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Gov. Sule felicitates with Muslim faithful on Eid-el-Fitr

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has felicitated with Muslim faithful the world-over on the successful completion of Ramadan fast and celebration of Eid- el-Fitr.
This was contained in a statement he personally signed on Saturday in Lafia.
“For the past 29 days, Muslims all over the world have observed the fast in the sacred month of Ramadan in compliance with the Islamic injunction.
“As you are all aware, fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam aimed at strengthening our faith through spiritual engagements such as abstinence from eating, drinking and satisfying other desires from sunset to dawn.
“It also involves intense prayers, recitation and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, as well as increased acts of kindness, charity and humility, among other moral virtues.
“I implore all Muslims to remain steadfast in applying the virtues of Ramadan through sustained supplication, hospitality and good neighbourliness for the overall peace, security and economic prosperity,” he said.
Sule said government will not condone any act capable of breaching the existing peace prevailing in the state and threatened to deal with criminal elements if caught no matter their status in the society.
The governor also reminded religion leaders to obey the conditions given for lifting of ban on religious gathering in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Sule urged Muslim faithful in the state to ensure that they use facemasks, maintain physical distancing and hand sanitisers in all mosques in line with the directive towards containing COVID-19 spread.

Sunday John: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Foreign

Samoan gov’t unveils 2nd stimulus package to help fight COVID-19

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The Samoan government unveiled Tuesday its second stimulus package of 83 million tala (about 29.88 million U.S. dollars) to help the country’s private sector battle against COVID-19.

According to Samoa Observer, the nation’s daily English newspaper, the second stimulus package, also known as the Phase II Response Plan, includes a number of measures for injecting cash directly into the Samoan economy targeted at sectors hit by the coronavirus-led downturn, specifically hospitality.

The measures tabled to the parliament on Tuesday include an extension of utilities subsidies; retraining programs for unemployed workers; increases in monthly pensions; one-off cash payments to citizens; assistance to exporters; and support for non-government organisations.

Samoa’s Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti told the parliament that the theme of the budget clearly highlights the message that the future of Samoa is the responsibility of many and reflects the commitment of the government for a better tomorrow for all of Samoa and its people.

On April 7, Samoa’s parliament passed a 66.3 million tala (about 23.86 million U.S. dollars) stimulus package to help the island nation fight the virus.

Currently, Samoa has no confirmed COVID-19 cases.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Afghan gov’t releases another 900 Taliban inmates: official

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A total of 900 Taliban inmates were freed from Afghan government’s prisons on Tuesday in the latest move to further advance the intra-Afghan peace talks, a spokesperson for the Office of the National Security Council confirmed.

“The government released 900 Taliban prisoners today to further advance peace efforts, including an extended ceasefire and the immediate start of intra-Afghan peace talks,” spokesman Javid Faisal tweeted.

The move came after Taliban militants announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr festival, starting from Sunday.

Taliban militants have reportedly agreed to extend the ceasefire for another four days or more.

On Monday, the second day of the festival, the government released 100 Taliban from Bagram prison in eastern Parwan province.

On March 11, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and Taliban agreed to release 1,000 soldiers but the exchange of prisoners was repeatedly delayed.

As of May 10, some 1,000 Taliban fighters and 200 Afghan government soldiers had been freed by the two sides, but the exchange process had been suspended over some disputes.

The exchange of prisoners is part of a peace deal inked between the Taliban and the United States in Qatar in February. However, the Afghan government was not a signatory of the deal.

(XINHUA)

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Eid-el-Fitr: CAN lauds Muslims over compliance with govt COVID-19 directives

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The Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), Oyo State Chapter, has commended Muslims in the state for complying with government directives on Eid-el-Fitr celebration amidst COVID-19.

This is contained in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Benjamin Akanmu, and made available to newsmen in Ibadan.

Akanmu felicitated with Muslims on the successful completion of the 30 days fasting, commending them for observing Eid-el-Fitr prayer in their various homes in compliance with government directives.

“On behalf of the entire Christians in Oyo State, I congratulate all Muslims throughout the world, particularly those in Oyo State on the Eid-el- Fitr celebration.

“I pray God Almighty to accept all our prayers and grant everyone more grace to witness more of it in good health,” Akanmu prayed.

He described as high commendable their obedience to the directives on public gathering which signified the humility in Yoruba culture.

