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Nigerians Should Get Ready For Fresh Lockdown – FG

Nigerians Should Get Ready For Fresh Lockdown - FG

Nigerians Should Get Ready For Fresh Lockdown If COVID-19 Cases Keep Raising – FG

  • Bank customers, transport workers, commuters shun social distancing

Chukwudi Akasike, Adelani Adepegba, Tobi Aworinde, Dayo Ojerinde, Deji Lambo  and Adeniyi Olugbemi

The Federal Government, on Monday, decried the nationwide non-compliance with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19’s guidelines for gradual reopening of the economy.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who stated this during the task force press briefing in Abuja, warned that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), could restore the lockdown if the guidelines were not observed and there was a surge in coronavirus cases.

The President had, on March 30,  imposed a two-week lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun states, but at the expiration of the first lockdown on April 13, he extended it by another  14 days.

In his broadcast to the nation on April 27, Buhari said phased and gradual easing of the lockdown would begin on May 4 (yesterday). He also imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on the nation.

Besides banning interstate movements, the President imposed a total lockdown on Kano State, which had witnessed a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Guidelines on gradual reopening of the economy issued by the PTF a few days after the presidential address mandate anyone in public spaces to use non-medical face masks.

They also prohibit interstate travels, apart from for essential services. The guidelines ban gathering of more than 20 people outside of a workplace.

Commercial vehicles are only allowed to operate outside the curfew hours and should practise social distancing in the number of their passengers.

But our correspondents, who monitored activities in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states on Monday observed that people did not observe the PTF guidelines, including social distancing.

Although banks limited the number of people that entered their premises, customers ignored social distancing as they crowded at bank gates.

Pedestrians and motorists from Ogun State crossed over to Lagos in violation of the ban on interstate movements.

‘Easing lockdown: There will be new infections’

The NCDC boss, at the PTF’s press briefing on Monday, reviewed compliance with the guidelines across the country and concluded that it was not satisfactory.

He said the President could restore the lockdown if the task force guidelines were not observed.

Ihekweazu stated, “Today (Monday), some of the measures are being eased. Initial reports are not too pleasing across the country.

Now that we have seen the sunlight again, the challenge for us as a society is, how do we organise ourselves to mitigate these risks and limit transmissions from each other?

“Though we might have a few extra infections today and tomorrow, what we don’t want is an explosion of new infections? If we do have that explosion, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country but to ask all of us to go back to our homes.”

NCDC boss faults banks, fears new infections

Ihekweazu noted that banks were among business groups that were allowed to open on Monday.

He, however, lamented that many banks limited the number of their branches that opened, adding that there would be a spike in infections due to the way people mingled.

The NCDC boss said, “When we say take responsibility this time, yes, we are addressing individuals, but we really need to address corporate Nigeria. There is benefit of the doubt, but when you limit the number of branches opened, everyone goes to the one branch that is opened and that becomes counterproductive.

“Today, we might forgive a little bit because it was the first day. We will have infections because of what happened today, no doubt about that. Everybody here (on the PTF) knew today would be a problem because, for the first time, people were let out of their homes.

“We can produce all the guidelines in the world. We can preach and do press conferences, but how can we learn from the mistakes of today,  tomorrow and the day after, so that, by Friday, hopefully, we have normalised some of these things?”

He stated that organisations must support the implementation of the preventive measures, help manage the risk and focus on a risk-based approach.

Why markets are opened, places of worship shut —PTF

Ihekweazu, while fielding questions from journalists, noted that the decision to open markets  and close places of worship was because “food is an existential issue.”

He added, “We are not even saying we are happy with the markets across the country. But we are really still appealing to everyone in those markets to help us make it (curb in transmission) work.

“We know that many of our markets were not built for an era of COVID-19. We’re sure about that. Our markets are historically very congested places with many ports of entry, very difficult to control access; in fact, a perfect place for transmission.

“So, by no means are we saying the marketplaces are the examples of perfect locations for managing transmission. We have to allow markets to continue because people have to eat.”

Speaking on the efforts of the PTF’s in Kano State, Ihekweazu said experts deployed by the Federal Government were working to guide the ministry of health in the state.

‘Kano testing is slow’

According to him, the NCDC team and the Kano State officials are working to improve the laboratories in the state.

