COVID-19: Buhari extends lockdown by four weeks as Nigeria enter second phase

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of the eased lockdown for another four weeks.

This extension is the third for the second phase of lockdown currently observed across the country.

Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 disclosed this during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

Recall FELLOW PRESS had earlier reported Mustapha cautioning Nigerians over the spread of the pandemic, adding that the killer disease is very much on the rampage with 44,890 confirmed cases.

He also noted that the incidence of the pandemic was only 28,000 just in July 4, adding that African and global figure increased by 500,000 and 8million respectively just in one month.

Breaking news

Federal Govt extends phase two of eased lockdown by one week

The federal government on Monday July 27, extended the phase two of the ease of lock-down in the country by one week.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 who made the announcement said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown which was due to expire on Wednesday July 29.

He said;

“We informed you two weeks ago that the process of submitting the 6th Interim Report and recommendations for next steps had commenced,” said Mustapha who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

“The PTF has reached advanced stages of the process. It has also considered that due to the upcoming Sallah (Eid-El-Kabir) festivities which coincide with the expiration of the current phase, it would be prudent to extend by one week, from 29th July 2020 till Thursday 6th August 2020.

“It has accordingly secured permission to retain the existing guidelines until that date.”

Mustapha also stated that the level of compliance with the existing COVID-19 protocols was discouraging, stressing that a majority of Nigerians have continued to live in denial of the dangerous nature of the disease.


Coronavirus: South Africa closing down schools again as toll rises to 408,052 cases

South African public schools will close again for a month from Monday to limit the spread of coronavirus as the country grapples with surging infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

The country has now recorded 408,052 coronavirus cases, the fifth-highest in the world. More than 6,000 people have died from the virus. Rising infections have caused concern among teaching staff, with unions calling on the government to revoke its decision to reopen schools for certain grades in June. “Cabinet has decided today that all public schools should take a break for the next four weeks,” Ramaphosa said during an address to the nation, adding that the academic year that is due to end in December would be extended.

Schools will be closed from 27 July and scheduled to reopen on August 24.

“We have taken a deliberately cautious approach to keep schools closed during a period when the country is expected to experience its greatest increase in infections,” Ramaphosa said.

The president also announced a “historic” R500 billion ($30 billion) social relief and economic support package to fund the health response and assist “those in greatest need”. Africa’s most industrialised economy is expected to contract by between 6.3 and 7.5 percent due to the pandemic, according to the African Development Bank. [AFP]

Business & Economy

Coronavirus: Buhari’s minister lists effects of lockdown

The federal government has highlighted the effects of the lockdown and physical distancing measures that were implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, claimed it almost led to a complete shutdown of the economy.

Ahmed stated this during her opening address at the capacity building for Special Advisers and Technical Assistants of Ministers, in Abuja.

She, however, noted that Nigeria’s economy would suffer further revenue decline in the third quarter of this year.

“We anticipate that these challenges will continue into the third quarter.

“The necessary implementation of a lockdown and social distancing measures led to a near complete shutdown of economic activities, lay-offs across most sectors, loss of income, and a drop in average household purchasing power,” Ahmed said.

The Minister also revealed that in the first half of 2020, there was a 65 per cent decline in projected net 2020 government revenues from the oil and gas sector, with adverse consequences for foreign exchange inflows into the economy.


Nigerian students threaten protest if Federal Govt fails to announce resumption in two weeks

Students threaten to stage protest if FG fails to announce date of resumption within two weeks

Nigerian students in tertiary institutions have threatened to stage a protest if the Federal government fails to announce a date for resumption of academic activities in all institutions of learning within the next two weeks

The students have been at home since March when schools were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students under the aegis the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), National Association of University Students (NAUS) and National Association of Colleges of Education Students (NANCES), at a virtual meeting, decried Federal Government’s approach towards resumption of learning institutions in the country.?

They condemned the Federal government’s decision to cancel the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCCE).

According to the students, WASSCE can be written while observing social distancing and other safety protocols.

“It is hardly feasible that coronavirus may be eradicated in a fortnight and after months of observing several safety measures, there are little or no gains in the results so far recorded.

‘Huge funds have been used to contain the spread of the virus, but we still have poorly equipped medical centres across the country” they said.

The students urged the Federal government to stop salaries of university teachers and other officials for advocating the continued closure of schools without proffering solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Federal Govt releases guidelines for schools’ resumption amidst Coronavirus pandemic

The Federal Government has released guidelines ahead of the planned resumption of schools at every level in the country but failed to disclose the dates.

The guidelines outlined actions, measures and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the guidelines released by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja on Monday, the safe distancing measures in the new guidelines required that in schools and other learning facilities, learners should be supported to stay two meters apart.

The guidelines which was signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health and health safety experts in the country.

The document reads, “However, there are exceptions where the two-meter rule cannot be reasonably applied and other risk mitigation strategies may be adopted. Examples include early years, younger primary school children, and those with additional needs.

“In these circumstances, risk assessments must be undertaken with the best interests of the learners, teachers, and other education personnel in mind. The scenarios require organizing learners and children into small groups with consistent membership and compliance with the risk mitigation strategies. The membership of these groups should not change unless the NCDC public health guideline suggests otherwise.”

With the release of the document, the government would conduct a rapid assessment and determine funding requirement for upgrading infrastructure and facilities (such as classrooms, furniture, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene-WASH and ICT facilities) to meet and sustain prescribed safe school reopening requirements.

The government said it was time for it to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities.

THE PUNCH reported that schools and all learning facilities were closed due to Coronavirus pandemic in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of children, youths, teachers and educational personnel.

The guidelines included a review of existing policies, practices, and risk mitigation strategies in the use of schools for other purposes, such as distance learn-ing centres, temporary shelters, isolation, quarantine and treatment centres, markets, voting centres, among others.

“COVID – 19 pandemic poses an enormous risk to the health and safety of learners, teachers, parents, school administrators, education practitioners, and the wider community…More than 1.5 billion children and young people globally have been affected by school and university closures.

“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities”, it stressed.

The guidelines dealt extensively on equitable plans for school reopening and operations, focusing on attendance, social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, and non-pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programmes.

Adamu explained that the need to develop the guidelines became imperative, “given that COVID – 19 may be with us for a while.”

He said the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programs.

The Minister said, “Our aim is to identify and strengthen programmes that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.

“The guidelines were drafted in close coordination with health, environmental, education, and school safety experts who were tasked with the responsibility of charting a pathway for safely reopening our schools and learning facilities for quality teaching and learning.”

The approach, according to him, ensured that stakeholders provided regular feedback throughout the process.

Adamu expressed gratitude to the Presidential Taskforce on COVID – 19, FMoH, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Education in Emergencies Working Group in Nigeria for their support and contribution in the development of the guidelines.


COVID-19: Federal Govt to pay salaries of private school teachers owed during lockdown

The President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Yomi Otubela, says the Federal government has agreed to pay the salaries of private school teachers that are being owed by their school management since the lockdown started in March.

A number of private school teachers have come out to cry for help as they have not been paid by their management since March when schools were shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The school management insists they cannot pay salaries since they have also not made money by way of school fees.

