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Port Harcourt Airport reopens after Air Peace incident




Lagos, June 23,2019 The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has reopened the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in Rivers following Saturday’s incident involving an Air Peace aircraft at the airport.

The General manager, Public Relations, NAMA, Mr Khalid Emele, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

Emele said Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued to airlines concerning the reopening of the runway which was closed after an Air Peace Flight P47291 overshot the runway on Saturday.

Also, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), confirmed that the B737-500 aircraft had been towed from the site.

Yakubu said the aircraft was removed from the runway by FAAN in collaboration with the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) and the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC).

NAN reports that the Air Peace aircraft with registration number 5N-BRN from Abuja carrying 94 passengers and six crew members on board had overshot the runway at the Port Harcourt Airport.

However, all the passengers and crew members were safely evacuated after the incident which is already being probed by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede


COVID-19: Edo NMA donates support items to UBTH



The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Edo branch, has donated protective items to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) to support the response to COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Presenting the materials, the state NMA Chairman, Dr Valentine Omoifo, appreciated the UBTH management for protecting health workers while ensuring adequate healthcare even in the face of the  pandemic.

This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen by the branch NMA Public Relations Officer, Dr Eustace Oseghale, on Tuesday in Benin.

The association assured that presentation of such items to UBTH would be sustained.

“This would be a continuous thing as more personal protective equipments and other materials will be provided to UBTH soon,” it said.

Receiving the items, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, thanked the NMA for the support.

Obaseki informed them that the hospital gates remained open and the hospital currently has about 400 in patients.

“Though this is telling on the hospital revenue as materials to protect staff and patients are now very expensive,” he said.

Obaseki encouraged NMA affiliates to copy the emulate Edo NMA as the hospital needs support.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the items presented included cacatin face shields, face masks, sanitiser, washing soap and gloves.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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14 new COVID-19 cases reported in Libya, 182 in total




The Libyan National Center for Disease Control on Tuesday reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in Libya to 182, including 52 recoveries and five deaths.

In a statement later Tuesday, the center said it received a total of 504 suspected samples, 490 of which tested negative and 14 positive.

Libyan authorities have taken a series of protective measures against the coronavirus, which include closing the country’s borders, banning public gatherings, and imposing a curfew.

Libya announced its first COVID-19 case in March and the first death in June.


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UN rights chief highlights disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on racial, ethnic minorities




United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that the alarming inequalities exposed by the COVID-19 outbreak are fueling the widespread protests affecting hundreds of cities across the United States.

“This virus is exposing endemic inequalities that have too long been ignored. In the United States, protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd are highlighting not only police violence against people of colour, but also inequalities in health, education, employment and endemic racial discrimination,” the UN human rights chief said in a press release issued Tuesday.

“It is a tragedy that it took COVID-19 to expose what should have been obvious, that unequal access to healthcare, overcrowded housing and pervasive discrimination make our societies less stable, secure and prosperous,” she added.

According to the UN official, the impact from COVID-19 on people of African descent as well as ethnic minorities in some countries seemed to be worse.

In the United States, she said, the COVID-19 death rate for African Americans is reported to be more than double that of other racial groups.

People from racial and ethnic minorities are also found in higher numbers in some jobs that carry increased risk, including in the transport, health and cleaning sectors, she said.

“The fight against this pandemic cannot be won if Governments refuse to acknowledge the blatant inequalities that the virus is bringing to the fore,” she said, adding that the efforts to tackle COVID-19 and to begin the recovery process will only be successful when “everyone’s rights to life and health are protected without discrimination”.


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France reports 107 new single-day deaths from COVID-19




With 107 COVID-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, France‘s total death toll from the coronavirus-caused disease rose to 28,940 on Tuesday, official figures showed.

Among the deaths, 18,590 were reported in hospitals, 84 more than the day before, 10,350 were reported at nursing homes and medico-social establishments since March 1, said the Health Ministry in a statement.

Currently, 14,028 patients are still in hospitals, including 1,253 in intensive care. The two figures, key indicators to evaluate the country’s ability to cope with the epidemic, fell by 260 and 49 respectively in the last 24 hours.

Of the 101,932 hospitalized since early March, 68,812 were declared recovered and returned home, said the ministry.

The number of confirmed cases increased by 766 in one day to 151,325, it added.

On Tuesday, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout France reopened their doors to customers. Museums, parks and schools are all allowed to reopen now. Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theaters in so-called “green” zones also reopened.

Unlimited travel is now permitted between the country’s regions, and people can once again enjoy the sun and the sea as the beaches have also reopened.

France has entered the second phase of deconfinement…French people find some of their daily habits again. This good news should not make us forget that the virus remains active,” warned the ministry.


