20 private refineries’ licences expire over inactivity

Twenty of the 43 licences granted by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to set up private refineries in Nigeria have expired without going beyond the initial level of Licence to Establish (LTE), The Guardian reports.

Another seven of these licences will expire between July and August, bringing the total to 28, which had been idle for three years, while their validity is two years. This was contained in a report by DPR on Licensed Refineries in Nigeria as at 31st January 2018 released recently. However, the 5,000 barrels per day (BPD) capacity Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, located in Ibigwe, Imo State, has gone beyond LTE to approval to construct (ATC).

Clairgold Oil and Gas Engineering Limited, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, and Dee Jones, have also advanced to the level of construction. The report revealed that the 500,000 bpd Dangote Oil Refinery Company located in the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos, has been granted Detailed Engineering Design Approval by the industry regulator. Similarly, the 24,000bpd Kaiji Resources Limited refinery in Oguta, Imo State has also been granted Front End Engineering Design Approval.


Eight power plants incapacitated following operational constraints

Data from the Power Generation Report by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has shown that at least eight out of the 27 power plants in Nigeria were shut down on April 9, due to gas, line and frequency management constraints, The Guardian reports.

The Trans Amadi Gas Turbine (GT) 1 and 2 were out due to line constraints while GT 3 was due to a fault. GT 4 tripped on generator differential lockout. Also, ASCO Power plant GT1, was shut down due to leakage in the furnace, while Ihovbor Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) GT 1 was out due to gas constraint. GT2 was also out due to a malfunctioning gas regulating valve. Alaoji NIPP Gas Turbine 1, 2, and 4 tripped due to low gas pressure, while GT3 was shutdown due to generator air inlet filter trouble.

Afam IV and V Gas Power Plant GT13-16 were out on blade failure. GT17 tripped on loss of excitation. GT18 was out on inspection and maintenance, while GT19 and 20 are awaiting major overhaul. Sapele Steam’s ST1 tripped on low drum level, ST2 was shut down for maintenance, ST3 was out on stator winding problem, ST4 and 5 are awaiting major overhaul while ST6 tripped on gas control valve not following reference point.

Nigerians paid less for petrol, kerosene, diesel in March – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that the average price paid by consumers for petrol, diesel, and kerosene decreased in March compared to February, Premium Times reports.

The bureau released separate reports on Wednesday on each of the fuel products. The average price for petrol, per litre, decreased by 5.3 per cent from N172.5 in February to N163.4 in March. The average price recorded for March 2018, however, increased by 9.6 per cent when compared to the N149.4 in March 2017. Although the official price for the sale of petrol in Nigeria is N145, the report shows that petrol is sold at higher prices in almost all Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja.

For diesel, the average price decreased by 1.65 per cent from N209.9 in February to N206.4 in March. The average price also decreased by 12 per cent when compared to the N234.5 recorded as the average price of diesel for March 2017. For kerosene, the average price per litre across states was N268.9. The average price was a 6.8 per cent decrease from the N288.6 recorded for February 2018 and a 13.6 per cent decrease from the N311.6 recorded for March 2017.

Unnecessary Things People Take To #NYSC Camp


Prospective corps members, As a follow up to a previous post – Things To Take To NYSC Camp , NYSC Camp Requirements – here is a list of things you do not need in an NYSC Orientation camp.

1. MATTRESS: The Camp would provide that for everyone, so you don’t have to take any there. It would be excess luggage and in most camps if you meet the ‘wrong’ officials it would be seized.

2. CUTLERY: You might be surprised, but yes, they seize them except spoons. Knives, fork and even metal spoons are seized because it is believed that Otondos use them for negative things……

3. SOPHISTICATED GADGETS: Things like iPads, big tablets, laptops etc… These attract thieves and they are not necessary. In my previous post I said that you could take your PSP, games and novels in case you get bored. In fact for those who have smartphones, BlackBerries, iPhones etc. you do not need others. You should take just that to camp. At least the lesser you carry, the better for you to watch. It reduces the likelihood of it being stolen, misplaced or damaged.

4. BIG/EXCESS LUGGAGE: There is no need to stress yourself in carrying things you won’t need. When you are packing, ensure you check my previous post on what to take. Those are the necessities. Also on your first day, you would have to be moving around with your luggage or where you will be forced to put it on your head. Yes. On your head. God help you if yours is heavy. hmmm this is where OYO (on your own) wakes up. If you get the top bunk, you might not have space to store the said suitcase. Think it’ll attract thieves. The more it looks like you have, the higher the chances you’ll be targeted for theft.

