Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has commended the Nigeria News Agency , for establishing a special situation room to monitor and document activities around the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.
Mohammed, who gave the commendation when he visited NAN headquarters in Abuja, also commended the agency for jingles targeted at enlightening Nigerians on the dangers of the pandemic and the need to adhere to measures to contain it.
“I am happy at your initiative. We should all be contributing to the effort to save Nigeria and Nigerians. We should all be part of the campaign.
“These contributions are very valuable. We must all do everything possible to protect the country from this deadly disease,” he said.
The minister said that government was working round-the-clock to enlighten Nigerians on the consequences of not taking the disease seriously, and urged the media to play its role effectively so as to save the country.
Earlier, Alhaji Biola Lawal, the Acting Managing Director of NAN, had told the minister that the agency had set up a situation room to document activities around the pandemic so as to consistently update Nigerians on developments.
He said that the facility would also gather and process data that would guide current and future leaders on how to manage the situation and similar ones in future.
“We also expect that the data and the mass of information gathered in the situation room will help future generations to learn from our successes and failures,” he said.
NAN reports that Mohammed later featured on the NAN Forum where he fielded questions on the pandemic.
The minister, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force for the Control of Covid-19, also spoke on its successes and challenges thus far.
UI vice-chancellorship: Search team to get eligible candidate
Barely 90 days to the appointment of a vice-chancellor for the premier University of Ibadan (UI), the search team constituted by the Senate of the institution says it is searching for an eligible candidate for the post.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Tunji Oladejo, Director, Public Communication said this in an interview on Monday in Ibadan.
Oladejo stated: “The search team is mandated to look for anybody who is eligible to lead the university to be the vice-chancellor but who did not apply in the first instance but that person will now be encouraged to go and apply.
“Don’t forget that UI is a national treasure, a national institution so it covers everywhere in Nigeria.
“Because the whole of Nigeria is the coverage area of UI so the search team will look for any eligible candidates in all these areas.
“So we are at that stage now.
When asked of the next step in the race towards the vice-chancellorship, he noted that the contest “is a process and so it is one step at a time.
“But we have to wait for the search team to give their recommendations”.
Oladejo also said he could not tell the number of candidates that had applied for the post since he was not part of the council secretariat, noting that only the registrar could tell.
NAN reports that some candidates have withdrawn from the race having known that their chances of emerging in the race is slim.
Some members of the UI community said that they were praying for good candidate to emerge.
A member of the community who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that those at the frontline of the race include Prof. Adeyinka Aderinto, the immediate past Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, the current Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration and Prof. Remi Raji, former Dean Faculty of Arts, among others.
The source said that Aderinto was perceived as a strong contender for the postion.
He, however, noted that the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes has raised the need for an Ibadan indigene to emerge as the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, presenting four candidates for the approval of one who could meet the criteria.
Edited By: Kayode Olaitan (NAN)
Presidency says TUC planned protest against EFCC, NDDC, NSITF ill-advised, uncalled for
The Presidency has frowned at the reported plan by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a nationwide protest over the alleged President Buhari’s “inaction over the high-level of corruption uncovered at some Federal Government’s commissions.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that both the Executive and Legislative arms are currently investigating alleged cases of misconduct at the Niger Delta Development Agency (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity in a statement in Abuja on Monday, however, described the planned protests against the affected commissions by TUC as ill advised and totally uncalled for.
This is so, according to the presidential aide, in view of the fact that there are ongoing investigations in the cases by both the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
He said that these processes must be allowed to run their full courses.
”It is against the norm in a democratic society as well as the natural laws of justice to seek “action,” meaning punishment against offenders before proper investigation, trial and conviction.
”The President has made it clear that the allegations that have surfaced clearly “constitute a breach of trust” and as the investigations take hold and close out, all those found wanting will face the wrath of the law.
”The TUC, as an enlightened group of labour unionists, should indeed voice their indignation whenever such acts are being unearthed.
”However, the expectation will be for it to also raise the bar higher, in terms of the debate concerning the impact of such allegations on our ability, to create and retain employment, attract investment, improve the living conditions of its members and citizens, and how a preponderance of these heinous crimes decimates any gains being made in other spheres.
According to him, all these ills in their singular or combined form are consuming every nation, and Nigeria is no exception.
He, therefore, maintained that, ”we must hold the line and lock arms that way we rid ourselves of these existential issues whilst we grapple with those that are our own homegrown problems.
”This administration is committed to doing just that, and organisations like the TUC should be extending a hand in supporting such a fight that is in our collective interest,” he said.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Labour Party dissociates self from CUPP lawsuit against FG
The Labour Party (LP) has dissociated itself from the lawsuit instituted against the Federal Government by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).
The National Chairman of LP, Alhaji Abdulsalam Abdulkadir, at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, said he and his party, which was a stakeholder in the organisation of the opposition parties, were not in support of the action.
