Katsina Relaxes Lockdown for Friday Prayers, Church Services

Aminu Masari of Katsina State has approved the relaxing of the COVID-19 lockdown to allow Muslim faithful observe Friday congregational prayers in the state. Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa the Secretary to the State Government, said this in a statement in Katsina. Inuwa said that the governor also lifted the ban on Church services every Sunday as well as travel from one local government to the other in the state. He, however, advised the people to adhere strictly to health and security advises like wearing of facemasks, physical distancing, washing of hands with soap and running water and use of sanitisers. Inuwa said that the decision was to enable Muslim and Christian faithful to observe their religious activities. Earlier in the week, Governor Masari said the government, after reviewing the relaxed lockdown across the state, has decided to return the full lockdown in three councils of Katsina, Daura and Batagarawa. These three councils have accounted for over 80 percent of the patients in the state, he added. The lockdown was initially suspended for a few days before the celebration of the Eid-el-Fitr.

Source: dailytrust.com.ng

Bars Shut as Task Force Arrests Impersonators of Army Officers

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Task team on the Enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions has arrested eight persons, some impersonators of army officers, who violated the curfew.

The violators who were arrested at Kubwa and Dutse Alhaji Districts of the FCT would be arraigned at the mobile courts.

Some of those arrested were at drinking bars and gardens, while a tricycle operator and a commercial motorcyclist were arrested for operating during the curfew hours.

At Second Gate, Dutse-Alhaji, the team accosted the operator of a drinking bar who claimed to be a soldier but upon interrogation he admitted that he lied in order to evade arrest.

At Dutse Makaranta, the team shut a pub operating after 10pm.

The manager of the place  claimed the facility was owned by a major in the army, saying they decided to operate into the curfew hours because of the occupation of the owner.

Addressing journalists after the night operation, chairman of the task team, Ikharo Attah, noted that the compliance level in Kubwa and Dutse area was very high.

Source: thenationonlineng.net

LEDAP EMBARKS ON LEGAL MONITOR OF COVID19 FUNDS

As the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) began infecting people in Nigeria, various institutions and organizations have made contributions and donations to curb the spread of the virus. Below are some of the financial measures:
In a press statement delivered by Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed on 6th of April 2020, the President of Nigeria approved the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund. The establishment of this COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund will involve drawing much-needed cash resources from various special funds and accounts, in consultation with and with the approval of the National Assembly. The N500 billion is proposed to be utilized to: a) Upgrade healthcare facilities as identified by the Presidential Task Force on COVID19 and approved by Mr. President; b) Finance the Federal Government’s Interventions to support States in improving healthcare facilities.
The Honourable Minister also stated that World Bank provided a facility called Regional Disease Surveillance Systems (‘REDISSE’) Facility in the sum of US$90 million to Nigeria. The Government has also requested for additional financing in the sum of US$100 million from the REDISSE project to meet COVID-19 emergency needs in all the 36 States and the FCT, through the NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.
The Federal Government released N10 billion to Lagos State to increase its capacity to respond to the COVID19 outbreak. This was also confirmed in the press statement made by the minister of health on 6th of April 2020. The complete statement can be gotten from this link: https://hmfbnp_fiscal-policy-response-to-covid-19.pdf
The UN in Nigeria launched COVID-19 Basket Fund in support of the government and have mobilized and deployed over USD $2 million from the UN system for the procurement of essential medical supplies that will boost the efforts of the Nigerian Government in containing COVID-19 and caring for those confirmed cases in need of serious medical attention. The UN made this known via their website https://www.ng.undp.org/
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) donated N20 million to support Lagos State Government in its fight against the spread of coronavirus. This was disclosed by the Chief Executive/Registrar of the institute, Seye Awojobi FCIB on April 1st 2020 in a press statement published on the website of the institute.
The Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID) set up with the sole aim of combating coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria has contributed up to N23 billion in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The coalition in their website stated that their mission is to collaborate with the Government to provide direct support to private and public healthcare’s ability to respond to the crisis by providing funds to set up several testing, isolation and treatment centers in all geo-political zones; aggressively increasing general public’s awareness, education and buy-in to prevent panic and resulting chaos.
While these pecuniary efforts are laudable, there is serious doubt that the monies will be used accordingly. With a history of corruption by leaders, it is essential that the utilization of these funds is monitored.
LEDAP proposes to be a part of the team to monitor comprehensive framework for the transparent management of the contributions which is being set up by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
LEDAP and other CSOs may jointly monitor federal and states spending on coronavirus.

