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Abia Govt. to punish landlords, tenants over improper waste disposal

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Abia Government says landlords and tenants will henceforth be held responsible for improper refuse disposal in front of their houses or buildings.

The state governor, Mr Okezie Ikpeazu, stated this when he spoke to State House Correspondents in Abuja on Sunday, and particularly warned residents of Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state, against frustrating state government’s efforts in de-silting the city.

According to him, a pollutant must be held responsible for waste that are improperly disposed.

He said “the attitude of the average Aba person lives much to be desired. If you cloak the drains in front of your houses with polythene bags and other materials, you are inviting flood.

“I think it is about time now for people to know that citizens have responsibility to the environment and to government.

‘”Whereas government has responsibility to citizens, people must also understand that nobody can manage the waste of another until he or she cooperates with government.

”So, I want to say that we will continue to build drainage systems on our roads but with deliberate efforts to de-silt.

“I want to sound a word of warning to my people in Aba that if we finish this next round of de-silting, we will hold landlords, tenants and households responsible for garbage in their houses.”

The governor reiterated his determination to continue to expand and rehabilitate the state’s network of roads with two-sided drains in towns and cities across the state.

On the request for the establishment of Fulani Youth Vigilante body in communities of the South East by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Ikpeazu said such request would not be granted in Abia.

MACBAN had during a security summit in Enugu on Thursday, demanded for the establishment of the vigilante body to complement its host communities’ security and other constituted security apparatus in the zone.

However, Ikpeazu said Abia had put in place various measures to safeguard lives and property of citizens, irrespective of their religious or ethnic backgrounds, and hence, no need for the vigilante body in the state.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had in a statement accused governors in South East of conniving with the herders toward the establishment of vigilante body in the region.

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

Foreign

Saudi Arabia to re-impose strict measures against COVID-19 in Jeddah

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Saudi Arabia announced on Friday a decision to re-impose strict measures against COVID-19 in Jeddah city.

The Interior Ministry cited the reason for enforcing the measures as medical reports and an increase in the number of critical cases among infected people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The ministry decided to extend the curfew hours and suspend prayers at mosques, food ordering from inside restaurants and going to work.

It added that the capital Riyadh is being monitored and appropriate measures will be imposed if the situation gets worse.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry tweeted on Friday, announcing the registration of 2,591 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the kingdom to 95,748.

The recovered cases totalled 70,616 with 1,651 new recoveries. The death toll increased by 31 new fatalities to 642.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 cases exceed 90,000

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Saudi Arabia reported 2,171 news infections on Wednesday, bringing the accumulated cases to 91,182, the Health Ministry tweeted.

A total of 30 fatalities reported, increasing the death toll to 579.

In regards to recoveries, there were 2,369 cases that defeated the infection in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of recovered cases to 68,159.

Saudi Arabia has 22,444 active cases, of which 1,321 are critical.

Meanwhile, Riyadh continued to top the list of the highest city in the number of new infections with 683 cases followed with Jeddah that reported 428 cases.

Saudi Arabia and China have supported each other in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 26, the two sides signed a deal worth 265 million U.S. dollars for expanding Saudi Arabia‘s coronavirus testing capacity.

(XINHUA)

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Health

COVID 19: Abia to begin massive testing of residents

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Gov. Okezie  Ikpeazu of Abia on Tuesday announced that the state government would commence massive testing for COVID-19 as part of efforts to curb its  spread.

Ikpeazu, who  made the announcement  in a statement in Umuahia, said that the new phase of the fight against COVID-19 in Abia would  require the testing.

The governor said that massive testing would  enable the state to achieve, at least,  10 per cent coverage of the population at the initial stage of the exercise.

“The state epidemiologist has been directed to work out modalities for case searches, using sample population size of between 30 and 250 people in some densely populated LGAs.

“Leading this battle from the front as your governor, I and all members of the first family, subjected ourselves to COVID-19 test on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and the results came out negative today.

“Unfortunately, results of two of my aides, who also subjected themselves to the  COVID-19 test, were positive while others turned in negative results,” Ikpeazu said.

Ikpeazu said  that the patients had been admitted at the state’s isolation facility.

He expressed  confidence that the patients would  be  successfully treated.

He urged Abia residents to desist from stigmatising COVID-19 patients and those who had recovered from the disease,

The governor said that collective responsibility was the best weapon against the pandemic.

”If any person contracts COVID-19, it will be saddening,  but it is neither criminal nor necessarily the person’s fault.

