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Tell us the truth, Lagos Council boss urges clerics



Mr Dele Oshinowo, Executive Chairman of Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos State, on Saturday urged Nigerian clerics to always tell politicians the truth for the sake of the masses.

Oshinowo made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the 10th Annual Ramadan Lecture and Special Prayer for the nation organised by Abdulwahid Islamic Foundation in Lagos.

According to him, if Nigerian clerics as leaders of religions were doing the expected by being frank with the truth when they meet with politicians, the nation would have moved forward.

“I believe that the clerics should support the government in policy formulation. They should help shape both the executive and legislative and judicial positions by advising and telling them the truth.

“Clerics are very important and we see that as people representing God. They should be able to, without fear, advise us toward the development of the state,” he said.

The council boss urged the people to get involved in policy making, stressing that leaving political office holders alone would spell doom for the ordinary people.

Oshinowo added: “They should not leave us alone, let’s know what we do right and wrong. Nation building is a collective responsibility of all irrespective of the religious affiliation.

“It is because of my perseverance that I became a chairman, if we all stayed back nothing positive can happen. If we distance ourself from politics and criticise what they do, no positive impact would be seen.

“Advisory role is important, when you speak out we will do better. You can change the tide when you keep counselling us, especially the Imam. Your role is to check our excesses as well.”

On security, the council boss urged clerics to participate in ensuring peace and security of lives and property through their sermons and helping to take the minds of youths from vices.

“Now, in Nigeria, clerics must come out enmass and denounce killings and kidnappings. They need to talk more about security and protection of lives and property,” Oshinowo said.

NAN reports that the event tagged “The Roles of Muslims in Nation Building” had in attendance several clerics and Muslims faithful who took turns to pray for the nation.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Kudirat Abiola: Okei-Odumakin, Abiola-Costello urge FG to stop wanton killings



The Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA) and the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) on Thursday called on the Federal Government to do more to end killing of innocent citizens.

The groups made the call in a statement jointly signed in Lagos by WA Founder, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, and KIND Founder, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the death of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

Kudirat, Wife of the late Chief  MKO Abiola, the widely acclaimed winner of the  June 12, 1993,  Presidential Election, was killed in Lagos on June 4, 1996, by gunmen.

“As we remember Kudirat today despite the coronavirus pandemic that has made impossible physical gathering like we used to do in her honour, we must remain steadfast on the principles she died for.

“We demand an end to wanton killings in the land,” the groups said in the statement.

They also called for intensified efforts for freedom for  Leah Sharibu and all others in the captivity of terrorists.

“We say to these heroes and heroines of the struggle for a better society: Thank you for your sacrifice.

“To those of you who  paid with your lives, you did not die in vain; you died for our collective struggle, and we will always remember what you stood for.

To Kudirat, whose date and fond memories vile dictators and their repressive measures could not obliterate, to Kudirat whose contributions and sacrifices no pandemic can override or overrule, we say: Continue to sleep well in the bosom of your maker.”

Edited By: Joe Idika (NAN)Ijeoma Popoola


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Embrace agriculture to ease effect of COVID-19- Expert tells Nigerians



Chief Godson Ezenagu, an agriculture expert in Anambra, has called on Nigerians to engage in agricultural practices as a measure to cushion the effect of looming food insecurity due to COVID-19.

Ezenagu, a two-time commissioner for Agriculture in Anambra, made the call in an  interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

The expert said that the aftermath of the global pandemic of Coronavirus and the economic lockdown that followed it, would be acute food shortage.

He said that every family should own a farm no matter how small and called on state governments to roll out incentive to encourage the people.

Eze Agu, who is also a politician, said the long period of stay at home should be time for civil servants, businessmen and artisans to engage in food production.

He said that engaging in food production, did not require people to travel far distance to get to their farms hence the need to embrace it.

According to him, the lockdown period is not the time to stay at home and be idle.

“People should engage the empty land nearest to them, those who don’t have land should rent.

“There is going to be serious food crisis and the best way to forestall it is to go into massive food production.

“Government should encourage people by providing soft loans, affordable and improved inputs, equipment as well as prizes for any individual who cultivated the largest expanse of land.

