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Social distancing: Monarch expresses satisfaction with level of compliance by subjects



Oba Olufemi Ogunleye of Akinale in Ogun, has expressed satisfaction with the rate of his subjects’ compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on social distancing, to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The Towulade of Akinale told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Wednesday that the people had adhered to all preventive measures advocated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“I’m quite impressed that people are complying with the preventive measures of constant hand washing, sanitising and general improvement on personal hygiene.

” I held a townhall meeting with my people and we have sensitised them on what to do; they are adhering to all.

” We made them realise that they must wash their hands thoroughly before engaging in any form of local production.

” We have been able to educate them well enough to guard against being apprehensive, but to always stay cautious,” he said.

The monarch also disclosed that most of the community members had embraced some other ancient herbs which, according to him, had been used during such forms of pandemic in the past.

” Most of the people have started using this herb called ‘tagiri’ in Yoruba language; this is an ancient herb to ward off evil in the land.

” I pray for the entire nation, may God protect us all at this critical period,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Ejike Obeta



Develop creative industry for stronger economy, Chinese envoy advises FG 



A Chinese envoy to Nigeria, Mr Li Xuda, told the Federal Government on Saturday to focus more on developing the creative industry to fortify Nigeria’s economy.

Xuda, who is the Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, gave the advice at a zoom meeting, organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture in Lagos.

The theme of the meeting was: “COVID-19: Cultural Dynamism, Which Way Forward”.

The envoy, who is also the Director of the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, noted that Nigeria had huge potential in its creative industry.

According to him, the creative industry can be developed fully by adequately funding cultural outfits to enable them groom the industry.

He said that considering the impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria must begin to develop other sectors of its economy and diversify from oil.

The diplomat advised Nigeria to focus on fashion, film production as well as arts and culture, describing the sectors as money-spinners in the creative space.

“Nigeria has very rich creative industry.  The nation is known to have the biggest economy in Africa but this can be bigger if it can develop the creative industry.

“The industry has great potential of creating employment opportunities for youths,” he said.

The counsellor said that the creative industry was capable of saving Nigeria from going into recession, advising government to formulate policies for the ease of developing its creative industry.

An Art Consultant, Jahman Anikulapo, called for the formulation of policies that would make Nigeria’s art and culture industry to compete favourably with those in other climes.

The former Editor (On Sunday) of The Guardian Newspapers, said that in view of COVID-19 pandemic, endowment funds ought to be established for practitioners in the creative industry.

Also, the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Mr Oliver Enwonwu, told government to put policies in place to support intellectual property right, noting that most artists now exhibited their works online.

He said there was need to guide against intellectual theft in arts, where people duplicated art works and that there was also need to create reliable payment platforms and structures to transact businesses online.

On his part, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr David Velasquez, pleaded with world leaders to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that Venezuela had produced a series of videos and books to help enlighten citizens on preventive measures to adopt, noting that the fight against COVID-19 was a fight for all.

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said that all the suggestions and observations were noted and that steps would be taken to solve most of the problems.

He reiterated that a compendium that would capture stakeholder’s suggestions and contributions toward the growth of the creative industry after the coronavirus crisis would be produced.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)






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Arik Air prepares for post-COVID-19 operations



Arik Air, one of Nigeria’s indigenous airlines said on Saturday in Abuja that it was preparing to resume operations after the COVID-19 crisis, assuring that the airline would offer better services.

The Manager, Public Relations and Communications of the company, Mr Adebanji Ola, announced in a goodwill message to customers of the airline that the company was collaborating with other aviation stakeholders to offer better service delivery.

“No doubt, the post COVID-19 lock down will entail lots of sacrifices, changes and new thinking.

“We assure that your favourite airline, Arik Air will be back and better.

“As we prepare for the eventual opening of airports for flight operations, we are working closely with agencies such as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

”We are also working with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on how to ensure smooth and safe passenger facilitation after COVID-19.

“Before flight resumption, we will be embarking on enhanced health measures, including disinfecting and decontamination of all our aircraft.

“Other protocols to be put in place for the safety of passengers and staff members will be advised as time goes on.’’

Ola said that COVID-19 had brought unprecedented deaths, fear and disruption to lives and businesses not witnessed in recent memory around the globe.

“As a company, schedule flight operations have remained suspended for the second month running.

“The impact has been huge on staff members, partner businesses and customers.

“Consequently, we focused on the health and safety of employees, families, customers and community,” the spokesman said.

He, however, said that in spite of the suspension of operations, the airline was busy attending to other social responsibility services for its communities.

