Niger Government on Wednesday, said it had quarantined 27 persons over fear that they might have contracted the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Dr Mohammed Sidi, State Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, made this known during a visit to one of the state isolation centres at Shanu in Bosso Local Government Area of the state.
The centres were used in isolating the suspects.
He explained that prior to tracing the suspects, family members of one of the suspects based in Lagos State, had made a telephone call to members of their country home in Makera, Mashegu Local Government Area of the state .
The commissioner said the suspect who drove himself to Makera from Lagos state amidst serious coughs and with the suspicion that he might have had contacts with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 in Lagos, decided to travel to the village.
He said that as soon as the family members in the village received the information about the poor health of their brother (the suspect) they contacted the COVID-19 task force in Minna that swung into action immediately.
According to Sidi, the suspect who may have heard about the plans of his family members in Makera to deny him access to his family house in the village, on his arrival from Lagos on Monday, parked his private vehicle somewhere within the village.
He then disguised himself and boarded a Mitsubishi Canter Truck traveling to Wushishi Local Government Area of the state with 26 people on board.
“However, the state government was already ahead of him in the plans to arrest him and take him to an isolation centre, alongside the other 26 passengers in the truck.
“The task force quarantined them here since Monday,” he said.
He alleged that the 27 suspects might have had contacts with some of the people that had contacts with Coronavirus carrier, coming from an area considered as an epicentre in Lagos.
“Although, it has not been confirmed that they are positive of the pandemic, but the issue is that they are coming from the epic centre.
“Therefore because of the directive of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to quarantine such people in order to prevent the spread of the disease” he said.
Sidi said that the suspects would be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days pending the outcome of the tests conducted on them which had been taken to the NCDC in Abuja for analysis.
He said the result of the tests were being expected in the state by next week.
The commissioner said the results would determine how long the suspects would stay at the isolation centre.
He said there was no case of the pandemic in the state.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
Nigerian president says peace a prerequisite for Africa’s development
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said peace, along with security, unity, and harmony, is a prerequisite for sustainable development in Africa.
In a message to African leaders to mark the “Africa Day 2020” launched by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Buhari said Africa has given the world new hope by choosing the theme “Silencing the Guns in the Context of the COVID-19” for this year’s celebration.
For African leaders to ensure that every effort is made to guarantee the success of silencing the guns on the continent, the Nigerian president said, there was the need to emphasize sensitizing Africans to the inseparable connection between peace and development.
“Peace, security, unity, and harmony are prerequisites for development in Africa,” Buhari said while calling on African citizens to innovate on how “silencing the guns” can be used to achieve peace and grow African economies.
He also urged regional economic groups, civil society organizations and the private sector in Africa to take full ownership of the theme of this year’s celebration to strengthen collaborative efforts among member countries of the African Union.
The Africa Day is observed annually on May 25, to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union, which was created on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Nigeria records 1.87 pct GDP growth in Q1
Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter (Q1) grew by 1.87 percent year-on-year in real terms, according to the quarterly data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
The performance of the economy in Q1 represented a drop of 0.23 percent points compared to Q1 2019 and 0.68 percent points compared to Q4 2019, the agency said.
The latest performance of the economy followed significant global disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 public health crisis, as well as a sharp fall in oil prices and restricted international trade, it said, adding it is also not unconnected to the earliest effects of the disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy.
Oil is Nigeria’s mainstay. During Q1 2020, Nigeria recorded an average oil production of 2.07 million barrels per day. The production level was higher than the 1.99 million barrels per day recorded in the same quarter of 2019, the agency said.
COVID-19: Anambra, Delta hold talks to check movement on Niger Bridge
The Anambra and Delta Governments are currently holding talks to check the influx of people, seeking to cross the Niger Bridge in defiance of the presidential order restricting inter-state movements.
Mr C-Don Adinuba, Anambra Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Onitsha on Monday.
Adinuba was commenting on the barricade built on the bridge on the orders of Gov. Willie Obiano at the Asaba-end of the bridge.
The iron barricade was reportedly pulled down at the weekend by youths in Delta.
NAN learnt that the development necessitated a meeting where the two governments resolved to jointly police the Niger Bridge to curtail movement of ‘strange persons.’