Speaking on TVC on Monday morning, July 13, Otubela said the association forwarded a proposal to the Economic Sustainability Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, for the government to pay the salaries of the private school owners and that an approval has been granted to the proposal by the Federal Executive Council.

”We have written to the Federal government to understand that these teachers are teaching Nigerian children and that they need to keep them and their families together during the lockdown.

So the Federal government has listened to our request. We requested that the teachers salaries in private schools should be taken over by the government during the months of the lockdown. We also requested for a single digit loan for private schools to cushion the effect of the COVID19. We requested for support for schools that have existing loans, that they (FG) should liase on our behalf with the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN and CBN will liase with commercial banks and other financial institutions to ensure that they give them soft landing in terms of moratorium to repay and deduction in the interest loan.

The Federal government has approved that they will take over the payment of teachers salaries.

The proposal was sent to the Economic Sustainability Committee headed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and it was approved by the Federal Executive Council.

We are already talking to them to know the modalities for the disbursement”.

He however pointed out that it is only private schools registered under its association that will benefit from the Federal government’s bailout.

Breaking news Metro

FCT Minister releases guideline for reopening of churches, mosques in Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, has issued guidelines for reopening of worship centres across the capital city.

Minister of FCT, Muhammed Bello in a meeting with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Abuja chapter and League of FCT Imams, said some protocols must be adhered to in worship centres.

Bello urged all to use the opportunity to pray fervently for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines are as follows.

”Worshippers must sanitize their hands before entry. Provision of temperature checks before entry.

“Mandatory use of facemasks.

“Churches and mosques within FCT must reduce the capacity of their facility to allow for physical distancing.

“Strongly discourage all close contacts including shaking hands, kissings, handing out materials, and sharing worship implements including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc

”Churches are to open from 5am and close by 8pm and each service shall be for a maximum of 1 hour with an interval of 30 mins in between services to allow time for disinfection;

”Mosques are to open 15 mins before Adhan and close 10 mins after prayers for the five prayers. The waiting period between Adhan and Iqamah should not be more than 10 minutes. Prayers are to be shortened to reduce the duration of contact between congregations;

”For Friday prayers, mosques in the FCT are to open 20 minutes before prayers and close 20 minutes after prayers. Total time for Friday prayers including sermons should not exceed 1 hour.”

Bello further advised all residents of the FCT to take personal responsibility in ensuring strict compliance.


Coronavirus: Lowdown extended by two weeks in Kaduna

The Kaduna State government has extended the Lockdown Orders by two weeks.

This followed the expiration of the 60 days lockdown in the State.

From the month of June, 2020, citizens of the State will start enjoying three free days- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to enable people go out for shopping.

In an address by the State’s deputy governor, Dr Hadiza Balarebe to the citizens of the state, she said, “After 60 days, the state government has reviewed the Quarantine Orders. The Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has approved the recommendation to extend the partial lockdown regulations for two weeks, with adjustments to permit the reopening of certain sectors. These measures are intended to preserve the state’s ability to protect citizens, empower citizens to lead the fight against Covid-19 and make necessary adjustments to the partial lockdown to permit the safe resumption of the pursuit of livelihoods in more sectors.

“When the decision was taken on Saturday, 25th April 2020 to extend the initial lockdown by 30 days, the government also charged a committee of senior officials to begin planning a post-lockdown scenario for the state. That committee has since submitted its report on how to safely reopen Kaduna State, and it identified availability of realistic health data as one crucial factor for making any decision. This is an important matter given the Covid-19 infection in our state and in neighbouring states. Many of the cases recorded in Kaduna State have either been from persons with a history of interstate travel or their contacts.”

She stated that from Monday, 1st June 2020, the revised regulations would come into effect, adding, “They give citizens a three-day window every week to shop for food and other essentials. Until otherwise stated, the lockdown-free days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Temporary neighbourhood markets will continue to operate from 10 am to 4 pm on these three days, but citizens can move from 6 am to 6 pm on these lockdown-free days. Informal markets are not allowed and those flouting regulations by turning streets into markets are advised to stop.”

She said the adjusted orders also expanded the ability of citizens to resume the pursuit of livelihoods, in permitted sectors subject to compliance with health and safety protocols, including physical distancing.

Private sector firms that meet these requirements, she explained would also operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, adding that the window also allows vulcanisers, welders, mechanics and providers of similar services to operate on the same days.

The prohibition of interstate and intercity travel, she said, remains, adding that government officials and mobile courts would enforce the ban to prevent people from spreading the virus through non-essential movement, while the nighttime curfew that has been enforced across the state still remained from 6 pm to 6 am.

She said Schools, places of worship and markets would remain closed under the adjusted orders, stressing that the relevant government officials and agencies will be engaging with religious leaders, transport unions, traditional institutions, market unions, school proprietors and other stakeholders as may be identified from time to time, to discuss the conditions and circumstances for a safe reopening of those sectors.

She further explained that the public sector would use the two-week extension to prepare for limited resumption, while Heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies will ensure that government offices are reconfigured for physical distancing and that handwashing facilities are available.


School feeding during lockdown fuels corruption, Says Rep

The member representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency in Rivers State, Farah Dagogo has frowned at the decision of the federal government to go ahead with the home school feeding scheme despite school being shut down.

Speaking via a statement on Thursday, he described the move as another avenue for cash looting and siphoning.

He said: “Having gauged the pulse of my constituents and those of others from other constituencies, I want to strongly urge the Federal Government to have a re-think on the matter of continuing with the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, now that schools are not in session.

Read Also: 3.1m Households Will Benefit From School Feeding Scheme During Lockdown ― FG

“Rather than continuing with the programme at this time, the funds for the programme should be re- channelled to the health sector to strengthen and sustain the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”


Husband forced to trek to the hospital carrying his sick wife as lockdown leads to a scarcity of public transportation (video)

A Good Samaritan who saw a husband carrying his sick wife as he trekked the long distance to the hospital due to the lockdown in the state was moved to help transport the couple to the hospital.

Due to the lockdown, there were no cars on the road and the husband had no choice but to carry his weak wife while trekking.

The Good Samaritan said the outcome might have been fatal if she had not come along to help them get to the hospital.


Doors to churches across Nations are again declared open, anyone against it will die for it’ – Bishop Oyedepo

Bishop David Oyedepo, senior pastor of Living Faith Church has once again kicked against the continous closure of churches across the nation due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Two days ago, the clergyman kicked against the Federal government allowing markets to open while keeping churches shut.

Speaking at the church’s headquarters in Otta, Ogun state this morning, Oyedepo declared that churches are now open and that anyone who is against this will die for it.

Read also: Oyedepo attacked for criticizing Nigerian Govt for closing church but reopening market

”The doors to churches across Nations are again declared opened this morning. Can I tell you this? Hunger is far more devastating than any virus that will ever visit the earth.

It kills silently. There is no vaccine for hunger. There is no medical solution to hunger.

Hunger has no treatment than to have food and Spiritual famine is far more devastating.

That is what the devil is looking for but he has failed. The church is back on its feet. Anyone who hates to see that dies for it.

The church of Christ on the earth is liberated. Spiritual famine shall not have its way.

Can I tell the world, no one has the answer to a problem like Jesus” he said.