“We as religious leaders should also not forget to continue to lead by example. Moreso, we are directed by God to honour and obey the laws of the land as well as those in authority,” he said.

The CAN chairman admonished all to be patient with the government and support every effort put in place to drive COVID-19 out of Nigeria.

Akanmu also urged Muslims to always apply the lesson learnt during the holy month of Ramadan to every aspect of their lives and relationship with other people.

Besides, he called on Muslims and adherents of other religions to live in love, peace and harmony with one another.

The CAN chairman stressed the need for both Muslims and Christians to comply with the restriction orders as well as other guidelines reeled out by government and experts.

“With collective efforts of all we can kick the stubborn virus out of Nigeria.

“We must not relent in contributing to the religious harmony enjoyed in the state while also praying for the nation.

”I will love to implore you all to continue to pray for our state and Nigeria as a nation to ensure that the country survive the hardship ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he urged.

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

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Foreign

British gov’t eases coronavirus measures in England

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Non-essential retailers are to be allowed to reopen in England in June, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday evening.

Shops selling clothes, furniture, electronics or books, as well as auction houses and tailors are to be allowed to offer their services again from June 15.

Outdoor markets can reopen as of June 1.

Retail premises must be made “COVID-secure,” Johnson said.

On March 23, Johnson closed all stores that did not serve primary needs as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Supermarkets and pharmacies remained open.

The prime minister had already announced on Sunday that schools in England would be opened again for certain classes from June.

Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are going their own way in the fight against the coronavirus.

Britain is the country with the most COVID-19 victims in Europe.

So far, 36,914 deaths have been recorded, Johnson said on Monday evening.

It is believed there is also a high number of unreported cases.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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General news

Buhari celebrates Kwara Governor’s mother at 90

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Alhaji A. G. F. AbdulRazak and his son AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, the incumbent Governor of Kwara on the occasion of the Governor’s mother’s 90th birthday.

The mother of the Governor and wife of the first lawyer in northern Nigeria, Alhaja Raliat Amope AbdulRazaq, a philanthropist and founder of the Raliat Foundation, will be 90 on Tuesday.

In a congratulatory message released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Monday, President Buhari commended the celebrant for ”bringing happiness and joy to so many people within and around her community”.

He prayed to Allah to grant her many years of service to the family, her community and the nation.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa agrees on bailout with German government

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The German Government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, both sides announced on Monday.

The deal, which provides for aid and equity measures worth nine billion euros ($9.8 billion), is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

The German government said that Lufthansa had been profitable before the pandemic, but is now facing the biggest financial crisis in its history.

The pandemic has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes.

At one point, the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

The stabilisation package takes into account the needs of the company, as well as the needs of taxpayers and its employees.

The status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo, was a major factor in talks.

The German economic stabilisation fund, set up by the government during the coronavirus crisis to be able to acquire stakes in important companies in an emergency, approved the deal earlier on Monday.

Lufthansa’s executive board also approved the deal.

As part of the bailout, the government would receive a 20-per-cent stake in the company.

Some of the conditions, Berlin has set before it will take part, include more stringent environmental protections.

The stabilisation fund will also make a silent capital contribution of up to 5.7 billion euros in Lufthansa’s assets.

The interest rate is planned to increase from an initial four per cent to 9.5 per cent.

A loan of up to three billion euros is also planned with the participation of the state-owned KfW bank and private banks with a term of three years.

According to the announcements, conditions will include a waiver of future dividend payments and two supervisory board seats will be filled in coordination with the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government had been in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take-off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authority plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa.

Merkel is reported to have said “this will be a hard struggle’’.

Economy Minister, Peter Altmaier, said on Monday that a number of questions still needed to be clarified with the European Commission regarding the deal and that Berlin would “fight and work” to ensure that Lufthansa could continue to operate as before in Germany.

European Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the deal would be subject to special conditions.

However, a spokeswoman for the watchdog did point out that the rules for coronavirus aid in cases such as that of Lufthansa provide for “additional commitments to preserve effective competition’’.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Gov. Obiano’s aide commends monarch for distributing palliatives to PWDs

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Mr Chuks Ezewuzie, Special Adviser (Disability Matters) to Anambra Governor, Chief  Willie Obiano, has commended the Traditional Ruler of Ifitedunu, Igwe Emeka Ilouno, for gifts given to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

Ezewuzie gave the commendation during the presentation of COVID-19 palliatives by Ilouno in Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra on Monday.

