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Tinubu dismisses fleeing rumour, says I’m Asiwaju of Lagos

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National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has paid a solidarity visit to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, days after the state suffered violent attacks from miscreants hiding under #EndSARS protests.

The attacks led to the death of many and destruction of public and private property including the palace of the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, and investments linked with the APC chieftain.

A television station, a newspaper house as well as assets of the Lekki Concession Company, the managers of the tollgate, which are seen as Tinubu’s assets, were torched by hoodlums.

Speaking with journalists later, Tinubu, who was asked about his whereabouts in the past few days, said he did not travel out of the country as earlier reported by some section of the media.

He said, “I didn’t go nowhere; I’m a Lagosian and I still hold the title of Asiwaju of Lagos and I am still a Jagaban.

“Fake news is all over the place. They say Seyi my son was kidnapped and was chased but look at him. I didn’t pay a penny to bring him here.”

Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, condemned the recent invasion and massive looting of public and private assets in the state.

He told reporters that the purpose of his meeting with Governor Sanwo-Olu was to ask him if he had ordered soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate on Tuesday.

The former Lagos governor said he asked Sanwo-Olu “if he didn’t order the attack, who ordered the attack? That’s all I needed from him.”

Tinubu stressed the need for a thorough investigation into Tuesday night attack.

He said, “First, we have to segregate the calendar – those who suffered casualty before the protests from the hands of SARS. You have to separate that from those who suffered casualty due to what happened at the tollgate.

“For those who suffered casualty from SARS, the commission of inquiry that is already set up will unearth that and will make their recommendations. I trust the calibre and the character of the people there; they are independent. That is one.

“Those who suffered casualty during the gunshots need to answer some questions too. Even though we want to help, we still must extract information that will help the government to prepare in future and understand how and when to react because the governor, in particular, is a youth.

“As a youth himself, he (Sanwo-Olu) quickly went to Abuja with the 5/5. The government immediately put into action, dissolved the SARS and had to work through other recommended actions, the needs they demanded. Within a few days, he reported back to the public. That is responsive enough.

“But where are we getting the looting, the carnage, the burning, the invasion of police stations, stealing of arms, maiming of the innocent? It is a handshake beyond the elbow.”

 

 

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Banditry: Gov Tambuwal proscribes ‘self-styled’ vigilante groups in Sokoto

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Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Sokoto State Government under the leadership of Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has banned self-styled vigilante groups from operating in the state.

This is to further strengthen the efforts made towards curbing banditry and sundry crimes bedeviling the eastern flank and other parts of the state.

Muhammad Bello, Special Adviser Media and Publicity to Governor Tambuwal in a statement issued on Tuesday indicates that, instead, citizens desirous of contributing their quota to the fight against criminals and criminalities have been advised to join legitimately constituted vigilante groups that would from now on operate under the supervision and direction of the state Police Command as well as other security outfits in the state.

He added that, already the state Police Command has commenced the training of legitimately constituted vigilante groups in the state preparatory to signing of the law.

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According to the statement, “Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state made this known on Monday while signing into law the “Yan Sa Kai [Self-Styled Vanguards] (Prohibition] Order 2021,” at a stakeholders security meeting held at the Sultan Maccido Institute for Qur’anic and General Studies, Sokoto.

The order while outlawing, “the organization, operation, and activities of ‘Yan Sa Kai’,” stipulates that any contravention shall be “punished in accordance with the provisions of the Penal Code Law 2019.”

“Consequently, any convicted offender of section 4 (a,b,c and d) shall be guilty and liable to conviction to a fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 14 years or to both,” he said.

According to the statement, Section 5 of the law also provides that, “any person who while in public has with him offensive weapons or missiles, other than in pursuance of lawful authority, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N200,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 7 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”

Gov. Tambuwal in the statement also said, “We know the history of banditry and what happened in Zamfara and the role of ‘Yan Sa Kai, which they are still playing in Zamfara state; and, how that exacerbated the security situation in Zamfara State.

For this reason, Tambuwal said that government must be proactive in training, re-training and empowering the vigilante to make sure that they work hand-in-hand with the established security agencies as recognized by the law.

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Kaduna begins four-day working week from Dec 1

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The Kaduna government will begin a transition to a four-day working week in the state from December 1, Muyiwa Adekeye, special adviser to the governor on media and communication, announced this in a statement on Monday.

He said public servants, except those in schools and healthcare facilities, would “in the interim” be permitted to work from home for one day per week.

According to the statement, the measure is designed to help boost productivity, improve work-life balance and enable workers to have more time for their families.

