the mobile capability it provides”, he added.

Man who berated his son for flouting lockdown rule appointed by Ekiti state Governor.

Yesterday, the video of a man named Mr Femi Adeoye, who berated his son for flouting the lockdown rule of engaging in non-essential travel, surfaced online. His son sneaked into Ekiti, from Lagos and Abeokuta but was turned down by his father, for ignoring his warning and insisted he must be quarantined for at least 14 days.

Well, the video of the highly principled man caught the attention of Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, not only did he write him a letter of commendation for exemplary conduct, he also has now appointed him a COVID-19 Response Ambassador in Ekiti State.


His son has also been quarantined.

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“Today, I appointed Mr. Adeoye, father of the young man who sneaked into Ekiti state, as a COVID-19 Response Ambassador in Ekiti State. I am proud of Mr Adeoye as a principled Ekiti man and I salute his courage in helping us keep Ekiti safe. Mr. Adeoye will help to propagate the message as a member of the COVID-19 Task Force Ekiti-Covid 19 in the state.” Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi wrote on Twitter.

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Everything comes with a reward!

President Buhari extends lockdown by 1 week. Read full transcript of his address.

Fellow Nigerians

I will start by commending you all for the resilience and patriotism that you have shown in our collective fight against the biggest health challenge of our generation. As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, some 3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been recorded globally with about 900,000 recoveries. Unfortunately, some 200,000 people have passed away as a result of this pandemic. The health systems and economies of many nations continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria continues to adapt to these new global realities on a daily basis. Today, I will present the facts as they are and explain our plans for the coming months fully aware that some key variables and assumptions may change in the coming days or weeks. Exactly two weeks ago, there were 323 confirmed cases in 20 States and the Federal Capital Territory. As at this morning, Nigeria had recorded 1,273 cases across 32 States and the FCT. Unfortunately, this includes 40 deaths.

I am using this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the families of all Nigerians that have lost their loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is our collective loss and we share your grief. Initial models predicted that Nigeria will record an estimated 2,000 confirmed cases in the first month after the index case. This means that despite the increase in the number of confirmed cases recorded in the past two weeks, the measures we have put in place thus far have yielded positive outcomes against the projections. The proportion of cases imported from other countries has reduced to only 19% of new cases, showing that our border closures yielded positive results. These are mostly fellow Nigerians returning through our land borders. We will continue to enforce land border arrival protocols as part of the containment strategy.

Today, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has accredited 15 laboratories across the country with an aggregate capacity to undertake 2,500 tests per day across the country. Based on your feedback, Lagos State Government and the FCT with support from NCDC have established several sample collection centers. They are also reviewing their laboratory testing strategy to further increase the number of tests they can perform including the accreditation of selected private laboratories that meet the accreditation criteria. Several new fully equipped treatment and isolation centres have been operationalised across the country thereby increasing bed capacity to about three thousand.

I commend the State Governors for the activation of State-level Emergency Operation Centres, establishment of new treatment centres and the delivery of aggressive risk communication strategies. Over 10,000 healthcare workers have been trained. For their protection, additional personal protective equipment have been distributed to all the states. Although we have experienced logistical challenges, we remain committed to establishing a solid supply chain process to ensure these heroic professionals can work safely and are properly equipped. In keeping with our Government’s promise to improve the welfare of healthcare workers, we have signed a memorandum of understanding on the provision of hazard allowances and other incentives with key health sector professional associations.

We have also procured insurance cover for 5,000 frontline health workers. At this point, I must commend the insurance sector for their support in achieving this within a short period of time. Nigeria has also continued to receive support from the international community, multilateral agencies, the private sector and public-spirited individuals. This support has ensured that critical lifesaving equipment and materials, which have become scarce globally, are available for Nigeria through original equipment manufacturers and government-to-government processes. The distribution and expansion of palliatives which I directed in my earlier broadcast is still ongoing in a transparent manner. I am mindful of the seeming frustration being faced by expectant citizens.

I urge all potential beneficiaries to exercise patience as we continue to fine-tune our logistical and distribution processes working with the State Governments. Our Security Agencies continue to rise to the challenge posed by this unusual situation. While we feel deeply concerned about isolated security incidents, I want to assure all Nigerians that your safety and security remain our primary concern especially in these difficult and uncertain times. As we focus on protecting lives and properties, we will not tolerate any human rights abuse by our security agencies. The few reported incidences are regrettable, and I want to assure you that the culprits will be brought to justice.

