Tag Archives: minister

Abike Dabiri-Erewa fight with Pantami get Messier. ‘Dirty Game’


After a series of confrontations between Nigeria’s communication and digital economy minister Isa Pantami and chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the fight over an office space took another turn late Sunday.

The disagreement between both government officials became public after NiDCOM published a video in February on its Twitter and accused Pantami of masterminding the eviction of its staff from office space at the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) building in Abuja.

NCC is under the control of the ministry Pantami heads.

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Dabiri-Erewa doubled down on that claim in an interview. The interview was aired on Friday and was later published.

But Pantami said on Twitter on Sunday that he was responsible for the eviction, claiming that the media reports did not tell “a true story.”

He has since deleted the tweet.

Dabiri-Erewa, however, insisted that Pantami was to be blamed for the problem, stopping just short of calling the minister a liar.

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She accused the minister of disrespecting her because she is a woman.

“An Islamic scholar should not lie Hon Minister,” Dabiri-Erewa tweeted, “You did that to me cos I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary.”

“Left the ugly incident behind me since Feb. But pls release all our office equipment. Public office is transient.”

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She asked the minister to “tell us where he locked up our equipment and release them. After the lockdown, we will settle for some options we already have.”

The missing properties, NiDCOM spokesman Abdur-Rahman Balogun said, include two units of single face data ports, 24 port patch panel, Mikrotik RB 750G router, Mikrotik cloud router switch, two Headsets with microphones, two Digital PABX, 4u Server racks, Patch cables, HP desk jet 1012 all in one printer, files and documents.

NCC in a statement by its spokesman Henry Nkemadu dismissed the claims on Sunday and said the report of forceful eviction was not true.

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Pantami in a tweet thereafter accused NiDCOM chairman of telling a “Big fat lie” and did not provide any explanation of events that led to the alleged eviction. He also did not speak on the allegation that NiDCOM’s working equipment was locked up in NCC building

The had since then deleted the tweet where he spoke on the issue, accusing NiDCOM chairman of telling lies.


#Newsworthy…

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Education Minister says Schools will resume on..


The Federal Government has disclosed that there are plans to soon reopen schools nationwide, saying, however, that this will not be done in two weeks as being speculated in some outlets.

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, made the clarification on Thursday during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 news conference in Abuja following rumors making the round the Federal Government would reopen schools in the next two weeks.

The Federal Government had ordered the indefinite closure of educational institutions nationwide as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

But Nwajiuba while responding to questions from the media on when the government’s plans to reopen to the schools following the easing of the lockdown, said the schools would be reopened when the safety of the school children could be guaranteed.

He said the government was wary not to endanger the lives of the school children and further spread of the coronavirus in the society.

He added that his ministry is working with other relevant stakeholders and agencies of government to put the necessary measures in place that would guarantee the safety of children before the schools are reopened.

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He said: “We all are seriously interested in reopening and I believe we will reopen soon. But I can’t confirm what your children said that we will reopen in two weeks.

“The issue around reopening has nothing to do with the availability of the schools or not. It has to do with national governance. The idea of shutting down the schools has nothing to do with the schools per se.

“You heard the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the SGF, keep saying it is a national response. It is a single national response and everything we do flows from that.

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“When they determine, I’m sure you have seen all the experts here, that there is the measure of safety to which we can expose our children, we will gladly do that. We are watching and we are working with all bodies within and outside the country.

“The five countries of West African Examination Council (WAEC) are meeting and I just came out of a meeting with African Union (AU) Ministers of Education, everybody is concerned as you are. We hope to reopen very soon.


#Newsworthy…

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Reps tackle health minister on Chinese doctors’ disappearance.


Lawmakers at the House of Representatives have questioned the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, demanding full details of the activities and whereabouts of the Chinese doctors.

The lawmakers at their plenary on Tuesday said they are not satisfied with the statement of the Minister that the Chinese doctors are not guests of the Federal Ministry of Health but that of a Chinese firm in Abuja.

The resolution of the House stems from a motion of urgent public importance raised by Representative Dachung Bagos.