Buhari under pressure to lockdown Nigeria over rising COVID-19 cases

Sacking service chiefs is threat to national unity — Presidency

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Youth Task Force on COVID-19 has again advised President Muhammadu Buhari to lockdown Nigeria due to rising cases on coronavirus.

Itsey Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), in his suggestion, said Nigeria should be locked for two months.

Officials of the Buhari administration have also decried the level of compliance by citizens since the lockdown ease.

On Thursday, the Progressive Students Movement (PSM) joined calls to the federal government to impose a fresh ‘stay at home’ order.

PSM President, Bestman Okereafor, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Okereafor expressed concern about facilities, equipment and health workers preparedness in states.

“The Federal Government, as a matter of urgency, should declare a state of emergency in states with high level of confirmed COVID-19 cases basically to reduce the spread of the pandemic.

“The state of emergency should come on these states through strict enforcement of lockdown for at least two weeks.

“This move had become imperative following the increase in inter-state movement especially at night hours notwithstanding the present night curfew imposed by the Federal Government meant to ensure containment of the pandemic,’’ he said.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country has recorded confirmed cases to 3,145; death toll has passed 100.


Coronavirus: Opening markets, closing churches for COVID-19 wrong –Oyedepo

Bishop David Oyedepo, the Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners’ Chapel International, has questioned the continuous closure of churches over the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he suspects ulterior motives.

Oyedepo, who spoke during the Covenant Hour of Prayer Programme on Wednesday, said if markets could be opened for six hours, there was no reason churches should not be opened for two hours.

The revered cleric said he believed there was a gang up against the growth of the church in the country.

He said, “There is something wrong. For people to be allowed to be in the market for six hours and can’t be in church for two hours, it is an upside-down way of looking at things.

“Which one is more orderly? The market or the church?

“I can smell a rat. The Lord spoke to me on it so strong yesterday. I can smell a rat. Behind all this, how do we stop the church from exploding? The people involved don’t know it.

“The voice of darkness is influencing people at various levels, targeting the church because the growth and expansion of the church is the greatest headache of the devil. But the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The devil and all his agents shall surely pay for this.

“I don’t know what hospital that records the kind of healings that the church of God records. And now hospitals, where people die every day, are open, but the church is closed because the oppression of the devil has no medical cure.”

Earlier, the President of the LoveWorld Incorporated, aka Christ Embassy, Chris Oyakhilome, had slammed church leaders who agreed to the lockdown of churches without praying and consulting with other pastors.

celebrity news

Jaywon arrested for violating Lagos curfew order

Nigerian singer Jaywon was arrested on Monday May 4 by policemen attached to the Dolphin Estate Division of the Lagos State Police Command, for violating the curfew order given by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Recall that President Buhari had declared an overnight nationwide curfew on April 27, in a bid to check the spread of Coronavirus. The curfew began on May 4 and will run from 8pm to 6am daily.

The singer was intercepted and taken into custody by 11pm on Monday while driving to an unknown location.

Read also: Gospel singer Tope Alabi criticized for worldly dance steps, she reacts

Jaywon whose statement was taken at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, was charged before a mobile court on Tuesday May 5. He pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against him, and was ordered him to pay a fine of N10,000. He was also ordered to do a 30 minutes community service.

Business & Economy

Banks will operate as usual everyday — Federal Govt assures Nigerians as lockdown is partially lifted

Banks across Nigeria will continue to operate as usual to meet the needs of customers, the Federal Government has assured even as it lifted lockdown.

According to the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, which giving report at the Presidential Task Force in COVID-19, Nigerians did not need to mob up at banks or ATM centres for transactions, adding that banks would open daily as usual.

His words, “We want to implore all Nigerians to not panic at the advent of lockdown ease, especially as banks and ATM venues.

“Banks will open daily and we will instruct our banks to ensure ATMs are loaded so that people who have no need to enter banks will not.

Mohammed noted that the reason for lockdown and social distancing would be defeated if mammoth crowd are found at banks justling to collect money or carry out other transations.

FELLOW PRESS reported that the Federal Government had on Monday eased lockdown as occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic ravaging Nigeria and global communities, which many states had followed suit.

Meanwhile, Federal Civil Servants from level 14 have been directed to resume work Monday (today).


Lagos Govt directs civil servants not to resume work as lockdown directive expires

The Lagos state government has asked civil servants not to resume work on Monday.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said only civil servants on Grade Level 15 and above are to resume work on Tuesday May 5.

Sanwo-Olu gave the order on Sunday May 3, during a press conference ahead of relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown in the commercial city on Monday May 4. He said the delayed resumption is a deliberate attempt to prevent overcrowding in the state.

The Lagos State Governor further disclosed that only emergency workers and those on essential duties would be allowed to work on Monday.

He said; “In amending the work guidelines earlier issued, which stopped members of the public service from Grade Level 1 to 12 from going to work; we have had to review this position and we are extending the directive to all civil servants, regardless of level. All civil servants must stay away from work on Monday.

“On Tuesday, only officers from Grade Level 15 and above have express permission to come to work. All other essential officers that may need to be at work will be informed by the Accounting Officer of each Ministry as may be required.

“From Monday on, there will be a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am and all movements within these hours are prohibited, except for people on essential services, which are agro-products, petroleum products, relief materials, and food supplies.

“We want to use this as a demonstration of our commitment to the gradual easing of the lockdown. We do not want people to rush out tomorrow and see the easing of the lockdown as an attempt to believe that the spread of the pandemic is all over.”

Breaking news

COVID-19 Lockdown: Kwara Govt announces key decisions starting from Monday

The Kwara state government on Friday said the easing the economic activities in the state will begin on Monday 4, 2020.

The Deputy Governor/ Chairman COVID-19 Commitee in the state, Mr. Kayode Alabi, state this in Ilorin while briefing journalists.

He noted that, “Farmers and related services are to operate under the current Kwara state guidelines earlier spelt out in previous communication

• Strict adherence to NCDC social distancing guidelines (reduction of work force may be necessary to maintain social distancing)

• All workers must wear appropriate face masks

• INTRA-state AND INTER-state transportation of agricultural produces are allowed but

DECONTAMINATION of the vehicles should be carried out after trips to States with high numbers of COVID-19 (Lagos, Abuja and Kano)

• Use of Trailers to transport humans is STRICTLY PROHIBITED

Public works

• All construction firms and workers in the state should resume work
• State Civil Servants should continue to work from home except for those on essential services or those granted special permissions.

Markets, Eateries and restaurants

• Local markets are to operate between 10.00a.m. and 4.00p.m. Other businesses may open at 60% capacity but must adhere to social distancing and other safety measures
• Everybody in the market should wear face masks
• All shops with clearly defined entrance should make provision for hand washing and adhere to social distancing guidelines
• deny entry into their shops to Buyers without face masks
• Marketers are directed to not attend to Buyers without face masks
• The market associations must control the number of people in the market at any particular time to avoid overcrowding.
• Strict sanitation protocols must be observed before entering the market
• Eateries and restaurants should only operate take away services.

