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59th Independence: Get oil, gas legislation right, stakeholders urge FG

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Some stakeholders in the oil and gas industry have urged the Federal Government to get the appropriate oil and gas laws and ensure their effective implementation, in order to drive the sector.

The stakeholders gave the advice in interviews with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Tuesday, against the backdrop of the celebrations of Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary.

Mr Tunji Oyebanji, the Managing Director, 11Plc, said that government’s urgent proactive measures towards an effective implementation of the Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB), would go a long way in improving the industry.

“To me, it seems the Nigerian oil and gas sector shows it has really retrogressed.

“It’s still at infancy, when by now we should have reached adulthood and serve as an example for the rest of  West Africa and indeed, the whole of Africa.

“Rather, what it seems in the industry of many countries is to have settled and becoming self-sustaining.

“ When I started in the industry about 40 years ago, there was less government involvement and things happened to have been better then.

“But now, in spite of all this intervention, it looks like things are not as good as they used to be and my only feeling is that one, we have to get the legislations backing the industry right.

“It has to be current and reflect the reality of what is on ground both locally and internationally, and we have to have policies in place that will help to grow and stimulate the industry,’’ he said.

Oyebanji, who is also the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), said the priority being given to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was affecting other players in the industry.

“There is evidence that shows the number of multinationals that have left the industry and the number of people who have sold out from the industry.

“ In terms of our most pressing needs today is margin. Our margins have been frozen for a long time and the costs are going up in the industry,’’ Oyebanji added.

Mr Abiodun Adesanya, Managing Director of Degeconnek Limited, said Nigeria has come a long way and has had mixed results, adding that the sector has and still remains to dominate the Nigerian economy after the civil war.

Adesanya said Nigeria has also been able to extend the terrains of oil and gas exploration and production to the deep water and also actively conducting exploration in the frontier basins.

According to him, since the ’90s, Nigeria has opened the business to Nigerian entrepreneurs through the discretionary awards of the Ibrahim Babangida administration to the marginal fields and oil blocks, and it trend continued during the Olusegun Obasanjo government.

“ We have also seen divestments and acquisitions of oil and gas blocks. We were able to build the reserves to 37 billion barrels of oil and oil equivalent and attained 2.2 million barrels of oil per day.

“ We have seen a reduction in gas flare from record high as well. We have seen a shift from the traditional joint venture to production sharing contracts, etc,’’ he said.

The expert said that the prospects recorded in the sector were good if the challenges can be surmounted, adding that the task of aiming for a reserve of 40 billion barrels and production of three million bpd can be achieved.

He said that the challenges confronting the industry were several, adding that the PIGB which is expected to transform the industry is yet to be passed, thereby creating uncertainties and limiting new investments into the country.

According to him, others are socio-political-economic challenges, wastages, delays in sanctioning projects, environmental degradation, lack of new licensing rounds, security concerns and vandalism of export infrastructure, are some of the major changes confronting the industry.

“We also have high non-technical costs per barrel. Finding solutions to the problems will go a long way in moving the industry forward.

Also, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the United Labour Congress, said there was sharp improvement in the oil and gas industry, especially on stability in the industry, when compared to fuel availability in the country.

Korodo said that the major challenge were the moribund refineries that ought to have improved Nigeria’s local production, instead of the unnecessary importation of petroleum products.

He, therefore, urged the new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, to live up to his promise to revamp or rehabilitate all the refineries.

ASO/AOM/PIO

(Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Idonije Obakhedo)

Asowata Omosuri: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Sport

German FA president calls for player salary cap to help keep fans

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The President of German Football Association (DFB), Fritz Keller, says football must learn long term lessons from the coronavirus crisis to keep fans on board.

Keller suggested better financial controls and player salary caps to do this.

Germany’s Bundesliga was shut for more than two months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, before becoming the first major football league to resume action last week.

“We have to learn from our mistakes, because the crisis is an opportunity to restructure football,” Keller said in a virtual address to the DFB’s extraordinary meeting on Monday.

