Tag Archives: presidency

French virus doctor receive surprise visit from President Macron.


President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday held a surprise meeting with the Marseille-based French medical professor who has caused controversy within the country’s scientific community for insisting the anti-malaria drug chloroquine can beat the coronavirus.

Professor Didier Raoult met Macron at his specialised infectious diseases hospital in Marseille, in a visit that was not announced in advance, the French presidency said.


The meeting lasted three and a half hours and, unusually, media were allowed no access.

The findings of Raoult, a prominent figure in France with shoulder-length blond hair and a grey beard, have divided opinion, with some hailing him as a saviour but others deriding his work as fake.


The Elysee has said that Macron intends to consult a broad spectrum of voices before giving his third address to the nation on the coronavirus epidemic on Monday.

A French presidential official insisted that the meeting did not represent any kind of “recognition” of the professor’s methods ahead of his speech on Monday.


“The president wants to take into account all the tests and studies, including those of professor Raoult. It is not for him (Macron) to settle the debate, this must be done by scientists,” added the official.

‘Strong legitimisation’
Macron is expected to announce that a lockdown that began on March 17 will be further extended beyond April 15, and further measures amid a persistently grim daily death toll, but also signs of gradual improvement.


Raoult has claimed that a new study he has conducted confirms chloroquine’s “efficiency” at combatting the virus.

He was expected to share the findings at the meeting with Macron who has yet to publicly share his opinion on the controversy.


Frederic Dabi, deputy director general of polling firm Ifop, said Macron was seeking to show he was consulting a broad body of opinion.

It is a “way of controlling the comments of Didier Raoult because now he cannot say no one ever listened to him” while also a “strong legitimisation” of a figure who remains hugely controversial.


Raoult, whose theory has been taken up by US President Donald Trump, said his new study of 80 patients showed that four out of five of those treated with the drug had “favourable” outcomes.

He had earlier reported that after treating 24 patients for six days with hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin, the virus disappeared in all but a quarter of them.


The research has not yet been peer reviewed nor formally published in a medical journal.

France on Thursday reported its first fall in the number of patients in intensive care suffering from COVID-19 since the coronavirus epidemic began, with 82 fewer people in intensive care units compared with the day earlier.

The total combined death toll in hospitals and nursing homes now stands at 12,210


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: N10bn to Lagos, N0bn to Rivers – FG’s foul – Wike accuse. (Nigeria)


Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike has accused the federal government of foul-play over approval N10 billion for Lagos, while his state is yet to receive any monetary support from the federal government for the fight against coronavirus.

Communicating via his Twitter handle, Wike accused the government of politicising efforts to fight the disease.


While Rivers is being controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos, is under the All Progressives Congress (APC). Lagos has so far recorded 120 cases of the coronavirus while Rivers has one case.

But the governor asked if the federal government is waiting for a state to have more than 50 cases before rendering support.


“While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government,” he wrote.

“One wonders why Federal Government should single out a state out of 36 States to give support. Does it mean that support will come when a State has a record of over 50 infected persons before it gets support.


“No state should be seen as more important than any other state. This is a Federal Republic. No state is superior to others.”

It is quite unfortunate that the containment of coronavirus has been politicized by the Federal Government. While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/NsLqPzPkze


— Gov N E Wike Information. (@GovWike) April 5, 2020

Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government.#Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/uNXd22CAXd


— Gov N E Wike Information. (@GovWike) April 5, 2020

One wonders why Federal Government should single out a state out of 36 States to give support. Does it mean that support will come when a State has a record of over 50 infected persons before it gets support. #Covid_19


— Gov N E Wike Information. (@GovWike) April 5, 2020

He said Rivers is entitled to support from the federal government, adding: “Every day, we are inundated with letters from the Federal Government to allow oil companies to fly in expatriates to drill oil.

“Then we ask, what is the status of those coming from Lagos? Nobody has told us their status as regards coronavirus.


#Newsworthy…

38,296 US citizens evacuated from 77 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, others.


The United States has so far evacuated 38,296 citizens from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin Republic, and 75 other countries on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

The citizens were airlifted in 330 flights coordinated by the US Department of State.


The emergency evacuation commenced on January 29, 2020, according to the coronavirus repatriation statistics published on http://www.state.gov, updated on Friday.

This is happening as Nigeria directed its foreign missions to compile a list of stranded Nigerian nationals who wished to come back home.


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “the financial implications will be borne by the prospective evacuees, who will be compulsorily quarantined when they return.”

The repatriation report said the US government had evacuated 369 citizens in three flights from Nigeria while 1,070 US nationals were evacuated from Ghana in five flights and 825 from Senegal in four flights.


The US had also airlifted 109 Americans from Burkina Faso; 524 from Cameroon; 866 from China; 400 from Cyprus; 2,770 in 23 flights from Ecuador; 1,686 in 29 flights from the Dominican Republic; 2,406 in 15 flights from El Salvador and 3,014 in 18 flights from Guatemala.

The report said, “The Department of State is rising to meet the historic challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, every day, all over the world. The US Government has no higher priority than the protection of American citizens.


“The Department of State has coordinated the repatriation of 38,296 Americans from 78 countries since January 29, 2020. On April 2, approximately 140 US citizens and residents were repatriated from Colombia.”

Meanwhile, no fewer than 188 Europeans were evacuated from Nigeria on Friday through the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The flight was operated by a Boeing 777 aircraft owned by Austrian Airlines, a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group.

Amongst those on the flight were Germans and Austrians.


#Newsworthy…

Useni – It’s strange to hear PMB’s chief of staff summon service chiefs.


