The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, has congratulated Mr Isaac Ukpoju on his emergence as the Chairman, Correspondents’ Chapel of the state chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The speaker’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Jibrin Gwamna, and made available to NAN on Saturday, in Lafia.
He also congratulated other elected officials of the chapel on their victories, while urging them to be above board.
“On behalf of the speaker, principal officers, members and staffers of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, we congratulate Mr Isaac Ukpoju of the Nigeria News Agency as chairman and all the newly-elected executives of Correspondents’ chapel.
“We wish you people the very best of your tenure,” he said.
The statement called on the members of the chapel and other journalists in the state to continue to be objective in their reportage, in the interest of development.
NAN reports that Ukpoju polled 15 votes to defeat his rival, Rabiu Omaku of Universal Reporters who scored 10 votes.
NAN also reports that Mr David Michael of Daily Independent also scored 14 votes to defeat Mr Mohammed Yaginda of Blueprint Newspaper with 11votes.
Other officials returned unopposed were Gambo Ahmed, Vice Chairman; Peter Ahmed, Secretary; Aliyu Muraki, Assistant Secretary; Abubakar Abdullahi, Financial Secretary and Able Daniel, Auditor. (NAN)
Edited by Abiodun Esan and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Kaduna Govt. will jail parents who enroll children into Almajiri system – El-Rufai
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.
“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)
Gov. Sule inspects Karu Modern Bus Terminal, tasks contractor on pace of work
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)
N1.9bn Karu mega bus park will ease traffic congestion along Maraba – Abuja road, says Gov. Sule
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State says the N1.9 billion Karu mega bus terminal, when completed, will ease traffic congestion on the Mararaba- Abuja corridor.
Sule, who congestion spoke on Monday after inspecting ongoing work at the site of the project at Mararaba in Karu Local Government Area of the state, said various motor parks in the area would be collapsed into the bus terminal.
According to him, the terminal will serve the FCT, Plateau, Benue, Kaduna and other states , when completed.
He added that the choice of Karu for the project was due to its proximity to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and large population in the area with overwhelming transportation demand.
Sule, who inspected the project as part of activities to mark his one year in office, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work so far.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor was taken round the project by the Project Consultant, Mr Shehu Tukur, who assured him of quality job.
NCDC confirms 313 new cases of COVID-19, total active cases now 5350
The NCDC, on its official twitter handle, however said that no new state had reported a case in the last 24 hours.
It said that a total of 7839 cases had been confirmed, 2263 cases discharged, while 226 deaths had been recorded across 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The NCDC stated that the 313 new cases were reported from 17 states as follows:
Lagos (148), FCT (36), Rivers (27), Edo (19), Kano (13), Ogun (12), Ebonyi (11), Nasarawa (8), Delta (8), Oyo (7), Plateau (6), Kaduna (5), Kwara (4), Akwa Ibom (3), Bayelsa (3), Niger (2), Anambra (1).
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
Defence HQ says airstrikes kill 400 bandits in Katsina, Zamfara
The Defence Headquarters says the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji has neutralised no fewer than 400 armed bandits in multiple air strikes in Katsina and Zamfara.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement released on Sunday in Abuja said the operations were in continuation of the offensive to rid the country of bandits and other criminal elements.
Enenche said that close to 200 bandits were killed in multiple air strikes conducted at Ibrahim Mai’Bai’s Camp in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina and Kurmin Kura in Zurmi in Zamfara on May 22 and May 23.
He said the air strikes were executed, following confirmation that the two locations were being used as hideouts for some bandit leaders while also serving as collection points for rustled cattle.
According to him, the air component, employing Nigerian Air Force ground attack aircraft and helicopter gunships, engaged the two locations in multiple passes, destroying makeshift structures in the camps as well as killing the bandit leaders and their fighters.
“Human Intelligence sources later confirmed that close to 200 armed bandits were killed in the air strikes at the target locations.
“The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) commends the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji for their professionalism and directs them to remain resolute toward eradicating all armed bandits.