I urge all Nigerians to continue to cooperate and show understanding whenever they encounter security agents. Furthermore, for their protection, I have instructed that the personnel of all the security agencies be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment against infection. As we continue to streamline our response in the centers of Lagos and the FCT, I am gravely concerned about the unfortunate developments in Kano in recent days.

Although an in-depth investigation is still ongoing, we have decided to deploy additional Federal Government manpower, material and technical resources to strengthen and support the State Government’s efforts, with immediate effect. In Kano, and indeed many other States that are recording new cases, preliminary findings show that such cases are mostly from interstate travel and emerging community transmission.

Drawing from these, I implore all Nigerians to continue to adhere strictly to the advisories published by the Presidential Task Force and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. These include regular hand washing, physical distancing, wearing of face masks/coverings in public, avoidance of non-essential movement and travels and avoidance of large gatherings. Fellow Nigerians, for the past four weeks, most parts of our country have been under either Federal Government or State Government lockdown. As I mentioned earlier, these steps were necessary and overall, have contributed to slowing down the spread of COVID-19 in our country.

However, such lockdowns have also come at a very heavy economic cost. Many of our citizens have lost their means of livelihood. Many businesses have shut down. No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines. In my last address, I mentioned that Federal Government will develop strategies and policies that will protect lives while preserving livelihoods. In these two weeks, the Federal and State Governments have jointly and collaboratively worked hard on how to balance the need to protect health while also preserving livelihoods, leveraging global best practices while keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.

We assessed how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function while at the same time adhering to NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health. We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised.

Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centers. Our goal was to develop implementable policies that will ensure our economy continues to function while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world. Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Monday, 4th May, 2020.

However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors. Furthermore, new nationwide measures are to be introduced as follows;

a. There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements will be prohibited during this period except for essential services;

b. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel until further notice;

c. Partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and

d. We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.

Furthermore, the restrictions on social and religious gatherings shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens. For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States shall remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Monday, 4th May 2020. The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector specific details to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses and institutions.

In respect to the above guidelines, State Governors may choose to adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued above.The few reported incidences are regrettable, and I want to assure you that the culprits will be brought to justice. To support our businesses and traders, the monetary and fiscal authorities shall deploy all the necessary provisions needed for production to continue and thus, jobs restored.

These revised guidelines will not apply to Kano State. With regards to Kano, I have directed the enforcement of a total lockdown for a period of two weeks effective immediately. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic and preventing the risk of further spread to neighboring States. I wish to once again commend the frontline workers across the country who, on a daily basis, risk everything to ensure we win this fight.

For those who got infected in the line of duty, rest assured that Government will do all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period. I will also take this opportunity to assure you all that your safety, wellbeing and welfare remain paramount to our Government. I will also recognise the support we have received from our traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders. Your cooperation and support have significantly contributed to the successes we have recorded to date.

For those who got infected in the line of duty, rest assured that Government will do all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period. I will urge you all to please continue to create awareness on the seriousness of the coronavirus among your worshippers and communities while appealing that they strictly comply with public health advisories.

I also thank the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Task Force for all their hard work to date. Through this collaboration, I remain confident that success is achievable. I also wish to thank corporate organisations, philanthropists, the UN system, the European Union, friendly nations, the media and other partners that have taken up the responsibility of supporting our response.

And finally, I will thank all Nigerians again for your patience and cooperation during this difficult and challenging period. I assure you that government shall continue to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and residents.

I thank you for listening and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Covid-19: Senegal hailed for developing $1 testing kits.

Senegal has been hailed as Africa’s coronavirus hero for producing $1 testing kits. Senegal’s Institut Pasteur de Dakar has developed a Covid-19 testing kit that costs $1 and can deliver results in about 10 minutes. Citizens can be tested whether they show symptoms of the deadly disease or not. The country has also developed $60 3D printed ventilators.