Senator Jeremiah Useni, a retired Lieutenant General, was Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha-led military junta. The 77-year-old politician who contested the 2019 governorship election in Plateau State speaks on a number of issues


You contested the 2019 governorship poll in Plateau State and pursued your case from tribunal to the Supreme Court, but lost. What is the next step now?

There is nowhere to go again. The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land. So, what do you mean by what next again?

We have heard some people going back to the Supreme Court asking for the review of their cases. Are you also considering that line of action?


That thought never crossed my mind. But you are aware that those who went back never succeeded in getting what they were asking to encourage others to do the same.

The Supreme Court threw away that of Bayelsa State review request by the All Progressives Congress and that of the Peoples Democratic Party in Imo State by maintaining its earlier judgements.

So, I can’t just join the band wagon because people are going there. What I believe is that only God knows if the judgement of the Supreme Court in my governorship petition is right or not. But the fact remains that it is the highest court of the land.


Have you given up on your governorship ambition or do you still want to govern the state?


It takes four years before another election. So, I’m still looking at the situation whether there were mistakes on my part, on the part of my party, individuals or the judiciary and ensure that one can guide against it. So, my priority is not that I must be governor.

You have been minister and a senator after a successful career in the military, yet you want to be a governor. People are wondering what you really left undone in your previous positions.

In the military, you have restrictions. No matter the good intentions you might have, you have to be very careful as a military man. You can’t even make a political statement. You cannot climb the podium and address the people. But as a politician, the door is open. As long as the statement is not against the government or such that it will be taken as a security threat. And of course, as a politician, you move freely with the people and sympathise with them when necessary and be able to explain to the people why certain things happen or why certain things cannot be done.

I was close to the late (Gen Sani) Abacha and people thought I would be implicated one way or the other and jailed but they never knew that my friendship with the former Head of State had nothing to do with corrupt enrichment of self because I did not care about what he did. I was only doing my job. When I was military Governor of Benue State, I would stop people sweeping my office by 7:00 am. I told them to come by 6am if they actually wanted to sweep my office because I had no time for such dereliction of duty.


As a former military officer, are you not worried about the security situation in the country?


Of course, I am concerned. Some people have told me that they heard that I am close to Mr President, Major General Muhamadu Buhari(retd.) and I said yes. They now wondered why insecurity has continued to plague the country. And I said should my friendship with the President stop insecurity? Am I in the same party with him? My friendship with him has nothing to do with security. He is a different person just as I am. But I won’t go on air and tell people to stop accusing him of not doing enough to address the problem of insecurity. If he does something wrong, you are free to accuse him. My friendship with Mr President also has nothing to do with politics. Some people will come and say, “he is your friend. Why not let him speak to those (judges) people to make you governor”. And I said, we are not running a military government where the Head of State picks and appoints people as governors. Those who will occupy those positions are determined by politics and if the judiciary is to do its job or anybody to convince them to do otherwise, definitely, it is not Mr President.


A lot of people including members of the National Assembly have called for the removal of the service chiefs. Do you consider this as a solution to the problem?


In the military, there is a period you are to serve as a service chief and then, you will be asked to go, whether there is insecurity or not. To me, that is what people should look at. Some people are talking as if there is no insecurity in the country, they will remain there for life. No. You cannot have a service chief staying for four or five years. If you are complaining of that, I can understand that. But Mr President has a reason for doing so because their appointment is at the discretion of Mr President. He can appoint them today and even sack them within one week as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


What is the way forward in addressing Nigeria’s security challenge?


I am not saying that sacking them is not the solution. The point I am making is that, what is the guarantee that the ones you are bringing on board will be better than the ones you are sacking? What I am saying is that, what people are complaining about should be whether the service chiefs should be in office either for three or four years, but they have spent more than that. And that they are not happy about their continued stay in office. You can talk about it from the laws and asked why they are still being kept in office against the laws of the land.

I have discussed with friends what can be done to address the security challenges facing the country. The truth is that the challenge is diverse. First, what are we doing as Nigerians? We see a situation where brothers kill themselves and husbands or wives kill their partners and yet, they are supposed to be in love. Why the fight? When I went round, the teachers’ union told me they had about 2,000 qualified teachers who were jobless because the state government refused to employ them. They also told me that the state had over 2,000 unqualified teachers in the system. When I heard the information, I considered it abnormal and I quickly summoned the relevant persons in the ministry to find out if it was true. And when they confirmed it, I told them to get those unqualified teachers out of the system the next day and replace them with the qualified ones. The instruction was carried out without delay and the next day, the same teachers association came out to demonstrate that I sacked people from work. I was surprised because they were the same people who wrote petitions demanding that I do something about the abnormally which I did. So, what I did was to join them in the protests and they started laughing and went away quietly. But that is how we ended up doing the right thing and ensured that only qualified teachers were allowed in the system.


What do you think Mr President can do to make the fight against corruption more effective?


I am not Mr President and I can’t say I know the problem he is facing, but all I know is that to get to the old wood, you have to first remove the new ones on top of it. What I mean is that so many new corrupt people are committing so many offences and the old ones they took over from are still there.


So, how do you get rid of the old ones without getting rid of the new ones first?


So, you can’t get the old wood when the new ones are on top, except you are in a position to clear them at the same time otherwise you must have to remove the new ones first. But what we find in the fight against corruption is a situation where, in trying to get the old ones, the new corrupt people are building up. That is the problem. But as a person, I think Mr President is doing his best but he is not working alone. He has somebody who will do the work and then you refuse people advising you and work with bad advisers. So, you take the blame yourself. And if you have people who swore to do the proper thing and they turn round to be giving you wrong information, then what do you do? Even within the Presidency, look at the ongoing fight between the Chief of Staff to the President and the National Security Adviser? I wouldn’t believe that it is Mr President who gave the instruction that his Chief of Staff should be giving instructions to the National Security Adviser. But the National Security Adviser is complaining that the man is trying to give him instructions. I think there is a modicum of insecurity in what is happening there. So, it is left for the President to determine whether what he is saying is correct or not. If he was told to reduce work for Mr President or Mr President said If you want to see me, see so, so, person. It is left for the people to complain if they have any issue with him but for the Chief of Staff to the President to just summon service chiefs, I never heard of it before.


