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National ID-Day: Appropriate data will ensure proper planning, boost security -Okowa



Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says national identity card registration would provide appropriate population data for effective national planning.
The governor stated this on Monday while speaking at a function to mark the maiden National Identity Day in Asaba.
“I am glad that we have a national identity day, and that Sept. 16 of every year has been set aside for the celebration.
“It is my prayer that as a country, we are going to walk the talk.
“It is not just enough to have a day set aside; it is about the passion and commitment of everybody involved to ensure that it works for us.
“We know that getting Nigerians to register with National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is very important to us as a country,” he said.

Okowa added:“Proper documentation will facilitate all kinds of planning, because the greatest challenge we have as a nation is planning.
“We can only do properly when we have the figures right; most times, we use projections because various demography needed for planning are not in place.

“It is also very important, and concerning issues of intelligence and security, I think that this makes it very key for us as a nation for everybody to support this course and ensure that it is not a one-day advocacy.

“Security challenges will be curbed by the time we are able to have Nigerians properly registered and documented.’’

He urged the Federal Government to ensure that every Nigerian is registered.

“This is because from the statistics, we have just about 20 per cent of Nigerians registered with NIMC, which is still a very far cry from what we deserve.

“So, I hope that this recognition and this day will ensure that we put everything in place so that when we celebrate the second anniversary, we will be talking about registration figure that is encouraging.

“I commend you (NIMC) for the work you have done; you need a lot of advocacy.

“We will try to take it through the social media, through the press, through the political class, and I believe that will certainly make it impact more,” he said.

The State’s NIMC Coordinator, Ms Henrietta Okolo, said that over 36 million Nigerians have been registered nationwide with about one million persons registered in Delta.

“We are celebrating the national identity day in our special way in Delta.

“From the records, we have so far enrolled over 36 million Nigerians nationwide.

“In Delta, we have enrolled about one million persons which is a far cry from the population of the state and we need to do more.

“We are encouraging every Nigerian to go to the nearest enrolment centre and get enrolled for life; it is free and everybody is meant to do it,” she said..



Feature: Following Captain Cook, sail into time of Endeavor as Australia’s national museum reopens




After a further easing of restrictions in Australia, people in the capital city of Canberra are able follow Captain James Cook’s footstep 250 years ago and learn more about his voyage in a delayed exhibition at the National Museum of Australia (NMA).

The exhibition, Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians, immerses visitors in the moment when the First Australians encountered James Cook and his crew in 1770.

“This exhibition tells a really epic story,” said Shona Coyne, curator of the exhibition. “Actually it’s a foundation of story that’s been rooted in Australia for a very long time.”

It was scheduled to begin in April. Just a few weeks before its launch, Australia announced the COVID-19 restrictions and museums, galleries and libraries were closed.

NMA reopened on Tuesday.

However, Coyne said that the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to alter their plan. “For instance, some of the objects were from international lenders, so we have had to replace them with facsimile.”

“That’s a bit disappointing, but the great thing is we are actually able to make them much larger and brighter so people can actually get a closer look at some of the objects,” she added.

Expanding on the often one-sided narrative associated with the Endeavour story, this new exhibition honors both Cook’s great voyage of scientific and geographic exploration and the rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that has thrived in Australia for at least 65,000 years.

On the wall there are artworks by indigenous artists from a small community south of the Cooktown. According to Coyne, after ship Endeavor crashed into the Great Barrier Reef, local residents then went to the beach, picked up drift-woods and created artworks on top of them.

“So some of these pieces might have been bits of the ship that had splintered off and washed up on the bay,” she said.

A purple piece depicted the coral, while another showed the scene of the ship. “And then there are some botanical specimens as well,” said Coyne.

On the other side of the wall there showed places named after the event, from Cook Place to Endeavor Street. “The voyage has been remembered and recorded in place names and in monuments,” said the curator.

There are interactive games designed to attract visitors. While people are still concerned about the COVID-19, measures were taken to ensure their safety.

A labyrinth game simulated Cook’s sailing through the Great Barrier Reef, which was like a maze. Visitors could use a wheel to get a ball through the maze to the other side.

“We have installed the hand sanitizer, so whenever you use an interactive, you can clean your hands before and afterwards, and then have fun with the activities we’ve created,” she said.

“Actually we have a task force go around each one of the interactive activities and make sure we had certain measures in place,” Coyne said, noting that at the drawing station, all the pencils are for single use only and visitors could take them home.

She told Xinhua that the museum also used a booking system to control the number of people allowed into the exhibition space.

Garrett Turtill found out about the exhibition online while staying at home during the restrictions. When he learned that the museum was to open to public again, he registered for the exhibition.