5. PRESSING IRON: It would be seized from you and won’t get it back till camp is over. Also, most camps don’t have sockets in the rooms and some don’t even have electricity in the rooms allocated for corps members.

6. FOOD FLASK: During my time, it was useless to me because I didn’t eat camp food. I fed on almighty mammy food. lol. Actually, when I got to camp, I did buy one but it ended up being useless to me.

7. CAR: Why on earth would you take your car to camp? Are you trying to impress babes (for the guys) or oppress the officials?? It is not necessary. Some very strict camps would send you away or your tires would be deflated. It could be at a risk of being stolen.

8. Boiling ring, mirrors, bottled items, extension boxes. They will all be seized. (don’t ask.)

Are there any items missing from this list? Pls contribute. Remember comments are free. Lol.

SimEx: Fine-tuning Nigeria’s response to potential disease outbreaks

Editor’s Note: This week in Abuja the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), launched the EYE Strategy to eliminate Yellow Fever, with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, present. A few weeks ago in Lagos, the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), supported by the NCDC and other partners, carried out the first ever Yellow Fever full scale simulated exercise in Nigeria, and probably the first ever infectious disease outbreak simulated exercise in West Africa, to test the country & the region’s disease response and notification system, and observe where potential gaps might be. The Nigeria Health Watch team attended the exercise and joined a team that went to the Nigerian-Benin border to watch how health officials would respond if someone tried to cross the border with symptoms of yellow fever. 

The Seme border between Nigeria and Republic of Benin is probably one of the most popular land borders in Nigeria. The level of trade and enterprise at this point of entry makes it one of the most commercially busy checkpoints in Western Africa. An unceasing sea of pedestrians go across the border in both directions, with officers in uniform & plain clothes occasionally stopping passers-by to question them for their documents. Goods- consumables, cars and containers – are ferried through the border in quick succession after being cleared by an army of well-fed border officials as well as a group commonly called “agberos” – local touts who hustle at the border. To successfully go through the Nigerian end of the Seme border, you would have to go past a minimum of 7 checkpoints; all of which require a little bit of ‘legal tender’ before you can continue your trip.

Today we arrive at the border with a mixed team of observers, to see what happens when someone tries to cross into Nigeria with an illness, as part of the Yellow Fever Simulation Exercise that was organized by the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), with support from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and other partners. An actor, Tuoyo, has been inserted at the border, to try and make his way into Nigeria from Benin, while observers and evaluators are watching closely, from a safe distance, taking note of every action.

When Tuoyo, the SimEx actor, collapsed, he was surrounded by a crowd of health officers. Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch

We are told that, save for a few easily managed road accidents, the Seme Land Border rarely experiences medical emergencies. Therefore, the sight of Tuoyo collapsing under the relentless heat of the March afternoon sun disrupted activities at the border checkpoint. He was immediately given the customary treatment. The crowd surrounded him, raucous voices yelling out different suggestions of resuscitation techniques to be administered, with everybody jostling to see but doing nothing to help. Tuoyo then showed signs of vomiting and this sent the border officials running to make phone calls to their superiors and to the closest ambulance service they could get.

A simulation exercise is an activity that places participants in a made-up situation requiring them to function in the capacity expected of them in a real event. It is conducted to promote preparedness and evaluate an organization’s ability to respond to situations by testing policies, standard operating procedures, and personnel training.  Tuoyo’s part in the exercise involved him mimicking Yellow Fever symptoms enough to convince border health officers that this situation was worthy of notifying the appropriate authorities at once, thereby activating the next stage of emergency response and disease notification.

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America. Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity due to lack of vaccination. In these conditions, infected mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti specie transmit the virus from person to person.

Evaluators and observers observing the actions of the health officers from a distance. Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch

Accelerated urbanization, deforestation, and population movement in and out of cities and across porous borders – combined with high population density, low population immunity, and limited mosquito control resources — puts Nigeria at imminent risk for widespread and deadly yellow fever outbreaks, especially in urban areas. It was against this backdrop that the simulation exercise was carried out in 10 locations in Lagos State.

The simulation exercise started with an opening ceremony at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos State on March 12th, 2018. In attendance were representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Preparedness and Response (P&R), GIZUnited States Agency for International Development (USAID),and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The participants were greeted with goodwill messages from WHO, World Bank and West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO).

