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Pound higher as investors expect MPs to vote down no-deal Brexit




The pound, which has lurched upwards and downwards in volatile trading this week, has found some support despite Prime Minister Theresa May badly losing a vote on her Brexit withdrawal agreement late on Tuesday.

Britain’s parliament will vote again on Wednesday on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal, which most economists say would cause significant harm to the economy.

May has given lawmakers in her party a free vote and investors expect parliament will vote against a no-deal Brexit.

The pound rose 0.4 per cent to the day’s high of 1.3120 dollars at the London open – putting the currency about half way between this week’s lows of 1.2945 dollars and its high of 1.3290 dollars.



Interstate Lockdown: FCTA arrests 74 violators, impounds 3 buses



The Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) Ministerial Task Team on the Enforcement of COVID-19 Restrictions has arrested 74 persons travelling through the city to other parts of the country.

The Chairman of the task team, Mr Ikharo Attah, made the disclosure at an interactive session with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

Attah also revealed that the team had earlier arrested a bus driver, James Adegbe while travelling from Kaduna to Kogi state.

“Among those arrested are 17 passengers who were travelling on a Trailer from Warri in Delta state to Zaria in Kaduna state.

“Nine passengers in a Hyundai Bus going from Gwagwalada to Katsina, and a Trailer going from Aba to Kano state with six passengers were also arrested.

Also, a Hummer bus with 18 passengers from Warri to Zaria and another Hummer bus with 10 passengers from gwagwalada to Ibadan,” Attah said.

He said that the team had also impounded three buses, adding that Presiding Magistrate at the Mobile Court in Zuba, Ebiwari Damini, convicted both the drivers and the passengers.

Attah said that the magistrate also punished a driver who had been previously convicted for violating the rules.

According to him, the Magistrate ruled that two other buses be impounded in the FCT until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“The driver was arrested, arraigned, fined and returned to Kaduna state. He turned back that same night and still found his way to Kogi state.

“Today again he was arrested travelling with a bus-load of passengers from Lokoja to Kaduna. The Magistrate fined him N10, 000 which is double of his previous fine.

“He also ruled that his vehicle be impounded at the Abuja Environment Protection Board Enforcement Head office at Area 3, Garki”, Attah explained.

According to him, those apprehended were travelling in two trucks and seven other buses.

Attah said that the FCT Administration was working closely with the security agencies to ensure sustainability of the interstate travel ban as placed by the President and Commander in Chief.

He said that the administration was worried that the number of interstate travelers attempting to enter or pass through the FCT seems to be on the increase daily.”

He therefore called on state governments to tighten their own end by ensuring interstate travellers are not allowed to move with ease.

“Sadly, some of those arrested here do not seem to understand why we are arresting them. This, I believe is because they now see it as normal because of where they are coming from.

“This is a Presidential Order and we must obey it to the letter until the ban is lifted,” Attah said.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Lockdown: Abia govt. to impound vehicles, fine inter-state travelers N50,000



Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu has signed an executive bill empowering Abia transport ministry to impound vehicles and impose a N50,000 fine on travelers who violate the ban on inter-state trips.

Chief Ekele Nwaohammuo, Commissioner for Transport, who disclosed this in an interview with the  News Agency of Nigeria , on Friday in Aba, said that the ministry had already arrested two drivers and impounded two vehicles with passengers moving from Aba to Lagos.

“We have also sealed Perfect Transport Company, Aba for violating the lockdown directive which prohibited inter-state movements,” he said

The commissioner said that he would soon meet with transporters and road workers unions in Abia to remind them of the implications of running foul of the lockdown rules, and to encourage compliance.

“It is very correct that some motorists and buses still load and move people in and outside Abia.

“I have arrested some motorists for boarding people in their vehicles to move outside the state.

“I am just from the Secretary to the State Government’s office where I went to seek reinforcement because I am just an individual and cannot handle the situation alone..

“These commercial drivers are very stubborn. I have told them on radio the difference between intra-state and inter-state movements, yet they keep doing what they are doing.

“I will hold a meeting with all their leaders on Friday to ensure they understand the need to obey the lockdown order or face the consequence,” Nwaohammuo said.

He disclosed that he had been authorised to work with the Special Adviser on Security to Abia government, Capt. Awa Udonsi, and use “every reasonable force” to seal any park transporting people for inter-state trips.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)


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Lockdown: Police arrest 413 violators, impound 98 vehicles in Kano



The Police Command in Kano State has  arrested and prosecuted 413 violators and impounded 98 vehicles in one week, following enforcement of total lockdown operations to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Habu Ahmad, told newsmen on Thursday in Kano that the violators were held for disobeying interstate movement restriction order.