“I have been forced to address this news conference by the recent media controversy as well as the action taken by an individual to sue service chiefs in the name of CUPP, an organisation that I am a relevant and senior member of.
“This decision, as well as many others taken by this individual, has not been one borne out of consultations among members but a decision exclusively his.
“This habit, therefore, brings the question of why he did not use his own Political Party, rather than an organisation comprising other political entities.
“An individual should not and cannot continue to act in the interest of the whole without due consultation and approvals.
“I want to state categorically, as a formidable stakeholder in CUPP, that I am against the action of suing the Federal Government on the issue of the continuous stay of the service chiefs.
“Let me also state that I and the Labour Party, do not support the federal government’s decision to continue to retain the Service Chiefs in the face of rising insecurity in the North East and other parts of the country.
“However, we would not also allow ourselves to be dragged or become a party to a circus suit aimed primarily at promoting an individual’s quest for popularity and misplaced political relevance rather than at exacting justice for the Nigerian people,” he said.
Abdulkadir added that the law suit, no matter how pleasing it sounds, is not geared towards yielding a decisively positive result in the Courts but is geared towards making mockery of our judicial processes.
According to him, the Labour Party and I, will not be a party to reducing our national institutions into a mere circus and I therefore distance myself from the law suit.
“We cannot embark on a ludicrous journey aimed at taking undue advantage of our judicial process.
“Even though, we are an opposition Party and a standing member of the CUPP, we cannot continue be a part of an individual’s quest to weaken our national institutions and systems, when we are striving and hoping to take control of them in the future.”
Abdulkadir said that other executive members had watched with dismay how some persons who were not members of the Steering Committee had ran away with the organisation meant to represent a coalition of over seventy individual political interests, without recourse to the Steering Committee or the sensibilities of other partners.
“This has gone on for a long time in spite of concerted and concerned calls from all and sundry.
“The CUPP is made up of mature, respectable and responsible individuals and entities, which may explain why a lot of restraint have been exercised and members have been refrained from having a public showdown,” he said.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Felix Ajide (NAN)
COVID-19 vaccines now in phase 3 clinical trials– WHO
The director-general said: “ We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.
“However, there’s no silver bullet at the moment and there might never be; for now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.
“Testing, isolating and treating patients, tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all.
“Inform, empower and listen to communities. Do it all.
“For individuals, it’s about keeping physical distance, wearing a mask, cleaning hands regularly and coughing safely away from others. Do it all.’’
Ghebreyesus said the message to people and governments was clear: “Do it all, and when it’s under control, keep going! Keep strengthening the health system.
“Keep safeguards and monitoring in place, because lifting restrictions too quickly can lead to resurgence.
“Keep investing in the workforce and communicating and engaging communities.
“We have seen around the world, that it’s never too late to turn this pandemic around,’’ he said.
According to him, if we act together today, we can save lives, we can save livelihoods, if we do it all together.
He told journalists that the Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday and reviewed the current pandemic.
“It was a sobering moment coming six months on from when the committee advised.
“And, I agreed that the outbreak constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
“At the time, Jan. 30, there were fewer than 100 cases and no deaths outside of China.
“Since then, the number of cases has increased more than five-fold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled to 680,000,’’ the director-general said.
In addition to the direct toll COVID-19 is having, Ghebreyesus said the committee noted the health impact that disrupted services were having on a range of other diseases.
“That compounds what we already know about reduced immunisation coverage, cancer screening and care, and mental health services.
“A survey of responses from 103 countries between mid-May and early July, found that 67 per cent of countries report disruption in family planning and contraception services.
“More than half of countries reported disruption in antenatal care services and more than a third of countries reported disruption in child birth services.
“On top of the health impact, we have seen the damage COVID-19 has caused socially, economically and politically.
“The committee put forward a number of recommendations for countries to continue to implement to bring the virus under control.
“These range from sharing best practice, to enhancing political commitment and leadership for national strategies and localised response activities driven by science, data and experience.’’
He said from serology studies that most people remained susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks.
“Over the past week we’ve seen several countries that appeared as though they were past the worst now, contending with fresh spikes in cases.
“However, we’ve also seen how some countries, regions or localities that had a high number of cases are now bringing the outbreak under control.
“It’s not easy, of course. Strict measures may cause their own problems for delivery of essential health services, the economy and societies overall.
“The committee acknowledged that Member States have tough choices to make to turn the epidemic around.
“But, they were also clear that when leaders step up and work intensely with their populations, this disease can be brought under control.’’
He further said we learnt everyday about this virus.
“ I’m pleased that the world has made progress in identifying treatments that can help people with the most serious forms of COVID-19 recover.
“The committee recommended that countries engage in the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, participate in relevant clinical trials, and prepare for safe and effective therapeutics and vaccine introduction,’’ Ghebreyesus said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)