Tag Archives: federal government

NANS orders ASUU, FG to resolve crisis and end strike before Jan. 5

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The NANS president also condemned the hike in tuition fees by Lagos State University for the new intake, saying the association rejects the about 168 per cent hike for new entrance fees. He promised to ensure this is reversed.

The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students has threatened a showdown with the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) should the ongoing strike not be suspended on or before January 5, 2021.

NANS President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, warned that if by January 5, there is no resolution, the students would take strategic actions. “The Federal Government and ASUU will face the students and tell us why we have to suffer this much,” he said.

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Asefon in a statement, made available to newsmen on Sunday, in Abuja, however, expressed delight over the safe release of the 344 abducted schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina State, saying he had relocated to the state and vowed that he would not “leave Katsina until the students are rescued.”

He described the ongoing ASUU strike as the longest strike in the history of the university in Nigeria, stressing that the end to the strike is long overdue and it is ridiculous that government and ASUU have not found a common ground yet.

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He warned that the development has left the students with no better alternative than to do everything within them to bring an end to the strike.

He insisted that the next negotiations between ASUU and FG should involve students’ representatives as the third party for posterity sake and transparency in leadership.

He said: “The welfare and safety of Nigerian students across all the 36 states and diaspora is one of my priorities and as long as I remain the revolutionary President of NANS. I will continue to advocate for the welfare and the safety of Nigeria students.

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“During the meeting with the Executive Governor of Katsina on Sunday, I reiterated the needs to safeguard the schools so as to avoid reoccurrence of this ugly incidence.

“I also encouraged proactiveness of the Federal Government in every matter that has to do with schools and students.

“Nigerian students appreciated the proactive measures of Katsina State Government, all the security agencies and other stakeholders involved in rescuing our younger ones,” he said.

He also assured the reinstatement of the students suspended or expelled unjustifiably across the 36 states of Nigeria through diplomatic engagement with authorities and struggle.

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Nigeria is back into a recession. This time, it is the worst the country has experienced since 1987…

It is still uncertain whether the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will end soon as the president of the union, Professor ‘Biodun Ogunyemi has said there are certain steps to be taken to reach a final conclusion on the issue…

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#Newsworthy

S/South leaders meet FG

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Governors, traditional rulers and religious leaders from the region were all seated for the meeting when Gambari called to inform them of the cancellation.

One week after it vowed not to meet with a Federal Government delegation unless the Presidency apologised for cancelling a previous meeting at the last minute, South-South leaders are set to meet with the delegation on Tuesday.

The meeting is expected to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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NoRM reports that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, is on his way to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where the meeting is expected to hold at the government house.

Noble Reporters Media had reported an angry outburst from governors of the region who demanded an “unreserved public apology” from the Presidency before agreeing to convene a fresh meeting with its delegation to the region.

“We deserve as a region unreserved public apology to the region, particularly to our traditional rulers and the leaders in this zone, which include our Christian leaders, opinion leaders, our women and our youths, and also the governors of the zone who were voted into office and that is the least that we expect for us to accept the reconvene of this meeting,” Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, had said on behalf of the South-South leaders.

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But responding last week Wednesday, the Presidency explained why the meeting was called off, but refused to apologise as requested by the region’s leaders.

Presidential aide, Garba Shehu, had said the cancellation was, “…necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect,” adding that the federal government delegation was, “in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.”

Shehu added that, “The President is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.”

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#Newsworthy

Top Story: FG expose Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB.

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The Nigerian Presidency has alerted the international community to the misleading campaign spearheaded by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), using false allegations of persecution of Christians against the Nigerian State.

The Presidency, according to statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu said it has uncovered two, interconnected campaigns being run concurrently by the IPOB in this regard.

Government said it became aware of the campaigns via an investigation by one of its agencies working with international partners.

“Both (campaigns) are using the cover of Christianity – and calling for a US Special Envoy to be appointed to stop the “genocide” of Christians in Nigeria.

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“But the real purpose is to drive a wedge between the Nigeria government and its US and UK/European allies”, the government said..

“IPOB leadership of course self-proclaims as “Jewish,” a position not shared by the generality of the members.

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“For reasons of convenience, he(Nnamdi Kanu) claims to have an interest in the welfare of Christians – but this is a ruse: the case for independence, the leader believes, is strengthened by “proving” the government of Nigeria is “autocratic”, engaged in a “silent slaughter” of their own citizens along religion and ethnic lines – and that therefore the only viable option for the unique religious and ethnic minority is a sovereign Biafra separate from Nigeria.