Road Transport

• Interstate travels are prohibited as earlier directed by Mr. President. Violators will be sanctioned accordingly
• Intra-state travels are allowed with the following provisions:
• Taxis may operate everyday with maximum of 3 passengers with all Occupants wearing face masks
• Keke napep may operate with maximum of 2 passengers and all Occupants must wear face masks
• All commercial transport vehicles except Okada may operate everyday but at 50% capacity to maintain social distancing. Violations will be resisted and punished.
• Face masks and the use of sanitisers before embarkment by drivers and passengers are compulsory. All vehicles must also have sanitisers onboard during travel.

Sectors to remain closed:

• All schools are to remain closed until further evaluation
• Sport gatherings remain prohibited until further evaluation
• Religious and non-religious gatherings are disallowed until further evaluation.
• Hospitality services (hotels, beer parlours and night clubs) are to remain closed until further evaluation
• Concerts and other social parties/gatherings remain banned until further notice

According to him, “This is in preparation for the gradual easing of lockdown, the government had earlier directed the production of 500,000 face masks which have started coming in in bits.

“At the moment, we have commenced mass distribution of over 40,000 face masks and sanitisers to markets, bus parks and transporters, hospitals, and elsewhere. We will continue to distribute as we receive more masks in the next few days or weeks. We call on private individuals and corporate organisations to also produce masks.”


Lagos Govt announces transportation plans during lockdown ease

As part of continuous effort to curb the spread of the deadly Coronavirus in the state, the Lagos State Government has warned operators of various mechanic workshops to prevent security breaches in their environment, ensure that all abandoned vehicles within their premises are evacuated within the next one week and keep their surroundings clean.

The government warned that it would, through its Committee on the abandoned vehicles, enter any workshop that fails to comply and tow the vehicles away.

Giving the new rules to transporters as the partial ease of the lockdown by the Federal Government in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja commences on Monday, May 4th, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the new guidelines were proactive measures put in place by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to curtail a possible spread of the deadly virus among the commuting public through transportation activities when gradual ease of the lockdown commences.

Oladeinde explained that effective from Monday, 4th of May, all commercial and commuter operations within Lagos shall be between the hours of 6am and 7pm daily, asserting that it is mandatory for all commuters to wear nose covers, wash their hands with soap under running water and, thereafter, use alcohol-based sanitizers before and after each trip.

Announcing the immediate suspension of all inter-State operations and movements, the Commissioner mentioned that the decision was taken to effectively manage and control movement within the metropolis while measuring the level of success achieved with various strategies adopted by the State Government to control further spread of COVID-19.

He affirmed that the use of motorcycles, popularly called Okada, for commercial activities would not support the physical distancing rule as directed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), pointing out, therefore, that Okada operations are disallowed in any part of Lagos State at this period.

While warning public transport operators against any activity capable of undermining government efforts at eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic, Oladeinde disclosed that all transport operators and companies must compulsorily and regularly disinfect their vehicles, parks and garages while they are expected to collaborate with the State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources on the standard of disinfectants approved by the State Government for use.

He also warned all commercial passenger vehicles not to exceed 60 per cent of their capacity at this crucial time, while physical distancing rule must be obeyed both at the parks and in the buses, maintaining that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Lagos Bus Services Ltd (LBSL) must not convey more than 21 passengers, must not permit standing in their buses and should keep the air-conditioning systems switched off always.

“In the same vein, yellow buses, popularly called ‘Danfo’, must not carry more than eight passengers (two on a row), tricycles are to carry just two passengers at the back, while private car owners must also observe the physical distancing,” Oladeinde stated.

Speaking on the activities of transporters involved in the disposal of medical wastes used at COVID-19 isolation centres, the Commissioner insisted that waste handlers must always wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), dispose non-reusable ones and wash reusable ones immediately after each use.

Read also: Why lockdown is being extended in Osun — Gov Oyetola clarifies movements

In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Toyin Fayinka, stated that enforcement of the new transportation guidelines will commence on Monday, 4th of May, 2020, urging motorists to obey the guidelines to avoid encounters with the Special Task Force made up of the Police, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), as well as Abandoned Vehicles and Parks Monitoring Committees.


Why lockdown is being extended in Osun — Gov Oyetola clarifies movements

The Osun State government has announced that it is extending the lockdown order in the State.

The order was supposed to expire on Thursday.

The State Governor, Adeboyega Oyetola disclosed this in a statement released via his Twitter account on Thursday, stating that the lockdown will be eased as from Monday, 4th May, 2020.

According to him, the lockdown was extended in order to avoid escalating community transmissions of coronavirus virus disease.

He said “Good people of Osun, as you are all aware, the two weeks lockdown expires at midnight today.

“But to avoid escalating community transmission of COVID-19, we have decided to extend the lockdown by another three days, starting from 11.59 pm on Thurs. 30th April till Sunday, 3rd May.

“All the prevailing lockdown conditions shall continue during this period, and violators shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.

”Therefore, I urge you all to continue to adhere with the lockdown directives.

“However, starting from Monday, 4th May, 2020, the lockdown will be eased and new rules shall be enforced in line with the recommendations of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the approval of Mr. President and our peculiar situation in Osun.

“There will be a partial lockdown between 6 am and 5 pm from Monday to Thursday to enable the people to go about their businesses and allow the government to run.

“However, total lockdown shall be in force from 6 pm on Thursday to Sunday.

“There shall also be a dusk to dawn curfew from 6pm – 6am starting from Monday to Thursday until further notice.

“Movement of vehicles and persons is outlawed during the period of the curfew except for verified medical emergency cases and those on essential duties.

“The ban on public, religious, political & educational gatherings remains in force. Also, all major markets shall remain shut.

“Citizens must observe such protocols as social distancing, hand-washing & wearing of masks at all times in public places.

“Businesses are expected to provide liquid soap and running water and hand sanitisers, while supermarkets should not have more than 10 persons at any time in their store.

”Inter-state travels are forbidden and as such, our boundaries remain closed.

“There shall be no vehicular & human movement into & out of the State except trucks carrying medicals, beverages, foods, petroleum, construction & agriculture supplies.

“These supply vehicles shall not carry more than three persons.

“Also, intra-city commercial transportation will be permitted from Monday to Thursday every week from 6 am to 5 pm, but transporters are required to adhere to strict social distancing directives.”

Breaking news

Breaking: Federal Govt directs civil servants from level 14 to resume May 4

Civil servants under Federal Government from level 14 have been directed to resume to work on May 4, 2020.

This was contained in a memo signed on Thursday by the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan.

In the memo directed to all heads of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, the HoS said the workers would be allowed to work three times in a week and closing time would be 2pm.

She stressed the observance of social distancing, use of face masks, hand sanitisers, and good general hygiene at all government offices while noting that all Federal Secretariats have been decontaminated and efforts were ongoing to do the same in other public offices.

She said, “Further to Mr President’s broadcast on a phased and gradual easing of the lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19, officers on GL 14 and above and those on essential services are hereby directed to resume work with effect from Monday, May 4, 2020 in the first instance.

Read also: Coronavirus: Nigerian officials barred from foreign trips

“Offices are to open three times a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – and close at 2pm on each day.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had in his address relaxed the lockdown as occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic.

World News

UK PM Boris Johnson to extend lockdown till June over Coronavirus

United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is set to signal lockdown will stay until June today as he gathers Cabinet to thrash out an ‘exit strategy’ – and then fronts a daily coronavirus briefing for the first time since falling ill.

