Connect with us

News

COVID-19: FG orders five-week closure of schools, considers int’l flight ban

Published

on

  • Directs civil servants to work from home
  • Restricts gatherings to 50 people

Nigeria has entered a panicky mode over the second wave of coronavirus now ravaging the United Kingdom among others as the Federal Government on Monday ordered all federal civil servants on Grade Level 12 and below to stay at home for the next five weeks.

It also restricted guests at weddings, conferences, and sporting activities among others to 50 and hinted about plans to ban some international flights as part of measures aimed at curtailing the spread of the new wave COVID-19 to Nigeria.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, gave the directives, adding that the new measures had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The measures came as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said the nation recorded 356 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and six deaths.

Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said, “The PTF has surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed our domestic environment and has accordingly submitted its recommendations to Mr President on immediate measures to be taken.

“Accordingly, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has authorised the PTF to engage with the states and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.”

He specifically said all schools would remain closed till January 18 and that restrictions had been placed on social and religious gatherings for five weeks.

“The PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect,” he stated.

Mustapha also said those heading government agencies and ministries should “encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices is to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated, and encourage staff to work from home where possible;

“All government staff on GL.12 and below are to stay at home for the next five weeks; permanent secretaries and chief executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks.

 “All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with morbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds.

“All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged.”

The government also ordered the closure of all bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Mustapha said, “In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events:

  1. Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues;
  2. Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins;
  3. Restrict all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to 50 persons;
  4. Limit all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced;
  5. Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only;
  6. Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.
  7. Enforce compliance with NPI protocols especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces.”

Mustapha added that to reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools, states were advised to implement the following:

  1. Encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated, and encourage staff to work from home where possible;
  2. All government staff on GL.12 and below are to stay at home for the next five weeks permanent; secretaries and chief executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks;
  3. The PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect;
  4. All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with morbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds;
  5. All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged.”

International flights ban likely

Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the FG may impose a travel ban on certain parts of the world.

He disclosed on Monday at a special forum of the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that government would not hesitate to impose the travel ban if it was the only way to protect the people from the new strain of the disease.

The minister said, “We are more concerned about the new strain of COVID-19, which is manifesting itself in the UK; that is the mutated strain. It is difficult to detect, it spreads faster and people have been known to die of it within a very short period of its detection.”

The minister, who noted that many European countries had banned flights to and from the UK, said, “This season, many students are coming from the UK in particular, to come and join their families in Nigeria.

“Besides many of our people, because of the traditional link we have with the UK, may want to go there for business or family reunion.

“It is a very testy time and it might be another dangerous period to transmit this new variant of COVID-19.”

News

Total power blackout in Kaduna as Labour unions begin strike

Published

on

The Management of Kaduna Electric has said that the current total power blackout in Kaduna State was due to the ongoing five-day warning strike embarked by labour unions.

Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Head of Corporate Communication of the company made the announcement in a statement issued on Sunday in Kaduna.

“In compliance with the NLC directive, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN has knocked off all our 33KV lines in Kaduna State.

“Consequently, we are appealing to all communities, security agencies and vigilante groups to be vigilant so that men of underworld will not cash in on the situation to vandalise power supply installations.

“Any suspicious movement around distribution sub-stations (transformers) should be reported to the relevant security agency”, he said.

He stated that it is the collective responsibility of citizens to protect critical national assets in their neighborhood.

Abdullahi added that the company appeals to both labour unions and Kaduna State Government “to strive at an amicable resolution for normalcy to return”.

NAN

Continue Reading

News

Osinbajo offers scholarship to Ekiti artist Abosede Okeowo

Published

on

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has offered a gifted physically challenged artist, Ms Abosede Okeowo,  a US online scholarship to enhance her skills.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said the presentation was made recently at the palace of Oba Adekunle Adeagbo, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti in Ekiti.

The 27-year-old artist had presented Osinbajo with his pencil portrait during his courtesy visit to the Ooni of Ife in 2020.

Inspite of her limitations, Okeowo focuses on her artistic skills and has gained recognition because of her talent.

Okeowo, an indigene of Otun Ekiti in Ekiti State, suffered an illness when she was a child which resulted in her current state of health.

The self-taught artist who, nurtured her talent in drawing to her current stage of expertise, is known for making drawings of many dignitaries.

Okeowo first caught the attention of the vice president when she drew a portrait of his wife, Dolapo.

She yet again enthralled Osinbajo with her skills when she drew and presented a lifelike portrait of him.

Osinbajo, the statement said, was represented at the presentation by a team led by Sen. Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters.

Also in the team was Dr Ebi Awosika, Senior Technical Assistant to the Vice President on Community Engagement.

In her remarks, Awosika expressed gratitude to God for Okeowo, saying it was just the beginning of greatness for the young artist.

She presented to the talented artiste a special wheelchair, laptop and a scholarship in Hyper-Realistic Portrait Course, a virtual course offered through an American online programme.

“This scholarship will help Okeowo to realise her dreams and desire to own an establishment where she can teach others how to draw and help those who are physically challenged to also fulfill their life ambitions,”the statement quoted her as saying.

In his remarks, Adeagbo, who received the delegation on behalf of Okeowo’s family and Otun Ekiti community expressed gratitude to the vice president and his wife for making life meaningful for the artist and her family

Continue Reading

News

Ekiti to embark on Rice pyramid project

Published

on

Ekiti State Government on Sunday said it intends to produce of over one million metrics tonnes of rice within the next couple of years.

Mr Olabode Adetoyi, Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, made this known in Ado Ekiti at a news conference ahead of the official launch of the ” Ekiti Rice Pyramid Project” and flag off of the 2021 Wet Season Rice Cultivation, scheduled for Tuesday.

According to him, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, would perform the inauguration of the rice pyramid project while Gov. Kayode Fayemi, would be the chief host.

The commissioner said the state was embarking on massive production of rice so as to be able to meet both local demands and for export.

He explained that the state government had brought in investors, who were ready to invest in planting and processing of rice, adding that the product would be of high standards and stone free.

Adetoyi added that the state government was working assiduously towards ensuring that youths ventured into farming by making it more attractive and lucrative, through various agricultural incentives

He assured farmers in the state that the government would not fail in providing adequate security for them to enable them go to their farms anytime without entertaining fears

Adetoyi disclosed that 23 new investors had already been allocated lands to plant rice, cocoa and palm oil, among others, as the government was doing all to attract investors through provision of enabling environment.

“ Top notch rice processing plant like Stallion, Dangote and Jumlar rice have been allocated land in premium location in Ekiti Knowledge Zone for quality rice production.

“ Land clearing and development of over 5,000 hectares of land for commercial agriculture is also on, out of which 1,000 is cleared for swampy rice along the river banks and valleys in the state. Over 40,000 hectares is to be made available as time goes on,” he said.

The commissioner said that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, had conceived the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide easy access to credit for farmers and processors at low interest rate, among others.

He added that the government of Japan had also brought in some equipment such as harvesters to provide high quality rice production in the state.

Adetoyi warned people in the habit of setting fire to bushes while hunting game to desist from such acts to avoid causing damage to peoples’ farms.

According to him, some farms had been destroyed in the process.

The commissioner said that government had approved money to buy seedlings that would be distributed to those farmers who lost their farms in such preventable fire incidences.(NAN

Continue Reading

Trending