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Air Peace transports 274 Israelis from Nigeria



Air Peace says 274 Israelis was evacuated from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIA) to Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Mr Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, made this known on Sunday in a statement in Lagos.

Onyema said the flight, which transported 65 passengers from Lagos and proceeded to Abuja to transport another 209, was operated by Air Peace Boeing 777-300 with registration number 5N-BWI.

He described the flight as historical, saying, “it is the first time Nigeria and Israel would have a direct flight”.

Onyema expressed hope that subsequently the two countries would have scheduled direct flight between Lagos and Tel-Aviv.

“It is a historic day for both Nigeria and Israel. History has been made today; 60 years of diplomatic relations, no direct flight has been conducted between Nigeria and Israel till today.

“So, this is the first time Nigeria and Israel will have direct air connectivity.

“So, it is a historic day, and it is going to portend greater things that will come, both countries have a lot to gain by having direct flights.

“Nigeria is a land of huge potential, which Israel may be willing to tap into, while Nigeria will want to tap into science and technology, which Israel is known for.

“I really want to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria for making this possible.

“Previous administrations were unable to pull this through, but this government did it. We have a compassionate government, that I can tell you,” he added.

According to him, it is difficult to get flight permits, even during this critical period of emergencies from other countries, but Nigeria did not waste a second to approve this flight.

“The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, approved the request the moment it was presented to him.

“All the heads of aviation agencies gave their supports, which made the flight possible. So, it is the government that made the evacuation possible,” Onyema said.

He said the Israel Government also gave its support and allowed for the first time a Nigerian airline to operate direct flight to Israel, noting that this was something good for both countries, good for our diplomatic relations.

“So, I feel proud; I fell privileged to be part of this history, and I thank God Almighty for it. We have to build from here now going forward,” the Air Peace chairman said.

He also said that the COVID-19 storm would be over someday.

“When it is over, we look forward to do scheduled direct flight to Israel; at least twice a week to Tel-Aviv; this will help boost business relations between both countries.

“So, there is a lot to be gained instead of people going through different countries before getting to Israel.

“For Israelis to get to their country, they spent about 18 hours for just about five hours flight from Nigeria.

“They were happy and clapping for the Nigerian Government and for the Israeli Government for making this happen today. So, I say kudos to the Buhari administration for making this come through,” Onyema said.

Responding, the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Shimon Ben-Shoshan, expressed happiness for the successful evacuation of his country’s citizens from Nigeria.

Ben-Shoshan commended the chairman of Air Peace, for his invaluable contribution in making the air transport possible.

“Thank you so much for this cooperation with us. We will work together.

“During this operation, I will work with you hand by hand. I can say that you are the darling of the Nigerian people, but you are my hero. Thank you so much,” Ben-Shoshan.

Also, an Israeli official, who superintended the process from Lagos, but wished not to be named, said it was because of the Coronavirus pandemic that Israel decided to evacuate its citizens.

“This is to enable them to have access to better medical facilities and personnel in Israel than in Nigeria.

“We are evacuating because of the Coronavirus and the situation in Nigeria, which could become serious.

“You see what is happening all over the world. So for us to protect our citizens better, we take them home to get a better health service.

“If something happens to you here you go to private hospital, not government hospital; but in Israel, we have government hospitals. By God’s grace we hope to have direct flight subsequently,” the official said.

Commenting, the Air Peace Station Manager at MMIA, Mr Lenard Olisakwe, expressed happiness that Israel chose Nigerian airline to evacuate its citizens to Israel.

Olisakwe said: “It is not easy to be patronised by Israelis who are highly security conscious, having to say, yes I am handing over the lives of my citizens to a particular airline is a big one.

“I was excited too because for them to choose Air Peace they must have done a lot of homework because they are not frivolous people.

“We are operating from both Abuja and Lagos. It is a transit flight. We will take them to Abuja International Airport where the other passengers will join and from Abuja to Tel-Aviv.

“It is about five hours flight. We are using one of our B777-300 BWI. It is one of the best we have,” he said.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye


Lagos to close Marine Beach Bridge for 5 months



The Lagos State Government on Sunday   announced a plan to effect partial closure of  the Marine Beach Bridge, Apapa, to vehicular movement,  from May 27 to Oct. 21.

The state Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde,  made the disclosure in a statement in Lagos.

He said that  the closure would be to enable repair of the bridge which, he said, was long overdue.

“The repair by the Federal Ministry of Works is long overdue and is vital for the safety of the people of Lagos State, especially motorists that ply the bridge to access different parts of the state.

“Necessary palliative works have been carried out on all alternative routes around the construction site to make them to be in good condition to ease movement during the construction period.

“The repair work, which comprise bearing and expansion joint replacement, is planned to be executed in two phases, with each phase focusing on one lane of the bridge at a time.

” The first phase will be handling the lane inbound Apapa while the second phase will be designated to work on the lane that conveys vehicles outside the axis,” he said.

Oladeinde said that the partial closure of the bridge by Total Gas, inward Apapa, would  last for  five months.