The infighting between the Chief of Staff and the National Security Adviser, among other happenings in the country and the seeming helplessness of Mr President suggest that Buhari is not in charge of the country’s affairs. Do you agree that this is true?


People can interpret this thing anyhow. I think somebody is just taking advantage of his closeness to the President to do certain things that are not right and I give you an example. Someone came here and told me he was told not to come in and see me. When I asked him the reason, he said they said it was an instruction from my son. When my son came, I asked him why he is stopping people from seeing me. I told him and the other children that If you think that this person I am seeing is not good, then you should tell me and it is left for me to take a decision on that but you don’t stop people from seeing me. But if such information doesn’t come to me and they went about telling people, they will think I was the one who actually gave the instruction.


Which section of the country would you like to produce the President in 2023?


The direction of politics is unpredictable sometimes. People will tell you that there is permanent interest in politics, but for some years, Nigerian presidency has been swinging between the North and South. But as time went by, people were not talking about these two political divisions again. Instead, they started talking about allowing each of the six geopolitical zones to be given a slot for the presidency. And the separate agitations by each of them comprising the South-East, South-South and South-West on one hand and North-East, North -West and North-Central, on the other hand, is causing confusion in the polity. Now if they say South-West, some people will say it has had its own turn at the presidency. If they say South-South, some would ask whether former president Goodluck Jonathan is not from that region. Now, if you say South-East, the name of Nnamdi Azikiwe will come up. So, we have to agree on the method or we go by tribe as the case may be. But people will always say what suit them. But left for me, the presidency should be rotated between the North and the South. And if the President is a Muslim, the Vice President should be a Christian and if the President is a Christian, the Vice President should be a Muslim. That is what I believe will help the country and its people.


#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: President Buhari orders release of 70,000 metric tons of grains to Nigerians.

ptf partially exempt oil workers


President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains to Nigerians to help alleviate the harsh effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, who announced this on Wednesday, also announced the adoption of a document of implementation guide and protocols for the COVID-19 lockdown policy.


Mustapha, who revealed that the initial reports on public compliance to restriction order where applicable, also announced that President Buhari had granted partial exemption for operators of the upstream subsector of the nation’s oil and gas sector and operations at the Port Harcourt and other ports in Rivers State.

Explaining the presidential approval for the release of grains to Nigerians, Mustapha said it was part of plans to ensure some level of comfort for people across the country, especially in areas where the restriction order is strictest, adding that the first tranche would go to Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.


“The President has approved the released 70,000 metric tons of grains from the National Strategic Reserve, for distribution to the poor, the vulnerable and those whose livelihoods will be affected by the lockdown.

“The first tranche of about 6,000 metric tons will go to Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, while the remaining will go to other frontline states in the fight against COVID-19.


“In the continuing effort to ensure very minimal disruption of upstream oil and gas exploration and operation in Nigeria, Mr President has approved limited operations exemptions for operating companies, services and logistics companies in the Nigerian upstream sector.

“They will ensure regular gas supplies to power turbines that supply domestic electricity,” he said.


On the level of compliance to the restriction order by the President, Mustapha said the PTF had been impressed by the reports received so far, noting though that there were still some reports indicating that security operatives were having challenges, especially in states where governors had introduced their own set of measures.

“We have received situation reports from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Inter-State traffic across the Country as at Tuesday, 31st March, 2020. Indications are that there was a reasonable level of compliance with the Presidential directive which has led to great reduction of traffic on major highways. We have however received reports of challenges arising from the enforcement of the Presidential directives by security agents generally and in States where Governors have also imposed their own measures.


“As we continue to dialogue to remove the bottlenecks, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF has developed an Implementation Guide and Protocols for the COVID-19 Lockdown Policy. This document will be widely circulated to all security agencies and will be discussed with sub-national entities for the purpose of building synergy in the fight against the virus.

“In the course of this briefing, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps will bring you details of the nationwide traffic situation while the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 will provide the details on the guidelines and protocols for the Lockdown.

“I however assure you that these guidelines and protocols will be published in the national dailies and broadcast on the News networks


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Osinbajo, Soyinka clash on lockdown in Nigeria. [Must Read]

… Osinbajo says criticism of presidential order pointless

… ICPC warns corrupt persons to steer clear of funds


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disagreed with Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and others who have questioned the legality of the presidential order restricting movement in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States.

Lawyers like Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and Femi Falana also faulted the lockdown , following the announcement on Sunday. Osinbajo, however, maintained that the move by President Muhammadu Buhari is important and backed by extant laws.

“I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. There is a Quarantine Act of 1926. It’s been published in all of the Laws of Nigeria, every edition of the Laws of Nigeria, it is there.”

Referring specifically to the part of the legislation that empowers the president to order restrictions to movement in any part the country, Osinbajo said: “What the Act does is that it allows the president to designate any local area, any part of the country, as a place that may be infected or under the threat of a communicable disease. He can then make regulations of any kind.

“For instance, he can say people should not go out; no public gatherings etc. So, it is a regulation that gives the president powers, and these powers come from the National Assembly because, of course, it is an Act of the National Assembly.”