The governor’s aide recalled that the governor recently constituted Disability Community COVID-19 Response Team to ensure that every class of persons in the state was not left out in the COVID-19 palliatives.

He said the gesture shown by the monarch would go a long way to reduce hardship associated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the lives of persons resident in Ifitedunu.

“These food items, bags of rice and tubers of yam from Ilouno would sustain the special persons well enough to be thankful to God. It is well appreciated,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other items distributed at the event, courtesy of World Ebony Network,  were face masks, farm inputs,  fertiliser, lime, maize, cucumber, watermelon seeds.

Ezewuzie appealed to other traditional rulers in the state to seek People Living With Disabilities in their communities and support them in order to give a meaning to their lives at this bad times.

He said that the monarch had remained in the forefront to support policies and programmes of the government, especially as it affected disabled persons.

Earlier, Ilouno said the step was taken in response to the need to help the disabled persons in the community to cushion the effect of coronavirus challenges.

He said that some individuals, as well as community efforts, helped to make the event a success.

The monarch reassured the group that his community would not relent in showing kindness to them at all times.

He encouraged the people to religiously observe preventive measures issued against the virus and advised the group to embark on subsistence farming to enable them equally cushion postCOVID-19 effects.

Ilouno said that he was confident that the Anambra government would successfully manage all COVID-19 cases in the state.

Some of the beneficiaries, Stanley Obi, Arinze Nwafor and Innocent Okafor, commended the traditional ruler for his kind gesture toward the group and assured him that they would observe the preventive measures.

Obi, who is the Co-ordinator of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in the state, said that life had never been easy for people living with disabilities.

He said that they would ever remain grateful to the monarch for his kind gesture to their members.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa says German gov’t approves 9-bln-euro rescue package

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German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Monday that the federal government’s Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) has approved a nine-billion-euro rescue package (9.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the company.

Lufthansa said the WSF would provide up to 5.7 billion euros in the form of “silent participation” in the company’s assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros would be classified as equity in accordance with related financial rules.

Under German law, “silent participation” is unlimited in time and can be terminated by the company on a quarterly basis in whole or in part.

The WSF will also acquire shares worth about 300 million euros in the form of a capital increase in order to build up a 20 percent stake in Lufthansa. The WSF may increase its stake to 25 percent plus one share in the event of a takeover of the company.

Other measures in the package include a syndicated credit facility of up to three billion euros with the participation of state development bank KfW as well as private banks, with a term of three years.

The conditions of the deal include a waiver of future dividend payments and restrictions on management remuneration. Two seats on the Supervisory Board are to be filled in agreement with the German government, one of which is to become a member of the audit committee, said the company.

Noting that the Executive Board supports the package, the company said it still requires final approval from the Management Board and the Supervisory Board. It is also subject to the approval of the European Commission, the company added.

Lufthansa was operationally healthy and profitable before the pandemic and has good prospects for the future, but it came into an existential emergency due to the coronavirus crisis, the WSF Committee, which consists of representatives of several federal ministries, said in a joint statement.

The government’s stabilization package takes into account the needs of the company as well as those of taxpayers and employees of the Lufthansa Group, the ministries said.

In early May, Lufthansa revealed that it was in talks with the federal government on a rescue package to finance the troubled airline amid the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable damage to the aviation industry worldwide, with flights largely grounded due to the travel restrictions imposed by many countries.

Preliminary results released in late April showed that Lufthansa’s group revenues fell by 18 percent to 6.4 billion euros in the first quarter. In March alone, revenues declined by 47 percent.

The group announced in mid-May that it would gradually resume services in June. It plans to offer around 1,800 weekly round trips to more than 130 destinations worldwide by the end of June. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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COVID-19: Plateau Reps,NNPC, donate money, ambulance to Plateau Govt.

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The Plateau Caucus at the National Assembly has donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Plateau Government as its contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of  Representatives, Ahmed Wase ,led the delegation that made the presentation on Monday at Government House, Jos.

Wase commended Gov. Simon Lalong for being the first to install  CCTVs at the state’s borders.

He also commended the efforts of Gov. Lalong toward curbing the scourge of the Coronavirus pandemic in the  state.