Man Rejected by Lagos Hospital Over COVID-19 fear dies

A man, identified simply as Joel, has lost his life after he was allegedly refused treatment by the Isolo General Hospital in Lagos State over fear of being a COVID-19 patient.

It was gathered that Joel slumped on Sunday while playing football and was rushed to the hospital, but he was allegedly refused treatment on the fear that he might be a COVID-19 patient.

A family friend of the victim, identified simply as Amaka, who narrated the incident on Twitter, alleged that the nurses on duty claimed that they were busy and refused to attend to Joel.

She tweeted, “The medical system failed my family friend today and I’ll never get over it. He was said to be playing football in the field this morning and slumped and stopped breathing, he was immediately rushed to the Isolo general hospital in other to get attended to fast, getting there, they refused to let him in because they said they don’t know if he has Coronavirus!

“His family members kept begging and begging because time was running and he wasn’t getting any better, he was still not breathing…The nurses still insisted on not attending to him, because according to them, they have their plates full. They had to return him to the car and resulted in prayers.

“In tears, his elder sister still went back in and requested to see any doctor on duty, after so much argument a doctor came out, heard the whole story from the nurses on duty and without taking a look at him in the car or bringing him in to check him out, the doctor then certified him dead and asked them to transfer him to the mortuary. His mother collapsed on the spot. This life is so unfair.

“Bro Joel like I will always call him, you will forever be missed, I have known you to be the calmest and humble person ever since I was a toddler, it was so unfair for you to pass on just like this, but God knows best. Keep sleeping on till we meet again.”

When contacted, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Godwin Akhaboa, who stated that the facility was not in the habit of rejecting patients, said the victim was brought in dead.

“There are parameters to look at before certifying a patient dead and no doctor will say a patient is dead without checking those parameters. It’s never done; no nurse or doctor will do that. The patient had a cardiac arrest on a football field and he was brought in dead,” Akhaboa said.

Source: punchng.com

COVID-19: Niger Extends Lockdown by Two Weeks

Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State on Thursday extended the COVID-19 Preventive, Containment and Emergency Order in state by two weeks from Wednesday.

The Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Niger State Task Force on Covid-19 Pandemic, Ahmed Matane, made this known in a statement.

Bello said the extension of the lockdown was as a result of the increase in the confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

The governor urged residents to adhere strictly to the safety protocols such as mandatory wearing of face masks in public places and observance of social distancing.

Others are regular handwashing with soap under running water, application of hand sanitisers and staying at home as advised by health workers.

Bello also warned that there should be no human and vehicular movements during the lockdown days, except those on essential duties.

He said the three days window period of Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays remain.

The governor said movement within border areas remain restricted and government would continue to monitor situation at the border zones.

“Public and Private Schools as well as Tertiary Institutions remain closed while social activities that involve more than twenty people stand prohibited,” Bello said.

He said the operations of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada remain banned while other commercial vehicles are to abide by the Ministry of Transport guidelines.

The governor urged residents to support his administration’s good intentions of keeping everyone safe from the dreaded disease.

Bello warned that anyone who failed to comply with the requirement imposed under the COVID-19 Order would be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both in accordance with the extant laws.

Source: punchng.com

President Buhari Approves Establishment and Funding of 12 Research Centres in 6 Geopolitical Zones

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment and funding of 12 Centres of Excellence in research.

Centres of Excellence are World Bank-sponsored projects that were designed to empower universities in Africa to engage in meaningful research that would herald socioeconomic transformation in Africa and beyond.

A statement posted by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Twitter on Tuesday indicated that two research centres would be located in each of the six geopolitical zones.

Though the statement did not provide operational details of the Centres, it confirmed that the management of TETFund will provide such operational details in due course.

The tweet reads: ‘President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment and funding of 12 “Centers of Excellence” in Research (two per geopolitical zone) by @TETFundNg, in Federal Universities.’