“We need to bring professional football to the people, to their everyday world. So we need an improved financial control system and, yes, a salary cap,” he added.

Some German clubs were close to financial collapse after the first month of suspension, the league had warned, as it pushed for a restart.

But the restart has also been criticised by some as too early.

The DFB meeting also approved the restart on May 30, of Germany’s third division, with the last match day scheduled on July 4.

This was in spite of opposition by some of its members who had called for the season to be abandoned.

In a vote, 222 were in favour of a resumption of the division, with 12 voting against and 16 abstaining.

Germany had reported some 178,570 positive COVID-19 cases, while the death toll rose by 10 on Monday to 8,257.

Keller noted that football needed to think long term.

“Commissions for agents and immense transfer figure irritate society and estrange them from our beloved sport. Football has to offer satisfactory answers to these issues.

“We do not only need new rules, but also a new attitude, not to think just from season to season, as we painfully found out.

“Football as a whole has to live on long term perspectives,” Keller stated.

(
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Economy

Nigeria’s GDP grew by 1.87% in Q1– NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.87 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020.

The NBS disclosed this in its GDP Quarterly Report released on Monday.

It explained that this performance was recorded against the backdrop of significant global disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 public health crisis.

It said there was a sharp fall in oil prices and restricted international trade adding that the performance recorded in Q1 represented a drop of –0.23 per cent points compared to Q1 2019 and –0.68 per cent points compared to Q4 2019, reflecting the earliest effects of the disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy.

According to the bureau, quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was –14.27 per cent, compared to 5.59 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter.

The NBS, however, stated that during the first quarter of 2020, an average daily oil production of 2.07 million barrels per day (MBPD) was recorded.

It added that the production level was higher than the 1.99million MBPD recorded in the same quarter of 2019 by 0.08 MBPD and the fourth quarter of 2019 by 0.06 MBPD.

“The oil sector recorded a real growth rate of 5.06 per cent year on year in Q1 2020, indicating an increase of 6.51 per cent points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

“However, growth decreased by -1.30 per cent points when compared to Q4 2019 which was 6.36 per cent.

“The non-oil sector grew by 1.55 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter Q2020. This was slower than -0.93 per cent points compared to the rate recorded during the same quarter of 2020 and -0.72 per cent points slower than the fourth quarter of 2019,” the NBS explained.

The bureau stated that the four sub-activities which make up the agriculture sector like crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing sectors grew by 22.47 per cent year on year in nominal terms in Q1, 2020.

It noted that this showed a decline of -0.11 per cent points from the same quarter in 2019.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Adopt our skill acquisition programme, NYSC advises MDAs

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Mr Rotimi Adeleye, Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ondo State Command, has urged all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to adopt the scheme’s Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme for human capacity development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that SAED is an initiative of the NYSC, aimed at equipping corps members with vocational skills that will be of immense benefit to them after service.
NAN also recalls that NYSC was created on May 22, 1973 by the then Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon.
In an interview with NAN on Monday in Akure during one of the activities commemorating 47th anniversary of the scheme, Adeleye advised all ministries, departments and agencies of government to replicate SAED to enhance capacity building.
He said that the active role played by NYSC to curtail the spread of coronavirus was a demonstration that, if given necessary support and encouragement, corps members could turn the economy around for the good of the country.
“Honestly speaking, many of us, who passed through the scheme, know that NYSC has adequate human resources to make our economy work again, but what the corps members need is the right environment to showcase what their potentials.
“I have been to orientation camps severally, and the seriousness with which the managers of the scheme handle the SAED programme is enough for government to expand its scope.
”If the citizens are not opportune to visit the camp during orientation course to see what these patriotic Nigerians are doing, what we have seen or witnessed since the outbreak of COVID-19 tells us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Adeleye said that fabrication of machines and production of materials, such as hand sanitiser, face masks and liquid soap, was enough evidence that the corps members could take the country out of the economic mess in which it had found itself.
“I am happy that the present Director-General of NYSC, Brig.-Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, is intensifying enlightenment and sensitisation about the correct ways of wearing the uniform.
“Many uniformed government agencies and organisations have changed their uniforms severally but NYSC has, since its inception, maintained its identity, which is the uniform and this is commendable,” he said.