He prayed for more wisdom and guidance for the governor to steer the affairs of Plateau toward fast tracking its development.

The deputy speaker said that even though they were giving individual and constitutional responsibilities in interventions to stem the disease, it was still imperative for them to contribute as a group representing the different interests of the state at the National Assembly.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that while  on the visit, the members also presented a Toyota Hiace ambulance bus to the governor under the initiative of the the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention on COVID-19 donated by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Independent Petroleum Producers group.

NAN reports that the donation by the initiative also included two ventilators, 10,000 surgical face masks, 5,000 face masks and 2,000 hand gloves.

Lalong thanked all the members representing Plateau at the National Assembly for the gesture, describing it as laudable and worthy emulation.

He also acknowledged their contributions at their constitutional levels and their efforts to sensitise and enlighten their constituents on preventive measures against the disease.

He assured that their contribution to the Plateau government  COVID-19 trust fund would be put into good use, while appreciating their cooperation to ensure the well-being of Plateau people.

“We will also give you the necessary cooperation to discharge your duties at the National Assembly.

“We have inaugurated a research committee comprising of specialists in the field on alternative ways of addressing COVID-19 and other possible emergence of infectious diseases,” he said.

He said the state had  also established a palliative committee which was already distributing foodstuff  and other essentials to the indigents and vulnerable in the state.

The governor also said it had evacuated Quaranic Education Students (Almajiri),from Plateau to their home states as agreed by Northern Governors in order to protect them from the pandemic, saying they are being tested for the disease before taking to their homes.

He thanked the Members for ensuring Plateau benefited from the intervention of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Intervention, saying he was optimistic that the state through their influence would benefit from more Federal Government interventions.

He said business Mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote through his foundation was establishing a 100 bed capacity isolation center in Shendam Local Government Area.

NAN reports that other members of the delegation were Sen. Hezekiah Dimka representing Plateau Central, Sen Istifanus Gyang representing Plateau North, while the representatives in attendance were Mr Haruna Maitala representing Jos North and Komsol Longgap representing Mikang/Qu’anpan/Shendam constituency among others.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Education

KWASU Chancellor: Group commends Kwara Govt for appointing Adewumi

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Chief Gbenga Awoyale, President General of Orisun Igbomina, has commended Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for appointing Dr Thomas Adewumi, as new Chancellor, Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.

Orisun Igbomina is a socio-cultural group for the people of Kwara South.

Awoyale gave the commendation in a congratulatory message issued on Monday in Ilorin.

He said that the appointee was a highly reputable educationist who would build on the existing achievements in the institution.

The group’s president said that the choice of Adewumi remained one of the best things to have happened in the state.

”The new chancellor will use his connections within and outside the academia to add values to KWASU in the areas of valuable research and scholarship.

”I congratulate Adewumi as KWASU Chancellor; his contributions to educational development in the nation over the years is remarkable and unprecedented.

”There is no doubt that he will be good Ambassador of Igbomina land and contribute his quota to the progress of the school.

”He will also provide more insights and modern approaches to university management in a bid to assist the Abdulrazaq-led government,” he said.

Awoyale, however, thanked Abdulrazaq for his choice of Adewumi and prayed that his tenure in office would be beneficial to the university community, government and the people.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adewumi was announced as KWASU Chancellor on Monday with immediate effect for a single term of five-years.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Defence/Security

Yobe Int’l Airport to be test landed on May 29 — Gov Buni

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Gov. Mai Mala Buni of Yobe on Monday said that the Damaturu International Airport would be test landed on May 29.

Buni disclosed this in Damaturu while  hosting the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

“The Damaturu International Airport will be test landed on May 29, and we are going to provide Nigeria Air Force (NAF) quarters there as we have already promised.

“We are soon commencing on the quarters project and all other facilities will also be provided,” the governor said.

He noted that such gesture would go a long way in addressing the problem faced in the region.

“This is quite reassuring and a clear sign that the madness called insurgency is coming to an end very soon,” Buni said.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and the military for their efforts.

In his remarks, Abubakar commended the governor for being supportive to the military.

“I am very excited that Buni has been supportive to the air force and provided additional land area where we are putting certain facilities that will add lots of value to what we are doing,” he said.

The CAS also expressed confidence to address insecurity in the state with the facilities in place.

”I am very confident with what we have. It is going to be much easier for the air force to respond to any threats within Yobe rather than going to Maiduguri and coming back.

