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School feeding: Ekiti govt. distributes cooking utensils to vendors



The Ekiti Government on Thursday in Ado-Ekiti distributed cooking utensils worth millions of naira to food vendors engaged

n the Home Grown School Feeding programme.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, said during the exercise that the gesture was to assist the vendors in preparation ahead of schools’ resumption on Monday.

Ajayi stated that the initiative was one of the Social Investment Programmes being executed in partnership with the Federal Government.

The commissioner added that the programme, which was designed for primary 1 to 3 classes, would improve the protein intake of the pupils, enhance easy assimilation and increase school enrolment.

He noted that since the inception of the programme, children had started encouraging their peers to join them in public schools.

Ajayi, who sought the support of the vendors, warned them against compromising the objective of the programme.

Prof. Francisca Aladejana, the Chairman of State Universal Basic Education Board, said Fayemi’s love for the poor had influenced his participation in the programme.

She told the food vendors to prepare food in a hygienic manner taking into consideration the fragile nature of the children and their low immunity to diseases.

Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Home Grown School Feeding, Mr Adedamola Obanise, had commended Fayemi for facilitating the programme in Ekiti.

Obanise, who stated that no fewer than 1,300 vendors were involved in the programme, added that it was providing job opportunities for local women and farmers as well as stimulating the local economy.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that items distributed included iron pots, warmers, bowls, aprons, caps as well as stainless spoons and bowls.

(Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Mufutau Ojo)


Ministry says will decontaminate schools in 6 geopolitical zones



The Ministry of Environment says it is making effort to decontaminate schools across the country before the resumption of students.

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment made this known while briefing the newsmen on activities to kick start the 2020 World Environment Day (WED) on Thursday in Abuja.

World Environment Day is marked every year all over the World on June 5.

Abubakar said that the ministry’s health officers in all the six geopolitical zones would handle the exercise before schools resumed.

“We have started decontamination in all the six geopolitical zones and we are now waiting for additional response from the government to accelerate decontamination of schools,” he said.

“We have just concluded arrangement with the management of airport and owners of airlines to disinfect all the airports because aviation is key and must be handled for safety purpose,” he said.

He, however, said that COVID-19 had been a bless in disguise to all nations in the area of reduction emission from vehicles, airlines among others.

He said that because of lockdown, which affected many countries in the world due to COVID-19, emission in the atmosphere had drastically reduced, which had been very hard to curtail for years.

The Paris agreement signed by most countries in the world is to cut down emission, but COVID-19 has helped to achieve that.”

He said that this year WED would be celebrated amidst the ravaging effects of the novel pandemic.

“While we continue to battle with the crisis as environmentalists, we must continue to contribute our quota in the collective efforts being made to contain the spread of the pandemic.

“For this reason, the UN deems it fit to address biodiversity with the theme: ‘‘Time for Nature’’, with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.”

He said that over one million plant and animal species risk extinction largely due to human activities, which calls for action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of nature.

“The theme is indeed very appropriate, considering the fact that researchers and scientist have established COVID-19 to be zoonotic.

“In order to fully address and prevent future pandemics therefore, we must restore, conserve and protect biodiversity as key antidotes to COVID-19 recovery.”

According to UNEP, 2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature.

He said that it was also an opportunity to fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to engage communities and governments around the world to take action on challenges facing the planet.

“In this regard, the ministry is using an alternative online platform for delivering the advocacy for this year’s WED.

“The online event will be hosted on ‘zoom’ with a series of talks as regards our commitment to Biodiversity Conservation.

“Biodiversity is the foundation for life and there are myriads of benefits amongst which are, livelihoods and sustainable development, improvement and delivery of food security, growth, increase in job opportunity,
strengthening of global healthcare support systems.

“The ecosystem is the baseline that holds all of these together. Human interaction with the ecosystem must therefore remain balanced, otherwise we risk disrupting nature with their consequence as we are seeing with the COVID 19 pandemic.

“Our climate, physical environment and vegetation zones in Nigeria endow our country with a very diversed ecosystem, species of fauna and flora.

The forests in Nigeria are currently estimated to extend to around 9.6 million hectares, this we are expanding with added efforts of the Great Green Wall, REDD+ and the Green Bonds supported afforestation projects amongst several others.

“From all this, we must ensure that post-COVID recovery is tied to our Climate Actions and Sustainable Development Goals.

“We as a global community have to stay on track with our climate targets for us to recover greener and better for people and planet.’’

The minister said that biodiversity remained the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges being faced in the country.

The Federal Government is fully committed to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on Biological Diversity and Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS member states on Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.”

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Roundup: Italy confirms downward trend in new infections, facemasks ready for high school exams




Italy’s accumulated coronavirus cases reached 234,013 on Thursday, up by 177 compared to the previous day, confirming the downward trend in new infections, the country’s Civil Protection Department said.

The number of new infections is lower than the 321 new cases recorded Wednesday.

According to the latest daily data, active infections stood at 38,429, a decrease of 868 from a day earlier.

