The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) on Friday in Lagos inaugurated Mrs Susan Akporaiye as the 44th President of the association.
Akporaiye, in a statement issued after she was sworn in, assured members of NANTA of continuity.
She said the association under her watch would address some challenges facing the members, which were brought by the ravaging COVID-19.
“This is the birth of a new beginning as the incoming executive council takes over under my leadership as the 44th President of NANTA.
“In due course, the incoming executives shall engage and consult with all stakeholders in order to establish and validate our priorities.
“I will then be articulating these priorities with strategies on how to move the association forward,” she said.
Akporaiye, who takes over from Mr Bankole Bernard, said she was conscious of the challenge to re-access the association’s reach and physical engagement in view of COVID-19 and the impact on global travels.
“We are conscious of the pressure to rebound and gain immediate foothold, yet determined to guide our members to follow established federal and states governments protocols on COVID-19.
“This includes practicing safety and social distancing as recommended by health officials globally.
“This is to assure our stakeholders, friends and principals that NANTA is united and in safe hands under my watch.
“The watchword under my watch will be teamwork,” she said.
She said as the president, she would ensure that members had the right platform to provide inputs for continuous engagements, whether physical or digital.
“I reassure you as president, my priorities will be your priorities.
“Let me express my profound gratitude to Mr Bernard, the board of trustees, elders, my fellow partners in leadership, all zonal leadership and members, not excluding our very friends in the travel and tourism and the media.
“Having accepted to stand and hold forth as the 44th NANTA president, I ask God Almighty to grant me wisdom and knowledge to lead this great body and make it greater than ever before,” she said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu
“Paucity of funds prevents producers from producing Television Series”, Susan Peters-Croon says
Susan Peters-Croon, a Nigerian actress, on Sunday said that Nigerian movie producers were not doing much in the production of Television Series, due to lack of funds.
According to her, this has given room for Series from other climes, such as “Telemundo’’, to be dominant in the television stations.
Peters-Croon told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that producing movie series involved longer production time, commitment and more money.
“A series can run for two, three years or more; it is not like a movie that is shot in a couple of weeks or months, edited and put in the market.
“Most companies will not have the patience for series,’’ she said.
However, she said that there were some series currently being aired, but they were not as rich in
contents as one would expect.
“We have few of them running on our local television stations but more awareness is needed for the kind of stories we are to tell.
“We have to up our game in storytelling so as to sustain the flow till the end; if not, it will be watered-down at a point.’’
She commended the indigenous series that are currently on air such as “Lekki Wives’’.
“I also know that some television series like: “Losing Control’’ and “Husbands of Lagos’’ will soon be on air.
“Soon, Nigerian producers will begin to do more and when they do, “Telemundo’’ will not be watched anymore,’’ she said.
Peters-Croon said that most producers would want to do television series because it strengthens family bonding.
“It will encourage bonding among families as they will seat together to watch such series.
“During the time of “Mirror in the Sun’’, “Cock Crow at Dawn” and “Ripples”, families gathered to watch them,’’ she said.
NAN reports that Peters-Croon studied Computer Science at the Asman English School, Abuja, where she graduated in 1998.
She started acting in Nollywood movies in 2002 and has acted in 50 Nollywood movies.
She won the Afro Hollywood Best Actress (English) award for her role in “Bursting Out’’ and several others.
Peters-Croon also won the “Best of Nollywood’’ (BON) award in 2011, the Actress of the Year 2010 and Most Stylish Actress 2012 Awards from City People Magazine.
Edited by: Vivian Ihechu/Peter Dada
Ousted watchdog reportedly looking into whether Pompeo made staffer run personal errands
Ousted Inspector General for the U.S. State Department Steve Linick was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had asked a staffer to run personal errands for him, U.S. media outlets reported on Sunday.
NBC News, citing two congressional officials, reported that Linick, whom U.S. President Donald Trump announced fired late Friday night, was investigating whether Pompeo “made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations” for him and his wife.
The officials said they are working to learn whether Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo, according to NBC News.
CNN and The New York Times also reported the allegations on Sunday.
Trump said he’s firing Linick because he hasn’t had the fullest confidence in the official, who began his tenure as the State Department’s watchdog in 2013.
A White House official reportedly said Pompeo, the administration’s second secretary of state, recommended the move and Trump agreed.
The decision has triggered an inquiry from Democrats and scrutiny even from several Republicans.
Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who co-authored a law asking U.S. president to notify Congress 30 days prior to the removal of an inspector general along with the reasons for the move, tweeted on Saturday that the White House has not provided the kind of justification for the firing of Linick required by the law.