The vice president made the disclosure in Abuja on Monday while responding to questions at the Google Hangout programme organised by HACK COVID-19 Call Centre, a private sector initiative supporting Nigeria’s battle against the pandemic.

The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the Corona pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis. This is a time for Unity of Purpose, not nitpicking dissensions. So, before this becomes a habit, a question: does President Buhari have the powers to close down state borders? We want clear answers. We are not in a war emergency – Soyinka

“The president has extensive powers under the Quarantine Act of 1926. Also, governors have extensive powers under the same Quarantine Act,” Osinbajo said.

He urged individuals and groups to peruse the legislation, to understand the provisions therein, noting: “It is barely a one-page legislation, so it is not particularly difficult to find the relevant provisions, and it is not particularly difficult to read, very straightforward. So, the president has all the powers.”

He further said confronting the pandemic was an effort requiring the cooperation of all Nigerians.“We must see this as a joint effort. Everyone is involved in this. It really is an all-Nigeria effort and I am happy that everyone is responding,” he said.

Asked how the administration was supporting the most vulnerable during the restriction to movement, Osinbajo said Buhari had established the Economic Sustainability Committee, “which he has asked me to chair.”

He said the committee would take care of the economic challenges and fallouts of the pandemic in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States. He also said the committee would develop further palliatives, and a sustainability plan to reposition the economy and grow the non-oil sector.

He added: “Part of the work of the Economic Sustainability Committee is to look at some of the concerns that affect the poor, especially in the context of what has already been done and the data that we already have on informal workers and informal traders, and how to implement some strategy that will be able to alleviate the sufferings of the poor (and the informal workforce) at this time, and integrate some of the data that we have in other respects.”

In his reaction on Monday to the lockdown order by Buhari, Soyinka described it as illegal and unconstitutional.Soyinka, in a statement, said the president did not have the powers to unilaterally lock down a state, as there was no war or emergency.

In the statement titled “Between COVID and Constitutional Encroachment,” Soyinka said “constitutional lawyers and our elected representatives should kindly step into this and educate us, mere lay minds.

I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. There is a Quarantine Act of 1926. It’s been published in all of the Laws of Nigeria, every edition of the Laws of Nigeria, it is there. It is a regulation that gives the president powers, and these powers come from the National Assembly because, of course, it is an Act of the National Assembly – Osinbajo

“The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the Corona pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis.

“This is a time for Unity of Purpose, not nitpicking dissensions. So, before this becomes a habit, a question: does President Buhari have the powers to close down state borders? We want clear answers. We are not in a war emergency.

“Appropriately focused on measures for the saving lives, and committed to making sacrifices for the preservation of our communities, we should nonetheless remain alert to any encroachment on constitutionally demarcated powers. We need to exercise collective vigilance, and not compromise the future by submitting to interventions that are not backed by law and constitution.”

According to Soyinka, “a president who had been conspicuously AWOL, the Rip van Winkle of Nigerian history, is now alleged to have woken up after a prolonged siesta, and begun to issue orders.

“Who actually instigates these orders anyway? From where do they really emerge? What happens when the orders conflict with state measures, the product of a systematic containment strategy – `including even trial-and-error and hiccups – undertaken without let or leave of the Centre. So far, the anti-COVID-19 measures have proceeded along the rails of decentralised thinking, multilateral collaboration and technical exchanges between states.

“The Centre is obviously part of the entire process, and one expects this to be the norm, even without the epidemic’s frontal assault on the Presidency itself. Indeed, the Centre is expected to drive the overall effort, but in collaboration, with extraordinary budgeting and refurbishing of facilities.”

Soyinka advised: “The universal imperative and urgency of this affliction should not become an opportunistic launch pad for a sneak re-centralisation, no matter how seemingly insignificant its appearance. I urge governors and legislators to be especially watchful. No epidemic is ever cured with constitutional piracy. It only lays down new political viruses for the future.”

The FCT administration, meanwhile, has begun enforcing the restriction to movement. Many streets were deserted. Personnel from the military, police, Civil Defence Corps and Federal Road Safety Commission were seen manning strategic positions around the city centre.

“We will not allow any individual or groups, as a result of their inability to honour this medical advice, to jeopardise the health of many,” warned FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello.

But many residents in Kaduna, Kaduna State yesterday defied the 24-hour restriction to movement put in place by Governor Nasir El-Rufai.At the Kawo Market for instance, buyers and sellers moved about freely, while security operatives posted to enforce looked on.

“The curfew has brought hunger and tiredness. We are doing nothing at home. I have come out to sell to the people. People are hungry and as a trader, I don’t have money to feed my family until I sell my goods,” said one Hassan, a tomato trader.
Reacting to the development, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) issued a statement signed by Publicity Secretary Abraham Alberah Catoh, which said: “Realising that hunger is another dangerous disease, the party makes a passionate but strong appeal to the government to effect an intermittent but controlled relaxation of the curfew currently in force, to allow people to either stock or re-stock household needs like foodstuffs, drugs etc.”

Also, to contain the pandemic, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday announced that the 360 members of the chamber had donated two months’ salaries.

“Our contribution will support provisions for the welfare of frontline medical professionals and health workers, and other interventions to provide for the wellbeing of all Nigerians through these trying times.

“Accordingly, I have directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to see to it that all members’ salaries are transferred to the National Relief Fund for this month and the next,” the Speaker said.

This came as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) warned that unscrupulous persons might take advantage of the fight against COVID-19.

“Responding to this or any other emergency or implementation of government policy should not increase integrity deficit or risky behaviour,” spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said in Abuja yesterday.