“During this time, we are supporting local communities to cushion the effect of the lock down.

“This is our little contribution to government’s efforts at ameliorating the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable in our midst.

“We are also conducting necessary overhaul and preservation on our equipment,’’ he added.

Ola said further that notwithstanding the restriction on flights, the organisation’s call centre would continue to be available to take calls and enquiries from clients and customers.

He advised Nigerians not to endanger their lives during the pandemic by staying safe all the time.

“Please stay safe and ensure strict compliance with all health advisory by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control,’’ he advised.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Arik Air, founded by Chief Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide in 2002 began flight operations in 2006 and had been servicing domestic and international routes.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Silas Nwoha (NAN)



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Ikogosi Warm Spring, other tourists’ sites in Ekiti get facelift – Official



Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture on Saturday said that most tourists’ sites in the state including Ikogosi Warm Spring had been refurbished to attract tourists after the postCOVID-19 pandemic.

Ojo-Lanre disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos while reeling out the tourism postCOVID-19 expectations in Ekiti.

NAN reports that Ikogosi Warm Spring is a tourist attraction located at Ikogosi, Ekiti, flowing abreast the warm spring and cold spring which meets at a confluence, each maintaining its thermal properties.

According to research, the warm spring has a temperature of about 70 degree Celsius at the source and 37 degree Celsius at the confluence.

Ojo-Lanre said the rehabilitation were done while COVID-19 was ravaging the country in preparation to revamp tourists’ inflow into the state.

“Ikogosi Warm Spring has been refurbished to encourage swimming activities and enable people have a relationship with nature.

“Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has seen tourism, arts and culture as a way of empowering and resuscitating the capital base of the common people.

“He has given the state Ministry of Tourism and the Council for Arts and Culture the task to resuscitate and market tourists sites within the state.

“We are restoring the Fajuyi Park to its original friends, family and children park where people can read, have fun and relax with lots of entertainment.

“The Fajuyi Park also serves as a memorial centre for the history, value and culture of Ekiti,” he said.

The director-general also disclosed that the state was also constructing a civic centre meant to attract tourists into the state which was 95 per cent completed.

He said that the civic centre had an amphitheatre of 1,500 sitting capacity, two cinemas for English and Yoruba operations, a big museum, art gallery, conference centres and shopping malls.

“This is designed to be the economic hub of the state when COVID-19 subsides,” he said.

Ojo-Lanre said that the iconic Arinta Waterfalls was also another tourists’ site awaiting visitor’s patronage postCOVID-19, an ideal place for relaxation, meditation, family gathering with lots of picnic spots.

“No matter how hot the weather might be, the magical water of Arinta makes sure that the weather remains pleasant for tourists in its proximity.

“There are also varieties of birds that are permanent contributors to the beauty of the place.

“Ekiti state is really set to accommodate and thrill tourists in postCOVID-19, as lots of fun await local and international tourists,” he said.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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COVID-19: D-G charges tourism operators to rollout survival strategie



Director-General of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture Wale Ojo-Lanre has told stakeholders in the tourism sector to fashion out survival strategies, following the devastating blow of the novel coronavirus on tourism.

Ojo-Lanre gave the charge while speaking in an interview with a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Saturday.

He lamented that COVID-19 had dealt a huge blow to tourism globally, saying that a blueprint for survival was needed to reactivate the industry.

Ojo-Lanre predicated that there would be an upsurge in traveling after COVID-19, saying that tourism operators needed to put measures in place to make the industry boom again.

According to him, there should be significant tariff reduction by airlines, hotels, restaurants and other players to rebuild the damage done to the industry by the deadly disease.

“I empathize with tourism practitioners, hoteliers, restaurant owners, travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and other companies directly hit by COVID-19.

“We have never had it this tough in the history of Nigeria. It is our worst moment but I encourage everyone not to lose hope because postCOVID-19 holds lots of hope for the industry.

“After this era, people will indicate huge interest in traveling because they have longed for it. A reduction in various forms of tariff will encourage more people to travel.

“So we need to plan a low budget traveling regime because the higher the number of people who want to travel, the more profit each operator makes.”

The director-general advised tour operators to showcase exotic local and international sites, where they could easily generate money from, to serve as benchmarks to jump- start their businesses in the postCOVID-19 era.

“I advise every tourism practitioner to prepare and plan ahead of the upsurge in traveling after COVID-19 because it will be another beautiful experience for the industry,” he said.

