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Mason docked for alleged cell phone theft



Mason docked for alleged cell phone theft


The Police on Friday arraigned a 21-year-old man, Lawal Sheu, in a Karshi Grade 1 Area Court, Abuja, over alleged theft of a cell phone.

The defendant, who resides at Area C, Nyanya, Abuja, is facing three-count charge bordering on criminal trespass, mischief and theft, offences he denied committing.

The prosecutor, Ayotunde Adeyanju, told the court that one Sule Olanrewaju of View Point Luxury Hotels, Karu, Abuja, reported the matter at the Karu Police Station, Abuja, on Feb. 8.

According to him, the complainant alleged that on the same date, the defendant criminally entered into the above mentioned address and dishonestly stole a GIONEE cell phone, valued at N19,000.

He added that the defendant, in the course of committing the offence, deliberately broke some tiles and during police investigation, the defendant admitted to have committed the offence.

The prosecutor said the offences contravened Sections 348, 327 and 287 of the Penal Code.

The judge, Aliyu Kagarko, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000, with a surety in like sum and adjourned the case until March 15 for hearing.


England’s Freemasons to allow women – if they were once male




London, Aug. 1, 2018England’s Freemasons are to admit women to their secretive society, but only if they were previously male masons.

The all-male United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) has published a new gender reassignment policy which states that “a Freemason who after initiation ceases to be a man does not cease to be a Freemason.”

The UGLE, the governing body for most freemasons in England and Wales, said it was acknowledging changes in society and urged its members to show kindness and tolerance towards members who change gender.

A woman who becomes a man will also be allowed to apply to become a Freemason, the policy said.

The UGLE said its recommended dress code was being expanded to include smart dark skirts and tops as well as dark suits, but members who changed gender to female should still be addressed as “brother”.

Britain has passed legislation aimed at preventing discrimination against people who have undergone gender reassignment.

The lodge was founded in 1717 in London and has 200,000 members.


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Bank of America pledges $1bn to address racial, economic inequality



Bank of America Corp on Tuesday pledged one billion dollars  to help communities across the country address economic and racial inequality.

The bank is the first big bank to vow monetary support following violent protests after the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

“The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said.

“We all need to do more,” he said in a statement.

Major cities across the country were hit by the worst civil unrest seen in years following the death of George Floyd last week, with demonstrators setting fire to a strip mall in Los Angeles, looting stores in New York City and clashing with police.

The protests come at a time when businesses are looking to reopen after months of coronavirus-induced lockdowns.

Bank of America said its four-year commitment will include programs such as virus testing and other health services, especially focusing on communities of color, support to minority-owned small businesses, and partnerships with historically black and Hispanic educational institutions.

Last week, Citigroup Inc Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason, one of the few black executives on Wall Street, published a personal essay on expressing his “horror, disgust and anger” over the killing of Floyd.

Heads of United States lenders JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co also issued statements denouncing racism and discrimination, while CEOs of Canadian banks Toronto-Dominion Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce called for action to tackle racism.

Goldman Sach Group Inc in April pledged here 300 million dollars to support communities and small business, while JPMorgan in March committed here 50 million dollars to address public health and economic challenges from the pandemic.


Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)



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Roundup: 6.5-magnitude earthquake hits U.S. state of Nevada




A 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit U.S. western state of Nevada at 4:03 a.m. local time Friday (1103 GMT), according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The epicenter, with a depth of 7.6 km, is 56 km west of the town of Tonopah in western Nevada. The earthquake was felt throughout central California, Nevada and southern Utah.

First recorded as 6.4, the USGS later raised it to a 6.5 earthquake, which has had numerous aftershocks including at least one above magnitude 5.0.

The earthquake was reportedly the largest to hit Nevada since 1954.

“As the third most seismic state in the nation, we kind of had a streak of not having big earthquakes for 66 years,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, was quoted as saying by CNN.

“This area is an active seismic region,” noted the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno in a statement.

“About two dozen earthquakes in the magnitude 5 range have occurred within 65 miles (about 104 km) of this event over the past 50 years, mostly to the west and south,” the statement added.

Within the first hour following the earthquake, more than 8,000 people reported feeling it. Some residents said that they woke up to their house shaking due to the earthquake. Shaking was felt by people in cities as far away as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

There are no reports of fatality yet.