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Roundup: Greece reports 19 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours, suspends flights from Qatar




Greece reported 19 new confirmed COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, including 12 people on a flight from Doha, Qatar, which landed on Athens international airport on Monday.

All the 91 people on board were placed in quarantine and all flights from Qatar have been suspended until June 15, Greece’s Civil Protection authority announced in a press release.

According to the press release, among the 12 passengers who tested positive to the novel coronavirus, nine are Pakistani nationals with residence permits for Greece, two are Greek nationals from Australia and one Japanese national, member of a Japanese-Greek family.

With the new cases registered within the past 24 hours, the country’s total confirmed cases have risen to 2,937, according to another announcement issued by the National Public Health Organization (EODY). The death toll remains at 179, EODY added.

Greece was in full lockdown between March 23 and May 4, but has started to gradually lift the restrictions.

Tourism is the last sector of the economy that is scheduled to go back to business starting on June 15.

As of mid-June, flights from 29 countries with positive epidemiological data, including China, can land on the airports of Athens and Thessaloniki with passengers being subject only to sample testing for COVID-19 upon arrival, the Tourism ministry has announced.

From June 15 until at least June 30, all travelers arriving from an airport on the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) list of affected areas with high risk of transmission of COVID-19 are obliged to test for coronavirus upon their arrival and spend one night at a designated hotel.

As of July 1, international flights will be allowed into all airports and visitors will be subject to random tests upon arrival.

As Greece is adapting to the new normalcy of the COVID-19, authorities continue their efforts to strengthen the public health system.

By early May, Greece had received donations exceeding 89 million euros (99.5 million U.S. dollars) by countries, organizations, enterprises and individuals, the government announced.

The first significant load of medical supplies weighed 18 tons donated by the Chinese government, enterprises and organizations arrived in Greece on March 21. Since then, more donations from China have reached Greece.

On Tuesday, Piraeus Port Authority S.A. (PPA) made one more donation of sanitary material to the program of the Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals “Kethea En Drasi” (Kethea in Action), it was announced.

China’s COSCO Shipping acquired in 2016 a majority stake in PPA after an international tender. (1 euro= 1.12 U.S. dollars)


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General news

Port Harcourt DisCo decries N2.5bn revenue loss over meter bypass



The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED) says it is losing about N2.5 billion monthly due to meter bypass and vandals in four states.

The states are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers.

PHED Managing Director, Dr Henry Ajagbawa, disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, while making clarifications on the alleged sack of 120 workers in the company.

According to Ajagbawa, the revenue loss affects the company’s efforts to expand its facilities in the four states it operates.

“We urge customers to be fair to us and stop tampering with our meters as it is called energy theft.

PHED is losing about N2.5 billion out of N4.5 billion monthly projection to meter bypass and activities of vandals. These challenges are affecting our operations.

“The only way we can survive and improve on our services is when customers pay their bills and stop bypassing their meter,” he said.

The managing director said the company would soon commence mass disconnection and arrest of residents to recover the lost revenue.

He urged the National Assembly to propose and pass a bill that would criminalise and punish offenders caught in the act.

Ajagbawa said that in spite of massive metering of homes in the four states, the company’s revenue portfolio had yet to improve.

“So, we need legislation to criminalise energy theft and vandalism of electricity facilities. People should learn to pay for energy consumed.

“If the government criminalises this practice and makes the consequences severe, definitely, we will have it better in the country.

“To this end, we have disciplined our staff, who were involved in these corrupt acts. We are taking drastic steps to stop corruption among the staff and customers,” he added.

Ajagbawa said the company needed about N40 billion to meter customers in the four states it covered.

He, however, insisted that PHED did not retrench 120 workers, an allegation made by the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

He further said that PHED management had at no time signed any sack letter, saying the company paid staff salaries up to May.

“Also, I want to use this medium to say that I am in good working relationship with the Rivers Government in spite of my arrest (by state government task force during the COVID-19 lockdown).

PHED commends the Rivers Government for its construction of some electricity distribution centres aimed at boosting electricity supply in the state,” Ajagbawa said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Nnewi community leader solicits support for less privileged




The President-General, Nnewi Town Union, Nzuko-Ora Nnewi, Mr Ugochukwu Udemezue, has called on members of the community to support one another in getting out of the hardship caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Udemezue made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Tuesday.

He said that it was time for the wealthy people in Nnewi community to care for each other by way of financial and material empowerment.

“These empowerment would enable the lowly to pick up on their business as the lockdown had been relaxed,” he said.

Udemezue said that COVID-19 pandemic had affected in the negative, business of the people in no small way.

He appealed to the rich among them to support the less privileged among them so as to sustain their business.

“I want to believe that Nnewi people are still known for being their brothers’ keepers. I appeal to us all to look around us in our various villages to support those whose business are likely to fold up; let’s support each other now,” he said.