The commissioner said that  the repair was in line with the vision of providing a seamless transportation system in  the metropolis.

According to him, motorists inward Wharf Road  would be diverted to the other section of the bridge outward Apapa.

Oladeinde said that a contraflow of 200 metres had been designed  for vehicles to realign with a proper direction inward Ajegunle or Wharf Road, Apapa.

He said that motorists descending to Total Gas would drive without any hindrance.

The commissioner said that operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority would be stationed at the construction locations to  ease traffic.

Oladeinde appealed to motorists and residents of the area to cooperate with traffic management agencies deployed to the areas.

“The state government expresses its commitment to providing a transportation system that will meet the needs of a larger population in an emerging smart city,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Public Affairs Unit of the State Ministry of Transportation (MOT) had on March 27 announced the closure of the Marine Bridge, partially from March 28 to Aug. 15 for repair.

However, on March 28, the ministry suspended the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited /Ijeoma Popoola

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NiMet predicts sunny thundery weather, May 25 to May 27



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and thunderstorms across the country from Monday to Wednesday.

NiMet weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja predicted cloudy conditions with intervals of sunshine over the northern region on Monday to Wednesday.

It also predicted chances of a few thunderstorms over Taraba, Southern Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Kaduna and Adamawa axis later in the day.

According to the agency, there are chances of morning thunderstorms over central cities like Abuja, Kogi and Nassarawa.

NiMet forecasts prospects of thunderstorms over central cities in the afternoon/evening hours with cloudy mornings over southern areas with chances of a few thunderstorms over Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt axis.

It further forecasts better prospects of thunderstorms over the southern region during the afternoon/evening period.

“On Tuesday, cloudy conditions are likely over the northern region with chances of thunderstorms over Gombe, southern Borno, Adamawa, Kaduna and Zaria in the afternoon/evening period.

“Cloudy conditions with prospects of thunderstorms over Abuja, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kogi, Niger and Kwara during the afternoon/evening period are expected.

“The southern region should be cloudy in the morning hours with the exception of Enugu, Ondo and a few cities on the coast that has chances of thunderstorms.

“More prospect of thunderstorms is expected over the region in the afternoon/evening period.’’

NiMet predicted patches of clouds with intervals of sunshine and light thunderstorms on Wednesday over the north eastern axis in the morning hours.

The agency envisaged cloudy conditions with prospects of a few thunderstorms over Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba in the afternoon/evening hours.

According to the agency, the central cities should be cloudy with possibilities of thunderstorms over Kogi, Benue and Nassarawa in the morning hours.

NiMet, however, forecast chances of thunderstorms over Nassarawa and Abuja in the afternoon/evening period with the southern region to be cloudy with prospects of thunderstorms over south east inland and coastal cities in the morning.

“In the afternoon/evening hours, thunderstorms are anticipated over most parts of the region.’’

Edited By: Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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British Flairjet to pay N1m penalty for airport violation, says Minister



FlairJet, a British private charter company, which is also an affiliate of Flexjet, is to pay one million naira for violating COVID-19 airport directives in Nigeria.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure on Sunday via his verified twitter handle.

“Flairjet were found to violate our civil aviation regulations IS 1.3.3(a) Table 2(IV) 7(a) and IS 1.3.3 (a) Table 2 (VIII) (4).

“The maximum penalty for each is N500, 000.

“ We caused them to pay and reported their callous misdemeanour to UK CAA, MFA and the UK High Commission,” the minister said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the company was recently authorised to conduct humanitarian flights but was caught operating commercial flights.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had earlier banned commercial flights from operating into Nigeria as part of measures to curb spread of coronavirus.

Only passenger flights, which evacuate people or repatriate Nigerian citizens are currently allowed to operate as all airports in Nigeria are closed to international commercial flights until at least June 4.

However, flights for essential services, such as delivery of food supplies and items for humanitarian use are allowed to operate.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)


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GSS Kuje Old students donate palliatives to orphanage, vulnerable women



Government Secondary School (GSS) Kuje, Old Students Association, 2001 set, has donated food items to orphans and vulnerable women in Kuje Area Council to help cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown.

Mr Onyeka Ekene, the spokesperson of the association, told News Agency of Nigeria , on Sunday that the gesture was aimed at reducing the suffering of the less privileged in the area.

According to him, the association is saddled with the responsibility and passion to serve humanity, irrespective of religious background, gender, ethnicity and culture.

“In the midst of this COVID-19 outbreak, as people that grew up from this environment, that had our secondary school in this environment, we felt like giving back to the community, no matter how little it is.

“We are calling on not just the 2001 set, every other set in GSS Kuje, to emulate what we are doing no matter how little it is, it goes a long way to put a smile in the face of somebody.

“We might not know how this has gone in the life of these people, so we encourage everybody.

“I was made to understand that both the sitting and former Chairman of this Area Council finished from GSS Kuje.

“So, we encourage every set of GSS Kuje to do anything, no matter how little it is, to be able to affect the environment that once imparted us as students growing up in this place,” he said.