Edited By: Gregory Mmaduakolam/Silas Nwoha (NAN)




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Use Nigeria’s cultural diversity to build formidable nation: CBAAC chief



The Director-General of the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) on Friday harped on the need for Nigerians to use their cultural diversities to build a formidable nation.

Mrs Osaro Osayande told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that Nigerians needed to live in love, peace and harmony to achieve national aspirations.

Osayande spoke to NAN in an interview to commemorate World Culture Day.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, known popularly as World Culture Day is a UN approved international day for the promotion of diversity.

The day is set aside to help communities to understand the value of cultural diversity and learn how to live together in harmony.

Osayande said that Nigeria’s multi-cultural potential was a huge asset that provided opportunities that Nigerians should take advantage of to achieve national development.

She said that most of the conflicts experienced in the country were due to cultural differences, advising citizens to take out time to understand one another’s culture.

“We all must learn to live peacefully, respect people’s culture and not make jest of anyone’s culture.

“We are meant to celebrate our cultural diversity as a people because there are a whole lot we can achieve with that when we take out time to understand one another.

“We should learn to interact with one another to take right decisions and not take decisions based on assumptions.

“Living peacefully in love and harmony will enable us achieve our goals as a nation.”

She also advised Nigerians to learn at least one local language that is not their mother tongue to hasten cultural integration.

The director-general enjoined parents to educate their children and wards on cultural issues to integrate them into their cultural milieu.

“Everyone must attain a level of majority to imbibe the mode of dressing of other ethnic groups and also learn to cook and eat other people’s dishes.

“No culture should be seen as inferior or superior to another,” said Osayande.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Silas Nwoha (NAN)








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Museum Day: Curator tasks stakeholders on heritage preservation



2020) As the world marks the International Museum Day, the Acting Curator, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, Mrs Comfort Akinmeji, has urged all stakeholders to be actively involved in the preservation of cultural heritage.

Akinmeji made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Ibadan.

She urged individuals and government at all levels to be committed to the maintenance and development of cultural heritage, saying this would yield the expected high national income.

Akinmeji said the museum plays an important role in the development of culture, tourism sectors being the custodian of Nigerian cultural artifacts.

According to her, the museum safeguards monuments and sites as well as artifacts for future generations as handed down in full richness of their authenticity.

“These exhibits must be maintained, protected for people today and for posterity because people without historical references are people without pride of identity.

“Their maintenance makes them to be tourist attractions and helps to generate income for the government and the communities where they belong.

“The International Museum Day is set aside by the International Council for Museums as a vehicle of cultural exchange, enrichment and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among the people of the world.

“Objects on exhibition in museums have messages, information for audience hence, the key factor that links the past with the present through functions of the exhibits,” she said.

Akinmeji said the significance of this year’s theme, ‘Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion’, was in the fact that it highlighted the place of museum in every culture. 

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Rotary club donates palliatives to Akinale, Ogun state, community



The Rotary Club, Abeokuta, District 9110, has distributed food packages to Akinale community in Ewekoro Local Government, Ogun State, to cushion the effect of the lockdown order.

The royal father of the community, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye said this in a  statement made available to newsmen on Saturday.

Ogunleye said the packages contained foodstuffs and beverages which were aimed at relieving the people of hardship during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the people are made to observe physical distancing while the packages are being distributed.

He, however, expressed gratitude to the  club for its continued humanitarian services which had quickened the transformation of the rural community into an urban society.

“We appreciate the kind gesture extended to us at this critical period, likewise every other form of generosity extended toward the community in the past.

“We remain proud of this club and will continue to be,” he said.

The monarch said Akinale had benefited from several humanitarian services rendered by the club in the past 11 years, especially in the area of socio-economic development programmes.

He said that the club had  donated books, uniforms and school sandals to primary school in the community.

The monarch also said that vocational training and soft loan had been provided to empower the youth and  women in the community.

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Akinale community members receiving some food palliatives

The Pesident of the Club, Mr Abiodun Amusan said it was a challenge to relieve the community of any hardship during the pandemic since it had been a great partner of progress to Akinale community.

Amusan advised the people of the community to adhere strictly to the hygiene protocol to prevent the spread of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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GM calls on Plateau Govt to construct perimeter fence around Jos Wildlife park



The Acting General Manager  of the Jos Wildlife park, Mrs Salome Bidda, has called on the Plateau Government to put up a perimeter security fence around the park to prevent invaders from excavating its natural potential.

Bidda made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Jos.

”The park is too open and has attracted various illegal  activities such as felling of trees and soil excavation.

”Over 300 structures have been erected illegally on the wildlife park land due to the porousness of the place.

”Half of the land of the wildlife park has been converted into farm land,” she said.