“I have long been a strong advocate for the Inspectors General,” she said. “They are vital partners in Congress’s effort to identify inefficient or ineffective government programs and to root out fraud and other wrongdoing.”
As inspector general, Linick was responsible for, among other things, conducting administrative and criminal investigations of waste, fraud, mismanagement, and misconduct in the State Department, according to his online biography.
FG to submit list of school feeding vendors to EFCC – Minister
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development says the list of all participating vendors in the modified School Feeding Programme will be submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Farouq, who said this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily news briefing on Friday in Abuja, noted that it was for the purpose of transparency and accountability.
She said the modified school feeding programme was being funded by the Federal Government, implemented by states and facilitated by the ministry.
The minister said it was targeted at heads of households, guardians and caregivers of the pupils, already benefiting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
She noted that the vendors had been on the programme since inception and that they were not new.
She said that the ministry had also invited Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to help with monitoring of events.
“We are not spending N679 million per day as reported by the media. That figure is inaccurate.
“To reach the households, we are using the various school registers, which contain addresses of all the pupils, we are also using SUBEB databases.
“Also, since schools are community-based, it is easy for children to be identified/verified in the various communities,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said payment of Npower Nigeria Volunteers’ outstanding stipends was in the final stages of processing and by next week, the beneficiaries would get their payments.
“They are funds sourced for by the business community; they are the sole managers of the fund,” he said.
“They are not even collecting cash. The total pledge was about N21billion, and part of their contributions was the ThisDay Dome,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said the ministry was able to persuade Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe, now popularly known as the “Benue Lady”, to allow a test sample to be taken to the laboratory for testing on Thursday.
Ehanire said the result was being awaited and would be given to her in person.
“Please note that, while some patients may disclose their result by themselves, the FMoH cannot do so, except with the permission of the person concerned,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Felix Ajide (NAN)
COVID-19: FTAN seeks Govt support to boost tourism, hospitality sector
The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that FTAN recently published a 10-page position paper on the debilitating impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s hospitality, travel and tourism industry which was presented to the Federal Government.
Rabo added that the association presently comprised of numerous hospitality and terrorism-related trade and professional associations in the country.
He noted that the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic In Nigeria in January 2020 has led to international travel restrictions, national travel bans and sub-national lockdowns, leading to massive cancellations of tourism and hospitality services in destinations all over the world.
“Consequently, the travel, tourism and hospitality sector in Nigeria have, unimaginably, taken a direct hit with attendant tales of woes including unprecedented financial losses, large-scale job losses and corporate bankruptcies.
“Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, hotels and sundry tourism businesses in the country have lost hundreds millions of Naira from services cancellations and disruption in sales including revenues from destinations handling.
“Packaged tours, room bookings, event venues, food and beverages, rented space, entertainment and other ancillary hospitality services.
“The association hereby appeal to federal government as a matter of national emergency, to provide palliative to FTAN members’ businesses, and also include the tourism and hospitality sector in the proposed post COVID-19 intervention funds.
“We call on the government, through the Economic Sustainability Committee and the Central Bank of Nigeria, to provide N150 billion intervention fund for FTAN members in the hospitality and tourism industry,” he added.
The president also added that the N150 billion intervention funds should be provided in multifaceted monetary and fiscal measures, including, but not limited to the following interventions namely:
“Low interest loans; this will provide expansionary fiscal policy by the provision of single digit interest loans to tourism and hospitality businesses.
“Then, Import Duty Waivers, Tax Reliefs, Financial Grant’s, Incentives Tourism Investment, Domestic Tourism Promotion and lastly, Establishment of Tourism Development Fund”.
Rabo also said that when government failed to financially intervene to save the tourism and hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, half of over 2.5 million Nigerians working in the industry would irreversibly lose their jobs.
“Additionally, the 40 per cent annual purchase of agro-allied produce by hospitality operators in the country would be reduce by 10 per cent, if not completely obliterated,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs Susan Akporiye, President National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, urged government to come to the aid of the hospitality and tourism industry.
She said that in April 2020, over 125, 000 jobs has been lost, adding that, tourism was one of the largest employers of labour that has provision for all in the country.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)
2 women docked for alleged conspiracy, abduction in Benue
Two women: Sandra Akaa, 31; and Elizabeth Akaa,52; of Behind Hemko Hospital, Kanshio in Makurdi,were on Friday arraigned before a Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly abducting two siblings.
They abducted: Susan Kumbur, 15 years old ; and and Mark Kumbur,13 years old, respectively.
The defendants were charged with criminal conspiracy and abduction punishable under Section 3(1), (a), (b), (c) and (2) of the Prohibition of Abduction, Hostage-Taking, Kidnapping Law of Benue, 2017.