The House, in a separate motion, also resolved to investigate the status of medical and pharmaceutical research in the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.

They expressed worry that Nigerian scientists and researchers have not been given the necessary support and funding for medical research.

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The Minister of Health las week Thursday told reporters not to question him over the whereabouts of Chinese medical experts who came into Nigeria to support the fight against COVID-19.

Ehanire, while responding to questions at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing said the medical personnel “are not guests of the Federal Government but CCECC, a construction company.”


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: Gbajabiamila plead with Abuja health workers to extend strike ultimatum. [Nigeria]


The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has appealed to the Joint Health Sector Union and the Assembly of Healthcare Professionals (JOHESU), FCT Chapter, to extend the strike ultimatum they gave to the FCT Administration.

The JOHESU had on May 7, given the government up to May 28 to address the irregularities in salary payment since January, non-payment of arrears of promotion from 2016, 2017 and 2018, delay in the release of conversion and proper placement of some of the workers, in order to avert workers’ strike.

But Gbajabiamila, at a meeting with the officials of the union at the National Assembly, Abuja, yesterday, pleaded with the health workers to tarry a while on the issue and assured them that the House would deliberate on the matter at plenary on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, (today) and come up with a strong resolution.

Read Also;

Infectious diseases bill: Gbajabiamila faces impeachment threat. [Nigeria]

He also hinted that the House would meet with the officials from the FCTA, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Budget Office and IPPIS officials to ensure that all issues were resolved with immediate effect.

Responding, the Chairman of JOHESU, FCT Chapter, Ms. Deborah Yusufu, commended the Speaker for his intervention, which showed that he recognised the sacrifices health workers are making in the fight against COVID-19.

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Yusufu said she would take the Speaker’s position back to her union.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Chief Whip, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu; Chairman House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Tanko Sununu and the JOHESU officials.


#Newsworthy…

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Infectious diseases bill: Gbajabiamila faces impeachment threat. [Nigeria]



As controversy continues to trail the Infectious Disease Control Bill before the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila’s seat seems to be hanging in the balance as forces not comfortable with his recent style of leadership are said to be moving against him.

NobleReporters gathered that the recent face-off between the leadership of the House led by Gbajabiamila, the state governors and former Speaker of the House and now governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal may cause Gbajabiamila his seat if not properly handled.

According to the source, the governors who are allegedly not happy with the way the House of Representatives responded to their advice that the Infectious Disease Control Bill be “stepped down” until proper consultations are made, are mobilising against the Speaker who is the lead sponsor of the Bill.

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The source further disclosed that the governors at a recent meeting in Abuja had “secretly” agreed to push for the Speaker’s impeachment through their various representatives at the green chamber.

He said some of the governors openly accused the Speaker of being “arrogant” in his approach to “national issues” a development they said should be checked to maintain the cordial relationship between the Legislature and the Executive.

Speaking further, the source stated the governor of Sokoto state, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal’s loyalists who felt slighted that the governor was accused of misleading and misguiding other members of the Governors Forum are also “spoiling for war”.

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He said some members of the House already have grudges against the Speaker over allegation of overbearing especially in handling the donation to the fight against the coronavirus also known as COVID-19.

It was also alleged that the Speaker has been making frantic efforts to get his political godfather to rally the governors to shelve their plans and create an avenue for dialogue.

It would be recalled that the governors operating under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF had recently urged the National Assembly to step down the proposed Infectious Disease Control Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives until an appropriate consultative process is held.

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Chairman of the Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also the Governor of Ekiti state had in Communiqué at the end of the Forum’s eight teleconference meeting added that the consultation must include a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns on the proposed Bill.

However, responding to the advice by the Governor’s Forum, the House of Representatives said it does not legislate for the states and therefore should not be “cowed” from doing its Constitutional responsibility.

The spokesman of the House, Hon. Benjamin Kalu in a statement regretted that Hon. Aminu Tambuwal who is a former Speaker of the House stood a better position to rightly inform the Governors Forum but failed to do so.