He said,  “The speed of testing (in Kano) is a little bit slower than you would expect. But that is the price we have to pay in order to get this up and running. I’m confident that we will leave that lab better.”

The NCDC boss also said the task force supported the delivery of a new lab funded by the Aliko Dangote Foundation, delivered by a Nigerian company, 54 Gene.

Continued interstate movements  of almajiris violating protocols —PTF

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, in his remarks, said there had been “very noticeable” relocation of almajiris from one state to another.

Mustapha said, “With the ban on interstate movement, the continuation of this exercise will not be in alignment with the guidelines issued. The PTF shall engage with  state governments on how to achieve their objectives.”

Don’t neglect treatment of other ailments, minister tells hospitals

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, in his address, urged all health care facilities not to reject persons seeking medical help, especially in emergencies.

He said it was unethical not to attend to persons in distress.

“I also urge citizens to go to  hospitals when not feeling well and to cooperate by giving accurate information especially with regard to travel history,” he said.

Nigeria to take part in COVID-19 medicine trials, says FG

Ehanire also noted that the country had informed the World Health Organisation that it would take part in trials of medicines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, efforts are ongoing to also conduct research in Nigeria.

He said, “Other drugs can be added based on emerging evidence. We shall ensure the maintenance of ethical standards and safety of our people.”

The National Coordinator of the  PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, in his remarks, decried non-compliance with the task force protocols, saying the easing of the lockdown was in, no way, a licence to relax self-protection against the infection.

He restated the PTF guidelines, saying, “No interstate travel is allowed except for transportation of essential commodities and services. No passenger flights. Churches, mosques and schools remain closed.

“Clubs, bars, parks, sporting and gaming centres will also remain closed. It is absolutely necessary to continue to maintain those measures that will continue to protect us.

“We must wear our masks to protect ourselves and one another at all times. We must keep washing our hands. We must maintain the safe physical distance of two metres and comply with the eases lockdown measures.”

89 COVID-19 vaccines being developed —WHO

The WHO Country Representative, Fiona Braka, while fielding questions, stated that research was going on globally for a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Braka, no fewer than 89 products are undergoing development.

He stated, “Research is going on globally to study the genetics of the virus. This helps us to develop a vaccine. Thanks to rapid sharing of genetics data from countries, we are able to advance the production of vaccines.

“We do acknowledge the contributions of countries in sharing their genetic sequencing data, including Nigeria. So, the first vaccine trial started as early as 60 days just after the genetic sequencing information of the virus was shared by China.

“We have about 89 products that are currently under vaccine development. The numbers keep getting updated because there is an accelerated process going on globally to try and find a vaccine.”

Nigerians shun social distancing, storm banks, bus stops

Meanwhile, on Monday, Nigerians, who trooped to banks, bus stops and other public places,  disregarded measures introduced by the Federal Government.

Our correspondents, who monitored activities in Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital, observed that motorists failed to observe social distancing.

The PUNCH correspondent, who went round Sokoto, the Sokoto State capital, observed that social distancing was not adhered to by most people in the city.

Customers, who thronged most of the banks, located on Kano Road, were struggling to enter their premises

Lagos bank customers, transporters  violate social distancing

In the Berger and  Ikorodu areas of Lagos State, it was observed that commercial transport workers and passengers were partially complying with the use of face masks, but ignored social distancing as most buses were filled with the regular number of passengers.

Also, the influx of people into various banks and to board the Bus Rapid Transit attested to the lack of compliance with the social distancing directives.

An eyewitness in Ikorodu, Shukurat Adebayo, said she aborted the transaction she wanted to do in a bank because of the large crowd, adding that bank customers and commuters were not observing social distancing.

She said, “Currently, I am at the Ikorodu Garage, I wanted to do a transaction at the GT Bank  but the branch at Ayangburen road did not open.  We were directed to another branch at Agric, but I did not go. I left for Polaris Bank to do another transaction, but on getting there, it was crowded.  There was nothing like social distancing because I saw a lot of people trying to gain access into the bank. They were not orderly and efforts by the bank officials to talk to people didn’t work.

