March 9: 32 candidates vie for Abia governorship
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says 32 candidates from different political parties will be vying for the governorship of Abia on Saturday.
Mr Godfrey Achibie, Head of Voter Education and Publicity, INEC in Abia, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Umuahia on Friday.
Achibie said that the commission was compiling a fresh list of candidates for the state House of Assembly from a document received from the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
He said: “We got a fresh list of candidates from the headquarters and they are still working on it to produce the current list for Saturday’s polls.”
The Resident Electoral Commission, Dr. Joseph Iloh, told NNN on Wednesday that there were 353 candidates for the 24-member house.
Meanwhile, Achibie said that all the logistics challenges had been addressed, adding that the election materials had been conveyed to the 17 local government areas of the state.
He also said that the commission was fully prepared for the polls
NNN reports that some of the front line governorship candidates included Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Uchechukwu Ogah of the All Progressives Congress, Dr. Alex Otti of the All Progressives Grand Alliance and Dr. Blessing Nwagba of the Social Democratic Party.
COVID 19: Abia to begin massive testing of residents
Ikpeazu, who made the announcement in a statement in Umuahia, said that the new phase of the fight against COVID-19 in Abia would require the testing.
The governor said that massive testing would enable the state to achieve, at least, 10 per cent coverage of the population at the initial stage of the exercise.
“The state epidemiologist has been directed to work out modalities for case searches, using sample population size of between 30 and 250 people in some densely populated LGAs.
“Unfortunately, results of two of my aides, who also subjected themselves to the COVID-19 test, were positive while others turned in negative results,” Ikpeazu said.
Ikpeazu said that the patients had been admitted at the state’s isolation facility.
He expressed confidence that the patients would be successfully treated.
The governor said that collective responsibility was the best weapon against the pandemic.
”If any person contracts COVID-19, it will be saddening, but it is neither criminal nor necessarily the person’s fault.
“Let me put it on record that statistics shows that many more people recover from the virus than those who pass away from it.”
The governor directed the Transition Committee Chairmen of the 17 Local Government Councils in Abia and their deputies to present themselves for COVID-19 test and isolate themselves pending the release of the results.
Ikpeazu urged the people of Abia to get involved in the battle against the disease by supporting government efforts against the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia reports 1,869 new COVID-19 cases, tally near 90,000
The total recoveries in the kingdom increased to 65,790 after 1,484 new recoveries were added, the Saudi Health Ministry tweeted.
The kingdom registered 24 more fatalities from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 549, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has launched a nationwide campaign to enhance awareness among the public of the importance of taking precautionary steps in order to bring life back to normal and avoid causing further infections.
Lockdown: Abia lawmaker, brother distribute palliatives to monarchs, clergymen
An Abia lawmaker, Chief Philip Igwe, and his elder brother, Chris, have donated palliatives worth millions of naira to traditional rulers and clergymen in Umunneochi State Constituency to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown in the state.
In a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria , in Umuahia on Monday, the legislator listed the items to include 160 bags of 100Kg rice, 2,100 liquid hand sanitisers and 300 bags of 50kg fertiliser.
Other items were two cartons of personal protective equipment donated by members of Harvard University Alumni Association, who were Chris’ classmates to be distributed to health workers.
Dr Ken Madubuike, who handed over the items to the beneficiaries at Umunneochi Local Government headquarters on behalf of the donors, described the gesture as exemplary since the state government introduced the lockdown.
Madubuike said that the beneficiaries also included members of the Chrisnak Friends Club (CFC), a non-governmental organisation, founded by Chris, a Lagos-based business mogul and philanthropist.
He said that Umunneochi Agricultural Revolution (UAR), an initiative of the lawmaker to encourage agriculture, otherwise called “Operation 10,000 farmers”, got 300 bags of fertiliser.
He said that the monarchs got 30 bags of rice and N100,000; clergymen, 25 bags of rice, while CFC members got 105 bags of rice plus N130,000.
Speaking further on behalf of the donors he said that the palliatives were meant to support Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s efforts to cushion the economic impact of the lockdown on the people.
According to the donors, there is an urgent need to take proactive steps to explore the huge agricultural potential in view of the anticipated post-Covid-19 uncertainties.
Quoting the lawmaker, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Madubuike said: “Due to the debilitating effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the economy, it has become highly imperative for our people to return to agriculture.
“Having initiated constituency farming as solution to the economic downturn, I hereby renew my call on all Umunneochi households to get back to land this farming season ahead of the post-COVID-19 economic uncertainties.”
He urged the leadership of UAR to ensure that only genuine farmers, “who are determined to ensure the success of the back-to-land agricultural project”, benefitted from the fertiliser.
In their separate responses, the beneficiaries thanked the Igwes for their magnanimity and concern for the wellbeing of their people during the challenging period.
The Chairman of Umunneochi Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Jonathan Obasi, said the monarchs were grateful for the gesture and thanked the donors for remembering the monarchs.
Also, the Project Coordinator of UAR, Mr Chuks Madu, said the group would make effective use of the fertiliser to ensure post-COVID-19 food security in the area.