“Nigerians and the international community are advised to be wary of this divisive campaign, which available evidence shows is being funded with a monthly spending of $85,000 USD since October 2019, with no records of the source of this largesse.

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“The campaign consists of producing articles in the names of the alleged Christian NGOs’ leaders (of campaign groups created at the time this PR contract with a US lobbying firm was signed) and letters to and from members of Congress to the White House.

“Unfortunately, some Members of Congress have clearly been persuaded there is indeed a “Christian persecution” underway in Nigeria – and do so quoting the campaign – and they are known to be taking up the case directly with the White House to appoint the special envoy.

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“The American charity secured a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and has made presentations to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

“There is also a UK and European angle of the Campaign, which is more opaque than its US sister campaign – given there is less legal requirement for public filings – but what is known of this at the moment is that their Budget is sufficient to hire four PR firms in the UK, Belgium, France and the US (the latter additional to the above).

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“They have founded an “NGO/Charity” and a linked web-based campaign named “Stop the Silent Slaughter” which is well designed and complete with video “evidence”-completely concocted.

“Members of the alleged Christian NGO have had multiple Op-Ed articles in conservative news websites promulgating their message of a “Christian Genocide”. Some of those articles have also been used as “evidence” in the sister US campaign.

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“Two of those conservative news websites were co-founded by the owner of the UK PR firm they have hired to generate their publicity as well as an OP-Ed article in the name of a British MP who may have been convinced by their campaign under false pretences.

“They have secured additional coverage in France, EU and Germany.

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“They secured a MPs debate on the “Christian Genocide” in the House of Commons in which staff member of the UK PR was referenced as the “private secretary” to the leader of the UK-based Charity.

“It is clear from all of the above that the IPOB’s extraordinarily and dubiously well-funded campaign in the US and UK/Europe is misusing the issue of the welfare of Christians purely to further their own political ends, and it seeks to damage inter-religious dialogue in Nigeria as well as to damage the international reputation of Nigeria.

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“Nigerians and the international community are hereby advised to ignore this campaign as they have disregarded similar past campaigns originated by this group which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian State.

“International groups and societies are welcome to send representatives to Nigeria and give a lie to the false claims made by these terrorist groups who are duping them of their money and involving them in conduct and activities disguised to destroy the harmonious relationships existing between their home countries and Nigeria.”


#Newsworthy…

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Dino Melaye defeat FG in court over Crimes charge.


A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Tuesday discharged former Kogi West Senator, Dino Daniel Melaye of criminal charges leveled against him by the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.

The FCT High Court cleared Melaye of giving false information to police, as claimed by the AGF.

He was accused of deliberately accusing the ex-Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, now Deputy Governor, David Onoja of plotting to assassinate him in April 2017.

Melaye was accused of giving a false statement during a conversation with Mohammed Abubakar, son of Abubakar Audu, ex-Kogi governor.

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In a two-count charge, the former lawmaker was accused of giving out false information with the intent of harming Onoja’s reputation.

The lawmaker, however, denied committing the offense punishable under Sections 140 and 393 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89, Laws of Northern Nigeria, 1963

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His counsel, Mr. Olusegun Jolaawo, SAN, had filed a no-case-submission when the prosecution closed their case.

However, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, while delivering a ruling on the no-case -submission, held that “there was no evidence that the defendant gave false information to any person in public service.”

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The Judge described the evidence given by a government witness Mr. Edward Onoja as “vague and unreliable”

Justice Goodluck held that “neither of the two witnesses elicited evidence on the status of Mohammed Abubaker Audu.”


#Newsworthy…

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Churches, Mosques that won’t open – Nigerian Govt specify.


The Federal Government has said churches and mosques that do not comply with “required measures”, will not be allowed to reopen.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this during the daily briefing on Tuesday.

Aliyu also suggested that it was safer for congregants to worship at home, despite the lifting of ban on religious gatherings.

He however warned that “Places of worship that do not comply with required measures should not be allowed to operate.

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“State authorities should not allow such churches or mosques to operate.”

Aliyu explained that strict compliance to provided guidelines was important, as that nature of religious gatherings could see Coronavirus spread easily.


#Newsworthy…

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FG Allege; Every Student should know this as schools resume..


The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 made this known during its daily briefing on Monday.

While giving an update on the PTF announcement, the Personal Assistant on New Media to @MBuhari, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted, “For now, all the schools are to remain closed, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announces the directive.

The Federal Government has said that schools would remain closed “for now”.

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“The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has requested the Aviation Industry to start developing protocols for domestic flights to possibly resume from June 21.

“The interstate travel remains prohibited except for goods and essential travel, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 announces.”