The USGS warned that the area will continue to experience more earthquakes than usual.

“When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater,” said the USGS in an aftershock forecast.

The agency advised local residents to be aware of the possibility of aftershocks, especially when in or around vulnerable structures such as unreinforced masonry buildings.

According to the forecast, over the next week there is a 4 percent chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 6.5. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next week.

Several areas of the highway have damage caused from the earthquake, according to the Esmeralda County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office posted several photos which showed fractures in U.S. Highway 95.

Nevada Department of Transportation said that U.S. Highway 95 between the U.S. Route 6 junction and U.S. Highway 360 will remain closed hours more for earthquake related inspections and repairs.


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Lockdown: Kaduna to distribute palliatives to artisans – Commissioner



The Kaduna State government says it has concluded plans to commence the second round of palliative distribution to artisans, whose incomes have been adversely affected by the current stay-at-home order.
The state Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, made this known in Kaduna on Friday, during a tweet chat, organised by Aid Foundation, an NGO.
Baba listed in her twitter handle @HafsatMohBaba the artisans to benefit from the palliatives to include carpenters, barbers, hairdressers, welders, mechanics, plumbers, masons, tailors and painters.
She said that such categories of persons, who depended on daily income, had been adversely affected by the lockdown, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, they need some form of palliatives to survive the lockdown period.
The commissioner recalled that government had earlier distributed N500 million worth of food items to low income households, beginning with eight pilot local government areas in the state.
“Some of the challenges experienced in Kaduna North LGA, where I led the distribution exercise, were attempts by some cluster members to muddle up and politicise the exercise as well as violate the lockdown directive.
“Other challenges were the failure of some of the beneficiaries presented by the cluster committees to meet the criteria of vulnerable households and lack of cooperation among the committee members.
“Distribution is currently ongoing in the remaining council areas, with key focus on the targeted groups, proper coordination by cluster committee members, door-to-door distribution, verification of beneficiaries and provision of adequate security,” the commissioner said.
The commissioner stressed the need to build resilience to survive these trying times, while the world figured out how to cure the dreaded virus.
“For now, social distancing and personal hygiene are our only ways out. Let us stand together in staying apart to remain safe,” she said.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Aid Foundation, Mr Emmanuel Bonet, @askbonet, explained that the objective of the tweet chat was to share experiences and suggest best practices for the subsequent exercise.

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

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S/Africa deputy finance minister urges SARB to print money to fund government – report



South Africa’s Finance Deputy Minister, David Masondo, was quoted in a leading newspaper on Sunday as urging the central bank to temporarily create money to fund the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Masondo called on the government to avert a 1930s-style depression by getting the central bank to buy government bonds directly to fund the country’s deficit during the coronavirus crisis.

“Such bonds must be once-off special bonds with earned proceeds and should be treated as a temporary measure with a clear exit plan,’’ he was quoted by the paper as saying.

“Such money from the SARB (South African Reserve Bank) must be used for immediate COVID-19 health-related interventions and … economic recovery measures,’’ he added.

A central bank spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last month announced a record 500 billion rand ($26.3 billion) rescue package equalling 10 per cent of the GDP of Africa’s most industrialised nation, to cushion the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then debate has stirred as to how it is to be funded.

Ramaphosa has approached the IMF and World Bank, a sensitive issue in a government that has generally been hostile to the so-called Washington consensus.

Masondo is a former youth leader of South Africa’s Communist Party, but since Ramaphosa appointed him a year ago he has been a strong advocate of tough economic reforms, including clamping down on excessive government spending.

In an unprecedented move in March, the central bank did begin a programme of buying back government bonds from the secondary market to inject liquidity and prevent lending from seizing up.

But the idea of the central bank purchasing government debt directly to fund the deficit would most likely cross a red line for Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, a fiscal conservative who believes in central bank independence.

The government would also be keen to avoid a situation like neighbouring Zimbabwe, whose runaway money-printing to pay its bills triggered massive hyperinflation a decade ago.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Palliative: Ugwuanyi, NGOs, others donate to vulnerable groups in Enugu



The people of Enugu State have continued to receive gift items by the state government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and individuals to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

It would be recalled that the state government had a fortnight ago announced a partial lockdown arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Mathew Idu, said that no fewer than 6,000 of 50 kilogram bags of rice had been distributed to residents of the state.

