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Community leaders advise subjects to heed precautionary tips on COVID-19



Igwe Alex Edozieuno, Traditional Ruler, Mkpunando Aguleri Otu in Anambra East Area of Anambra has advised his subjects to heed to government’s safety directives on COVID-19.

Edozieuno who gave the advice in a telephone interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Awka said it was better to act early than wait to see monumental emergency and deaths.

He said people should not wait for the law enforcement agents to push them around before abiding by the safety rules.

“The life we have is ours, and it is divinely entrusted to us and so we must not wait to be pushed around before we protect ourselves over death,” he said.

Also, Mr Caius Dim, President-General, Akpo Development Association (ADA) in Aguata Local Government Area,  called on people of his community to avoid being `whipped’ by security agents before adhering to directives to stay at home.

Dim gave the warning in a statement on Sunday in Awka, adding that

Town Crier of his area had made the announcement throughout the streets of Akpo from 4am to 6am on March 27.

According to him, the message to stay at home is costing government so much because they want to save life and property, which is a primary responsibility of government.

“It is purely  to support that intention that we are adding our voice for our people to stay at home; stay safe and be alive to tell the story of Coronavirus.

“Always wash your hands thoroughly and regularly; take personal hygiene seriously and maintain social distancing, at least a meter apart.

“Avoid funerals, Church meetings and other social gatherings as directed to check spread of the virus,’’ he said.

Dim said, since the announcement that some people were pleading for permit to enable them do one event or another noting that the measure was not a political order.

“People are calling to ask for waivers to carry out funerals and other social engagements that they had fixed. Some of them claim that they had slaughtered cows as part of arrangements for their events.

“My simple replies have been; which one is better, carrying out the funeral and contracting COVID-19 or losing the items to stay alive? I think staying alive is better because this health emergency directives.

“It is important to protect life. Remember, it is in your own interest and not that of the President-General, Igwe or Government.

“I am even surprised that educated reverend fathers and pastors, who must have seen the devastation in Italy will still open their Church premises for services,” he said.

Dim called on community leaders to join government in making their people understand the thinking of government before it is too late on the preventive measures.

Edited By: Rabiu Sani Ali


COVID-19: Kaduna govt. begins community case-search, visits 29,771 households



The Kaduna State Ministry of Health has commenced active case search within communities in the nine local government areas where COVID-19 infections have been confirmed.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, said in a statement on Monday that health officials were going into communities to search for and test persons who might be showing any COVID-19 symptom.
“As part of the active case search, 29,771 households have so far been visited. Health officials have tested 297 persons with symptoms such as fever and sore throat,’’ she said.
The commissioner explained that the search for probable cases within communities was combined with targeted testing of contacts of confirmed cases and testing of persons with symptoms that met the case definition.
She warned that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state was likely to increase, as more tests were conducted in more areas.
“Expanded testing will enable early identification of new cases and will help prevent further spread of the virus by getting infected persons to be isolated and treated earlier.
“It will also provide more accurate data to inform government’s decisions, going forward,’’ she added.
The commissioner further said that the active case search had given the ministry the opportunity to search for other medical conditions and provide services to the communities.
She said that as at May 31, the state had recorded a total of 258 cases, out of which 93 were active cases, with 157 discharged 157 and eight fatalities.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Security: FCT begins implementation of state community policing



The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has kicked off the implementation of the State Community Policing initiative aimed at reducing crime in communities and deepen trust between the public and law enforcement agencies.

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, made the disclosure while inaugurating the 16-member State Community Policing Advisory Committee (SCPAC) for FCT, on Monday in Abuja.

Bello said that community policing worldwide had proved to be effective in curbing crime by making the police and community members work together in the prevention and solving of crimes.

He expressed optimism that with the Presidential approval granted for community oriented policing across the nation, Nigeria will begin to witness reduction in crime rate.

Bello, therefore, enjoined members of the committee to take the assignment very seriously and give it the utmost attention it deserved.

He also urged them to be nonpartisan in all their decisions and recommendations as well as be guided by the principles of natural justice and laws of the land.