NAN reports that items distributed to the vulnerable women and the orphanage included rice, magi, salt, oil and spaghetti.

Ekene added that the association was available to always give back to the society, especially during emergencies as well as during health and humanitarian challenges in the country.

Allhaji Usman Yusuf, the District Head of Paseli Area, who received the palliatives on behalf of the vulnerable women, commended the association for helping to fight the pandemic and hunger.

He called on other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the association to help in cushioning the effects of the lockdown in the country.

“I thank the Old students Association for taking care of the old people in this COVID-19 Pandemic holidays that we are in.

In fact, thanks to the persons that initiated this palliative in Paseli community.

“As the leader of the community, I appreciate and I thank them for their meaningful organisation on this issue.

“We thank them for the little they have done for the vulnerable people in the society.

“God will help them in providing more, only the government cannot do all these things.

“If Non-governmental organisations will come together and assist as it happened today, I think the country will go well.

“We thank them and wish them safe journey to their destinations,” he said.

He, therefore, advised the beneficiaries to remain faithful and to put their trust in the unfailing love of God for sustenance and survival during this period.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Catholic Church’s Secretariat hails media practitioners for positively shaping society



The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) on Sunday hailed various  media practitioners who  had been using their tools  of trade to tell good and honest stories.

The CSN  which is the administrative office of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) said such stories had been  helping  in positively shaping and molding the society

It also urged journalists to focus more on positive stories that will always elevate the society.

The Secretary-General of the CSN, Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi, gave the  commendation in Abuja, during the Mass in an almost empty church to commemorate the 54th World Communications Day.

He  charged journalists to always  work toward countering negative stories in the society by regularly embracing positive and balanced reportage of events.

Samjumi in his homily  acknowledged that there were both  good stories and there were bad stories.

He said that good stories were constructive because they help to build up relationship and society, while  bad stories were destructive and provocative because they wear one down and destroy the society.

”It means that stories are not just the texts of words or prints, as if they are abstract and distinct from humanity; rather, they are real extensions of human persons in the various circumstances themselves.

”Stories influence our lives, whether in the form of fairy tales, novels, fllms, songs, news, even if we do not always realizpse it. They  leave their marks on us, they shape our convictions and our behaviours,” he said.

Samjumi added that the spewing of bad stories could be traced to the serpent’s encounter with the woman in the book of Genesis.

”We are in an age where falsification is increasingly sophisticated,” an age where people “‘peddle unverified information, repeating deceptively persuasive arguments, sending strident and hateful messages.

”Indeed, we are in an age where people create and manipulate stories so as to corrupt human minds as well as for exploitation

”This ugly situation calls for a conscious and robust response from Church leaders, pastoral agents, media practitioners, and from all men and women of goodwill.

”Consequently, the great challenge this document puts before all of us is the need to earnestly work toward countering the many bad stories in our society with “a human-angle story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us.

”All men and women of goodwill are called to tell “stories that build up, not tear down,” stories that “help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together.

”A fair combination of wisdom, creativity, courage, patience and discernment are necessary qualities required in order to attain these objectives,” he said.

Samjumi said that in order to counter the numerous negative stories, “we are challenged to employ all means and opportunities available to write our own stories.

”Film producers, actors and youths may explore the use of media forms like short video clips or dance drama in re-telling the many great biblical stories and parables of Jesus,in fostering positive values in the society and also in rebuking the many ills plaguing our society.

”Media practitioners need to be present on  the social media to tell the stories of goodness while countering and correcting the many falsehoods therein.

”Even, stories of human frailty need to be told with an eye of love, making room for mercy because the human story is daily evolving and never fully told.

”Therefore, even when it seems hopeless, the mercy of God must never be doubted since “every human story has an irrepressible dignity,” he added.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Peter Dada (NAN)

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NBA hails Gov. Uzodimma over repeal law on payments of pensions to Ex govs., Speakers



The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Orlu Branch, has lauded Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo for the enactment of the law revoking payments of pensions to former governors, Speakers of the state and their deputies.

Mr Celestine Agbordike, Chairman of NBA, Orlu Branch, who made the commendation in an interview with newsmen in Awka on Sunday also applauded members of the Imo state House of Assembly.

Agbordike said the new piece of legislation had liberated the people of the state from the humongous financial burden of servicing past governors, Speakers and their deputies.

He said the outlawed pension law which also provided that the former leaders got new vehicles every three years was anti people in view of the paucity of funds which made payment of salaries and pensions to retirees a challenge.

Agbordike expressed regrets that the same administration that enacted the ex governors and speakers pension law was the one which could not pay workers and pensioners as and when due on the claims that there was no money.

“The government of Imo state under Sen. Hope Uzodimma has written its name in gold in our history.

“It has saved Imo state over N1 billion annually with the signing into law the bill which revoked the payment of pensions to former governors and speakers and their deputies.

“This anti people law was passed by the Eighth Assembly assented to by the Sen. Rochas Okoroacha administration in the most clandestine manner.