Udemezue said that some Nnewi individuals based in America had started living up to their tradition through the palliatives they sent for the upkeep of the poor because of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Five hundred and sixty vulnerable individuals in Nnewi have received various food items from the indigenes of Nnewi living in America under the umbrella of Nnewi USA-NUSA as part of palliatives to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on them.

NUSA, expended over N4 million for the intervention; its worthy of emulation. So other Nnewi people need to sustain the gesture shown by our brothers abroad,” he said.

The president-general said that the palliatives sent by the Nnewi people in America and which had been distributed included 560 bags of rice, 560 bags of beans and 560 cartons of noodles.

“These items are no small gifts and will go a long way to assuage the hunger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic among the poor people. It was a kind gesture well appreciated,” Udemezue said.

He, however urged other privileged individuals and groups in Nigeria and in diaspora to extend similar gesture to the needy in the community that would aid them to pick up fast from their business.

He said that the wealthy people from the four quarters of Nnewi community namely, Umudim, Uruagu, Otolo and Nnewi-Ichi could identify the vulnerable individuals in their areas and empower them back to business.

Udemezue said that the rich ones could liaise with the President-Generals of the four quarters of Nnewi community for even assistance.  

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)



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Premier League clubs can play friendlies before season restart – reports



Premier League clubs have been given the green light to take part in friendlies with strict protocols in place as they prepare for the restart of England’s top-flight season on June 17, British media reported on Tuesday.

Venues must not be more than 90 minutes away and players will need to travel in their own cars and arrive in full kit, according to Sky Sports.

Matches will be refereed by members of the clubs’ coaching staff and players involved need to have returned a negative test for COVID-19, the reports said.

The Premier League, which has nine rounds remaining, has been suspended since mid-March but clubs have since returned to group training, with the government giving elite sport permission to return from June 1.

Leicester City Manager, Brendan Rodgers said the Midlands club will stage practice games at the King Power Stadium to help players get up to speed.

“We’ll look at trying to prepare as best as we can for that. We’ll have some practice games in our own stadium before we play, so they’ll feel and get a sense of that,” Rodgers told British media.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Science & Technology

ICT: MainOne, Group partner to support Cote d’Ivoire fight against COVID-19



West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre provider, MainOne, with headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, and AWALE, a neutral network operator are partnering to support the Crisis Cell of the Ivoirian Government against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

MainOne is a Mauritius Group holding company with subsidiaries in Nigeria, Ghana, Portugal and Cote D’Ivoire.

Mr Kazeem Oladepo, MainOne’s Regional Executive Director, West Africa, said in a statement on Tuesday that as an organisation committed to enabling the digital economy of West Africa, it was aware of the impact of the pandemic on public services, infrastructure and businesses.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that a neutral service provider gives high speed data transmission capacity via its fiber optic cables installed on the Ivorian national transport and electricity.

Oladepo said that the joint partnership intervention was also aware of the economic challenges faced by governments.

He said that as premier provider and responsible Ivorian business, the partnership would continue to support governments efforts at every level by providing world-class internet infrastructure.

According to him, value-added services that reduces cost, drive operational continuity and seamless communication for good governance in Côte d’Ivoire will also be provided.

‘’We are proud to partner with AWALE, a subsidiary of the Pan-African Group ERANOVE, who shares our commitment to support government efforts to manage the impact of the pandemic across the sub region.

‘’This measure of solidarity will reinforce the emergency deployment plan of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Postal Services of the country.

‘’The joint initiative includes the provision of free connectivity capacity and internet services to strategic state institutions for a period of three months,” he said.

The executive director said that MainOne and AWALE were jointly contributing their broadband connectivity infrastructure and ICT services for the delivery of critical online and real-time public services.

He said that with lockdown, social distancing and remote work patterns becoming the new-normal globally, it was determined to ensure the Ivorian crisis committee continued to dispense its socio-economic and public security responsibilities through virtual platforms.

Oladepo said that the enhanced connectivity offering provided the government’s crisis committee with robust access to real-time information management, whilst seamlessly connecting essential workers across the nation.

He said it was also helping to drive dynamic exchange of scientific findings and access to global knowledge related to control and management of the disease by researchers in Côte d’Ivore.

He said it would enable the researchers to collaborate with colleagues around the world and participate in the global fight against the pandemic.

Mr Daniel Sampah, Founder and Managing Director of AWALE said that the organisation appreciated the efforts of the Ivorian in deploying an effective response plan to COVID-19 disease.

Sampah said that it was an honour to support the Cote d’Ivoire actions by making available to operators and Internet Service Providers its carrier-neutral network entirely based on fiber optics.

He said that the partnership with MainOne would enable the provision of quality connectivity infrastructure to the committee and thus minimise the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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