He noted that community policing was a strategy that was anchored on trust between the people and the security officers.

“Once there is a trust deficit in any guise or form, the workability of this policy becomes highly diminished and we will have lost a great opportunity in improving the security profile of the territory.

“It is necessary that selection into the Special Constabulary is fair and just with proper screening.

“Those selected should also be provided with basic training needed for the job. There should also be a robust feedback and monitoring mechanism for the performance of those appointed to carry out tasks within the communities.

“There should also be confidentiality of investigation and protection of informants,” Bello said.

Responding, Bala Ciroma, Chairman of the 16-member policing advisory committee and the FCT Commissioner of Police, promised to deliver on the mandate and to entrench a result-oriented community policing approach in FCT communities.

Ciroma noted that the committee could only deliver on its mandate if FCT residents embrace community policing and provide the necessary support for its success.

On his part, Sen. Philip Aduda, representing FCT, pledged to support full implementation of the initiative across the territory to enhance the security of lives and property.

The lawmaker commended the Inspector General of Police for reviving the community policing system aimed at improving national security.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the committee included, heads of various government security organisations in FCT and respected political, religious, traditional and community leaders.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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COVID-19 lockdown: Lagos court sentences 730 violators to community service



No fewer than 730 persons were sentenced to community service by Lagos State Magistrates’ Court for COVID-19 lockdown offences, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Director of Community Service, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Ms Shakirat Karimu-Ikotun disclosed this to NAN in her office on Monday.

She spoke after receiving some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the British Council Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme.

Items presented by RoLAC include hand gloves, hand sanitisers, reusable face masks, hoes, brooms, cutlasses, rakes, wheelbarrows, printer inks and A4 papers, while the project was funded by the European Union.

Karimu-Ikotun said that many people were arrested for COVID-19 lockdown offences, saying that only few magistrates were available to handle their cases.

She said that all the offenders who pleaded guilty were given a non-custodian sentencing and were allowed to come from their various homes to carry out their community service for one or two weeks, depending on their offences.

“At least, we have supervised 730 offenders between April and May 15 over COVID-19 offences. We have many offenders but few courts were working to handle their cases.

“The community services carried out by offenders included public toilet washing, street sweeping, cutting of grass, clearing drainages, cleaning old peoples’ home,” she said.

Karimu-Ikotun appreciated RoLAC for the items donated to the unit, saying that the equipment would go a long way in protecting those on community service while carrying out the duties.

She appealed to the magistrates to always sentence minor offenders to community service, saying that this would reduce the number of inmates in various correctional centres, especially, those awaiting trials.

The Programme Officer of RoLAC in Lagos, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakinwa, while presenting the items said that the aim of the intervention was to ensure a sustained service delivery during COVID-19 breakout.

Ajimakinwa said the donation would also strengthen the capacity of the Community Sentencing Unit to supervise community offenders.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in the number of offenders sentenced to do community service. The COVID-19 outbreak and consequential lockdown restriction have made it necessary to support the unit.

“Courts in Lagos are now routinely resorting to non-custodian measures, which increases the demand for equipment for doing community service,” Ajimakinwa said.

Some PPE items were also presented by RoLAC to the Lagos State Police Command Family Support and Gender Units.

The programme officer said they were supporting the units due to their involvement in handling sexual and domestic violence, which she claimed had increased since the pandemic lockdown started.

“The current prevalence of COVID-19 has led to increase in cases of sexual and domestic violence and service providers such as Gender and SFUs should be supported to ensure they carry out their services without any hindrance,” she said.

CSP Omomobi Olutoyin, the Head of Gender Unit at the Lagos State Police Command, who received the items on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, appreciated RoLAC for the donation.

She said that the organisation had donated other items to the command in time past, saying that the items donated would go a long way in protecting the police personnel in the course of their duties.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Community Service: NYSC members evacuate blocked drainages in Yobe



Some National Youths Service Corps (NYSC)  members in Yobe State, on Monday voluntarily embarked on evacuation of some blocked drainages within Damaturu, the state Capital.