“The noble desire of government to ameliorate the pain of citizens in these difficult times should not be converted to another rue de la corruption. COVID-19 should not be used as excuse for corruption in any sector of the economy.

“This very attitude of greed and impunity is what has consistently undermined positive outcomes from otherwise well thought-out national response programmes and laid-out plans that covered everything except keeping corruption in implementation at bay,” she added.


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria: President Buhari Sign COVID-19 Regulations 2020


President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared COVID-19 a dangerous infectious disease.

This according to Femi Adesina the special adviser to the President, is in line with the exercising of the powers conferred on Buhari by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf.

In his statement on Monday, the presidential spokesman noted that the regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.

He added that to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: I need N1 billion to fight coronavirus – Obiano tells Buhari. (Nigeria)


Though Anambra currently has no confirmed case of Coronavirus, the State governor, Willie Obiano has applied to the Federal Government for the sum of N1bn to secure his state against COVID-19 spread.

Obiano said Anambra had opened a special account for donations towards preventing coronavirus from spreading into the state, which currently has zero record of COVID-19.


In a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba, the governor said the steps were in line with the state’s resolve to ensure it remained free of the disease.

He urged the Federal Government to avail the state N1bn to help it to sustain the zero record because of the strategic nature of Anambra State people in commerce and industry.


The statement read in part, “Governor Obiano, therefore, considers it imperative that the Federal Government provides at least N1bn to Anambra, which is at risk in view of the multitude of people in its numerous markets and the peripatetic nature of the people who have been helping in the rapid development of all parts of Nigeria.

“Besides, we have as many as 63 major markets in the state, including the Onitsha main market, which is the largest market in West Africa.


“The markets are always full of millions of people from different countries in West and Central Africa, thereby making our people vulnerable to the contagion.

“The Anambra State Government would like to use this opportunity to announce the creation of a special account to assist ndi Anambra grapple with the grave challenges of the coronavirus.

“Known as the Anambra State COVID- 19 account, it is in response to various inquiries from people of Anambra State origin in different parts of Nigeria and beyond who have been seeking ways to assist their people since the viral disease outbreak.”

Adinuba said the account, which was domiciled in a new generation bank, would be administered by Obiano as the Chairman of Anambra COVID-19 Task Force, to ensure absolute transparency and accountability.”


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria: Buhari pronounce Osinbajo head of ‘Economic Sustainability Committee.’


President Muhammadu Buhari has named Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the head of economic sustainability committee.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, made this disclosure at the press conference.


The terms of reference as well as members of the committee will be announced soon.

He said: “We do not desire to slow down the economy in any way.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded another fatality due to COVID-19.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, made this disclosure at the press conference.


#Newsworthy…

PDP senators hail Buhari over speech.

disagree with party leaders.


The Minority Caucus of the Senate, yesterday, disagreed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech on COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, the caucus commended the Federal Government’s approach to combat the ravaging COVID-19 as contained in President Buhari’s Sunday evening national broadcast to Nigerians.


In a statement released in Abuja by the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, the caucus said though they had expected the presidency to engage the National Assembly more in some of the policy areas that are statutory, they have to recognise the fact that these are unusual times that may require quick policy responses.

“These are perilous times in the world and indeed an unusual situation for our dear country, so the PDP caucus described as a step in the right direction the President’s broadcast and policy measures, which we believe while being short on prioritizing the poor and vulnerable in our society , nevertheless if properly implemented will keep our people safe from this deadly virus,” he said.


Abaribe assured that the caucus is ready to work and engage in a bipartisan manner with the presidency and is even ready to reconvene should the need arise to insure that the country ward off the Covid-19 virus, which has kept the entire world on it’s toes.

However, the caucus asked for a proper monitoring of the disbursement of the palliative measures to ensure that it gets to the people they’re meant for and also urged humane approach by the relevant security agencies while strictly implementing the measures that has to do with the restrictions of movement of our people.


“The security agencies should bear in mind that these are unusual times and first of it’s kind that Nigerians will be asked to stay mostly at home and maintain social distance. As such the approach should be more of humane engagement rather than the application of force,” Abaribe added.

Nonetheless, the PDP caucus according to Abaribe, advised Nigerians to adhere strictly to the federal government directives and other containment measures rolled out by the National Center for Desease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) adding that doing so, would certainly put the ravaging virus at bay.

“It could be tough, but the measures are necessary now if we must survive this deadly scourge and emerge stronger after,“ Abaribe added.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Full Text of Buhari’s Address To Nigerians. [What happens during this ‘stay at home’ era]


President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, addressed the nation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. NobleReporters report

In his national broadcast on the 29th of March, 2020, the President revealed that the Federal Government is tacking certain measures to ensure that the nation gets to win the war against the virus.

One of such measures is a 14-day curfew imposed on Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, starting from 11pm on Monday, March 30.

Below is a full text of the President’s speech.

1. Fellow Nigerians,

2. From the first signs that Coronavirus, or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.

3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.

4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.

5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.

6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatment.

7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.

8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.

9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.

10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.

11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.

12. Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.

14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.

15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.

16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.

18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.

19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

21. I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.

26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.

28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security and intelligence agencies.

29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

30. As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. Majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres.

33. We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

35. All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Minister of the FCT have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

37. We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.

38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

39. Furthermore, commercial establishments such as;

a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;

b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,

c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and

d. private security companies are also exempted.

40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

42. All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

43. Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

44. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death, if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France and Spain.

47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will therefore ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.

51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export Import Bank.

53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.

55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.

57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.

58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.

59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.

60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.

63. I will therefore implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.

64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.

65. I thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.

President Muhammadu Buhari.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: PMB to address Nigerians tonight.