This was followed by an address from Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, CEO, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. He explained that there was an ongoing outbreak of Yellow fever in Angola & Brazil which suggests that we should be on the alert, especially as Nigeria has an extremely low vaccination coverage. He emphasised that the level of preparedness has to be ascertained and tested especially to promote efficient collaboration amongst various players. He also said that in case of an outbreak, response should be in a “command and control” manner. “Conducting a SIMEX in Lagos presents us with the biggest opportunity and the biggest risk,” Ihekweazu said, adding that, “Only states that have experienced big outbreaks like Ebola can appreciate this exercise.”

Panelists at the Yellow Fever SimeEx spoke about the impact that the exercise would have across the ECOWAS region. Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch

Immediately after the opening ceremony was a press briefing which had a panel consisting of Dr Simon Antara (AFENET), Dr. Carlos Brito of WAHO, Professor Babatunde Salako, Representative of the Minister for Health and CEO of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Professor Stanley Okolo, Director General, WAHO, Dr. Jide Idris, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, and Dr. Mary Stevens, Regional Coordinator, WHO Africa. The panelists spoke about the impact this exercise would have across the ECOWAS region.

Dr. Okolo explained that, “This exercise will enable us identify our strengths & weaknesses, as well as gaps to be filled to strengthen our health security system. WAHO remains fully supportive in strengthening member countries’ capacities.” Lagos Commissioner for Health Dr. Jide Idris mentioned that funding the health sector has to be increased because, “If we do not prepare for disease outbreaks, then we have a failed system. This Yellow Fever simulation exercise is therefore a very important activity.”

For the exercise, participants were split into 10 groups, each comprising evaluators, observers and actors, for the 10 selected sites of the simulation exercise. The sites ranged from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), to private clinics in Shomolu LGA, from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport to the Seme Land Border.

Health officers seen wearing face masks and gloves at the Seme Border. Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch

At the Seme Border, health officers were seen putting on latex gloves and face masks while going about their activities; with some also washing their hands after coming in contact with the casualty. A secondary screening facility where cases like Tuoyo’s could be treated was also available. One noticeable shortcoming was the absence of an ambulance at the border. Emeka Chukwuemeka, an observer from Pro-health International, added that, the secondary screening room was a recent development as there was none available two years ago.“In all, the simulation exercise was able to achieve its objective” Chukwuemeka said, “… as opposed to the table-top exercises that just address theoretical assertions, this exercise has been more revealing.” The Seme-Border simulation ended with Tuoyo being taken to the General Hospital, Badagry, and temporarily suspected of having Yellow Fever.

During the simulation exercise, observers and evaluators identified strong points, lapses, challenges and opportunities that face the first line responders for early detection and quick communication of communicable diseases. Dr. Bathondoli Kabali from the WHO Afro Region, noted that, “All the agents appeared already informed and briefed about the simulation exercise and prepared accordingly with Public Health Emergency Contingency Plan (PHECP) copies in hands.”

This pre-knowledge had some effect on the SimEx. For instance, the observers and evaluators were easily identified at some of the sites of the SimEx, thereby eliciting actions of thorough & proper behaviour, such as checking of body temperatures using infrared thermometers. This, they didn’t do to thousands of passers-by going through the border but focused on just the observers. Also, some of the observed agents possibly exaggerated their services by going beyond what they would usually do or neglected certain routines because they knew that it is only a simulation.

Still, Dr. Ngibo Mubeta Fernandes from the Ministry of Health in Cape Verde, an observer, said, “Nigeria has to be congratulated for taking on a big challenge of putting together such a crucial and challenging exercise…. especially in a region where there is a consistent occurrence of disease outbreaks”. She further stated that the information gotten from this exercise would be “extremely helpful” in other countries in West Africa, especially in evaluating their preparedness towards checkmating public health events that could put their states at risk of an epidemic. Simon Bell, the lead evaluator from WHO, said to the SimEx Coordinators, “Really quite impressive what you have chosen to do here, and the ambition you have displayed. You should be quite pleased at what you have been able to do in this exercise.”

Evaluators and observers at the Seme border, during the debriefing of health officers. Photo credit: Nigeria Health Watch

In addition, Mrs Tomisin Tawose, the Lagos State Business Manager for InStrat Global Health Solutions (InStrat GHS), pointed out that the exercise was a good platform to aggregate the ecosystem of Public Health, to assess Nigeria’s emergency preparedness & response, in the event of a potential outbreak. InStrat GHS was a member of the Technical Working Group for this exercise, possibly because of its extensive work in data management and communication in the area of disease notification. InStrat GHS has been able to come up with a communication system, named the Tup (EWORS), capable of bridging the gap present in the communication channels in disease notification. EWORS utilizes satellite technology to ensure timely and qualitative communication of information about red flag diseases.