“Let me put it on record that statistics shows that many more people recover from the virus than those who pass away from it.”

The governor directed the Transition Committee Chairmen of the 17 Local Government Councils in Abia and  their deputies to present themselves for COVID-19 test and isolate themselves pending the release of the results.

Ikpeazu urged the people of Abia to get involved in the battle against the disease by supporting government efforts against the pandemic.


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin (NAN)Ijeoma Popoola

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Foreign

Saudi Arabia reports 1,869 new COVID-19 cases, tally near 90,000

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Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 cases rose on Tuesday to 89,011, after 1,869 new infections were registered.

The total recoveries in the kingdom increased to 65,790 after 1,484 new recoveries were added, the Saudi Health Ministry tweeted.

The kingdom registered 24 more fatalities from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 549, the ministry said.

Riyadh remained the hardest-hit city with 556 infections, followed by Mecca, with 300 cases, and Jeddah, with 279 cases.

Meanwhile, the ministry has launched a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness among the public of the importance of taking precautionary steps in order to bring life back to normal and avoid causing further infections.

Saudi Arabia and China have supported each other in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-February, the kingdom offered generous support to China to help fight the deadly virus at the early stage of its outbreak.

As the virus raged in Saudi Arabia, a team of eight Chinese medical experts visited the kingdom on April 15 to assist its anti-coronavirus fight.

On April 26, the two sides signed a deal worth 265 million U.S. dollars for expanding Saudi Arabia‘s coronavirus testing capacity.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Lockdown: Abia lawmaker, brother distribute palliatives to monarchs, clergymen

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An Abia lawmaker, Chief Philip Igwe, and his elder brother, Chris, have donated palliatives worth millions of naira to traditional rulers and clergymen in Umunneochi State Constituency to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
In a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria , in Umuahia on Monday, the legislator listed the items to include 160 bags of 100Kg rice, 2,100 liquid hand sanitisers and 300 bags of 50kg fertiliser.
Other items were two cartons of personal protective equipment donated by members of Harvard University Alumni Association, who were Chris’ classmates to be distributed to health workers.
Dr Ken Madubuike, who handed over the items to the beneficiaries at Umunneochi Local Government headquarters on behalf of the donors, described the gesture as exemplary since the state government introduced the lockdown.
Madubuike said that the beneficiaries also included members of the Chrisnak Friends Club (CFC), a non-governmental organisation, founded by Chris, a Lagos-based business mogul and philanthropist.
He said that Umunneochi Agricultural Revolution (UAR), an initiative of the lawmaker to encourage agriculture, otherwise called “Operation 10,000 farmers”, got 300 bags of fertiliser.
He said that the monarchs got 30 bags of rice and N100,000; clergymen, 25 bags of rice, while CFC members got 105 bags of rice plus N130,000.
Speaking further on behalf of the donors he said that the palliatives were meant to support Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s efforts to cushion the economic impact of the lockdown on the people.
According to the donors, there is an urgent need to take proactive steps to explore the huge agricultural potential in view of the anticipated post-Covid-19 uncertainties.
Quoting the lawmaker, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Madubuike said: “Due to the debilitating effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, it has become highly imperative for our people to return to agriculture.
“Having initiated constituency farming as solution to the economic downturn, I hereby renew my call on all Umunneochi households to get back to land this farming season ahead of the post-COVID-19 economic uncertainties.”
He urged the leadership of UAR to ensure that only genuine farmers, “who are determined to ensure the success of the back-to-land agricultural project”, benefitted from the fertiliser.
In their separate responses, the beneficiaries thanked the Igwes for their magnanimity and concern for the wellbeing of their people during the challenging period.
The Chairman of Umunneochi Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Jonathan Obasi, said the monarchs were grateful for the gesture and thanked the donors for remembering the monarchs.
Also, the Project Coordinator of UAR, Mr Chuks Madu, said the group would make effective use of the fertiliser to ensure post-COVID-19 food security in the area.
Madu said: “We have fertile, arable land in Umunneochi. What we need is encouragement and incentives and we shall make Umunneochi the food basket of Abia.
“The fertiliser will go a long way to help us to achive this noble mission,” he said. .


Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Agriculture

Stimulus: FG, ADP commence collation of data of genuine farmers in Abia

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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Abia Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) on Monday commenced collation of data of genuine farmers in the state.

