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Gov. Wike, task force monitor compliance to restriction

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Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Saturday led members of the State Task Force on Enforcement of the ban on Public and Religious Gatherings to ensure compliance to closure of markets.

Wike, had through an Executive Order, declared that all markets in the State no matter how small should be shut as from March 28 to check the spread of Coronavirus in the state.

Traders locked the markets and stayed away to ensure general compliance with the directive.

Wike and other Task Force members monitored compliance at the Umbrella Market by the rail track; Mile One Market; Mile Two Market; Mile Three Market; and Mile Four Market.

The team also monitored compliance at the Rumuokwuta; Rumuomasi; Elekahia;  Slaughter; and Creek Road Markets respectively.

The team stopped at the different markets, interacted with security personnel and operatives of the State Task Force on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks to issue relevant instructions.

Members of the Task Force, who accompanied the governor, included the State Commissioner of Police; the State Director, Department of State Services; the Commander, Nigeria Air Force 115 Special Operations Group; the Commander NNS Pathfinder; and the State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Wike and his team will on Sunday monitor compliance by Churches.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Ismail Abdulaziz
(NAN)

General news

Gov. Uzodimma receives Judicial Commission report

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Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo has received report of the state’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry on lands and related matters.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Oguwike Nwachuku, confirmed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Owerri.

Uzodimma commended the commission for a job well done, promising to do justice to the report.

He assured the members that the government would critically study the report with a view to doing the needful in the interest of Imo people.

He further said that the report was important to the people, as they have looked forward to it.

 “The commission has passed the ball and it is the responsibility of the government to score the goal,” the governor said.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Commission, Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe (Rtd.), said members ascertained the extent of distortion to the Owerri Master Plan.

Duruoha-Igwe said that the commission’s recommendation had only one motivating consideration: “to completely restore Owerri master plan and the lost glory of the beautiful city”.

She said they were mindful of the fact that history and people of the state would judge them harshly if they fail in the onerous task of getting it right.

She explained that in the course of their assignment, the commission received 1,532 petitions and memoranda from within the state and the diaspora.

“The visual evidence shows that the distortion of Owerri master plan is colossal and mind-boggling.

”It requires a man and government with lion’s heart to restore same, bearing in mind that you cannot make an omelette without breaking an egg.

“It is the prayer of the committee members that the report will find acceptability before God and the people of the state,” she said.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Rivers Govt inaugurates free bus scheme

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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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Oyo owes N26 bn in gratuities–Gov. Makinde

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Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State says the state has a backlog of N26 billion in unpaid gratuities to  6,274 pensioners.

Makinde made the disclosure in Ibadan on Monday while presenting cheques to some of the beneficiaries of the N180 million gratuity for 2013 retirees.

He said his administration had been making efforts to offset the debt inspite of the limited sources of funds for the government.

“I gave you a promise that as our economy is getting expanded, so also we will be adding more to what we need to pay to pensioners to ensure that we shorten the period within which we can offset this debt,” he said.

He said that his administration remained committed to finishing whatever the previous administrations had left undone, including payments.

“When a child inherits fortune from his father, he will not reject it.

“In the same way, if he inherits debt, he is duty-bound to do something about it and that is what I just explained; we are doing something about it,” he said.

The governor said that those who had served diligently needed all the support they could get from the state.

” Ordinarily, the payment of gratuity to retirees should come immediately after retirement.

“Despite the meagre resources available to the state, my administration will continue to bring relief to the entire workforce in the state and its senior citizens.

“This symbolic presentation of cheques is for retirees who finished the processing of their retirement papers in 2013.

“In total, 82 of these retirees will be paid their full retirement benefits.

“Seven years is a long time for anyone who could not work to wait to get paid their benefits.

“Such payment should ideally come immediately upon retirement and it is indeed disheartening that the previous administration did not do what was supposed to be done when it should be done.

“We are able to do this because we increased monthly allocation for gratuities from N100 million to N180 million with effect from June 2019.

” What this means is we have committed N1.908 billion to this payment in the past one year with a total number of 886 retired civil servants, hospital workers, teaching and non-teaching staff benefitting.

“When we came in, we still had the gratuity arrears of 2011. Now, we have completed the arrears of 2011 and 2012 and we are now on 2013.

“I give you the assurance that we will keep paying off these debts and I know we will finish paying them.” he said.

Makinde further said that his administration would continue doing its best to ensure that everyone in the state felt the impact of governance.