President Muhammadu Buhari will address the nation by 7pm on Sunday.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, announced this in a statement hours before President Buhari is scheduled to address Nigerians.


“Television, radio, and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) respectively for the broadcast,” he said.

The scheduled broadcast comes amid mixed reactions triggered by what some described as the inability of the President to address the people against the backdrop of coronavirus (COVID) in the country.


The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the country in late February.

Despite the measures put in place by the Federal and state governments to curtail the spread of the disease, the number of confirmed cases in the country surged to 97 as of 10:40 pm on March 28, 2020.


A Suitable Style

Lagos State is worst-hit with 59 confirmed cases while the Federal Capital Territory trailed with 16 cases.

Similarly, Oyo has seven cases, Ogun has three cases, while Enugu, Edo, Bauchi, and Osun State have two cases respectively.


Ekiti, Rivers, Benue, and Kaduna States have also recorded one case of COVID-19.

Among those who tested positive to coronavirus included governors and some top government officials in the country.


Worried by the situation, some Nigerians took to social media to call out President Buhari for not addressing the people in a television broadcast, although he tweeted recently.

During his appearance recently on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Mr Adesina defended his boss.

He stressed that not addressing the people was the President’s style and there was no need for regular briefing, as long as there was no communication breach.


#Newsworthy…

Iranian Imam of peace slam Nigerian president, Buhari.


Mohammad Tawhidi, a Muslim influencer and reformist Imam has taken to his twitter page to drag Buhari.

Tawhidi also known as Imam of Peace is calling out the President Of Nigeria, Buhari.


Also, in his tweet, he wrote that Buhari is the dumbest person in Nigeria.

Furthermore, he said Buhari is a dictator.


The President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari still doesn’t know the name of the virus killing 24,000+ at such a rapid rate. Addressing the nation about it for the first time, he pronounced the virus as ‘CIVIK 1-9’.

His friend, Imran Khan, thinks Japan and Germany share a border.


Top 3 leaders:

1- Imran Khan. Professional beggar, terror-sympathizer, thinks Japan and Germany are neighbours.

2- Muhammadu Buhari, dumbest person in Nigeria. Scared of terrorists, promises to fight the COVIKK virus.


3- Tamim of Qatar: Thinks he’s sexy. Answers only to mummy.

I love Nigeria. I have one Nigerian friend and she’s amazing. One of the most successful and honest people I know. I also welcome my new Nigerian followers on Twitter.

You have a beautiful country but it would be more beautiful without the terrorism enabled by Dictator Buhari.

More lies. I am not Nigerian nor am I a follower of Zakzaky and the terrorist regime in Iran. I despise Zakzaky. Criticizing Buhari doesn’t mean I support Zakzaky. I reject them both. I take orders from one person only and that person is my lady.


President Buhari’s cult claim they have nothing to do with terrorists in Nigeria.

Yet when I expose terrorists in Nigeria…

President Buhari’s fans attack me online.

A stupid President is always elected by stupid people.

Muhammadu Buhari is the Joe Biden of Nigeria:

1- People don’t know where he is.

2- He doesn’t know where he is.

3- He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

4- His fingerprints are on dirty files with no one brave enough to investigate him.

5- A national embarrassment.

Nigerians should know that I’ve actually had contact with his office before, during civil conflicts (Shia-Sunni/army clashes). I was about to come to Nigeria for negotiations and help achieve peace between sects. But it looks like Buhari loves conflict so he can stay in power.

Whoever supports Buhari is not only foolish but also responsible for his crimes regardless of their nationality. I’m not even Nigerian and I am standing up for Nigerians. Maybe you should do the same instead of defending the cult that put that Covikkk criminal in power.

I’ll say it again: Whoever voted for Buhari, especially for the second time after seeing his failures to crack down on terrorists, is 100% stupid, foolish and irresponsible. Victims of terrorism due to Buhari’s incompetence don’t care about minority or majority votes. Wake up.


#Newsworthy…

Jonathan: We beat Ebola, we will beat COVID-19.


Former President Goodluck Jonathan has asked Nigerians to remain courageous and faithful. Jonathan who made the call on his Facebook page, yesterday, said that this is a time to show good citizenship, solidarity and patriotism.

It will be recalled the zeal and support shown by Nigerians in 2014 when his government battled Ebola virus to a standstill, Jonathan also called on the people to redisplay such enthusiasm and readiness to combat the coronavirus, assuring a complete defeat of the disease soon.


He wrote: “Today, our world faces a global crisis that threatens our peace, hope and freedoms. Across the globe is the climate of fear, havoc, and consequences of a new enemy called coronavirus disease.

“Fellow compatriot, this is not a time to fear or despair, it is a moment of responsibility, courage and faith. It is time to demonstrate good citizenship by yielding to relevant policies and guidelines put in place by government and its agencies to combat the challenge of COVID-19.

“As a country, ours is a history of many triumphs in times of global and national challenges. In 2014, through solidarity and unity of purpose, we combated the dreaded Ebola virus.

“More than ever before, now is the time for action, solidarity and patriotism. Let’s all brace up and work together to combat this new scourge, COVID- 19.”


#Newsworthy…

Being on sit, you’re not in power – Oby Ezekwesili slam Buhari.


Oby Ezekwesili, a former Minister of Education, has slammed President Buhari over his ‘style of leadership’ as Nigeria battles the Coronavirus outbreak.

Ezekwesili, like many other Nigerians, have called on President Buhari to address the nation as the Coronavirus pandemic persists.


On Thursday night, the President took to his Twitter handle to announce new measures he has taken in the fight against the viral disease.

Ezekwesili was disappointed by the move and took to her twitter handle to react.


See her tweets below.