Mr Isreal Amanze, Programme Manager told newsmen in Umuahia that the essence of the exercise was to generate a comprehensive data bank of farmers in the state.

According to him, farmers’ data bank will help in the distribution of palliatives and postCOVID-19 economic stimulus packages for farmers in the state.

He explained that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture ordered the registration of farmers in every ward of the state.

“The essence of the registration is to gather and confirm data of real farmers for palliative and post COVID-19 stimulus packages.

ADP has deployed trained professionals to educate farmers on the relevance of the exercise and register the farmers in the various communities in Abia.

“The enumerators will meet the farmers to get their coordinates and will ensure they visit their farms so that accurate data are documented appropriately.

“The registration exercise has commenced today and will last for 10 days, but we are appealing to the Federal Government to extend the period given for the exercise,” he said.

He urged traditional rulers, clergymen and leaders of farmers associations, to encourage the farmers in their communities to cooperate with the enumerators to ensure success of the exercise.

Amanze said the exercise had created an ample opportunity for the government to eliminate “portfolio farmers” from the system.

He said that it was expected that subsistence and commercial farmers would be reached and assisted to enhance their capacities.

Amanze described the initiative as a welcome development, adding that it would improve food security and boost the economy of the state, as well as the nation at large.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

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Foreign

Saudi Arabia to pump 13.3 bln USD into banking system

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Saudi Arabia announced on Monday the pumping of 50 billion riyals (13.3 billion United States dollars) into the banking system, the Arabiya TV reported.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s (SAMA) decision comes to manage the fallout from the coronavirus and the drop in oil prices.

The amount will boost credit facilities to the private sector, help banks amend restructure loans without additional fees and support private sector employment.

SAMA had previously unveiled a 50-billion-riyal program to help mostly small private businesses in the country.

Saudi Arabia has been taking solid steps to reduce the economic implications of the spread of coronavirus, including reducing state expenditures and increasing the percentage of the value-added tax (VAT) from 5 to 15 percent.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

India’s meteorological department says depression over Arabian sea may intensify into severe cyclone

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India Meteorological Department (IMD) Monday said the low-pressure area developing over the Arabian sea was likely to intensify into a severe cyclone and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts on Wednesday.

“The depression over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea moved nearly northward with a speed of 7 kmph during past three hours and lay centred near latitude 13.2°N and longitude 71.4°E about 360 km southwest of Panjim (Goa), 670km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 900 km south-southwest of Surat (Gujarat).

It is very likely to intensify into a deep depression over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea during next 12 hours and intensify further into a cyclonic storm over east central Arabian Sea during the subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move nearly northwards initially till 2nd June morning and then recurve north-northeastwards and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts,” the IMD said.

According to IMD, the cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coast during Wednesday evening or night.

Heavy rains are expected in south Gujarat and coastal Maharashtra.

The IMD said sea condition was very likely to be rough to very rough over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea during next 48 hours.

Authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into the southeast Arabian sea, Lakshadweep area and along and off Kerala coast until Thursday.

Last month cyclone Amphan hit West Bengal and Odisha killing 80 people and causing large-scale destruction.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

2 injured, many abducted in Ebonyi, Abia clash -Police

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Two persons were allegedly injured and many abducted in renewed clash between Amata, Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi and Lokpanta community in Abia state.

Mrs Loveth Odah, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ebonyi, who confirmed the attack on Sunday in Abakaliki, said that the two commands were working to return normalcy to the affected areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two communities have been locked in years of inter-communal conflict over ownership of a farmland near their borders.

The warring communities renewed their hostilities on Saturday which led to two indigenes of Amata allegedly sustaining gunshot wounds.

Odah said that Abia and Ebonyi commands have sent detachments of tactical units to patrol the area and ensure law and order as well as to avert loss of lives and property.

“Our men are in control of the situation. They arrived the scene of crisis and rescued those abducted from the two sides and also aborted bloodbath; though two persons were injured from gun shots.

“It is a very unfortunate situation and we are appealing to both communities to sheath their swords and allow for dialogue.

“The two police commands will collaborate to ensure that security is maintained in the affected area to prevent the incessant clashes between the two communities,” the spokesperson said.

However, a source from Amata who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said that the incident took place on Saturday at the disputed farmland.

The source who escaped the attack said that it took the timely intervention of armed policemen from Ivo division to put the situation under control and prevent bloodshed.

He urged the state and federal governments to urgently intervene to save looming inter-communal clash between the two communities.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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