#Newsworthy…

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Why schools won’t resume come June 8 – FG


Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has dismissed reports that schools nationwide will be reopened for academic activities on Monday, June 8.

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba who spoke at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 today May 27, said a statement that was alleged to have emanated from the task force directing the opening of schools, is not true.

He said the Federal government is being careful not to allow children return to schools and expose them to the virus. He added that the Ministry will follow the guidelines and advice from the Ministry of Health and the NCDC before schools can be reopened.

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The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic also assured Nigerians that plans for safe reopening of schools across the country were being put together.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the assurance on Wednesday during the daily media briefing by the task force in Abuja. He said;

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria was faced with the challenge of out of school children. This has now been compounded by the compelling need for closure of schools as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.

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“The PTF has been deliberating on this situation and wish to inform Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Education will roll out measures to be put in place for safe re-opening of our schools.

“The Hon. Minister of Education (State) will be elaborating on the subject, this afternoon. He will also clarify the purported announcement of the resumption date which went viral last week.

“The PTF wishes to use the occasion of this celebration to congratulate our children and assure them, their parents and all stakeholders alike, that all hands are on deck to reopen the schools at a safe time.

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“We therefore use this medium to urge States, local governments, proprietors and other stakeholders to begin to take steps that will facilitate an early and safe reopening”, he said.

“In some of our previous briefings, the PTF hinted about the strengthening of community engagement in the control of COVID-19. I am pleased to inform you that a protocol has been developed and it gives community members greater involvement and ownership in identifying and supporting the case management process. The details will be unfolded in the coming days.”


#Newsworthy…

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FG threatens public servants disseminating unauthorized info.


Public servants in the country may be in for a raw deal as the Federal Government on Monday said it would decisively deal with any public servant that divulged official information without due authorization.

The Director of Information at the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Olawunmi Ofunmosunle, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

“The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, HOS, Dr. Folasade Yemi –Esan has noted with displeasure the recent unfortunate disclosure of unauthorized official documents in the social media. These official documents in some cases are correspondence minuted on”, the statement said.

The statement was contained in a circular issued by the HOS on 22nd May, 2020 and made available to journalists on Monday.

The Head of Service, Dr. Yemi-Esan, according to the statement described the development as “embarrassing to government,” noting that “such irresponsible and reckless action is an act of serious misconduct with a penalty of dismissal from service as provided in Public Service Rules, PSR. Nos. 030401 and 030402.”

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She further said that henceforth, any public officer caught engaging in “this act of serious misconduct will be severely dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the PSR.”

The statement further disclosed that the Head of Service thereafter directed Permanent Secretaries to draw the attention of their staff to the content of the circular as well as the consequences of breaking the rules.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Churches, Markets, Mosques to remain shut – Ortom back FG.


Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has stated that markets, religious worship centers in the state have to remain closed to contain the spread of covid-19.

The governor had earlier ordered churches and mosques in the state, closed due to the pandemic, said they should reopen.

He also ordered for the reopening of markets.

However, during the weekly news briefing on activities of the Covid -19 Quick Response Team in the state on Saturday, the governor rescinded his earlier orders.

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On why he did, he said it was due to the apprehension expressed by the Federal Government over decisions by some state governments to reopen religious activities.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had on Thursday warned the state governors against lifting bans on worship centres and other gatherings.

It insisted that the directive of the Federal Government against the gathering of more than 20 persons was still be in effect.

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Ortom said Benue as a state that remained a component of the Federal Government, could not go ahead with a decisions that goes against the expressed standing of the Federal Government.

According to him, the Federal Government, as the custodian of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had all the needed information on the viral infection and how to contain its spread.

The governor pleaded with the residents of the state to bear with the state government over the withdrawal of the earlier order.

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He said, “You need to be alive before you can worship.”

The governor added that he had consulted with relevant stakeholders including leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jamatu Nasiru Islam on the matter.


#Newsworthy…

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Education Minister says Schools will resume on..


The Federal Government has disclosed that there are plans to soon reopen schools nationwide, saying, however, that this will not be done in two weeks as being speculated in some outlets.

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, made the clarification on Thursday during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 news conference in Abuja following rumors making the round the Federal Government would reopen schools in the next two weeks.

The Federal Government had ordered the indefinite closure of educational institutions nationwide as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

But Nwajiuba while responding to questions from the media on when the government’s plans to reopen to the schools following the easing of the lockdown, said the schools would be reopened when the safety of the school children could be guaranteed.

He said the government was wary not to endanger the lives of the school children and further spread of the coronavirus in the society.