“The measure also reflects lessons learnt from managing the Covid-19 pandemic which required significant relaxations of old working traditions and the ascendance of virtual and remote working arrangements,” the statement said.

“However, all public servants, other than those in schools and healthcare facilities, will work from home on Fridays. “This interim working arrangement will subsist until the government is ready to move to the next stage of the transition which will culminate in the four-day week across all MDAs in the state.

“Senior officials are working on detailed guidelines to ensure that the emergency services and the education and health systems in the state continue to deliver services 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the transition and beyond.

“The government will also ramp up its efforts to give public servants access to digital devices and platforms to enable them work effectively from home. Given the significant investments the state government is making in ICT, it will ensure that most of its automated services deliver the levels of performance required to give citizens seamless access.”

The Kaduna State Government says it “expects the required legal and regulatory framework to be in place by January 2022” so as to give the private sector ample time to “engage with the process”.

 

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No case of Omicron COVID variant in Nigeria – NCDC

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  • Variant detected in more countries

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said no case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant has been detected in Nigeria.

The new variant said to be more deadly that the Delta variant has reportedly been detected in more countries after news broke out that the UK recorded the first case last week.

In a statement on Sunday, the NCDC Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, said the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and the NCDC were aware of reports of a new COVID-19 variant and monitoring emerging evidence on this new variant and its implication, to inform Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While this variant has so far not been detected in Nigeria, a number of cases have now been reported in the UK, Israel, Botswana, Hong-Kong, Germany, Belgium, Italy and counting. However, no deaths have been attributed to this new variant yet,“ the statement reads.

“Given the high number of mutations present in the Omicron variant and the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases observed in South Africa, this virus is considered highly transmissible and may also present an increased risk of reinfection compared to other VOCs.”

He, however, said the fears about the variant’s ability to evade protective immune responses and/or its being vaccine resistant are only theoretical so far.

“This virus can still be detected with existing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. The WHO and researchers across the world are working at speed to gain understanding of the likely impact of this variant on the severity of COVID-19 and on the potency of existing vaccines and therapeutics,” he said.

Adetifa said the agency will continue to ensure daily review of surveillance data for public health decision making, and he appealed to all states to ensure that sample collection and testing are accessible.

He said the NCDC, through the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), will continue to coordinate genomic surveillance and other activities required for the detection of variants.

“In collaboration with Port Health Services of the FMOH, enhanced surveillance is ongoing at the airports and points of entry, and to ensure compliance with current travel guidance, especially for the day 2 COVID-19 PCR testing,” he said.

“Should there be any changes to travel guidance, this will be communicated in due course. Considering the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and its emergence that is linked to unmitigated community transmission of the virus, the NCDC urges Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to the proven public health and social measures in place, which are enforceable by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19), through the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021.”

The index case of Omicron was detected in South Africa on Tuesday, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) subsequently designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, calling on global leaders to take action to contain its spread.

More countries record new variant

Meanwhile, the Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on Sunday, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease.

“Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of specific infection,” WHO said.

It said understanding the level of severity of Omicron “will take days to several weeks”.

The detection of Omicron triggered global alarm as governments around the world scrambled to impose new travel curbs and financial markets sold-off, fearing the variant could resist vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.

In its statement, the WHO said it was working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines.

Britain said it would convene an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss the developments.

Dutch health authorities said 13 cases of the variant were found among people on two flights that arrived in Amsterdam from South Africa on Friday. Authorities had tested all of the more than 600 passengers on the flights and found 61 coronavirus cases, going on to test those for Omicron.

“This could possibly be the tip of the iceberg,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge told reporters.

Omicron, dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the WHO that is potentially more contagious than previous variants, has now been detected in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Canada and South Africa.

Many countries have imposed travel bans or curbs on Southern Africa to try to stem the spread. Financial markets dived on Friday, and oil prices tumbled.

A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain said on Sunday that symptoms of Omicron were so far mild and could be treated at home.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of South African Medical Association, told Reuters that unlike with Delta, so far patients have not reported loss of smell or taste and there has been no major drop in oxygen levels with the new variant. read more

Israeli measures

In the most far-reaching effort to keep the variant at bay, Israel announced late on Saturday it would ban the entry of all foreigners and reintroduce counter-terrorism phone-tracking technology to contain the spread of the variant.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban, pending government approval, would last 14 days. Officials hope that within that period there will be more information on how effective vaccines are against Omicron.

The top U.S. infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told President Joe Biden on Sunday it would take about two weeks to have more definitive information about the transmissibility and other characteristics of Omicron, the White House said in a statement, adding that Fauci believes existing vaccines “are likely to provide a degree of protection against severe cases of COVID”.

 

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