“Top officials of both Delta and Anambra State Governments have met thrice today and will meet again tomorrow or so.
“The meeting is to conclude arrangements on how to check the influx of people, who defy the presidential order restricting inter-state movements as part of the far-reaching measures to check the spread of COVID-19,” Adinuba said.
According to him, the meetings have been held in convivial and brotherly manner.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Silas Nwoha (NAN)
Nigeria’s GDP grew by 1.87% in Q1– NBS
It said there was a sharp fall in oil prices and restricted international trade adding that the performance recorded in Q1 represented a drop of –0.23 per cent points compared to Q1 2019 and –0.68 per cent points compared to Q4 2019, reflecting the earliest effects of the disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy.
According to the bureau, quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was –14.27 per cent, compared to 5.59 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter.
“The oil sector recorded a real growth rate of 5.06 per cent year on year in Q1 2020, indicating an increase of 6.51 per cent points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.
“However, growth decreased by -1.30 per cent points when compared to Q4 2019 which was 6.36 per cent.
“The non-oil sector grew by 1.55 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter Q2020. This was slower than -0.93 per cent points compared to the rate recorded during the same quarter of 2020 and -0.72 per cent points slower than the fourth quarter of 2019,” the NBS explained.
The bureau stated that the four sub-activities which make up the agriculture sector like crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing sectors grew by 22.47 per cent year on year in nominal terms in Q1, 2020.
It noted that this showed a decline of -0.11 per cent points from the same quarter in 2019.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Eid-el-Filtr: Nigerians told to maintain core values as united entity
Chief Olayide Adelami, former Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, has urged Nigerians to always live as one irrespective of faiths and maintain their core values as a united entity.
Adelami stated this in his Eid-el-Filtr message to Muslim faithful on Monday in Akure.
He added that Nigerians should not allow negative developments to distort their love, peace and tolerance.
Adelami, who is a gubernatorial aspirant in the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo State, reminded Muslims to intensify more prayers to defeat the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic that had disrupted normal living.
He lauded the cordial relationship, deep show of love and tolerance among Christian and Muslim faithful in the state.
The gubernatorial aspirant enjoined the Muslim faithful to imbibe and put into apt use the lessons of the Ramadan fast, which centre on love, sacrifice and tolerance.
Adelami said the observance of piety, self-denial, discipline, and love during the Ramadan fast showed that Nigerians could remain a united and peaceful nation irrespective of daunting challenges.
“I must also not fail to use this festive season to urge leaders of faith in our nation to show more commitment to peaceful co-existence and tolerance,” he said.
The APC chieftain also used the celebration to reiterate his resolve to transform the state through exemplary leadership in driving a governance that would usher in development, if elected.
“In-sha-Allah, the people of Ondo state shall enjoy the dividends of good governance when I assume the mantle of leadership next year,” he added.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Gambari: U.S.-based group lauds Buhari, congratulates Nigerians
U.S.-based Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as his Chief of Staff.
In a statement signed by its President, Mr Solomon Bakare, on Monday, OAN said Gambari was the man for the job, given his “superb administrative, organisational, diplomatic and leadership skills”.
The body congratulated Nigerians for the appointment, which it said came at a time the president needed such competent hands to actualise his vision for the country.
“We have no iota of doubt that Gambari is equal to the Herculean tasks ahead.
“We are confident that he will give the president his complete loyalty, wise counsel and good guidance.
“He will bring his native wisdom and superb administrative, organisational, diplomatic and leadership skills to bear on the running of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” it said.
OAN is the lead coordinator of the Nigeria Independence Day Celebration in New York City, the largest platform for Nigerians in the Diaspora for showcasing their culture and national pride.
The group recalled the support of Gambari to the Nigerian community while serving as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations between 1990 and 1999.
“Our organisation benefited immensely from his guidance and unparallel love and passion for Nigeria.
“In fact, there is no way we can talk about the success of the Nigerian Independence Day Parade in New York City without mentioning Gambari’s name.
“It was he who advised us to move the annual celebration of Nigeria from its original route in Harlem to Second Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, where the Nigerian House is located, to make it one of the most prominent annual ethnic parades in New York City.