“They should also provide security for the farms from herdsmen by mobilising community vigillannce team to ensure that these farms are not destroyed, we can’t stop farming because of cattle menace,” he said.

Ezenagu, who supported the partial easing of the lockdown, agreed with the argument that interstate borders should still be restricted to reduce spread of COVID-19 but decried the non effectiveness of the closures.

He said the figured from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was still worrisome that total ease of lockdown for full economic activities may cause a national health boomerang.

According to him, the borders should be closed for as long as it is safe to open but unfortunately people are still finding their ways across the states because of the porous policing of the borders.

“It is true that the economy is biting but there should be a balance between saving the economy and protecting public health,” he said.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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British PM Johnson tells China, ‘We’ll not walk away from Hong Kong people’



Britain will not walk away from the people of Hong Kong if China imposes a national security law that would conflict with its international obligations under a 1984 accord.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this on Wednesday.

The United Kingdom has urged China to step back from the brink over the national security legislation for Hong Kong that it says risks destroying one of the jewels of Asia’s economy while ruining the reputation of China.

Hong Kong succeeds because its people are free.

If China proceeds, this would be in direct conflict with its obligations under the joint declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations.

“Many people in Hong Kong fear that their way of life, which China pledged to uphold is under threat,” Johnson wrote in the Times of London newspaper.

China’s parliament approved last week a decision to create laws for Hong Kong to curb sedition, secession, terrorism and foreign interference.

Mainland security and intelligence agents may, for the first time, be stationed in the city.

If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” Johnson said.

Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.

China said its decisions on national security in Hong Kong were its own affair and that Britain’s link to the territory stemmed from aggressive colonisation and unequal treaties.

The UK’s irresponsible remarks and accusations have grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs including Hong Kong affairs.

We advise the UK side to step back from the brink.

The UK said the legislation is authoritarian, but this word is the exact characterisation of the UK’s former rule over HK,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

Johnson repeated Britain’s pledge to give British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong a path to British citizenship, allowing them to settle in the United Kingdom.

There are about 350,000 holders of BNO passports in Hong Kong and another 2.5 million are eligible for them, Johnson said.

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong called on the United Kingdom to go further and impose sanctions on China.

“I call upon the UK government to impose necessary sanctions and restrictive measures,” Wong said.

Hong Kong activists plan to rally to mark the June 4, 1989 anniversary of Chinese troops firing on pro-democracy student demonstrators in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Even though, for the first time, an annual vigil for the anniversary has been cancelled over concerns about coronavirus contagion.

Demonstrations are also planned for the June 9 anniversary of last year’s million strong march against a now withdrawn Hong Kong bill to allow for the extradition of offenders to mainland China, as well as protests three days later that police tackled with tear gas and rubber bullets. (Reuters/ NAN)

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Salif Atojoko (NAN)



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Don’t expect long vacation after sch. resumption, commissioner tells C’ River students



Dr. Godwin Amanke, Cross River Commissioner for Quality Education, has ruled out the possibility of pupils and students in the state enjoying  the usual long vacation when schools resume.

Amanke said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Calabar that students would go straight to third term after resumption.

According to him, 70 per cent of schools in the state are through with their second term examination before the sudden closure of schools caused by COVID-19.

He said those schools that were not able to round-off their examination, would continue after resumption, adding  that immediately examinations were concluded,  the third term would commence and run through the weeks that students were supposed to go for their annual long vacation.

On the the issue of reopening schools, he said, it was not a one man or state affair because Cross River was not isolated from the other states.

“We cannot talk about reopening schools at the moment because Cross River is not in isolation but in relation with other states and the Federal Government.

“So, other stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Education, Health and Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) will have to be involved.

“The state ministries of education run with the policies, curriculum and syllabus as directed by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“Ordinarily, we will have said schools should reopen in the state because we have no case of COVID-19, but that won’t be in tandem with the Federal Government’s policy on ground in relationship to COVID-19,” he said.

He however called on the students in the state to take advantage of the Ayade digital learning initiative and the school on radio to learn at home.