Idu disclosed this on Tuesday while responding to a News Agency of Nigeria survey on palliatives put in place by state governments.

He said that Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had unveiled the bags of rice tagged `Coal City Rice’ for distribution to the 17 local government areas of the state, churches and Persons Living with Disabilities.

Idu said that the state government distributed other items to the people including maize, guinea corn, noodles and bottled water donated by some groups and companies.

The commissioner said that the governor was doing everything possible to ensure that the people were catered for during the lockdown.

Also an NGO, Women International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) says it has donated food items to no fewer than 42 households in the state.

The Country Rep. of the organisation, Dr. Joy Onyesoh, said that the organisation also donated toiletries to 132 families in the state.

Onyesoh said that the gesture was under the organisation’s philanthropic move called ‘Citizens Rising’ in response to the lockdown.
She described the initiative as a call for citizens to support their neighbours, especially the less privileged with food and sanitary packs due to the challenges that the period had thrown up.
She however, said that the gesture had exposed her to the pitiable condition of a significant number of residents of the state who could not fend for themselves during the period.
“My observation during the visit is heartbreaking. It took away my peace. I observed that these indigent communities are being excluded from the dividends of governance.
“Most of the population depends on daily income and with the current lockdown, they have lost their source of livelihood,” Onyesoh said.
Also, the Association of Persons Living with Disability in the state has confirmed the receipt of some palliative materials from the state government.
The Representative of the association in the State Steering Committee on Open Governance Partnership, Mr Samuel Obiefuna, said the gesture was most deserved by their members who were mostly affected by the lockdown.
Obiefuna said that the gift items included bags of rice, millet, instant noodles and water.
NAN reports that an indigenous manufacturing company has donated a trailer load of Solive-Vegetable Oil and Bestie Instant Noodles to the state government.
The Media Consultant of the company, Mr Chinazom Amadi had while presenting the items to the government, said that the gesture was part of their corporate social responsibilities to the residents of the state in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Meanwhile, artisans in the state have appealed to the federal government to extend the palliative including food and money to enable them cope with the lockdown.

The artisans comprising plumbers, masons, carpenters and other ancillary workers said they needed money and food for them to take care of their families.

The Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), a pan-Igbo socio-political pressure group, urged South-East governors to extend more palliative to the people.

The South-East governors had joined some of their counterparts in the country and the Federal Government to embark on a 14-day extension of boundary lockdown, closure of markets and stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The President of NUF, Mr Augustine Chukwudum, told NAN that South-East governors should provide more food for the already hungry masses in the zone.

According to him, we are raising this alarm because people are dying daily of hunger due to the closure of road boundaries, markets and stay-at-home orders by our governors.

“Our people are expressing reservation for the continued lockdown because of the way they governors handled the situation without providing relieves and palliatives to the vast majority of the poor while they stayed-at-home.

“The governors know that some people get their daily bread on a daily basis.

“That is why we are condemning the actions of the South-East governors because they do not have the interest of the masses at heart, while carrying out their COVID-19 check programmes,’’ he said.

Chukwudum noted that the governors by their actions and inactions had added more hardship upon the poor people in their various states, while locking up their people forcefully.

NAN reports that Enugu State has so far recorded two cases of Coronavirus in the state.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)





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COVID-19: Artisans, women want extension of FG palliative to Enugu



Artisans in Enugu State have appealed to the Federal Government to extend the palliative including food and money to enable them cope with the lockdown over Coronavirus pandemic.

They made the call in Enugu while receiving safety materials including hand sanitizers, buckets with taps and liquid and bar soap from an Enugu based NGO, Women Aid Collective (WACOL).

The artisans comprising plumbers, masons, carpenters and other ancillary workers said they needed money and food to enable them cater for their families.

One of the artisans, Mr Madubuike Nwoga, who spoke at their base at Abakpa Nike, said they had been facing untold hardships due to the lockdown occasioned by Coronavirus.

According to him, since the lockdown, we have not been allowed to work and we are finding it difficult to feed our families.

”We heard from the media that the government is sharing money to poor people in other parts of the country but we have not received anything here in Enugu.,” he lamented.