Edited By: Ugboma Chioma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Education

Kaduna Govt. will jail parents who enroll children into Almajiri system – El-Rufai

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Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State has warned that parents who enroll their children into the Almajiri education system stand the risk of prosecution and up to two years jail.

El-Rufa’i stated this in Kaduna on Monday when he visited some 200 Almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa State and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.

Almajiri are children enrolled to be taught Islamic knowledge under Islamic Clerics, but who loiter on the streets with bowls begging for alms and food.

The governor also said that any Islamic cleric who enrolls any child into the Almajiri system would also be prosecuted and jailed as well as fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.

He said that all the Almajiri pupils repatriated from other states of the country were indigenes of the state adding that the government would give them all the opportunity they deserved to grow and develop.

El-Rufai expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transformation of the Almajiri pupils from hopelessness to hope and confidence.

According to him, the state has a responsibility to do whatever it can to give them hope and a better future.

“We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrollment into formal school nearest to where their parents live.

“We will continue to do this until we clear Kaduna state of the menace of Almajiri system, which is not education but the abuse of the privilege and future of a child.

“Our ultimate goal is for them to acquire formal education without depriving them of the opportunity to acquire Quranic education.

“They will continue their Quranic education but under the care of their parents and not under someone who does not know them or paid to look after them.”

He explained that the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), along with UNICEF would closely monitor them and ensure that no child would leave his locality until he finished primary and junior secondary school.

The governor stressed that every child in Kaduna state must get 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education.

“Those that cannot proceed to senior secondary school will have the opportunity to go to vocational school, also free.

“As such, no parent has any excuse for his child not to go to school,” El-Rufa’i said.

He thanked MHSSD and other state agencies for the commitment and passion for the welfare of the children.

He equally thanked AMA foundation and other NGOs and civil societies for supporting the government to provide the Almajiri pupils with the needed medical care, food, and clothing, among others.

The governor particularly appreciated UNICEF for supporting the state government in ensuring that all the repatriated children were well documented.

El-Rufa’i said that the care and support provided had restored the sense of dignity of the children.

Also speaking, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Commissioner, MHSSD, said that the state had so far received more than 900 Almajiri pupils from Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and Nasarawa states.

Baba said that no fewer than 500 of them were rehabilitated, treated (those who tested positive to COVID-19) and reunited with their families.

She added some 400 others were still undergoing rehabilitation and would soon be reunited with their families.

On his part, Dr Zakari Adam, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, commended Kaduna state government for the efforts to ensure that all children go to school as against begging in the streets.

Adam reiterated UNICEF’s continued support to the state in all children-related issues such as child protection, education, and health among other areas, for uninterrupted growth and development of every child.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders, the government, civil society, parents, communities, religious and traditional leaders and the media to work together in ensuring that children acquired quality education.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: CAN seeks roundtable over reopening of churches, mosques in Ogun

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The Ogun Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for a meeting between leaders of religious groups and the state government to discuss modalities for the reopening of worship centres.

The Chairman of the state chapter of CAN, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, made the call in Abeokuta on Monday.

Akin-Akinsanya said the meeting had become necessary to sustain the gains recorded by the state in its ongoing efforts at flattening the curve of the spread of the coronavirus.

The clergy’s call is coming on the heels of the planned expansion of the current phase of the eased lockdown in the state necessitated by the coronavurus pandemic.

Gov. Dapo Abiodun had on Friday, announced that the current phase of the eased lockdown would terminate on Sunday.

The governor also said that the second phase, which would commence on June 1, would be accompanied with a further ease of the lockdown and expansion of the windows of relaxation.

Akin-Akinsanya in a statement, suggested a meeting with the government to analyse the achievements and challenges posed by the pandemic in the state “with a reflection of the realities of the days going forward”.

“We appreciate the positive strides and successes of the state government, particularly during this trying period of the global pandemic.