The prosecutor, ASP Hyacinth Gbakor, told the court that Susan and Mark’s guardian, one Mrs Rebecca Apezan, had written a petition against the defendants to the Benue Commissioner of Police on May 7.
“Apezan stated in the petition that the defendants had conspired on April 26, and abducted the children who were both kept in her lawful custody after their father’s death.
“She said that the defendants took the children without her consent to an unknown destination.
“Apezan further stated that after a frantic search for the children, she discovered that the defendants were behind the abduction of the children and intended taking them to the United States of America for purpose best known to the abductors,’’ Gbakor said.
The prosecutor said that the defendants were arrested during police investigation.
However, when the case came up, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
Gbakor told the court that investigation into the matter was still in progress and asked for an adjournment.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr Isaac Ajim, granted the defendants a N200, 000 bail each and a surety each in the same amount.
Ajim adjourned the matter until June 19, for further mention.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Peter Dada (NAN)
House of Representatives urges NCDC to intervene in Benue lady’s case
The House of Representatives, has urged the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to critically evaluate Mrs. Susan Idoko-Okpe, a lady held in an isolation centre in Benue, with a view to discharging her home.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of motion of Matters of Public Importance by Rep. Blessing Onuh (APGA-Benue), at plenary on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Moving the motion earlier, Onuh said that 56 year-old Idoko-Okpe, an indigene of Benue, flew into the country on March 22, from the U.K.
The lawmaker said that the lady, who is also a UK citizen, flew into Nigeria to attend her mother’s burial in Benue.
According to her, Idoko-Okpe, unfortunately got quarantined by the government over COVID-19 suspicion, and results of tests carried out on her were full of discrepancies.
Onuh said that the lady had a long flight from UK and must have suffered a jet lag which gave rise to some symptoms she exhibited on arrival.
She said that jet lag was a common occurrence which necessitated her presentation to the cottage hospital where she was first managed.
“The details of this Mrs. Susan ldoko-Okpe Nee Lawani, is not consistent with that of the lady who was referred from Benue State Teaching Hospital, Makurdi, to Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja.
“The personal information on the laboratory result from the NCDC did not also tally with her personal details.
“COVID -19 is real, but not a death sentence or a yardstick for discrimination and human rights infringement or violation, so her case should not be different,’’ Onuh said.
She said that Idoko-Okpe, who was bereaved, was beginning to deteriorate psychologically and already having suicidal thoughts.
According to Onuh, this was worsened by the fact that she had been in isolation for about 50 days without any form of treatment.
The legislator said that the test result given to her was questionable, as it did not carry her correct information, and was given verbally.
Onuh alleged that the lady had been forced to take treatment for COVID ~19 even in her asymptomatic state.
The lawmakers called for prompt release of patients or those in isolation centres, when they returned to their pre-morbid state; while stigmatisation, inhumane treatment and violation of human rights, should be discouraged.
Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)
Australian Treasurer tested for COVID-19 after coughing fit in Parliament
Australia’s Treasurer has been tested for coronavirus hours after suffering a coughing fit in Parliament.
Josh Frydenberg was delivering a ministerial statement on the economic impact of COVID-19 in the lower house of Parliament, the House of Representatives, on Tuesday afternoon when he started coughing.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening he said he was getting tested for the virus as a precaution.
“Today while delivering my ministerial statement I had a dry mouth and a cough,” Frydenberg said.
“After question time I sought the advice of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer (DCMO).
“The DCMO advised me that out of an abundance of caution it was prudent I be tested for COVID-19.
“Following the receipt of his advice I immediately left Parliament House to be tested and will await the result in isolation.”
He said he expects to receive the results of the test on Wednesday.
Parliament resumed on Tuesday after being suspended indefinitely early in April to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Frydenberg was 15 minutes into his speech when he began coughing, a key symptom of the virus, into his hand, which is against the government’s official medical advice.
He took several sips of water and finished the 30-minute address, which outlined the “sobering” economic fallout from the global pandemic.
It is the second time that Frydenberg has been tested for COVID-19.
He was previously tested in March after developing cold-like symptoms after returning to Australia from Saudi Arabia.
That test came back negative.
Several federal politicians have been confirmed of infecting the virus, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and government Senators Susan McDonald and Andrew Bragg, but all have recovered.
Commentary: Brazen motivations behind Washington’s “let-China-pay” campaign
Of their many insidious China-smearing plots, one is to hype up the theory that China should be blamed for the global public health crisis, and should pay for related losses. There are three brazen motivations behind the demagoguery.
The first is to divert public criticism of the U.S. administration’s slow and botched handling of the pandemic.