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Hon. Kalu went ahead to call for the disqualification of Tambuwal who is also the Governor of Sokoto state from a proposed consultative meeting with the Nigeria Governors Forum accusing him of being biased towards the Infectious Disease Control Bill insisting that Tambuwal misled and misguided the Forum into asking the House to step down the Bill.

“We assume that his position was informed by his well-known personal and partisan opposition to the emergence of the current leadership of House led by Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila considering his obvious stance in 2015 and 2019,” he stated.

He said that the House of Representatives would proceed with the legislative work on the controversial Infectious Disease Control Bill because according to him, the House of Representatives and National Assembly in general are not under the control of any state governor.

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Also the House of Representatives has insisted on the consideration of the contentious Control of Infectious Diseases Bill explaining that it has not been stopped by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

In a statement yesterday, he House regretted that a section of the media had erroneously reported that the Federal High Court in its ruling on suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 last week had stopped the further consideration of the bill.

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The House spokesman explained that though the applicant, through a motion ex parts, had sought an order of the court suspending the consideration of the bill, the court declined to grant the reliefs sought by the applicant so as to allow the respondent to appear before it and enter a defence.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Mr. Lanre Lasisi asked for time to comment on the matter but never did at the time of going to press. Also the spokesperson of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulrazaq Barkindo could not be reached.


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] Former Health Minister Dies At 66 – Jonathan Mourn.

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Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has condoled with the Government and people of Sokoto State over the exit of Dr. Haliru Alhassan who passed on at the age of 66 years.

The late Alhassan served in the administration of Jonathan as minister of state for health and later minister of health.

In a condolence message to the family of the deceased, the former President described Dr. Alhassan as a committed patriot who made his mark in public service, adding that he “served the nation to the best of his abilities.”

Jonathan noted that the late minister contributed so much to the efforts towards reforming the health sector and the overall improvement recorded in the sector under his administration.

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He further recalled that late Dr. Alhassan played a key role in the nation’s success in combating and containing Ebola during the 2014 outbreak.

The former President prayed to God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.


#Newsworthy…

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[Russia] Minister of culture test positive for COVID-19

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Russia’s Minister of Culture, Olga Lyubimova has tested positive for Coronavirus just after the country’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Construction Minister Vladimir Yakushev landed in hospital because of the deadly virus.

Lyubimova’s spokesperson, Anna Usacheva said on Wednesday May 6, that she has mild symptoms and is now working from home after being diagnosed with the disease.

The statement reads in part;

“The head of the Ministry of Culture, Olga Lyubimova, is working from home. She has tested positive for COVID-19.

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“The minister is at home, she holds working meetings in the format of video conferences, she takes parts in online meetings and negotiations.

“She has mild symptoms. Hospitalisation is out of the question.”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Minister of Health reveal drug used to treat patients in Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has revealed the drug used in treating coronavirus patients in Nigeria.

Addressing members of the House of Representatives today Tuesday May 5, Ehanire said Remdesivir is being used to treat patients with the virus.

“We have been using that (Remdesivir); we have tried that in Lagos too. So, we have tried the antiretroviral drug to see what effect it has” he said

The Minister said the drug which was originally developed as a potential treatment for Ebola, is one of the options which Nigeria has adopted for in treating COVID-19 patients.

Remdesivir was tested in 1,063 hospitalized Coronavirus patients around the world and has proven to reduce the time it takes patients to recover by 31%. 11 days on average versus 15 days for those just given usual care.


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerians should stay indoors to curb COVID-19 spread – Rauf Aregbesola warns

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The Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola has cautioned Nigerians to remain indoors, saying gradual easing of lockdown does not mean the pandemic is over.

Aregbeshola said this at the public presentation of the fourth edition of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) annual report since the commencement of the administration in 2016 on Tuesday in Abuja.

Newsmen report that Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Monday reported 245 new cases of Coronavirus bringing to the total number of infections in Nigeria to 2802.

The Minister, however, urged people to remain indoors and avoid crowded places to help fight collectively the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

“Don’t visit, stay in your house, don’t attend parties so as to curtail the deadly virus affecting Nigeria and the world at large.

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“The issue of COVID-19 is beyond ourselves. I want to appeal to Nigerians to exhibit a sense of responsibility in the fight against COVID-19.

