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Adopt new strategies to curb spread of COVID-19, Lagos residents task Govt

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Strategies

Some residents have called on the Lagos State Government to adopt new strategies in managing and curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria in separate interviews on Monday in Lagos that the current strategies were not achieving the desired results.

According to them, the state government should not only put out laws, but should also enforce them, if they hope to reduce the numbers of new infections.

Commenting, Mr Uche Agwu, a Financial Adviser, urged the state government to step up its enlightenment campaigns on the importance of use of face masks, through social, print and electronic media.

LASG should try and capture the minds of the populace by coming up with short dramas, publicity campaigns, using famous people.

“They can show the need for washing of hands, using sanitisers, wearing masks, social distancing and living hygienic life.

“When people hear and see it over and over again, it becomes a way of life,’’ he said.

Agwu urged the government to also seek the help of COVID-19 survivors, in telling their stories, so that people who don’t believe would hear it direct from them.

He added that the LASG should hold the law enforcement agencies accountable to ensure that the guidelines were strictly adhered to.

Also, Mr Onoriode Ajejewe, said the government needs to be more vigilant and ensure that people comply with the guidelines, particularly in the sectors of the economy where they have eased the lockdown.

“If you move around, you can count the numbers of people who wear face masks, those wearing them now seem like the odd ones.

“The markets are worse, they do not follow the guidelines at all, no handwashing, no face masks, don’t even mention social distancing.

“Beyond the law enforcement agencies, Lagos State Government should have its own local monitoring and enforcement team,’’ he said.

Contributing, Ms Christy Ezekiel, said the best strategy for curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic was for people to stay home and observe the guidelines of handwashing, social distancing and personaI hygiene.

She, however, said that if the state government, for economic reasons could ease the lockdown on markets and other sectors of the economy, they should also enforce the guidelines.

“The problem is the enforcement; if the government can get that right, whether people believe it’s a scam or not, they will comply,’’ she said.

In his comments, Mr John Folarin, said that beyond the ‘Mask Up Lagos’ initiative, the government has a huge role to play in enlightening and educating its citizens about health issues and healthy living in general.

Folarin, an Educational Consultant, said: “They should be talking about how people can boost their immune system now; if there are things that work, the government should bring it to the fore.

“Let it be a common knowledge and information coming from experts that can be picked up anywhere, especially those that concern boosting the immune system, healthy living, such as exercising, resting and eating well.

“COVID-19 apart, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.’’

Speaking on those who believe the numbers recorded was a scam, he said the vibes being received from the government’s decisions had cast doubts in the minds of the people.

“I learnt that for some reason, tests results are not given to those who test positive, that’s one.

“Secondly, we see videos on television and social media of how patients abroad are being treated, we see the actual challenges, but I haven’t seen any of that here.

“Then, we had about 90 cases, there was total lockdown, but when we recorded about a thousand cases and it kept increasing, we relaxed it.

“That decision cast doubts on the minds of many Nigerians; for those doubting the numbers, somehow they have a valid point,’’ he said.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

Joan Odafe: 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

General news

Marginalisation: Adopt dialogue, Warri council boss advises Itsekiri group

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Dr Michael Tidi has advised the Movement for the Development of Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing Communities (MDIOGPC), to engage Federal Government in a dialogue in its agitation over alleged marginalisation of the communities.

Tidi, the Chairman, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta, gave the advice in a statement issued to newsmen on Monday in Warri.

He also advised them against alleged threat to shut down operations of oil companies in their domain, noting that dialogue was the best option to resolving issues.

The aggrieved group had recently at different fora threatened to ground operations of the oil companies over perceived marginalisation by the federal government and the oil companies in job placement.

The council boss noted that executing the alleged threat in the face of the current global economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 would further deplete the revenue profile of the Federal and State Governments.

He added that the development would by implication reduce government’s financial strength to address their genuine agitation.

“The world has been watching:

“The peaceful protests by the Itsekiri group over the unfair deprivation of the Modular Floating Dockyard for training of students of the Nigerian Maritime University.

“The legitimate demand for the resumption of construction work at the Gas Revolution Industrial Park project (GRIP), in Warri South-West.

“The world knows it is unconscionable to deny the oil-producing people, Oil Mining Licenses (OML), and Marginal Fields generously given to others to their exclusion,” he said.

Tidi said that the Federal Government had awarded electrification project that would benefit about 50 communities in the Escravos area adding that work was ongoing but at a slow pace.

