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Gov.Matawalle approves construction, renovation of 571 classrooms, others in Zamfara

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Gov.  Bello Matawalle of Zamfara, has approved contracts for the construction and renovation  of 571 classrooms across the state to enhance basic education.

This was contained in a statement signed by Yusuf Idris,  Director-General of Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications to the governor and made available to journalists in Gusau on Friday.

Idris said, the governor had already issued certificates to the benefiting contractors who were selected from within the state as part of the administration’s policy of encouraging home based contractors.

He said the project would comprise the construction of 423 new classrooms and the renovation of  148 existing ones across primary and junior secondary schools in the state.

He also said that the Matawalle-led administration had declared a state of emergency on education  in the state from inception and would not relent in its effort to revamp the sector.

According to the director, the governor had cautioned the contractors against sourcing either labourers or building materials from outside as such resources abound  in the state.

Earlier, Chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, Alhaji Abubakar Danmadami said the 423 classrooms project was  under the 2019 matching grant of N3.1 billion.

He explained that apart from the construction of the classrooms, 148 existing structures  would also be renovated as well as sinking of  19 boreholes with overhead water tanks, fencing of 20 schools, construction of 57 cells VIP toilets and three units of VIP latrines.

Danmadami  also disclosed that all the contracts awarded by his board under the 2018 intervention grants  amounting to N5.5 billion had all been completed.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

Foreign

S.Korean gov’t revises down 2020 growth outlook to 0.1 pct

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South Korea’s government revised down its 2020 economic growth outlook to 0.1 percent Monday owing to an expected economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak across the world.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance said that real gross domestic product (GDP), adjusted for inflation, is forecast to grow 0.1 percent this year. It was sharply down from the ministry’s previous expectation of 2.4 percent expansion unveiled six months earlier.

The real GDP increased 2.0 percent in 2019, after expanding 2.7 percent in 2018.

The ministry’s outlook is higher than the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s forecast. The BOK expected the economy to contract 0.2 percent this year, much lower than the bank’s previous expectation of 2.1 percent growth.

With the gloomier outlook, the BOK slashed its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a new all-time low of 0.50 percent last week. The central bank lowered the key rate by 50 basis points in March.

The country’s real GDP dived 1.4 percent in the January-March quarter from the prior quarter, marking the biggest quarterly fall in over 11 years since the fourth quarter of 2008.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expected the South Korean economy to plummet 1.2 percent in 2020, while the state-run Korea Development Institute (KDI) projected a 0.2-percent increase this year.

Since the BOK began compiling the GDP data in 1953, South Korea recorded a negative growth only twice in 1980 and 1998.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

U.S. Texas governor declares state of disaster following violent protests

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U.S. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday declared state of disaster following violent protests in cities throughout the state over the death of George Floyd.

The move allows Abbott to designate federal law enforcement officers to respond to the ongoing threats, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.

In a separate release on Sunday, Abbott said he has ordered thousands more troopers to these cities and more than 1,000 National Guard soldiers to assist the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and local law enforcement in their efforts.

Texans First Amendment rights are absolute and will always be protected,” said Governor Abbott. “But violence, vandalism, and looting will not be tolerated in this state and those found in violation of the law will be arrested and prosecuted.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also deployed tactical teams to assist state and local law enforcement.

During the weekend, protest and violence throughout Texas continued as hundreds of protestors were arrested in the past two days.

In Dallas, Police Chief Renee Hall on Sunday instituted curfew from 7 p.m. Sunday night till 6 a.m. for the next several days in response to the weekend violent protest.

In the state capital of Austin, protesters gathered in downtown area Sunday afternoon. According to local media, protesters marched toward the state Capitol and Austin City Hall, chanting, “No justice, no peace.”

Demonstrations and riots have spread to cities across the United States after a video went viral of African American George Floyd being kneeled on by a white police officer before he died in the mid-western U.S. state of Minnesota on Monday.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Gov Masari mourns Katsina NUJ scribe

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Gov Aminu Masari of Katsina State has expressed sorrow over the death of the Secretary, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Katsina State Council, Alhaji Aliyu Yunusa Kofarsoro.

In a statement on Sunday in Katsina by Adbu Labaran, his Director-General on Media, Mr Abdu Labaran, Masari said that the state has lost “a very vibrant, dynamic and up-and-coming journalist in the prime of his life and profession”.