In his address of welcome, Prof. Kehinde Sangodoyin, the state Commissioner for Establishment and Training, said the Makinde-led administration had alleviated the sufferings of helpless retirees.

Mr Okusegun Abatan, Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners in Oyo State, commended the state government for the payment of the gratuities.

Abatan urged Makinde to sustain his efforts at bringing smiles on the faces of the retirees.

Some of the beneficiaries–Raji Ayinde, Rachael Ogundiran, Adeniyi Omofoye and Fausat Olanrewaju– commended the governor for fulfilling his promise to them.
/OJO

(
Edited By: Moses Solanke/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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UNIBEN governing council commiserates with family of murdered student

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The Governing Council of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have commiserated with the Omozuwa family and the entire university community over the rape and murder of one of its students, Miss Vera Omozuwa.
The acting Chairman of the council, Dr Daniel Mwanmut, in a statement issued on Monday by the institution’s Public Relations Officer, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, described the actions of the perpetrator(s) as heineous and inhumane.
Mwanmut urged the family, university authorities, members of staff and students of the institution to take solace in the fact that the young girl lived a focused life.
He also called on the Edo government and law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned to fish out those involved in the gruesome murder and bring them to book.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Omozuwa, a 23-year-old student of the university, was raped by a gang of unknown men on May 27 and died few days later at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).


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

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COVID-19: Enugu govt. distributes palliatives to cab operators

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The Enugu State government, on Monday at Okpara Square, presented food items and protective equipment to members of the Coal City Cabs/Taxi Operators’ Union in the state.
The state Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, said the gesture was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the lockdown, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ezeilo said that government was committed to the wellbeing of the people of the state.
According to her, government has been consistent in the distribution of food items to various groups in the state, including the poorest of the poor, since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The deputy governor appealed to members of the union to continue to abide by the government’s restriction orders as well as the safety protocols in order to be free from the virus.
Responding, the Chairman of the cab operators, Mr Samuel Ajogwu, commended the state government for its efforts at assisting the less-privileged and groups through distribution of palliatives.
Ajogwu also commended the government for its efforts at containing the spread of the virus in the state.
“It is heartwarming that the state government has deemed it necessary to provide us with these food items as palliatives,” he said.
The chairman expressed the union’s resolve to assist the state government in containing the spread of the virus in the state.


Edited By: Benson Iziama and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Gov. Makinde issues 200 digitised Certificates of Occupancy

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Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State  has issued 200 digitised Certificates of Occupancy to the first set of beneficiaries under the State Home Owners’ Charter Scheme which commenced on April 1.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the initiative is to ensure property owners obtain their Certificates of Occupancy within 60 days from the date of submission of application.

Makinde, during the symbolic handing over of the Certificates of Occupancy to seven of the beneficiaries at the Government House in Ibadan, said the initiative had eliminated the bottlenecks that characterised issuance of the document in successive administrations.

“Though there has been various unsuccessful attempts by similar initiatives under previous administrations in the state, with the new initiative by this administration, the problem associated with the processing has been solved for good in Oyo State.

“You will agree with me that anyone who has proper documentation to prove ownership and purpose of property will have peace of mind regarding that property.

“For entrepreneurs, being able to quickly obtain this legal document is important in making business decisions.

” In fact, how quickly such document can be processed can greatly influence an investor’s decision about where to situate a factory or other business premises.

“It is, therefore, government’s responsibility to ensure the right policies are put in place to make the documentation associated with home ownership quick and easy.

“This new platform has all operating equipment and facilities funded by the Oyo State Government, all data will be domiciled on state-owned servers and we will ensure the security and safety of all these documents.

“We have also installed new security features for these documents to checkmate forgery,” he said.

The governor called on those without the certificate to make use of the opportunity to get one, saying the scheme would be on till Dec. 31.

“You can buy the scratch card to obtain the application form for N6,000 and if you are among the first 2,000 applicants, you will get a 15 per cent discount for   processing the  C of O.

“I am pleased to extend this intervention to individuals in all the 33 Local Government Areas and 35 Local Council Development Areas of Oyo state.

“It is my hope that all will take advantage of this opportunity to regularise their home ownership documents and enjoy peace of mind; another perk that comes with legal ownership of property in the state,”  he further stated

Earlier, Mr Abdu-Raheem Abiodun, the state’s Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, had described the initiative as a step in the right direction.

Abiodun said the present administration in the state had reviewed the “inherited logjams” and set up a smooth, prompt and adequate computerised method of processing the certificates and other land title documents within 60 days.