This event had the necessary ingredients of foresight, proper planning and the collective input of all stakeholders in the Health sector. We hope that partners left the exercise with a better understanding of the importance of team work in maintaining a healthy nation. According to Mrs. Olubunmi Ojo, of the NCDC, who was part of the simulation exercise organising technical working group, “Every citizen is a surveillance officer and we all have a role to play in safe-guarding the nation from diseases.”

Dr. Ike Anya of EpiAfric, who worked with Mrs Ojo and Dr. Lokossou of WAHO as lead coordinators of the exercise expressed gratitude at the opportunity to help design and deliver the exercise. He said, “I hope that the capacity building and learning that all those involved in planning and delivering the exercise have gained will help embed a culture of regular testing and exercising across the West African region, thus strengthening our preparedness and response mechanisms.”

NYSC Camp: Things To Take To Camp

Where are the Men in the Family Planning Discourse? – #NaijaMen4FP


From inception, family planning interventions and responsibility for the uptake of family planning commodities has pre-dominantly been targeted at women. This seems logical, as women are the end users of most family planning commodities. Yet, men are often the primary decision makers that have an influence on when (or whether) women access family planning services or commodities. So, what would happen if family planning interventions and discussions targeted men just as much as they did women?  How would this affect uptake of family planning services and commodities? More importantly, how would it help Nigeria reach a modern contraceptive rate of 27% among all women by 2020, as the government has pledged?

At the just concluded 2nd THISDAY Healthcare Policy Dialogue, the Nigeria Health Watch press team spoke with Dr. Joe Abah, Country Director, DAI Global. Speaking on the role of men in family planning, he said,

“We live in a patriarchal society where all advice is targeted at women, and men take no responsibility… Men have a vital role in family planning because they have the responsibility to care about the health of their spouses… Men need to first see it as their responsibility… The fact that one party is the one bearing the physical responsibility doesn’t take away the responsibility from the other party to make sure she is in a fit state.”

The first Nigeria Health Watch Forum for 2018 is themed, “The Elephant in the Room – Men as Change Agents in the Family Planning Discourse”. The Forum, a town hall style breakfast meeting, will have four speakers address the role of men in helping Nigeria meet its FP2020 Commitments from their different perspectives.

This will be followed by two panel discussions focusing on the following critical questions:

  • How do we accelerate action to meet Nigeria’s FP 2020 Commitments?
  • How do we engage men to support their partners in seeking FP Services?
  • How do we get men to take responsibility for FP without depending on women?

The speakers and panelists come from a wide range of health care services and specialties, from general practice to community practice. Their work spans from clinical practice, teaching, policy making to management of health services.

Dr. Diene Keita, the UNFPA Country Representative brings a wide breadth of experience having worked across many countries on family planning initiatives. Effiom Nyong Effiom, Country Director for Marie Stopes International Organization Nigeria (MSION), has over 20 years of experience in commercial and social enterprise and expertise in using private sector business models to deliver social benefits.

Dr. Ejike Oji, Chairman, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, is an experienced doctor with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. He has experience in the areas of Non-profit Organizations, Life Coaching, Epidemiology, and Program Evaluation. Dr Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, is currently responsible for initiating policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of health policies on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health as well as Elderly care, Nutrition and Health Promotion.

The panellists are: Dr. Laz Ude Eze, Family Planning Advocate, National Champion for Health; Sa’adatu Hashim, Amira, FOMWAN Kano State Branch; Florida Uzoaru, Founder, Slide Safe; and Rev. Isaac G. Gbaero, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Sabongari, Zaria, Vice-Chairman, Zaria Interfaith for Safe Motherhood/NURHI.

The Health Watch Forum will be moderated by Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Nigeria Health Watch, and CEO, EpiAfric.

Our objective is simple; “To ignite change in the family planning sector by inspiring action through advocacy and innovation”.  We need to ask the tough questions because it is no longer sufficient for the Nigerian government to make declarations, they need to be held to account for outcomes.

For those who have registered to attend the event, we at Nigeria Health Watch would like you to keep three things in mind as you attend: Please download your ticket, ensure that you come early, and come with your questions, ready to learn and network with others working to make the health sector better.

There will be robust conversations both during the health forum and online throughout the day. If you are unable to attend the event, you can watch the event via livestream on our Facebook Page. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter, follow the hashtag #NaijaMen4FP. If you don’t yet, follow Nigeria Health Watch on Twitter @nighealthwatch, as we will live tweet the event.

Join us on April 18th as we explore the critical role that men play in igniting change in Nigeria’s family planning arena. Come hear the voices of #NaijaMen4FP.

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