He added that his ministry is working with other relevant stakeholders and agencies of government to put the necessary measures in place that would guarantee the safety of children before the schools are reopened.

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He said: “We all are seriously interested in reopening and I believe we will reopen soon. But I can’t confirm what your children said that we will reopen in two weeks.

“The issue around reopening has nothing to do with the availability of the schools or not. It has to do with national governance. The idea of shutting down the schools has nothing to do with the schools per se.

“You heard the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the SGF, keep saying it is a national response. It is a single national response and everything we do flows from that.

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“When they determine, I’m sure you have seen all the experts here, that there is the measure of safety to which we can expose our children, we will gladly do that. We are watching and we are working with all bodies within and outside the country.

“The five countries of West African Examination Council (WAEC) are meeting and I just came out of a meeting with African Union (AU) Ministers of Education, everybody is concerned as you are. We hope to reopen very soon.


#Newsworthy…

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Don’t increase prices of goods – FG plead with Traders as COVID-19 insist further


The Federal Government has appealed to traders not to hike prices of food items and transportation as the country battles to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, made the appeal at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily news briefing on Thursday in Abuja.

He said it was necessary that market women and men understood the enormity of the time regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that there is a need to show compassion to all Nigerians by not hiking prices of foodstuff and services.

The minister said that this period was a time to give back to society while calling on Nigerians not to take the opportunity of COVID-19 to further oppress other Nigerians.

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“This is a time people are giving back to society. We call on our compatriots not to take the opportunity to oppress the people,” he urged.

He said that it was regrettable that despite being aware of the danger posed by COVID-19, the NUTRW members still flout the guidelines of the lockdown as they carried passengers above the approved number.

The minister noted that some members of the union had refused to accept that COVID-19 was real, adding that this can be the reason for flouting the guidelines by carrying five to four passengers.

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He said that the members had refused to heed the call by PTF to take precaution in carrying passengers, warning that such can be detrimental to their health.

The minister also called on state governors to engage members of NUTRW in their states in order to salvage the situation and contain the deadly virus.

“We need to carry NUTRW along. We cannot micromanage their activities in the state from the center,” he said.

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Mohammed said that the NUTRW had the mechanism to engage their members, adding that they had been warned not to carry more than three passengers.

The minister said commercial cab and private are enjoined to carry only one passenger in the front and two at the back seat.


#Newsworthy…

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€170K: We don’t know Madagascar’s anti-COVID-19 drug would be so cost – FG, PTF.


Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic, Boss Mustapha, has said he was not aware of any cost paid for the Madagascar herbal mixture.

Mustapha was responding to a question on reports that Nigeria had been asked to pay €170,000 for the Madagascar herbal mixture delivered to President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday by the visiting President of Guinea Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

He said he had taken delivery of the solution sent to Nigeria as well as other African countries by Madagascar without request without any invoice.

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“In terms of the question of whether it comes with a cost. It was handed to me without an invoice so I assume it doesn’t come with a cost.

“That’s my assumption. For that, I think the Madagascar issue and the Chinese issue should be laid to rest.

Also Read;

WHO has offered us $20M to posion Anti-COVID-19 drink – Madagascar’s president.

“I think we have said repeatedly hear that we did not ask for the Madagascar consignment, it was given by the government of Madagascar to African countries as their contribution to wanting to find solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have repeatedly said our consignment and those of West African countries, was dropped off at Guinea Bissau and that we were making arrangements to go and airlift it.

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“As God would have it, the President of Guinea Bissau decided to visit our President last Saturday and when he was coming, he came with our consignment of five cartons and those five cartons were delivered to me yesterday in the evening, sealed, without a bottle out of it.

“I’m going to engage the Minister of Health who has the responsibility of validation, through his institutions that are chartered by law to do that.

“The President was upfront with that even when he took delivery of it from the President of Guinea Bissau.

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“He said it quite clear of what we are going to do with the consignment would be guided by science, under the processes of validation, we’ll now know where to go”, he said.

The SGF, however charged Nigerians to learn what he described as the biggest lesson the COVID-19 pandemic had foisted on humanity, which he said was the fact that it had exposed the weaknesses in all systems of the world, even of the so-called superpowers.

He noted that it would be a mistake for Nigerians to desire to go back to their old ways, saying “if we do not learn anything from COVID-19 and build institutions that will be enduring and sustainable, we would have failed the next generation.

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“Life after COVID-19 will not be our normal type of life again. COVID-19 has come and it has disrupted everything you know as normal and the benefit of that distraction is that we will begin to put on our thinking cap and begin to address issues differently because it has exposed the weaknesses in all systems.

