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Free treated mosquito nets excites Niger council



Borgu Local Government Council in Niger on Friday commended the Society for Family Health (SFH) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for providing free treated mosquito nets to people of the area.

Hajiya Ramatu Musa, Director Primary Health Care Department of the council made the commendation while supervising the distribution of the long lasting treated insecticide net to 10 wards of the council.

“This programme will ensure that we are free from malaria cases in our various communities.

“We want to thank the SFH, CRS and the Niger state Ministry of Health for bringing this wonderful programme to our local government.

“The distribution of the nets across the 10 wards in the local government has been completed and ready for the flag-off scheduled to hold throughout the state tomorrow (Saturday),” she said.

The Director said that the people of the area had been sensitised on the use of the treated mosquito nets to avoid misuse.

Musa cautioned the people against selling the nets, warning that anyone caught in such act would be made to face the wrath of the law.

Also speaking, Mr Olubunmi Odunsi, representative of the donors, said that he was satisfied with the level of preparation towards the distribution of the nets in the area.

Odunsi implored the people to utilise the nets in order to improve their health.


Edited by Yakubu Uba/Ismail Abdulaziz


Migrants demand “freedom” at Malta’s Marsa detention center




Police were called in on Tuesday to help quell a protest at one of Malta’s detention centers where hundreds of migrants were demanding “freedom.”

The protest, which lasted from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., was kept under control. No major incidents were reported.

The migrants held at a detention center in the harbor village of Marsa waved towels, banged on windows and chanted “We want freedom.”

One migrant climbed the fence and jumped into a nearby canal. He was immediately captured by the police and taken to hospital. The situation seemed to escalate during the rescue because he resisted and the migrants inside the center began insulting the police and tried to force open the main gate.

However, the situation was soon brought under control. A police spokesman told Xinhua that only the person who tried to flee was arrested and that the intervention of the riot police squad was not required.

In April, a similar protest took place at the Marsa detention center.


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Ghana to distribute free face masks to protect students from COVID-19




The Ghanaian government will distribute free reusable face masks to all final year students to protect them from possible COVID-19 infections, the minister for education Matthew Opoku-Prempeh said on Tuesday.

The minister said during the bi-weekly COVID-19 press briefing that the distribution of the free face-masks is part of the government’s broad measures to protect the students who will return to school this month for their final examinations.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced a phased easing of restrictions on educational institutions on May 31 to allow final year second-cycle and tertiary students to write their final examinations.

The minister said educational authorities will not permit visits, assembling, and religious activities in the schools to prevent the outbreak of the pandemic among the students.

The regional examination body, the West African Examination Council, will this year set country-specific questions for Ghanaian students as all the other four subscribing Anglophone West African countries are also combating the COVID-19 outbreak, said the minister.


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General news

COVID-19: Rivers Govt inaugurates free bus scheme



The Rivers Government has inaugurated a COVID-19 Free Bus Scheme to cushion the effect of the pandemic on residents and visitors to the state.

The scheme was inaugurated on Monday in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sunny Ejekwu.

According to Ejekwe, the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.

Ejekwe, who commended Gov. Nyesom Wike for the initiative, said that the 28 luxury buses would operate in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitiser and wearing of face masks.

He said that the buses would pick and discharge passengers at designated bus stops.

The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, described the free bus scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader’’.

A cross section of commuters, who commended the initiative, said they could not believe that government could provide such a free service.

Meanwhile, the state government has also began the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.

According to a statement by Mr Paulinus Nsirim, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, the programme was flagged off at Government House, Port Harcourt, by Gov. Nyesom Wike who assured that all public places in the state would be decontaminated.

He said that all public places, including markets, Churches, motor parks and schools, would be decontaminated before schools reopen.

In his speech, the Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Mr Felix Obuah, said the Decontamination Team, made up of medical and environmental experts, was inaugurated in line with Rivers governor’s directives to decontaminate public places.

The Leader of the decontamination team, Dr Ian Gobo, assured that the team would carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Abducted Nasarawa CAN chairman regains freedom



The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Nasarawa state chapter, Bishop Joseph Masin, who was abducted by gunmen on Thursday in Lafia has regained his freedom.

Mr Bola Longe, Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state confirmed the release of the CAN chairman to newsmen on Sunday in Lafia.

Longe said that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the abduction and that investigation was ongoing to arrest all those involved.

He, however, denied knowledge of any ransom being paid to secure the release of the CAN chairman.

The CP added that all the suspects would be charged to court for prosecution as soon as  investigation was concluded.

Corroborating the release, Pastor Sam Joseph, son of the CAN Chairman told newsmen that his father regained his freedom at about 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, around Lizhi village in Nasarawa-Eggon Local Government Area of the state.

He said the bishop, however, arrived his Bukan-sidi residence in Lafia at about 2:00 a.m on Sunday and had been taken for medical examination in an undisclosed hospital.

The News Agency of Nigeria , recalls that the state CAN Chairman, who is also the Bishop and General-Overseer of World of God Worldwide Gospel City, was abducted by gunmen from his residence in Lafia on May 28, and taken away on a motorcycle according to family source.

The abductors later contacted the family and demanded a N20 million ransom for his release.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)


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La Liga clubs free to start full training from Monday



Clubs in Spain’s top two soccer divisions can hold full training sessions from Monday for the first time since returning to activity after action was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers La Liga have said.

“Clubs will begin collective training on June 1 after the government’s latest health order on the easing of restrictions,” La Liga said in a statement on Saturday.

Teams returned to individual training at the start of May before progressing to training in groups of up 10 players two weeks later, and groups of 14 players from last Monday.

The top flight will resume on June 11 without fans attending, with Sevilla taking on Real Betis, and with matches potentially to be played every day of the week until the season is concluded on July 19.