“Gambari backed his wise counsel up with moral support, enlisting the participation of his influential friends in the Nigerian Community, including Amb. Aminu Wali, to ensure the continued success of the annual parade.
“Today, it has grown to an annual carnival that gives Nigerians in the United States, the platform to showcase our cultural pride and accomplishments,” it stated.
“We respectfully advise him to discharge his duties to our president and our country with truth, honor, loyalty, fairness, compassion, and uncommon courage,” it added.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye (NAN)
FG evacuates 69 Nigerians stranded in Lebanon – Onyeama
The Federal Government has repatriated 69 Nigerians from Lebanon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Monday.
He said the 69 Nigerians were evacuated with the help of Lebanese government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the 69 persons were made up of 50 trafficked girls and 19 stranded Nigerians.
Onyeama who disclosed this on his verified twitter handle, appreciated the assistance of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese community in Nigeria for a successful evacuation process.
“With financial and logistic support of the Lebanese Government and the Lebanese community in Nigeria, 50 trafficked girls and 19 stranded Nigerians were successfully evacuated from Lebanon and arrived Nigeria today.
“My profound gratitude to Amb. Houssam Diad, Lebanese Ambassador in Nigeria and Ambassador Goni Zannabura, Nigerian Ambassador in Lebanon,’’ he twitted.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Nigerian brands must tackle gaps to succeed – Digital expert
A Digital Expert, Mr Abasiama Idaresit, has decried lack of use of the listening and monitoring tools available online by brands and putting proper plans in place to aid success in the digital technology space.
The Chief Executive Officer of Wild Fusion made this known on Monday in Lagos, during a Virtual conference organised by GAGE Award Online platform.
The topic of discussion was ‘Data and Targeting the Right Audience for Brands’.
According to him, individual brands must first have a social media philosophy which should be full proof and in place for two to three years.
“Making use of tools such as listening and monitoring tools will put a brand on track to closing gaps that need to be filled.
“All these digital tools are online for your usage especially as technology has empowered mankind and liberating humans in every sense of the word
“A failure to have a proper plan will bring about gaps, especially when in the long run, the brand has not been targeting its own audience due to lack of understanding of its audience as well as their consumer journey.
Idaresit, who was the Google AdWords first certified digital partner in Nigeria, said there were steps that led to sale that must start from awareness, consideration, and conversation before any sustaining sales and market share was created.
He also identified some of the gaps that existed in the digital space.
“Many brands do same thing as making use of promotions on social media, making use of influencers, and the likes, when a brand can stay distinct on its own, avoiding shortcuts that give only temporal recognition.”
He advised brand owners to be distinct with the aim of targeting certain audience.
“Don’t be online because your competitors are online. Be online because your target audience is online.”
“Staying at the top of your share of voice in the digital space is easy, if you give 120 per cent delivery, render exceptional service and stick to excellence.
“Deliver what you promised, remain consistent, and worry less about your competitors,” the expert said.
Idaresit said that free opportunities offered by the digital space could be maximised only by brands that understood the role of professionals in developing clear cut digital strategy.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Eid-el-Fitri: Kwara youths urge Muslims to pray for Nigeria’s peace, unity
The group, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Shafi Ismail Alada urged the Muslims to use the festival period for sober reflections.
It also congratulated Muslim faithful on the successful completion of the Ramadan fast.
The Forum commended them for their commitment and steadfastness in completing the 30 days of Ramadan fast.
KYUFI further enjoined Muslims to ensure that the teachings and lessons of the Holy month of Ramadan always manifest in their daily lives.
It described the sacrifices and supplications, during the period, as necessary ingredients for the peace, unity and development of Nigeria.
“We have to make every effort to continue to be in close relationship with Allah during and beyond the Ramadan period.
“The regular prayers and recitation, and above all, understanding and acting on the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) must be sustained,’’ it added.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Eid el-Fitr: NOA urges Nigerians to observe precautionary measures against COVID-19
As Nigerians join other Muslims worldwide to mark the 2020 Eid-el-Fitr amid the coronavirus pandemic, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged citizens to observe all precautionary measures against the disease.