“We must all survive this pandemic. Let us ensure physical and social distancing with all our strength. It is also with the strength of our economy that we all can survive.

“Let us collectively confront through responsible ways to ban COVID-19 totally from Nigeria,” he said.

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The Minister commended NIS for impressive achievements recorded in 2019 and urged them to do more to surpass the record in 2020.

He also encouraged the service to take advantage of the opportunities of new discoveries, creative ideas and adaptability presented by COVID-19 pandemic.


#Newsworthy

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[Nigeria] EFCC Arraign Former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday, arraigned former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, for alleged N714, 670, 014.87 fraud.

Turaki was arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Turaki was docked alongside his Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu and two companies: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited were separately arraigned.

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NobleReporters recalls that Turaki, SAN, was the Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs from 2013 to 2015. He also served as the Minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015 under the then President Goodluck Jonathan.

EFCC acting spokesman, Tony Orilade disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (whilst serving as Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs) sometime in January 2015 within the jurisdiction of this honorable court did use the sum of N159,104,000 (One Hundred and Fifty-Nine Million, One Hundred and Four Thousand only) out of the sum of N359, 104,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Million, One Hundred and Four Thousand Naira only) released to the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs for the purpose of sensitization and enlightenment of Muslim Youths, knowing that the said sum is proceed of unlawful activity to wit: criminal misappropriation and you thereby committed an offense contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section (15(3) bf the same Act.”

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But the defendant pleaded not guilty to all 16-counts brought against him, while Okpetu, his special assistant pleaded not guilty to counts 10 to 12. A not guilty plea was also entered for the two companies.

On this basis, prosecution counsel, Halifax Shehu asked for a commencement date of trial, stating that the prosecution has lined up nine witnesses for presentation in court on the matter.

However, Turaki’s defence team, led by Joe Kyari Gadzama, SAN, alongside four other senior learned silks, applied for his bail, urging the court to grant him bail on self-recognition.

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Further, Counsel to the second defendant O.M. Atoyebi, SAN, also prayed the court to grant the defendant bail based on self-recognition or on liberal terms in line with the administrative bail granted the defendants by the EFCC.

While not opposing the bail applications, the prosecution urged the court to grant bail conditions that will ensure the court attendance of the defendants all through the trial.

Granting the bail applications, Justice Ekwo stated that the terms of the administrative bail granted the defendants by the EFCC were reasonable and adoptable and therefore, adopted them.

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He, therefore, ordered that the defendants continued to enjoy the administrative bail condition granted them by the EFCC.

The court also ordered that the particulars of the EFCC administrative bail be transferred to the Registrar of the court, which included the international passports of the defendants, which are in the custody of the EFCC.

It was also affirmed that the defendants shall not travel out of the court’s jurisdiction without the leave of the court.

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Besides, it was added that the transfer of his international passport to the court, the second defendant is to produce one surety who must be a Deputy Director on Grade Level 16.

But the case was adjourned to June 22, 23, 24 and 25 this year.


#Newsworthy…

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Niger Minister of Labour dies at tender age.

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Niger’s minister of employment and labour, Mohamed Ben Omar, died on Sunday, his party said, without stating the cause of death.

He died Sunday afternoon at the main hospital of the capital Niamey, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) said on Whatsapp.

President Mahamadou Issoufou said he learned the news with a “heavy heart”.

Ben Omar, born January 1, 1965, in the south-central town of Tesker, had led the PSD, which is allied with Issoufou’s Party for Democracy and Socialism.

Issoufou’s labour minister since 2017, Ben Omar began his political life in 1999 under president Mamadou Tandja, serving in parliament or in various ministerial roles in the poor Sahel nation.

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Ben Omar strongly supported a constitutional amendment that allowed Tandja to prolong his second term by three years in 2009, but a military junta overthrew Tandja the following February.

Before he created the PSD, Ben Omar was part of the Rally for Democracy and Progress, the party of Tandja’s predecessor Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, who was assassinated in 1999 by members of his own bodyguard.


#Newsworthy…

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FCT issue fresh directives to Schools, Worship Centres amid lockdown ease.