“The Ogun chapter of the CAN profoundly appreciates the great efforts and laudable initiatives taken by our state government to combat the negative impacts of the ongoing plague.

“The technological and technical innovations deployed to date by the government have been largely responsible for the curb of the expected surge in Ogun; given that the state is Nigeria’s index case.

“The government really deserves commendation for the management of the situation in spite of sharing technically non-delineated border towns with the Lagos State which is the national epicentre of this dreaded pandemic.

“We, therefore, applaud the systematic and carefully orchestrated steps taken by our government to minimise the deleterious effects of the COVID-19.

“We also appreciate the various palliatives provided by the state government for the body of Christ and the general public at large which had undoubtedly provided succour to the masses,” he said.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Politics

We will make Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality — Sanwo-Olu’s Aide

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Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, says his administration will make the Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality.

The governor’s aide said this during an online CovInspiration Show organised to mark the first year in office of Gov. Sanwo-Olu.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the social media show, moderated by UN Youth Ambassador, Dayo Israel, was stream on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram in compliance with physical distancing rules occasioned by COVID-19.

Adeyoye said: “I can tell you we have begun to see the projects that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr Obafemi Hamzat are putting together – projects like Fourth Mainland Bridge.

“I pray that it comes up alive! In December, we opened up bids and after evaluation, 31 people came up.

“It will be my greatest joy when I see that project come alive even if it is not finished in this first four years.”

The special adviser said that the preferred bidder for the project would be made known soon.

According to her, the government is in the process of awarding contract for the regional road project that will be a relieve to the residents along the Lekki Epe Expressway.

Speaking on Sanwo-Olu’s achievements in the last one year in works and infrastructure, Adeyoye said that the governor had done a lot through the Public Works Corporation (PWC).

“The Ojota Road is under construction, four roads will be commissioned in Shomolu, Ladipo and Akinwunmi in Mushin.

“Epeme in Badagry, which is a six kilometer road; this is a road that will boost the tourism potential in Lagos State.

“Also, 31 networks of roads in Ojokoro, all these roads were in the last one year either being commissioned or to be commissioned,” she said.

According to her, work is ongoing on Ijede road in Ikorodu, while the Pen Cinema Bridge and Lagos Badagry Expressway will be completed by July/September, respectively.

Adeyoye, however, urged residents to desist from throwing refuse in drainages and burning tyres on the road, saying it affects the durability of the roads.

Adeyoye also noted that burning of tyres on road did not only affect the durability of road infrastructure, but also led to pollution and environmental hazards.

“It behoves on all to keep the road in good condition and we should all be responsible and take ownership of those assets.

“When drainages are cleaned regularly, the roads are likely to last longer,” she said

On Abule-Egba-Oshodi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) road, the special adviser said that contractors were working and that the project would be completed.

LAMATA is up and doing on the supervision of the project and it will be completed soon. l assure you that all projects will be completed, government is a continuum,” she said.

Earlier, the host, Israel, said that the decision to host the cabinet members on CovInspiration (Online) show was to ensure sustenance during COVID-19 partial lockdown.

Israel, who is a Board Member of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), said that the show afforded cabinet members opportunity to stay in their comfort zones and speak with viewers.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu has announced plans to commission some projects in the state to commemorate his first year anniversary on Friday.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Sport

Ibrahimovic injures leg muscle during training

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AC Milan’s veteran star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has pulled a muscle while training at the team’s Milanello camp, a spokesperson for the Serie A club said on Monday.

The 38-year-old Swede injured a calf during a match that wrapped up a training session, but he left the facility without using crutches.

The extent of the injury will be assessed on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic had returned from Sweden on May 11, two months after leaving Milan as a nationwide lockdown halted the Italian Serie A with 12 games to go.

He trained with Stockholm side Hammarby, which he co-owns, for part of his stay in Sweden.

Group workouts have been allowed in Italy last week as a government decision about the mid-June restart of the league is expected on Thursday.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa agrees bailout with German government

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Bailout

Berlin, May 25, 202 The German government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said on Monday.