“It was done in a bid to exploit the people of Imo especially the senior citizens whose pensions are not paid as and when due because of paucity of fund according to the state government.

‘It is unfortunate that the same elements who claimed there was no money will turn back to pay a heavy amount monthly to themselves after serving the state for just four or eight years.”

He said that some previous Imo administrations were also being accused of massive corruption.

“We give kudos to Gov. Hope Uzodinma for doing the unexpected in spite of the distractions by ensuring speedy assent to the bill,” he said.

The NBA chairman who said Gov. Uzodimma had demonstrated uncommon political will, called on other states where that type of law existed to take a cue.

He commended the lawmaker who proposed the bill and the entire members of the House of Assembly who ensured that it received the required support to scale through.

The NBA chairman said, Imo state is now free from the exploitation of the former governors and the speakers and their deputies.

“On behalf of my branch, I want to commend the entire members of Imo Assembly for doing a good job in the interest of the entire people of Imo state.

Edited By: Benson Iziama/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Eid-el-Fitri: RATTAWU congratulates Muslims, urges precaution against COVID-19



Eid-el-Fitri: RATTAWU congratulates Muslims, urges precaution against COVID-19


Awka, 24, 2020 The Radio Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union (RATTAWU), South East Zone, on Sunday congratulated Muslim faithful for successful completion of 2020 Ramadan Fast and Eld-el-Fitri celebration.

Mr Emeka Kalu, National Vice President RATTAWU, disclosed this in a statement issued in Awka.

Emeka, while congratulating the Muslims, said they should use their renewed spirits and lessons of Ramadan to relate harmoniously with people of other creed for overall national peace and progress.

He said they should celebrate the joyous occasion with full observance of standard safety protocols against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The Ramadan is an inspiration for enduring love and genuine loyalty, success, tolerance and RATTAWU calls on all to embrace the principle of peace.

RATTAWU South East Zone reminds our Comrade Muslim brothers and sisters to continue to abide by the regulations issued by the World Heath Organisation, Federal and State Governments on COVID-19 prevention.

“Recall that the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs had also banned all forms of public gatherings to celebrate this year’s Eid, a situation occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic across the world.

“Let’s remain in our homes and pray for our members, our Union RATTAWU and Nigeria as a nation, especially at this very challenging moment of global downturn.

“So as you engage in the celebrations associated with the completion of the Ramadan period, please remember to maintain physical distancing, use of face masks, hand washing and all other protocols enunciated by the NCDC.

“We must also remember the ban on all forms of non essential inter state movements,”  he said.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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COVID-19: Buhari approves medical research, facilities’ funding by TETFund



President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved funding of six Medical Simulation, Research and Training Facilities in Colleges of Medicine, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

In a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, TETFund’s Director of Public Affairs, Mrs Ngoba Briggs, said the facilities would aid the setting up of Molecular Science Laboratories with capacity for testing and diagnosing COVID-19, Lassa Fever, and other related viral diseases.

Briggs said the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had directed the Executive Secretary of the fund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, to select a university in each of the six geo-political zones, where the projects would be executed.

She said that TETFund had been mandated to establish 12 Medical Centers of Excellence to be hosted by first, second and third generation universities.

She added that Adamu had emphasised that, besides ongoing research work in response to COVID-19 and similar diseases through the TETFund National Research Fund (NRF), the Research Community of the ministry should undertake any other sundry contributions.

This was to support of the commendable efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF), in responding to the threat of COVID-19 in Nigeria, she added.

Briggs said the centers of excellence, according to the directive, should be distributed in such a way that two must be sited in each geo-political zone.

In a similar statement, Mr Buhari Mikailu, Director, Physical Infrastructure Development, Tetfund, said additional centers of excellence would be sited in state universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in `subsequent years’.

Mikailu said areas of focus of the centers of excellence, in line with contemporary practice and technologies, were mainly in science-based disciplines.

He said the approval was initiated through the recommendation of the fund’s Board of Trustees (BoT), and endorsement of Adamu.

He said the purpose was to signify a major paradigm shift in research and excellence in the universities.

Edited By: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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Don’t use foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians- Reps Committee



Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, has advised the Federal Government against using foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians from Canada.

Nnaji, representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday that the House would not condone it.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there was persistent refusal by the Canadian authorities to grant Air Peace airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada.

NAN reports that the Canadian Government was alleged to have given preference to Ethiopian Airline for evacuation of stranded Nigerians desiring to come home as against the Air Peace which the task force has already engaged for the evacuation.

Air Peace is charging 1,134 dollars per passenger as against the sum of 2,500 dollars charged by the Ethiopian Airline.

Nnaji, however, said that the position of the House of Representatives was very clear on the issue of evacuation flights.

The lawmaker explained that the House had on May 12 adopted the motion against the use of foreign airlines for evacuation of stranded Nigerians in other countries.

Nnaji said the House had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and relevant Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the motion.

He said the House had urged them to ensure that Nigerian Airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in all circumstances where Nigerians need to be evacuated from other countries.