“It’s not only the Nigeria system that has been exposed, even the big countries with very big economies, COVID-19 has exposed every gap in their systems; their system of health, their social safety nets, their governance issues have all been disrupted and I can assure you that after COVID-19, at the individual level, at the community level, at the state level, at the national level, we will begin to do things differently. It cannot be business as usual again,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Update: Chinese doctors are safe, they are here – FG open up.


The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said on Tuesday the 15-member Chinese medical team came into Nigeria on the bill of the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC).

The minister, who disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja, said members of the Chinese medical team were still in the country.

The Managing Director of the CCECC Nigeria Limited, Mr. Michael Yigao, had said on Monday the Chinese medical experts are in the company’s care.

He also said the medical team is in Nigeria to share their expertise with their Nigerian counterparts.

And speaking on the issue on Tuesday, Aregbesola said: “Indeed, 15 Chinese nationals came into Nigeria on April 8, 2020 and from everything we have heard and said, they are here on the bill of CCECC, a Chinese company working in Nigeria, doing some work for us in several places. The CCECC in conjunction with some Nigerian companies agree to support us in the effort to respond to the pandemic. At Idu in Abuja, they participated in retrofitting and equipping the isolation there.

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“They equally worked on the Dome project that was handled by the NNPC consortium in conjunction with Thisday. So, those were the locations in which they came to work.“They helped in retrofitting the two facilities and installing critical, essential and sensitive medical equipment. They came in 15 of them, on April 8.

“They came on a 30-day visa issued in Beijing. They are still here. I do not need to tell you why they are still here. They are still here not because they have not completed their job but because there is a restriction on travels in Nigeria occasioned by the protocol of COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Worst Coming; Prepare – FG tell Nigerians


The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has told Nigerians to prepare for the worst, even as the Federal Government works to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Ehanire stated this while speaking on Tuesday, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Minister urged health workers and citizens to do their best to learn more about coronavirus, even as President Muhammadu Buhari extends the easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT.

“Yesterday, the President authorized extending easing of restrictions in Lagos, Ogun and FCT by another two weeks. The lockdown in Kano was also extended by two weeks, to address remaining challenges to containing the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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“It is of great importance that we – members of the health sector and citizens, endeavour to use this period to dedicate efforts to strive for the best, but also prepare for the worst.

“As we learn more about coronavirus every day, we must be ready to adjust our strategy, based on knowledge and evidence,” Ehanire said.


#Newsworthy…

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Electricity: Nigerian govt sack TCN boss.


On Tuesday, the federal government relieved Usman Gur Mohammed of his appointment as the managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Mohammed Sale, minister of power, approved of his sack on Tuesday, appointing Sule Abdulaziz to replace him in acting capacity.

“As part of continuing measures to reposition and improve the performance of the power Sector in the country, the Honorable Minister of Power Engr. Sale Mamman hereby announces major changes at the Transmission Company of Nigeria,” Aaron Artimas, spokesman of the minister, said in a statement.

“Accordingly, the Managing Director of the TCN, Usman Gur Mohammed has been removed from office with immediate effect. He is being replaced with Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, as Managing Director, in acting capacity.

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“The Honorable Minister has also confirmed the appointment of four directors who have been on acting position in the Company for some time.”

They are Victor Adewumi, executive director, transmission services provider; M. J. Lawal, executive director, independent systems operator; Ahmed lsa-Dutse, executive director, finance and accounts; and Justin Dodo, executive director, human resources and corporate services.

The statement said President Muhammadu Buhari approved of all the changes and appointments.

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While the distribution and generation sub-sectors were sold to private investors during privatisation of the sector in 2013, the TCN is fully owned by the federal government.

It transmits the energy produced by the generation companies to the distribution companies (DisCos).


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: FG Question Perm Sec Over N7B Building Fund. [Nigeria]


The Federal Government of Nigeria has queried the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Mohammed Bello, for allegedly buying what it described as “uncompleted carcass” building for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the sum of N7bn.

Bello was said to have superintended over the transaction for the purchase when he was still the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He was also accused of giving out seven deep drilling rigs for borehole procured at N1.3bn to some unnamed individuals under “fraudulent arrangements.”

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The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, made the allegations in a leaked query she issued to the permanent secretary on May 11, 2020.

The query with reference number HCSF/PSO/AOD/P.030/5B has “Allegations of acts of serious misconduct in your former post of permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Preliminary letter/query” as its title.

Yemi-Esan said she issued the query on the order of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who she said had been briefed about Bello’s conducts.