Ahmad noted that the arrests were made after mapping the state, strategic deployments of both human and material assets of the command were made to 34 strategic points/areas across 17 front lines.

“The front lines bordered Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Bauchi States and are mapped out to checkmate and enforce the interstate movement restriction order,” he said.

According to him, 289 violators were arrested from Kaduna/Kano boundary, 64 violators from Katsina/Kano, while 30 from Jigawa/Kano and 30 violators from Bauchi/Kano boundary.

He addeds all the defaulters had been prosecuted.

“Among the 289 violators from Kaduna/Kano border, 120 violators treked from Kaduna to Kano, 58 tricycles, 80 motorcycles and 98 vehicles were impounded from the four borders of Kano.

“Despite these developments, some commuters bypassed the check points and followed unconventional routes including feeder roads and earth tracks.

“Strategies were reviewed and the command’s various community policing committee were adequately utilised to support the operations,” Ahmad said.

The commissioner noted that the lockdown operations and commitment had not affected the command’s crime fighting efforts and discharge of its internal security mandate.

“We will continue to be committed and resolute in fighting all forms of crimes and criminality in the state in line with international best practice and rule of law,” he assured.

In addition, he said the command on May 15 arrested 197 suspected criminals and recovered lots of arms and ammunition.

The commissioner however commended the good people of Kano for their cooperation and obedience to the lockdown order.

Ahmad urged the residents to always observe personal hygiene, social distancing, wear face masks, ensure regular hand washing, stay home and stay safe.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Impounded British aircraft: Group asks FG to hold agent responsible for illegal operation.



The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has urged the Federal Government to hold the agent that facilitated approval for the impounded British aircraft responsible for its illegal operation in Nigeria.

ASRTI General Secretary, Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd), told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that such a step would curtail a repeat of similar unpleasant occurrence in the aviation sector.

Ojikutu was reacting to the decision of the Federal Government to impound a British aircraft for operating commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.

“While they are holding the pilot down, there is somebody in this country who facilitated the approval for the aircraft. They should hold that person responsible. No flight can enter this country without an approval.

“There is a form you must fill that shows if you are bringing human beings or cargo: you must state the ownership of things you are bringing; if cargo.

“If you are bringing human beings, are they Nigerians? We want to see their passport numbers. If they are foreigners, have they got visas? No aircraft comes to the country without an agent here,” he said.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Sunday said the Federal Government had impounded an aircraft owned by a British company for operating commercial flights into Nigeria without approval.

According to him, the company, Flair Aviation, was authorised to conduct humanitarian flights, but was caught operating commercial flights.

Sirika said that in addition to the confiscated aircraft, a maximum penalty would be imposed on the company for the flouting Federal Government’s ban on commercial flights as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“Flair Aviation, a UK company, was given approval for humanitarian operations, but regrettably, we caught them conducting commercial flights.

“This is callous! The craft is impounded, the crew being interrogated. There shall be maximum penalty. Wrong time to try our resolve,” Sirika said on Sunday.

NAN reports that all the airports in the country and airspace were closed in March by the President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of efforts to contain COVID-19.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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General news

Zimbabweans go hungry as coronavirus compounds climate woes



Rosemary Pamire struggled to feed her family well before Zimbabwe entered lockdown in March to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Now she can hardly put together a meal a day as the country faces a deepening food crisis.

Sitting on a bed in her two-room lodgings in Harare’s poor Mbare township, Pamire told Reuters she had exhausted the little food she had stocked up during the first 21 days of an extended seven-week lockdown.

“We just eat once a day now. I wish the government could give us food to feed my family,” Pamire said.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, 7.7 million Zimbabweans faced food shortages after a drought and cyclone in 2019 and patchy rains this year, linked to climate change and worsened by rampant inflation and a foreign exchange shortage.

Now it faces a triple threat of climate breakdown, monetary woes and a new economic crisis caused by the lockdown.

The government’s latest figures show that 8.5 million Zimbabweans are now food insecure, while international aid agencies say up to 45 million people face hunger in southern Africa due to climate-induced food shortages.

The government has promised a food grant of 2.4 billion Zimbabwe dollars (96 million dollars) targeting one million people for six months, without saying where it would get the money.

It is pleading with donors, who would normally be reluctant to help because of its debt arrears, and this month it received 7 million dollars from the World Bank.