#Newsworthy…

COBID-19: Buhari orders quick release of N15 Billion to Lagos, NCDC.


President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the immediate release of N15 billion to the Lagos State government and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to tackle the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the President explained that the approval followed the extensive briefings he received recently on the state of the nation, as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic.


He ordered that the sum of N10 billion grant be immediately released to Lagos State to boost the government’s capacity to control and contain the outbreak, as well as support other states with capacity-building.

The remaining N5 billion, according to the President, is to be paid as a special intervention fund to the NCDC to equip and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across Nigeria.


He revealed that the Nigerian Air Force was already making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response.

President Buhari said the initial closure of the nation’s international airports and land borders for four weeks was to ensure that appropriate policies, processes, and infrastructure were in place to cope with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.


He, however, regretted the inconvenience caused by the flight and travel restrictions to Nigerians abroad willing to return home, stressing that it was for the greater good.

The President thanked all medical personnel in the country for their efforts in curbing the spread of the disease.

He also urged Nigerians to be mindful of those he said were taking advantage of the present situation to spread panic and cause confusion.


Read the President’s remarks below:

Over the last few days, I have received extensive briefings on the state of the nation as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic, from the relevant Federal Government agencies as well as the Lagos State Government.


Accordingly, I approved the following:

The immediate release of a 10 billion Naira grant to Lagos State, which remains the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria. This grant will enable Lagos to increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other States with capacity-building.


The immediate release of a 5 billion Naira special intervention fund to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country.

The Nigerian Air Force is already making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response across the country.


To protect our homeland from external exposure, I directed the immediate closure of our International Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance, to enable us to put up the appropriate policies, processes and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases.

The inconvenience caused by these flight and travel restrictions to our fellow citizens abroad who want to return home is regrettable, but it is necessary for the greater good, and I thank you all for your understanding and cooperation.


I have also directed that only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock in our ports after the crew has been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities.

This 14-day restriction, however, does not apply to vessels carrying oil and gas products as by their nature, there is minimal human contact.


We have also suspended the movement of commuter trains to limit the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.

I have directed the NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service to beef up our manpower as we respond to the pandemic.


Furthermore, all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately.

Already the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is conducting an evacuation mission to bring back some of our specialists in Central Africa, to enable them to support the national response.


I commend the monetary policy authorities for their financial intervention to support our entrepreneurs and companies as we go through this difficult time.

We are also looking at fiscal measures to minimise the negative impact of this pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians.


As you are aware we have begun the process of reviewing the federal budget. We shall communicate our fiscal interventions once the budget review process is concluded.

In the meantime, I have directed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to ensure that all production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continues unhindered.


We are engaging our international friends and partners to share knowledge and to seek their support in our response to the pandemic. We are grateful for the show of support thus far – we have already started receiving goods and supplies intended to help us scale up our efforts.

Let me specially thank and commend all of the hard and heroic work being done by our medical personnel, the NCDC, Port Health Authorities, Security Agencies, State Governments, and all ad-hoc staff and volunteers.


I urge all Nigerians to be mindful of those among us who seek to spread panic and misinformation and sow confusion at this time.

We must all pay attention only to the relevant government agencies working day and night to make accurate and useful information available to the public.


I will also ask all of us to strictly obey all public health guidelines and instructions issued by the Federal and State health authorities, regarding personal hygiene and social distancing.

These guidelines will be updated from time to time as new information and treatments are obtained.

In the meantime, I want to assure all Nigerians, that the Federal Government remains committed to protecting all Nigerians. We seek your full support and cooperation as we go through this very difficult time. Together we will triumph over this pandemic.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Atiku donate N50M relief fund.


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has donated N50million as relief fund to support the Federal Government’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Atiku, in a press statement he personally signed on Wednesday, said his contribution will help “form part of the stimulus package.”


He praised the Federal and State Governments for taking precautionary measures in containing the spread of the virus in the country.

Part of these, Atiku explained, include issuing stay at home orders, and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.


Despite the measures, however, the former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asked governments at all levels to “provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.”

According to him, “a large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation and even lockdown.”


READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

Corona Virus: Nigerians Deserve Palliative Measures


As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, I applaud the various Nigerian state governments who have proactively taken measures, such as issuing stay at home orders, and shutting down non-essential markets and other places of mass gatherings, while also giving guidelines for social distancing.

However, we must accept the fact that much of the Nigerian public have a subsistence existence. A large percentage of our people do not have the financial capacity to withstand long periods of self-isolation and even lockdown.


It is, therefore, incumbent on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives to the Nigerian people to enable them to survive, even as they abide by these necessary measures put in place for their own safety.

At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind.


It is thus time for the National Assembly to reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens.

I also call on all Mobile Telephony Companies in Nigeria to urgently develop mobile money platforms so that the government can reach the unbanked with financial assistance. I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line, so that Nigerians who show symptoms, or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility, or even an ambulance service, as the case may be.

I commend all individuals and corporate organisations who have one way or the other provided some form of relief for the Nigerian people. This is what makes Nigeria great, when we help each other at such crisis times as this, irrespective of any differences. I further call on more corporations and individuals with capacity, to assist the public in these trying times.

To this end, Priam Group pledges N50 million on my behalf as my humble contribution to a relief Fund that will form part of the stimulus package.

May God bless Nigeria.

Atiku Abubakar

Vice President of Nigeria, 1999-2007

Abuja

25th March 2020


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Russia president hold back on tough measures.


President Vladimir Putin postponed a vote on constitutional reforms and urged Russians to stay home to contain the coronavirus on Wednesday, but did not impose the kind of strong measures taken in other countries.