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The FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello Musa has announced new guidelines for easing the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Minister in a statement released on Saturday by his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, said that all schools in the FCT are to remain closed until further notice.

The rules take effect from Monday, May 4, 2020.

Part of the guidelines mandates all places of worship to remain closed until further notice; while eateries and restaurants are to open between 9am and 3pm on mostly take out services.

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The guidelines say ”Schools are not permitted to commence third term operations in any form until directed otherwise.

”Schools are however encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teachings.

”The extant directive on places of worship still subsists and they remain closed.

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” All clubs, bars, gardens, beer parlors, recreational parks, communal sports facilities, movie theatres, etc in the FCT are to remain closed.

”Ban on social congregations such as parties, weddings, etc also remain in force.

It said ‘Residents are once more reminded that COVID-19 can be fatal and all are advised to take all prescribed measures to avoid contracting it.

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Persons with underlying medical conditions especially hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and low immunity are advised to remain at home. Equally, Persons 65 years and older are also advised to remain at home.

Bello also vowed to rigorously enforce the guidelines regulating the ease of the lockdown order in the FCT

He said security agencies have been mandated to arrest and prosecute anyone found to be contravening any of the guidelines through the mobile courts.

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The Minister thanked public-spirited individuals, associations and corporate organisations for the palliatives donations.

He also commended volunteers who devoted their time and resources in fighting the pandemic especially the journalists who made appearances on the various radio and television stations to educate residents of the FCT on their personal and collective responsibilities in the fight against COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] More Reasons Schools Won’t Reopen Despite Lockdown Ease – Education Minister.

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The Federal Government has reiterated that schools will not open soon.

Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, made this known while responding to a question during the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 pandemic.

He stated that no date has been picked because children could be endangered.

Nwajiuba said, “The president actually addressed the issue of the opening of the economy gradually. Until that is done, we can’t foresee or immediately tell you when all the schools will be reopened.

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“It will not be proper for us to simply give you a date. It has to be in tandem with these opening terms. We don’t want to put our children at risk. None of these schools can function on their own without the society.”

The Minister also explained that the West African Examinations Council has not cancelled examination as speculated.

According to him, students will sit for their exams when the government was sure to have taken good care of the pupils.

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He noted that the exams was postponed indefinitely so that a definite date would be picked.

Recall with NobleReporters that President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday announced a gradual lockdown relaxation in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.


#Newsworthy…

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FG’s Rice sent to States not ‘Expired’ – NAFDAC counters. [Nigeria]


Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, says the agency does not know the status of the controversial 1,800 bags of rice sent to Oyo State.

The consignment was delivered to the State by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the orders of the Federal Government.

However, the Oyo government returned the rice after discovering that it was weevils-infested.

Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar Farouq, had claimed that the rice distributed to States was inspected and certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC.

But Adeyeye stated that NAFDAC was not invited to take samples and conduct consumption fitness test.

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She made the clarification in a TVC programme, Journalists’ Hangout.

In her explanation, Adeyeye explained that only the consignments to Lagos and Ogun States were tested by NAFDAC and certified fit for consumption.

“The one for Oyo State, I cannot say anything because NAFDAC was not called by the Ibadan or South-West Command of the (Nigeria) Customs, to test samples in Ibadan. I cannot speak about the Ibadan command rice that went to Oyo and possibly to Osun.

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“I don’t know why NAFDAC was not called to take samples from the Oyo State Command to test. We were not invited to come and take samples and we cannot do that.

“The ones that we tested (in Lagos and Ogun) were good enough and the rest of the samples are still in the lab in Oshodi”, she said.


#Newsworthy….

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[Nigeria] Lockdown necessary to curb COVID-19 spread.

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The Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs Ramatu Aliyu, says the lockdown imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

She stated this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

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“No nation prays for that and I will not speak for Mr President. But from what we have seen in other developed climes, lockdown seems to be one of the best ways out of the pandemic ravaging and spreading.

“So to curb this spread and to reduce it to the barest minimum, the lockdown is better. So many parameters have to come to play here. That is why it is the decision of the leadership,” she said.