According to Daily Mail, the PM is expected to dash hopes of an imminent end to the draconian curbs crippling the economy, stressing that allowing the killer disease to run rampant again would do even worse damage.

Johnson will put the ‘R’ number – the reproduction rate of the virus – at the heart of the battle, saying he will not take action that lets it rise above one, meaning it is growing.

Government sources have indicated he will also defy calls to treat the public like ‘grown ups’ by spelling out ways in which the lockdown might be eased, saying it is ‘too early’.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said in interviews this morning that the mood among ministers was ‘extreme caution’, endorsing a strong hint from Nicola Sturgeon that restrictions will be extended for another three weeks when the formal review takes place on May 7.

Ms Sturgeon told a briefing in Edinburgh today: ‘It may very well be too early even this time next week in any meaningful way to safely lift the current restrictions… the margins we have for making sure the virus doesn’t take off again are really really tight.’

Read also: List of States with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria as total hits 1728

However, frantic work has been going on behind the scenes to develop an ‘exit plan’, with suggestions island communities with controllable transport links could be used to trial ways of loosening restrictions while ramping up community testing. The Isle of Wight has been mooted as a location for a pilot site. Discussions have also been ongoing about targeting regions with specific measures, with Cornwall considered easier to isolate.


Coronavirus Lockdown: Kam Holding CEO, Kamoru Yusuf, donates 10,000 bags of rice in Kwara

10,000 bags of 5kg rice have been distributed to communities across Kwara State as lockdown ensues across the country.

The food stuffs were donated by Dr. Kamoru Yusuf, the Group Managing Director/CEO of KAM Holding, a leading manufacturer of Iron and Steel products in Nigeria

Kamoru noted that the gesture will serve as palliatives to cushion the effects of lockdown imposed in the state due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state as well as the commencement of Ramadan fasting by Muslim faithful.

The food distribution commenced in Ilorin the Kwara state capital as well as communities across Isin local government area on Sunday with the aim of supporting widows, orphan, vulnerable and less privileged with no religions discrimination.

Dr. Yusuf also advised beneficiaries to observe social distancing during collection stressing that, “We hope to continue to put smiles on the faces of the needy as part of our efforts towards giving back to the society by fighting hunger and poverty.

The traditional rulers who received the donation on behalf of their communities are; the Isanlu-Isin, Oba Solomon Oloyede, the Onigbin of Oke-Onigbin, Oba Kamaldeen Omotayo as well as the Olusin of Ijara-Isin, Oba Omoniyi Banigbe.

They thanked Dr. Kamoru Yusuf for his outsatdning gesture and described him as a philanthropist per excellence whose love for the masses remain firm and consistent.

Reacting, Oba Solomon Oloyede noted that it is not the first time Dr. Kamoru have donated during Ramadan fasting to Isin communities, adding that they have also received palliative aide from Kwara State government in cash which has been distributed to indigents.


Onigbin of Oke-Onigbin, Oba Kamaldeen Omotayo

Expressing the exitement of his community, Onigbin of Oke-Onigbin, Oba Kamaldeen Omotayo, said they have been awaiting such gesture, saying “Kamoru, who is from Iwo-Isin, is one of us. He made same donation last year only that this time is far greater because this year he extended it to the Christians, not just the Muslims that are observing fasting.”

Olusin of Ijara-Isin, Oba Omoniyi Banigbe

Oba Omoniyi Banigbe, the Olusin of Ijara-Isin also expressed appreciation Dr. Kamoru for the donation confirming that the gesture was done in the community previous year.

he Isanlu-Isin, Oba Solomon Oloyede

Meanwhile, the Kwara State government on Thursday extended total lockdown even as 11 Coronavirus cases has been confirmed.


Lockdown: Sanwo-Olu approves online lectures for LASU, LASPOTECH, others

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved special e-portals that will allow Lagos State tertiary institutions commence online lectures as part of measures to reduce the impact of Coronavirus on education.

A statement by Tokunbo Wahab, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, says the seven schools that will benefit from the initiative are Lagos State University (LASU), Lagos State Polytechnic, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), Lagos College of Health Technology and Lagos State College of Nursing and Midwifery.

”Governor Sanwo-Olu approved the virtual classes to ensure physical distancing among students and their lecturers. The move will also help in the maintenance of the State’s tertiary academic calendar despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

All students should maximise the unique opportunity to keep themselves engaged while the lockdown arising from the pandemic lasts.” the statement reads

celebrity news

Nigerians flood Ini Edo’s page as she gives N300,000 to celebrate birthday

There have been more than 3,000 replies and message just in few hours Actress Ini Edo announced giveaway of N300,000 for fans to celebrate her birthday.

The actress who clocks 38 years Thursday took to her social media handle to announce giveaway, just like other celebrities have done to both appreciate and help fans during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Ini Edo wrote, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above ALL that I ask or think,according to the power that worketh in me, Unto Him be all Glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages ,World without end Amen.

“Happy birthday to Me ..A light on a hill that cannot be hidden, I will be giving out 300k to 30 people. Note ..This is for people who are struggling to feed In this pandemic..not for career ,school fees or any of those..for now ,Let’s eat and stay alive… So please drop your account below if you need money to feed
We will pick randomly.stay safe stay home and God bless.”

Meanwhile, 36 state governors of Nigeria has announce lockdown accross interborder to also contain the spread of coronavirus, even as citizens clamour over hunger and lack of money while on stay-at-home compliance.


Coronavirus Lockdown: Buhari and States Govs tolds to provide 3 square meals for Nigerians

Sequel to nationwide lockdown, even as 36 state governors demand for an inter-state two weeks lockdown, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has asked the State Governors to give daily quality three squares meals to residents of their states from their huge and unaccounted security votes.

HURIWA in a statement Thrusday by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko described the inter-State lockdown decision as ‘inhuman, wicked, atrocious and heartless.

The right group said that the 36 State governors whimsically reached an irrational and belated decision for a total lockdown for two weeks at the time that virtually all committed and civilized nations have managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in their nations.

It said this is because politicians at both the National and subnational levels in those countries worked meticulously on the unified and science-based measures across the territorial geography and not in piecemeal as is the case unfortunately in Nigeria.

The group accused the 36 state governors of working at cross purposes due to the absence of a charismatic leadership in Abuja.

Read also: Chinese Govt donates N48m to support Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19

HURIWA further criticised the federal government and the governors for failing to approach the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria like other fellow African political leaders such as Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda or the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

“It is well known that if not for the charismatic leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Ghana’s scenarios would have assumed a basket case in no time. Note that the West African nation of Ghana that is a neighbour to Nigeria but with fewer natural resources is one of the continent’s most impacted countries in terms of coronavirus infection. The country has recorded 636 confirmed cases (as of April 15). The first cases were confirmed on March 12, 2020.

“The government has achieved the phenomenal record of distinction of being lauded for its progress in the area of testing. Although Ghana placed a distant second behind South Africa according to a recent report by Worldometer – a site that specializes in global statistical aggregation, it still dwarfed Nigeria the supposed giant of Africa and the nation that just before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic was the largest economy in Africa but yet the testing capacity of Nigeria for COVID-19 is outrageously disappointing when compared to Ghana.

