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Gov. Abdulrasaq decries state of facilities at Information Ministry

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Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara has lamented the dilapidated facilities at the state’s Ministry of Information, describing them ‘as near to non-existent. ”

Abdulrazaq said this on Wednesday in Ilorin during an unscheduled visit to the ministry’s Division of Information Services (DIS).

He said the visit was a follow up to the ministry’s budget review on Tuesday at the School for Special Needs.

”This visit is a follow-up to the budget review we did on Tuesday where the Ministry of Information made presentation, so, I have come to see their facilities which is next to non-existent.

He added that the past administration neglected the ministry as it misunderstood its role with the state radio and television stations.

”We seem to misunderstand the ministry’s role with the state radio and television stations; their activities and programmes are completely different.

”And I think that is what led to the previous government to neglect the Ministry of Information.

”So, we will pay close attention to their activities and give them implements to do their duties properly,” Abdulrazaq said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the governor also visited the Kwara State Signage and Advertising Agency (KWASSA) and was also shown the bad road leading to the premises.

The Director of Information Services, Mrs Funke Oludipe, took the governor round the Division.

She also told the governor that whenever there were rains, flood water from the main road was always deposited at the premises of the Nigeria News Agency.

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign

Syrian government eases anti-pandemic measures

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People wait at a juice store in Damascus, capital of Syria, June 2, 2020. The Syrian government has recently eased the measures undertaken against the spread of the COVID-19. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)

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Foreign

Minnesota governor announces civil rights probe into Minneapolis Police Department

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said Tuesday that his state is launching a civil rights probe into the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), of which four police officers were involved in the brutal killing of unarmed black man George Floyd last week.

Walz said the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has filed the civil rights charge against the MPD and will investigate its “policies, procedures, and practices over the past 10 years to determine if they engaged in systemic discriminatory practices.”

“My administration will use every tool at our disposal to deconstruct generations of systemic racism in Minnesota,” the governor said on Twitter following a news conference. “This effort is one of many steps to come in our effort to restore trust with communities that have been unseen and unheard for far too long.”

Floyd died on May 25 after being pinned to the ground by four MPD police officers, who arrested him for allegedly using a fake 20-dollar note to buy cigarettes. All of the officers have been fired, and Derek Chauvin, the one who kept his knee down on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes even as Floyd pleaded desperately for his life, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

“This is not about holding people personally criminally liable,” said Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, who will lead the just-announced investigation. “This is about systems change.”

Floyd’s death instigated nationwide protests against police brutality and racism that have persisted for a week now.

As demonstrations escalated into violent unrests in some parts of the country, United States President Donald Trump on Monday threatened the use of the military to clamp down on the protesters, a response that drew immediate condemnation from his political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden, whom Trump is all but certain to face off in the general election later this year.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Oman requests employees aged 60 in gov’t companies to retire

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The Omani government on Tuesday announced a decision to request the employees aged 60 or above in government companies to retire, in a bid to create more job opportunities.

The decision, announced by the Ministry of Finance, stipulated that all workers in government companies who have reached the age of 60 years must be referred for retirement, as is the practice in other government institutions.

The ministry also called on all government companies to implement the decision, with the aim of accelerating the pace of employment and providing job opportunities to accommodate the Omanis looking for work.

It also aims to regulate some aspects of the labor market and employment policies in all government companies, the Omani news agency ONA reported.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

‘We were scared upon inauguration in office’, says Lagos Deputy Governor

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The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, on Tuesday revealed how Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and himself were scared of the huge challenges and high expectations from the residents on assumption of office.

Hamzat made the remark during an online interactive session marking the one-year anniversary of Gov. Sanwo-Olu-led administration.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the session, tagged ‘Covinspiration’, was moderated by Mr Dayo Israel, the Special Representative to the United Nations, and British Council Global Change-maker.

Hamzat explained that upon the inauguration of the administration, the governor and his team were intimidated by the challenges of people’s expectations from them.

Truthfully, I was scared.

“So, the emotion was not necessarily that of happiness, but I was scared as the expectations were high regarding what we need to do to make sure that we do not disappoint.

“I knew that we had been tutored very well; we have been in government and understand the geography and policies of the government.

“We knew who to call within the civil service to various challenges, but also knew that we are living in a difficult time when leadership is faced with trust deficit. What do we need to do to reduce the trust deficit?

“We knew the extent of the work, but how quickly can we solve some of these problems for our people?

“So, it is a serious job, but we were praying, working and planning every day to make sure that we resolve some of these issues so that the people could see themselves that this is a government that actually has a plan,” he said.

Hamzat said that the state’s challenges were giving Gov. Sanwo-Olu and himself “sleepless nights every time,” adding that the challenges “could be daunting”.

He revealed that the administration often called for advice, where necessary, from ex-governors like Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, amongst others.

“We don’t shy away from that. We call for advice; ask people even the private sector, on what to do on various challenges and how to prioritise.

“We don’t act like people who think they have a monopoly of wisdom, but we call on people to make sure that we have better understanding before we come out with any policy,” he said.

On the achievements of the government in one year, the deputy governor said that the government had left a footprint in transport, education, health, housing, energy sectors, among others.

