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COVID-19: Reps C’ttee cautions MDAs against tampering with 2020 budget



The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation  has cautioned  Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) against tampering with the 2020 Appropriation Act.

The Chairman of the committee,Rep. Muktar Betara (APC-Borno) ,issued the warning in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

According to him, no MDA has powers to tinker with the budget as only the National Assembly is statutorily empowered to review, adjust, consider and pass budget.

“There are  reports that  following the downward review of the budget from N10.59 trillion to N10.52 trillion due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“As a result of the dwindling oil prices, some MDAs were already adjusting the budget proposal to suit their needs.

“Such acts will not be condoned by the National Assembly as any MDA or official found to be engaged in such illegal practice will be made to face the music.

“I want to warn that no other arm or department of government has any power over budget except the legislature, which is the National Assembly,” he said.

The lawmaker stressed that the process to review the budget was ongoing in line with the powers of the National Assembly.

He said that the Constitution confers appropriation powers on the parliament as well as its responsibilities over the national purse.

According to him, both the 1999 Constitution and Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 provide for no limitations on the National Assembly’s power to amend the Appropriations bill. 

“Section 80 (4) specifically provided that ‘no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation,  except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.

“Therefore, we shall not shirk in our responsibilities and we will also not hesitate to wield the big stick on whoever goes beyond his brief to tamper with the budget,” he said.

Betara said that because of the importance the National Assembly attach  to the budget, members of the relevant committees would continue work on it during the two-week Sallah break.

He assured that the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation is committed to working with other relevant committees, the Senate and Executive to have workable and implementable budget to help the country overcome the negative economic effects of COVID-19. 

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)


COVID-19: Edo NMA donates support items to UBTH



The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Edo branch, has donated protective items to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) to support the response to COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Presenting the materials, the state NMA Chairman, Dr Valentine Omoifo, appreciated the UBTH management for protecting health workers while ensuring adequate healthcare even in the face of the  pandemic.

This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen by the branch NMA Public Relations Officer, Dr Eustace Oseghale, on Tuesday in Benin.

The association assured that presentation of such items to UBTH would be sustained.

“This would be a continuous thing as more personal protective equipments and other materials will be provided to UBTH soon,” it said.

Receiving the items, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, thanked the NMA for the support.

Obaseki informed them that the hospital gates remained open and the hospital currently has about 400 in patients.

“Though this is telling on the hospital revenue as materials to protect staff and patients are now very expensive,” he said.

Obaseki encouraged NMA affiliates to copy the emulate Edo NMA as the hospital needs support.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items presented included cacatin face shields, face masks, sanitiser, washing soap and gloves.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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14 new COVID-19 cases reported in Libya, 182 in total




The Libyan National Center for Disease Control on Tuesday reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in Libya to 182, including 52 recoveries and five deaths.

In a statement later Tuesday, the center said it received a total of 504 suspected samples, 490 of which tested negative and 14 positive.

Libyan authorities have taken a series of protective measures against the coronavirus, which include closing the country’s borders, banning public gatherings, and imposing a curfew.

Libya announced its first COVID-19 case in March and the first death in June.


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Nigeria records 241 new cases of COVID-19, total Infections hit 10,818



The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday said it has recorded 241 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country, taking the total number of infections in Nigeria to 10,818.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NCDC on its official twitter handle said that as at June 2, 2020, 15 deaths were recorded in the country.

The health agency stated that most of those who died were associated with co-morbidities, noting that three out of four of those who have been discharged were without co-morbidities.

It said this was consistent with the fact that risks were higher for those with other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic non-communicable diseases.

The NCDC said that there was general reduction in mortality trend and continuous improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges compared to the increase in number of confirmed cases.

It stated that no new state have reported a case in the last 24 hours.

According to the body, till date, 10,819 cases have been confirmed, 7,266 of active cases, 3,239 cases have been treated and discharged, 314 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The NCDC said that the 241 new cases were reported from 14 states – Lagos(142), Oyo(15), FCT(13), Kano(12), Edo(11), Delta(10), Kaduna(9), Rivers(9), Borno(8), Jigawa(4), Gombe(3), Plateau(3), Osun(1) and Bauchi(1).

The health agency reassured that it would keep Nigerians informed on the public health response to COVID-19 through the daily situation report.

NCDC said that it was important for Nigerians to remember that there were humans behind the numbers.

NAN recalls that the first case of COVID-19 was reported on Dec. 31, 2019, in Wuhan, China.

Five months later, the disease continues to affect people in countries across the globe.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Chile’s COVID-19 cases top 108,000, with 1,188 deaths




Chile on Tuesday said a total of 108,686 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the COVID-19 outbreak began, and 1,188 people have died from the disease.

A record 3,527 new cases of infection were detected in the past day, the highest single-day tally yet since the outbreak began here three months ago, and 75 more patients died.

The vast majority of the new cases, 3,206, showed symptoms, while 321 were asymptomatic.

Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the government has modified its method of registering COVID-19 deaths to include those people who had yet to receive the results of their tests before they died.

Chile’s outbreak began slowly but has recently picked up pace, leading authorities to extend lockdown measures past their end of May deadline to June 5, especially in the capital Santiago and metropolitan area, home to 7 million people.


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Lagos records 17 COVID-19 related deaths in 2 days



Lagos State has recorded another eight COVID-19 related deaths, increasing the infection mortality in Lagos to 67, says the state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi.

Abayomi stated this in his verified twitter handle on Tuesday, adding that the deaths were recorded on Monday, June 1.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalled that Abayomi had earlier announced that the state recorded nine COVID-19 related deaths on May 31.

Currently, the total COVID-19 related deaths in Lagos now stands at 67.