“The CAS has also directed that additional assets be deployed to cover Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi States to frustrate any attempt of the bandits to relocate to adjoining states,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Group urges Tiv people in Nasarawa to remain law abiding
Ifer said that Tiv communities in Obi, Keana and Awe Local Government Areas of the state have recently witnessed series of attack allegedly over land.
He noted that the Tiv people are peace-loving, law abiding and would not engage in acts capable of breaching the peace in the state.
Ifer, however, explained that there was no crisis among the Tiv people, especially in the association, urging the public to disregard any claims of disharmony.
He commended Governor Abdullahi Sule and the security agencies for their efforts toward securing life and property in the state.
He said that Ifer has provided leadership that has prevented a lot of crisis between Tiv and other ethnic nationalities, hence the need to support him.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Eid-el Fitr: Speaker felicitates with Muslims, urges prayers
The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, on Sunday felicitated with Muslims as they celebrate Eid-el-Fitr.
Abdullahi also urged the faithful to offer special prayers to solve the country’s myraid of problems.
The speaker expressed himself in his sallah message issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Jibrin Gwamna, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Keffi.
While congratulating Muslims for successful completion of Ramadan fast and Sallah celebration, he said there was need for Nigerians to intensify prayers against coronavirus and other emerging challenges.
Abdullahi enjoined Muslims to sustain the spirit of Ramadan and called on religious leaders to continue to preach peace and unity among their subjects.
”I urge all of us to continue adhering strictly to all the safety measures against COVID-19, frequent washing of hands, embrace social distancing, use of face masks and maintain personal and environmental hygiene.
”If this is done by all of us, it will go a long way in curtailing the spread of the virus in the country,” he said.
He also called on well-to-do Nigerians to support the less-privileged ones among them in order to improve on their standard of living.
The speaker said the state legislature would readily give the government the necessary support in the fight against COVID-19 and ensure the success of people oriennted programmes.
He urged residents of the state to continue to live in peace, be law abiding, respect constituted authorities and be their brother’s keepers for development to thrive.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
MPC: Don predicts CRR reduction to 22.5% due to coronavirus
A Professor of Finance and Capital Market has said that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would reduce the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) by five per cent during its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Thursday.
Prof. Uche Uwaleke of Nasarawa State University made the prediction in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.
“That is, the MPR at 13.5 per cent, Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent and the asymmetric corridor at +2-5.
“I think the choice before the MPC on May 28 will be either to maintain the policy parameters or relax them.
“The issue of further tightening of the policy may not arise as that could spark an outcry in view of the difficult times the economy is passing through.
“If not put in check and it surpasses the benchmark rate, then we have a situation in which real returns are negative and becomes a disincentive to investors, especially portfolio investors.
“So, the MPC will be mindful not to discourage Foreign Portfolio Investment because of its positive impact on external reserves.
“The MPC will be the knock-on of a lower MPR on exchange rate against the backdrop of the move to merge the official and autonomous foreign exchange rates in line with the condition for accessing the $3.4 billion IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument Facility.
“These factors will feature prominently in the considerations to retain the policy rates including the huge fiscal deficit in the 2020 budget that will be financed largely through borrowing by the government.
“The need for complementary measures in support of government’s stimulus packages and the ones by the CBN.
“I also expect the MPC to consider the effect of a high MPR on the asset quality of banks especially its potential to increase non performing loans arising from inability of many bank customers hard-hit by the pandemic to meet their loan terms and conditions.
“Against this backdrop, I see the balance of risks weighing in favour of economic growth stimulation,” Uwaleke said.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Eid-el-Fitr: Gov. Sule urges Nigerians to embrace peace, tolerance
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has called on Nigerians to embrace peace and tolerance for the overall development of the country.
The governor made the call on Sunday shortly after observing Eid- el-Fitr prayer at Gudi, Akwanga Local Area (LGA) of the state.
According to him, no society can developed in an atmosphere of rancor and violence, hence the need for people to embrace peace and tolerate each other irrespective of religion, ethnic or political differences.