“The House of Representatives had insisted that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and indeed the COVID-19 Task Force must explore all available diplomatic channels to ensure that a Nigerian airline operate the evacuation flight out of Canada.

“The aviation committee has also observed that Canadian authorities has no reason to deny Air Peace landing right.

“This is because available records had shown that the airline has the require certification and approvals to operate internationally.

“Our findings have shown that Air Peace is International Air Transport Association’s Safety Oversight Audit (IOSA) certified.

“This means that the airline has a major international parameter for measuring airlines’ safety standards,” he said.

Nnaji said that there was need for the Canadian Government to treat the flight as a special emergency occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic and immediately grant the necessary approvals to the Air Peace.

Similarly, the lawmaker said the committee had summoned the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and agencies to appear before it on Thursday.

Nnaji explained that the committee summoned those directly or indirectly involved in the earlier evacuation flights handled by the British Airways, Emirates and Ethopian Airlines from the UK, United Arab Emirates and America.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Cleric focuses sermon on indecent dressing by woman, social-distancing in prayer



A cleric in Dutse, Jigawa, Imam Baba Waziri, on Sunday focused his Eid-el-Fitri sermon on indecent dressing among Muslim women, especially those working in public places.

Waziri also encouraged all Muslims to comply with social distancing in prayer, in line with the government advice and NCDC’s guidelines in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The Imam, who led the Eid prayer at the Tatur Adua in the Commercial Secondary School, Tatur side in Dutse, cautioned Muslim women to fear God and His chastisement against violating the commandments.

Waziri said Islam is a complete way of life and doesn’t support women, irrespective of their status, to dress indecently.

He said that Islam encourages women to always wear Hijab that would cover the whole body, noting that women’s body is not meant for the public show but for their spouses.

On social distances in prayer, the Imam said it was Islamic that those who are infected by any infectious diseases are not allowed to mix with others in prayers, whether in the Mosque or any other social gathering place.

He also called on Nigerians to avoid spreading fake news capable of causing civil unrest in the society on social media.

Instead of spreading fake news, he urged people to engage in prayers for the wellbeing of the country and to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Imam said that it was duty bond on every Muslim to comply with the government regulations in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that early morning rainfall, however, prevented the Chief Imam of Dutse, Dr Abubakar Sani, from leading the prayer at the state Eid praying ground.

The Imam, instead led the prayer inside the Central Mosque with the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Namadi and other residents in attendance.

In his sermon, Sani urged Muslims to comply with the government guidelines in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

The Imam appealed to Nigerians to pray for country to get out of the pandemic.

NAN reports that the state government had directed all Muslim residents to observe their Eid prayer in their respective localities as against the traditional congregational Eid praying grounds across the state.

Muslims in Duste had complied with the government directives in observing the Eid prayers in their various localities.

Majority of the faithful were seen wearing face masks as instructed by the government while in the praying ground

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19: FCTA supports traditional rulers with medical items



The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Primary Healthcare Board has supported 17 chiefs with hand and respiratory hygiene materials and noncontact digital infra-red thermometer.

Mr Austine Elemue, Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

The minister presented the medical items to the Agaba of Jiwa kingdom, Alhaji Idris Musa.

Aliyu said that the support was to guard against the spread of the coronavirus in view of the large number of people that visit the palaces of traditional rulers to seek counselling.

The minister noted that the role of traditional rulers in FCT could not be overemphasised, adding that COVID-19 response from the primary healthcare sector fits into the community response too.

Aliyu, who said that community spread of COVID-19 was no more in doubt, stressed the need for traditional institutions to continue sensitisation of activities at the community level.

“The role of traditional rulers in FCT cannot be overemphasied. There are three approaches to COVID-19 response in FCT from the health sector itself.

“Primary health sector, the public health sector and the secondary health sector which will also pass through the tertiary and specialist hospitals.

“The response from the primary healthcare sector fits into the community response too.

“They are all represented here. The response may appear belated but it has to take a lot of planning and focused strategic activities to ensure that we work together as a team and reactivate that partnership that can make things to happen.

“Prevention and control are very critical particularly hands and respiratory hygiene and using noncontact infra-red digital thermometer that could help us to detect some of the major symptoms of the disease known as COVID-19.

“The community spread of the virus is no more in doubt, it is very obvious that it’s ongoing. The traditional institutions are the custodian of sensitisation and mobilisation of activities in the community level.

“And without you being protected, going by the number of meetings you are going to hold, for advice and counselling, there is need to protect yourselves as frontline workers.

“In response to this critical observation, the administration has approved PPE to the 17 graded chiefs that will protect and aid surveillance.

“We are here with infra-red digital thermometer, hand sanitizers, face masks and buckets. This will go a long way to strengthen our partnership.”

Receiving the items on behalf of the traditional rulers, Musa stressed that with the support, traditional rulers would have a sense of belonging.

The monarch urged the FCT Primary Health Care Board to work as a team, even as he tasked them to tap from the knowledge of the traditional rulers.