He, however, called for a sustained dialogue by members of the MDIOGPC as well as other critical stakeholders from Warri South, Warri South-West and Warri North Local Government Areas with the Federal Government.

He said that this was “to urgently fix issues of ocean surge, environmental degradation, land reclamation and lack of other basic infrastructures plaguing the oil and gas producing/riverine communities of the three local government areas”.

It will be recalled that Ijaws in Gbaramatu Kingdom and their neighbours, the Itsekiris, had on Sunday July 12, held a joint news conference in Warri.

At the conference they threatened to ground oil facilities in their domain should the federal government fail to accede to their demands.

The demands were the facilitation of the abandoned age-long Omadino-Escravos Road and the Koko/Ogheye Road Projects, resumption of work at the abandoned GRIP and the Deep-Sea Port among others.

Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Economy

COVID-19: Nigeria adopts 16 International Standards on essential electro-medical equipment- SON

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The Nigerian National Mirror/Technical Committee on Electromedical Equipment will adopt 16 International Standards on essential electro-medical equipment.

Mr Osita Aboloma.the Director-General Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), made this known at a webinar on Wednesday in Lagos.

Aboloma was represented by Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, the Director, Standards Development, at the programme.

According to him, the 16 International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)/International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) standards has become global requirements in the fight against the ongoing pandemic.

Aboloma said that there had been an increase in the global demands for the production and consumption of quality, safe and dependable medical equipment and systems in their varied brands.

“As a result, responding to the emergency demands foisted on medical systems globally has consequently challenged the National Standards development bodies to ensure the availability of standards in order to continuously save lives,” he said.

Aboloma reiterated the sensitivity of the medical sector for reasons of safety, precision of equipment, functionalities and value for money in the face of the global health and economic challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured the technical committee of SON’s commitment to continuously guaranteeing availability of standards, creation of awareness and promotion of strict implementation and compliance in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and regulatory authorities.

Aboloma said that the development and subsequent implementation and enforcement of the 16 standards, when approved by the Standards Council, would among others, encourage and support local production of medical devices, equipment and systems.

He said that it would also provide the necessary benchmark to adjudge imported medical equipment in the category.

According to him, it will ensure compliance to medical safety standards in terms of performance, reliability, accuracy/precision.

“It would also put into consideration patients’ safety, precise communication protocol with other medical devices as well as handlers’ safety,” he said.

Aboloma also enumerated other benefits of the adopted standards to include: supporting research and developments in the electromedical equipment and systems in Nigeria.

“It would also create fair playing ground for all related medical equipment produced locally and imported into the Nigerian markets as well as promote greater competitiveness of locally manufactured and imported electromedical equipment,” he said.

Commenting on the 16 standards, Dr Ayodele Esan, Chairman, National Mirror/Technical Committee, said that adoption of the international standards would enhance local production of electro-medical equipment and provide strong basis for regulation.

Esan assured the SON director-general that the rich knowledge and experiences of the Mirror/Technical Committee members would be brought to bear in the deliberations.

He also pledged the commitment of his members to ensuring the best for the nation in the consideration of the standards.

“The wide representation of stakeholders at the meeting is a pointer to how seriously they view the assignment,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that stakeholders represented at the technical meeting included Nigerian Medical Association (NMA); Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).

Others are Manufacturers of Electromedical Equipment; Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), the Academia and other experts across the country.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Polish president aims to ban adoption by gay couples

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A week before the second round of presidential elections in Poland, incumbent Andrzej Duda has said he would seek to change the constitution to ban gay couples from adopting children.

The legislation would be brought before the parliament on Monday, the conservative leader said.

Duda’s liberal challenger in the run-off, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, also said he was opposed to adoption by gay couples, PAP news agency reported.

Polish lawmaker and LGBT activist Krzysztof Smiszek criticized Duda for proposing something that he said would not have the necessary majority in parliament.

It was an attempt to mobilize primitive fears to gain votes, he said.

The latest poll puts Duda slightly ahead of Trzaskowski in the run-off next weekend, and predicts that he will win with 50.9 per cent of the vote.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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Foreign

United States Fed officials have “many questions” about adopting yield curve control: minutes

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United States Federal Reserve officials had “many questions” about adopting the so-called yield-curve-control policy when they discussed its pros and cons last month, according to the minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting released Wednesday.