The testing kit was developed in collaboration with Mologic, a British biotech company. The Covid-19 test kits which won’t be ready for distribution until June can be used at home for a simple test using the saliva or a blood sample of the individual. Similar to how a pregnancy test kit works, a bloodline appears to indicate the presence or absence of the COVID-19 antibody.

Also Read: Why Emmanuel Adebayor won’t donate to Togo’s coronavirus fight.

Despite the country’s low budget for health, Senegal has recorded the highest recovery rate in Africa so far and the 3rd in the world. It has 671 cases, 283 recoveries and 9 deaths. It has also become the first country to make an order for Madagascar’s Coronavirus medicine, Covid Organics.

WHO warns that recovered patients with antibodies not immune to coronavirus.

The World Health Organization has warned that there is no evidence yet that recovered COVID-19 patients cannot be reinfected. This warning was issued in a scientific brief as it confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide has reached 2.8million.

Also Read: Coronavirus: CACOVID orders supplies for 400,000 COVID-19 tests to increase Nigeria’s testing capacity.

“Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against reinfection,  there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection,” the WHO said in a statement.

Coronavirus: CACOVID orders supplies for 400,000 COVID-19 tests to increase Nigeria’s testing capacity.

The Private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 has ordered for 250,000 supplies for tests and another 150,000 extraction kits to fast-track molecular testing for the deadly coronavirus, noting that the reality of the situation at hand was such that efforts must be put together with no stone left unturned in dealing with the scourge.

The coalition also disclosed that no less than 1.7 million households would benefit from its food relief package as part of complementary efforts to help alleviate the effects of the lockdown and restrictions adopted by governments across the nation.

Also Read: Opinion: After COVID-19, what will Africa look like in 2030 and 2063? | By: Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka

Briefing newsmen in Lagos on the group’s activities in helping the Federal Government halt the spread of the virus, leaders of CACOVID stated that the coalition has set up isolation centers in five states of Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Borno and Enugu as well as FCT, while renovations of hospitals and medical supplies are being carried out in other states.

All the partners in CACOVID are ready to roll out in all parts of the country having commenced building and equipping of isolation centers in some states. There are currently three testing platforms for molecular testing in Nigeria, one of which is the “Open PCR machines”, which the Coalition has ordered for 10 units, with eight laboratories certified to conduct COVID-19 tests.

Also Read: Jack Ma announces third donation to Africa.

“Open PCR machine is currently the standard platform. Eight labs in Nigeria are certified to conduct COVID-19 testing; 10 new PCR machines and 150,000 extraction kits have been ordered. The other is Roche Cobus Platform with 6 Machines in Nigeria, each capable of testing 960 tests at a time. Nigeria was on track to receive 38,000 but we have ordered 250,000. 10,000 tests ordered by UNICEF have arrived on Thursday, April 16. We also have Cepheid Gene Expert Machines – there are 400 machines installed in the country. 250 are expected to be functional with trained lab technicians. Cepheid has developed a COVID-19 testing cartridge that has received FDA approval, and will begin shipping to Africa in two weeks. We have ordered 250,000 cartridges and expect shipment receipt in two weeks.” A member of the CACOVID team explained.

Jack Ma announces third donation to Africa.

Chinese billionaire and Founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma has made more donations to Africa. This is coming more than a month after he supported the areas of the world most affected by the Covid-19 crisis with medical supplies. The  coronavirus pandemic has put a massive strain on the world’s healthcare system, with reports of inadequate medical supplies and the deaths of hospital workers as patients numbers continue to surge.

The first batch of medical supplies were made on March 16. They comprised of 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks, 1,000 medical protective suits and face shields to each of the 54 AU Member States.

Also, on April 6, the philanthropist dispatched his second donation to Africa which included 500 ventilators, 200,000 suits and face shields, 2,000 thermometers, one million swabs, and extraction kits as well as 500,000 gloves.


Also Read: NCDC distributes supplies from Jack Ma foundation.

He has announced another donation today, which is 500 ventilators that will be divided up among Africa’s most vulnerable countries – they have few ventilators — or none at all. Meanwhile the number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has reached 2.4 million, with most deaths coming from US: 40,400, Italy: 23,600  amd Spain: 20,595.

Asked about offering assistance despite criticism, he said “I’m extending a helping hand as a Chinese citizen and Chinese entrepreneur, and for the common conscience of mankind.” 

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