“Also, the situation is the same at BRT Park. Although, I can confirm to you that the drivers conveyed only 20 passengers because I boarded a bus this morning from Lagos Island to Ikorodu. The queue was crowded as usual and commuters were not observing social distancing.”

Motorists plying Sango/Tollgate to Oshodi were seen carrying passengers, while the bus stops at Meiran, Ijaiye, U-turn and Abule Egba were overcrowded.

The majority of the passengers were seen wearing face masks but disregarded the social distancing order of the federal and state governments.

At Agege, a driver, Abbas Ramon, told The PUNCH that it was not possible for commercial vehicles to load   60 per cent of their capacity because the National Union of Road Transport Workers was still collecting normal levy from them.

Rivers commercial vehicle operators flout social distancing order

In Rivers State, commercial bus operators still loaded their vehicles with passengers without observing social distancing.

While the state government had insisted that only two passengers should be on a row, the commercial bus drivers still allowed four passengers.

Recall that the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, had threatened to ban the operation of commercial vehicles in some parts of the state should commercial drivers continue to flout the order on social distancing.

A commercial bus driver, who identified himself as Godswill, said he would not be able to make profit if he adhered to the order of having only two passengers per row.

“How can I have only two passengers where I am supposed to be carrying four passengers? If I try that, I will not make profit,” Godswill, who plies Ikwerre to Choba, said.

FCT residents besiege banks

In the FCT, hundreds of people on Monday besieged commercial banks.

The banks in Garki Area One, Adetokunbo Ademola Wuse 2, Central Business District, and other parts of the city were thronged by customers, many of whom wore no face masks.

At the Ecobank branch beside AP Plaza, Wuse 2, scores of customers were locked outside the bank and only a few were allowed to enter in line with the social distancing guidelines.

The same situation was observed at a GTB branch located beside a popular eatery where tens of customers waited impatiently outside the bank.

A customer, Stanley Wosu, said he had an urgent transaction to make in the bank hence his visit, adding that he would not have come to the bank on account of the pandemic.

14 more Lagos patients discharged

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government on Monday announced the discharge of 14 more COVID-19 patients who had recovered from the virus.

The state Ministry of Health, via its twitter handle, @LSMOH, said 261 patients had been discharged in Lagos.

It tweeted, “14 more COVID-19 Lagos patients; six females and eight males, all Nigerians were today (Monday) discharged from our isolation facilities at Yaba, Onikan, LUTH and Eti-Osa (Landmark) to reunite with the society.

“The patients; seven from Onikan, two from IDH, Yaba, four from @LUTHofficial and one from the Eti-Osa (LandMark) isolation centres have fully recovered and tested negative twice consecutively to COVID-19.

“With this, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged in Lagos is now 261.”

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Featured Hot News Politics Trending

Goats Eat up the 50 Billion Naira To Be Given To Nigerians FG Says (Photos)

Goats Eat up the 50 Billion Naira To Be Given To Nigerians FG Says (Photos)

Goats Eat up the 50 Billion Naira To Be Given To Nigerians FG Says (Photos)

The Nigeria Federal Government has reported that 50 goats came into their office in abuja to eat 50 billion Naira Donated as relief fund for Nigerians.

They chairman said;

We are sorry to announce to you that we don’t know how 50 goats came into the office to eat up 50 billion naira without the awareness of our soldiers.”

Nigerians should exercise patience because we don’t know how to give everyone relief fund.

Click here for more Photos

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The newly-reported cases, as revealed via the Centre’s Twitter on Tuesday evening, show that Lagos, the epicenter of the virus, still has the highest number with 80 patients followed by Kano with 38 cases.

Other states include Ogun with 15 cases, Bauchi, 15, 11 in Borno, 10 in Gombe, 9 in Sokoto, 5 in Edo, 5 in Jigawa, 2 in Zamfara 1 each in Rivers, Enugu, Delta, FCT and Nasarawa.

In total, 195 new cases of #COVID19 were reported on Tuesday while as at 11:50pm 28th April, 1532 confirmed cases of COVID19 have been reported in the country altogether. The discharged patients are 255 and 44 patients have died so far.

Meanwhile, Nigeria will begin a “phased and gradual” easing of more than four weeks of lockdowns in the national capital and the largest city on May 4, President Muhammadu Buhari said in an address on Monday.