The Director General of NOA, Mr Garba Abari, made the call in a Sallah message to the Muslim faithful in Nigeria, a statement by the agency’s Head of Press Unit, Mr Paul Odenyi, said.
Abari also urged them to imbibe the lessons of Ramadan, some of which are discipline, selflessness, and piety.
According to the director general, the month of Ramadan is a period that Muslims should take advantage of to strengthen their faith and stay safe from the ravaging coronavirus by adhering strictly to the precautionary measures put in place.
He said leaders at the local level should take responsibility for enforcing movement restriction orders, inspiring compliance with all advisories by government in line with the spirit of Sallah.
“We must be cautious (so as) not to facilitate community transmission of COVID19.
“They can do this by ensuring that prescribed social distancing, use of face masks, regular hand washing, and sanitisation are observed in our communities,” he said
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Banditry: Niger LG chairman tasks residents to report suspicious movement
Alhaji Nura Kokoli, Chairman, Agwara Local Government Area in Niger state, on Sunday tasked residents to be security conscious and report suspicious movement to authorities in order to end banditry in the area.
Kokoli gave the advice while speaking with journalists after observing the Eid-el-Fitr prayers in Agwara.
“This has become necessary considering the rampant cases of armed banditry and kidnapping witnessed in Niger.
“The people of Agwara should help the government tackle insecurity by reporting those with questionable character in their midst to the security agencies nearest to them for prompt action,” Kokoli said.
He said that security of lives and property was a collective responsibility, hence the need for all hands to be on deck to tackle the menace.
He commended the state government for measures taken to combat armed banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the state.
The council boss reiterated his administration’s commitment to safeguard the lives and property of the people in the area.
According to him, the council will continue to provide basic social amenities to the people.
Earlier, during the sermon to mark the end of Ramadan fast, Chief Imam of Agwara, Alhaji Mohammed Mammare, prayed God to bring an end to the pandemic.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
Nigerian army sustaining onslaught against insurgents, criminals – DHQ
The Defence headquarters says Nigerian Army has sustained its onslaught against insurgents and other criminal in its reinvigorated operations across the country.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said that the troops of Army Super Camp 11, Gamboru, in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno, on May 21, rescued a local, who was abducted around Wulgo general area by some Boko Haram insurgents.
He said that a hot pursuit by the troops forced the abductors to abandon their victim and flee, adding that they also recovered five bicycles belonging to the abductors.
The coordinator also said that the troops of 251 Task Force Battalion in Dolari, in conjunction with elements of Civilian Joint Task Force, arrested one Bakura Rawa Modu who was detected loitering within Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp on May 20.
According to him, the suspect claimed to be a “motor boy”, and also confessed to be a Boko Haram member for the past five years, during preliminary interrogation,.
He said the suspect further disclosed that he coordinated several suicide bombings within Konduga general area in addition to his participation in series of Boko Haram attacks on the military and civilian targets.
“He confessed to be a spy sent to monitor activities of the troops within the IDPs camp,” the coordinator said.
Enenche further said that on May 18, troops of Strong Response Area, Ngoshe while on patrol, intercepted a woman named Maryam Ali, who was abducted by Boko Haram criminals five years ago, after they killed her husband.
“She revealed that her escape from Boko Haram was made possible by the devastating artillery and mortar bombardments on the Boko Haram enclave in Gava, Gwoza Local Government Area by Nigerian Army troops.
”She disclosed that the troops killed 15 of the insurgents while many others, including herself, suffered various degrees of wounds.
“She was, however, given first aid by the troops and later moved to a medical facility for better management,” he said.
Enenche also said that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji had, on May 22, discovered a kidnappers’ hideout at Tungar Duna deployed at Doka and Tungar Duna Villages in Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara.
He said that the kidnapped victims were rescued from their den as the criminals fled on sighting the advancing troops.
He revealed that the rescued victims had been debriefed and reunited with their families.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
Eid-el-Fitr: ACF urges Nigerians to share love with compatriots
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has felicitated with the Muslim Ummah the end of the Ramadan fasting period and Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration.
The forum urged Nigerians to share love with their compatriots.
“We use this Sallah to call on all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic affiliation or religious belief to see this as an opportunity to share their love with their compatriots, especially those who are in need, and need to be loved and cared for.