“We can now operate from Damaturu which is very exciting for us indeed and to our comrades that are fighting on land as well,” Abubakar added.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Afghan gov’t releases 100 Taliban inmates in goodwill gesture: official

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The Afghan government freed 100 Taliban inmates from Bagram prison on Monday as a gesture of goodwill, spokesperson of Office of the National Security Council confirmed.

“The Government released 100 Taliban prisoners from Parwan (province) today as a gesture of goodwill to advance peace efforts, including an extended ceasefire and the immediate start of direct talks,” spokesman Javid Faisal tweeted.

The move came after Taliban militants announced a three-day ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr festival, starting from Sunday.

On March 11, Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release 5,000 Taliban inmates on parole and Taliban agreed to release 1,000 soldiers but the exchange of prisoners was repeatedly delayed.

As of May 10, some 1,000 Taliban fighters and 200 Afghan government soldiers were freed by the two sides but the process of exchange of the prisoners was suspended over dispute on swap of prisoners.

The exchange of prisoners is part of a peace deal inked between the Taliban and the United States in Qatar in February. However, the Afghan government was not a signatory of the deal.

To expedite the peace process, President Ghani on Sunday ordered the release of another 2,000 Taliban detainees.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Rep hails Adewumi’s appointment as KWASU chancellor by Gov. Abdulrasaq

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A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Tunji Olawuyi, has commended Gov. Abdulrahman AbdulRasaq over the appointment of Dr Thomas Adewumi as the Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU).
Olawuyi, representing Ekiti/Isin/Irepodun/Oke-ero Federal Constituency of Kwara, gave the commendation in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Abuja.
He said that the appointment would help reposition the institution.
He added that Adewumi, being a lover of education and founder of a ‘world-class college’, Thomas Adewumi International College, Oko, would use his rich experience to bring innovations to KWASU.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the governor had, on Monday, approved the appointment of the renowned educationist as the chancellor of the university.
According to the governor, the appointment, which takes immediate effect, is for a five-year single term.
Olawuyi, while thanking AbdulRasaq for finding one of his constituents worthy of such an appointment, expressed the hope that Adewumi would use his clout and wealth of experience to ensure that the university became an enviable citadel of learning.
He also said that Adewumi’s appointment would help find the needed solution to the myriads of problems bedeviling the institution and the state at large.
The lawmaker urged the people of the state to support the new appointee to enable him discharge his duties effectively and take the university to the next level.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Economy

Nasarawa govt. begins construction of Keffi Square, neighborhood market

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, on Monday, flagged off the construction of the Keffi Square and a neighborhood market to boost the socio-economic activities of the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the projects were awarded at the cost of over N1.6 billion.
Sule, while speaking at the occasion, said that the projects were also initiated to improve the revenue base of the state.
According to him, the neighbourhood market will have over 500 lockup shops, while the square will have more than 1,400 capacity seats.
‘”I am not just fulfilling the campaign promises which I made to the people of Keffi, but it is also a dream come true.
“The Keffi Square and the neighborhood market are to enhance the socioeconomic activities of the people of Keffi and the state at large and improve their standard of living,” he said.
Sule urged the contractor handling the projects, Canonic Associates, to adhere strictly to project specifications, ensure quality jobs and complete them before the end of the year.
“This project is expected to be completed at the end of this year. I urge the contractor to adhere strictly to project specifications and ensure quality jobs,” he said.
The governor also used the occasion to pray for God’s intervention in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shehu Tukur, an architect and Consultant to Canonic Associates, while giving the overview of the projects, assured of quality jobs.
In his welcome remarks, Alhaji Abdulrahman Maigoro, the Chairman of Keffi Local Government council, commended the governor for the projects, saying that it was a fulfillment of his campaign promises.
He assured the governor of the support of the people of the area to his administration.
NAN reports that the occasion was grace by some dignitaries, including Sen. Abdullahi Adamu (APC– Nasarawa West), Dr Shehu Chindo-Yamusa, the Emir of Keffi and members of the State Executive Council.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Education

Kaduna Govt. will jail parents who enroll children into Almajiri system – El-Rufai

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Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State has warned that parents who enroll their children into the Almajiri education system stand the risk of prosecution and up to two years jail.