He implored all eligible land owners in the state to subscribe accordingly, saying “this initiative if well supported by all will go a long way to add immeasurable value to individual and corporate land holdings across the state.”

Three  of the beneficiaries, Saheed Adeniyi, Margret Ajibike-Oke and Azees Babatunde, expressed appreciation to the Makinde administration for speedy processing of their Certificates of Occupancy.

(
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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Health

COVID-19: Kaduna govt. begins community case-search, visits 29,771 households

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The Kaduna State Ministry of Health has commenced active case search within communities in the nine local government areas where COVID-19 infections have been confirmed.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina Mohammed-Baloni, said in a statement on Monday that health officials were going into communities to search for and test persons who might be showing any COVID-19 symptom.
“As part of the active case search, 29,771 households have so far been visited. Health officials have tested 297 persons with symptoms such as fever and sore throat,’’ she said.
The commissioner explained that the search for probable cases within communities was combined with targeted testing of contacts of confirmed cases and testing of persons with symptoms that met the case definition.
She warned that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state was likely to increase, as more tests were conducted in more areas.
“Expanded testing will enable early identification of new cases and will help prevent further spread of the virus by getting infected persons to be isolated and treated earlier.
“It will also provide more accurate data to inform government’s decisions, going forward,’’ she added.
The commissioner further said that the active case search had given the ministry the opportunity to search for other medical conditions and provide services to the communities.
She said that as at May 31, the state had recorded a total of 258 cases, out of which 93 were active cases, with 157 discharged 157 and eight fatalities.


Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Delta govt. to put necessary measures in place for schools’ resumption – Commissioner

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The Delta Government on Monday said necessary measures would be put in place before academic activities could resume in the state.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, made this known at a media briefing held in Government House Annexe, Warri.

Aniagwu said that government would among other things fumigate the schools before students resumed.

“Schools might not resume in the next one week. We will put all measures in place before children will be allowed to resume academic activities.

“We will fumigate the schools to ensure safety of our children. So schools might not resume in the next one week,” he said.

The commissioner said that the state government had upscaled its healthcare facilities.

He said that the state now had six isolation centres with two donated by corporate bodies.

“We are not just upscaling our health facilities because of COVID-19, we are looking beyond the pandemic to the benefit of our people,” Aniagwu said.

The commissioner said that amid the challenges of the global pandemic, the state government was still committed to building a stronger Delta through infrastructure development.

He said that the state government was about to float a domestic security outfit codename ‘Operation Delta Hawks’ to complement the existing security apparatus in the state.

According to him, the security outfit would deal with domestic security issues in the state.

The commissioner said that the state government was committed to regional security outfit.

“Regional security outfit will deal with security issues across the region, while state security will deal with security issues within the state,” he said.

Aniagwu, however, urged the people of the state to continue to support the government to enable it deliver on its promises.

The commissioner was accompanied by Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa and some government aides.


Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Foreign

Indian gov’t approves 9.33 billion USD relief for small businesses, hikes MSP for farmers

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The Indian government Monday cleared a 9.33 billion United States dollars debt scheme to help stressed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and approved a new definition for these units.

“Approval for provisioning of Rs 20,000 crore (2.66 billion United States dollars) as subordinate debt to provide equity support to the stressed MSMEs. This will benefit 2 lakh stressed MSMEs,” reads a statement issued by cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA).

“Approval for equity infusion of Rs. 50,000 crore (6.67 billion United States dollars) for MSMEs through Fund of Funds (FoF). This will establish a framework to help MSMEs in capacity augmentation. This will also provide an opportunity to get listed in stock exchanges.”

Both the decisions were part of the government’s relief package, which was announced by federal finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month to support the battered economy in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday launched the technology platform CHAMPIONS, a one-stop-shop solution of the MSME Ministry that would attempt to make smaller entrepreneurships evolve and grow by solving their grievances. The acronym CHAMPIONS stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.

This information and communications technology-based system has been set up to help the MSMEs in the present difficult situation and also to handhold them to become national and international champions, an official statement said.

Government says MSMEs are the backbone of Indian economy. As per official estimates, MSMEs have a crucial role to play in building a stronger and self-reliant India. “These small economic engines have a huge impact on the country’s GDP-making a contribution of 29 percent. They contribute to almost half of exports from the country. Additionally, more than 110 million people are employed in the MSME sector,” official data reveals.

The government has also approved to hike the minimum support price of 14 Kharif crops. The hike will increase farmers’ profit by 50 to 83 percent. Kharif crops are the crops that are sown before monsoon in India.

(XINHUA)

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