The deal, thought to be worth up to nine billion euros (9.8 billion dollars) is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

Lufthansa is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes. At one point the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

Passenger traffic ground to a virtual standstill from mid-March, though Lufthansa’s freight business has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

Government sources said the deal would be “within the framework” of a rescue plan that foresees the airline receiving a bailout totalling some nine billion euros in exchange for a 20-per-cent government-owned stake in the company.

The proposed deal was put forward by a government committee set up under legislation enacted in March establishing a fund designed to stabilise the economy.

A key point in the talks held behind closed doors in recent weeks is that a government stake of this size would not give it a majority vote capable of blocking key decisions taken by Lufthansa management.

Another major issue is the status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government was in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

Among the conditions likely to be set by competition authorities is the existence of an “exit strategy” for state involvement in the airline.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authorities plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa. Merkel is reported to have said: “This will be a hard struggle.”

EU Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the German government taking stock in Lufthansa would be subject to special conditions.

EU state aid rules enable member states to support companies affected by the outbreak, including those active in the aviation sector,” said a spokeswoman.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for any disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: Gombe to install, inaugurate testing centre on Wednesday

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The Gombe Government is to install and inaugurate a Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing centre on Wednesday, a task force official has said.

Prof. Idris Mohammed, Chairman of the state task force on the COVID-19, disclosed this at a news conference on Monday in Gombe, while giving an  update on the pandemic in the state.

He said that the testing machine would be arriving Gombe on Tuesday, May 26, while officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)  would be arriving the state on Wednesday May 27, to install and inaugurate it.

According to him, soon after the installation of the machine, testing of suspected cases will begin.

He stated that the presence of the testing centre in the state would ease the difficulties of traveling with samples for test to other states.

Mohammed noted that so far 44 out of the 64 almajiri pupils, who were quarantined in Amada, had tested negative and reunited with their families.

The chairman said they were still awaiting the remaining 20 results of the almajiri pupils who were quarantined.

He said the state was hoping they returned negative adding that as soon as the results were  out they would also be reunited with their families.

According to him, there are only 15 persons in the isolation centres, five at the Specialist Hospital and the remaining 10 at the Kwadon Isolation Centre in Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Top aide to British PM defends actions amid row over lockdown rules

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Defence

London, May 25, 202 Dominic Cummings, a top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended his decision to leave London amid lockdown travel restrictions, saying he acted “reasonably.”

“I did not ask the prime minister about the decision, he was ill himself and he had huge problems to deal with,” Cummings told reporters.

Cummings travelled 430 kilometres from London to his parents’ home in County Durham at the end of March. Both Cummings and his wife were ill at the time and suspected they had the coronavirus.

He and his wife were worried there was “nobody in London [they] could reasonably ask to look after [their] child and expose themselves to COVID-19.”

Calls have mounted for Cummings to resign over the decision, but Cummings said he had “not considered” that.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

 

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Foreign

Putin spokesperson Peskov leaves hospital after recovering from virus

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Recovery

Moscow, May 25, 202 Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has left hospital after recovering from the novel coronavirus, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Monday.

Peskov, 52, had revealed two weeks ago that he was undergoing treatment for the virus. He suffered from pneumonia in both lungs, Interfax reported.

Four other top officials have also contracted the virus: the prime minister, and the ministers of construction, science and culture. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, 54, returned to work last week.

Russia has reported more than 350,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, currently the world’s third largest caseload behind that of the United States and Brazil, according to comparative data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Politics

Lawmakers congratulate Edwin Clark at 93

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The Minority caucus in the House of Representatives has felicitated with Chief Edwin Clark as he turns 93.

The members extoled the  leadership qualities, patriotism and relentless commitment of the elder statesman and former Information Minister in the development of the country.

The Minority Leader of the House, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDA-Delta), in a statement signed and issued  on Monday, described Clark as ‘a leading light, a forthright, fearless and outspoken leader’.

