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Army cancels conference as officers test positive for COVID-19

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The ongoing Chief of Army Staff Conference, Thursday, came to an abrupt end after one of the participating senior army officers tested positive for COVID-19.

All participants have been mandated by the Nigerian Army authority to immediately proceed on self-isolation.

Also, the number of guests earlier invited for the wedding of the son of the Chief of Army Staff, Mr Hamisu Tukur Buratai, has been pruned down with total exclusion of all the officers who were at the conference.

Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sagir Musa, said in a statement, “The Nigerian Army wishes to inform members of the public that due to resurgence of COVID-19 Pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in what appears to be a second wave of infection cycle and the unfortunate incident on Tuesday 8 December 2020, where an officer participating in the ongoing Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference 2020 here in Abuja tested positive for COVID-19.

“The remaining activities of the conference have therefore been immediately cancelled. All the participants have been mandated to immediately proceed on self-isolation in line with the Federal Government’s protocol for COVID 19 and to prevent any further spread of the disease”.

Another statement, signed by Musa, read, “This is to inform Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished senators, honourable members, respected elders, Friends, brothers, sisters and other invited guests that due to resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja in what appears to be a second wave of infection cycle and the unfortunate incident on Tuesday 8 December 2020, where an officer participating in the ongoing Chief of Army Staff’s Annual Conference 2020 here in Abuja tested positive to COVID-19, the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai wishes to inform all dignitaries and other invited guests that activities earlier scheduled for the wedding of his son Mr. Hamisu Tukur Buratai will proceed as arranged albeit pruned down without the participation of all those who were at the conference.”

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FG to begin rehabilitation work on part of Enugu-Onitsha Expressway

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The Federal Controller of Works in Enugu State, Olufemi Oyekanmi, has said the ministry will soon begin the rehabilitation of the dilapidated Ugwu-Onyeama portion of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway.

Mr Oyekanmi said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Friday, saying the project would ease the plight of motorists plying the road.

He said the ministry had awarded to RCC Nigeria Ltd, the contract for the rehabilitation of the 15km stretch of the expressway from 9th Mile to Enugu.

He said the contract also included the construction of a state-of-the-art bypass to take care of the perennial traffic gridlock at 9th Mile during Yuletide.

The remedial work at Ugwu-Onyeama would start on June 21 and run to the end of the year, while the second contract would begin after the rains in October, Mr Oyekanmi said.

He said he had informed the leadership of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Tanker Drivers and other interested groups in the area about the federal government’s plan to fix the road.

He said he had informed the leadership of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Petroleum Tanker Drivers and other interested groups in the area about the federal government’s plan to fix the road.

According to him, major repair work will start on the most critical areas of the road on Monday. “As a matter of fact, we will start moving equipment and materials to that place.

“The planned palliative will solve the problem of accidents that are not related to recklessness around Ugwu-Onyeama.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot Community, Chinedu Anyaso, thanked the Federal Government for its “timely intervention” on the road.

The Enugu depot community is in-charge of Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states.

Mr Anyaso said his leadership had a meeting with Mr Oyekanmi who assured them that remedial work would soon begin on the Enugu-bound lane of the dual carriageway.

He expressed the hope that the repairs would bring relief to oil marketers and petroleum tanker drivers in the South-east.

According to him, oil marketers and tanker drivers have suffered huge financial losses as a result of road accidents on the road.

He said since the beginning of the year, over 20 product-laden tankers had fallen on the road, resulting in spill, fire and vehicle damage.

Mr Anyaso said the association was planning a protest to show its bitterness over the situation before it learnt about the federal government’s planned intervention.

“You know we rely on other depots for supply because Enugu depot has not functioned for about 15 years.

“So, good roads are important to us because it will reduce our business risks and save the lives of millions of people,” the IPMAN chairman said.

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I sold about N70,000 bread daily to bandits when Kaduna students were abducted – Baker

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Hassan Magaji, a baker in the Galadimawa area of Kaduna State, has confessed to supplying bread to bandits.

Magagi, who was recently arrested by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, said he sold bread worth N70,000 to the bandits during the time that some university students were abducted.

It is not clear if he was referring to students of Greenfield University, Kaduna, who spent over a month in captivity.

“I observed that whenever they kidnapped many people, like during the kidnap of those university students, the quantity of bread that they bought increased. During that period I delivered up to N70,000 worth of bread everyday until recently when it dropped to N50,000 again.”

“I have not benefitted much except that I married a new wife and I was able to save money to take care of two wives. To stop banditry, government should recruit more security men. We prefer police because they know the job.”

Bandits have been terrorising residents of Kaduna and its environs.

On Saturday, angry residents blocked the ever-busy Abuja-Kaduna highway to protest incessant attacks.

Despite repeated assurances from government, armed gangs have been making life a hell for people.

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FG kicks as Kwara, Bayelsa fail to implement homegrown school programme

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Federal  Government has Kwara and Bayelsa states among other states of the federation, over non-implementation of its National Home Grown School Programme in their respective states.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya U Farouk, said this on Friday in Ilorin, Kwara State, during a courtesy visit to the state Deputy Governor, Kayode Alabi.

Alabi who represented  the governor urged the Federal Governemnt to be patient with the state, agreeing that the advantages inherent in the programme are phenomenal.

He said that the programme would increase enrolment of pupils in schools, boost the economy of the state and generate employment.

The minister,Hajia Farouk had hinged the state’s delay in the enrolment on initial non compliance with the programme’s guidelines and Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister said that “with the relaxation of lockdown caused by COVID-19 and resumption of schools, the state will soon be there.”

Represented by Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on National and Social Investment Programme Dr Nasir Mahmud, the minister said that the state recently expressed its preparedness to come on board the programme.

Hajia Farouk said that based on the data available from the state no fewer than 96,000 pupils in public schools from primary one to three would benefit from the programme, adding that over 1500 schools would also be enrolled.

She added that primary one to three pupils are the targets of the school feeding programme in the country.

Said she: “Recently, the state communicated to the ministry that it is ready and we are here to assess the status of the preparedness and if there is any support we need to give, the ministry will give it to make the state come on board.

“So far, we are very happy with what we saw. We just debriefed the state Deputy Governor about our findings. There are very few gaps here and there and we believe together with the national and state governments will soon address them to make sure they state begins the programme. In a matter of weeks I am confident that the programme will commence in the state.”

She said the programme had steadied enrolment of pupils in public schools in the federation.

“We have seen tremendous improvement in schools enrolment in the country. The other objective of the programme is to make sure students stay in schools resulting in learning improvement,” the minister added.

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