“It was really easy, very quick,” said the 70-year-old man. “You just get a ticket on your phone, and you bring it in and they wave you through.”

Turtill said he was excited both to be out of doors and to be at the exhibition. “I am very interested in early maritime exploration around Australia,” he said.

“And I am satisfied with the museum’s measures as well as local government’s handling of coronavirus. That’s why I felt confident to come out to the exhibition.”

According to the original plan, the exhibition will run until this October. But the museum said it might extend it until early next year.


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COVID 19: Umahi threatens shutdown of Ebonyi international market over precautionary measures non-compliance



Ebonyi government  has threatened to shut the Margaret Umahi International Market, Abakaliki, over the traders non-compliance to Coronavirus (COVID-19) precautionary measures.

The warning is contained in a statement signed and issued on Saturday in Abakaliki by Mr Uchenna Orjii, state Commissioner for Information and Orientation.

The commissioner said  that the governor was dismayed with findings during recent visits to the market by Gov. David Umahi

The commissioner  said that Umahi had observed that over 80 per cent of traders and buyers did  not use face masks, hand sanitisers or washed their  hands in running water.

“Government will have no option than to shut the market for any form of business transaction if violations of the COVID-19 protocols continue,” he warned.

The commissioner said the governor  also observed with dismay that traders were chased from the market at an unauthorised period while market leaders collected N50 from each of them to allow them into the market.

“All forms of illegal levies collections must cease and ‘marketers’ are free to conduct their daily activities anytime they wish-to.

“Government has equally observed that business activities have  re-commenced at the old Abakapa Market and we hereby remind everyone that the old market was designated as a residential area.

“No form of sales or business transaction should be conducted at the entire location as any one found opening shops other than residential reasons, shall be arrested forthwith,” he said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye (NAN)

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Uganda reopens national parks for tourism amid COVID-19




Uganda has reopened its national parks for tourism amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a state-run conservation agency said here on Friday.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said in a statement that all the savannah national parks are open for tourism after standard operating procedures have been put in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the protected areas.

“All tourism activities within the protected areas shall be undertaken in a manner that ensures all guidelines of the ministry of health and the directives of His Excellency the President are adhered to,” the statement said.

The UWA said primate parks, however, remain closed to the public until further notice.

The conservation agency said there will be mandatory temperature screenings of tourists at all the key gates of the protected areas. Hand sanitizing and social distancing will be adhered to in vehicles and boats in the parks.

Large groups exceeding 25 tourists shall not be permitted in the parks at the same time for the same activity, according to the UWA.

Although the parks are open, the country’s borders, including Entebbe International Airport, remain closed as one of the government measures to avoid importing COVID-19 cases.

Tour operators in the country are now focusing on increasing domestic tourism after international travel was interrupted by the pandemic.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s leading foreign exchange earners. The country’s President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday said the country would lose over 1.6 billion United States dollars in tourism revenue because of COVID-19.


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‘Abe-Igi’ to wear new look – National Theatre management



Management of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, says plans are in top gear to give Abe-Igi, the popular open bar and restaurant within the facility, a new look.
The Spokesperson of the National Theatre, Steph Ogundele, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the step was to make the place, noted for artistes’ convergence and public rendezvous, more attractive.
Ogundele said that upon completion, Abe-Igi would not only wear a new look, but will also be totally rebranded.
“It is part of the management’s plan towards a post-Covid-19 market development.
“The lockdown has created a good opportunity for us to attend to some proposals, the first and major concluded one being the rebranding of Abe-Igi, which will take off after the total ease of the lockdown.
“We have to take this bold step, because we want to upgrade the place by making it more attractive to artistes and users of the complex,” he said.
Ogundele, however, said that nothing had been put before the management of the theatre concerning the proposed facelift of the main edifice by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
this regard, no information has come to us till date. We heard about it last year November, just like you also did. So we are waiting to be officially informed,” he said.
According to him, the management will remain committed to bringing necessary measures to bear in order to make the environment more comfortable for users of the Abe-Igi and facilities.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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COVID-19 vaccine development requires international cooperation, say Israeli experts




International collaboration is vital to quickly producing a COVID-19 vaccine to save lives worldwide, say Israeli medical experts.

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, multiple groups of researchers around the world have been working hard to find the cure or treatment as early as possible.

Dina Ben-Yehuda, dean of the medicine school at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said one country could hardly achieve success single-handedly in the vaccine development.

“We need international collaboration to save the world. And I hope that nobody will forget it,” she stressed.

Ben-Yehuda praised China for transparency in sharing its research findings regarding the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fact that Chinese physicians and scientists felt a responsibility to publish everything, even the bad results, helped many people around the world and saved lives,” said Ben-Yehuda.