Bidda said that the park management has held series of meetings with community leaders on the need to sensitise their wards on preserving the park.

”The meeting has yet to yield results. There is urgent need for the park to be fenced.

”If we are able to fence the place and restock the animals, we would be able to explore our goldmine” she said.

Bidda told NAN that the  dearth of manpower was also a challenge  as most of their staff have retired,   resigned or died.

According to her, the park is also faced with the challenge of feeding its animals too.

“The animal exchange programme has helped the park to restock animals. But currently, that is also hendered due to the outbreak of the COVID-19.

“We  visited Sumu  Game Reserve in Yankari in Bauchi.

“We  have already arranged for an exchange, we would be given  a pair of giraffes , two zebras and two female  baby antelopes  and we would give them one male baby antelope,” she said.

She said:”as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions are eased, the animals would be picked up.

The GM lamented that tourism businesses have greatly been affected globally and Plateau isn’t excluded, especially in the wildlife sector,.

“In the past , during festive periods like the Easter celebration, the park usually experiences a beehive of activities.

`However, the outbreak of the pandemic has greatly affected revenue generation”, she said.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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COVID-19: Focus more on domestic tourism, Tour Guide urges practitioners



Mr Anago Osho, a Tour Guide, on Thursday advised Nigerian tourism practitioners to focus more on the promotion of domestic tourism to chart a new course for the industry in postCOVID-19 period.

Osho gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

He said that it was time for the practitioners to think outside the box on how the tourism industry could be revitalised.

He said though this had been ongoing before now but there was need for the effort to be improved on, saying that by the time COVID-19 subsided, tourists would still be afraid of international travels.

Osho said that before now, the focus had been more on outbound tourism.

“To chart a new course for the tourism industry, considering the negative impact caused by COVID-19 pandemic, tourism practitioners must look inwards and begin an aggressive marketing of nation’s tourism sites.

“This should be done as soon as COVID-19 gradually ease in Nigeria. We have beautiful tourist sites capable of generating huge revenue for individual practitioners and government.

“Tourism practitioners should re-orientate citizens by showcasing the beautiful heritage and tourism sites around the country to encourage them visit those sites.

“We must work more on creative domestic tourism promotion because that is where patronage lies for the sector now,” he said.

Osho advised owners of tourist sites like museums, parks, zoos, art galleries, cinemas, beaches, monumental sites and resort, among others, to encourage tourists to visit without charging normal fees for a period of three months.

He said rather than collecting any fee, they could request for voluntary donations from tourists for the upkeep of the business and staff.

He also suggested that sensitisation and creative events could be organised at tourists’ sites or venues close to them to draw people’s attention to the reopening of tourism activities.

“To encourage patronage of tourism outfits, tourism practitioners should consider people’s financial stand which may minimise visitors’ patronage,’’ Osho said.

Edited By: Bola Akigbehin/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Animal lover donates pregnant python to Jos wildlife park



An animal lover, Mr Zendi Mikuk, on Wednesday  donated a pregnant African rock python to the Jos Wild life park.

Presenting the snake in Jos, Mikuk,  said  the African Rock Python is Africa’s largest snake.

NAN reports that a  female python lays 30 to  50 large eggs.

The African Rock Python feeds on small antelope, monkeys, guineafowl and domestic animals with fish, monitor lizards and crocodiles also eaten.

”I am an animal lover. I am supporting the Plateau tourism corporation to restock the park with animals.

“I will also collaborate with the management of the wildlife park for the upkeep of the python and its off springs,’’ he said.

Mikuk appealed to members of the public not to kill  any wild animal.

“I am appealing to the tourism corporation to enlighten the masses on the importance of conserving the wildlife instead of using it for meat and hide,’’ he added.

The acting General Manager of the Jos Wild life Park, Mrs Salome Bidda, who received the python, commended Mikuk for his donation.

“I call on members of the public to emulate this gesture which would help in preserving the park. It is a goldmine which makes the habitation complete.

“I appeal to members of the public to help support the preservation of the wildlife by making donations in cash or kind as their gestures would go a long way,’’ Bidda said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that few minutes after the snake was donated, it laid eggs.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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COVID-19: NCAC donates personal protective equipment to Nigeria Police 



The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  to  the members of the Nigeria Police Force to enable them stay safe during the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

NCAC’s Director-General, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, said the donation was a continuation of the council’s support for the fight against COVID-19  in a statement he made available to journalists on Tuesday in Lagos.

He said that it was also  to enhance the security of officers of the force who were often in the frontline of the fight.