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Education Featured Hot News Trending

FG Orders Closure Of All Tertiary Institutions, Secondary And Primary Schools

FG Orders Closure Of All Tertiary Institutions, Secondary And Primary Schools

FG Orders Closure Of All Tertiary Institutions, Secondary And Primary Schools

The Federal Ministry of Education has ordered immediate closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country and as part of measures to contain the spread.

This was confirmed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono.

According to a communique on Thursday, Mr Echono who gave the order on behalf of the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, also noted that all 104 Unity Schools in the country should close on or before the 26th of March, 2020 as a proactive step aimed at preventing the spread of the dreaded Corona virus.

The Minister asked all the Principals of the Unity Colleges to fast track the on-going second term examinations and close shop until further notice.

“We have directed all higher institutions to close this weekend. Unity Schools that have completed their exams are to close immediately.

“Others are to hurry and close the latest on 26th March,” the statement partly read.

In the meantime, the Minister said the management of all the Unity Colleges should immediately activate the necessary emergency procedures and processes such as the provision of alcohol based sanitizers, and hand washing facilities among others, adding that students should strictly adhere to the principles and best practices of good hygiene.

Adamu Adamu also directed the Principals to immediately report any suspicious case to the nearest health authorities, emphasizing that nothing should be taken for granted at this delicate time of the global pandemic

FG Orders Closure Of All Tertiary Institutions, Secondary And Primary Schools

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Entertainment Featured Hot News Politics

FG Cancels ALL Foreign Printing Contracts For Nigerian

FG Cancels ALL Foreign Printing Contracts For Nigerian Passports

President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled all e-passport printing contracts abroad, saying that it will now be the sole responsibility of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company (NSPMC).

Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, made this known in a statement released on Thursday.

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CAN to FG: Why do you give preferential treatment

CAN to FG: Why do you give preferential treatment to cattle rearers?

CAN to FG: Why do you give preferential treatment to cattle rearers? Bluejamz.com

CAN issued the query in a statement, weekend, against the background of concerns raised by the suspended RUGA settlement project.It however cautioned the people of Southern Nigeria to remain cautious even with the suspension of the controversial RUGA settlement for Fulani herdsmen.

In a press statement issued by Secretary of CAN in the 17 Southern States, Dr. Joseph Ajujungwa, the body of clergy said the suspension of the programme by President Muhammadu Buhari may not be the end of the matter.

It suspected that there was every indication that underground work was still going on over the RUGA Project.

He called on every Southerner to be watchful, stressing that even as the churches pray, they don’t need to keep quiet on such matters.

Ajujungwa said “We do not have land to give to anybody as a grazing field or colony and we call on the South East Governors to maintain their stand that they do not have such a place. Do you know what it means to give 10 hectares of land to herdsmen? We say no to that.

“As CAN, we will preach it from our pulpit, every Imam should peach from the mosque and the traditionalists should stand against it; nobody should relent; no land should be given; any traditional ruler that does that should be dethroned.

“In the North, we have largest hectares of land, very vast that nobody is occupying. Why are they not building the ranches, RUGA or whatever there? They can come here, take grass and go, and we buy cows in exchange, just like the governors said. We do not have such mass land required.

“We are also calling on the Federal Government to be mindful of what they are doing because cattle rearing is a private farming business. Why should the government support individual cattle farmers against other farmers?”

On the threat and ultimatum issued by a coalition of Northern Youths, Ajujungwa said “they should understand that nobody has the monopoly of violence. As they are planning to attack, others are planning to defend themselves and we cannot run away for them.

“CAN is calling on all Christians, all law abiding citizens of the Southern Nigeria to please watch and pray. Watch means that you must open your eyes to see what is going on and therefore pray; do not relent.

“Anybody that is coming to buy land now in the name of business, factory, and what have you, let us be cautious in dealing with the person, because their plot is to turn such into colony.”

CAN to FG: Why do you give preferential treatment to cattle rearers? Bluejamz.com

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News Trending

ASUU Suspends Nationwide Strike After 3 Month

ABUJA—-ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last night suspended the three month old strike after signing all agreements with the Federal Government.