The Minister also asked residents of the FCT and indeed all Nigerians to avoid unnecessary movements around their environment.

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While asking the masses to wear face masks and maintain the social distancing measures, she wants the citizens to follow the directives set out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Aliyu’s remarks come few hours before President Muhammadu Buhari is to address the nation on the next step taken by his administration to curb COVID-19 in the country.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina confirmed this development in a statement today.

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President Buhari is expected to address Nigerians on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as some residents in Lagos, Ogun, and the Federal Capital Territory expect to know whether the lockdown would be extended or not.

There are way over a million positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed across the world, with thousands of deaths recorded in many countries.


#Newsworthy...

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[Nigeria] Minister of Education may replace Abba Kyari as ‘Chief of Staff’.


If appointed, Adamu will replace Abba Kyari, who was announced dead on Friday.

Kyari, who had a history of diabetes and was in his 70s, died at a private hospital in Lagos on owing to complications from Coronavirus.

A top government source, who spoke with media, said the President would have wanted Babagana Kingibe but was prevailed upon to drop him.

Recall that NobleReporters had few hours after Kyari’s death, disclosed that Kingibe was scheming to become Buhari’s Chief of Staff.

The source however, said, “The President actually wanted Kingibe but a lot of people prevailed upon him to drop the idea as Kingibe was not trustworthy as he betrayed and abandoned both his previous principals Abiola and Yaradua in their hours of need.”

The announcement of Adamu’s appointment as new COS is expected to happen soon.


#Newsworthy…

IMF MD name former finance minister of Nigeria her new external advisory group.


IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, on Friday, named a former Nigerian finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, among a group of prominent individuals appointed to serve as her new External Advisory Group.A statement posted on the IMF website said the group, comprising individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience, would provide insights to enhance the Fund’s ability to serve its membership.


Other members of the group are Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister of Singapore and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Ms. Kristin Forbes, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Mr. Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia.Also in the team are Lord Mark Malloch Brown, former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; Mr. Feike Sijbesima, Honorary Chair, DSM; Former CEO, Royal DSM, Mr. Raghuram Rajan, Professor, University of Chicago, and Ms. Ana Botín, Group Executive Chairman, Santander.


The group also include Ms. Carmen Reinhart, Professor, Harvard University; Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser, Allianz; Mr. Scott Minerd, Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Investments, and Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, Chair of ActionAid International.The group is expected to provide perspectives from around the globe on key developments and policy issues, including policy responses to the exceptional challenges the world now faces due to COVID-19 and its economic impact.


Announcing the establishment of the group, Georgieva said, “Even before the spread of COVID-19 and the dramatic health, economic, and financial disruptions it has brought, IMF members confronted a rapidly evolving world and complex policy issues.“To serve our membership well in this context, we need top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources, inside and outside the Fund.


“Toward this end, I am proud that an exceptional and diverse group of eminent individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience has agreed to serve on my External Advisory Group.

“Today we had a dynamic discussion to gain their insights, and to receive informal reactions to our ideas and approaches.”The External Advisory Group will meet a few times a year with the IMF’s Managing Director, Deputy Managing Directors, and a sub-set of IMF department Directors.


#Newsworthy…

Minister of state for mines and steels deny receiving grafication for job seekers.


Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah has dispelled claims of receiving gratification before offering assistance to job seekers.

In a statement released by his media aide Chijioke Udeogu, the Minister described the allegation as a propaganda hatched by disgruntled elements aimed at discrediting his hard-earned integrity to score cheap political points.


The statement reads in part;

“The general public is hereby notified that the Hon Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, OON, FCA, does not, directly or by proxy, ask for money or any gratification whatsoever before he offers assistance to job seekers to secure employment or appointment.

“Hence, anybody who collects or collected money from unsuspecting members of the public for that purpose or any other reason does not have the mandate of the Hon. Minister and should be apprehended immediately for criminal prosecution”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Top members of Buhari’s cabinet die of pandemic. – Kemi Olunloyo


Controversial journalist, Kemi Olunloyo has claimed that a high-ranking member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet has died.