The items donated by NCAC include:  locally-made customised face shields, regular face masks made of local fabric, hand sanitisers, liquid soap as well as information and communication materials.

Runsewe commended the gallantry of the police force and their commitment to the enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines.

He also commended the Inspector General of Police for directing  the members of the force to respect human rights in the discharge of their duties,most especially, during this fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for displaying exemplary leadership and commitment to the eradication of the pandemic.

The Inspector General of Police, represented by the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations,  Mr. Mojid Ali,  commended Runsewe and his management team for appreciating the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force in the fight against COVID-19.

The DIG noted that the donation by the  NCAC was yet another demonstration of his outstanding commitment to duty and to the development of the Nigerian nation.

He appealed to other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the good gesture of the NCAC boss by assisting the police with similar donations.

It would be recalled that on April 23, Runsewe formally launched the COVID-19 personal protection equipment that was mass produced for distribution to people and institutions in the frontline in the fight against Coronavirus.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada (NAN)

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Tourism: Commission wants Ajayi Crowther monument enlisted in national museum



The National Commission for Museum and Monument (NCMM) on Monday advocated the enlistment of Bishop Ajayi Crowther monument as a national monument for boosting Nigeria’s tourism.

The former Curator, National Museum of Unity, Dr Amos Olorunnipa, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Olorunnipa said what attracted the commission to monuments relating to Samuel Ajayi Crowther were the ruins of his ancestral home and the tree, where he was tied up when he was captured as a slave in Osoogun, Oyo State.

He said that the Oyo State Government presented the site for nomination as a national monument in 2004 when the NCMM was compiling monuments across the nation to commemorate the centenary celebration of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The heritage consultant added that the site was chosen as one of the 100 monuments to be declared as centenary monuments in 2014.

The compilation and submission of the monuments were done, awaiting the legislative process.

“Nevertheless at the state level, efforts are being made to bring stakeholders together on how a management plan can be put in place to fast track the development of the site for tourism purposes.

“The statue is a recent development; it was erected by one of the sons of Osoogun to commemorate Samuel Ajayi Crowther, which is seen as a good development.

“Effort is being made to bring together the stakeholders which include, Osoogun, the Anglican Communion, local, state and federal governments.

“The interest here is not only the ruins, tree and statue associated with Ajayi Crowther, but his personality is also a heritage to preserve.

“The aim is to use the site to promote his legacy and develop the site as a resource centre with museums, library and recreation among others.

“Such promotion will boost tourism and in turn, the village and state economy,’’ he said.

He said that the monument site faced numerous challenges that included not being legally protected, gazetted and having proclamation yet as a state or national monument.

According to him, there is no visible development activities on the site.

Olorunnipa, therefore, urged key stakeholders to come together to fashion out a road map for the development of the site.

“Also, the National Museum of Unity, Ibadan is making effort to get one of the primary stakeholders, Anglican Communion to be actively involved.

“A visit to the Diocese is being planned,’’ he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Ogun monarch lauds Winners’ Chapel, others over lockdown palliatives



A traditional ruler in Ogun, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, has commended the Living Faith Church, popularly known as Winners’ Chapel, for donating food items to his subjects.

Oba Ogunleye, the Towulade of Akinale, gave the commendation in a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos on Saturday.

He said that the food items were equitably distributed to the baales, village heads and community leaders through the palace.

The monarch said that the community appreciated the palliatives, saying that it would go a long way in relieving them of hardship at this critical period.

He noted that several humanitarian organisations and individuals had also distributed various items to the people in his community through the palace.

Ogunleye said that most of the donors, who had come through the, were sons and daughters of the town.
“We appreciate the gesture extended to us by Winners’ chapel, the Chariot of Light Super Bikers’ Association of Nigeria, Lafarge Cement in Ewekoro, the Owu kingdom and other philanthropists.

“They have indeed shown concern for the plight of the vulnerable at this trying period,” he said.
Ogunleye, however, urged the state government to carry traditional rulers along in any further move to cashion the effect of the pandemic on the people of the state.

Presenting the items to the monarch, Chief Jackie Kassim said that the founder of church, Bishop David Oyedepo, was very empathetic about the category of the people to benefit from the palliatives.

He explained that the church decided to go through the traditional rulers because of their closeness to the people at the grassroots.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Lockdown: FTAN urges FG to extend palliatives to tourism sector



The Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), has called on the Federal Government to make provision for palliative measures for tourism industry, to reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Rabo Saleh, National president of FTAN, made the call in a position paper obtained by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to him, Federal Government recently announced N500 billion COVID-19 palliative measures and intervention fund for different sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The FTAN president appealed to the government to include domestic Tourism and Hospitality business operators in the N500 billion COVID-19 intervention fund.