“Bashing China is always good politics in the U.S.,” Susan Thornton, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, recently commented during a webcast organized by think tank the New America Foundation.
Conservatives in the West tend to believe that Beijing is seeking to promote its governance model in other countries, and to elevate its international standing by actively providing assistance to other struggling countries in the pandemic.
Thus, they have gone to great lengths to portray China as the origin of the virus, and to accuse the country of causing the deterioration of the pandemic, offering extremists in some economically overwhelmed countries a handy excuse to shift blame.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Fox Business Network earlier this month that countries should rethink their development of telecommunications infrastructure, including the adoption of China-based Huawei’s 5G technology, given China‘s way in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the escalating China-smearing campaign, their compensation plot will never succeed. Beijing will not pay because of such fabricated reasons, while there was also no such precedent in previous pandemics.
The ravaging pandemic is the common enemy facing the human race. To defeat it, all nations need to work together in good faith. The U.S. conservatives’ moves to cover up their own failures by shifting blame and public attention will only harm those still struggling in the pandemic, and render the global fight much harder.
Tanzanian students to learn through radio, television during COVID-19 crisis: minister
Joyce Ndalichako, the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, said the arrangement will require radio and television stations to air learning programs for the students.
Tabling her ministry’s budget proposals for the 2020-2021 financial year in parliament in Dodoma, Ndalichako urged parents to make sure that their children used the opportunity to learn during the virus pandemic.
“This arrangement will help the students to cope with their school syllabuses,” the minister told the House.
Susan Lyimo, the shadow minister for education from the opposition camp in parliament, urged the government to set aside a budget that will improve online learning for the students.
On April 14, Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced extension of closure of schools and universities in the east African nation, saying they will remain closed indefinitely as part of measures aimed at fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 17 and 18, the prime minister announced the shutting down of all schools and universities for 30 days, respectively.
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
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Former London Marathon winner Wanjiru denies wrong doing after provisional ban
Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon winner, has denied any wrongdoing after he was provisionally suspended by the sport’s independent Athletics Integrity Unit on Tuesday.
The AIU said in a statement that a charge was issued against Wanjiru for “use of a prohibited substance/method”, but the Kenyan said he was clean and had never used doping.
His management company Volare Sports said the AIU charge was based on “alleged abnormal variations in the haematological profile” from Wanjiru’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).
ABPs are used to monitor selected biological variables over time that indirectly reveal the effects of doping rather than attempting to detect the doping substance or method itself.
Under anti-doping rules Wanjiru, 27, is barred from competing until a hearing has taken place into the allegation.
“I am clean in the sports I do,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Volare Sports. “I feel I am already seen as a sinner of doping, but I am not. I am innocent.
“I stand for clean sports. My results of the past came through hard work only. I have never used doping,” he added
“We are currently investigating the case. Knowing I have never used anything, I have faith everything will be all right.”
Volare Sports said no prohibited substance was found. “The accusation is based on an assumption,” it added. “We are already trying to get to the bottom of this in order to find the truth.”
Susan Kamau, chief executive of Athletics Kenya, declined to comment on Wanjiru’s case.
In addition to his 2017 London win, Wanjiru secured gold at the 2016 Amsterdam Marathon and has finished eighth and 11th in the past two London marathons.
Kenya is world famous for its dominance in long and middle-distance running, but over the last five years a series of doping scandals has tarnished its reputation with around 60 of the country’s athletes sanctioned for anti-doping violations.
In December, Kenya’s government said it was planning to impose criminal penalties – including possible jail terms – on athletes caught doping.
Last year, Kenyans Asbel Kiprop, Cyrus Rutto and Abraham Kiptum were given four-year bans, while Vincent Kipsegechi Yator received the same suspension earlier this month.
Wilson Kipsang, the former marathon world record holder and bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics, was provisionally banned in January for whereabouts failures and tampering with samples.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)
COVID-19: Kogi, Nasarawa beneficiaries commend palliatives distribution
The beneficiaries say the palliatives which include cash and food stuff would ease the sufferings they are going caused by the Coronavirus disease.
In Kogi, the Federal Government through the Office of the National Social Investment Programmes (Kogi-SIP), on April 6, commenced payment of N20,000 each to over 34,456 beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) in the state.
Mr Abdulkareem Onyekehi, the Focal Person of Kogi SIP, after monitoring the disbursement at some payment centres in Lokoja and Okene, said the exercise, had been smooth, hitch-free and apolitical.
Onyekehi said the disbursement was being carried out simultaneously across the 21 local government areas of the state, and would last from April 6 to April 22.
He explained that the sum of N20,000, payment from January to April 2020, was being disbursed to 34,456 CCT beneficiaries by the Kogi State SIP office in the first phase of the disbursement.