NAN reports that as at Wednesday June 3, Cross River has remained the only state in Nigeria that was yet to officially have a case of COVID-19.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

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I’ll stand by you, Buhari tells AfDB President Adesina



President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will stand solidly behind Dr Akinwumi Adesina in his bid to get re-elected as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The President made his position known at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, when he hosted Adesina, who was on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.

Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a statement, quoted the President saying:

In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position.

“I didn’t say because you were a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Minister, and I belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC), so I would withhold my support.

“I’ll remain consistent with you, because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria.’’

The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Adesina was elected for a second term built on the record of his achievements during his first term.

The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders are trying to ensure that Adesina is re-investigated on some allegations, and rendered ineligible to run.

Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, said the 16 allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”

He added that the Ethics Committee of the bank cleared him of all the allegations, and calls for fresh investigation by the United States of America, were against the rules.

“My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned.

“The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank. It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations.

“That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched.

“I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion,’’ Adesina said.

While stressing that the motive was to soil his name, and that of the bank, the AfDB President said he was proud to be Nigerian, and thanked President Buhari for his unflinching support.

“You helped me to get elected in the first place, and you have supported me robustly all along, and the African Union unanimously endorsed my re-election,” he declared.

He commiserated with President Buhari on the death of the former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari.

Adesina also described the new Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Indonesia tells Hajj pilgrims to stay home amid COVID-19 uncertainty



More than 200,000 Indonesians hoping to attend the Hajj in Saudi Arabia this year have had their plans cancelled by the government amid lack of certainty because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Saudi authorities have not yet given access to pilgrims from any country,’’ Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said on Tuesday.

“Because of that, we won’t have enough time to prepare, especially in terms of the protection of the pilgrims,’’ he told an online news conference.

Indonesia has a Hajj quota of 221,000 pilgrims for this year, according to the government.

The Hajj is due in late July this year, but the kingdom has not yet announced whether it will be called it off.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia began the gradual reopening of the prophet Mohammed’s mosque in the city of Medina, one of Islam’s two holiest sites, two months after it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since late February, Saudi Arabia has suspended the Muslim Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Indonesia recorded 609 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the national tally to 27,549, the country’s COVID-19 task force spokesperson Achmad Yurianto said.

The death toll rose to 1,663, after 22 additional deaths were reported overnight.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide (NAN)



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APC primary: Steer clear of Ondo politics, group tells Gov. Fayemi



A group, Ondo State Progressives Network, has urged Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti to steer clear of the July 20 All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the state.

The Coordinator of the group, Mr Tunde Ajayi, made the call in a statement on Monday in Akure.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that there had been calls for  Direct Primary to Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu by opposing camps within the All Progressive Congress (APC).

Ajayi said that there have been pressure on the leadership of the APC to impose indirect mode of primary against the wishes of majority of the party member in the state.

“The attention of the Ondo State Progressives Network has been drawn to series of moves to lure some national leaders of the APC and some governors to mount pressure on the national working committee to announce an indirect primaries for the election.

“The Network, therefore, advise that  leaders of the party in Ondo State and at the national level should be allowed to act appropriately.

“The group also condemn any move which will thwart the unity of the party in the state,” he said.

The coordinator advised Akeredolu to adopt the party’s leadership process rather than seeking to get an indirect primary process.

“We further appeal to the leadership of the party and members of the national working committee not to be intimidated.

“Only a direct primary process in the party’s guber primary can restore the hope of APC faithful in the state and move the party to the next level,” Ajayi said.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, earlier in a statement, said that the governor was not afraid of direct primary.

“First and foremost, we have not come out as a government that we are opposed to direct primary; neither had the governor expressed aversion to  same.

“We’re not afraid of any mode of primary. I will want the public to know that the call for direct primary is to put out narrative that the governor is opposed to direct primary. In fact, we’ll even prefer a direct primary.

“For those who clamour for direct primary, the message to them is that Akeredolu is more prepared for any mode of primary than those who clamour for it,” Ojogo said.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Return to roundtable or face consequences, FG tells striking ASUU



Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige says there will be consequences if the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) refuse government’s overture to return to the negotiating table.

Ngige disclosed this on Sunday in a statement signed by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, in Enugu.

The statement said Ngige spoke in his hometown Alor, Anambra, where he donated palliative worth N15 million to vulnerable households to cushion COVID-19 effects.