“This is what we have been seeing in other states. First, let me commend the FCT Minister of State for presenting these items so that it will go round to all the graded chiefs.

“I am happy as a representative of northern traditional rulers in the FCT. It is what we have being waiting for.

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Eid-el-Fitr: AMAC boss calls for prayers to end COVID-19



Mr Abdullahi Candido, Chairman, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), has called on Muslims to pray for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country and the world, as Muslims celebrate Eid-el-Fitr.

Candido gave the call in his sallah message to residents of the area council on Sunday in Abuja.

“I want to congratulate Muslims on the successful completion of the Ramadan and I want them to celebrate this Eid-el-Fitr with the spirit of sacrifice, love and patience, which is expected of all faithfuls.

“I also want to urge them to be prayerful as we are being ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, I believe that it is only prayers that can solve 90 per cent of this problem,” he said.

The chairman also urged residents of the area council to comply with government’s directives on physical distancing and observance of basic rules on personal hygiene.

He also counseled residents to ensure that they put on their face masks and obey all guidelines as outlined by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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Amaechi mourns Karibi-Whyte, lauds his virtues



Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has expressed profound sadness and pain over the demise of a retired Supreme Court jurist, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte.
Amaechi, in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, referred to the deceased as `a father and a great advisor’.
During his time as governor of Rivers State, Amaechi appointed Karibi-Whyte Pro Chancellor of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) to strengthen the institution’s education and values.
The minister said: “Justice Karibi-Whyte, for me, was a father figure. He was an exemplary personality, a great advisor and I have the utmost respect for him.
“During his tenure as Pro Chancellor of RSUST where he brought his astute disposition and intellect to bear, there was a remarkable turnaround in the quality of education and handling of affairs in the institution.
“He was also a key member of the State’s Economic Advisory Council when I was governor and my administration and Rivers State benefited richly from his wealth of experience and expertise.
“As a Justice of the Supreme Court, he was very upright, fearless and upheld the rule of law.
“ He was a colossus and great teacher. I will miss him deeply. Rivers State and Nigeria just lost a good man, a great man,” he said.
Amaechi prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed Justice and comfort for his wife and entire family.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Eid-el-Fitr: FCT minister urges Muslims to intensify prayers for end to COVID-19



The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has urged Abuja residents, especially the Muslim Ummah to use the period of Eid-el-Fitr to pray fervently for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Bello gave the advice in his Sallah message to FCT residents which was made available to newsmen on Saturday in Abuja.

“On behalf of the FCT Administration I wish to congratulate Muslim faithful across the Territory for the successful completion of the Ramadan fast and wish them a pleasant and joyous Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

“While the Holy month of Ramadan was no doubt used to pray fervently for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative consequences on the society, I must urge the Muslim Ummah not to relent in their prayers but rather intensify them even after Ramadan.

“Because in times of tribulations, true supplications to the Almighty indeed yield positive results,” Bello said.

The minister also used the occasion to express his appreciation on behalf of the FCTA and all residents of the FCT to the health and other essential workers in the frontline of the battle against the Coronavirus disease.

He praised health workers for their dedication to duty and the sacrifices they were making in ensuring that there was no dramatic spike in the number of positive cases in the FCT and keeping the numbers within manageable limits.

Bello also thanked individuals, corporate, religious and Non-governmental organisations as well as some government establishments for their contributions in the provision of medical equipment, facilities and palliatives for the less privileged.

He said their generosity underscored the significance of the FCT as Nigeria’s centre of unity.

The minister also advised residents that while enjoying the festivities, they should obey all laid down protocols of hand washing, face covering, staying at home and physical distancing.

He reminded residents that the measures were put in place for the safety and wellbeing of everyone.

COVID-19 does not discriminate on whom it affects and there is therefore the need for residents to take personal responsibility for their health.

“If you observe any symptoms associated with the virus, please, contact the relevant health authorities.

“Remember that COVID-19 is not a death sentence and there is the need to avoid stigmatising anyone who has been infected.

“Defeating it will require the cooperation and collaboration of all,” he said.

Bello wished the residents a happy Eid-el-Fitr celebration and encouraged them to enjoy the festivities from the safety of their homes.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Ramadan: TUC calls for sober reflection



The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has urged Muslim faithful to have a sober reflection because of the challenge posed by the COVID -19 pandemic.

It made the call in a statement jointly signed by its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, on Saturday, in celebration of the Ramadan festival.

“The world is in a dire strait, and as true Muslims, adherence to teaching of the holy Quran and the lessons from the life of the prophet Muhammad can help heal our wound.

“We must show love to one another now more than ever before; also, Nigerians must maintain peace, a corruption-free society and love one another irrespective of religious affinities to forge ahead, ” the statement read.

The TUC said that the essence of the celebrations include living sacrificial lives, sincere initiation and implementation of worthy policies by public officers.

It called for transparency on the part of government, ensuring that people were not denied their rights.

“We call on the Federal Government and other tiers of government to rise up to the task of rebuilding the economy; deal with the issue of tribalism, nepotism, corruption, religious intolerance that plagued the country before now.