A beneficiary, Mrs Hassanat Mohammed, told News Agency of Nigeria that the N20, 000 would go a long way in helping her households, “especially in this trying period”.
Another beneficiary, Mrs Glory Ameh, a widow and mother of four, said the initiative would impact her life and that of her children, saying, ”I am grateful to both the state and the federal governments.”
On her part, a 65-year-old widow, Mrs Aduke Obadele, told NAN that the N20, 000 would help to boost her poultry and fishery business, saying, ”God bless Buhari”.
NAN reports that Lokoja metropolis has four designated payment centres which include: Lokoja Local Government Secretariat, Obajana Town hall, Agbaja Post office and Jamata.
Many NGOs have also been reaching out to the vulnerable in the state, one of which
is Doyin and Susan Foundation, that donated N1 million to less-privileged widows and women in some rural communities in Isanlu, Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi.
Similarly in Nasarawa State, beneficiaries
commended the State Government for providing rice as palliatives to cushion the effect of Coronavirus in the area.
Some of them who spoke to NAN in Gurku/Kabusu ward of Karu Local Government Council commended the distribution committee for being fair in the exercise.
Malam Abubakar Isah said the gesture would improve on the standard of of living of his family members.
” I want to commend the state government for providing the palliatives to us.
” They gave one bag of 25kg of rice to three of us and we shared more than five measures each, we thank God,” he said.
Another beneficiary in Kabusu unit, Fati Umar, also lauded the government for the gesture.
” I must commend the government for the palliative as it has been said that half bread is better than none .
” Five of us got a bag of 25 kg of rice as we have shared three measures each, we thank God and we thank the government of Nasarawa State for the palliatives.
Janet Solomon also lauded the government for the gesture and appealed for more palliatives in order to improve on her standard of living.
Alhaji Hashimu Jibrin-Gurku, the Special Adviser to Gov. Abdullahi Sule on Erosion Control and Waste Management and
leader of the distribution committee in Gurku/Kabusu ward, said the body had distributed 100 bags of 25kg rice received from the state government as palliative for the vulnerable people of the ward.
” As a chairman of the distribution committee, I have ensured equitable distribution of the rice to the vulnerable ones in Gurku/Kabusu ward irrespective of ethnic,political and religious affiliations.
” We have identified the less privileged and the vulnerable ones in all communities of Gurku/Kabusu ward
,” Jibrin-Gurku said.
NAN reports that on April 10, the State Government distributed 1,200 bags of 25kg rice to residents, especially the poor and vulnerable, in Karu Local Government Area of the state to cushion the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown.
Caverton Pilots: NANTA commends FG’s call for peaceful resolution
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has commended the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government on amicable settlements with Rivers State Government over the detained pilots of Caverton Helicopters.
NANTA gave the commendation in a statement by its President, Mrs Susan Akporaiye on Friday in Lagos.
Akporaiye said the association was pleased to know that the pilots were not taken to conventional correction centers but held at Rivers state government owned hotel.
She noted that the pressure and fear of the uncommon times the nation found itself must have led to the unfortunate event.
“ I am impressed by the maturity, patience and recourse to peaceful resolution by the federal government and in same breath appreciate the Rivers state government for taking care of the pilots in a hotel instead of the confines of dreaded correctional facility,” she said.
Akporaiye appealed to River state government to release the pilots to enable them spend the Easter holidays with their families, pending the conclusion of other aspects of the peace process.
“This uncommon time has put everyone including our leaders on edge, we have not seen this type of pandemic in our lifetime and it can be understood that pressure driven mistakes can occur.
“So we urge restraint in this time of celebration of symbolic rising of Christ from death.
“We must forgive ourselves and free our pilots on the frontline of national economic growth, Rivers state is part of Nigeria and the pilots are Nigerians,” she said.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Gov. Nyesom Wike had ordered the arrest of two Caverton Helicopters’ pilots, Capt. Samual Ugorji and Capt. Samuel Buhari and the passengers for flying into the state during Coronavirus lockdown.
Edited By: Edwin Nwanchukwu/Ekemini Ladejobi
COVID-19: Gov Lalong inaugurates special fumigation exercise in Plateau
Speaking at the event on Friday at Terminus Market in Jos metropolis, the governor said that the gesture was one of the several steps taken by Plateau governnment to combat the spread of the disease and urged cooperation of the people for its success.
“During this period, the entire state will be fumigated. All public places such as markets, streets, offices premises among others will be fumigated,
” Let me again appeal to all citizens to abide by the lockdown directive in order to make the work of law enforcement officers easier. We do not want to hear of ugly cases of harsh enforcement.