Of those active infections, 338 are in intensive care, down by 15 compared to Wednesday, and 5,503 are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 239, the Civil Protection Department said.

The remaining 32,588, or about 85 percent, are isolated at home because they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.

The country’s death toll grew by 88 to 33,689 over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection said in its bulletin.

The same period saw 957 new recoveries, which brought to 161,895 the total number of people recovered since the pandemic broke out in the northern regions in late February.

As the pandemic slowed down visibly in recent weeks, Italy further eased the lockdown.

From Wednesday, people in Italy were allowed to move freely within the country. Travel restrictions were also eased the same day, so travelers from Schengen countries, Non-Schengen EU member states, the United Kingdom, Andorra and Monaco can visit the country without subjecting to quarantine.


Emergency officials said that the government is straining to ensure the best safety for pupils and teachers ahead of the high school final exams, due to take place starting from mid-June.

“We are about to send 5.2 million facemasks to the schools, since it is essential that our kids can take their final exams safely,” Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri told a press conference.

As all schools and universities in the country have remained physically closed for the whole COVID-19 emergency — with teaching based on distance-learning methods only — the Education Ministry stated that upper secondary schools students would take their final exams in indoor classrooms.

This will involve some 480,000 students.

“The distribution (of the masks) to the 3,595 institutes across the country, where final exams will take place starting from June 17, has started today,” Arcuri specified.

Meanwhile, 1.15 million people have so far downloaded the COVID-19 contact-tracing app Immuni on their mobile phones, according to Arcuri.

The mobile app to trace coronavirus infections was officially launched by national health authorities on Monday.

The app is based on Bluetooth — with no geo-localization — to record the mobile phone users’ movements, and is being used voluntarily and anonymously.


With a confidence vote on Thursday morning, the Italian senate passed the cabinet’s decree that ensures liquidity to companies in distress as a result of the coronavirus emergency.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte‘s cabinet had issued the decree in April, and the provision needed the approval by both houses of the Italian parliament within 60 days to become law.

The cabinet asked for a confidence vote on the decree in both lower house and senate in order to cut short the parliamentary debate. The lower house had approved it in late May.


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Namibia resumes school after COVID-19 shutdown




As Namibia resumes face-to-face classes for senior secondary grades 11 and 12 this week after COVID-19 shutdown, schools are practicing safety hygiene measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The education ministry closed all schools in March this year after Namibian president declared a state of emergency and subsequent restrictions.

At Rocky Crest High School in Namibian capital Windhoek, teachers have set up a screening station. Each learner is screened and sanitized before entering the school premises.

Justine Klein, principal of Rocky Crest High School, said that this is done in compliance with the state health regulations.

“Details of the learners are recorded, including the overall wellbeing done based on a health questionnaire. We aim to ensure schools are a safe learning environment,” said Klein Thursday.

Schools are also checking the temperature of each learner and observing other measures.

The school principal of Augustineum Secondary School in Windhoek, Rudolph Matengu, said that the school procured masks for all learners.

“All staff members at schools and learners wear masks to ensure compliance to health measures in place,” he said.

To promote sanitation and handwashing, some schools have set up tippy-taps, made out of three supporting metallic poles on which a reusable plastic bottle with water and soap hangs. Also, a foot lever for releasing water.

The schools have also minimized contact, observing social distancing by dividing learners into smaller groups, with the number of learners in a class drastically reduced.

Schools also inducted learners on the expected conduct, raising awareness about COVID-19, and provided social workers as well as life skills teachers to provide psychosocial support.

Meanwhile, according to Matengu, learners are also happy to see each other after two months of school closure, although they cannot hug and be close to each other.

Absalom Absalom, spokesperson of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, said Thursday that more than 49,000 learners in grade 11 and 12 returned to school on June 3.

In the meantime, according to Absalom, schools that have not yet met hygiene and safety measures such as water provision, sanitation, screening provision and disinfection remain closed.

Namibia has recorded 25 cases of COVID-19, of which 16 cases have recovered.


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Jigawa govt. to enroll 1,322 repatriated Almajiris into schools



The Jigawa Government said it would enroll into schools 1,322 Almajiris repatriated from various states.

Gov. Muhammad Badaru announced this while updating newsmen on COVID-19 pandemic in the state on Wednesday in Dutse.

“As I mentioned in my previous speech, 1,345 Almajiris were repatriated from various states to Jigawa state. We took good care of them and provided for their social welfare and health needs.

All these Almajiris have been handed back to their parents apart from 23 that have active COVID-19 disease and currently receiving treatment in one of the isolation facilities.

“We have directed the enrollment of those discharged into primary schools to commence western as well as continue  Qur’anic education,” Badaru said.

The governor said that the state was reaching a turning point in the fight against the COVID-19 as numbers of new infections were decreasing.

He said that new cases were mainly derived from contact tracing, rather than freshly imported infections.

He said that the development was clear indication that the government could overcome the pandemic by accelerating and refining its current response strategies.