Madu said: “We have fertile, arable land in Umunneochi. What we need is encouragement and incentives and we shall make Umunneochi the food basket of Abia.
“The fertiliser will go a long way to help us to achive this noble mission,” he said. .
Stimulus: FG, ADP commence collation of data of genuine farmers in Abia
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Abia Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) on Monday commenced collation of data of genuine farmers in the state.
Mr Isreal Amanze, Programme Manager told newsmen in Umuahia that the essence of the exercise was to generate a comprehensive data bank of farmers in the state.
He explained that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Agriculture ordered the registration of farmers in every ward of the state.
“ADP has deployed trained professionals to educate farmers on the relevance of the exercise and register the farmers in the various communities in Abia.
“The enumerators will meet the farmers to get their coordinates and will ensure they visit their farms so that accurate data are documented appropriately.
“The registration exercise has commenced today and will last for 10 days, but we are appealing to the Federal Government to extend the period given for the exercise,” he said.
He urged traditional rulers, clergymen and leaders of farmers associations, to encourage the farmers in their communities to cooperate with the enumerators to ensure success of the exercise.
Amanze said the exercise had created an ample opportunity for the government to eliminate “portfolio farmers” from the system.
He said that it was expected that subsistence and commercial farmers would be reached and assisted to enhance their capacities.
Saudi Arabia to pump 13.3 bln USD into banking system
The amount will boost credit facilities to the private sector, help banks amend restructure loans without additional fees and support private sector employment.
SAMA had previously unveiled a 50-billion-riyal program to help mostly small private businesses in the country.
Saudi Arabia has been taking solid steps to reduce the economic implications of the spread of coronavirus, including reducing state expenditures and increasing the percentage of the value-added tax (VAT) from 5 to 15 percent.
India’s meteorological department says depression over Arabian sea may intensify into severe cyclone
India Meteorological Department (IMD) Monday said the low-pressure area developing over the Arabian sea was likely to intensify into a severe cyclone and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts on Wednesday.
“The depression over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea moved nearly northward with a speed of 7 kmph during past three hours and lay centred near latitude 13.2°N and longitude 71.4°E about 360 km southwest of Panjim (Goa), 670km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 900 km south-southwest of Surat (Gujarat).
It is very likely to intensify into a deep depression over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea during next 12 hours and intensify further into a cyclonic storm over east central Arabian Sea during the subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move nearly northwards initially till 2nd June morning and then recurve north-northeastwards and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts,” the IMD said.
According to IMD, the cyclone is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coast during Wednesday evening or night.
Heavy rains are expected in south Gujarat and coastal Maharashtra.
The IMD said sea condition was very likely to be rough to very rough over east central and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea during next 48 hours.
Authorities have advised fishermen not to venture into the southeast Arabian sea, Lakshadweep area and along and off Kerala coast until Thursday.
Last month cyclone Amphan hit West Bengal and Odisha killing 80 people and causing large-scale destruction.
2 injured, many abducted in Ebonyi, Abia clash -Police
Two persons were allegedly injured and many abducted in renewed clash between Amata, Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi and Lokpanta community in Abia state.
Mrs Loveth Odah, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ebonyi, who confirmed the attack on Sunday in Abakaliki, said that the two commands were working to return normalcy to the affected areas.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two communities have been locked in years of inter-communal conflict over ownership of a farmland near their borders.
The warring communities renewed their hostilities on Saturday which led to two indigenes of Amata allegedly sustaining gunshot wounds.
Odah said that Abia and Ebonyi commands have sent detachments of tactical units to patrol the area and ensure law and order as well as to avert loss of lives and property.
“Our men are in control of the situation. They arrived the scene of crisis and rescued those abducted from the two sides and also aborted bloodbath; though two persons were injured from gun shots.
“It is a very unfortunate situation and we are appealing to both communities to sheath their swords and allow for dialogue.
“The two police commands will collaborate to ensure that security is maintained in the affected area to prevent the incessant clashes between the two communities,” the spokesperson said.
However, a source from Amata who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said that the incident took place on Saturday at the disputed farmland.
The source who escaped the attack said that it took the timely intervention of armed policemen from Ivo division to put the situation under control and prevent bloodshed.
He urged the state and federal governments to urgently intervene to save looming inter-communal clash between the two communities.
Ikpeazu, Abia Exco, others to self-isolate after commissioner’s death
The directive is contained in a statement signed by Chief Okeiyi Kalu, Abia State Commissioner for Information and made available to newsmen on Monday in Umuahia.
Ogunji was the commissioner for environment before his death on May 24.
Kalu said the family of the late former commissioner, suspected to have died of hypertension on May 24, was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back positive.
He said the governor had advised Abia Exco members who had contact with Ogunji, before his death, to also observe self-isolation until they had been tested for the virus.
“Gov. Ikpeazu, who is still in mourning will also subject himself to all other necessary protocols as he has directed his cabinet members, including the Deputy Governor, to do.
“We wish to call on all Abians to continue to observe relevant regulations issued by the government and health authorities to stem the spread of the disease,’’ the statement read in part.
COVID-19: Abia Govt. orders mandatory tests for Executive Council members, others
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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