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COVID-19: For a second time, El-Rufai goes into self-isolation

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After recovering from a COVID-19 affliction, the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has gone into self-isolation for the second time this year as family members and senior government officials around him have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a broadcast on Saturday, el-Rufai said he went into self-isolation pending when a COVID-19 test would be conducted on him Sunday.

“I have been notified of more positive COVID-19 test results of persons close to me, including an immediate family member and senior officials of the Kaduna State Government,” he said.

 “I am therefore in self-isolation and hope to be tested by Sunday. This is purely a precautionary move that complies with the standard Covid-19 protocols. There will be another update when the test results are ready.

“I appeal to every resident of Kaduna State to observe and abide by the preventive protocols against Covid-19, especially wearing facemasks, avoiding large gatherings, practising physical distancing and washing their hands regularly.”

The governor had tested positive for the virus in March but recovered after less than a month in isolation.

There has been a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the country breaking a new record on its daily count, on Friday, when 796 new cases were recorded in 15 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

Health authorities have issued warnings about the possibility of a second wave of the pandemic.

The Federal Government on Thursday directed COVID-19 treatment centres shut after the country recorded a decline in cases to prepare for reopening.

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Onochie to know fate on INEC job Tuesday

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The public is expected to know on Tuesday (tomorrow) the outcome of the screening of a Senate panel of the Special Assistant to the President on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, and five others nominated for appointment as national commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission.

The panel, it was learnt, would submit its report to the plenary on Tuesday.

Onochie, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Prof. Kunle Cornelius Ajayi, Saidu Babura Ahmad, Prof. Sani Muhammad Adam and Dr. Baba Bila were screened last Thursday by the Senate Committee on INEC nine months after President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded a request to the Red Chamber to confirm them.

Onochie’s nomination had sparked outrage from the opposition lawmakers and some from the All Progressives Congress and civil society groups, who argued that she was “too partisan” to be a commissioner in an important institution like INEC.

Others accused her of being a card-carrying member of ruling APC.

But the presidential aide said she had stopped being a member of any political party since 2019.

The screening session became rowdy when a member of the panel, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) suggested that Onochie be placed on oath to swear that she did not belong to any political party.

But the suggestion was opposed by other committee members, who noted that putting Onochie on oath was against the Senate rule.

The Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC, Kano), said his committee would look at all the documents before the panel, decide the nominees and forward its recommendations to the Senate.

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PHOTOS: Fire razes building at Ladipo market in Lagos

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PenCom launches app to capture retirees for benefits

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The National Pension Commission (PenCom) has launched an online application to capture the information of retirees and process the benefits due to them.

In 2020, PenCom had explained that it would introduce an electronic process for easy authentication of retirees due to COVID-19.

The commission said the process would include self-assisted and the pension fund administrator (PFA) assisted options.

With this application, the commission said it aims to capture about 11,000 civil servants who are billed to retire in 2021.

Anyim Nyerere, PenCom commissioner, Technical, told reporters in Abuja on Monday on the sidelines of a training for Pension Desk Officers (PDOs) at the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Nyerere said the application was developed owing to the fact that physical contact has been limited because of COVID-19, adding that it will help the federal government draw up the budget for retirees.

“In terms of value, we are in a dynamic situation, this exercise was supposed to be physical capturing of the would-be retirees of 2020 and 2021 years,” Nyerere said.

“Now it is not impossible to do it because of COVID-19 pandemic, so that is why the online application was developed. The benefit [of this app] is to enable us to capture the would-be retirees which would enable the budget proposal for the retirees by the federal government.”

The commissioner also said measures have been taken to ensure that information about the retirees are not hacked.

“About the safety mechanisms, like I told you, we are aware of what is happening in the cyber world and that is why we put in some control mechanisms, that is why you heard me mention about authorisation, there are people who will authorise from the various PDOs in the ministries, agencies and departments,” he said.

“Once we have the authorisation from that place, the same thing will have to be verified at the other end.

“This training session and the people you see here are pension desk officers (PDOs) from the various MDAs.

“These would-be retirees are from these MDAs, so automatically the information is at their doorsteps, and those that are not computer literate is why this training is germane, these desk officers will put them through to ensure that the right information is provided.”

Also speaking, Abdulhaman Saleem, head contribution, bound and redemption of the commission, said receiving information electronically will enable PenCom to process the benefits of the retirees faster.

“The number of retirees we are expecting, we are looking at 11,000 retirees for 2021, and the major benefit is accuracy and timeliness in terms of processing speed,” Saleem said.

“Initially we were doing manually, physically, collecting documents but now the documents will be sent electronically which makes it faster and easier to process.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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