The governor described the deceased as having endearing attributes that should form part of the character traits of professional communicators.

He urged journalists in the state to borrow a leaf from the late NUJ scribe, by showing total love and commitment to their professional calling.

Masari condoled the Katsina State NUJ Council, the management and the staff of the Katsina State Television (KTTV) and the immediate family of the deceased.

He prayed Almighty Allah to forgive the deceased his sins and rest him in paradise as well as give the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the loss.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Yunusa-Kofarsoro died on Saturday in Katsina after a brief illness, at the age of 48.

He was survived by a wife and six children.

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

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Health

COVID-19: Abia Govt. orders mandatory tests for Executive Council members, others

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The Abia Government has directed members of the state Executive Council and the state Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 to undergo COVID-19 tests.

The Commissioner for Information, Mr John Okiyi-Kalu, made the disclosure in a statement in Umuahia on Sunday.

Okiyi-Kalu said that the directive followed the outcome of tests conducted on the close family members of a late commissioner in the state and member of the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19.

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed all members of the committee and those of the Executive Council, who might have recently come in contact with the late commissioner, to immediately undergo COVID-19 tests and isolate themselves thereafter, pending the outcome of the tests.

Governor Ikpeazu, who is still in mourning, will also subject himself to all other necessary protocols as he has directed his Exco members including the Deputy Governor to do,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the state Commissioner for Environment, Solomon Ogunji, was reported to have died of heart attack two weeks ago.

He called on the people of Abia to constantly observe the relevant regulations issued by the state government and the health authorities to prevent further spread of the disease.

Edited By: Deji Abdulwahab/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Foreign

Yemen’s gov’t reports 13 new COVID-19 cases, 323 in total

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Yemen’s Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total tally of infections to 323 in the country’s provinces controlled by the government.

According to a brief statement released by the country’s supreme national emergency committee, “during the past 24 hours, the health departments officially registered 13 new COVID-19 cases in a number of provinces controlled by the government.”

Meanwhile, the death toll from the deadly respiratory disease climbed to 80 after three new deaths were recorded in the areas controlled by the Yemeni government.

The pro-government health authorities added that the number of recoveries has increased to 14 since the outbreak of coronavirus on April 10.

The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.

The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Lagos govt hosts drive-in concert to reinvigorate entertainment sector

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The Lagos State Government said it hosted a premier and innovative drive-in concert to reinvigorate the entertainment sector in the state.

Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), said in a statement on Sunday that the agency supervised the drive-in concert to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The innovative drive-in concert was organised by Lapazio Lifestyles and Entertainment Group at the Bay Lounge, Admiralty Way, Lekki.

Fasawe said that the concert was given the greenlight by the state government and was adequately supervised for total compliance with all stipulated safety guidelines.

According to her, the state government is beginning to ease the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and safely reinvigorate the entertainment landscape after a long break.

”The drive-in concert event is globally accepted as a new model for hosting safe entertainment events.

”Lagos, being a prime destination for entertainment and leisure events in Africa, should not be left behind in this new trend that ensures that fans connect with their favourite musicians or idols without breaking COVID-19 safety and environmental regulations.

”Society benefits from entertainment; it adds structure to our social lives. Our goal is to ensure that the entertainment world can operate in a safe and healthy environment to create lasting positive memories, as we adjust to the post COVID-19 lifestyle,” she said.

The General Manager said that though the event was successful, there was still room for improvement.

She said that the agency intended to do a thorough evaluation of the event and subsequently come up with a more robust plan for the future, while extending the scheme to other relevant sectors.

”Our goal is to support the entertainment sector in tandem with outlined social distancing and environmental protocols which will attract heavy sanction if violated or defaulted flagrantly to serve as a deterrent to others,” Fasawe said.

She said that the event was a test run for the new normal and the success recorded was a win for all and a guide for future events in the state.

The General Manager said that Lagos placed a high premium on the lives of all its residents, thus, the need to adopt new approaches that safeguarded the citizenry.

The event had about 50 vehicles in attendance parked in line with physical distancing guidelines recommended by the government.

The attendees were safely seated in their vehicles enjoying the tunes of popular musician Mayokun within the marked spaces.