Sule noted that Nigerians, especially Muslim faithfuls, should sustain the peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed in the last 30 days of Ramadan.
According to him, for the past 30 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 added.
“Some of these decisions could be interpreted as causing hardship, but they were taken to protect the entire people of the state.
“I thank the people of the state for your support to my government throughout the period of the pandemic and I want you to sustain the support to enable us defeat the virus from the state,” Sule added.
The governor has also called on Nigerians to continue to pray and support President Muhammadu Bahari’s led administration to succeed.
Sule noted that Mr President has been working assiduously in the last five years to reposition and transform the country hence the need for all to support him.
The governor also promised to complete all projects started by the previous administrations in the state to avoid wasting government’s resources.
He explained that government is a continuum and a lot of government resources had been spent on those projects hence our desire to complete them as well as embarking on fresh once. .
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Eid- el-fitr: Imam bars worshippers without face masks from Mosque in Nasarawa
Imam Khalud Ibrahim, of JIWIS Central Mosque, Gudi in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, on Sunday sent out worshippers without face masks from the Mosque during prayers to celebrate the Eid-el-fitr.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nasarawa state government had on May 19, lifted ban on religious gathering for two weeks with conditions that worshipers must use of face mask and maintain physical distancing at worship centres.
Gov. Abdullahi Sule was among worshippers, who observed prayers at the Gudi Central Mosque.
The Imam explained that his decision to send out and bar those without face masks from the Mosque was in compliance with the government directives to contain COVID-19.
He urged Muslims to always be obedient to God and leaders at all levels for the overall peace and development of the country.
Ibrahim attributed the ills in the society to disobedience and urged the people to seek God’s intervention for remedy.
“God will answer our prayers over the killings and other vices in the country if we collectively turn to Him for solution,” the Imam said.
Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Gov. Sule felicitates with Muslim faithful on Eid-el-Fitr
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.
Eid-el-fitr: Sen. Al-Makura urges continuous compassion for the needy
Sen. Umaru Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South) has congratulated Muslims across the country on completion of the 30 days mandatory fasting and urged them to continue to show compassion to those in need.
This is contained in a statement signed by the senator and made available to newsmen in Lafia on Saturday.
Al-Makura urged them to sustain and put to use all the teachings of the Ramadan.
“Ramadan fasting teaches us the values of love, justice, equity and unity among other cherished virtues.
“As the Holy Month of Ramadan comes to an end, Muslim faithful should assess their conduct and align their behaviors to the teachings of Islam, ” he said.
Al-Makura explained that an important aspect of the adherence to the teachings of the just concluded Holy Ramadan was the continuous compassion for those in need.
“As a result of the lessons which bequeath to us through Ramadan fasting, we are expected to continue to demonstrate understanding and tolerance toward one another and show compassion to those in need,” he said.
The senator also urged Nigerians to rally round the administrations of President Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State to enable them to succeed and deliver more dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
“I want to solicit for fervent prayers from all my supporters and well wishers to enable me translate my mandate into true and fair representation,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Rotary commissions water project, distributes food items in Nasarawa community
The Rotary Club, Central Business District (CBD), Abuja, on Saturday commissioned water project and distributed some food palliatives to residents of Gidan-Gimba Community in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the food items included rice, noodles, vegetable oil, tomatoes puree and salt.
Speaking during the commissioning and distribution of the food items, the District Governor of the club, Dr Victor Onukwugha, said that the gesture was part of the club’s continuous assistance to the people and in support of government’s efforts to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not going to support with water and palliatives alone, we have other areas of focus like education and little skills, maternal and child healthcare, economic empowerment, water and sanitation, among others.”
Onukwugha said that the club had been assisting and collaborating with the Federal Government in the areas that were necessary.
“The water project and the palliatives were funded by the club members.
“We continue to do this and we will also extend some personal protective equipment to the frontline people helping with the intervention,” he said.
Onukwugha said that the rotary club’s palliatives had also been distributed in some other states.
He also said that the community was lucky to have been adopted by the club to help the people.