She made the claim on her Twitter page, saying that the cabinet member died of coronavirus complications.

She tweeted:

#BREAKING A HIGH RANKING member of President Buhari’s Cabinet has DIED ⚰️of #CoronaVirus #Covid9 ☠️ complications. I will give the feds the honor of announcing it. U cannot hide it like Yar’Adua. I’m not telling because I value NATIONAL SECURITY OF NIGERIA

#drkemiolunloyo


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Don’t brush your teeth with sanitizers – Former Sports Minister.


Former Sports Minister Bolaji Abdullahi on Sunday advised Kwarans against abusing the use of hand sanitizers as a preventative measure against coronavirus.

Mallam Abdullahi added that sanitizers should not be used to brush.


Mr Bolaji said this in Ilorin, the state capital while handing 3,000 free sanitizers to professional associations like the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

Others that benefited from the free sanitizers gift include community associations within Ilorin West local government area.


Represented by the Chairman of Omoluabi Movement and retired permanent secretary Babatunde Sidiq, Abdullahi said:

“Communities such as Alanamu, Adewole, Ubandawaki, Oloje areas in the Ilorin West local government area of the state, including development associations in the area.


“Unfortunately, many of our people here have misconstrued the use of the sanitizers. It is expected of all of us to apply sanitizers on our hands after washing our hands as many times as possible. Sanitisers are not meant for consumption. Incidentally, many people have misconstrued the disease as not airborne but water borne. “They think they can use it to wash their mouth or use as body cream. This should not be the case. It’s essentially meant for our hands.

“We are targeting 3,000 people, including organized labour, trade unions, transport unions, as well as development associations in the area.

“We appeal to our people to adhere to the guidelines, and medical advice on prevention against COVID-19 pandemic by experts and governments. We should obey stay at home order to be .


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria: 35 Govs, 15 Mins, Others buys Dubai property with suspected public funds.


A report published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has revealed how Nigerian public officials and their proxies steal public funds and invest it in luxurious properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

According to the report, Politically Exposed Persons under scrutiny by anti-graft agencies are seeking new ways to hide their ill-gotten wealth by purchasing expensive properties in Dubai.

The 800 Dubai properties linked to Nigerian PEPs are estimated to be worth well over N146bn ($400 million).

This equals roughly two-thirds of the Nigerian Army’s annual budget and over three times the annual budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Quoting Sandcastles data, the report said 158 suspected PEP proxies bought 226 houses, 13 known Nigerian law enforcement suspects bought 216 houses, 50 PEP-linked businessperson bought 91 houses, 14 security sector leader bought 71 houses, 35 governors bought 69 houses, 16 legislators bought 45 houses, 16 heads of department and agencies bought 25 houses, 15 ministers bought 24 houses, 11 NNPC officials bought 19 houses, five Presidency staff bought 13 houses and one judge bought one house.

Some of the officials listed in the report include Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu, who is regarded as Abacha’s money man and godfather of Nigeria’s Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami.

Bagudu is affiliated with eight properties worth over $4.8m in total on the 12th floor of Dubai’s Capital Bay Towers, according to the report.

Mohammed Alabi Lawal, a former governor of Kwara State between 1999–2003, is reputed to own the most property on the list.

He owns six properties with a total purchase price of over $2m. At least one of those properties, a villa, was bought in January 2003 while Lawal was still in office.

Lawal died in 2006 but the properties haven’t been recovered.

Sandcastle data also showed that four political associates of former Delta State governor, James Ibori, have ties to properties in Dubai.

Ibori, a well-known financial offender in Nigeria, was arrested in 2010 under an Interpol warrant and was subsequently extradited to the United Kingdom.

In 2012, he pleaded guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering involving at least $66.

In 2017, Ibori returned to Nigeria after serving six years in prison and remains a major political figure in Delta State.

One of his friends purchased four Dubai properties with a total value of $3.8m.

Another is affiliated with a two-bedroom flat on the 21st floor of the DAMAC Residenze, which, according to the developer, “comes with all the trappings of an indulgent lifestyle” as well as “uninterrupted panoramic views of the ocean”.