He said that the Federal Government could activate relevant labour laws to deal with the situation.
He said that the law permits the Federal Government to approach the National Arbitration Panel (NAP) and even the National Industrial Court (NIC).
The minister said that the ASUU strike was all about the disagreement on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

“Any other reason given by ASUU is an alibi. I invited ASUU for a zoom meeting in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, but they insisted on meeting me face to face.

“We have labour laws and hierarchy of arbitration. There is the NAP and NIC. If I am tired, I can refer it there.

“So the better thing is for them to come and negotiate on firsthand basis where we are not bringing an external arbitrator,” he said.

According to him, ASUU as an employee lacks the right to dictate to the Federal Government on how to receive wages.

“The important thing is for your salaries and wages to come to you. As a workman, you receive your pay as compensation for services rendered. So, that is on the statute everywhere,” he said.

Ngige said that some of the people drawing salaries from the Federal Government coffers were ghost workers.

He said that there had been a shortfall in tax returns by the various universities over time which accumulated to over N800 billion.

He said that the Joint Tax Board (JTB) had penalised the Federal Government for nonremitance of the monies to the benefiting state governments.

The minister said that it was sad that ASUU had been uncompromising in the dispute.

“We had discussions and they said some of the agreements we had in Memorandum of Action 2019, were not implemented vigorously.

“We agreed that they will be paid N25billion for their earned academic allowances and another N25billion for revitalisation of university system.

The Federal Government paid the first tranche of N50 billion and N25 billion. Thereafter, there was the issue of National Minimum Wage and its consequential adjustment,” he said.

He said that the Federal Government spent N160 billion in the process.

Ngige said that the Federal Government could not pay ASUU the next tranche of N25 billion in October last year.

“They said there is a breach. We said we are owing. That we can pay it. So, we restructured it and agreed that the government can pay them 20 billion and another 20 billion for earned academic allowances between April 2020 and May.
“We all agreed,” Ngige said.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Tackle COVID-19 in Kogi: Rep tells governor



A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Yusuf, (PDP-Kogi) has urged Gov. Yaya Bello to take responsibility and tackle COVID-19 head on in Kogi. 

In a statement issued on Sunday Yusuf stressed the need to stop the back and forth ruse between the governor and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Yusuf who represents Ujumu/Bunu/Kabba Federal Constituency of Kogi,  said that the “shenanigans as playing the ostrich cannot save Kogi from the pandemic”.

It would  be recalled that the NCDC  on Saturday, May 30, 2020, confirmed that Kogi had two COVID-19 positive cases.

The state government has, however, distanced itself from the report, accusing the NDDC of forcing confirmed COVID-19 cases on the state.

Yusuf said that it was necessary to accept the result so that the NCDC and other relevant bodies could swiftly commence efforts to help nip the problem in the bud.

The Rep also stated that the government of Kogi had yet to give any palliative to citizens since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Kogi must now rise up against COVID-19 and immediately cease to play the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the sand at the approach of danger.

“Whatever palliative the people have received either came from National Assembly members, State Assembly, community development association or private individuals.

“Even the food items sent from the Federal Government has not been shared, no single test centre.

“I am sure many would  have died of COVID-19 without knowing and many would have  been healed without knowing,” he said.

The lawmaker called on all parties to rise beyond the divides of politics, faith and ethnicity for an effective war against the pandemic.

According to him, this is so that all men, women and children of Kogi  can live long and attain their productive lives without undue mourning.

He commended the family of the Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheikh Ahmad Ejibunu, for the timely alert.

Yusuf said the family’s consideration for others made  them to stand out as true sons and daughters of Kabba.

The Rep said that the virus had ravaged all parts of the world, with more than 100,000 persons said to have lost their lives in the U.S. which had some of the world’s best medical systems.

According to him, in Kogi where the number of available hospital beds and other resources are limited, our best chance is to prevent a spread.

He called for proper and timely sensitisation to observing social distancing, hand-washing, testing and other suggestions from the NCDC.

Yusuf said  being positive is not a death sentence saying that out of 9,302 confirmed cases in the country 2,697 cases had been discharged.

He said that 261 deaths had  been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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