Abayomi, however, did not give additional information about the sex, age, nationality or medical conditions of the deceased.

The Commissioner added that the state recorded 192 new COVID-19 infections, increasing the total number of cases in Lagos to 5151.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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COVID-19: Lagos discharges 30 Nigerians, 3 Indians



The Lagos State Government on Tuesday announced recovery and discharge of 30 Nigerians and three Indians who tested negative twice to Coronavirus.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in a statement that a total of 908 COVID-19 patients were now discharged.

Good people of Lagos, I bring you great news from our isolation facilities. Today, 33 fully recovered COVID-19 Lagos patients; 7 females and 26 males including 3 foreign nationals – Indians -have been discharged to join the society.

The patients; 21 from Onikan, 9 from Eti-Osa (LandMark), 2 from Lekki and 1 from Gbagada Isolation Centres were discharged having fully recovered and tested negative to COVID19.

”With this, the number of patients successfully managed and discharged from our Isolation facilities is now 908.

”As our frontline health workers records successes in this battle against #COVID-19, we urge citizens to adhere strictly to our public advisories and directives, as this is the only way we can break the chain of transmission of the infection,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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UN rights chief highlights disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial, ethnic minorities




United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that the alarming inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 outbreak are fueling the widespread protests affecting hundreds of cities across the United States.

“This virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have too long been ignored. In the United States, protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd are highlighting not only police violence against people of colour, but also inequalities in health, education, employment and endemic racial discrimination,” the UN human rights chief said in a press release issued Tuesday.

“It is a tragedy that it took COVID-19 to expose what should have been obvious, that unequal access to healthcare, overcrowded housing and pervasive discrimination make our societies less stable, secure and prosperous,” she added.

According to the UN official, the impact from COVID-19 on people of African descent as well as ethnic minorities in some countries seemed to be worse.

In the United States, she said, the COVID-19 death rate for African Americans is reported to be more than double that of other racial groups.

People from racial and ethnic minorities are also found in higher numbers in some jobs that carry increased risk, including in the transport, health and cleaning sectors, she said.

“The fight against this pandemic cannot be won if Governments refuse to acknowledge the blatant inequalities that the virus is bringing to the fore,” she said, adding that the efforts to tackle COVID-19 and to begin the recovery process will only be successful when “everyone’s rights to life and health are protected without discrimination”.


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France reports 107 new single-day deaths from COVID-19




With 107 COVID-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, France‘s total death toll from the coronavirus-caused disease rose to 28,940 on Tuesday, official figures showed.

Among the deaths, 18,590 were reported in hospitals, 84 more than the day before, 10,350 were reported at nursing homes and medico-social establishments since March 1, said the Health Ministry in a statement.

Currently, 14,028 patients are still in hospitals, including 1,253 in intensive care. The two figures, key indicators to evaluate the country’s ability to cope with the epidemic, fell by 260 and 49 respectively in the last 24 hours.

Of the 101,932 hospitalized since early March, 68,812 were declared recovered and returned home, said the ministry.

The number of confirmed cases increased by 766 in one day to 151,325, it added.

On Tuesday, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout France reopened their doors to customers. Museums, parks and schools are all allowed to reopen now. Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theaters in so-called “green” zones also reopened.

Unlimited travel is now permitted between the country’s regions, and people can once again enjoy the sun and the sea as the beaches have also reopened.

France has entered the second phase of deconfinement…French people find some of their daily habits again. This good news should not make us forget that the virus remains active,” warned the ministry.


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British parliament resumes physical voting amid COVID-19 fears



Britain’s elected main house of parliament, the Commons, on Tuesday approved the government’s plan to end temporary electronic voting, introduced as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives tabled a motion to resume in-person voting, requiring lawmakers to walk through lobbies and potentially flout social-distancing rules.

Following a fierce debate, lawmakers in the 650-seat house approved the motion by 261 to 163 in a traditional lobby vote that included some proxies.

The Conservatives hold a working majority of 87 in the Commons.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Johnson’s Commons leader, said the government wanted to end temporary “hybrid proceedings,” in which small numbers of lawmakers had sat in parliament while most participated via video links and voted electronically.

Many opposition lawmakers, and some Conservatives, argued that it was too early to resume normal conduct.

Britain has recorded Europe’s highest death toll of almost 40,000 linked to coronavirus and has only just begun to relax its near-lockdown.

Labour lawmaker Peter Kyle accused the government of “bending the rules” on voting to fit its own purpose.

“The rationale of returning to physical proceedings is a straightforward one,” Rees-Mogg said, claiming it would help parliament to work more efficiently and allow greater public scrutiny.

“Lots of people are going back to work and we have a role as leaders within the country and within the community to do that,” he said.

He said the hybrid arrangement had been a “stop-gap (and) necessary compromise” during the coronavirus’ peak in Britain.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the government-funded Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said it “cannot be right” for parliament to proceed without any provision for remote participation.

“Disabled people have felt like an afterthought throughout this pandemic and it is therefore vital that the government looks again at the proposed return to physical participation,” Conservative lawmaker Robert Halfon, who has cerebral palsy, and Labour lawmaker Vicky Foxcroft said in a joint statement.

“Although the hybrid arrangements were not perfect, Parliament has already shown its ability to ensure that everyone’s needs can be accommodated,” Halfon and Foxcroft said.

“We must lead by example, not disenfranchise members and their constituents.”

Rees-Mogg promised to introduce a second motion on Wednesday to allow members who “for medical grounds” cannot attend parliament to join debates remotely, but not vote.

Social-distancing rules mean voting “will take a little longer,” he added, suggesting that concerned lawmakers could try to hold fewer votes.

Parliament’s unelected upper house, the Lords, plans to continue using remote votes.

Edited by  Emmanuel  Yashim

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