According to him, it is a trying period not only for Nigerian Muslims but for all Nigerians.
The forum also prayed that the Almighty Allah “will approve of your kind deeds and forgive all your disobedient acts and sins”.
While also praying Allah to ease the sufferings of Nigerians, ACF expressed optimism that the Almighty Allah will show Nigerians the right path and help in every step of life.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Eid-el-Fitr: D-G urges renewal of faith by Nigerians
As Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid-el-Fitr, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, has called for renewal of faith by Nigerians.
Sulaiman, a former Minister of National Planing, made the appeal in llorin on Sunday in a statement commemorating 2020 Eid-el-Fitr celebration.
He advised Nigerians to utilise the prayers, piety, sacrifice and spiritual rejuvenation achieved during the holy month to pray for the country to overcome all its challenges.
“Eid marks a new beginning for each individual, and in spite of the COVID-19 crisis being experienced at this time, we should still hope for the blessings of renewed faith that come with it,” he said.
Sulaiman prayed Almighty Allah to continue to grant Nigeria His guidance, safeguard the nation’s faith, and make the world a prosperous and peaceful place.
The former minister praised the foresight of President Muhammadu Buhari; the President of the Senate, Sen.Ahmad Lawan; and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila,
for their unique leadership effort at curbing further spread of COVID-19.
While wishing Nigerians a prosperous celebration, he also advised them to continue to abide with all government directives and experts advice aimed at containing the scourge. (NAN
Edited By: Angela Okisor/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Nigerian Legion congratulates Profs Gambari, Akanbi on appointments
The Nigerian Legion, Kwara Council and Corps of Commissionaires, Kwara Command, have congratulated Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Prof. Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi on their recent appointments.
The congratulatory message was contained in a statement issued on Sunday in Ilorin by the Legion Deputy Corps Commandant (DCC) Omolale Olusegun.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the statement was on behalf of the state Chairman of the Legion, Brig.-Gen. Aliyu Akanno (Rtd), and Prof. Olasehinde Ibikunle, Commandant, Corps of Commissionaires in Kwara.
Omolale, who is also the Legion Director of Human Resources and Public Relations, congratulated Prof. Gambari for his recent appointment as the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Prof. Akanbi as the new Vice Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete.
The legion spokesman described the two appointments as great landmarks to the Ilorin Emirate and the entire State.
“We rejoice with this two eminent distinguished personalities and we are proud of their patriotic service, outstanding achievements.
“We are proud of their immense contributions to the development of both the State, National and also International Community Development which are evident as good ambassadors of our great Nation – Nigeria.
“We pray that the Almighty God, who has helped you thus far, will help you in the new office and prosper your undertakings,” he said.
The legion also rejoiced with and congratulated Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in that his tenure has brought good luck to the citizens of Kwara.
“We, highly commend you sir for the aggressive and bold steps you have taken against the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
“As our Patron, we are proud to be associated with the laudable programmes and palliative measures to cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown under the exemplary good leadership of your Excellency.
“Nigerian Legion officers and men have worked harmoniously with other Security Agencies in the State for about two months.
“We humbly wish to reiterates our steadfast commitment that we are gallantly ready, available whenever and wherever our services are needed,” Omolale added.
The legion also congratulated the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, for all the appointments, saying they were good signs during his peaceful reign.
They also commended the Emir’s role as the Chairman of Kwara State Traditional Council and all other traditional rulers in the state for their cooperation in implementing the Presidential Taskforce Committee guidelines on the lockdown and the prevention of spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“We pray for divine guidance, more blessings, good health and protection for all the Royal Fathers in the State of Harmony,” it stated.
Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (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)
Don’t use foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians- Reps Committee
Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, has advised the Federal Government against using foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians from Canada.
Nnaji, representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, said in a statement in Lagos on Sunday that the House would not condone it.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there was persistent refusal by the Canadian authorities to grant Air Peace airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada.
NAN reports that the Canadian Government was alleged to have given preference to Ethiopian Airline for evacuation of stranded Nigerians desiring to come home as against the Air Peace which the task force has already engaged for the evacuation.