The three corps members, two men and a lady, who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Damaturu narrated what motivated them to embark on the tedious work.

Tarzoho Paul with registration number YB/19C/1652, who was a graduate of English from Benue State University, Makurdi, disclosed the reason why he initiated the community development exercise.

“I started this work alone with the belief that it would improve the health and environmental hygiene of this community.

“One good thing about community development service is to reawaken the spirit of responsibility to others. Now because of this effort, other people started doing similar work in the community,”  Tarzoho said.

He also noted that the NYSC was not all about wearing good khaki and moving around, but about making positive change in the community.

Uche Egbuemike, the lady corps member with registration number YB/19C/0973, a graduate of Economics from University of Nigeria Nsukka, said she was motivated by the courage of her colleague Paul, who started the work alone.

“My friend Paul motivated me to join him in this community development project.

“He told me about the work he was doing and showed me some pictures of the work. I was amazed at his performance and I made up my mind to join him,” she said.

As a female, she said it was not easy to do that kind of work especially at the beginning.

“But then I want to help my host community and send a message to other female corps members that they can do anything they want to do.

“I really feel honoured to be in this kind of position,”  Egbuemike added.

On his part, Richard Peter with registration number YB/19B/0946 also a graduate of Economics from Benue State University, appealed to other corps members to always identify what their host communities needed and work on it.

“I appeal to other corps members to be humble and sincere. There are lots of challenges facing our host communities so it is good to identify such challenges and address them,” he said.

The three corps members also expressed gratitude to the community members and passers-by, who sometimes provided them drinking water and other little gifts in appreciation for their dedication and service to the community.

They however, stated that their major challenge was excessive heat due to weather condition.

Alhaji Ali Mustapha, a resident of GRA Damaturu and one of the beneficiaries of the corps members’ efforts, registered his appreciation on behalf of other community members.

“Being one of the beneficiaries of this noble objective, on behalf of this community I want to register my appreciation to all the youth corps members in the states.

“And particularly to these two boys and a lady. They have done a good job for us at least they have assisted in clearing this blocked drainages in our community.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)


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COVID-19 : Enugu community begins cash transfers to indigent families



The Okpebe Autonomous Community in Nkanu West Local Government Area, Enugu State, has supported no fewer than 200  indigent households in the area with cash palliatives.

Mr Charles Ngene, the President General of the community, made the disclosure on Sunday at the inauguration of the first phase of the cash transfers to  the beneficiaries.

Ngene said that the intervention was to cushion economic hardship arising from the COVID-19 pandemic among vulnerable households in the area.

The community’s president, who said that the first  beneficiaries were in Ezinato and Umuoha villages, added that well-meaning sons and daughters of the community contributed the money.

Ngene said that the community discovered that  the  beneficiaries were not able to fend for themselves during the lockdown, even when the Local Government Chairman donated food items to some people.

A member of the planning committee, Prof. Osita Ogbu, said that they were sharing N600,000 to 200 indigent households in the first phase, adding that each beneficiary in a household would receive N3,000.

Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ngozi Ede, said that it had been difficult for her family to eat well since the lockdown began.

“I was busy thinking of what my family will eat tomorrow, not knowing that this opportunity will come,” she  said.

Other beneficiaries, including Mr Friday Nwobodo and Mrs Promise Ani, thanked the members of the autonomous community for the kind gesture.

Edited /Donald Ugwu

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Threatened U.S. sanctions benefit no one: Hong Kong business community




In response to the U.S. threat to cancel the special treatment for Hong Kong, the Hong Kong business community said it will not do good to anyone, as this will not only damage the mutually beneficial relationship between the two sides, but also harm the interests of U.S. companies and investors in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong business community is not too worried about the threatened U.S. sanctions, which are expected to have little impact on Hong Kong at this stage.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong expressed regret over the U.S. decision, noting that it would undermine the mutually beneficial economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and the United States over the years and disrupt the world‘s free trade order.