“ This is because whereas the Ghanain leader leads the National unified efforts of their nation against the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian leader is more of a recluse who has never been seen by the citizens in public but rather chose to speak to the citizens via a pre-recorded television broadcast. Ghana Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in reacting to the increase in cases stressed that it was largely due to proactive measures by the government.”

HURIWA, therefore, called on Nigerians to insist that the minimum benchmark for accepting the further draconian 14 days total inter-state shutdown is for the governors to transparently utilize their security votes through the community, Religious and respected stakeholders to feed the poor people of their states with three quality square meals per day.

It urged Nigerians not to accept anything less than this ‘irreducible minimum benchmark adding that the governors must make adequate logistical arrangements to provide 24/7 security to all parts of the 36 states of the Federation to check the expected rise in violent crimes and attacks by hoodlums and kidnappers on vulnerable communities in their states.

Breaking news

Kwara Govt extends total lockdown for another 14days

The government of Kwara State has extended the lockdown and movements restriction imposed in the state for another 14 days in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection.

The governor of the state, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, stated this in Ilorin while speaking with journalists shortly after the flagoff of the Conditional Cash Transfer for the people of the state, FELLOW PRESS reports.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Governors has also taken a unanimous decision to extend interstate restriction for another 2 weeks to contain the spread of novel Covid-19 pandemic.


Covid-19: Nigerian governors extend lockdown by 2 weeks

Governors of the 36 States of the federation on Wednesday “unanimously” agreed to the implementation of an inter-State lockdown in the country over the next two weeks to mitigate the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 virus from State to State.

The governors, operating under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), reached the agreement after receiving briefing from the Governors of Lagos, Bauchi, Oyo and Ogun States who shared their experiences and lessons from the fight against COVID-19.

A communiqe issued by the NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, at the end of the sixth COVID-19 teleconference meeting said only essential services would be permitted.

State governors called for the decentralization of the COVID-19 response as the best chance of nipping the spread of the virus in communities with over 25 States now affected by the spread of the virus and increasing evidence of community transmission.

Read also: How will people who depend on daily income survive?- Chief Bode George asks amid Coronavirus lockdown

Members of the NGF also voiced serious concern over the rising spread of the virus among health workers and resolved to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to ensure that health workers are “adequately” provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and are “constantly” trained on the use of protective gears.

This followed an update from the NGF Secretariat on the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Governors also resolved to set up COVID-19 committees at the regional level, headed by their State Commissioners of Health in order to strengthen coordinated implementation of necessary public health recommendations across States.

Regional committees, the communique added, will continue to interface with the State Task Force Committees on COVID-19 already established in each State.

The NGF Chairman briefed the forum on the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and coordination efforts with the federal government, multilateral and bilateral partners, and the private sector through the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

The forum held a minute’s silence in honour of all Nigerians who had lost their lives from coronavirus, especially health workers who were in the front lines of the epidemic.

The NGF also congratulated the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, who after nearly four weeks of testing positive and observing very strict medical regime, has now received two consecutive negative test results for the coronavirus.

Members also conveyed their condolence to President Muhammadu Buhari and the people of Borno State on the passing of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, who passed away on April 17, 2020 in the line of duty to the country.

It would be recalled that President Buhari currently imposed lockdown in only the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States to halt the spread of the novel pandemic coronavirus.

Some of the States have taken similar measures to fight the deadly virus but there is no nationwide lockdown from the federal government.

Health experts say the country may be heading towards the need for nationwide lockdown to stop the virus.


COVID-19 Lockdown: Domestic and sexual violence cases rise in Lagos by 50%

COVID-19 Lockdown: Domestic and sexual violence cases rise in Lagos by 50%

The number of domestic and sexual abuse cases being reported daily has increased by as much as 50% since the Coronavirus lockdown started in Lagos, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team has revealed.

According to the LSDSVRT, before the lockdown they received 8 domestic abuse cases daily but now that number has increased by 50% as the lockdown has made it difficult for victims at home to avoid their abusers.

According to Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, the state has now added more helplines while virtual meetings are now being used to resolve abuse cases.

“Before the lockdown, the LSDSVRT used to receive an average of eight new cases daily, since the lockdown came into effect, we started to receive an average of 13 new cases daily and this is coming from our major hotline.” Vivour-Adeniyi said to SaharaReporters on Monday.

“Because of this pandemic, we had to include two other hotlines and we have our USSD short code that people are taking advantage of to report, as well as social media.

Read also: Heartbroken bride thankful that lockdown unveils groom’s secret as married man

“We have increased our accessibility and we have seen an increase in calls; people calling to report cases, get advice and psycho-social support as well as people calling on behalf of others.”

“During this period, because of the restriction on movement, provision of shelter is last resort when there is no other option.

“Options include survivors being moved to family members’ house. We have been able to insist or encourage the alleged abusers to leave the house for the wife and the children and we have had online mediation.

“We leverage on sexual assault referral centres and primary healthcare centres. We have 67 primary health care centres that provide sexual assault management services.

“If the incident has happened, the survivors need to have access to the test, which would be done and we need to be able to collect and present the evidence needed in securing a conviction.”

She also warned perpetrators, that the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.

She added, “Perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence may think because this lockdown is ongoing, they can act with impunity.

“The Lagos State Government would ensure that the long arm of the law catches up with such persons.”

celebrity news

COVID-19: Funke Akindele breaks silence, warn fans to comply with lockdown order

Nollywood actress and filmmaker, Funke Akindele-Bello has revealed she learnt a lot during her trial and prosecution for contravening the social gathering ban by throwing a birthday bash for her husband, Abdulrasheed Bello, aka JJC Skills.

The Jenifa star in the new video shared to her Instagram page, urged people to collaborate with the government by remaining in their homes as the fight against the spread of coronavirus continues.

The actress said: “These past few weeks have been a learning curve but we must keep moving forward. My dear friends, coronavirus is real. We must collaborate with the Lagos State Government and Federal Government by staying at home, staying safe.”

View this post on Instagram

Let’s all #stayhome and #staysafe #Thiswillpass

A post shared by Funke Akindele Bello (@funkejenifaakindele) on


Coronavirus lockdown: ATM, mobile transfer, electricity charges should be suspended – PDP tells Buhari govt

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the suspension of charges for use of ATM cards and low amount mobile fund transfers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

PDP made the call in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday in Abuja.

It stated that the suspension of such charges should be part of the panacea to ease the burden on poor Nigerians during the lockdown.

The party called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately open an arrangement with commercial banks to suspend the charges.

Ologbondiyan said the lockdown had subjected the majority of Nigerians to extensive use of ATM and mobile transfers for survival, making the suspension of charges on minimal transactions within this period of restriction highly imperative.

He said that the lifting of the charges within the period of COVID-19 pandemic would ease the burden on cash withdrawals by vulnerable citizens and encourage more Nigerians to support one another at this critical time.

“The PDP demands the CBN to immediately liaise with commercial banks and stimulate a special social sustenance modality to defray the cost of such charges, particularly to cover minimal transactions in favour of vulnerable Nigerians,” he said.

Breaking news

Buhari’s minister reveals 130,455 out of 428,941 who received cash in 24 states are from Katsina

Coronavirus: We’ve started immediate cash transfer to poorest households, says FG

President Muhammadu Buhari administration, on Sunday gave an update on Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to Nigerians.

But the latest information will again irk Nigerians who have been condemning the criteria.

The Government announced that of the 428,941 beneficiaries that have received money, 130,455 are from Katsina State.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, spoke at the weekend, during the delivery of three trucks of rice to the Katsina Government.

She also flagged-off the disbursement of TraderMoni and MarketMoni to hundreds of beneficiaries in the state to boost their buinesses.

A statement by her spokesman, Salisu Dambatta, said Faqouq, was represented by the Deputy Director in charge of Disaster Management, Abubakar Sulaiman.

Farouq explained that the TraderMoni is a N10,000 loan to traders that depend on daily income, while the N5,000 MarketMoni is for providers of essential services, including shoe-makers and vulcanisers.

The minister also disclosed that the first phase of the CCT of N20,000 to the poor and vulnerable households in Katsuna state has been concluded.

“As at April 17th, 2020, a total of 428,941 beneficiaries have benefited from the Conditional Cash Transfer in 24 states, with 130,455 of them from Katsina State”, the statement read.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a technical committee to work with the Ministry to expand the National Social Register by one million additional households in order to include more vulnerable people whose conditions are at risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Governor Aminu Masari, represented by Hon. Abubakar Nasir, thanked the Buhari administration delivering the palliatives.

Katsina is the home state of Buhari and is not on the top five states worst hit by coronavirus.

The parameters used are not clear but citizens have argued that Lagos, a city of 22 million and under presidential lockdown should be top priority.

Nigerians and groups continue to insist that the CCT policy is enmeshed in fraud and are demanding the full list of beneficiaries.

Last Wednesday, Bola Tinubu, national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, advised the Buhari administration to send money to Nigerians via Bank Verification Number (BVN).


Abba Kyari: We couldn’t invite soldiers to flog crowd at burial – Presidency

The Presidency has opened up on the crowd that attended the burial rites of former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Abba Kyari at the Gudu Cemetery, Abuja.

Speaking to reporters, Garba Shehu, the President’s aide on Media and Publicity, said there was nothing they could do to bar the crowd.

Shehu said they did not invite the crowd at the funeral and could not have invited soldiers to flog and chase them away.

He explained further that the burial was delayed in their attempt to maintain social distancing but had to proceed as more people kept trooping to the cemetery

“Was there any invitation for the public to come for the burial? Go back to my Twitter handle and read what I posted. From 10am, when we picked up the body at the airport, we sent a message out that the funeral will be private and that the public should please go and pray for Abba Kyari.

“We also said no condolence visits to the President and family. What can we do? Are we going to invite soldiers to flog people who came to pay their last respect to the man?

“We didn’t invite people. We were trying to move people back and observe social distancing and it was delaying the funeral. We just have to do it because people are not ready to leave. What are we going to do?” he asked.


Lockdown: Sex workers reduces charges to attract customers, say COVID-19 not real

After the lockdown pronouncement in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 31, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Sex Workers Association, Amaka Enemo, said sex workers in the country had suspended activities.

Enemo said that although sex workers offered “essential services,” they would remain indoors because their services involved “substantial bodily contact,” adding that the association had sensitised its members to the dangers of COVID-19.

Enemo had said, “There is sensitisation across the country including within our network. Sex workers also offer essential services. However, there is no way sex workers can do their work without bodily contact. So, they are staying at home to watch what happens.

“The government has announced a lockdown and as law-abiding citizens, we will not flout the law. If the government says sit at home, we will all obey because nobody wants to die.”

But a sex worker, Blessing (not real name) defied all odds to continue in her line of business.

Read also: President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, passes on

“Abeg, forget that thing; (there is) nothing like coronavirus in Nigeria,” Blessing reiterated, dismissing the national coordinator’s statement. “I told you that government is just using it to steal our money.”

“Do you want short time?’ she asked in obvious desperation to get down to business.

“It is N2,000,” she concluded without waiting for a response.

After haggling back and forth, she agreed rather reluctantly to collect N1,000 offered by our correspondent.

“Hey! Na because of this COVID-19 you com dey price am like this, abi?” the light-complexioned, short lady marvelled. “Ok, let’s do it quickly so I can go outside to look for another customer,” she added, handing a small bottle of sanitiser to our correspondent preparatory to the ‘action.’

“I only use the hand sanitiser for customers like you who believe there is coronavirus in Nigeria,” she noted, indifferently.

Our correspondent at this point backed out to the disappointment of Blessing who lamented she hadn’t got any customer all day.

Read also: Covid-19: Four members of coronavirus Task Force test positive in Kano

“I wouldn’t have wasted my time talking to you if I knew you were not a good customer. My manager would think I had a customer already,” she thundered.

Manager, sex workers cut down charges

About to exit the brothel, some sex workers loitering around the alleyway surged forward to engage our correspondent.

One of them, about five-foot tall, donning a pink skimpy skirt and see-through top exposing the better part of her cleavage, wanted to take our correspondent to her room.

Our correspondent, however, insisted to have a discussion with her over the transaction at a corner outside the premises where a tall, lanky man in police uniform was puffing away on a cigarette. She agreed.

“Give me N3,000 for 30 minutes,” the young woman, identified only as Ruth, demanded.

As part of the terms and conditions of the deal, Ruth assured our correspondent of as many rounds as possible while the duration lasts. “But if you ‘come’ early and you can’t regain your stamina, na your luck be that o,” she added amid wry smiles.

The price was eventually reduced to N2,000 and after a second thought, she accepted the offer citing low patronage for her decision.

When the transaction appeared to have been finalised and Ruth wanted it sealed in her room, our correspondent digressed into COVID-19.

“Coronavirus no dey anywhere,” she asserted confidently. “I wan carry am sef if hin dey. No virus fit infect me because God made it clear that my body is not for the devil; it is not for sickness. It is for Him.”

She continued, “Some of my friends who believe the virus is real had left. For those of us here now, we don’t believe it exists. Let’s go inside; I will give you hand sanitiser.”

Ruth later walked away to scout for another prospective customer when she realised our correspondent was non-committal.


Coronavirus: FRSC declares punishments for lockdown violators

The Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Boboye Oyeyemi, has directed Sector Commanders of FCT and Lagos State to work with authorities to ensure effective Mobile Court operations for violators of the COVID-19 lockdown order.

Bisi Kazeem, Public Education Officer, in a statement on Friday, said the establishment of the Court followed some citizens’ disregard for restrictions.

Kazeem listed the penalties that defaulters prosecuted according to the law would face.

“For individuals arrested violating the order, they will be liable to pay the sum of N10000 as fine and also engage in community service for 7 days.

“Tricycle Operators who violate will pay the sum of N7000, while Motorcycle operators will pay N7000, Cars N20000, and Trucks N50000. All the fines also attract a 7-day compulsory community service.”

In Abuja, Kazeem disclosed that the Mobile Court will operate at 3 different locations – Mpape, Dantata Bridge by Airport Road and AYA Roundabout.

Read also: “Tell the people that you raped me the first night we met”– Chanel Chin to Oluwo of Iwo

“Violators of the lockdown order will be tried and if found guilty, will be fined and their vehicles impounded until the lockdown order is lifted”, he added.