China shared the initial information about the virus DNA with all other countries so that every one of them could work on vaccines and treatments. This kind of collaboration should continue for the benefit of all humankind, according to the professor.

Oren Zimhony MD, head of the infectious diseases unit at Kaplan Medical Center, said the international collaboration now on creating a vaccine is stronger than ever.

There are approximately eight main directions taken to work out a vaccine for COVID-19. Such a variety of possibilities increased the odds of finding the right way to the desired result, according to Zimhony.

“The major game-changer to overcome this pandemic is vaccine development,” Zimhony said, who believes that the first clinical implications of the intense vaccine research will be available in six months.

Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the infection prevention control unit at Sheba Medical Center, believes that only a vaccine could stop the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“It seems there is no proper treatment for COVID-19 disease patients, and the only effective global cure would be a vaccine,” she noted.

The biggest challenge in the work, according to Regev-Yochay, is to find a completely safe vaccine for everybody and a reliable way to deliver it to all kinds of people with different health situations.

“We need to be very cautious with vaccines. It’s much more complicated than clinical trials with the drugs,” stressed Regev-Yochay.

Many COVID-19 patients don’t have symptoms or have mild ones, “so we need to make sure we don’t inject them with vaccines, drugs, or chemicals that could do more harm than good,” she said.

International sharing of information could help researchers compare the effectiveness of different vaccines and speed up the progress of the development.

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, currently more than 130 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are being developed worldwide, with about 10 of them being already in clinical evaluation.

Among the vaccine challenges is also its mass production for the use of all of humanity, which calls for global cooperation.

“We need to vaccinate billions of people around the globe. Better to do it before the upcoming winter to prevent the dangerous effect of dual infection of influenza and COVID-19,” said Zimhony.

Ben-Yehuda said she believes new technologies of computational medicine and international sharing of big data could help create personalized medicine for COVID-19 infection, as the virus affects people differently.


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Pakistan repatriates 51,593 nationals due to COVID-19: foreign ministry




Pakistan said on Thursday that a total of 51,593 nationals had been repatriated, who were stranded abroad due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Pakistan started repatriation of its nationals in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the world.

As of June 3, 2020, a total of 51,593 Pakistani nationals have returned home so far through special flights and through land routes from different parts of the world,” spokesperson of the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aisha Farooqui said.

Giving details at the weekly press briefing, Farooqui said in the past few days, 2,558 Pakistani citizens were repatriated from Dubai, 653 from Saudi Arabia, 179 from Somalia, 51 from Egypt and Tunisia, 118 from Mauritania and Sierra Leone.

She said the foreign ministry and the country’s missions are continuing to facilitate and assist the Pakistani nationals across the world in order to bring them back to Pakistan safely and in a dignified manner.

“Our embassies and consulates are working round the clock in facilitating repatriation of our citizens back home, in accordance with a comprehensive repatriation plan devised in consultation with all stakeholders,” Farooqui said.

She said a special cell namely the Crisis Management Unit is working at the foreign ministry round the clock with a dedicated team to monitor the phased repatriation of Pakistanis across the globe in the wake of the rising threat of COVID-19.


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Tinubu describes Olumilua as servant leader committed to national unity 



A former governor of Lagos State, Sen. Bola Tinubu, has described Mr Bamidele Olumilua as a servant leaders who was passionate about the unity of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the former old Ondo State governor died in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 80.

Tinubu, in a condolence message to the family of Olumilua on Thursday, said the deceased was a servant leader and an unrelenting Patriot.

He said Olumilua provided leadership and mentoring to many during the aborted Third Republic and thereafter.

“He believed in democratic principles and worked assiduously to advance them.

“I knew this about him because we were together in the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and could attest to all he did to advance the course of democracy in the land.

“He ensured the will of the people triumphed.

“Olumilua was extremely loyal to his disciples,” Tinubu said.

He added that was why he had a large army of followers across not only the South-west but the entire country who believed in him and in what he represented.

“He was a brilliant man who was always bristling with noble and creative ideas about how to move the country forward.

“One remarkable thing also about the late Olumilua is that he was fiercely honest, almost to a fault of his,” Tinubu said.

The former Lagos State governor, who is a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) noted that as a governor of the old Ondo State, Olumilua ran a transparent and accountable government.

“Though, he was in office for a brief period of the aborted Third Republic, his contributions to the development of the old Ondo State was unmistakable.

Evangelist Olumilua died when his wisdom and counsel are still needed by many of us and the younger generation of politicians in the country,” he said.

Tinubu, however, expressed joy that the late former governor lived a fulfilled life and attained the ripe age of 80.

He said: “We have all lost an illustrious father and leader.”

Tinubu urged everyone, especially Olumilua’s family members, to emulate his life of selfless service to the people. 