“We have come to assist families as a way to show our support and bring relief materials to them,” she said.
The president said that Rotarians had passion for helping the less privileged, adding that the club had adopted the Gidan-Gimba community for over four years.
Abubakar also called on Nigerians to reach out to the vulnerable as a way of serving humanity.
The past Assistant Governor, Rotary Club of Abuja, Rotarian Evelyn Onyilo, said that part of their mandate was to impact on communities.
She sensitised the community members to the pandemic and advised them to always wash their hands with soap and water, maintain physical distancing, use hand sanitisers, among others.
“We have Rotary Community Corps that will also help in sensitising the community more.”
Alhaji Danjuma Audu, the Village Head of Gidan-Gimba, said the club members had done a lot for his community.
“We are grateful for the water project, we had no clean water before now as we drink from the stream.
“I will make sure we maintain the water well, also the palliative will help a lot of homes,” Audu said.
He said that they provided food, drugs among others for them and they were always happy whenever they visited.
Audi also advised other Nigerians to extend a hand of kindness to the less privileged in the society especially during this pandemic.
A resident of the community, Mrs Victoria Yakubu, who benefited from the palliatives, commended the club for its constant support and appealed to the government to build a primary healthcare centre in the community.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Speaker hails President Buhari over financial autonomy to states legislature, judiciary
The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for granting financial autonomy to states legislature and judiciary.
Abdullahi made the commendation in Keffi on Saturday while reacting to the development in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
NAN recalls that Buhari, on May 22, signed the Executive Order Number 10 of 2020 for the implementation of financial autonomy of the various state Houses of Assembly and Judiciary.
Reacting to the development, Abdullahi noted that the president’s action would ensure good governance, accountability and effective service delivery in the country at the state level.
He said that the autonomy would also go along way in enhancing legislative and judicial activities for the overall development of the country.
“I received the news of the signing of an Executive Order by Mr President for the implementation of financial autonomy of state Houses of Assembly and Judiciary with joy.
“Granting of the financial autonomy to the state legislature and judiciary is a good omen for the country and will go a long way in enhancing the functions of the institutions for good governance and accountability as well as strengthening democracy in the country,” he said.
Abdullahi, who is the National Vice Chairman, North Central, Nigeria Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures, also noted that the “wonderful step taken” would deepen democracy in the country.
“The president has further demonstrated that he is a democrat who has the interest of the country at heart, it is in view of this that I want to sincerely commend him for this wonderful gesture and proactive step taken,” he said.
Abdullahi called on the people of the state and Nigerians to pray and give their maximum support to Buhari and Gov. Abdullahi Sule’s administrations to enable them succeed in the tasks ahead of them.
He said that every leader needed the prayers and support of their people to succeed, hence the need of his appeal in that direction.
The speaker assured of the assembly’s commitment to continue to partner with the executive arm in order to ensure speedy development in the state.
The statement which was issued by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Gwandu, explained that the action of the president was in exercise of his constitutional duties.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
NiMet predicts cloudy, thundery activities Saturday to Monday
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudy and thundery weather activities across the country from May 23 to May 25.
NiMet`s weather outlook released on Friday in Abuja forecast cloudy conditions over northern region in the morning hours of Saturday with prospects of overnight into early morning light thunderstorms over Yobe and southern Borno axis.
According to the forecast, during the afternoon/evening period, there are chances of increased cloudiness with slim chances of thunderstorms over parts of Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, northern Borno, Gombe and Taraba axis.
It further forecast other parts of the north to be mostly cloudy with intervals of sunshine.
“The central cities are likely to be cloudy during the morning hours.
“However, parts of Niger, Lokoja, southern Nasarawa, and Benue are expected to experience overnight into early morning thunderstorms with little rains.
“ The afternoon and evening hours hold better prospects of weather activities as isolated thunderstorms are expected over Abuja, Benue, Kogi, Niger and Kwara axis.
“The inland areas of the south and coastal belts should be predominately cloudy with few isolated thunderstorms over Ado Ekiti, Abeokuta and Ondo, Calabar, Lagos, Bayelsa, Port Harcourt and Ijebu-Ode axis during the morning period.