All organised football in Spain was provisionally suspended on March 12 as the virus ravaged the country, but the rate of infection has slowed significantly.

Thirty-nine people died in the last week compared with a daily death toll in the hundreds a month ago, the health ministry said on Friday.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/ (NAN)

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Farmers free to access farms despite lockdown – Kaduna govt



The Kaduna State Government, says farmers across the state are free to access their farms in spite of the restrictions of movement occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hajiya Halima Lawal, Commissioner of Agriculture, said in a press statement issued in Kaduna that farmers should go for land preparations and other farming activities for the 2020 cropping season.

“The ministry, with the support of partners, has deployed fertilisers and other inputs to all the 23 Local Government Areas in the state.

“Similarly, companies that sell improved seedlings and other farm inputs have been encouraged to set up shop at the various fertiliser sales points, enabling farmers to purchase all required inputs in one-stop-shops across the Local Government Areas for time and cost effectiveness,” she added.

The commissioner warned against the diversion of the fertiliser being sold to farmers at N5,000 per bag, noting that the government had  received reports of some individuals buying up the subsidised fertiliser by proxy.

‘’These middlemen, through their agents, buy up as many bags of fertiliser as possible, with the intention of reselling above the official price of N5,000.”

Lawal said security operatives have been mandated to arrest anyone involved in sabotaging government effort to make fertilizer available at affordable price for farmers.

According to her, the ministry has been running radio and television announcements, advising residents to report all suspicious cases of diversions or any illicit activities.

“Whistle-blowers should remain assured of their anonymity while reporting to these dedicated telephone numbers: 08030453360, 08029133240.’’

She warned the perpetrators to desist from such unpatriotic acts that posed threat to food security and the economy.

Lawal stressed that in spite of the lockdown,  the state government has allowed unfettered movement of agricultural items and inputs, to ensure food availability.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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COVID-19: NYSC offers free medical treatment to 1,000 IDPs in Borno



The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has offered free medical treatment to 1,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), at the NYSC camp in Maiduguri in Borno state.

Mr Nura Umar, the NYSC State Coordinator, made the disclosure on Friday during the inauguration of its free medical care Programme  at the camp in Maiduguri

Umar said that the scheme was designed to enhance healthcare service delivery and improve the wellbeing of persons affected by insurgency in the state.

“We have a mini laboratory here at the camp for conducting test, and equally a pharmaceutical section where drugs are given to patients based on prescriptions of the doctors,”he said.

Umar said that the exercise was part of the activities lined up to commemorate the Anniversary of the NYSC Scheme.

He listed other activities to include sensitisation campaign at the camp to create awareness on safety and preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the current NYSC Director General, Brig-Gen. Shuaib Ibrahim, had been playing a leading role in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Ibrahim Buni, an IDP, commended the NYSC for the medical outreach and efforts in providing essential services to them.

Buni also thanked them for the food items provided to him and the rest of the Internally Displaced Persons in the camp.

Hauwa Binta, another IDP, told NAN that she learnt necessary preventive measures of regular hygiene.

Benson Iziama edited

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Start of trading of African Continent Free Trade Area likely to be postponed




The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is likely to postpone the start of trading of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was slated to begin on July 1, an official said on Friday.

Prudence Sebahizi, head of AfCFTA Negotiations Unit and chief advisor on AfCFTA, told a virtual meeting that the African Heads of states were supposed to meet for an extraordinary summit on May 30 to approve all instruments required for the start of trade in the continent as a free trade area.

“We currently don’t know if the meeting will be held and this might affect the start of trading of the AfCFTA,” Sebahizi said during the regional integration and African Continental Free Trade Area forum on the role of the Civil Society Organizations postCOVID-19.

So far all African countries have confirmed COVID-19 cases. Sebahizi noted that negotiations for further liberalization of trade could continue virtually among African countries.

He added that there still remain some areas that are under discussion in order to fully operationalize the free trade of goods and services.

The AfCFTA agreement was adopted by African governments in 2018 and entered into force in 2019.

So far 54 countries have signed the agreement while at least 28 have deposited the instruments of ratification for the accord.

The AfCFTA is expected to be the largest free zone in the world with more than 1.3 billion people.


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Tanzanian court finds opposition leader guilty of sedition, sets him free



A Tanzanian court ruled on Friday that an opposition leader was guilty of sedition and incitement on accusations that he falsely said some 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in his home region in 2018.

The court however set Zitto Kabwe, the head of ACT Wazalendo party, free on condition that he refrain from saying or writing anything that would be considered sedition.

Kabwe, who is  member of parliament for Kigoma urban constituency, in western Tanzania, was charged in November 2018 with three counts related to incitement after saying that 100 people were killed in clashes between herders and police in the region.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the time, the head of police in Kigoma said just two herdsmen and two officers had died during an operation to stop pastoralists keeping livestock illegally on a government-owned ranch.

Huruma Shaidi, principal magistrate of Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam, said he found Kabwe guilty on all three counts.

In a written order setting out conditions for Kabwe’s discharge, Shaidi said Kabwe should commit no seditious offence for a period of one year, and if he did, he would be liable to be sentenced for the offence.

Kabwe’s defence lawyers said they were going to appeal the verdict.

Zitto Kabwe is a politician and we are in the elections period, we are going to appeal this ruling to clear him,’’ Jebra Kambole, Kabwe’s lead counsel, told reporters outside the court.

Kabwe split away from the main opposition CHADEMA movement in 2015 and is now his party’s only lawmaker.

The East African country has been one of the continent’s most stable, but opposition leaders and rights groups have accused the government of cracking down on dissent  an accusation it dismisses.

Tanzania is expected to hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in October.

Edited By: Halima Shehu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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