He thanked WACOL for being the first group that came to their aid and urged other groups and well meaning individuals to emulate the organization.

At the Nchantancha Nike Health Center in Enugu East Local Government, nursing and expectant mothers also urged local, state and the Federal Government to improve health centers in the state.

The women decried the deterioration of the health center noting that it lacked toilet facilities, water and other medical materials for their medical needs.

While commending WACOL for its kind gesture, the women appealed for more support from all tiers of government to cope with the current health challenges across the world.

In her remarks, the founder of WACOL, Prof Joy Ezeilo said the safety measures were aimed at complimenting efforts of government towards curbing the spread of coronavirus across the country.

”We are taking this initiative because we realize that residents of Enugu State especially artisans are ignorant of COVID-19 and have continued to carry out their normal daily activities unperturbed by the global crisis,”.

Ezeilo expressed concerns that despite all efforts by various governments and Civil Society Organizations, citizens are still treating the issue of Coronavirus as a myth rather than a major health employment.

She however, appealed to the state and federal governments to provide palliative for indigent families to enable them cope with the lockdown.

The onetime UN Rapporteur on Human Trafficking urged the beneficiaries to take proactive steps and abide by all the safety tips as directed by relevant government agencies to save the country from the calamity.

WACOL distributed hand sanitizers, buckets with taps and liquid and antiseptic bar soaps to the health center,  women and artisans as well as commercial bus and tricycle operators.


Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu

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30,000 households to benefit from rural sanitation project—Group



No fewer than 30,000 households are to benefit from the Accelerating Access to Rural Sanitation in Nigeria (AATRISAN) Project, as part of efforts to  significantly contribute to ending open defecation in Nigeria.

The Team Lead, Toilet Pride Initiative, Mr Chukwuma Nnanna, told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday that the households would be from Abia, Benue, Bauchi, Enugu and Yobe states.

According to him, Nigeria needs about three million toilets annually to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of universal access to basic sanitation by 2030.

He noted that Nigeria’s current delivery of improved latrines was only about 160,000 yearly, adding that inadequate sanitation was the major cause of diseases globally.

Nnanna said that with the AATRISAN project, efforts would be geared toward community-led total sanitation, behavioral change communication and sanitation marketing, to improve the lives of Nigerians through access to improved sanitation.

He said through sanitation marketing, the organisation would create markets for toilet business owners and empower those working in the sanitation sector with opportunities for improved income and wealth creation.

“A number of WASH focused donors have piloted sanitation marketing in states across Nigeria, training hundreds of Toilet Business owners in the process, with significant success rates, the challenge has been poor sales.

“In states without previous experience in sanitation marketing, we will empower masons and artisans to create wealth from sanitation, through opportunities to meet the current and sanitation needs of the communities.

“We will work with our partners to end open defecation in public places by supporting toilet business owners to deliver high quality services in the maintenance and operation of public latrines, for customers in markets and motor parks across the target states.

“We will also increase awareness on the benefits of adopting proper hygiene behaviour, such as handwashing in these public latrines through hygiene promotional materials and provision of soap and water within the premises of the latrines,” he said.

The team lead said that ending open defecation was not just about access to toilets, but about generating demands for toilets and getting everyone to use them every day.

“It is also about strengthening the existing supply chain for sanitation and hygiene products and services,” Nnanna stated.


Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Grace Yussuf

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Kaduna N-Build beneficiaries appeal for exit packages to scale-up skills, businesses 



According to him, during the training in Kaduna organisers said there are options for empowerment for people who choose to establish their own businesses and the second option was recruitment by government.

He said neither the empowerment nor recruitment was fulfilled by the government, hence their appeal to government to reconsider its pledge on N-Build beneficiaries.

Usman however lauded government for providing them with working tools for carpentry, Masonry, painting and welding were distributed to the beneficiaries shortly after the training.

Usman reechoed that their group (N-Build participants) needed more funds to enable them fully establish their businesses in line with the spirit of National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP).

NAN reports that the N-Power Build Programme is one of the components of the National Social Investments Programmes (NSIP) aimed at tackling hunger and poverty in the country.

The N-Power programme was designed to assist young Nigerians between the ages of 18 to 35 to acquire and develop life-long skills for becoming change makers in their communities and players in domestic and global markets.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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