The official reportedly purchased the apartment for over $1.5m and also bought a flat in another development for $500,000.

A third Ibori ally is linked to a two-bedroom flat on the 23rd floor of the DAMAC Residenze that he purchased for over $1.3m.

Yet another is tied to four luxury flats in Dubai purchased for over $2m.

Ahmadu Ali, a former chairman of the board at the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (2009–2011) facilitated a $6.8bn fuel subsidy fraud scheme.

Ali, his wife and son are linked to 11 properties in Dubai.

His wife, Marian, unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2007 and is now a member of the All Progressives Congress.

Seven of Ali’s properties are together worth at least $4m; the other four are worth an estimated $2m.

Ali also owns two high-end London properties – a $10m house near Hampstead Heath and a $1.3m flat in Marylebone.

Ali did not respond when confronted with being connected to the properties in Dubai.

A former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete is also linked to a parcel of land in Emirate Hills worth over $920,000.

He also owns a $500,000 apartment in the Palm Jumeirah’s Marina Residences.

Etete used an informal money changer to bring $21.5m into Dubai and this cash formed part of the $1.1bn that two international oil companies paid his company – Malabu Oil and Gas – for the license to an oil block that he awarded to himself while minister.

One such currency exchange operator, Mohammed Saminu Ibrahim Khalil, is linked to over $3m in Dubai property, according to the Sandcastles data.

In 2013, his business named Dan Kawu was accused of facilitating a N2.05bn bank fraud (worth $12.8m at the time).

Khalil was able to buy a three-bedroom luxury apartment in the DAMAC Residenze and a similar flat in Flamingo Cove, even listing his Dan Kawu email address on the purchase records.

When given an opportunity to comment on these allegations or his possible connection to property in Dubai, Khalil did not respond.

Shehu Badamasi, a businessman involved in the technology and petroleum sectors, created a Dubai property empire worth over $120m, according to the Sandcastles data.

He accomplished this despite being well-known to Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

Badamasi asserts that he and his companies do not as at February 2020 own any Dubai property.

When asked to clarify—he did not deny owning it.

At least one former NNPC Group Managing Director has ties to a Dubai property.

Shehu Ladan – a career government official, who briefly served as NNPC MD from April to May 2010, was linked to a flat in Dubai Marina.

He however, died suddenly in Dubai in October 2011.

Another NNPC alumni linked to Dubai property is Samuel Chuba Okeke, who served as Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company – NNPC’s corruption-prone downstream subsidiary – from April 2010 to February 2011.

According to the Sandcastles data, Okeke is affiliated with a villa in Jumeirah Park worth roughly $1.1m and a property in the high-end Jumeirah Beach Residences where the average apartment sells for $614,000.

Two former chairmen of the Military Pensions Board—including retired Rear Admiral Bala Mohammed Mshelia (2011–2013)—are linked to three properties.

One purchased a flat in the Lago Vista complex for $670,000, while Mshelia is linked to two flats in Dubai Marina worth up to a total of $1m.

Mshelia did not respond when given the opportunity to comment on these unproven allegations.

Two of Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate Presidents, Ibrahim Mantu (1999–2007) and Ike Ekweremadu (2007–2019), are separately linked to multiple luxury properties in Dubai

According to the report, Ekweremadu is connected to eight Dubai properties with an estimated total value in excess of $7m.

These include a luxury flat in Park Towers bought for $2.2m and one in Burj Dubai purchased for $1.4m.

According to the United Kingdom’s public records, Ekweremadu is also linked to at least two properties in the country purchased between 2008 and 2011 for a total of $6.5m.

One of these properties, an upscale flat in central London, is registered in the name of Ekweremadu’s charitable foundation.

The second, a detached house in a North London suburb, is owned by a shell company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Through his spokesman, Ekweremadu has denied owning “purported ‘hidden properties’” and has stated “unequivocally that he declared all his assets with the Code of Conduct Bureau as required by law.”

The reports found out that many Nigerian elites use proxies to hide their ownership of property but just as many buy with impunity.

The vast majority of people mentioned in the report have been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes with no known conviction.


#Newsworthy…