El-Rufa’i stated this in Kaduna on Monday when he visited some 200 Almajiri children repatriated from Nasarawa State and undergoing rehabilitation and optical screening at Government College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna.

Almajiri are children enrolled to be taught Islamic knowledge under Islamic Clerics, but who loiter on the streets with bowls begging for alms and food.

The governor also said that any Islamic cleric who enrolls any child into the Almajiri system would also be prosecuted and jailed as well as fined N100,000 or N200,000 per child.

He said that all the Almajiri pupils repatriated from other states of the country were indigenes of the state adding that the government would give them all the opportunity they deserved to grow and develop.

El-Rufai expressed satisfaction with the ongoing transformation of the Almajiri pupils from hopelessness to hope and confidence.

According to him, the state has a responsibility to do whatever it can to give them hope and a better future.

“We will, therefore, continue to take delivery of every Almajiri pupil indigenous to Kaduna state for rehabilitation, treatment and enrollment into formal school nearest to where their parents live.

“We will continue to do this until we clear Kaduna state of the menace of Almajiri system, which is not education but the abuse of the privilege and future of a child.

“Our ultimate goal is for them to acquire formal education without depriving them of the opportunity to acquire Quranic education.

“They will continue their Quranic education but under the care of their parents and not under someone who does not know them or paid to look after them.”

He explained that the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development (MHSSD), along with UNICEF would closely monitor them and ensure that no child would leave his locality until he finished primary and junior secondary school.

The governor stressed that every child in Kaduna state must get 12-year free and compulsory primary and secondary school education.

“Those that cannot proceed to senior secondary school will have the opportunity to go to vocational school, also free.

“As such, no parent has any excuse for his child not to go to school,” El-Rufa’i said.

He thanked MHSSD and other state agencies for the commitment and passion for the welfare of the children.

He equally thanked AMA foundation and other NGOs and civil societies for supporting the government to provide the Almajiri pupils with the needed medical care, food, and clothing, among others.

The governor particularly appreciated UNICEF for supporting the state government in ensuring that all the repatriated children were well documented.

El-Rufa’i said that the care and support provided had restored the sense of dignity of the children.

Also speaking, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, Commissioner, MHSSD, said that the state had so far received more than 900 Almajiri pupils from Kano, Bauchi, Plateau and Nasarawa states.

Baba said that no fewer than 500 of them were rehabilitated, treated (those who tested positive to COVID-19) and reunited with their families.

She added some 400 others were still undergoing rehabilitation and would soon be reunited with their families.

On his part, Dr Zakari Adam, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, commended Kaduna state government for the efforts to ensure that all children go to school as against begging in the streets.

Adam reiterated UNICEF’s continued support to the state in all children-related issues such as child protection, education, and health among other areas, for uninterrupted growth and development of every child.

He stressed the need for all stakeholders, the government, civil society, parents, communities, religious and traditional leaders and the media to work together in ensuring that children acquired quality education.

Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Lufthansa agrees bailout with German government

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Bailout

Berlin, May 25, 202 The German government and Lufthansa have agreed on a much-anticipated bailout deal to help the airline cope with losses from the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said on Monday.

The deal, thought to be worth up to nine billion euros (9.8 billion dollars) is yet to be approved by Lufthansa’s supervisory board and the European Commission’s competition watchdog.

Lufthansa is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has grounded around 90 per cent of its planes. At one point the firm was losing about 800 million euros per month.

Passenger traffic ground to a virtual standstill from mid-March, though Lufthansa’s freight business has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

Government sources said the deal would be “within the framework” of a rescue plan that foresees the airline receiving a bailout totalling some nine billion euros in exchange for a 20-per-cent government-owned stake in the company.

The proposed deal was put forward by a government committee set up under legislation enacted in March establishing a fund designed to stabilise the economy.

A key point in the talks held behind closed doors in recent weeks is that a government stake of this size would not give it a majority vote capable of blocking key decisions taken by Lufthansa management.

Another major issue is the status of some 138,000 employed by the airline and its many subsidiaries, which include Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Swiss and others, along with Lufthansa Cargo.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the government was in “intensive talks” not only with Lufthansa but also with the European Commission.

Among the conditions likely to be set by competition authorities is the existence of an “exit strategy” for state involvement in the airline.

According to reports by the business daily Handelsblatt, Merkel intends to oppose any attempt by the European Commission to deprive Lufthansa of take off and landing slots in return for the large state rescue package being negotiated.