“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over most places in the inland and coastal areas in the afternoon/evening hours.’’
NiMet predicted Cloudy conditions with prospects of isolated thunderstorms over Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Biu, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina in the northern region during the morning hours of Sunday.
The agency also predicted isolated thunderstorms over the north to affect parts of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano and Katsina axis and environs during the afternoon/evening period.
It envisaged increased cloudiness over the central region with chances of early morning thunderstorms over parts of Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa and Jos axis.
According to NiMet, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over the high ground areas to affect Jos, Abuja, Kogi, Niger and Makurdi areas in the afternoon and evening period.
It further envisaged cloudy conditions over the inland cities with prospect of few thunderstorms during the afternoon/evening hours.
NiMet predicted light thunderstorms over Lagos, Ijebu-Ode, Benin and Port Harcourt in the coastal region during the morning hours with isolated thunderstorm over most places in the coastal region later in the day.
“For Monday, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are expected over the northern region in the morning hours.
“During the afternoon and evening period, cloudiness with spells of few thunderstorms are expected over Yelwa, Zaria, Potiskum, Nguru, Dutse, Kebbi, Jalingo and Yola.
“ The rest of the cities over this region are likely to remain cloudy with intervals of sunshine. The central region is expected to be mostly cloudy.
“ However, we anticipate isolated thunderstorms to affect parts of Abuja, Jos, Kogi and Kwara axis during the afternoon/evening period.
“ Increased cloudiness is expected over the inland and the coastal areas of the south during the morning hours with prospects of thunderstorms over the region in the afternoon and evening hours,’’ it said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Anniversary: Nasarawa State Govt. begins activities
The Nasarawa State Government, has begun the activities to mark the celebration of Gov. Abdullahi Sule’s one year in office.
Emmanuel Akabe, the state deputy governor, made this disclosure on Friday in Lafia at a news conference to outline the programme of activities.
The deputy governor, stated tthat the programme included Friday prayer, interdenominational service on Sunday, inauguration of projects and flagging off of new ones from Monday.
Akabe listed others to include; stewardship by commissioners and Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from Monday to Thursday among other things.
Akabe said that the inauguration and flagging off of projects would begin from the Nasarawa West Senatorial District, followed by Nasarawa North and Nasarawa South respectively.
He listed some of the projects to include; 25 kilometres Mararaba Udege road in Nasarawa Local Government Area (LGA), 15 kilometers Sinsinbaki road in Wamba, Banquet Hall at the Government House, Shingle road in Lafia.
Akabe added that the government would also visit all the quarantine and isolation centres for on-the-spot assessment of facilities and patients’ care.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)
Virtual AGMs by Proxy: Nigeria’s Response in the Face of COVID-19
Virtual AGMs by Proxy: Nigeria’s Response in the Face of COVID-19
Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. This saying came into play with innovations created as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The pandemic, with its huge negative impact on economies, has led to emergency lifestyle adjustments, with countries thinking outside the box as they grapple with partial or total lockdown.
COVID-19 pandemic has led to government-ordered closure of companies and offices, and affected global stock market, causing postponement of public companies’ Annual General Meetings (AGMs) as well as loss of jobs, among others things.
According to a report by the Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS), as at March 31, the total number of meetings postponed or cancelled globally because of COVID-19 is approximately 557 while the number of meetings that will be virtual-only or proxy-only stands at 560.
In response to stay-at-home orders and ban of gatherings, many countries updated their regulations, allowing quoted companies greater freedom to hold virtual AGMs.
Some of the countries that updated their regulations to allow quoted companies to hold virtual AGMs or AGMs by proxy are Spain, Switzerland, Austria, United Kingdom and Nigeria.
In Nigeria, virtual AGM is a novelty.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), in March, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, said companies could hold their AGMs by taking advantage of Section 230 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act on the use of proxies.
The CAC published guidelines and procedures that companies should follow in conducting AGMs in view of the new normal in the country.