It was supervised by officers of LASEPA, Lekki Zonal Office, led by Yetunde Atoyebi, in line with the monitoring guidelines and mandate of the agency.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Politics

Edo Governorship: ALGON kicks against direct primaries

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The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Edo chapter on Sunday said that holding a direct primary election amid the COVID-19 pandemic would put the lives of Edo people in grave danger.

The Chairman of ALGON in Edo, Mr Jerkins Osunde, who was represented by Osi Akhigbe, Etsako central chairman in a news briefing said the process would undermine all efforts at containing the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Edo governorship election holds on Sep. 19.

NAN also reports that the National Working Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress  (APC), had proposed direct primaries for the Edo governorship election.

Osunde, however, described indirect primaries as the safest option, the most humane and healthy alternative for the Edo APC governorship primaries.

“As local government Chairmen, we have been working very closely with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and the state’s task force on the pandemic.

“We are aware of the health dangers the virus portends for the people in our communities if the measures put in place are not strictly adhered to.

“We are also aware of the corrosive blight that the virus can inflict on our people if we fail to follow the NCDC guidelines.

“We cannot in good conscience, support a political exercise that will put the health of our people in grave danger,” he said.

Osunde expressed shock that anyone with genuine concern for the lives of Edo people will at this point be proposing a massive gathering of people.

He said that negates the global best practices prescription of physical distancing as measure for containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC), timetable, the conduct of primary elections and resolution of disputes arising from primaries would be between June 2 to June 27.

INEC stated that the campaign proper could start on June 21.

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

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General news

Gov. Okowa congratulates new NMA President, Prof. Ujah

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has congratulated Prof. Innocent Ujah on his election as the President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The governor’s felicitation was conveyed in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Sunday in Asaba.

Ujah, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, was the immediate past Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos.

He was elected with 347 votes at the association’s Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting held online on Saturday, to defeat his closest rival, Oguzie Jerry, who got 19 votes.

Okowa described Ujah as a “distinguished medical scholar and outstanding patriot.”

He said that Ujah had distinguished himself as a professional with proven progressive experience in National Maternal Health policy development in Nigeria.

He noted that the new NMA president was involved in national integrated planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation activities in the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory.

The governor further noted Ujah had contributed to the institution of safe motherhood activities in Nigeria since 1990.

Okowa urged Ujah to bring his wealth of experience to bear on his new task, saying that he should give prime attention to adherence to medical ethics by medical practitioners.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate you, Professor Innocent Ujah, on your election as President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

“It is a thing of joy to note that you won the election with a very wide margin which indicated the overwhelming acceptance of your competence and ability to lead the professional body of medical doctors in Africa’s largest country.

While I congratulate you on this victory, let me remind you that the task ahead is daunting and onerous and you must bring your wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of your duties as president of the association.

“I, therefore, charge you to remain committed as you lead the NMA to promote universal health coverage and to ensure that Nigeria flattens the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Okowa said.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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General news

Gov. Okowa mourns former NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru

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Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Sunday expressed grief over the death of  Dr Maikanti Baru,the immediate past Group Managing Director of  the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Okowa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Olise Ifeajika, described the late Baru as a renowned engineer, who brought his wealth of experience to bear all through the years he served at the  NNPC.

“As an astute petroleum engineer, Baru was a man of great wisdom and insight, who contributed immensely to the economic development of our country throughout his service at the NNPC.

“While serving as GMD he maintained oil production levels above two million barrels per day and increased crude oil production by NNPC flagship Upstream Company, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

“He was also instrumental to the boosting of gas production which made NNPC the largest supplier of gas to power, and saving enormous financial resources through Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) scheme adopted for products import.

The NNPC under his watch reduced cost of crude oil production per barrel in the country from 27 dollars to 22 dollars and sustained petroleum products supply nationwide, thereby eliminating fuel scarcity in the country,” he said.

According to him, Baru will be sorely missed, especially for his outstanding accomplishments and innovations at the NNPC.

Okowa, who said the the news of Baru’s death came to him as a shock, expressed his condolences to the Baru’s family, Jama’are community, and Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I mourn the exit of a great statesman, Dr Maikanti Baru, who contributed immensely to the economic development of Nigeria when he held sway at the NNPC,” he said.

Baru, who hailed from Jama’are in Bauchi State, died on Friday, May 29, after a brief illness.

He was appointed the  18th NNPC’s  Group Managing Director on July 4th, 2016 and retired on July 7, 2019, at the age of 60..

Edited /Donald Ugwu

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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