In a rare televised address to the nation, Putin said Russia could not isolate itself from the spreading pandemic but focused mainly on support for the struggling economy.


“The health, life and safety of people is our absolute priority,” Putin said.

The vote on constitutional reforms, which had been due to take place on April 22, “must be postponed to a later date”, he said, without specifying when.


The reforms, proposed by the president and approved by lawmakers over the last few months, would reset presidential term limits and potentially allow Putin, in power for 20 years, to stay in office until 2036.

Critics have denounced the project as a way for Putin to remain “president for life”.


He also took the unusual step of declaring March 28 to April 5 a non-working week in order to slow the spread of the virus, urging Russians to stay at home.

“It is extremely important now to prevent the threat of the disease spreading rapidly,” he said.


‘Can affect everyone’

“This can affect everyone. What is happening today in many Western countries — in Europe and across the ocean — can become our nearest future.”

He unveiled a series of measures to support Russians and boost the economy, including breaks on consumer loans and mortgage payments, support for small- and medium-sized businesses and early payouts of social benefits.


The coronavirus and a dizzying fall in oil prices have sparked a two-pronged crisis for the Russian economy, with the ruble falling to its lowest levels since early 2016.

This presents a huge challenge to Putin’s promises to boost growth and raise living standards.


The Kremlin announced Putin’s address as Russia on Wednesday recorded its biggest spike in confirmed coronavirus infections so far, with 163 new cases for a total of 658 across the country.

One person who was infected has died but officials are not linking the death to the virus.


Concern has risen as the number of cases steadily grows.

Putin met with top officials to discuss containment measures on Tuesday, putting on a yellow hazmat suit as he visited a major hospital treating coronavirus patients.


Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who heads a coronavirus task force, told Putin that the actual number of cases was probably “significantly” higher than official figures.

Russia previously imposed 14-day quarantines on people arriving from abroad, closed schools and told elderly residents in Moscow, where most of the cases are concentrated, to self-isolate.


It halted cultural and sports events and closed fitness clubs, cinemas and night clubs, although restaurants and cafes were allowed to remain open.

Authorities have repeatedly denied plans to impose lockdowns like those seen in China, Italy, Spain, France or Britain, but the warnings from officials on Tuesday were stark.


“The problem is that the volume of testing is very low and no one has a clear picture” of the situation in Russia and the world, Sobyanin told Putin.

‘Italian’ scenario

Denis Protsenko, head doctor of Moscow’s new hospital treating coronavirus patients, told Putin that Russia needed to be ready for an “Italian” scenario, referring to what is now the hardest-hit country in the world in terms of deaths.


“If there is a big spike, and Moscow is headed there, our hospital is ready to transform,” he said.

Russian lawmakers have proposed imposing severe punishments — including up to seven years in prison — for people breaking coronavirus quarantine rules.


Apart from traditional New Year’s greetings, Putin rarely addresses the public on television. The last time was over unpopular pension reform in August 2018.

Putin did not say whether he will postpone plans for a massive military parade on May 9 to mark 75 years since the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Dozens of foreign leaders have been invited to take part.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday the postponement of the celebration had been discussed but no decision was yet made.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Atiku tells Buhari to give each household in Nigeria N10,000.


Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, to provide a stimulus package for Nigerian families as the nation battles the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus has ravaged through countries across the world for the past three months and interrupted human activities, and endangered the global economy.


The Nigerian government has already restricted all international flights into the country and closed all land borders. All public workers from Level 12 and below have also been instructed to work from home to reduce human traffic around the country.

A few state governments have announced similar measures to curb the disease, trapping many Nigerians in their homes with minimal contact with others advised for everyone.


In a statement on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Atiku, whose son, Mohammed, recently tested positive for the virus, said a large percentage of Nigerians lack the financial capacity to withstand restricted activity as is currently required.

He, therefore, called on the Federal and state governments to provide palliatives for Nigerians to survive the current difficult times.


“At an approximate 30 million households or thereabouts, the government should devise modalities to distribute N10,000 as a supplement for foodstuff to each household, among other palliative measures, with no one left behind.

“It is thus time for the National Assembly to reconvene in an emergency session, perhaps by teleconference (in line with the demands of social distancing), to legislate a Stimulus Package Act that will cater for all Nigerian citizens,” he said.


To show his commitment to his call, Atiku, who lost the presidential election in 2019, pledged the donation of N50 million, donated on his behalf by Priam Group, as contribution to a relief fund that will form part of the stimulus package.

He also called on all mobile telephone companies in the country to develop mobile money platforms so that the government will be able to reach unbanked Nigerians with the proposed package.

“I also urge these telecommunications firms to offer each of the 100 million mobile phone lines in Nigeria free credit of at least ₦1500 per mobile line, so that Nigerians who show symptoms, or those who just want information, can call the nearest available health facility, or even an ambulance service, as the case may be,” he said.

Atiku called on individuals and corporate organisations to assist the government in providing relief for the Nigerian people.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: PMB resume work after testing negative.


President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday resumed work after isolating himself for about 24 hours as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic that has hit some staff of State House.

President Buhari was tested of the dreaded virus on Monday by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC when the news of his Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari of testing positive broke out, but on Tuesday, it was reported that the result of the President”s test was negative.


Before then he had self-isolated himself in compliance with the NCDC directive.

Vanguard reliably gathered that the nation’s seat of power was nearly deserted except critical staff on essential services, mostly the security operatives.

According to the Presidency source, President Buhari was in his office working but no government functionary came for the usual briefing.

Although the source did not disclose the time President Buhari resumed at work, he said the number one citizen was in the office at about 2.30 pm when the inquiry was made.


#Newsworthy…