It says approval of the CAC shall be obtained before such a meeting is held, adding that application for approval can be submitted to its head office in Abuja or any branch office in states.
It demands that the meeting shall only discuss the Ordinary Business of an AGM as provided in S.214 CAMA, while notice of meeting and proxy form shall be sent to every member in accordance with the requirements of CAMA.
According to the guidelines, all members shall be advised in the notice that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance shall only be by proxy, with names and particulars of the proposed proxies listed for them to select therefrom.
Consequently, Guaranty Trust Bank on March 30 became the first quoted company in Nigeria to conduct an AGM with attendance by proxy when some quoted companies had notified the market about the postponement of their AGMs due to novel coronavirus.
Some companies that have successfully conducted their AGMs by proxy include FBH Holdings, United Bank for Africa, Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, Union Bank of Nigeria, FCMB Group, Transcorp, Africa Prudential and Wema Bank.
Financial experts are convinced that the practice have come to stay even after COVID-19.
If the desirable is not available, the available becomes desirable, they argue.
Uche Uwaleke, a Professor of Finance and Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University, hails the initiative.
He also.notes that it saves cost of attendance, saves time spent travelling and attending the meeting by shareholders.
According to him, it enables shareholders who are far away or in remote places and unable to attend physical meetings to participate in discussions and voting, which are done electronically.
“A shareholder may also face issues, if in a remote location, of electricity and internet service, and a local shareholder may not be recognised to air his views in a virtual meeting.
“Unlike in a physical setting where one can keep one’s hands in the air to draw the attention of the presiding officer, virtual meetings may not give shareholders, especially the minority and ‘troublesome’ ones, equal opportunities to be heard during AGMs.
“The chairman of the meeting can pretend not to notice a shareholder who indicates to speak through the hand symbol, using Zoom, for example,” Uwaleke argues.
On the advantages of a virtual meeting to a company, he is of the opinion that it saves huge cost of organising a physical AGM, including hiring of venue and making provisions for refreshments, gifts and security.
“It saves the company a lot of time spent and logistics/hassles associated with organising the event.
“Resolutions including voting may be faster and not as rowdy as obtained in physical meetings.”
“Technology can fail, leading to disruption of the meeting; unlike a physical meeting where shareholders can be seen, it may be difficult in a virtual meeting to know those who actually participated,” he adds.
“Many companies postponed their AGMs initially, thinking it (COVID-19) would soon be a thing of the past but we can see now that the end is not in sight.
“Should we stop doing business or develop new ways of doing things until normalcy returns? So, virtual AGM by proxy is the one of the new normals,” Igbrude says.
The shareholder-activist believes that virtual meetings make it possible for shareholders to get dividends in time instead of postponing the meetings.
According to him, it will also enable companies to avoid huge expenses on AGMs.
He adds that even in the face of the meetings by proxy or virtual technology, some companies fail to provide links for shareholders to join in the meetings.
“This one just came from an emergency situation, as this is not what was planned,” he notes.
“It is noteworthy to point that companies should not abuse these things.
“A lot of these shareholders were disenfranchised due to virtual meetings which I think will result in some of these companies perpetrating illegalities which could have been challenged by shareholders.
“After the pandemic, we cannot do this same type of meeting because, to get technology to continue, involves a lot of money, and I cannot advise companies to start spending on technology from investments made from shareholders,” Okezie urges.
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COVID-19: Nasarawa monarch asks Muslims to pray for forgiveness of sins
As Muslims celebrate the Eid-el-Fitir after the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Emir of Keffi, Dr Shehu Yamusa, has advised Muslim faithful to pray to God to take away the Coronavirus ravaging the world.
“According to Islam, such diseases afflict the people because of too many sins.
“So, we should ask God to wash away our sins and take away this disease from us.
“He said He created man only to worship Him, so we should worship and pray that He should forgive us so that this virus will disappear.
“He should give us the opportunity to see this Sallah and the subsequent ones,” the Emir said.
The royal father challenged the Muslims to remember that COVID-19 is real, hence everyone should comply with the social distancing rule.