According to him, the government has provided employment for a good number of youths and working hard to enhance the capacity of the private sector to provide employment through Small and Medium Enterprises.

On education, Hamzat said that the government had employed technology and trainings to improve teaching and learning process, aside the employment of more teachers into schools.

Edited Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi

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Education

Ikpeazu’s aides test positive for COVID-19, — Gov. says

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Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia said on Tuesday that two of his aides have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ikpeazu said this in a statement signed by him and made available to News Agency of Nigeria , in Umuahia.

“Leading this battle from the front as your Governor, I and all members of the first family subjected ourselves to COVID-19 tests on Saturday, 30th May 2020 and the results came out negative today.

“Unfortunately, results of two of my aides, who also subjected themselves to COVID-19 tests, were positive while others turned in negative results,” he said.

Ikpeazu said that those that tested positive were admitted to the state’s isolation facility and he was confident that they would be successfully nursed back to good health

Ikpeazu said that the government had plans to start massive testing exercise of the people to stop further spread of Coronavirus in Abia.

He said that “the new phase of the fight against COVID-19 in Abia will require the state to embark on massive test of citizens to achieve at least 10 per cent coverage of the population at the initial stage of the exercise.

“The state epidemiologist has been directed to work out modalities for case searches using sample population size of between 30 persons to 250 persons, in some densely populated local government areas of the state.”

He urged residents to desist from stigmatising the families of COVID-19 patients and persons that had recovered from the disease.

He added that collective responsibility was the best weapon against COVID-19 spread.

According to him, if any person contracts COVID-19, it will be saddening but it is neither criminal nor is it necessarily the person’s fault.

“Let me put it on record that statistics show that far more people recover from the virus than those who pass away from it,” he said.

He directed the transition committee Chairmen of the 17 local government councils in Abia, with their deputies, to present themselves for COVID-19 test and isolate themselves pending the release of their test results.

Ikpeazu urged the people of Abia to eschew rumour mongering and get involved in the battle against the disease by supporting the state government’s efforts against COVID-19.


Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Health

Gov. Ugwuanyi directs rehabilitation of Enugu Ezike General Hospital

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Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Tuesday directed the state’s Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to commence massive rehabilitation of the 62-year-old Enugu Ezike General Hospital.

Ugwuanyi gave the directive when he paid an unscheduled visit to Enugu Ezike General Hospital in Ogrute, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state, to assess the state of the hospital, built in 1958.

The governor, who was led round the hospital by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cyril Nnadi and the Chairman of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Mr Ejike Itodo, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the facilities on ground.

He, therefore, directed the ministry to commence the evaluation of the facility with a view to rehabilitating it to serve the public better.

During the inspection, the chief medical officer informed the governor that the hospital had no electricity supply since 2008 because of huge bills, among other challenges.

Ugwuanyi consequently directed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to restore power supply to the hospital.

The governor further made funds available to the hospital’s management to enable it commence clearing of the premises and other immediate interventions.

Reacting on behalf of the management of the hospital, Nnadi thanked the governor for the provision of funds for the hospital premises to be cleared immediately and his directive to reconnect the hospital to electricity supply.

“We also appreciate the governor for his promise to carry out major upgrade of the hospital to serve the people better,’’ he said.

The governor was accompanied on the surprise visit by the state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Greg Nnaji and Deputy Chief of Staff, Prof. Malachy Okwueze, among others.

The rehabilitation of the hospital was in keeping with the Ugwuanyi-led administration’s renewed vigour toward upgrade of health facilities in Enugu State.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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General news

Markets, places of worship remain shut – Kaduna govt.

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The Kaduna State government says it has not reopened markets or places of worship.
Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, the Special Adviser to the Govenor on Media and Communication, stated this known in a statement issued on Tuesday in Kaduna.
Adekeye
said that government has started engaging some business and religious leaders on how to ensure safe re-opening of markets and places of worship, saying that this had not been concluded.
“Until these consultations result in a formal announcement authorising businesses, markets and places of worship to reopen, it will be a violation of subsisting quarantine orders to reopen any unauthorised facility or to conduct congregational worship of any sort,” he said.
Adekeye said that the decision to close places of worship in the state was taken and enforced in March by government, as part of the proclamation of the quarantine orders in the state.
Kaduna State is not one of the two states and the Federal Capital Territory where the Federal Government imposed lockdown.
“The steps taken to ease such federally-imposed lockdowns in the concerned places should not be construed as the Federal Government relaxing in all states, conditions that it did not impose in the first place.
Kaduna State has its own well-articulated roadmap for reopening and this was published last week as a public document for the views and inputs of the citizens of the state.
“That is why when it extended the quarantine orders by two weeks on May 26, it also announced steps to ease some of the restrictions.
“These included increasing lockdown-free days to three and allowing approved businesses and facilities to open on those three days,” he said.
According to him, the quarantine extension, announced by the Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe on May 26, had made clear that schools, places of worship and markets would remain closed under the adjusted orders.
He said that relevant government officials and agencies would be engaging stakeholders, as might be identified from time to time, to discuss the conditions and circumstances for a safe reopening of these sectors.
“Government also maintains the prohibition of interstate and intercity travels.
“Government officials and mobile courts will continue to enforce this ban to prevent people from spreading the virus through non-essential movements.
“In addition, the nighttime curfew that has been enforced across the state still remains, from 6 pm to 6 am,” the governor’s spokesperson said.
He further reminded the residents that the partial easing of restrictions was being undertaken to ensure that COVID-19 prevention efforts could continue side-by-side with the pursuit of livelihoods.
“It has been a most difficult period for the citizens, with many inconveniences amid the danger of COVID-19, but they are aware that the state has not experienced hundreds of unexplained deaths.
COVID-19 infections continue to rise due partly to intensive testing, tracing and treatment by our health personnel and largely to the failure of some persons to comply fully with the imposed quarantine restrictions.
“All the sacrifices made by residents of the state demand that the easing of the lockdown be done safely and responsibly.
“Public safety and the protection of human lives remain the sole motivation for the government’s COVID-19 response,” he said.
Adekeye, therefore, appealed to the residents to be patient and collaborate with government to implement a careful, safe and responsible re-opening of the state.


Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Education

Protest: Ebonyi govt. says military in to secure protesters at federal college of agriculture Ishiagu

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The Ebonyi government on Tuesday defended the presence of the Nigerian Army and Police at the Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu (FECAI) as its worker’s protest entered second day.

News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the insttution’s unions on Monday staged a peaceful protest at the institution’s premises and shut its gates over allegations of financial impropriety against some staff members.

NAN further recalls that the unions under the aegis of the Joint Action Union (JAC) locked the institution’s entrance gates, its administrative office, the provost’s lodge among others.

Dr Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi Deputy Governor, while addressing the union members on Tuesday, said  the army and police’s presence was to check the movement and activities of hoodlums.

Igwe said that there were possibilities of the protesters being attacked as some people would flare with ‘external’ spirits possessing them and misbehave.

“You may  think that you are in control of the situation.

“But when the “war”songs assume high tempo some people who have other spirits leading them from their homes will start behaving uncontrollably.

“It will at the point become the sin of one on the leader; that you did not ask him to do it but you are leading the protest and will be held responsible,” he said.

The deputy governor assured that the security agencies would not molest or violate the rights of the protesters but would  ensure their safety.

“You should allow them to stay as the most civil thing protesters do all over the world is not to confront security operatives.

“No security man will attack you as long you conduct yourselves within the limits of the protest and we are happy that you have not killed, stoned or destroyed property,” he said.

He, however, warned that the government would not condone their presence constituting a threat on the road which passed from the institution unto Ishiagu community as it might heighten the tension.

“When people see you chanting war songs they will feel that an uncontrollable crisis will occur although you may feel that it is an innocent protest.

“You should make a report to the state government.

“Although we don’t have administrative jurisdiction over you as a federal institution, we will liaise with the relevant authorities to solve the problems,” he said.

Mr Bamidele Adekunle, Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), and leader of the protesters, decried the presence of the army and police over ‘an innocent’ protest.

“We are simply protesting that the administration of the institution’s Provost, Dr Wilfred Nwangwu, has been hijacked by three ‘cronies’ who take management decisions and generally run the institution.

“These people have been embezzling huge funds of the institution.

“Most prominent was the N13 million released by the Federal Government (FG) for sustainable agricultural programme to cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown.

“The provost  failed to handle the situation and we have duly petitioned the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria over this.

“The three staff members in the junior cadre have allotted official vehicles to themselves and eroded the legacies of the immediate past Provost, Prof. Justina Mgbada,” he alleged.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Politics

Lagos govt trains 2,200 vulnerable females 

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The Lagos State Government said it had trained 2,200 vulnerable women and young females to be financially independent and self-reliant in past one year.

The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Cecilia Dada, made this known on Tuesday during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Dada said that the series of programmes were to improve status of women and make them economically independent.

Short-term Vocational Skills Acquisition Training Programmes were organised to tackle unemployment situation of women and young female adults and widows, indigent/vulnerable women.

”The programmes were to tackle unemployment situation of women living with health challenges and disabilities.

“Others were civil servants exiting from active service and women drawn from faith-based organisations and other categories of women in the Lagos State.

”This was done with the assurance that the skills acquired to create income-generating ventures for beneficiaries,” Dada said.

The commissioner said that the training programmes, which spanned for four weeks, included areas as hair braiding/weaving, tie and die, event decoration, cakes and snacks production, soap and pomade making.

She said that at the end of each training programme, which held in Victoria Island, Ebute Metta, Ojo, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Badagry, participants received start-off packs to help kick-start their businesses.

Dada said that in a bid to sustain the general wellbeing of the female gender in the state, the ministry organised medical screening for 500 women and young adults.

According to her, the medical screening are on cervical screening, breast screening, sugar level examination, eye tests and provision of eye glasses, where necessary.

She said that the screening was carried out to ascertain their health status and checkmate bigger challenges that might arise in the future.

The commissioner also said that in a bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the ministry produced and distributed 450,000 facemasks and 30,000 hand sanitisers to residents of the state.


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

 

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