Elumelu said Clark had remained steadfast in his commitment toward the unity, stability and development of Nigeria.

”Chief Clark has remained a firm and uncompromised voice for the entrenchment of rule of law, social justice, adherence to the principles and tenets of constitutional federalism.

”He stands for equitable distribution of national opportunities and undiluted respect for the sensibilities and rights of federating units in the quest for a strong, united and virile nation,” he said.

The lawmaker said that over the years, Clark had remained philanthropic and dedicated to the good of the Nigerian people.

According to Elumelu, his commitment to the development of the younger generation is evinced in his roles, leading to the establishment of the University of Benin and the Edwin Clark University.

He said that Clark, in his service to the nation, had demonstrated the hallmark of statesmanship as well as a huge example for leaders at all levels.

Elumelu congratulated Clark on his 93rd birthday and prayed God to grant him more years in good health to continue in his good works for the nation and humanity at large.

 

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Aregbesola laid foundation for infrastructural development in Osun — Tinubu

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National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Tinubu, has commended the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, for his pioneering inspirational leadership in Osun and his continued service to Nigeria.

Tinubu, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Tunde Rahman, described Aregbesola as a loyal and dependable friend and partner.

The APC leader, while congratulating the Minister on turning 63, said he had done remarkably well for his state and country.

According to Tinubu, Aregbesola laid the foundation for the infrastructural development of the State of Osun.

“He turned it to what it is today: a modern state.

“He is creative and innovative. He provided inspirational leadership in Osun and now at the centre in Abuja.

“Aregbesola is resolute and committed to worthy causes.

“He is bold, courageous and always eager to take decisions that would impart the lives of a majority of our people.

“An engineer and political activist, Aregbesola made the difference in Lagos as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure for eight years, in Osun as governor for two terms and at present as Minister of Interior,” he said

The APC leader said that the Minister is an exceptional grassroots campaigner and mobilizer who has remained invaluable to APC.

Tinubu congratulated Aregbesola as he turned 63.

He prayed that the grace of Almighty Allah continued to be with him.

“May He grant him many more years, good health and renewed energy to continue in the service of our people and humanity,” he said

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: Army Ordnance Corps distribute palliatives to host community

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The Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps on Monday distributed palliatives to the most vulnerable residents of Ojuoluwa Empire Community in Surulere Local Government Area in Lagos state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that items given to cushion the effect of the lock down occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic include rice, beans, garri, groundnut oil and seasonings.

Others are noodles, salt and two packs of 500g sugar each.

Maj.-Gen. O.A. Akintade, the Commander, Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps, said that Ojuoluwa community was chosen for palliative because of their relationship.

Akintade was represented at the occasion by Brig.- Gen. Effefiong Ekpenyong, Director, Land Service Administration.

He said that the organisation understood the effect COVID -19 pandemic had on the people and decided to reach out to the host communities.

“We are aware of what the current scourge across the world has done, a lot of people are suffering and are feeling the impact of COVID-19 seriously.

“This particular community is our neighbour and we have excellent relationship over the years, it is on that premise that we decided to identify with it,” he said.

On COVID-19, the commander urged the community to keep adhering to measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

“The Presidential Task Force has rolled out about seven protocols for everybody to adhere, which include social or physical distancing, washing of hands and the use of sanitisers.

“I call on the community to religiously implement all these protocols for their safety,” he said.

Mr Olukayode Adeyemi, Special Adviser, Community Affairs, Surulere Local Government appreciated the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai for reaching out to ward F1.

Adeyemi also commended the Army Ordnance Corps for giving out the palliatives in an orderly manner.

According to him, face mask and tags were given to beneficiaries a day before the palliatives were distributed.

Also, Chief Oladunjoye Davies, the Baale of the community said he was grateful that such hand of friendship was extended to his community.

“I am grateful to the COAS, the Commandant of the Ordnance Corps and the officers for bringing this gesture to my community, God will continue to bless them,” Davies said.

He also said that the community had been adhering to the measures rolled out by the government.