“In addition to the fumigation, the lockdown will also help us reduce any tendency for inter-State transfer of the disease and enable us respond appropriately to any suspected case and contact tracing.
Nigeria News Agency , reports that the governor on Monday, directed a lockdown in the state, with effect from midnight Thursday, April 9 Wednesday April 15 to enable the governnment conduct a statewide fumigation exercise.
He appealed for patience and understanding from Plateau people, explaining that even though Christians were celebrating good Friday globally, the exercise became imperative following the urgency of prompt action.
He charged Christians to use use Easter as a solemn period to pray for mercy and deliverance against the pandemic, while also urging Muslims brethren to offer solemn Zuhur Prayers in their homes for God’s intervention in the pandemic.
The governor thanked religious, traditional,political and community leaders and their followers for their cooperation and understanding at the critical period.
He said Government would soon roll out palliative measures to assist the weak and vulnerable in the state, saying the situation would soon end for normalcy to return.
Also in her remarks, Dr Susan Bentu, the General Manager of Agricultural Services and Training Centre (ASTC) said the preventive measure would also kill germs, pests and viruses .
She said ASTC saddled with the responsibility of fumigating the state would discharge the responsibility effectively, saying that the efficacy of the chemicals would last for one month.
COVID-19: Foundation donates cash worth N1 million to vulnerable widows, women
An NGO, Doyin and Susan Foundation, on Monday donated N1 million to less-privileged widows and women in some rural communities in Isanlu, Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi.
Nigeria News Agency reports that each beneficiary from Itedo-oba, Itedo-Irunda and Irunda-Ile communities received the sum of N2,000.
The Founder of the foundation, Mrs Doyin Eshanumi, said the gesture was part of the group’s humanitarian activities to cushion the effects of the Stay-at-home order issued to curb the spread of COVID-19.
According to Eshanumi, the N1 million is targeted to reach about 500 beneficiaries in Isanlu communities; N500, 000 in the first phase and another N500, 000 in the second phase.
”This is meant to cushion the effects of the coronavirus preventive measures on the vulnerable women in the area.
”This humanitarian gesture is part of the vision of our foundation to reaching out to the less-privileged and the vulnerable women and widows in order to alleviate their suffering in the time of need.
”This is not the first time we would be carrying out such humanitarian gesture aimed at reaching out to the less-privileged in our nation as a way of improving their wellbeing,” she said.
While commending both the government and the private sector for the steps taken so far in addressing the pandemic, the founder called on other NGOs to emulate the gesture and lend helping hands to the indigents.
She advised the people to obey and abide by government’s guidelines in its effors at containing the spread of the coronavirus.
Edited By: Moses
(NAN) Solanke and Abdullahi Yusuf
Benue records first COVID-19 case, takes proactive steps to curtail spread
The Benue Government on Saturday announced the state’s first case of COVID-19 in Makurdi, the state capital.
Gov Samuel Ortom made the announcement at a press briefing in Makurdi shortly after an emergency meeting of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), on COVID-19.
Ortom explained that the SERT for COVID-19 discovered her where she was receiving treatment in a hospital in Makurdi and took her sample for test where the result came positive.
He said that Ukpe was among the eight persons that came back from countries with high prevalent rates of the viral disease.
He said that her sample was taken along another suspect, but only hers came out positive.
“The decision to announce her name is to notify people who have come in contact with her to come out for test or to go for self isolation for the next 14 days.
“All the staff of the hospital where she was receiving treatment, as well as friends and family members, will be on isolation to prevent possible spread,” he said.
Ortom disclosed that the response team would also carry out contact tracing to ensure that the virus did not spread.
He announced that all major markets in the state would be closed as from Monday, March 30, till further notice, and urged the public to restock their kitchens.
He said that shops would, in the interim, be allowed to operate.
Ortom said he would make a state broadcast on Monday to announce stiffer measures already approved by the government.
According to Ortom, the state may close its borders as from next week.
The governor also announced the suspension of all religious gatherings, including Church services and Muslim prayers.
“We are taking all these measures in the interest of all Benue citizens. We have no option but to take these measures.
“We are encouraging people to obey social distance, and observe strict compliance to all advices as instructed by relevant authorities.
“No more weddings; burial should not have more than 30 people. Only altar weddings are allowed for now.”
The governor further said that he had advised his deputy, Benson Abounu, to go for the COVID-19 test, adding that he would also avail himself for the test.
He said that government had made available funds for the procurement of safety kits and other necessary items, but regretted that such products were nowhere in the market.
Ortom pleaded with Benue citizens residing in other states or outside the country to remain in their locations untill further notice.