Air Peace is charging 1,134 dollars per passenger as against the sum of 2,500 dollars charged by the Ethiopian Airline.
Nnaji, however, said that the position of the House of Representatives was very clear on the issue of evacuation flights.
The lawmaker explained that the House had on May 12 adopted the motion against the use of foreign airlines for evacuation of stranded Nigerians in other countries.
Nnaji said the House had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and relevant Ministerial Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the motion.
He said the House had urged them to ensure that Nigerian Airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in all circumstances where Nigerians need to be evacuated from other countries.
“The House of Representatives had insisted that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and indeed the COVID-19 Task Force must explore all available diplomatic channels to ensure that a Nigerian airline operate the evacuation flight out of Canada.
“The aviation committee has also observed that Canadian authorities has no reason to deny Air Peace landing right.
“This is because available records had shown that the airline has the require certification and approvals to operate internationally.
“Our findings have shown that Air Peace is International Air Transport Association’s Safety Oversight Audit (IOSA) certified.
“This means that the airline has a major international parameter for measuring airlines’ safety standards,” he said.
Nnaji said that there was need for the Canadian Government to treat the flight as a special emergency occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic and immediately grant the necessary approvals to the Air Peace.
Similarly, the lawmaker said the committee had summoned the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and agencies to appear before it on Thursday.
Nnaji explained that the committee summoned those directly or indirectly involved in the earlier evacuation flights handled by the British Airways, Emirates and Ethopian Airlines from the UK, United Arab Emirates and America.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Nigerian police kill 8 suspected kidnappers in NE state
Eight suspected kidnappers in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Taraba were killed in a recent gunfight with police, said a spokesman on Sunday.
The police, acting on an intelligence report, had blocked a bush path used as an operational route by the kidnappers near Bali local government area of the state on Thursday, said David Misal, the spokesman for the security agency in Taraba.
Upon sighting the police at the location, the kidnappers opened fire at them. This led to the killing of eight suspected kidnappers, said Misal.
Several arms and ammunition belonging to the suspects were also recovered by the police, he added.
UK Govt announces 3 more charter flights for British travellers in Nigeria
The British High Commission in Nigeria said in a statement on Sunday that more than 1,700 British travellers had already returned to the UK on special charter flights in April and May from Lagos and Abuja.
According to the statement, the new flights are scheduled as follows: May 29: Lagos – London, June 1: Lagos – London and June 6: Abuja – London.
The commission said that a UK organised special internal charter flight would travel from Port Harcourt to Abuja on Saturday June 6 to enable British nationals based in or near Port Harcourt to join the June 6 flight from Abuja to London.
“Britons in Nigeria will now have access to additional repatriation flights, meaning hundreds of them will be able to fly home.
“We have already arranged for around 1,700 people to return home to their friends and family.
“We will continue to support British nationals who remain in the country,” the Minister of State for Africa, James Duddridge, was quoted as saying in a statement.
Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, said: “I am delighted to announce a third wave of flights to take more of our British travellers home from Nigeria – adding to the 1,700 people we have already helped since airports closed on April 23.
Laing urged eligible Britons who wished to return to the UK to book seats on the flights as they were likely to be the last charter flights available.
“For further information and to book a ticket, British travellers should visit the Nigeria Travel Advice pages: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nigeria/return-to-the-uk.
“The UK Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to bring British travellers home as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on March 30.
“There is up to 75 million Pounds available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.
“So far, charter flights have returned British travellers from countries including India, the Philippines, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nepal, Ghana, Tunisia, Algeria and Peru,” Laing said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Eid-el-fitr: PFN urges Nigerians to deepen spirit of mutual tolerance
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has urged Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnicity or gender, to deepen the spirit of mutual tolerance and embrace understanding in their conducts.
Its President, Rev. Felix Omobude, made the plea on Sunday while congratulating Muslims on the completion of the Ramadan season at this difficult time of global pandemic.
Omobude prayed that the celebration would usher in healing and greater peace in the country.
He prayed for wisdom for leadership and public officials at all levels in the country to be able to turn around the fortune of the nation in the face of the daunting economic challenges.
Omobude also congratulated the Sultan of Sokoto, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and all Muslims in Nigeria on the occasion of Eid-al-Fitr.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)