Pamire said she had registered with social welfare officials but she, like many others, is yet to receive anything.

That has left the burden to fend for the family with her 19-year-old daughter Anna, who sells ice lollies and bottled water at Mbare vegetable market at the risk of arrest by police because it is illegal.

“At times in the evening when we don’t have maize-meal, mum will just tell us to have the ice lollies and water and we will just go to sleep,” said Anna.

On a good day Anna sells a pack of ice lollies for 110 Zimbabwe dollars (4.40 dollars). After buying new stock, only 1 dollar is left for the family of seven to buy food, including the staple maize-meal and sugar and cooking oil.

Pamire, who lives with her four grown children and two grandchildren, used to buy clothes and shoes from Zambia for resell at home and earned 100 dollars after a good trip.

But the border is closed, her passport expired, and she does not have money to renew it.

The market where Pamire’s two adult sons carted goods around for a fee has been shut for six weeks, just like all informal markets from where millions of Zimbabweans were earning a living.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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UK announces 2-billion-pound package to encourage cycling and walking amid COVID-19 pandemic




A man rides a bicycle in Manchester, Britain, on May 14, 2020. British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on May 9 announced a 2-billion-pound (2.5-billion-U.S.-dolar) package to encourage cycling and walking amid the COVID-19 pandemic as another 346 patients have died in the country. The move came as the government strives to double cycling and increase walking by 2025 with a national cycling plan being expected to be published in June. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

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FRSC impounds 40 overloaded vehicles in Lagos



The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Lagos Sector Command on Thursday said that it arrested 40 overloaded vehicles in the first week of COVID-19 Lockdown relaxation in the state.

The Lagos State Sector Commander of FRSC, Mr Hyginus Omeje disclosed this in a statement by Mrs Olabisi Sonusi, the Sector Public Education Officer in Lagos.

Omeje said that the arrests, especially of vehicles carrying goods, were made between May 4 and May 10.

According to him, despite the warnings by the corps and other agencies on the need to avoid overloading of vehicles, different categories of vehicles are still apprehended for overloading.

The FRSC boss commended motorists in the state who had been obeying the government’s order aimed at mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Another impounded overloaded vehicles by FRSC in Lagos


Omeje cautioned all drivers to desist from overloading, saying the act would not only spread the deadly virus, but is one of the causes of road traffic crashes.

He said that the corps would continue to arrest motorists that overload their vehicles, in the fight against coronavirus.

The sector commander appealed to Nigerians to stay safe and follow the rules and regulations to avoid contracting and spreading the deadly virus.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)


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Curfew: Police impound 322 vehicles, arrest 325 persons in Oyo



The Police Command in Oyo State has impounded 322 vehicles and arrested 325 persons for allegedly violating the 7 pm. to 6 am. curfew imposed by the state government.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Shina Olukolu, disclosed this during a press briefing at the command’s headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 241 motorcycles and 61 tricycles were also impounded.
Olukolu said that 10 police officers were injured and three police vehicles damaged, while enforcing the curfew.
He said that the police would continue to enforce the curfew as well as the ban on inter-state travels.
While admitting that the enforcement of the ban on inter-state travels by the police had not been wholly effective, the police commissioner, however, said that his men were doing their best.
He said that the Joint Special Task Force operation of the command and other sister security agencies in the state was still active.
Olukolu solicited for the support of members of the public on credible and timely information that would enable the police to be proactive and combat crimes in the state.
NAN reports that 36 suspects were also paraded during the briefing for various offences, including armed robbery, impersonation, kidnapping, murder and cultism.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Lockdown: Lagos State mobile courts to prosecute owners of impounded vehicles



The Lagos State Government has concluded arrangement to prosecute all owners of vehicles impounded during the second phase of the COVID-19 lockdown on May 11, 2020.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the second phase lockdown took effect from April 5 to May 3.

Adebayo Taofiq, Head, Public Affairs Unit, Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force), in a statement on Friday, said the prosecution would hold at the Lagos State Mobile Court, Bolade, Oshodi.

“The government has confirmed that the Lagos State Mobile Courts will commence sitting on impounded vehicles by security agencies from Monday.

“The Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit (Taskforce), therefore, advises vehicle owners to present themselves at the Lagos State Mobile Courts, Bolade, Oshodi.

“Those whose vehicles fall into the categories of those impounded from April 15 to May 3 should present themselves and desist from loitering around the agency’s car parks across the state,” Taofiq said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)


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