The association said Hong Kong is the largest source of the U.S. trade surplus in goods, and Hong Kong‘s special status is the best channel for the U.S. enterprises to enter the Chinese mainland market. The U.S. move not only damages the mutually beneficial relationship between the two sides, but also damages the interests of U.S. companies and investors in Hong Kong, casting a shadow on the future economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and the United States.

Ng Wang Pun, president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, said the national security legislation for Hong Kong is aimed at plugging Hong Kong‘s legal loopholes to protect national security and safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, which will help to maintain a safe, friendly and free business environment in Hong Kong.

Ng hoped that all countries in the world will look at this legislation rationally and continue to maintain long-term stable and mutually beneficial economic and trade relations with Hong Kong.

According to Raymond Young, CEO of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association of Hong Kong, most of Hong Kong‘s trade in goods is re-exports, with exports to the United States accounting for only 0.1 percent of the total export volume. Moreover, the industry began to diversify its business to Southeast Asia and other places during the U.S.-China trade tensions, so the it is not expected to have a great impact.

Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AmCham), said that it was “a sad day” for Americans in Hong Kong when the U.S. announced it would cancel the special treatment for Hong Kong. However, this does not mean that U.S. companies will withdraw from Hong Kong, she said. The AmCham will continue to work with its members to maintain Hong Kong‘s status as a vital business center.

Felix Chung, honorary chairman of Hong Kong Apparel Society Limited, said that there will not be much impact on Hong Kong‘s economy for the time being even if the U.S. cancels the special treatment for Hong Kong.

Chung criticized the U.S. for imposing sanctions on Hong Kong, urging some Hong Kong people who expected the so-called “help” from the United States to wake up.

Jeffrey Lam, a member of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the United States earns a trade surplus of about 30 billion U.S. dollars in Hong Kong every year. The U.S. decision will be beneficial to nobody.

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the Belt and Road Initiative will bring a large number of development opportunities to Hong Kong, Lam said, urging Hong Kong people and businesses not to worry about the national security legislation, but to focus on how to develop the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel Yip, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, said the United States intends to restrict the export of high-tech products to Hong Kong, which is believed to have an impact on high-end scientific research in universities.

However, in recent years the United States has scrutinized the export of scientific research equipment from universities, and the Hong Kong industry has gradually adapted to the restriction, Yip added.


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Imo community begs for provision of basic amenties



The people of Umugota Orisheze in Ozuzu community in Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo state, have appealed to Federal and Imo state government to provide them with basic amenities.

The people of the community made the appeal on Sunday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria following cry of neglect and abandonment by some residents of the area.

NAN reports that the community had no access road, hospital, light, adequate water, market or school.

Some of the residents who spoke with NAN said that the only government presence in the community was an abandoned and uncompleted building for primary healthcare.

They said the surroundings of the buiding were overgrown with weeds.

”The building which houses lizards and rats also harbours hoodlums and has been turned to an emergency toilet littered with human waste,” Kevin Okeke, a community leader said.

He said that the community had been without electricity light for many months.

Okere, a farmer said that their appeal to government was to let them know that residents of the community were at risk of dying from neglect.

“Many are dying of hunger and diseases here. Nobody is happy in this part of the country.  We are praying that those in authority will come to our aide soon.

“We are mostly farmers, but we do not have a market to buy or sell, we have not had light in this community for a very long time, maybe two years.

“We do not have good access roads, people die here like chickens, because we cannot even tell what is killing them, we live in extreme poverty in this community.

“We do not have any hospital here, and pregnant women cannot attend anbuilding.

“Most of them give birth at home and when peradventure bleeding starts, the rest is in God’s hands because most of them die,” he said.

Okere, however, pleaded with the state government to provide basic health and infracstrure to the community.

Mr Uche Tony, another farmer, also appealed for urgent attention and intervention in the community.

”Nobody lives a long life in an environment that lacks clean water, quality healthcare, light or school.

”Our children in the community have no hope of a better life.

“The children of this community are very intelligent and are eager to go to school, but there is no school here; they often go to neighbouring villages to acquire education.