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Quoting from the civil service rules, PSR 030401 and 030402, the HOCSF described the allegations against the permanent secretary as acts of serious misconduct which can lead to dismissal if proven.

She therefore gave the embattled permanent secretary a 72-hour ultimatum to respond to the allegations if he so desired.

The query read, “The attention of Mr President has been drawn to the acts of serious misconduct against you in your former post as the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on which he has given further directive.

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“Specifically , it was alleged that: (a) in spite of the budgetary release of the N98,405,763,678.68 in 2018 (which represents 99.44 of 2018 appropriation), you did not take necessary action to pay the eligible contractors which led to the ministry having an outstanding contractual liability in the sum of N48.429,543,895.722.

“(b) under your leadership as the accounting officer, the ministry utilised the entire 2019 first quarter release of N7,737,208, 135.18 to pay for the 2018 contracts that were fully funded in 2018 which constitutes virement without authority:

“(c) as accounting officer, you oversaw a transaction for the purchase of a building for the use of the ministry at the sum of N7,044,746,264.06 without the conduct of the mandatory statutory structural and mechanical integrity tests: and prior approval of the FCDA Public Building Department: the building was eventually found to be an uncompleted carcass requiring billions of naira to complete and make safe for occupation;

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“(f) under your watch as the accounting officer, the ministry procured seven deep drilling rigs for borehole at an average cost of N300, 000, 000. 00 without recourse to the Federal Execuuve Council;

“(e) and in April, 2019, you gave out the seven rigs procured at over NI.3bn to some individuals under fraudulent arrangements, without the approval of the minister; and one of the rigs linked to you is yet to be returned despite several written reminders; and

“(f) you misapplied the intervention funds approved for the purchase of strategic grains and the establishment of the Rural Grazing Area Settlements in violation of extent Financial Regulations; two of such misapplications are:

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“i. the use of N2.026,838,775.25 to pay contractors and execute programmes from the funds released for emergency procurement of strategic grains which is unrelated to the purpose of the funds.

“ii. the use of N3,527, 300, 419.06 for the payment of questionable contracts awarded under the 2018 appropriation from the rural grazing area settlement scheme which is not related to the purpose of the funds.”


#Newsworthy…

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FG direct Aviation Agencies to Report Headquarters to Abuja. [Nigeria]


In a move indicative of plans by terrorist organisations, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) to surrender, fighters of the two groups dropped off 72 members of their families in Gamboru Ngala, Borno State.

This comes as troops decimated 61 insurgents in the last one week even as 280 repentant insurgents were released after undergoing a programme of deradicalisation.

Troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger Republic have recently ramped up attacks on the terrorists in the North-east especially the Lake Chad area, killing hundreds of insurgents, forcing them to flee while others have surrendered.

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said the terrorists under intense pressure from massive air and artillery bombardment, dropped off 72 members of their families in Ngala town in Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.

Speaking at a briefing in Abuja, the Coordinator, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Major General John Enenche, said the terrorists dropped off family members including 33 women and 39 children.

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“On May 11, 2020, 11 ISWAP fighters surrendered to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in Adamawa State. The repentant insurgents are being profiled for further action. This number of surrendered Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP fighters is an indication of the heat of our operational activities on the terrorists due to the renewed impetus in the theatre to end the criminality.

“There are indications that more terrorists are willing to surrender. One of such moves, was the dropping off of 72 family members of Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters at the entrance of Ngala town in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State on May 10, 2020 around 8.30p.m., comprising 33 women and 39 children. All of them are in custody of troops for further action,” he said.

Enenche said troops killed 18 terrorists and three suicide bombers within one week in Gwoza, Gamboru Ngala in Borno State and Firgi Mubi – Kamale Road in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State as well as Ngoshe near the Nigeria – Cameroon border.

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On deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant terrorists, Major General Enenche said the programme conducted under Operation Safe Corridor had recorded tremendous success.

“So far, 280 clients have successfully undergone the programme and reintegrated into the society, 25 of this number were repatriated to Niger Republic. Presently, 603 clients are due to pass out in June 2020.

“Other fighters are hereby encouraged to come out of the bush/hideouts to surrender. The military high command is using this medium to request parents, traditional rulers, community, opinion and religious leaders to urge their wards and children not to succumb to inducements by the BHT/ISWAP for recruitment into their fold because the temporarily surviving terrorists are now in dire need of fighters”, he said.