FRSC cautioned non-essential workers to stay in their homes as the government battles to curtail the spread of coronavirus.


Heartbroken bride thankful that lockdown unveils groom’s secret as married man

Lagos bride Yetunde Alaka thanks President Muhammadu Buhari, lockdown unlocks groom’s secret.

A Lagos would-be-bride, Yetunde Alaka, has described the lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari as a blessing in disguise.

Miss Alaka had her wedding scheduled for 5 April, but it was put off because of the coronavirus lockdown.

The postponement let her into a secret: her would-be-husband was already married to another woman.

”I had to stay with my in-laws to-be because of the lockdown and was surprised to hear them discussing about his first wife that I never knew existed.

”They still don’t know that I know. I just came up with some excuses to go and stay with a family friend residing near them.

”When some things happen, they appear to steal your joy, but they are truly a blessing in disguise.

”I am heart-broken, but I believe that the wedding didn’t happen as planned for a good reason,” Yetunde Alaka said.

President Buhari had announced extention of lockdown in his second address to Nigerians as a result of prevailing Coronavirus pandemic.


Covid-19: 16,744 households in Kaduna have received N20,000 cash

No fewer than 16,744 poor households have received N20,000 each in the ongoing implementation of the Federal Government’s National Social Investment Programme in Kaduna State.

The Federal Government is disbursing N446.5 million to 22,380 vulnerable households under the scheme to cushion the effects of coronavirus pandemic impact in the state.

The Head of the Cash Transfer Unit in the state, Hajiya Hauwa Abdulrazaq, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ikara Local Government Area of the state.

Read also: Hoodlums attack vehicle conveying foodstuffs, stole yams

Abdulrazaq said that the disbursement which took place between April 7 and 15 had been concluded in eight out of the nine benefiting Local Government Areas of the state.

She explained that the programme began in the state in 2017 with about 10,000 beneficiaries, but expanded to 22,380 beneficiaries in the current year. Abdulrazaq identified the benefiting councils as Chikun, Birnin Gwari, Ikara, Kachia, Kauru, Kubau, Kajuru, Lere and Sanga. According to her, 22,040 of the 22,380 beneficiaries received N20,000 each being payment for the months of January, February, March and April at N5000 per month.

She added that 340 new beneficiaries, whose payments were to begin from March received N10,000 each being payment for the months of March and April. “So far, N19.7 million has been disbursed to 978 poor households in Sanga; N12.2 million to 604 beneficiaries in Kachia and N69.1 million to 3,487 households in Lere LGA. “We have also disbursed N34.1 million to 1, 720 households in Kauru, more than N62.3 million to 3,108 beneficiaries in Kajuru, N41.2 million to 2,053 in Kubau and N34.1 million to 1,719 beneficiaries in Chikun.

“We have just concluded the disbursement of N61 million to 3,075 beneficiaries in Ikara local government area,” she said. The official said that the exercise would be concluded on April 21, with the disbursement of N112.8 million to 5,636 vulnerable households in Birnin Gwari council. She said that more vulnerable household would be captured in the Social Register to increase the number of beneficiaries in the state.

“In fact, more than 14,000 new beneficiaries have were enrolled in March, their names had been sent to the national office for approval.

“I am sure that Kaduna state would also benefit from the one million vulnerable households that would be added in the Social Register as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari,” she said. NAN reports that the exercise in Chikun and Ikara areas was hitch-free as most of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the support. (NAN)


Hoodlums attack vehicle conveying foodstuffs, stole yams

According to the video shared by Lere Olayinka, the ex-spokesperson to former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, the vehicle was attacked by unknown hoodlums and raw food were carted away.

The screen of the car, which was conveying tomotoes, water melons and other food items, was also badly damaged.

The driver said all yams in the vehicle were stolen after his attackers mounted rockblocks and robbed him.

FELLOW PRESS had reported how two vehicles conveying bread and bags of rice were also attacked along Lagos and Abuja lastweek even as Federal Government extended lockdown as well as many states across the country to curtail spread of coronavirus disease (covid-19).

Watch video below:


Covid-19: NCDC reveals goals behind lockdown order, what Nigerians should expect

The Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has appealed to residents of Lagos, FCT and Ogun to be patient while the lockdown order over the outbreak of Coronavirus is being enforced.

Speaking on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’, the NCDC DG stated that the objective of the lockdown is not to end the outbreak but to stop transmission to some extent.

Chikwe further revealed that the second goal of the lockdown was to enable the public health response to build up its efficiency.

He said;

“The goal of the lockdown is not to get to the end of this outbreak because that is not a realistic goal; the goal of the lockdown was to keep people a little bit apart to stop transmission to some extent.

“The second goal was to enable the public health response to build up its efficiency and that is really what we have focused on in the last two weeks and what we will work very hard on in the next 10 days to make sure that we finalise.”

Chikwe who disclosed that tackling COVID-19 was easier said than done in a complex country like Nigeria which has population density and unique challenges, insisted that there were indicators that there have been fewer contacts among individuals by 60-70 per cent.

He added;

“We have a big problem ahead of us … we must focus on the problem at hand and that is really what we are encouraging all of us to do at state, federals.

“We can get ahead of this but we can’t do that if we keep disputing lab results and fighting over details of things that are not really relevant in the big response.

“Life will never be the same, it will not be the same and Nigerians have to prepare for a different type of life once the lockdown starts and that’s really my big message today; life will not be the same as we knew it before COVID-19 – a lot of changes that we have introduced into the society will have to continue in the short term.”


Nigerians who top up N100 airtime, have N5,000 account balance will benefit from Conditional Cash transfer

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says urban poor dwellers with an account balance of N5,000 or less will be among the beneficiaries of the Federal Government Conditional Cash Transfer scheme.

The minister made this known when she fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Tuesday, April 14. She added that Nigerians who buy N100 call credit are also people who will be considered poor and vulnerable and will be allowed to benefit from the scheme.

The minister, who earlier confirmed that N-Power beneficiaries were being paid their stipends, stated on Tuesday that the prospective beneficiaries would be part of the additional one million households approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to boost the nation’s social register.

President Buhari had on Monday, in a broadcast, directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks.

The president said that the expansion of the social register was part of the palliative measures to address the hardship being experienced by the poor and vulnerable members of the society as a result of the extension of the lockdown order.

The minister, who had earlier updated the president on the activities of her ministry, revealed that those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out president’s directive on expansion of the social register would focus more on the urban poor.

She said: “You are also aware that Mr President in his broadcast yesterday (April 13) has directed that we expand the beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer by one million.

“In this regard, we are going to focus more on the urban poor. These are people who depend on informal sector to earn their livelihood – They are daily wage earners and these are people we are really going to focus more on as well as people living with disabilities.”

The minister further explained that apart from the National Social Register, the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and previous record of purchase of recharge card by mobile phone owners would form parts of criteria in identifying the beneficiaries of the cash transfer.

She said: “We are also using the mobile network, people that top up their phones with maybe N100, N200. These are the people we consider to be poor and vulnerable.”

Nigerians have expressed displeasure with the methods the federal government has employed in the disbursement of cash and food items. Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) criticized President Muhammadu Buhari for “failure to provide palliatives” to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.