Iyabode Davies, one of the beneficiary said that she was grateful to the Army for reaching out to the community.

“I am overwhelmed with these gesture, may God continue to bless Buratai and the Nigerian Army because whatever it does, it is excellent,” she said.

Kofo Olalere, a pregnant woman who also received the palliative, thanked the army for reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Sport

Bayern Munich’s Thiago to miss top game at Borussia Dortmund through injury

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Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been ruled out of Tuesday’s Bundesliga top game against Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich’s coach Hansi Flick said on Monday.

This came to light after the playmaker, who had already missed Saturday’s 5-2 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, failed to recover from a muscle injury.

“Thiago did not train today,” Flick told a virtual news conference. “Unfortunately he will miss the game (at Dortmund).”

Bayern Munich are top of the table on 61 points, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund, with seven matches remaining in the campaign.

Victory in Dortmund would send them seven points clear and put them within touching distance of a record-extending eighth consecutive league crown.

“It is a completely different game from the first one (which Bayern Munich won 4-0 earlier this season),” Flick said ahead of the game which will be played in an empty Dortmund stadium that normally sits 80,000 fans.

The Bundesliga restarted 10 days ago with a strict medical protocol banning fans from the stadiums to minimise the risk of infection.

“We are on a good run and have lost only twice in the last 23 games and drawn once. We relish this game. It’s what this job is about and that motivates the players more,” Flick added.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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General news

Kinsmen organise prayers for Gambari

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The ancestral community of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Erubu/Asunnara/Ita Aburo in Ilorin, Kwara, on Monday, organised a special prayer for his successful tenure as the new Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
An Islamic scholar, Alhaji Uthman Erubu, who led the prayer, thanked Allah for the appointment of Gambari, whom he described as an illustrious son, to the Buhari-led administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other attendees also recited Quran to pray to Allah for a successful tenure in office for Gambari.
In his sermon, Dr Ridwan Olagunju of the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, urged Ilorin youths to emulate the good deeds of past leaders to guarantee a better future.
”The past deeds of Gambari, as a reputable international bureaucrat, were responsible for his appointment, in spite of the fact that he is not a politician,” he said.
He advised the CoS to bring his past experiences to fore in finding solutions to the myriad of challenges currently bedevilling the country.
Earlier in his remarks, Dr Abdulrahman Mustapha of the Kwara State University, said that Gambari had made positive impacts in the community.
He described the former diplomat as a good ambassador of the community, saying that he had represented it well in various capacities, both nationally and internationally.
The don urged the youth to work assiduously for the development of their home community, wherever they might find themselves.
He prayed Allah to guide and guard Gambari in the new assignment.
NAN reports that the prayer session was attended by traditional chiefs as well as sons and daughters of the community.
Gambari, an Ilorin prince, was appointed the chief of staff to replace Malam Abba Kyari, who died of complications from coronavirus on April 17.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

Former UK PM Tony Blair questions Trump’s leadership in coronavirus pandemic

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Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair questioned U.S. President Donald Trump’s leadership in facing “terrifying” novel coronavirus pandemic and expressed his worry about the lack of global coordination in tackling the crisis, the British newspaper Daily Mail has reported.

“The worry I have that an absence of global coordination and global leadership that’s necessary for it is a huge problem,” the Daily Mail quoted Blair as saying, citing his recent interview with NBC News.

Blair, who served from 1997 to 2007 as British prime minister, said it’s important to bring the world together when facing the pandemic.

With “global coordination”, Blair said leaders could find a vaccine together, accelerate the development of therapeutics and testing capability, and organize economic measures to keep the international economy afloat, Daily Mail reported.

“It’s that global coordination, the absence of which means that each individual country’s less effective at dealing with the disease. That’s the thing that worries me,” he said.

Blair said in Western countries people are well-informed about the disease but not sufficiently informed about the economic collapse it could trigger.