“You cannot imagine the distance and stress from here to Imeriewe community (neighbouring village), only those who have bicycles can go.

“I have seen countless women die during childbirth in this community, if you have time I will take you round,” he said.

Mrs Kate Ozoemena, a business woman, said it was unfortunate that government could leave a community of people to suffer deprivation to the extent of not erecting a block of classrooms.

”Women go to far away communities with their produce to sell and buy. Our community had not benefited anything from both the federal and state governments.

“We travel to Owerri to access healthcare services; that is for those who have financial capability to go, else we depend on a village chemist to treat us no matter the ailment.

“I have been feeling sick for a while now, but I have no money or means to go to Owerri for check-up and treatment.

“I am the traditional birth attendant here, I help women deliver their babies, but honestly it has not been easy around here because our women suffer a lot.

“We really need urgent assistance; you can see things for yourself. It is almost a hopeless situation, may God help us,” she said.

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Community leader lauds El-Rufai for banning “Almajiri school”



Alhaji Uba Aliyu, a community leader in Kaduna South Local Government Area of Kaduna, has lauded Gov. Nasir el-Rufai for banning Almajiri children (Islamic school pupils) in the state.

Aliyu made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , in Kaduna on Sunday.

He said the development would complement the state government’s child protection and welfare law.

“Times changed, Almajiri is no longer the same as it was in the past; it is high time for parents to own up to their responsibility and enroll their wards to Quranic school in their immediate environment.

“We are witness to how the Almajiri children, expected to be in school were wandering the streets begging and scavenging for food,” he said

Aliyu added that the evacuation and return of the children to their parents would help in monitoring their education and general well being.

He advocated for the restructuring of the Almajiri school to be in tune with modern day realities, to protect the children and enable them to learn the Qur’an.

NAN reports that Gov. El-Rufai had announced plans to enroll 200 evacuated Almajiri children into the formal system in their respective communities.

The state government also proscribed Almajiri school and stipulated a two-year jail term for erring parents who enroll their children in Almajiri school while defaulting itinerary teachers are to face similar penalty with a fine of between N100, 000 and N200, 000.

Edited By: Angela Okisor (NAN)

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Anniversary: Nasarawa community hails Sule’s administration on security, projects



The Shafa Abakpa Community Development Association (SACA) in Nasarawa State has commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule for improving on security and execution development projects.

 The community said Sule has also done well in almost all sectors of the economy in his one year in office.

The President General of SACA, Alhaji Usman Adams, made the commendation in a statement signed by the Secretary General of the association, Mr Sam Israel, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Keffi on Saturday.

The statement said that the projects embarked upon by Sule’s administration in the last one year in office had direct and positive impact on the lives of the people of the state.

He listed construction of classroom blocks across schools in the state, installation of solar power projects in all local government areas and provision of free medical treatment to the people as well as youths and women empowerment as some of the governor’s achievements.

He noted the presentation of operational vehicles to security agencies and other support to tackle security challenges as other records, the  statement said.

On security challenges in Toto Local Government Area, the group said the APC administration has done well in seeking out the best way to address the challenges so that the people can sleep with their two eyes closed.

“The one year in office of Governor Abdullahi Sule, the Ohiogbe of Sofiyo, and his Deputy  Dr Emmanuel Akabe, as the best thing that has happened to the people of Nasarawa State.

“The laudable policies and programmes embarked upon by Government has brought purposeful developmental democratic dividends to the people across the length and breath of the state.

“Since the inception of the State, Nasarawa people now have a listening Government who directly involves all segments of the state in its affairs, thereby leading to the industrialisation of the state as many investors now clamour to invest,” he said.

Adams also expressed the association’s gratitude to the governor for the construction and commissioning of blocks of classrooms which Sule personally inaugurated in Government Secondary School Shafa Abakpa – Sofiyo.

The statement prayed God in His infinite mercy to grant the governor and his team the wisdom and strength to carry the state to greater heights and make it an enviable society.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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