COVID-19: Lugbe residents urge AEDC to ensure constant electricity
Some residents of Lugbe community in the Federal Capital Territory, have appealed to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) to ensure constant electricity supply while the stay-at-home directive over COVID-19 lasted.
Mr Sunny Ajayi, a Civil Servant said that it was so boring sitting at home without electricity as he was always busy at work during the day.
Ajayi said that the best AEDC could do for the people, especially Lugbe residents is to ensure constant electricity to ensure their comfort at home.
Mrs Susan Alli, a trader also told NAN that it was boring to ask children to stay at home without anything to keep them busy.
Alli said that as a trader, she finds it difficult to concentrate whenever she goes to the market to sell leaving the children at home knowing that nothing is keeping them busy .
“I leave the house every day to look for what to feed my family with, I will be happy if AEDC can give Lugbe constant light to keep the children busy as they are always happy watching cartoons on the television”, she said.
Mrs Bisi Adeola, another civil servant, said that it was annoying when one try to stock the house with food items, and there is no way to preserve them.
Adeola said that since the stay at home order, Lugbe has not had electricity for 12 hours a day, “so my appeal to AEDC is to ensure that there is constant electricity as this will help us to stockpile in this time of coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr Chepas Okafor, a Barber, appealed to AEDC for constant light adding that without electricity it is not easy for him to work.
According to Okafor, I have to put on the generator always when I have a customer this is not good enough for me.
“Let AEDC try to give us light even if is for just 12 hours a day, this will help us to reduce buying of fuel for generator use.
NAN reports that the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has pledged adequate service delivery to customers in its franchise areas to curtail the spread of COVID -19.
AEDC’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mr Oyebode Fadipe, gave the assurance in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
Edited By: Isaac Ukpoju
‘Nigeria police can improve image through film’ – filmmaker, Ego Boyo
The Nigeria police has an opportunity to improve their image through film, says filmmaker and actress, Ego Boyo.
Boyo is a Nollywood veteran actress popular for her role as Ann Haastrup in classic TV series, ‘Checkmate’ ’ and as actor/producer for the critically acclaimed 90’s film ‘Violated’.
In an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday, she said that through continous positive representation of the police in films, citizens can trust the system better.
Boyo explained that she sought to do this by creating an upright police character in her film, ‘The Ghost and The House of Truth’.
The character, played by Kate Henshaw, is known as officer stainless, a pregnant police officer who does her best to unravel a child’s murder.
Boyo said, “The police have an opportunity to launder their image through positive representation in film.
“We gave them that opportunity in our film, with the representation of a dedicated and professional police officer.
“We modelled the police for the kind of police we would like to see and hear about.
“Stainless is the nickname of that police officer and the take away is for Police to work towards a similarly “stainless” reputation,” she said.
According to her, the idea was to demonstrate more empathy, for officers to focus on their cases with dedication and to be thorough in their investigations.
She said, “They need to actually be friends with the community by their actions and interaction with the citizens.”
NAN reports that the film follows a counsellor’s actions after she discovers her 15-year-old child is missing.
Explaining the importance of the story, she said, “We felt it was our responsibility to turn our attention to weightier matters while still entertaining.
“Our society has so many issues, it is difficult to continue to reflect a sunny ideal when for many that is not the case,” Boyo said.
‘The Ghost and The House of Truth’ stars Henshaw alongside Toyin Oshinaike as Uncle Joe, Susan Wokoma as Bola Ogun.
It also features Mario Obruthe as Tomi, Imoleayo Olusanya as Nike and Dara Egerton-Shyngle as Susan.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Poverty reduction: Oyo govt. seeks continuous participation in World Bank programmes
The Oyo State Government has appealed to the World Bank to allow the participation of the state in its poverty reduction programmes.
Mr Niyi Farinto, the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, made the appeal on Monday at the opening ceremony of a training programme held in Oyo town.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the refresher/step down training ceremony was organised by the State Operations Coordinating Unit (SOCU).
NAN reports that SOCU is the coordinating unit of the World Bank assisted Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) for Community Based Targeting (CBT) teams, Enumerators and Supervisors.
Farinto, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Foluke Adeniyi, said the fifth round of the CBT exercise was the last in the programme scheduled to expire in June.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to the World Bank to allow the participation of Oyo State in its follow on project which we have been made to understand would be bigger and wider than YESSO when eventually the programme closes shop in June, 2020,” he said.
The commissioner said that the World Bank YESSO was a collaborative brain child of the Federal Government and the World Bank with the active involvement of state and local governments.
“The main objective of the programme is poverty reduction by providing an increased access to employment opportunities and social service delivery to the poorest of the poor citizens of the country,” he said.