“The safest thing for any political leader to do is just keep the lockdown because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is going to be minimal, but on the other hand if you’re looking responsibly into how you get through this into the medium term without the economic wreckage being absolutely devastated,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

“The countries that locked down fast and that are building, testing, tracing and tracking capability fast, that then enables you to be more bold on the economy,” he said in the interview with NBC.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Children’s Day: Imo govt. to send palliatives to orphanage homes

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The Imo Government on Monday said it would be visiting and donating palliatives to orphanage homes, juveniles in correctional centres and other vulnerable groups on May 26.

The Commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Group in Imo, Mrs Nkechinyere Ugwu, disclosed this at a news conference.

Ugwu said the visit would be part of the ministry’s activities to mark the 2020 International Children’s Day celebration on May 27.

She said the essence of the visits would be to reassure the orphans at the orphanages and juveniles at the correctional centres in the state that government had not abandoned them.

She said the ministry had braced up against any kind of abuse against the girl-child and vulnerable groups in Imo.

“We will not tolerate harassment of the girl-child in Imo; we will rise to protect their rights at any time.

“International Children’s Day is a day set aside to lay emphasis on the protection of children’s rights.

“We are also doing our best to encourage girl-child education and to discourage all forms of abuse and molestation against the girl-child,’’ the commissioner said.

She urged parents to ensure that the girl-child was given early orientation on what constituted abuse to them, while also advising children against negative relationships.

Ugwu, however, noted that the celebration would be partly affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic will make it impossible to observe all normal activities that require physical contact.

“We will ensure that all the NCDC guidelines on COVID 19 are strictly observed during the event,’’ the commissioner added.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Politics

Edo 2020: PDP leader urges members to work for victory

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Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo have been urged to work towards achieving victory in the forthcoming governorship election.

The PDP National Vice chairman, South South, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi stated this on Monday during a visit to the new State Executives of the Party led by Dr Tony Aziegbemi.

Ogidi said he was in Edo to strengthen the strategies adopted by his Party to oust the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) from power in the interest of the people.

“We need to work hard to get Osadebey Avenue. That is why I am here (in Benin City) to be sure that we get there, because we have been looking forward to it.

“I have not been happy since I became the zonal vice chairman of PDP. Each time I went to any of the states, I kept saying I am not complete. Until we have Edo state, we cannot proudly say that we are complete.

“Although, we have five of the six states in the South-South zone and our five governors are doing well, but we need Edo state to do well too.

“There is every need for PDP to take over Edo. By the grace of God, we are going to win the election,” he said.

Ogidi said: “I am pleading with President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act, to avoid the kind of violence witnessed in Bayelsa and Kogi states.”

He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic was a good one, because e-voting was the easiest way to fight Coronavirus.

Meanwhile Aziegbemi has said that the State Working Committee (SWC), were working hard to get PDP back to Osadebey Avenue by carrying all stakeholders along in its strategies.

“We reached out to all those that one way or another are aggrieved. We can tell you the units, wards and local government areas that PDP is strong and not strong in Edo.

“Basically, the only thing we are out for is winning the governorship election on September 19. We promise you, we will give our all to make sure that we deliver on the mandate given to us.

“When we were campaigning, that is what we told the delegates, to give us the mandate and we will get them Osadebey Avenue.

“We reiterate the commitment, the vow we made with our people, that we will get them back to Osadebey Avenue,” he said.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Foreign

Kenya’s COVID-19 tally rises to 1,286

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Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 1,286.

Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that the latest cases were detected from 2,711 samples which were tested in the last 24 hours.

Mwangangi said that 70 of the latest patients are Kenyans, while the other two are foreigners from Uganda and Somalia respectively.

She said nine patients were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recoveries to 392.

Mwangangi said one person died from the deadly respiratory disease, bringing the total number of fatalities to 52.

The east African nation has so far tested 61,971 from 20 national laboratories that are strategically located in critical areas across the country.

The Kenyan government has developed several nutrition guidelines to keep populations healthy, banned movements in and out of the disease hotspots, suspended learning and banned international and domestic flights to help contain the spread of the virus.

The government has also trained 11,000 health care workers and 60,000 community health workers across the country.

(XINHUA)

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