“The COVID-19 is just an additional plague; if we miss the opportunity of redirecting our affairs now, we may never get it right again.

“As a people, we must all submit ourselves to the will of the Almighty God, knowing that He alone can help us to overcome the present challenges, no matter how thorny or weighty they may appear at the moment, ” the statement read.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Eid-el-Fitr: FRSC deploys 1,300 personnel in Lagos, vows to curb combat overloading



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos State Command says it has deployed 1,300 of its personnel to ensure safety on the roads during the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

The Sector Commander, Mr Hyginus Omeje, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Saturday, said that the corps would not tolerate overloading by commute

Omeje said: “In all, we are deploying 1,300 officers and men in the three main corridors in Lagos-Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lekki-Epe Expressway and Lagos-Badagry Expressway.

“A total of 25 patrol vehicles, two ambulances and four heavy-duty tow trucks and two light duty tow trucks shall be deployed along these corridors.

“We have our ambulances positioned at strategic points for prompt rescue services should there be any crash. Our tow trucks are equally deployed for quick removal of obstructions.”

The FRSC boss, who expressed the corps’ commitment to ensure hitch-free traffic flow, said that corps would monitor and ensure enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

He urged motorists to steer clear of impatience and disregard to traffic regulations.

He advised motorists to observe safety precautions while using the road, saying that “the road does not forgive abusers”.

According to him, all Lagos residents must adhere strictly to all precautionary measures to combat spread of COVID-19, especially the physical distancing in their vehicles and use of face masks.

“We are simply appealing to people to observe social distancing as they commute during the Eid-el-Fitr. Overloading with passengers or goods shall be our primary focus of enforcement.

“The presidential partial lockdown order is still in force; hence we advise that people should remain in their state of residence and avoid interstate movements except for those vehicles on essential services.

“Commuters should equally remember to put on their face masks,” Omeje said.

Omeje said that officers and men of the corps would be visible on all the highways to ensure strict enforcement of overloading and physical distancing among commuters.

The FRSC boss, who urged road users to drive with care, added that the corps would be available to respond to distress calls that might arise.

According to him, FRSC operatives will be collaborating with other sister agencies in manning the Interstate borders to checkmate unwarranted travels.

“As it has always been our strategy,  collaboration with other services and responder agencies such as the Nigeria Police, NSCDC, LASTMA, LASEMA, Fire Service shall be sustained during this period.

“No agency can do it alone in Lagos,” Omeje said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

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CYMS hails Gambari’s sterling qualities, calls for synergy



The Committee of Youth on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS), has commended the sterling qualities of the newly appointed Chief of Staff (CoS) to Mr President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.


Alhaji Bala Usman, the Patron, Committee of Youth on CYMS, gave this commendation in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja.


Usman while commending the CoS, therefore, used the medium to call on all Nigerians to give him maximum support to enable him execute his services to the nation.


He described the CoS as a highly distinguished diplomat and bridge builder whose administrative ingenuity is unrivalled, and called on all stakeholders and the Nigerian communities to support him to deliver on this onerous task.


The patron described Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as a golden asset to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, especially at this challenging moment where COVID-19 global pandemic had crippled the nation`s economy.


According to Usman, the appointment is a pleasant recognition of Gambari’s distinguished pedigree and a confirmation of his enduring commitment to national development and capacity to mobilise human and natural resources for a common purpose.


He expressed the hoped to seeing Prof. Gambari utilising his skills in serving the country.


He advised the Chief of Staff not to allow himself to be distracted by mischievous people, who are bent at undermining the achievements of Buhari’s led-administration.


Usman urged him to be focused and ensure that the President`s interest is protected while delivering the next level agenda of the administration for the common benefits of all, as Nigerians expect much from him.


The CYMS Patron, who is a Kano born businessman and politician, also reiterated his own personal commitment to contribute immensely to Buhari’s led-administration.


Usman expressed readiness to align himself with the organisation’s congratulatory message by the Director General of CYMS, Mr Obinna Nwaka.


He also urged other political appointees including Nigerians at large to support Professor Agboola Ibrahim Gambari in prayers.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the CYMS is a pro-government’s evaluation and monitoring organisation, established to sensitise Nigerians both in Diaspora and across the federation on the Federal Government`s achievements.


The group is also committed to mobilising Nigerians to key into various policies and programmes of the Federal Government to ensure National Development.


CYMS is comprising of erudite young people on government`s policies with the drive to champion peaceful and progressive coexistence of the diverse ethnic groups across the federation.


Also, with formidable structure ranging from National Executive Council, State Coordinators, Local Government Areas Coordinator and at Wards level.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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Group decries Canadian Government’s refusal of landing right to Air Peace



The Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative (ART) has decried refusal of the Canadian Government to allow Air Peace landing rights to transport the stranded Nigerians in Canada.