He said that the YESSO programme was designed to provide a framework to tackle unemployment, most especially among the core poor citizens of the state.
“The YESSO activities which commenced in 2013 has some good stories to tell. They include establishment of a data base of the poor and vulnerable which contains 107,839 individuals derived from 29,098 households.
“It was from the data that some 6,755 youths from poor households were picked at various time to enjoy N7,500 monthly stipend for their participation in labour intensive works in their various communities.
“Another set of 1, 443 youths had also participated in the skills for job component of YESSO going home with N7,500 on monthly basis during their nine months training,” he said.
Mrs Laide Lasisi, the SOCU State Coordinator, said that the training was aimed at educating the officials on the principles and practice of community based targeting exercise.
She said that the training would help in teaching the officials on how to go about the process of identifying the poor and vulnerable in the community.
Lasisi said that the exercise was community-driven, adding that the community members would drive the process while the trained officials would facilitate the outcome.
“For this fifth round, we shall be operating in 12 local government areas. But contrary to what happened in the past, when we go into a local government now, we are targeting 60 communities at a go.
“And that way, we believe we will be able to ramp up the figure in the social register of the poor and vulnerable. By the way, the programme is ending in June 2020, so we want to use the limited time that we have to fast track some of these process.
“We try to peg them at 40 households per community, but really they have more than that. There is now provision for as many people they can bring. We will accmodate them,” she said.
Mrs Susan Adedeji, a participant and CBT Computer Operator from Kajola Local Government, called on the government to ensure the programme was devoid of politics and focused on the targeted audience.
Also speaking, Mr Olutayo Oladosu, a participant and CBT Planning Officer from Ido Local Government, called for better remuneration for the officials toward the task of pursuing a reliable data.
(Edited By: Mufutau Ojo)
6 inmates die as coronavirus panic spreads across Italian prisons
Italian authorities were on Monday struggling to restore order in prisons up and down the country after coronavirus related riots led to six inmates’ deaths and dozens of escapes.
Inmates are concerned about contagion risks within prisons and are angry at a recent government decision to restrict outside visits as part of a national outbreak containment strategy.
The six dead are inmates from Modena prison, where protests broke out on Sunday, Modena is one of the provinces of northern Italy which is under lockdown.
Three inmates died inside the institution, while another three passed away after being transferred to other jails, the head of the prison service Francesco Basentini told RAI public television.
RAI said four other prisoners are in a critical state in hospital, while three prison guards and seven prison infirmary staff were slightly injured.
According to Uilpa, a prison police union, the inmates died of methadone overdose after raiding the prison’s infirmary, but this had yet to be confirmed by autopsies.
Another serious situation was reported in Foggia, in the south-east, where dozens of prisoners managed to escape, according to prison police union representatives.
“The situation is catastrophic, in Foggia 50 inmates have escaped,’’ Aldo Di Giacomo of the Spp trade union told the Adnkronos news agency.
Quoting union sources, Adnkronos reported later that about 20 remained at large, while the others were caught by police or turned themselves in.
Justice Minister Alfredo Bonafede was summoned by the Senate to give explanations about the situation, he was scheduled to brief the chamber at 5 pm (1600 GMT) on Wednesday.
The first prison riots took place on Saturday in Salerno, and have since spread nationwide. According to the Spp union, protests have taken place in 27 prisons.
In central Milan, inmates climbed on the roof of the San Vittore prison and hang banners calling for freedom and amnesty while anti-riot police surrounded the building.
Two prison guards were briefly taken hostage by inmates in Pavia, near Milan, on Sunday, and other violent protests, sometimes leading to fires, were reported in Rome, Naples, Turin, Prato and elsewhere.
The government decree that sparked prisoners’ riots, approved on the weekend, ordered the suspension of outside visits, except for exceptional cases.
It made provisions for prisoners to be allowed to talk to friends and relatives via phone or video link, but also called for restrictions in permits allowing some convicts to leave prison during the day.
Susanna Marietti from Antigone, a prisoners’ rights association, told dpa that sports and cultural activities inside prisons were also suspended.
Prisoners were not properly informed, she said, fuelling panic.
“If people outside [prisons] are scared [about the coronavirus], imagine what it’s like inside,’’ she said.
Italy is facing the worst outbreak of the virus in Europe. On Sunday the country reported 7,375 coronavirus cases, including 366 fatalities.
On Facebook, Antigone President,Patrizio Gonnella called on inmates to stop rioting, and urged authorities to allow more convicts to serve their sentences under house arrest, rather than in jail.
On the other hand, far-right opposition leader Matteo Salvini called for an iron-fist response and spoke against any concession towards inmates, including switches from custody to house arrest.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim