FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK
Written by MaryGift Sunday on September 5, 2020
The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News, to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:
- NLC, TUC plan total strike against fuel price hike
Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress (TUC) are consulting civil society allies and relevant organs of Labour towards embarking on strike over hike in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, from N148 to N161 per litre. The consultations for strike was disclosed on Thursday as the Senate hinted it might hold an emergency session to address worries raised by hike. The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja that the NLC and TUC would convoke a meeting next week to deliberate on modalities for an industrial action. He also said NLC and TUC would visit Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital to protest against alleged clampdown on labour activists by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike. Both NLC and TUC accused Governor Wike of demolishing its Rivers State council office on February 2. Wabba alleged the demolition took place when workers started making demands for their entitlements based on new national minimum wage.
On the price hike, he said: “Clearly, the action of the Federal Government is most insensitive and an affront to the Nigerian people who are bearing heavy burden of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everywhere in the world, governments are granting various types of palliative but ours is interested in piling more miseries on its citizens. We will resist this latest move to impoverish the mass of the working people.” He stated that increasing petroleum prices and electricity bills at a time people were losing jobs, when businesses were adversely affected by COVID-19, was a wicked step. “They have developed a thick skin that our pleas and cries no longer mean anything to them. No government has raped this country like the present one; ironically it has enjoyed our understanding the most. They beat us and when we cry, they send security operatives after us or force us to pay a fine of N5m for ‘’hate speech’’. Our patience has run out,” he said.
- Nationwide Curfew Now 12 Midnight To 4am – FG
The Federal Government has adjusted the curfew from 12 midnight through 4am, as it continues the gradual easing of lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this on Thursday during a briefing in Abuja. In June, the PTF adjusted the initial nationwide curfew of 8:00 pm – 6:00 am to 10:00 pm – 4:00 am in a bid to limit social interactions and, reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. The PTF boss, however, explained that people on essential service and travellers returning from abroad are exempted from the curfew.
“We are modifying the curfew to commence from 12 midnight to 4am nationwide, effective from 12:00 tonight. “This does not apply to people on essential services and international travellers that might be returning from abroad.” He also stated that all limitations to land travels have been lifted and markets across the country can now open and operate all day. Similarly, the PTF national coordinated also stated that cinemas and amusement parks can also operate, with the exception of bars and night clubs, which he said, will remain closed.
- International Flights Resumption: Incoming Airlines To Carry 200 Passengers Per Trip – FG
The Federal Government has issued a schedule for the partial resumption of international flights, after months of suspension due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country. A tweet by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Saturday showed that the flight schedule was signed by its Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu. In the document dated September 4, 2020, the aviation agency stated that a maximum of 200 passengers per incoming flights would be allowed into the country. It explained that the limitation was due to the limited number of approved incoming passengers at 1,280 per airport on a daily basis.
The schedule, which was addressed to all aviation stakeholders and foreign airline operators flying into the country, however, stated that there was no limit on the number of outgoing passengers from the country. It read, “Kindly note due to the limited number of approved incoming passengers (1,280) allowed daily per each airport, it is not possible to accommodate the requested schedule of airlines. “However, over the next few weeks as the number of allowed incoming passengers is increased, additional flight frequencies will be allocated to airlines in addition to accommodating any airline that meets the requirements for resumption of flight operations into Nigeria.” “The approved schedule is based on a maximum number of 200 passengers per each incoming flight to Nigeria. There is no limit on the number of outgoing passengers,” the memo added.
- Oyo cancels curfew, converts isolation centres to healthcare facilities
The Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, headed by Governor Seyi Makinde, has announced the cancellation of the 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. curfew imposed on the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, which contained details of the report of the task force meeting held on August 31, 2020, and presided over by the governor, indicated that the curfew had been abolished after a series of reviews. The task force, however, specifically warned operators of night clubs to desist from accommodating persons in closed areas within their premises, adding that research has confirmed that the virus spreads faster when people cluster in closed venues. According to the statement, an advisory would be sent to night club owners by the emergency operations centre (EOC) arm of the task force to warn operators not to allow guests into their enclosed areas.
The statement further indicated that the task force had warned residents of the state to continue to follow the Own Your Action initiative of the state’s COVID-19 Task Force, as, according to the task force, the state “is not completely out of the woods with regards to COVID-19.” Meanwhile, the governor has also approved the conversion of the Aawe Isolation Centre to a Level 3 Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), directing that the facility should be decontaminated and handed over to the Hospital Management Board. Similarly, the statement confirmed that the task force had approved that except for the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan, other isolation centres in the state could be converted to Level 3 PHCs. It, however, stated that whenever a spike in COVID-19 cases is noticed in the location where any of the facilities is situated, such a facility would be re-converted as an isolation centre or a part of it will be so utilised as an isolation centre.
- Govs, Ohanaeze commend Buhari as Enugu airport reopens
A year and six days after the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria shut down flights operation at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport for safety concerns, the airport was on Sunday reopened for business. FAAN had on August 24, 2019 shut down flight operations in the airport after prominent Igbo sons and daughters lamented the deplorable state of the airport, describing it as a death trap. President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently approved N10bn special fund for the reconstruction/ rehabilitation work at the airport after the South-East Governors and Igbo leaders led a delegation to the presidency. Speaking during the official reopening on Sunday, the president who was represented by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said that the completion of work at the runway and the reopening of flights operation “was a promise kept.”
Buhari said the Airport was so important to the aviation industry as well as to the people of the South-East because of its revenue base, adding that was why everything humanly possible was done to see that the Airport reopened on time. Sirika said that by approving the sum of N10bn for the rehabilitation of the airport, Buhari had shown how dedicated he was towards the infrastructural development of the South-East and the country at large. “With the airport reopening today, it is now open to local flights and on 5th September, International flights will resume as soon as we begin to allow them into the country,” the minister said. He added that he had also approved the sum of N1bn for the continuation of works at the International Terminal building as well as the Cargo terminal, in a bid to upgrade the airport to international standards. The minister commended the South-East governors for their support in ensuring that the repair works were carried out as quickly as possible and thanked the governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, especially for removing the obstacles that would have hindered the progress of the project.
- Akinwumi Adesina Sworn-In For Second Term As AfDB President
Dr Akinwumi Adesina has been sworn-in as the newly re-elected eighth President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a second term. The swearing-in ceremony and oath-taking took place on Tuesday and was broadcast virtually. The event was attended by Heads of States, Governors, Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and over 200 external stakeholders who joined physically and virtually. The Chairperson of the AfDB board of Governors and Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Attah, administered the oath of office. The bank, Africa’s premier development finance institution, comprising of 54 regional and 27 non-regional member countries, was able to impact the lives of 335 million Africans.
Dr Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was re-elected on August 27 to serve a second five-year term, after a unanimous vote of all Governors, regional and non-regional members of the Bank. The election which was announced by the former Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Bank, Mrs. Niale Kaba, Minister of National Planning of Côte d’Ivoire, took place on the last day of the 2020 55th Annual Meetings. The AfDB President described his re-election as historic, becoming the first President of the bank to be re-elected by 100 percent votes of all its shareholders and the first Nigerian to hold the post.
- Sanwo-Olu meets FAAN team, seeks remodelling of Murtala Muhammed International
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday met with the management team of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ahead of next Saturday’s reopening of airspace for international flights, urging a remodelling of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA). Discussions at the meeting focused partly on actionable steps being put in place at the MMIA by the federal and state governments to give travellers comfort and better experience when the facility is opened for air traffic.
The FAAN team, led by its Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, also made request to the governor for intervention germane to the seamless operations of the Lagos airport, which contributes 70 per cent of FAAN’s total revenue. Sanwo-Olu said officials of the state government had been working round the clock with the Federal Government to initiate safety protocols at the airport and drive compliance. The effort, he said, would be followed by a joint assessment of the airport facility with FAAN and other agencies.
The governor, who explained the development activities embarked on by the state government to ensure travellers have better experience while passing through the airport, said that the state had already started the construction of a world-class bus terminal close to the airport. Sanwo-Olu said: “An airport is a gateway that defines the nation, because it is the first facility to be seen by international travellers. The Murtala Mohammad International Airport is an important asset, not only to the Federal Government but also to Lagos State. The strategic use of this airport should necessitate the need for us to fully harness the asset and make it a bubbling destination for tourists and businessmen coming into the country.
- CAMA not targeted at churches – FG reassures
The Federal Government has assured religious bodies in the country that the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA) does not target churches, mosques and other religious bodies, as had been wrongly portrayed. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Ita Enang, gave the assurances on Tuesday during an interaction with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Abuja.
The meeting was organised for the purposes of giving enlightenment to the Christian body over the contentious provisions of the CAMA. Enang expressed displeasure that some politicians, especially those from the opposition, had wrongly characterised the intents and purposes of the Act, giving it as an anti-religious law. He said the misconceptions that had trailed the Act had found their way in through deliberate misinformation, explaining also that some had intended to blackmail President Muhmmadu Buhari with it.
- International flight: FG bars Air France, KLM, others, approves 14 airlines
The Federal Government has released the list of nine airlines granted approval to commence international flights in Nigeria. Speaking at a briefing of the Presidential TaskForce on Thursday, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, confirmed the September 5 as the date for the resumption flights, backing an earlier statement issued by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority. He added that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport would be opened up for operations. The minister noted that Air France, KLM, Etihad, RwandAir, Air Namibia, Royal Air Maroc, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines were denied approval to commence flight operations.
He said Cabo Verde and South African airlines were denied approval as international flights were yet to resume in their countries. Middle East Airline, British Airways, Delta, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Air Peace, Virgin Atlantic, Asky Airlines, Africa World Airways, Air Cote-d’ Ivoire, Kenya Airways, EgyptAir, Turkish Airlines were all granted approval to resume. Sirika said, “Abuja and Lagos will be open for operations on the 5th of September. We are satisfied with the preparations so far. We don’t anticipate any hitches.
- Supreme Court Upholds Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor
The Supreme Court has upheld the election of Yahaya Bello as the Governor of Kogi State. In its Judgement delivered on Monday, the Apex Court, led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, disagreed with the appeal filed on five grounds by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Kogi Governorship Election, Musa Wada.
Mr Wada claimed that the election held on November 16, 2019, was riddled with serious electoral infractions; rigging and over-voting, and that Governor Bello didn’t secure the highest vote.
The apex court also dismissed the seven grounds of appeal filed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate, Natasha Akpoti, which includes an allegation of age falsification against the Kogi State Deputy Governor. Other members of the panel include Justices Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Inyang Okoro, Amina Augie, Uwani Abba-Aji.
- Edo election: PDP, APC reduce campaign to personalities – YIAGA Africa
An election monitoring group, YIAGA Africa, says the APC and the PDP have engaged in a campaign of calumny and mudslinging ahead of the Edo Sept. 19 Governorship poll. The group made the observation in a statement issued by the Executive Director, Samson Itodo on Tuesday in Benin. It said that it was unfortunate that both parties had reduced their campaigns to contest of personalities rather than make the campaigns issue-based to win the people’s votes. YIAGA Africa Watching The Votes (WTV’s) said the APC and the PDP were the most dominant of the 14 political parties that registered for the election. It noted that the analysis was part of Yiaga Africa WTV’s first pre-election observation in the state. “YIAGA Africa deployed long term observers throughout the state to observe the pre-election environment and monitor government responses to COVID-19 in the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
“This pre-election observation includes violence monitoring as part of an early warning system designed to prevent electoral violence and track the prevalence of human rights violations, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The findings from the 18 local government areas revealed that political campaigns appear to be dominated by PDP and APC. “The WTV long term observers reported incidences of violent verbal and physical attacks, identity-based violence and hate speech rhetorics as campaign strategies employed by both parties. “The observers also reported the repositioning of cult groups as political merchandise for the election as well as sexual and gender-based violence in some of the LGAs in the state,” it stated.
- IGP assures of neutrality in Edo, Ondo governorship elections
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has said that the police will be professional and neutral during the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states. The IGP, who disclosed this at a one-day interactive session with conveners/representatives of the various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), yesterday, at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, also assured that the police would provide a level playing ground for all during the elections. He called for improved collaboration and support from civil society groups in the country towards the successful conduct of the September 19 and October 10, 2020 Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections respectively.
Adamu noted that the meeting became necessary as part of ongoing efforts by the Force leadership to galvanise critical stakeholders to share knowledge, compare notes and experience on the conduct of elections in the country. He further assured the CSOs of adequate security and enjoined them to assist the police in identifying impostors who may want to hide under the umbrella of accredited CSOs to foment trouble during the elections. The CSOs, on their part, pledged support for the police and other agencies involved in election security management in the country. They commended the IGP for the existing cordial relationship between the police and the CSOs and also for his quick responses to issues bordering on human rights abuses, sexual and gender based violence and so on.
- Petrol price should be about N155/litre – Marketers
The pump price of petrol should be closer to N155 per litre, the Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said. Oyebanji, who is the managing director/chief executive officer of 11Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc), said this on Tuesday on CNBC Africa. Petrol price was increased by marketers to between N148 and N150/litre in August, as the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency remained silent as regards the guiding retail price for the month.
Following the sharp drop in crude oil prices which led to the reduction in the pump price of petrol in March, the PPPRA had said it would advise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and oil marketing companies on the monthly guiding retail price at which the product shall be sold across the country. Oyebanji said the under-recovery of N5.35bn recorded by the NNPC in June had to do with the inventory losses that would have occurred because of the reduction in prices at the time. He said, “However, going forward, we still note that there is still an element of subsidy because when you look at the prices that were posted for the month of August, for instance, NNPC is still retailing petrol at N145 when really the price should be closer to N155.
- Petrol price now N151.56 per litre ― PPMC
The price of petrol has been increased to N151.56 per litre, according to Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
In a statement obtained by newsmen, D.O Abalaka of the PPMC, stated: “Please be informed that a new product price adjustment has been effected on our payment platform. “To this end, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) is now one hundred and fifty-one naira, fifty-six kobo (N151.56k) per litre.”
He added: “This takes effect from September 2, 2020.”
- NLC, MAN, others kick against electricity tariff hike
Electricity consumers, labour unions and key stakeholders in the economy on Tuesday kicked against increase in electricity tariff implemented by power distribution companies across the country on Tuesday. Those that spoke to The Punch on the tariff adjustments included the Nigeria Labour Congress which vowed to resist the increase, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria which said the hike could precipitate recession in the third quarter of the year, the and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The NLC said the hike would further impoverish Nigerians. The congress argued that the implementation of the new tariff on Tuesday was despite the resolution of the Senate and the direct orders of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), that the decision by the electricity distribution companies on tariff should be suspended until further notice.
NERC and the Discos had said that the new service reflective tariff took effect from September 1 (Tuesday). The Discos said on Tuesday that electricity customers, except those receiving less than 12 hours of supply, would have to pay more. With the review, the tariffs being charged residential consumers receiving a minimum of 12 hours of power supply has increased by over 70 per cent. The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said the move would be resisted and cautioned the DISCOs against going ahead with the implementation of the new electricity tariff. He stated this in a statement on Tuesday titled ‘Increase in electricity tariff by Abuja DISCO – A taunting of the will of the Nigerian people gone too far’.
- Kebbi floods huge setback for food production, says Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, lamented the recent floods in Kebbi State which claimed lives and destroyed farmlands. While regretting the lives lost, Buhari described the destruction of farmlands as a huge setback for his regime’s commitment to local production of food. Buhari’s position was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu. Shehu said Buhari expressed deep concern over the floods that took a number of lives, submerged thousands of hectares of farmlands and houses, destroying farm produce and personal belongings in the affected communities. He quoted the President as saying, “I am particularly sad over this incident because it’s a setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to stop food importation.
“Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part of this administration’s commitment to agricultural revival which suffered relative neglect in favour of food importation. “With the loss of six lives and still counting; thousands of hectares of land flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion Naira by rice farmers in Kebbi State, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production. “This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets.” Buhari, while sympathising with the bereaved families and farmers affected by the floods, assured them that “we are going to work closely with the Kebbi State Government in order to bring relief to the victims”.
- FG seeks private participation to power five million rural homes
To address the challenges facing over 70 percent rural population, curb growing rural to urban migration as well as spur economic activities, the Federal Government, Tuesday unveiled plans to power over five million homes through renewable energy. Speaking at the inauguration of a 12KWP Volsus Solar For Health (VSFH) Mini-grid with 58KWH battery bank, and the Sustainable Energy Africa magazine by Volsus Energy Limited, Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jeddy-Agba, said government is banking on using part of a N2.3 trillion fund for Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) to power rural dwellers. Stating that private investors need not battle with energy theft and meter bypass challenges, the Minister quoted recent surveys across some rural communities, noting that rural dwellers were more likely to pay their electricity bills without complaining than those in urban centres.
“The Federal Government is giving more attention to rural electrification in the country because of the need to empower those who live in villages, and ensure that their small-scale businesses thrive. Jeddy-Agba opined that businesses would grow up if the rural dwellers have light, adding that the government has set up a committee to restructure the Federal Ministry of Power and provide in-depth oversight for its agencies. “This is to ensure that we step up our game towards delivering on our mandate of providing improved and sustainable power supply to Nigerians, especially the un-served and underserved communities. This is because if you grow these communities, then businesses would spring up, the health sector will perform better, and you know what the result is – improved living conditions.”
- Registrar’s circular on varsity reopening false – OAU
Authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, on Tuesday told the public to disregard a circular purportedly issued and signed by the university Registrar on reopening plans. A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olarewaju, said the Federal Government that shut the institution in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, had not reversed the order.
The statement read in parts, “The university Management wishes to officially inform our students at all levels, their parents and guardians that the said circular is fake and malicious both in content and context and it should be disregarded in its entirety. “Obafemi Awolowo University is a Federal Government-owned institution and the instruction to go on recess in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, in the month of March 2020, by the Federal Government has not been reversed.”
- ASUU Bauchi Zone Rejects Calls To Reopen Varsities
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Bauchi Zone, insists the country is not prepared for the reopening of schools, warning that “it will be very disastrous.” “It is now clear to everybody that neither the struggle of ASUU nor COVID-19 protocols agree with the reopening of universities now,” the Zonal Coordinator of the union, Professor Lawan Abubakar said during a press conference at the University of Jos. “We must avert this impending disaster because it will be very disastrous if we go ahead and open universities with the way we are now.” Professor Lawan claimed that with the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards the funding of public universities, adherence to COVID-19 guidelines will be a long battle.
“With the way the government is handling issues of funding universities, it will take us ten years from now before [the] government will put the necessary facilities to comply with the COVID-19 protocols,” he added, claiming that the government “believes that the solution to COVID-19 pandemic does not exist in our universities.” He further argued that the pandemic would not have caught the education system off guard if the Federal Government had followed through with several Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the Nigerian lecturers. “We wouldn’t be contemplating reopening of the universities now that the COVID-19 data is declining because we would have had enough classrooms, laboratories, workshop studios, hostel facilities to carter for social distancing,” Professor Lawan insisted.
- Constitute UNIPORT’s governing council – ASUU urges FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Port Harcourt branch, has appealed to the Federal Government to avert anarchy in the university and constitute a governing council in the institution following the dissolution of the former governing council in June 2020. The plea by ASUU followed its congress meeting at the university on Tuesday. According to a statement signed by the ASUU Chairman, Austen Sado, upon the dissolution of the former governing council, a new council must be immediately reconstituted as if it were not dissolved in the first place.
He said, “Following the dissolution of the Governing Council of the University of Port Harcourt in June 2020, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Port Harcourt branch, has severally called on the Federal Government to constitute a governing council for the university. “It is disheartening to observe that the Federal Government has failed to constitute a governing council even though the governing council is the organ responsible for the appointment of a vice chancellor for the university, a process which has been stalled since the dissolution of council.
- Ganduje Approves N257 Million Tuition Fees For Kano Students In Egypt
Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has approved N257 million for the payment of tuition and maintenance fees for 43 students of the state studying in Egypt. Mr Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday in Kano. Anwar said the students were sponsored by the state government to pursue various programmes of study at Al-Mansoura and October 6 universities in Egypt.
“Gov. Ganduje has approved the released of N209 million for the payment of outstanding tuition and maintenance fees of students at Al-Mansoura University. “The governor also approved N48 million being outstanding tuition and maintenance fees in respect of the six sponsored students of OCTOBER 6 University, Egypt,” he said.
Anwar noted that the governor also pardoned the students in spite of their involvement in politics. “The 37 students studying at Al Mansoura, wrote an apology letter to the governor, regretting that they were hoodwinked by some elements to score political gains,” the statement added. According to him, the governor also employed modalities to fast track upward review of bursary allowances for internal students, to ameliorate their sufferings occasioned by the COVID -19 pandemic.
- Nigeria Receives COVID-19 Vaccine From Russia
The Nigerian Government has received the samples of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine. Russia’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Shebarshin gave the samples of the COVID-19 vaccine to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire during a visit to the Ministry in Abuja on Friday. The Russian Ambassador also handed an aide memoire which gives details about the vaccine to help the Nigerian Government conduct further research on it. “We are exploring all knowledge in terms of therapeutics and vaccines,” the Ministry quoted Ehanire as saying.
“We are expressing our interest in the COVID-19 vaccine so that we will have the opportunity to work elaborately.” He explained that the country has been taking part in a series of knowledge exchange and contact with several research bodies and nations in a bid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Ehanire noted that the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Nigeria for the right of access, immediately the Russian COVID-19 vaccine was announced.
- Resident Doctors To Embark On Indefinite Nationwide Strike From Monday
The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced that it would embark on an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday. The National Executive Council of the resident doctors stated this as part of its resolutions after a virtual meeting held on Wednesday. The meeting which was attended by over 200 doctors – NOC, NEC, past presidents, caucus leaders, committee chairmen, and observers, was held to review the 21-day ultimatum issued to government which elapsed on August 17. The NEC noted that in spite of the inclusion of the residency funding in the revised 2020 budget, the government has not made plans to implement the payment after several promises by stakeholders. It also noted the failure of the Federal Government to procure group life insurance and death in service benefits for all health workers. Another observation the council made was that though an agreement has been reached between the government and stakeholders in the health sector to pay COVID-19 inducement allowance for 6 months (April – September), payment was only made for April, May and June in some institutions and the process was, thereafter, abandoned.
“NEC observed the insincerity of the government in determining the revised hazard allowance for all health workers which was supposed to commence in September 2020,” the council said. NEC noted nonpayment of the outstanding salary shortfall of 2014, 2015, 2016 under the guise of the so called appeal of the National industrial Court decision that granted the judgment in favor of the payment in the first place by Federal Ministry of health. NEC observed the plight of her members in state tertiary hospitals such as the nondomestication and non-implementation of Medical Residency Training Act at the state level, the non-implementation of appropriate salary structure, and the nonpayment of owed salaries. They, thereafter, resolved, among other things, to proceed on an indefinite nationwide strike action from 8:00 am on Monday until some conditions are met. One of the conditions includes the immediate payment of the Medical Residency Training funding to all her members as approved in the revised 2020 budget.
- Katsina Govt Spends N157 Million For COVID-19 Tests
The Katsina Government has spent N157,750,000 for COVID-19 tests in the state. These tests were conducted from May 31st, 2020 to date on 10,000 suspected cases of COVID-19 at a private medicare laboratory centre accredited by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). This amount is in addition to other costs on patients care, welfare packages and allowances for staff who manning the four major isolation centres in the state. The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Home Affairs, Abdulkareem Sirika who disclosed this at the Government House, in Katsina on Thursday, said every test costs the state government N15,750.
The Commissioner while revealing that the amount paid to Sahel Medicare was in addition to other costs from patients care and staff allowances, said 11,314 samples have been collected cumulatively with 675 repeats and follow-ups. As at 2nd September 2020, the Commissioner announced that 800 positive cases have been recorded in the state with 24 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in the state. Sirika further announced that 9,601 results were recorded as negative, stressing that only Dandume Local Government is yet to return a COVID-19 positive result.
- Lassa Fever Claims 80 Lives In Ondo State
Lassa fever has recorded more fatalities than the much pronounced Coronavirus disease in Ondo State as the disease has killed 80 persons since January 2020. According to the figures given by the Acting Commissioner for Health in the State, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, COVID-19 deaths also stand at 31. Adeyeye gave the figures in Ondo town while hosting a team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) at the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital. The team was in the hospital to inspect the ongoing Molecular Biology Laboratory and the new isolation centre.
The Acting Commissioner for Health noted that less than two per cent of COVID-19 patients in the state died, while 27 per cent of those infected with Lassa fever lost their lives. He emphasised that the government could not afford to pay much attention to COVID-19, neglecting other health problems peculiar to the state. Adeyeye revealed that governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu gave the directive that the laboratory should be put in place in order to effectively combat any Infectious disease occurring in the state.
- Protests after Los Angeles police kill black man following altercation
Protesters demanded answers on Tuesday as they gathered in a south Los Angeles neighborhood where sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a black man during a violent confrontation the previous day.
The man, identified as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, was riding his bicycle when deputies tried to stop him for a code violation, according to the sheriff’s department. Kizzee ran away and when deputies caught up to him, he punched one of them in the face while dropping a bundle of clothing he was carrying, authorities said. “The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semiautomatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” Lieutenant Brandon Dean, of the LA County Sheriff’s Department, told reporters. Dean said it was unclear which vehicle code Kizzee allegedly violated.
Soon after the deadly confrontation, more than 100 people gathered at the scene demanding answers. A small crowd gathered again Tuesday evening at the site of the shooting and peacefully marched, along with a caravan of cars, to the sheriff’s station nearby as a police helicopter hovered overhead. Some of the protesters carried a banner that read “Stop Killer Cops.” Civil right attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Kizzee’s family, said he was shot more than 20 times and urged witnesses on Twitter to contact him with any information.
- Australia recession adds to global economic virus woes
Australia has fallen into recession for the first time in three decades and Brazil’s economy shrank by almost 10 percent because of the coronavirus, leaving China as the only major nation still recording economic growth during the pandemic.
A raft of bleak data from India to Europe in recent days has laid bare the toll from lockdowns as nations try to keep a lid on an illness that has killed more than 850,000 people and infected over 25 million.
The challenges were further highlighted Wednesday when Australia announced a record contraction of seven percent despite authorities providing billions of dollars in support to struggling firms. Australia has confirmed almost 26,000 cases of coronavirus and 663 deaths but had successfully contained the illness in most of the country by July. A recent outbreak in Melbourne, however, forced a new lockdown covering five million people that has dragged on any economic recovery.
- Biden seeks to soothe city on edge after speaking with Jacob Blake
Joe Biden called out the “underlying racism” in America Thursday as he sought to soothe the protest-scarred Midwestern city of Kenosha, where the presidential hopeful spoke with a black father shot in the back by a white policeman. Biden sat down for a private talk with Jacob Blake’s father and other relatives and revealed later that he had spoken for about 15 minutes by telephone with Blake as the 29-year-old was recovering in hospital. “He talked about how nothing was going to defeat him, how whether he walked again or not, he was not going to give up,” Biden said of Blake, whose lawyers say he is likely paralyzed from the waist down.
Describing himself repeatedly as an optimist, Biden — speaking through a face mask — told a small community gathering in Kenosha that the majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality. But he also warned that President Donald Trump has fueled the racial animus which has roiled the nation in recent months. “Not all his fault,” but Trump’s heated and racially charged language “legitimizes the dark side of human nature,” Biden said at Grace Lutheran Church, where a crowd of mostly-masked supporters gathered outside. The president’s rhetoric has exposed “the underlying racism that is institutionalized in the United States, and still exists, and has existed for 400 years,” he added. “I promise you, win or lose… I’m going to go down fighting the good fight for racial equality,” Biden said, adding: “We’re not going to go down.”
- Russia vaccine passes early trial test: report
Patients involved in early tests of a Russian coronavirus vaccine developed antibodies with “no serious adverse events”, according to research published in The Lancet Friday, but experts said the trials were too small to prove safety and effectiveness. Russia announced last month that its vaccine, named “Sputnik V” after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space in 1957, had already received approval. This raised concerns among Western scientists over a lack of safety data, with some warning that moving too quickly on a vaccine could be dangerous.
Russia denounced criticism as an attempt to undermine Moscow’s research.
In the Lancet study, Russian researchers reported on two small trials, each involving 38 healthy adults aged between 18 and 60, who were given a two-part immunisation. Each participant was given a dose of the first part of the vaccine and then given a booster with the second part 21 days later. They were monitored over 42 days and all developed antibodies within the first three weeks. The report said the data showed that the vaccine was “safe, well tolerated, and does not cause serious adverse events in healthy adult volunteers”. The trials were open label and not randomised, meaning there was no placebo and the participants knew they were receiving the vaccine and were not randomly assigned to different treatment groups. Researchers underlined that larger and longer trials — including a placebo comparison — would be needed to establish the long-term safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for preventing Covid-19 infection.
- NFF to unveil Eagles new jerseys October
The Super Eagles will launch new jerseys designed by kit-sponsors Nike for national teams in October. This was announced in a statement by the NFF’s Communications Department on Tuesday. Nike Senior Director, Global Communications, Heidi Burgett, had February 5, shared the designs of the new national team’s jerseys on Twitter. “New 2020 kits for Nigeria: Home kit’s hand drawn design fuses the traditional aesthetic of an agbada robe w/ modern football design. Away kit trim is inspired by Onaism. Broader collection of Super Eagles apparel includes a poncho, vest, dress, & more,” Burgett wrote. Burgett’s tweet came after NFF president Amaju Pinnick confirmed to newsmen January 28, that the new national team jerseys would be unveiled in New York, London and Nigeria.
Further plans for the unveiling were however put on hold due to COVID-19. Officials of the NFF, which include Pinnick, vice presidents, Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko; General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi; board members Ibrahim Musa Gusau and Felix Anyansi-Agwu; Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire; Head of Marketing, Alizor Chuks and Special Assistant to Pinnick, Nasiru Jibril met with officials of Nike Tina Salminen, David Watson and Lee Murphy via a virtual meeting on Monday.
- Super Falcons’ new coach will resume in two weeks – NFF
After several months of suspense, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has declared that a new coach for the Super Falcons will be ready in two weeks time. The football body had said last week that ‘paper work’ was the only thing delaying the announcement of a new trainer for the women national team. However, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick, confirmed in a chat with The Guardian yesterday that the new coach would be ready in two weeks time. “By the Grace of God, we will have a new coach for the Super Falcons in two weeks time,” Pinnick stated yesterday.
Pinnick had on several occasions said the federation’s priority is to hire a top-quality coach for the Super Falcons to replace Swede coach, Thomas Dennerby, who left the position during the Olympic qualifiers in 2019. Dennerby pointed at irreconcilable differences with the NFF as his reason for leaving even when he still had a year left in his contract. Meanwhile, the NFF President has given reasons why it might be difficult for Nigeria to pay national team players the same wages irrespective of gender. The Brazilian Football Confederation and the English FA had announced equal pay for both male and female players, prompting calls by some football-loving Nigerians to the NFF to do the same.
- Croatia Star Rakitic Rejoins Sevilla
Barcelona said on Tuesday they had agreed to sell Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic back to Sevilla. Under the deal the southern side will pay the Catalan outfit 1.5 million euros ($1.8 million) plus nine million euros in variables for the 32-year-old, Barca said in a statement. “FC Barcelona publicly express their gratitude to Rakitic for his commitment and dedication and wish him good luck and success in the future,” the statement added.
Rakitic, who had a year left on his contract at the Camp Nou, spent three seasons with Sevilla and won the Europa League in the 2013/14 season right before he made his big switch in 2014. He was one of several Barcelona players who were reportedly told they were not part of new manager Ronald Koeman’s plans.
On Monday, Lionel Messi boycotted Barca’s first pre-season training session as the striker upped the stakes in his battle to leave this summer. It appears increasingly likely Messi will try to force a transfer by refusing to play in La Liga next season, which begins on September 12.
- Three More PSG Players Contract COVID-19
Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday announced “three new positive cases” of Covid-19 in their squad, a day after Neymar and two teammates were revealed to have contracted the virus, casting serious doubt over the start of their season in France. “The latest Sars CoV2 tests carried out on the Paris Saint-Germain playing staff have confirmed that there are three new positive cases,” the French champions said in a tweet, taking the total number of cases in their squad to six. Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes were the first three to test positive, all after a recent holiday on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza. Their identities were confirmed to AFP by a medical source close to the playing staff who requested anonymity for reasons of doctor-patient confidentiality.
Sports daily L’Equipe reported that Brazilian defender Marquinhos, Argentine striker Mauro Icardi and goalkeeper Keylor Navas — who were also in Ibiza — were the new positive cases. Another PSG player, midfielder Ander Herrera, is also known to have been in Ibiza. PSG are due to play their first game of the new Ligue 1 season away at Lens next Thursday, September 10, but there are increasing doubts as to whether that match will now go ahead. The Lens game was initially due to go ahead last Saturday but was controversially postponed to give the PSG squad a break after their run to the Champions League final in Lisbon on August 23, in which they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.
- Sanwo-Olu suspends director for imposing 5% levy on Netflix, Iroko TV, others
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has suspended the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Bamidele Balogun, for imposing a five per cent tax on digital platforms including Netflix and Iroko TV. The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, said this in a statement on Friday night titled, ‘Lagos State Has No 5% Levy on Audio and Visual Contents of Physical and Digital Platforms’ Omotosho, who is the Spokesman for the state government, said Balogun acted without authorisation and was therefore suspended.
The statement read in part, “There is no levy on audio and visual contents of all physical and digital platforms in Lagos State. The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Bamidele Balogun, is said to have announced a five per cent levy. “The government hereby dissociates itself from the said announcement in the media. The Executive Secretary, who was not authorised to make such an announcement, has been suspended, pending an administrative enquiry.” He said the Sanwo-Olu administration is not insensitive to the fact that the industry has been badly hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and empathises with this and other sectors of the economy. A Federal High Court had barred the LSFVCB from levying film and video producers.
- Ed Sheeran and Cherry Seaborn announce birth of daughter Lyra
Ed Sheeran and his wife Cherry Seaborn have announced the birth of their first child – a daughter named Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran. The singer said the couple were on “cloud nine” after their daughter’s arrival last week. Sheeran returned to Instagram for the first time since December to share the news and thank the “amazing delivery team”. He added: “We are completely in love with her.”
“Ello! A quick message from me as I have some personal news that I wanted to share with you,” Sheeran said in his first Instagram post since December 2019. “Last week, with the help of an amazing delivery team, Cherry gave birth to our beautiful and healthy daughter – Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran. “We are completely in love with her. Both mum and baby are doing amazing and we are on cloud nine over here. We hope that you can respect our privacy at this time. Lots of love and I’ll see you when it’s time to come back, Ed x”
- DSS, Police, deny inviting Don Jazzy, other entertainers for questioning
The Department of State Services and the Lagos State Police Command have denied inviting any entertainer for questioning. On Tuesday, a report went viral stating that the DSS and the Lagos Police Command invited some popular celebrities concerning political statements they made on social media. Some of the celebrities reportedly quizzed by the law enforcement agencies were music producer, Don Jazzy, and singer Tiwa Savage. They were said to have been invited to the Lagos office of the DSS for questioning. The report also said they were later summoned alongside singers Yemi Alade and Waje by Zubairu Muazu, referred to in the report as “the Lagos State Commissioner of Police.”
To confirm the veracity of the report, newsmen spoke with DSS spokesman, Peter Afunnaya, who refuted it, saying, “We didn’t invite any musician.” Newsmen also reached out to the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, for comments about the alleged invitation of the celebrities by the state Police Command. Elkana said that Zubairu Muazu, who was said to have invited the singers, “ceased being CP more than 10 months ago.” When asked to confirm if the celebrities were invited by the Lagos State Police Command, Elkana said, “I’m not aware of any invitation.”
- Darey, Falz, Waje, Yemi Alade announced as coaches on “The Voice” season 3
World’s number one international talent show, The Voice Nigeria is back with the Season Three of the show. This season of the show will be fully produced in Nigeria and it promises to be bigger, better, and even more authentic than ever before. The one-of-a-kind singing competition opened for online auditions on the 25th of August, 2020. This year, contestants can look forward to big names as Coaches who will help unleash the hidden talents in them. The Coaches for this Season’s The Voice includes first time coaches Darey, and Falz The Bahd Guy, as well as return coaches, Waje, and Yemi Alade. Each of these award-winning artists boasts a successful music career across different genres, and they will be bringing to the table a wealth of experience in making excellent music, becoming a superb performing artist, and connecting with people, especially Nigerians, through art.
Speaking on the expert selection of Coaches this season, Managing Director, Un1ty Production and Executive Producer, The Voice Season Three, Mr. Akin Salami stated, “Music is a universal language that reaches beyond geographical, age, cultural, social and even religions boundaries. We are excited about taking this journey with a versatile and dynamic team of Coaches that will enrich the experience for both the talents and the audience. The Coaches have also expressed their delight to be a part of the show and have given potential talents insights into what they will be looking out for. On his part, Darey noted saying, “I’m looking forward to impacting and guiding the super exceptional talents we will see on the voice this year. On the show, I will share, teach, coach and also learn while we work to together to build the next superstar to come out of Nigeria”. The Voice Season Three is sponsored by First Bank of Nigeria and Baba Ijebu and will be hosted by Nancy Isime and Toke Makinwa. Further details on how to audition are available at www.thevoicenigeria.com
- Lady Gaga dominates at MTV awards
Lady Gaga cleaned up at MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday, an unorthodox show that paid socially distanced homage to New York City as themes of voting and racial justice punctuated the night.