Mr Olumide Ohunayo, the group Spokesperson, registered the association’s displeasure in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the stranded Nigerians had sought permission to return to Nigeria due to the prevalent global lockdown caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said the airline was denied landing rights by the Canadian authorities on the grounds that the Nigerian carrier did not have licence to undertake commercial flights into the country.

Onyeama said the Federal Government rejected in totality, “the nebulous safety concerns conveyed by the government of Canada”.

Ohunayo, however, said the group viewed the Canadian Government’s action as not only an unfriendly act, but an unwarranted discriminatory and anti- competition acts bordering on avoidable aero-politics.

“The demand of our common humanity at these challenging times posed by the ravaging COVID-19 requires maximum cooperation of all.

“We, therefore, request our government, especially the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation to stand firm against this discriminatory and unfriendly act.

“Air Peace remains Nigeria’s flagship, duly authorised by Nigeria for the evacuation mission of its distressed citizens in Canada,” he said.

Ohunayo said in the diplomatic spirit of respect and cooperation among nations, the initiative urged the Federal Government to persuade Canada to review its position and bring succour to the stranded Nigerians.

NAN reports that the Federal Government had so far evacuated no fewer than 600 Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) United Kingdom (UK) and United States (U.S).

This was part of the measures to bring back 4,000 Nigerians from all over the world willing to return to the country following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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NiMet predicts cloudy, thundery activities Saturday to Monday



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudy and thundery weather activities across the country from May 23 to May 25.

NiMet`s weather outlook released on Friday in Abuja  forecast cloudy conditions over northern region in the morning hours of Saturday with prospects of overnight into early morning light thunderstorms over Yobe and southern Borno axis.

According to the forecast, during the afternoon/evening period, there are chances of increased cloudiness with slim chances of thunderstorms over parts of Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, northern Borno, Gombe and Taraba axis.

It further forecast other parts of the north to be mostly cloudy with intervals of sunshine.

“The central cities are likely to be cloudy during the morning hours.

“However, parts of Niger, Lokoja, southern Nasarawa, and Benue are expected to experience overnight into early morning thunderstorms with little rains.

“ The afternoon and evening hours hold better prospects of weather activities as isolated thunderstorms are expected over Abuja, Benue, Kogi, Niger and Kwara axis.

“The inland areas of the south and coastal belts should be predominately cloudy with few isolated thunderstorms over Ado Ekiti, Abeokuta and Ondo, Calabar, Lagos, Bayelsa, Port Harcourt and Ijebu-Ode axis during the morning period.

“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over most places in the inland and coastal areas in the afternoon/evening hours.’’

NiMet predicted Cloudy conditions with prospects of isolated thunderstorms over Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Biu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina in the northern region during the morning hours of Sunday.

The agency also predicted isolated thunderstorms over the north to affect parts of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano and Katsina axis and environs during the afternoon/evening period.

It envisaged increased cloudiness over the central region with chances of early morning thunderstorms over parts of Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa and Jos axis.

According to NiMet, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over the high ground areas to affect Jos, Abuja, Kogi, Niger and Makurdi areas in the afternoon and evening period.

It further envisaged cloudy conditions over the inland cities with prospect of few thunderstorms during the afternoon/evening hours.

NiMet predicted light thunderstorms over Lagos, Ijebu-Ode, Benin and Port Harcourt in the coastal region during the morning hours with isolated thunderstorm over most places in the coastal region later in the day. 

“For Monday, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are expected over the northern region in the morning hours.

“During the afternoon and evening period,  cloudiness with spells of few thunderstorms are expected over Yelwa, Zaria, Potiskum, Nguru, Dutse, Kebbi, Jalingo and Yola.

“ The rest of the cities over this region are likely to remain cloudy with intervals of sunshine. The central region is expected to be mostly cloudy.

“ However, we anticipate isolated thunderstorms to affect parts of Abuja, Jos, Kogi and Kwara axis during the afternoon/evening period.

“ Increased cloudiness is expected over the inland and the coastal areas of the south during the morning hours with prospects of thunderstorms over the region in the afternoon and evening hours,’’ it said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)





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Buhari appoints Prof Godswill Obioma new NECO registrar



President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Prof. Godswill Obioma as Registrar/Chief Executive of the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Mr Azeez Sani, Head, Information and Public Relations Division of the Council made this known to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

He said a letter dated May 15, 2020 with Reference No: /396/C1/1/134 and signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, stated that the appointment which was for an initial tenure of five years, takes effect from May 14, 2020.

Obioma, a professor of Education Measurement and Evaluation, was born on 12th December 1953 and hail from Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.

The Registrar on Friday, May 22, formally took over the affairs of the Council from the former Acting Registrar, Mallam Abubakar Gana at the Council’s Headquarters in Minna.

He was a former Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC).

Prof. Obioma has held other key positions in the education sector, among which are: Director, Monitoring, Research and Statistics, National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB);

He was also the Director Monitoring and Evaluation Universal Basic Education Programme; Director Monitoring and Evaluation National Primary Education Commission and Head, Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology, University of Jos.

Until his appointment as Registrar of NECO, Prof. Obioma was the Ebonyi State Resident Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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