“In their discussion of the foreign and historical experience with YCT (yield caps or targets) policies and the potential role for such policies in the United States, nearly all participants indicated that they had many questions regarding the costs and benefits of such an approach,” said the minutes of the Fed’s meeting held on June 9-10.

“Many participants remarked that, as long as the Committee’s forward guidance remained credible on its own, it was not clear that there would be a need for the Committee to reinforce its forward guidance with the adoption of a YCT policy,” the minutes said, referring to the Fed’s policy-making committee.

Fed officials raised a number of concerns related to the implementation of YCT policies, including how to maintain control of the size and composition of the Fed’s balance sheet, how to mitigate the risks that YCT policies pose to central bank independence, according to the minutes.

“All participants agreed that it would be useful for the staff to conduct further analysis of the design and implementation of YCT policies as well as of their likely economic and financial effects,” the minutes said.

Yield curve control, currently used by the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of Australia, seeks to hold down longer-term interest rates by setting a target yield for one or more specific maturities of government debt.

The minutes also showed that Fed officials generally expressed support for an outcome-based forward guidance, requiring the central bank to meet an inflation threshold or a target of the unemployment rate before raising interest rates.

“They saw this form of forward guidance as helping reinforce the credibility of the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent inflation objective and potentially preventing a premature withdrawal of monetary policy accommodation,” the minutes said.

“The minutes of the June FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee)meeting reveal that the Fed is leaning toward enhanced forward guidance and away from yield curve control, at least for now,” said Tim Duy, professor of the University of Oregon and a long-time Fed watcher.

“But that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. I suspect that they will move in that direction, but it probably won’t come until 2021 (assuming unemployment doesn’t look likely to quickly recede),” Duy wrote Wednesday in an analysis.

The Fed cut interest rates to near zero at two unscheduled meetings in March and began purchasing massive quantities of United States treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities to repair financial markets. It also unveiled new lending programs to provide up to 2.3 trillion United States dollars to support the economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Fed last month kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged and expected interest rates to remain at the current level of near zero through at least 2022.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Russia, Iran, Turkey adopt joint statement on Syria

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Russia, Iran and Turkey on Wednesday adopted a joint statement on Syria after a video teleconference of the leaders of Astana process guarantor countries, the Kremlin press service said.

The presidents of the three countries discussed the current situation on the ground in Syria, reviewed the developments since their last meeting on Sept. 16, 2019, in Ankara, and confirmed their determination to enhance the trilateral coordination in light of their agreements, the joint statement said.

The three sides “noted their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as well as to the goals and principles of the UN Charter,” it said.

They rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries, it added.

They reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area and underscored the necessity to maintain calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib, according to the statement.

They also expressed grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Syria and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase their assistance to all Syrians without discrimination, politicization and preconditions.

The statement said that the presidents agreed to hold the next tripartite summit in Iran as soon as possible.

The process toward a peaceful settlement in Syria, also known as the Astana process, was launched in January 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, which has been renamed Nur-Sultan.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Japan adopts new policies focusing on female empowerment

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The Japanese government on Wednesday adopted a new set of policies focusing on female empowerment as the country remains one of the lowest among major advanced economies when it comes to gender inequality.

The policies referred to the need to expedite women’s representation in business and political spheres as a matter of urgency due to the current low levels of female representation in those areas.

In senior business roles in Japanese companies, women comprise just 15 percent of the total positions, while the number of female politicians remains low, comprising 10 percent in Japan‘s more powerful lower house of parliament and 23 percent in the upper chamber.

The government wants to promote a deeper awareness of Japan’s gender imbalance and urge business bodies to understand the importance of supporting better gender parity in the workplace and particularly in senior position in companies.

The government also wants to look into why such gaping differences have occurred, and regarding women’s low representation in politics, it will investigate existing obstacles to becoming a lawmaker, as well as issues of harassment aimed at female lawmakers and candidates.

According to the World Economic Forum’s gender-gap rankings, in 2019 Japan ranked 121 out of 153 countries and regions, dropping from 110th place a year earlier and earning itself the lowest ranking among major advanced economies.

The government will also review its system of child support payments by divorced fathers, as fathers refusing to pay has been the cause of a number of single mothers slipping below the poverty line.

The government said in making its reviews, it will assess foreign countries’ systems of child support and enforcement.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday said the government will “start studying legal amendment to support women in difficult situations.”

According to the latest data, only 24.3 percent of single-mother households in Japan received child support from fathers after divorce.