The agreement was reached at the through end of the conciliatory meeting held at the instance of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and his Education counterpart, Malam Adamu Adamu.
The parties brokered the truce few hours after a team of Students from National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) threatened showdown against the leadership of ASUU who attended the negotiation.
Ngige who read the agreement signed by both parties, expressed optimism that the strike would be suspended.
He said, “This is going to be a conclusive meeting and conciliatory meeting between Federal Government and ASUU.
“This dispute culminated into a strike that started on the 5th of November, 2018.”
According to him the parties unanimously resolved the eight contentious issues that had prolonged the strike.
He noted that the issue of the NUMPENCO has been resolved as ASUU collected the licence on the 28th January, 2019.

Besides, the Minister said that the Visitation panel has also been instituted and will commence work on 2nd March with the view to sanitizing the tertiary institutions, adding that it was in tandem with anti corruption campaign.

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News

FG Approves Firearms For FRSC Officials

FRSC Personnel To “Soon” Start Carrying Guns!
There are strong indications that personnel of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) would soon begin to bear arms.

FG Approves Firearms For FRSC Officials
Speaking with Nigerian Guardian , a member of the FRSC board, who pleaded anonymity, said:
“The FRSC has built its armoury in Gwagwalada Abuja, while there are weapon rooms in all the commands of the corps.”
“We are waiting for government to gazette the approval and equip the armoury in line with the act that established the corps.”

“The essence of the ongoing training and workshop for the personnel is to prepare them on how to comport themselves while bearing arms on duty.”

Speaking also to the news outlet, the commission’s spokesman, Bisi Kazeem, revealed that though the act permits FRSC personnel to bear arms, the corps is waiting for government to gazette the approval.
“I am not aware that the government has perfected a plan to gazette the approval. I am not aware of that,” he said.

In December 2016, the FRSC was forced to release a statement urging members of the public to ignore reports that the corps had begun distributing and mandating its personnel to carry arms.

The statement came amid a complaint by Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi that 70 officers lost their lives that year to reckless motorists.

But Kazeem had told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the rumour was being circulated by mischievous elements seeking to provoke disorder in the society.
Some “irresponsible” people took a statement by the Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi, out of context to suit their agenda, he said.

 

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News Politics

Federal Government Reveals Why Nigeria Rice Is Scarce And Expensive

The reasons for the scarcity and high price of the locally made rice in the market, has been revealed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Wednesday blamed the scarcity of local rice in Nigerian markets to disconnect between integrated rice millers and the supply chain.
Fatimah Aliyu, a Deputy Director, Rice Value Chain in the ministry, stated this in Abuja.
Mrs Aliyu spoke at the 2nd National Congress, Policy Dialogue and Inauguration of the Board of Trustees of Rice Assured Advocacy Forum (RAAF), facilitated by John A. Kufuor Foundation (JAKF).
She said though there was a huge market for local rice, integrated millers were reluctant to push out their products for fear of price competition with imported rice.
Mrs Aliyu was responding to complaints by representatives of some rice millers who claimed that most Nigerians preferred imported rice to local rice because of its cheap price.
The millers blamed the high price of local rice on production cost, resulting from poor power supply, high transport fare and smuggling of foreign rice.
“There is market for Nigerian rice. There are people willing to pay the high price for it because of its high nutritional value, but they cannot get it to buy. There is that market disconnect that has to be looked into,’’ Mrs Aliyu said.
She urged stakeholders in the rice value chain under the RAAF’s platform to brainstorm on the issue and come out with suggestions on how to tackle the problem.
“We are open to all those suggestions because it is part of policy advocacy.
“Once you, the stakeholders, give us those suggestions, the government is going to look at them because the situation is also a problem to the government.
“Integrated millers have invested so much in the business, and even government has also invested so much in it. So, it is of importance that integrated millers succeed,’’ she said.
The first National Deputy President of RAAF, Rafau Lawal, called for a policy to encourage consumption of Nigerian rice as is done in Tanzania and other countries.
Mr Lawal said that one of the policy measures being looked at was the branding of Nigerian shops for local rice.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that RAAF is a national dialogue platform, aimed at harmonising rice value chain actors in Nigeria to advocate for better policies in the sector.
It was set up during the first phase of the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI), between June 2014 and June 2018.
The platforms are currently operating in 17 states in the country.
(NAN)

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