The 2020 VMAs — a show known more for ostentatious performances, made-for-Twitter moments and wild costumes than the actual awards — was scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic, with performances held at outdoor spaces and many celebrities accepting prizes via video. Host Keke Palmer, known for her role in last year’s film “Hustlers,” opened the show with an emotional cold-open paying tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, who just died after of cancer. “We dedicate tonight’s show to a man whose spirit touched so many,” she said of the performer who portrayed James Brown and Jackie Robinson, and was the first Black superhero in “Black Panther.”
Canadian R&B singer The Weeknd — whose wins included the coveted Video of The Year — then launched into a performance of the hit “Blinding Lights” atop a viewing deck protruding off a Manhattan skyscraper, 1,000 feet in the air. “It’s really hard for me to celebrate right now,” he said in accepting his moon man trophy for Best R&B. “I’m just going to say justice for Jacob Blake and justice for Breonna Taylor,” he continued, referring to recent black victims of police violence. It was one of many nods to the Black Lives Matter movement, acknowledging a year that has seen months of anti-racism protests. Several stars also encouraged voting during the show where the Joe Biden campaign bought a number of advertisements in a bid to reach youth in his campaign against President Donald Trump.
Lady Gaga took home trophies including Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “Rain on Me,” her collaboration with Ariana Grande. The pair staged a futuristic performance atop the Empire State Building, both masked, with Gaga in a BDSM-esque corseted get-up, one of her many eccentric costumes of the night. The 34-year-old — who famously wore a dress crafted of raw flank steak to the 2010 VMAs — also won the show’s inaugural “Tricon Award,” which recognizes an artist who is highly accomplished across three or more disciplines. “This has not been an easy year for a lot of people, but what I see in the world is a massive triumph of courage,” she said.
- Court jails man for murdering three family members in Osun
A 24-year-old technician, Opeyemi Lukman, has been remanded in Ilesha Correctional Centre for allegedly murdering three family members in Osun State. Lukman, an electrician, was arraigned before an Osun State magistrates’ court sitting in Okuku yesterday on a seven-count charge bordering on murder, attempted escape and others. The prosecutor, Mr Tajudeen Mustapha, said on July 24, 2020, at about 11:00p.m. at Sekinat area, Inisha, Lukman butchered his customer’s family: Sarah, 57 (wife), Favour Onifade, six, and Toyin, aged 15, and as well stabbed Sarah’s husband, Solomon Tunde Oyeniran, in seven places. He was said to have stabbed the trio of mother and two children to death after gaining access into their house. The defendant was also alleged to have stabbed Oyediran with intent to kill him. Lukman was said to have armed himself with cutlass, screw pliers, and other dangerous weapons to rob.
He stated that the accused person took his customer’s ATM card and withdrew N300,000 after stabbing them. Mustapha also told the court that the accused person attempted to escape from police custody by damaging a handcuff and cell gate belonging to Nigeria Police Force. The offences, according to the charge sheets, were contrary to and punishable under sections 1(1)(2) (A), (B), 319(1), 320, 509, and 451 of the state penal code. The Magistrate, Busayo Adediwura, who declined the accused plea, remanded him at Ilesa Correctional Centre, while stating that the case file should be duplicated for the Director of the Public Prosecutor’s counsel before adjourning the case till September 21 for the presentation of fact.
- Two Killed, Four Injured As Trucks Collide With Bus In Lagos
Two persons were killed and four injured in a road accident in the Anthony area of Lagos State. Newsmen learned that the accident occurred when four vehicles involving two trucks, a tanker and a commercial bus had a collision. This was confirmed in a statement issued on Wednesday by Director-General of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu.
Oke-Osanyitolu explained that emergency responders comprising the Nigeria Police, Fire Service, LRU Fire Unit joined LASEMA at the scene of the incident.
“The agency received distress calls about the above incident and upon arrival at the scene of incident, discovered that a four (4) vehicle accident had occurred comprising two tipper trucks, one with registration number AKM-741ZT, a second tipper with unknown registration number, a loaded tanker with unknown registration number and commercial bus with unknown registration,” the statement partly read.
- Unlicensed driver crushes motorcyclist, passenger to death
The family of a commercial motorcyclist, Osita Chukwu, have been into mourning after the driver of a Sport Utility Vehicle belonging to a fish firm crushed him and his passenger to death in the Odogunyan area of Ikorodu, Lagos State. Newsmen gathered that Osita was conveying the yet-to-be-identified passenger to a destination in the Odogunyan area when the SUV driver suddenly lost control of the vehicle and rammed them to death at the Sheriff bus stop. While the passenger reportedly died on the spot, Osita, who was said to have sustained severe injuries due to the impact of the accident, was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Speaking with newsmen, one Ernest Oboh, whom Osita was supplying newspapers, said the motorcyclist died while on admission, adding that the Sagamu Road Police Division was contacted after the crash. “I just lost my dispatch rider, who was operating as a commercial motorcyclist after supplying me newspapers. He was crushed to death alongside a passenger by a speeding SUV. The accident happened after he visited my vendor to drop the newspapers. It was the Sagamu Road Police Station that handled the matter and the victim’s family has been contacted,” he said. Osita’s elder brother, Basil, told newsmen that he was working at a site when the doctor treating his brother informed him that he had died, adding that the tragedy had plunged the family into untold hardship.