“The inclusion of Nigeria’s Tourism and Hospitality industry is expedient and justified, considering the enormous contributions of the industry to overall economic growth and employment of labour in Nigeria.

“Most importantly, aside from government fiscal and monetary intervention measures, Nigeria’s tourism industry, urgently requires transformational, development policies and programmes to jump-start and sustain growth of the industry.

“Such tourism industry-specific and incentivizing government policies and programme have hitherto been lacking, in spite of the measurable contributions of tourism and hospitality businesses to national development.

“We pay a large chunk of taxes to the government including Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and corporate taxes.

“FTAN members and other operators in the industry employ over 12 million Nigerians as direct labour, and well over that as indirect labour.

“In 2015 alone, over 9, 000 new hotels emerged across Nigeria, apart from governments and the agriculture sector, tourism industry is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria,” Saleh said.

Saleh regretted the scourge of COVID-19 on tourism and hospitality businesses in the country.

He noted that from January till date, hotels in Nigeria had lost hundreds of millions of Naira from services cancellations and disrupted sales.

According to him, as the current travel restriction and regional lockdown continues, smaller hotels will have to stop operations due to lack of patronage.

FTAN president said if the federal government failed to financially intervene to save Nigeria’s tourism and industry from the adverse economic impact of COVID-19, half of the over 12 million Nigerians working in the industry would irreversibly lose their jobs.

He added that the 40 per cent annual purchase of agro-allied produce by hospitality operators in Nigeria would be reduced to less than 10 per cent, if not completely obliterated.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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COVID-19: NCAC to create awareness on wearing face masks in public



The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says it plans to launch a campaign to create awareness on how wearing face mask in public will help to contain COVID-19 spread.

NCAC Director-General, Mr Olusegun Runsewe, who disclosed this in a statement to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, said the campaign would adhere strictly to the social and physical distancing rules.

According to him, the focal agenda of the council now is to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage Nigerians to brace up for the use of the face masks in public places.

Runsewe said the campaign was important because of the proof that wearing face mask could prevent spread of the micro droplets usually transmitted through the mouth and sneezing through the nose.

“We at NCAC believes that a population-wide face mask-wearing is very important and essential to the suppression and prevention of the communual transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This had initiated the frontal awareness efforts by NCAC to prepare and positively change the attitude and minds of Nigerians to face masks lifestyle.

“Drawing key example from Czech Republic which successfully adopted face mask strategy and thereafter, with the consequent low COVID-19 impact in the entire European countries,” he said

Runsewe said that nationwide awareness drive on the use of face masks would help create a postCOVID-19 cultural economy that would see Nigerian women, widows and youths, producing face masks as part of NCAC’s intervention.

He said that as much as COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, strict hygiene were important, the desirability and importance of wearing face mask could not be overemphasised.

“We are already grounded in providing skill acquisition as part of our cultural mandate.

”With this campaign, we can through our various offices in the six geopolitical zones empower rural women and unemployed youths.

“They will take to tailoring and produce an average of 10 million face masks in three days, made from local fabrics and according to our standard.

“NCAC must be seen to be culturally supportive through this campaign as the spread of the disease across Nigeria, with 200 million people, is scary, despite the intervention of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The campaign is not in any way the scientific solution to mitigating the scourge, but a knowledge and awareness based effort from NCAC to empower Nigerians to wake up and live with reality of face mask-wearing in public places as a new way of life,” he said.

Runsewe said that the possibility of engaging national musical entertainment response during the campaign would be exploited given the face of  “We are the World” musical extravaganza of the 80s.

“We shall adopt that musical effort but it shall be cultural in content and context and we may request musical and cultural troupes to come up with something unique that will appeal to national unity and consciousness.

“The artistic community shall be part of this campaign and we are definitely looking beyond the COVID-19 situation to the next level of truly responding and creating a new culture entrepreneurs.

“Those that can challenge our collective national strength for a better cultural economy tomorrow, to project Nigeria to the world as a nation conscious of its richness in culture and with a people with strong resolve to overcome any challenge of life,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NCAC had produced and kitted security agencies, media and selected professionals in the frontline of COVID-19 pandemic, with branded face masks made from adire and Ankara fabrics.

The council also gave out sanitizers made from natural resources sourced locally to promote home-grown efforts to the pandemic and open certain cultural economy.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Runsewe urges Nigerians to improve on local production of facemasks, sanitisers



Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has called on Nigerians to improve on local production of facemasks, sanitisers and other products as COVID-19 pandemic bites hard.