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The coordinator of the DDMO further stated: “I am to warmly state that, the high command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria congratulates the gallant troops for successes recorded and once more call on parents, traditional, opinion, community and religious leaders to advise their wards and subjects not to succumb to inducements by the terrorists, as the Armed Forces of Nigeria remains decisive to end the insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

“Furthermore, the high command wishes to thank the general public for their support and solicits for their cooperation towards providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in our operations”, he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Kano Mysterious Deaths – Investigation Ongoing – FG.


The Federal Government says there are no conclusions yet with regard to ‘strange’ deaths in Kano State.

The Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Thursday, in Abuja at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

NobleReporters reports that Kano State witnessed yet-to-be-explained deaths in the recent past.

No fewer than 150 people were feared dead in the state, prompting investigations to determine whether the deaths were related to COVID-19.

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According to the minister, the unexplained deaths did not only occur in Kano but in eight states of the federation.

He gave the assurance that the ministry would continue to investigate them.

He said, “investigations were still ongoing in the matter.”

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The minister also said that Nigeria had been able to learn from ongoing interactions with Chinese personnel, based on their own experiences in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in China.

He encouraged those who claimed to have solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic to go ahead with research on them.

According to him, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is there for all researchers to approach.

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He added: “Nobody needs to give you permission to approach NAFDAC.

“The latest statistics from the National Health Management Information System indicate that out-patient visits dropped from million to about two million and antenatal visits from 1.3 million to 655,000.

“Others include skilled birth attendance, from 158,374 to less than 99,000, while immunisation services reduced by about half.

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“All these failings have yet undetermined consequences, which the easing of the lockdown should hopefully address.

“However, the suspected downside of easing restrictions has to be balanced off by citizens, with collective determination by all of us, not only to comply with protective and prophylactic advisories but to encourage relatives, friends neighbours and customers to do the same,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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Buhari approve revised 2020 budget. [Nigeria]


The Federal Executive Council has approved the revised Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the 2020 budget.

The revised estimates are based on $25 per barrel of crude oil at a production rate of 1.94 million barrels per day.

Earlier, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed had hinted that the government would make the revision based on declining international oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Ahmed, who is also the Minister of Budget and National Planning, had told Reuters the government would drop the oil benchmark from the initial $57 per barrel to $30.


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerian govt to commence school feeding programme in 4 states.

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The Federal Government has disclosed that the school feeding programme for pupils in primary schools will commence next week in four states.

As part of measures to cushion the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on vulnerable households, President Muhammadu Buhari had, during his first broadcast in March, directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with relevant state governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding programme despite closure of schools.

In carrying out the directive, the ministry said it would liaise with state governors to work out modalities on how the feeding programme would continue while pupils are at home.

The minister in previous fora had also hinted that a door-to-door voucher distribution system would be used for the feeding exercise.

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Giving an update on the programme, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, said the exercise would commence in Lagos, Ogun, Kano states, and the FCT next week.

Speaking at the Karimajiji Disabled Colony in the FCT yesterday during the distribution of palliatives to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), the minister said: “By next week, we are going to start off the school feeding programme with FCT, Lagos, Ogun, and Kano states.


#Newsworthy…

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Senate: FG should decentralize Police over insecurity threats in Nigeria.

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The Senate has called for the decentralization of the Nigeria Police Force.

This was contained in the recommendations of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Nigeria security, considered and approved at plenary on Tuesday.

The committee, inaugurated on January 29, was chaired by Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC Kebbi.)

Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru, disclosed that the report urged the executive to direct the Ministry of Police Affairs and the Inspector General of Police to “decentralise the police command structure with operational and budgetary powers” vested in the zonal commands.

Senate advised the federal government to set up zonal security advisory committees at each Zonal command to advise on the security challenges facing each zone.

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Composition of the zonal advisory council as proposed include; Governors in the Zone; Zonal AIG of Police, State Commissioners of Police; State Directors of the Department of State Service; Zonal Immigration Officers; Zonal Customs Officers; and Representative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Other are Representative of the Nigeria Correctional Service; Chairmen of State Traditional Rulers Council; Faith-based leaders; Civil Society Representatives in the Zone; Representative of federal lawmakers, business community, Labour and other persons deemed relevant.

Recommendations were also made for the expansion of the State Security Council and constitution of Area Command, Local Government and Ward Level Advisory Councils.

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Senate also demanded that state assemblies make necessary laws to legalize community policing even at the Local Government level.

The Red Chamber further called on State Governors to fund community policing from grants appropriated to each local government.


#Newsworthy…

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Pay Nigerians N5,000 Monthly – Actress Ruth Kadiri plead FG

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Popular Nollywood actress, Ruth Kadiri has begged the Federal Government of Nigeria to dash every Nigerian 5000 naira each.