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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Engineers, govts, other professionals should partner for national devt – Don



A Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Lagos, Dr Olanike Buraimoh, on Thursday called for collaboration among governments, engineers and other professionals to solve Nigeria’s developmental challenges.

Buraimoh of the university’s Department of Microbiology, made the remark at the 11th Olu Awoyinfa Distinguished Annual Public Lecture, induction of new engineers and presentation of scholarship awards in Lagos.

The event with the theme “Forming Uncommon Partnership: Solution to Challenges of Developing Nations”, was organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Lagos.

Buraimoh said that microorganisms interacted with all elements within the environment and affected operations and activities in every field, hence the need for collaboration of other professionals with microbiologists to harness microbial benefits.

She highlighted the need for synergy between engineers and microbiologists, to avert most of the problems of environmental degradation causing building collapse and construction failure.

The lecturer made various illustrations on how microorganisms could cause degeneration of substances, chemical components, facilities and other installations because of the kind of materials disposed in the past on the portion of land.

“Chemically, microorganisms degrade chemicals, plastic or anything.

Almost 50 per cent of the challenges we have in Nigeria is because we have refused to reckon with microorganisms,” she said.

Buraimoh said that 80 per cent of microorganisms were beneficial to humans if put to the right use, listing some of the areas of benefit to include construction, agriculture, water, health, among others.

She said that the introduction of microorganisms to agricultural sector had improved production more than 60 per cent in Nigeria, without affecting food quality or chemical interference which could cause toxicity.

The guest speaker urged all fields of engineering to collaborate with microbiologists, to assist them in using microorganisms to deal proactively with microbial challenges slowing down innovations.

Buraimoh said that bio wastes were available in huge quality in Nigeria and could be used to produce most chemical inputs, needed locally to reduce importation and dependence on other nations.

She urged governments and other professionals to partner with the academia to commercialise several abandoned viable researches good enough to industrialise Nigeria.

“A sustainable collaboration must take place between the academia and the industries, ministries, governments and policy makers to foster evidence-based policy making.

“To understand how humans and other life forms on earth, including those who we are yet to discover, can withstand an anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to incorporate knowledge of microbial unseen majority.

“Microorganisms affect climate change including production and consumption of greenhouse gases.

“The impact of climate change will depend heavily on response of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally-sustainable future,’’ she said.

Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, Chairman, Ikeja Branch, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said the nation had a combination of several issues which required uncommon partnerships with other professionals to resolve.

Akingbagbohun said that the COVID-19 pandemic had further revealed the need for collaboration of the experts, to look for permanent solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

While delivering her opening speech, she eulogised the virtues of late Olu Awoyinfa.

Akingbagbohun said that Awoyinfa, who was celebrated nationally and globally, was passionate about the development and advancement of engineering in Nigeria.

She said that Awoyinfa, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 75, included annual awards for best graduating Chemical Engineering graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in his will.

The Ikeja Branch NSE chairman said that the scholarship awards had been sustained and announced Miss Oluwatofunmi Adeniran as the 2020 beneficiary, being the best in her set.

Engineer Awoyinfa never became a chairman but we are celebrating him today because he was not looking for power; he focused on how to grow and mentor young engineers.

“Any nation that wants to grow requires engineers who are in every sphere of life solving societal problems,” she said.

Akingbagbohun commended his spouse, Mrs Abimbola Awoyinfa and her children, who had been supportive before and after the passing of the icon in all the series of the lecture.

This is the 11th of the series and Pa Awoyinfa enjoyed some of the series even when he was alive and because of the social distancing, we can accommodate only 20 in the hall and the others will have to join us online,’’ she said.

The Ikeja Branch NSE chairman boss challenged young engineers to strive to leave a legacy while highlighting the various efforts of the branch, to ensure commercialisation of researches of some young engineers.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adeniran, best graduating Chemical Engineering student of OAU, received a N100,000.00 scholarship award while 21 new members were inducted into the Ikeja NSE.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)


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India pledges $15m to international vaccine alliance



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, pledged $15 million to “Gavi”, the international vaccine alliance, while participating in the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020, said an official statement issued by the PM office.

Addressing the summit, Modi said India stands in solidarity with the world in these challenging times.

Referring to Gavi, he said it is not just a global alliance but also a symbol of global solidarity and a reminder of that by helping others we can also help ourselves.

“India has a vast population and limited health facilities and that it understands the importance of immunization,’’ he added.

He also stated that India had digitised its entire vaccine supply line and developed an electronic vaccine intelligence network to monitor the integrity of its cold chain.

These innovations are ensuring the availability of safe and potent vaccines in the right quantities at the right time till the last mile, he said.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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