“Nonetheless, this decreasing trend will be sustained only if all of us continue to support government’s efforts and observe laid down measures put in place to checkmate the spread of the disease.

“As we loosen up and relax lockdowns, we must observe social distancing, personal hygiene and use of face masks while in the midst of the public.

“Anything short of these will soar the pandemic and lead to another wave of infection that can be disastrous and devastating,” Badaru warned.

The governor further stated that work was ongoing to scale up isolation bed capacity to 450.

According to him, if the decreasing trend continues, the state may not hit the projected target of 800 cases as predicted in the best case scenario projection of modeling experts.

“I promised scaling up isolation bed capacity to 450. Work is currently ongoing to achieve this target.

“However, if the trend continues, we may not hit the projected target of 800 cases as predicted in the best case scenario projection of modeling experts.

“Nonetheless, we will fulfill our promise as earlier pledged,” Badaru assured.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Lagos State Govt. feeds 11,965 primary school pupils in 12 months



The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that it fed 11,965 pupils in primary schools across the state in the last 12 months.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, disclosed this during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing in commemoration of the first year of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration in office.

Adebowale said the the pupils, drawn from Primary Class 4 to Primary Class 6 were fed under the ‘Snacks for Thought’ pilot scheme of the state government.

She said that the scheme was meant for pupils at the crèche and Primary Class 4 to Primary Class 6.

The Special Adviser added that it was meant to complement the Home Grown School Feeding Programme of the Federal Government which covered only pupils in Primary Class 1 to Primary Class 3.

According to Adebowale, the ”Snacks for Thought” initiative was to ensure that all pupils in Lagos State partook in the school feeding programme.

”It is instructive to state that the pilot scheme was held in Lagos Island Local Government Area, where 33 public primary schools participated in the school feeding exercise,” she said.

Adebowale said that the importance of the initiative could not be over-emphasied as the nutritious snacks and juice were to energize pupils for memory retention of lessons learnt.

The Special Adviser also said that the snacks and juice were to improve school attendance and academic performance and serve as an incentive for higher enrolment and retention of pupils in public schools.

Adebowale said that in line with the resolve of Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration to ensure safety of students of tertiary institutions, the Office of Civic Engagement organized a sensitization programme on the menace of social vices in tertiary institutions.

According to her, this was with a view to creating awareness on the social and economic costs of engaging in cultism, drug abuse, sexual harassment and examination malpractices.

Adebowale said that such vices were impediments on students’ academic performance, constituted loss of valuable time as a result of school closure, and untimely deaths and disruption of social and economic activities in host communities.

She said that her office would continue to work hard to ensure peaceful co-existence among people, through meaningful engagement and amicable resolution of issues that could lead to breakdown of law and order in the state.

Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Students return to schools in France




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A student works at Eucalyptus technical high school in Nice, southern France, on June 2, 2020. Students are returning to schools in France during the second phase of de-confinement in the country. (Photo by Serge Haouzi/Xinhua)

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Schools in Singapore reopen




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A primary school student wearing a face mask arrives at school in Singapore on June 2, 2020. Schools in Singapore reopened on Tuesday as the state embarked on a phased reopening from a COVID-19 “circuit breaker” period to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Then Chih Wey/Xinhua)

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Malawi plans to reopen schools in July




As one way of easing COVID-19 restrictions, the government of Malawi through the Ministry of Education announced that a presidential task force on COVID-19 has recommended to the president a possible reopening of all school institutions by July 13.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Education, the development came after consulting several stakeholders in the country.

“It is worth pointing out the re-opening of schools, colleges and universities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to loss of lives globally including four in Malawi, is an attempt to ensure a proper balance between the right to education and the right to life. It is for this reason that the taskforce resolved to consult various stakeholders to come up with a common position that ensures safe return to learning,” the press release read.

Meanwhile, the task force also announced that it is working in a systematic and fact-based way to ensure that all of its decision making is informed by the best of public health data and global best practices to ensure a safe re-opening of schools.

There is a growing debate in the country on whether Malawi should reopen its schools as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the country.


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Nursery schools reopen in Belgium




Belgium’s nursery classes started to gradually reopen on Tuesday after two and a half months of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The majority of the nursery classes will reopen during this week, mainly on Wednesday and Thursday. According to the decision of the Consultation Committee on May 27, the nursery classes could resume starting from June 2, and primary schools could reopen from June 8.

The National Security Council (NSC) will meet on Wednesday to confirm the third phase of the deconfinement set for June 8, with the reopening of cafes and restaurants and permission to take holidays in Belgium, or to organize religious ceremonies.

The reopening of the Belgian borders will also be on the agenda of NSC. The date of June 15 is in line with the positions of neighboring Germany and France.

Belgium has recorded 19 new deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 9,505 since the start of the pandemic, according to figures published Tuesday by the public health institute Sciensano.

In the same 24 hours, 98 new cases of infection with the COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, have been reported. The total number of confirmed cases thus far is 58,615.

A total of 166 patients are in intensive care, an increase of two patients in the last 24 hours.


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