She took to her Instagram page to share the video. She said:

“This is a message for the federal government, “Your Excellency, too much respect from my end.

Coronavirus is a pandemic that we all never expected, but it’s here.
And I pray that this message gets to you somehow.

Coronavirus and poverty are best friends (she smiles). The virus lures you out through poverty, infects you and kills your family.
The thing is, it’s not something we can see or touch, it means that you have no idea who is infected. It means that when you are infected, you have no idea whether your immune system will be strong enough to fight it.

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I beg you, we know Nigeria is able. You all brought up the policy of BVN, we all have all our BVN, I have more than five accounts but they all operate on that one BVN.
Please even if it is N5000 monthly , put it in our accounts, I promise you we will stay at home. Even if it is N5000.

People are not working anymore to be rich, at this point, people are working to survive. And you’ll be amazed what N5000 can do in the life of somebody and then family members.

I don’t want you to be selfish to say “we are giving one family member N5000. No!!! We all have our account numbers, we are all Nigerians. If you are able to do this thing for us in this time ,this era, you have no idea how much we are going to appreciate you, how much we are going to sing your praises, how much we are going to tell the world that you are the best government that Nigeria has ever had.

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Because the truth of the matter is that we have never fought a war like this. The army, the police, the doctors, the lawyers, the teachers, every single person needs that N5000 now.

I promise you, you have no idea. People will stay home.

People will stay home when you tell them to stay home, if they know that at the end of the month they will get N5000. They will manage it, we will manage it, I will manage it.

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I promise you, I beg you, don’t say you are giving the poor, No!! At this point, every single person needs, because nobody is working anymore, sources of income have closed .
Other countries are taking care of their own, please take care of us.

Look into our BVN numbers, put N5000 there monthly for each and every person.
When you tell us Nigeria is on lockdown, we will sit at home.
Thank you”


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerians will pay higher electricity tariffs – FG tells IMF

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Nigerians will pay much higher tariff for power in 2021, going by promises made by the Federal Government to the International Monetary Fund while seeking the $3.4bn emergency financial assistance recently approved for Nigeria.

The Executive Board of the IMF approved the Rapid Financing Instrument, which the Federal Government plans to use to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, on April 28.

A Letter of Intent, jointly signed by the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and addressed to the IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, indicated that the Federal Government made a number of promises to the fund in order to secure the financial assistance.

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One of the promises, or commitments, which the government made in a bid to assure the executive board of the IMF of its readiness to reposition the Nigerian economy after the pandemic, is that Nigerians would pay full cost-reflective tariff for power in 2021.

The Federal Government also told the IMF it intends to cap electricity tariff shortfalls to N380bn in 2020.

“We are also advancing in our power sector reforms – with technical assistance and financial support from the World Bank – including through capping electricity tariff shortfalls this year to N380bn and moving to full cost-reflective tariffs in 2021,” the Federal Government said in the letter.

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On January 4, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission approved an increase in electricity tariff for the 11 electricity distribution companies in Nigeria.

It, however, could not implement the tariff increase after labour unions, lawmakers and other Nigerians kicked against the move, which would have commenced on April 1, 2020.

Although the NERC-reviewed tariff was not cost-reflective enough as required by power distributors, it showed that Nigerians would definitely pay more for electricity if it had been implemented.

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This, therefore, implies that once the government enforces the payment of full cost-reflective tariff, in line with the promise to the IMF, power users might pay far higher than what was projected in NERC’s recent tariff review.

The commission had explained that its directive on the January 2020 tariff regime for different Discos superseded the earlier one issued on the subject matter.

According to details of the review published by the commission in January, for the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, residential customers in R3 category who were paying N27.20 per unit would have been paying N47.09, had the regime started on April 1, 2020.

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The customers would have paid N19.89 more per unit.

The NERC review also showed that for Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, customers on the R3 category who were paying N26.50 per unit would have paid N36.92 per unit from April 1.

The new rate amounted to an additional N10.02 per unit.

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In the same vein, going by the NERC’s stalled tariff plan, Enugu Electricity Distribution Company residential (R3) customers who were paying N27.11 per unit in 2015 would have paid N48.12 per unit from April 1, 2020.

The new rates were, however, put on hold after customers kicked vehemently against the development.

But going by the Federal Government’s promise to the IMF, an implementation of cost-reflective tariffs in 2021 means that Nigerians would pay even much higher for power than the rates which NERC had planned to charge from April 1.

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Also, in the Letter of Intent, which was dated April 21, the Federal Government also hinted at further increment in Value Added Tax as part of plan to increase its revenue to 15 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.

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