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

Obasanjo worries about depreciating economy, govt appointments based on favouritism

Published

on

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country, especially the continued drop in living standard.

He lamented that government’s appointments were based on “favouritism” and not merit or competence.

The former president said this in a statement while felicitating the Federal Government College, Kaduna, on its 50th anniversary.

He said the economic situation in the country had increased hardship, insecurity, and affected the quality of leadership.

According to him, leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the country’s survival, adding that the religious tensions in the country have been intentionally instigated by politicians.

“Once again, our nation is dancing on the precipice and some of us are truly worried about the state of affairs today. I expressed that worry in my open letter to Nigerians and Nigerian youths on New Year’s Day,” he said.

“As I stated in the letter; ‘If we fall prey again, we will have ourselves to blame and no one can say how many more knocks Nigeria can take before it tips over. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.’ Of course, I pray that Nigeria will never tip over. We must constantly work at it and pray.

“My worry is premised on a number of issues. First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.

“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard of merit and competence.

“Elections are here and may compound the problem. Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.”

Speaking further, Obasanjo urged Nigerians to change the political course of the country by participating actively in the forthcoming elections.

The former president said the concerns raised about the presidential candidates are real, adding that Nigerians would have themselves to blame if they do nothing about the situation.

The statement read, “Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.

“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.

“The beauty of democracy is that the options before us cannot be imposed on us if we all do what we need to do to send a message to those who have had the audacity to present those options to us with little or no interest for the 225 million Nigerians.

“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”

 

Continue Reading

News

Updated: Postpone visit to Kano, Ganduje advises Buhari over fuel, new naira anger

Published

on

Abdullahi Ganduje and Muhammadu Buhari

Governor of Kano State, Abdulahi Ganduje, has made a request to President Muhammadu Buhari to put on hold his planned visit to the state.
Ganduje’s reason, according to a statement by his media aide, Abba Anwar, is to avert possible embarrassing breakdown of law and order by the ordinary citizens over the complications arising from the fuel scarcity and scarcity of the newly redesigned naira.

Ganduje was quoted to have stated this before some professionals who visited him at the Government House on Friday.

He was quoted as telling his visitors, “As we are waiting for this important visit, we find ourselves in this situation, which puts citizens into untold hardship. For security purposes, we wrote to the Presidency that President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Kano be postponed.

READ ALSO:

“We got an acknowledgement copy of the letter. People are really suffering because of this policy.”

Among the visitors were said to be two serving senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Barau Jibrin and Kabiru Gaya, 20 members of the House of Representatives and 30 legislators from the State House of Assembly.

The governor quoted as saying that it has become difficult to transact businesses even with the Point of Sale (POS).
The situation is said to have led to many traders closing their businesses.

“This problem affects all of us.Therefore, our voice must be heard in all nooks and crannies. We are a commercial hub. As such, our position must be loud and clear,” Ganduje said.

The governor also reportedly called for an extension of the deadline for returning old naira notes.

“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How these people get new naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas; people go and spend hours upon hours in banks without any assurances of getting the new notes,” Ganduje lamented.

Continue Reading

News

I’m alive by God’s grace, I saw many colleagues during civil war fall before me – Buhari

Published

on

President Muhammadu Buhari has recounted a part of experience during the civil war in which he saw many people including his colleagues die right before him.

He also revealed how he ran away from home to join the Nigerian army to escape family pressure of getting married.

The President revealed this during a visit to the Emir of Daura, Faruk Faruk, after inaugurating two roads in Katsina State.

A presidential aide, Femi Adesina, highlighted Buhari’s narrative of his battle during the Nigerian Civil War and some personal challenges faced as told by the President duy the visit.

The statement read, “President Buhari said that he secured his first job early after school to manage a co-operative in Daura, but had to escape and join the army when there was pressure that he should get married.

“I told Governor Aminu Masari the story of how I left Daura to join the army. That was how God planned it. We make choices in life, but eventually destiny is before God.

“I was at the war front during the civil war, and saw how many died. Some fell right beside me. God kept me.

“Many bridges were blown just before we arrived at some places, and after we crossed. I arrived at some places to see bodies of my own colleagues that we were fighting together. I am alive today only by God’s grace.

“This opportunity to serve the nation comes from God. All over the world, Nigeria is known for its diversity, with different religions and cultures.

“We are also known because we have a huge population of millions of people. For the President of Nigeria, at this time, to come from Daura is the grace and mercy of God.”

Buhari also told the emirate that he would return and settle in Daura after handing over on May 29, 2023.

Continue Reading

Trending