Runsewe made the call in a statement by Mr Frank Meke, his Media Aide, saying that COVID-19 pandemic had provided Nigeria a great opportunity to look inward for the production of relevant kits and accessories made exclusively in Nigeria.

He advised that the products should meet with the export standard and health protocols.

“We cannot just sit down and expect help from outside the country all the time.

“We should respond to this challenge by looking inward and creatively discover certain benefits in our cultural endowments.

“Support the process of indigenous response to all health challenges, not just COVID-19 pandemic, because necessity is the mother of all inventions around the world,” he said.

Runsewe said that the council was ready to distribute medical and conventional facemasks made from local adire and ankara fabrics embossed with NCAC Logo to check imitation and showcase homegrown solutions to demands for the kits.

According to him, this is prompted by the government’s growing concerns about certain breaches of COVID-19 protocols, particularly on the dedicated use of facemasks and sanitisers.

“Sanitisers exclusively made from local natural resources will also be part of the intervention.

“The measures are part of well thought out interventions that will help bridge the gap in the demands and needs to ensure no one finds excuse to breach the COVID-19 preventive measures.

“We shall be targeting the culture, tourism community, media, the security agencies at the frontline of the battle to the successful and full compliance to the lockdown and also the medical professionals,” he said.

Runsewe described the initiative as a necessity and response to exploit the huge cultural resources in Nigeria.

“Ours is not only to support government directives that Nigerians should wear facemasks in public places.

“But to develop a determined basic cultural socioeconomic baseline to the effective use and engagement of local fabrics and natural resources to which Nigeria is well blessed,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)


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Kyari: NANTA condoles President Buhari, deceased family



The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has condoled with President Muhammadu Buhari over the death of his close ally and Chief of Staff, late Mallam Abba Kyari.

Mrs Susan Akporaiye, President of NANTA, expressed the association’s condolences in a statement she released to the media on Saturday.

Akporiaye said the entire body of the travel trade operators were taken aback by the sudden demise of Mr Kyari, urging the president, the family and Nigerians generally to stay strong.

She said the association was pained over the sad development, adding that the father figure of Mr President and his right hand man would be missed by all who appreciated his dedication and loyalty to President Buhari and Nigerians in general.

“We at NANTA are shocked having prayed and trusted that he would pull through after testing positive to Coronavirus.

“Malam Kyari was a brave man, and his position will be hard to replace.

“Though we give God the glory for the life of the late chief of staff; as humans, his demise was very unexpected and regrettable but we rejoice that he served the President and the people of Nigeria well.

“We pray God accepts his soul and keep his immediate family in peace with fortitude to bear the loss,” she said

The NANTA president called on Nigerians to obey lockdown directives and keep to COVID-19 preventive measures to help stem the rising tide of the dreadful pandemic.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Curator, Ibadan Museum bows out of service



The Curator, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan, Dr Amos Olorunnipa, has bowed out of service having put in 32 years of service to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM).

The Museum Public Relations Officer, Mr Olufemi Leigh, made this known in a statement in Ibadan on Friday.

According to the statement, Olorunnipa handed over to Mrs Comfort Akinmeji, an Assistant Director of the Department of Educational Services and Training, National Museum of Unity, Ibadan.

It described Olorunnipa, who was retiring as a Deputy Director at NCMM, as a classic professional with a telling knack for books and passion for learning as he recently bagged PhD Anthropology from the University of Ibadan.

The statement noted that until his retirement, Olorunnipa was the Chairman, Federal Civil Service Agencies’ body in Oyo State and earned many awards and honour in the culture and tourism world.

“The museum evolved in phases, pre-analogue era, analogue era and the digital era. Olorunnipa has been part of the milestone and he is one who is always at the fulcrum of events in his style of leadership by example.

“He has authored, co-authored books on museology, featured in myriads of journals, newspapers, among others.

“As a cultural icon, he came, saw, contributed and excelled with honour, dignity and character. He is indeed a Cultural Ambassador of NCMM.

“Olurunnipa exhibited excellent service and character in Benin museum where he received training; Akure, Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan office where he retired. We appreciate these and pray that the rest of your life be the best of it sir,” it said.

According to the statement, Akinmeji also pleaded with the management and staff of the museum to extend the same hand of unity they gave to the retired curator to her, so as to enable her serve better.