This is despite women in Japan earning far less than their male counterparts.

Japanese men on average earned 5.45 million yen (50,700 United States dollars) in 2018, compared to women who earned an average of 2.93 million yen (27,200 United States dollars), official figures showed.

The latest policies also include enhanced measures to abolish all forms of violence against women.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

52 countries welcome China’s adoption of law on safeguarding national security in HK

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Speaking at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Cuba on behalf of 52 countries welcomed the adoption of the law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by China‘s top legislature.

The number of countries, which signed the joint statement Cuba read at the session, is expected to rise.

“Non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states is an essential principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and a basic norm of international relations,” a representative of Cuba read the joint statement.

“In any country, the legislative power on national security issues rests with State, which in essence is not a human rights issue and therefore not subject to discussion at the Human Rights Council,” said the statement.

“We believe that every country has the right to safeguard its national security through legislation, and commend relevant steps taken for this purpose.”

“In this context, we welcome the adoption of the decision by China’s legislature to establish and improve a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for the purpose of safeguarding national security, as well as China’s reaffirmation of adherence to ‘one country, two systems’ guideline,” the statement said.

Photo taken on June 12, 2020 shows the night view of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Photo taken on June 12, 2020 shows the night view of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

“We are convinced that this move is conducive to ensure ‘one country, two systems’ is steady and enduring, and that Hong Kong enjoys long term prosperity and stability. The legitimate rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents can also be better exercised in a safe environment,” it continued.

“We reiterate that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China, that Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that brook no interference by foreign forces. We urge relevant sides to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by using Hong Kong related issues,” it concluded.

Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday voted to adopt the law at the 20th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature.

It took effect at 11:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday in Hong Kong. The promulgation of the law was signed by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and published in the Gazette, according to a statement of the HKSAR government.

The law that has 66 articles in six chapters clearly defines the duties and government bodies of the HKSAR for safeguarding national security; the offenses and their corresponding penalties; jurisdiction, applicable law and procedure; office of the central people’s government for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR; and other contents.■

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Foreign

Cuba on behalf of 52 countries welcomes China’s adoption of law on safeguarding national security in HK

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(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Masari urges military to adopt holistic approach in dealing with banditry

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Banditry

Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina State has called on the military and other security agencies in the state to be holistic in dealing with the banditry activities in order to end the menace once and for all.

Masari made the call when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, in the Government House on Monday.

He said that the bandits, including their collaborators, in the communities such as informants and supplier should be monitored, identified and dealt with accordingly.

The governor said that defeating banditry in the state and other parts of the country required collective action by the government, the people and the security agencies.

According to him, operations of the military cannot and will not be successful without the support of the people.

“There are those in the communities that supply the bandits with information and supplies are equally guilty and are our enemies.

“It is not enough to continue to accuse government and the military, but the people have a role to play because security is a collective responsibility.

“The blame game must end in order to be able to defeat this bandits once and for all,” he said.

Masari commended Buratai for his presence in the state, adding that being in Katsina at this time was a morale booster to the people of the state.

He also commended the effort of the military and other security agencies in dislodging bandits in the last one month from their enclaves in forests areas in parts of Katsina and Zamfara States.

The governor, however, pledged the continuous government support for the army and other security agencies towards addressing the security challenges in the state.

He called upon the security agencies to understand that the only thing the bandit require is the superior fire power, adding that they must be dealt with once and for all without giving them opportunity to come back.

Earlier, Buratai, who is on operational tour of Army units and formations in the state, commended the governor for his support to the military operations in the state.

Buratai said that the deteriorating security situation in the state in recent time was a serious concern for President Muhammadu Bihari.who he said had directed that appropriate steps be taken to curtail the situation.

He said that the Nigerian army had developed renewed strategies to deal with the current security challenge in the state and the country as a whole.

He said that the new Operation Sahel Sanity was introduced as part of the new effort towards addressing the challenges, adding that the 2020 Nigerian Army Day Celebration had been rescheduled to take place in the state.

According to him, the Nigerian army will remain focused to ensure that the security of the state and the nation is guaranteed.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Buratai also proceeded to the Palace of the Emir of Katsina, where he solicited the support and prayers of the Emir, Alhaji Abdulmunini Usman.

He said that the recent killing of innocent citizens by the bandits in parts of the state was unacceptable, adding that there was renewed effort to bring an end to the situation.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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