“My advice to the Muslims is that we know that COVID-19 is real and it is one of the most deadly viral diseases in recent times.
“We should comply with the rules and regulations as well as the physical distancing so that our communities would be protected and the entire Muslims will benefit from this.
“I believe the use of face mask when going out can reduce the rate of infections to the barest minimum.
“I am advising Muslims to ensure they wear their face masks once they are leaving their houses.
“When you return you can remove the mask, sanitise your hands and avoid shaking one another because it is through contact that the disease can affect people,” he added.
He prayed God to forgive the sins of the people.
On the issue of hunger which may even kill faster than the virus, the Emir said it was the reason farmers were exempted from the restriction of movements as they were advised to follow all the safety protocols.
“Hunger may kill faster. True, that is why some states have given out facilities (palliatives).
“Farmers are not restricted, they are advised to use the mask and keep the social distancing rule.
“When a farmer works in the sun it helps to keep the disease away from him, from our layman’s point of view. It is a disease that does not enjoy such condition,” he said.
He prayed God to continue to bless the leaders, who had been working round the clock to overcome the virus, and protect them for the benefit of the states and country.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
COVID-19: INEC approves new policy framework for Edo, Ondo States
The commission, in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, in Abuja said the policy document would be released on May 25.
Okoye said that the provisions would be applied to the conduct of governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States scheduled for Sept. 19 and Oct. 10, respectively, as well as other by-elections to be conducted soon in seven states.
“The general purpose of the Policy is to enable officials and staff of the Commission to understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is also to provide a guide for engagement with stakeholders as they prepare for elections.
“That notwithstanding, the Commission is committed to conducting all elections that are due within the extant legal framework.
“However, in so doing it will put a premium on public safety and mitigation of health risks from COVID-19. Citizens must be assured that they will be safe while participating as voters, candidates and officials.
“The Commission remains committed to raising public confidence in the electoral process in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic and to regularly communicate its actions and challenges to the public,” he said.
Okoye also disclosed that in view of the end of tenure governorship elections in Edo and Ondo, INEC would flag off robust engagements with its critical stakeholders to present the policy document by meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on May 30.
He said that the meeting would be followed by that of political parties on June 1, civil society groups on June 2, and the media on June 3.
Okoye noted that in addition to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, the commission had received the official declaration of vacancies for four Senatorial Districts and read reports of the passing of a Senator and four members of some State Houses of Assembly.
“As of today, the Commission is planning for nine by-elections across seven States of the Federation,” he said.
The by-elections are Bayelsa Central and West Senatorial Districts, Imo North Senatorial District, Plateau South Senatorial District and Cross River North Senatorial District.
Others are Nganzai State Constituency, Borno State; Bayo State Constituency, Borno State; Nasarawa Central State Constituency, Nasarawa State; and Bakori State Constituency, Katsina State
“The provisions of the Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic shall also apply to the conduct of these elections,” Okoye added.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
COVID-19: NCDC confirms 339 new cases, total infections now 7,016
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that nine new patients have been confirmed dead to the virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 211.
NCDC said that the 339 new cases were confirmed in 18 states, while nine deaths were recorded in Nigeria as at May 21.
The 339 new cases were reported from Lagos(139), Kano(28), Oyo(28), Edo(25), Katsina(22), Kaduna(18), Jigawa (14), Yobe(13), Plateau (13), FCT(11), Gombe(8), Ogun(5), Bauchi(4), Nasarawa(4), Delta(3), Ondo(2), Rivers(1), Adamawa(1).
The NCDC however noted that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.
The health agency said that till date 7,016 cases have been confirmed, with 4,898 Active Cases, while 1,907 cases have been discharged and 211 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We are grateful to the Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering for supporting national COVID19 response with face masks and hand sanitisers.
“We continue to work with professional bodies in the whole-of-society response to COVID19,” it said.
The health agency emphasised that regular handwashing was very important to reduce the risk of spread of COVID19.
“An important moment to wash your hands is after handling money, especially if you are handling or eating food,” it advised.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)