She remarked that such symbiotic relationship was germane to good records and achievements, saying that a case in point were the legacies of Olorunnipa which called for continuity and consummation of excellence.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Ogun monarch charges colleagues on dispute resolution skills



Oba Olufemi Ogunleye, Towulade of Akinale in Ogun, on Sunday advised traditional rulers across the country to acquire mediation and conciliation skills for effective land dispute resolution at the community level.

Ogunleye, who made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said land dispute resolution had posed great challenge for most traditional rulers across the country.

He urged community heads and traditional rulers to empower themselves with mediation and conciliation skills for effective land dispute resolution.

The monarch also urged government to organise sandwich trainings and seminars for traditional rulers on basic fundamentals of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

He said this would equip them with the right knowledge and skill to maintain peace in their domains.

Ogunleye, who bagged a law degree at the age of 73, said that his advice was based on the study: ‘Critical evaluation of mediation and conciliation as an embodiment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for land dispute to be adopted by traditional rulers’.

He said ADR should be embraced by every community as it p”cost effective avenue to resolve land disputes.

” The alternative dispute resolution processes, through mediation and conciliation, hold great potential of providing an alternative to litigation.

” It centres on the belief that effective agreements involve cooperation and interest-based problem solving among parties involved in a dispute.

“While mediation and conciliation are often synonymous, mediators only act as facilitators of communication among disputants.

” Conciliators, in addition to facilitating communication, also proceeds to draw up the terms of a settlement designed to represent what is, in his view, a fair compromise of the dispute.

“Given the significance of ADR in settling disputes, it is a speedy and cost effective means of settling disputes compared with the high cost of, and delay in, justice delivery through litigation,” he said.

The monarch said traditional rulers as custodians of culture, heritage and ethos of the people, their intervention in land disputes was bound to promote peace and harmony.

He said this was also to break the circus of enmity among the people, which was inherent in the costly and prolonged judicial process on land disputes.

“Empirical evidence from my study revealed that through the application of alternative dispute resolution, particularly mediation and conciliation, members of the society are able to resolve disputes among themselves.

“In a more amicable and cost effective atmosphere of family setting in the palaces of the traditional rulers in contrast to litigation in the judicial court system.

“The traditional ruler under whose territory the land is should not be side-tracked in land matters beginning from formal enquiries about availability of land to sales, acquisitions, development and transfers.

” The option of the traditional ruler’s intervention in the settlement of disputes arising from land matters is seen as germane to peaceful coexistence of people in a community,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)


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Easter: National Park Conservator-General felicitates with Nigerians 



Dr Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General (C-G), National Park Servic,e has felicitated with Christians across Nigeria as they begin the celebration of the 2020 Easter.

Goni said on Saturday that Easter was one of the most important feasts in the world in Christian calendar that Christians across the globe use to celebrate the redemptive plan of God for humanity over darkness, despair and evil in the world.

He urged Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of love, sacrificial living, forgiveness, humility and endurance which were embodied in Christ.

“The plan which culminates into the resurrection of Jesus Christ ensures victory for humanity over death.

“This is a time for Christians to emulate the virtues of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, humility, courage and endurance which Christ embodied and remarkably demonstrated during His ministry on earth,” he said in a statement by his media assistant, Mr Yakubu Zull.

The C-G called on Christian faithful and Nigerians in general to use the season to show love to their neighbours and pray for Nigeria and the world over COVID-19, a disease ravaging humanity at the moment.

“Coronavirus which first originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and was subsequently declared a public world  health emergency and pandemic as the it continues to claim lives every day has become a global threat.

“We must all combat the virus unanimously,” he said.

The C-G urged Nigerians to celebrate this season at home, avoid public gathering of more than 20 individuals, handshakes and observe the simple hygiene of constant hand washing or use of sanitisers to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

“Nigerians must stand together in fighting against the spread of COVID-19 as this is a disease that does not know politics or the  demographic differences among Nigerians.

“This is the time Nigerians must put such differences aside and obey the simple instructions given by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Federal Ministry of Health to avoid scourges of the disease which is already crippling the world economy,” he said.

He also called on all Conservators of Parks in Nigeria to further ensure that people comply with his earlier instructions to suspend all group bookings and visits, ensure no overnight stay by visitors, no Easter celebrations or gathering inside the parks, no parties of any sort and weddings.

“We are expected to continue our essential operations, however, as much as possible, efforts must be made to ensure that visitors coming to the parks in crowd exceeding the recommended number are not permitted.

“We call on all park visitors and Nigerians in general as they celebrate this year Easter to comply with all the rules and cooperate with parks management to help curtail the spread of the virus in Nigeria to save lives,” he said.

Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)

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