Buhari mourns as ex-President Shehu Shagari ’s widow dies of COVID-19

 Hajia Hadiza Shehu Shagari, widow of late President Shehu Shagari has reportedly died of COVID-19 complications.

Bala, a son of the late Nigerian leader who announced this in a statement, said she died Thursday at the age of 80.

He said: “We regret to announce the demise of our beloved mother, Hajiya Hadiza Shehu Shagari, the wife of H.E late President Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, GCFR (Turakin Sokoto).

“We lost her in the early hours of today, 12th August 2021, at about 3:00 am, after battling Covid-19 at the Gwagwalada Isolation Center in Abuja.”

“Hajiya Hadiza Shehu Shagari was 80 years old. Her Jana’iza (Funeral Prayer) will take place today, at 4:00 pm, immediately after Asr prayer, at the National Mosque, Abuja,” the statement added.

Buhari mourns

And mourning Hajiya Hadiza’s passage, President Muhammadu Buhari described the deceased as a pillar of strength and support for the family while her husband was serving his fatherland.

The president’s condolence message was contained in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina.

“President Muhammadu Buhari commiserates with family of the late former President of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shagari over the transition of his widow, Hajiya Hadiza Shagari, at age 80.

 “He describes the departed as a pillar of strength and support, holding the fort for the family while her husband busied himself with service to the nation.

“President Buhari extends condolences to government and the people of Sokoto State, urging the family to be consoled by the good deeds of Hajiya Hadiza.

“The President prays Allah to forgive the sins of the departed and reward her with Paradise.”

FG rules out lockdown

Meanwhile, the federal government Thursday said there is no plan for a fresh lockdown following the gradual spread of the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said this while speaking at the weekly ministerial briefing by the presidential communication team in Abuja.

The minister who said the terrible effects of previous lockdowns on the economy and everyday life were huge, assured Nigerians the new variant of the virus did not pose much threat to warrant any lockdown.

 “Lockdown is a very, very last measure that countries are taking because lockdown stifles economic activity, restricts your own freedom and your business – corporate business, government business, private business all are affected.

“So it’s not something you do easily. And of course when we were compelled to have that lockdown at the beginning we learnt a lot of lessons. You know, at that time government provided palliatives to release the impact of it, if you couldn’t go to market if you couldn’t do your business.

“But this is not what government is aiming to do. No government wants to do a lockdown. “In countries where they have had serious threat, they have had to do what they call a precision lockdown like in the UK.

“In fact, Israel the other day announced that they’re doing some lockdown, but there’s no more generalised lockdown, but precision lockdown of certain areas.

“So, many countries do what they call precision lockdown so that not everybody will be affected, only certain areas to avoid too much damage to the economy, to social life.

“And we are not at the level yet where we are feeling that threat to do any lockdown. And as I speak to you now there are several countries that are on one kind of locked or the other, if my recollection is correct at least six or seven countries that are doing one form of lockdown or the other. We do not have that on the table right,” the minister said.

Lagos reactivates centres

In a related development, the Lagos State Government Thursday said it has set up ten oxygen treatment centres and 20 sample collection centres as part of its efforts to mitigate the third wave of coronavirus in the state.

Spokesman of the state Ministry of Health, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo announced this in a statement.

The sites and centres were established during the first and second waves of the pandemic.

Speaking on the government’s decision,   the state Commissioner for Health, Akin Abayomi, said the centres were “rejigged and reinvigorated to provide swift oxygen therapy to residents who require it and easy access to COVID testing for citizens who needed to test for COVID infection.”

Abayomi said the government was being proactive to curb the spread of the virus in the wake of the third wave.

He said the dual-purpose facilities were located in 20 local government areas identified as high burden areas for COVID-19 infection.

The statement said: “As part of efforts to mitigate the effect of the third wave of COVID-19 infection in Lagos State, the State Government through its Incident Command Structure has fully activated 10 COVID Oxygen Treatment and Sample Collection Centres as well as 20 Local Government Area (LGA) Based COVID Sample Collection Sites.

“The 20 Local Government Area (LGA) Based COVID Sample Collection Sites are community-based sites operated by the Medical Officers of Health in each of the 20 LGAs and supervised by the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board in collaboration with the Lagos State Biobank to increase the ease of access of residents to testing.”

Abayomi  said the treatment centres would support patients with oxygen while the local government area –based sample collection sites would  service patients with any of the COVID symptoms or  those exposed to a confirmed COVID case.

He called on citizens “who will be visiting these centres to observe and adhere strictly to all non-pharmaceutical interventions of face mask use, social distancing and hand hygiene as part of the protocols to prevent spread of the infection at the sites.”