According to the report, the EU competition authorities plans to take slots away from the airline, Europe’s second-largest by passenger numbers, at its main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

Politicians from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) confirmed this to dpa. Merkel is reported to have said: “This will be a hard struggle.”

EU Commission watchdog authorities did not want to comment on whether their approval of the German government taking stock in Lufthansa would be subject to special conditions.

EU state aid rules enable member states to support companies affected by the outbreak, including those active in the aviation sector,” said a spokeswoman.

The commission has recently eased the rules for state aid in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is continuing to monitor for any disproportionate help that could disrupt competition in the internal market.

A general condition, for example, would be that aid paid for with taxpayer money is sufficiently compensated.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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General news

Children’s Day: Imo govt. to send palliatives to orphanage homes

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The Imo Government on Monday said it would be visiting and donating palliatives to orphanage homes, juveniles in correctional centres and other vulnerable groups on May 26.

The Commissioner for Gender and Vulnerable Group in Imo, Mrs Nkechinyere Ugwu, disclosed this at a news conference.

Ugwu said the visit would be part of the ministry’s activities to mark the 2020 International Children’s Day celebration on May 27.

She said the essence of the visits would be to reassure the orphans at the orphanages and juveniles at the correctional centres in the state that government had not abandoned them.

She said the ministry had braced up against any kind of abuse against the girl-child and vulnerable groups in Imo.

“We will not tolerate harassment of the girl-child in Imo; we will rise to protect their rights at any time.

“International Children’s Day is a day set aside to lay emphasis on the protection of children’s rights.

“We are also doing our best to encourage girl-child education and to discourage all forms of abuse and molestation against the girl-child,’’ the commissioner said.

She urged parents to ensure that the girl-child was given early orientation on what constituted abuse to them, while also advising children against negative relationships.

Ugwu, however, noted that the celebration would be partly affected by the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic will make it impossible to observe all normal activities that require physical contact.

“We will ensure that all the NCDC guidelines on COVID 19 are strictly observed during the event,’’ the commissioner added.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Foreign

Germany’s Lufthansa says gov’t approves 9-bln-euro rescue package

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German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG said Monday that the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) set up by the federal government has approved a stabilization package of up to 9 billion euros (9.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the company.

Lufthansa said the WSF will make silent participation of up to 5.7 billion euros in total in the company’s assets, of which nearly 4.7 billion euros is classified as equity. The silent participation is unlimited in time and can be terminated by the company on a quarterly basis in whole or in part.

Two seats on the Supervisory Board are to be filled in agreement with the German government, one of which is to become a member of the Audit Committee, said the company.

While noting that the executive board supports the package, the company said the package still requires the final approval of the management board and the supervisory board. It is also subject to the approval of the European Commission, the company added. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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General news

Gov. Sule inspects Karu Modern Bus Terminal, tasks contractor on pace of work

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Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State on Monday inspected the ultra-modern Karu Bus Terminal, as part of activities to mark his one year in office.

Sule, who was accompanied by his Deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe and other top government functionaries, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done so far on the project.

Sule, however, charged the contractor to increase the pace of work, to regain the lost ground due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.

“The bus terminal building is a prime project for this administration and it is located in a very key area.

“Now, what we have to do is to expedite action to ensure that we regain the lost ground due to COVID-19 lockdown.

“I am more interested in the quality of work at the moment; you know we have set certain standard and I strongly believe that the project is meeting our set standard.

“It is a major project for us, that is the reason we are doing the best we can to ensure that it meets the set standard and quality,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Shehu Turku of Canonic Associates, the consultancy firm handling the project, said that the bus terminal was designed and built with 900-vehicle parking capacity.

Turku stated that the project was done 30 per cent, promising to complete it within the one year stipulated time.

“We are given one year to complete and deliver this project; if there is no another lockdown, we should be able to complete it,” he said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Education

Kwara govt. appoints Adewumi as KWASU’s Chancellor

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The Governor of Kwara, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has approved the appointment of Dr Thomas Adewumi, a renowned educationist, as the Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.

Mr Fafoluyi Olayinka, the Special Assistant to the Kwara Governor on New Media, made this known in a statement issued in Ilorin on Monday.

According to the statement, the appointment is for five years, single term and takes immediate effect.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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