Source: legaldeskng.com

We are Working on Guidelines for School Reopening – FG

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has assured Nigerians that plans for safe reopening of schools across the country were being put together.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha, gave the assurance on Wednesday during the daily media briefing by the task force in Abuja.

The PTF, however lamented that the need to shut schools, as part of the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, had compounded the challenge of out of school children.

The SGF also used the time to charge state and local government authorities, as well as proprietors of schools, to start putting measures in place that could be help in early and safe reopening of schools.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation was faced with the challenge of out of school children. This has now been compounded by the compelling need for closure of schools as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.

“The PTF has been deliberating on this situation and wish to inform Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Education will roll out measures to be put in place for safe re-opening of our schools.

“The Hon. Minister of Education (State) will be elaborating on the subject, this afternoon. He will also clarify the purported announcement of the resumption date which went viral last week.

“The PTF wishes to use the occasion of this celebration to congratulate our children and assure them, their parents and all stakeholders alike, that all hands are on deck to reopen the schools at a safe time.

“We therefore use this medium to urge States, local governments, proprietors and other stakeholders to begin to take steps that will facilitate an early and safe reopening”, he said.

Mustapha said on the effort to find a local solution to COVID-19 that three claimants have been identified as deserving further investigation as he noted that the number of infections and death in Africa are lower than had been predicted.

“The subject of research has been central to the mandate, thinking and planning of the PTF. Studies have shown that Countries in Africa are so far experiencing a lower rate of transmission, fewer severe cases, and fewer deaths than had been predicted in previous estimates.

“A recent publication by WHO on risk modeling for 47 countries in the Africa Region predicts 82,000-190,000 deaths during the first year of the pandemic. However, African countries need to take measure to respond to this worst-case situation while also ensuring continuation of existing services would certainly stretch our already burdened health systems.

“Countries in the region need to progressively increase their capacity to detect cases, not just to know the extent of the outbreak, but also to identify and initiate care for people most at risk. They also need to expand capacity to mitigate the implications of widespread community transmission of COVID-19.

“Above all, more research to determine the underlying factors for the current trend in the pandemic in Africa is needed. In addition to pursuing this line of thought, the occurrences in Kano and some other cities have given us cause to launch our research initiatives using existing structures and systems in a manner that will build a legacy and also prepare Nigeria for any future pandemic.

“The PTF is happy to note that the Central Bank of Nigeria has indicated the willingness to support research efforts. This is therefore, a call on our researchers and scientists to take up the challenge.

“As a measure of the importance attached to research and development of local capacity for finding a cure to the COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health held a virtual meeting with a number of researchers and scientists with claims to cure for COVID 19 and out of the numerous claimants, three were found to deserve further investigation and have been forwarded to the relevant authorities for appropriate review.

“Similarly, efforts are being made by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to subject a good number of locally manufactured COVID 19 equipment to verification and subsequent certification” he said.

Mustapha said further that as the nation progressed into the closing days of the extension of the phase one of the eased lockdown, the administration had felt the economic pains the people had been passing through and it was for this reason that beyond the number of stimulus packages, especially for citizens that rely on daily subsistence, the gradual opening up of the economy was also a strategy in preparing for a POST-COVID economy.

“To achieve this objective, the PTF has continued to brief the National Economic Council and the Nigeria Governors Forum. It has also collaborated with the Economic Sustainability Committee, the Economic Impact Committee and the Committee on Free Movement of Agricultural and Allied Produce.

“The PTF also continues to interact with the private sector, religious and traditional rulers in pursuit of a robust national response,” Mustapha said.

He also informed that the PTF had adopted a new community-focused protocol, which would soon be unveiled, adding that the new protocol would encourage greater involvement and ownership of the fight against COVID-19 from the community level.

“In some of our previous briefings, the PTF hinted about the strengthening of community engagement in the control of COVID-19. I am pleased to inform you that a protocol has been developed and it gives community members greater involvement and ownership in identifying and supporting the case management process. The details will be unfolded in the coming days”, he said.

Source: legaldeskng.com

After Guardian Report, Kano to Hasten Distribution of FG Palliatives Already Beaten by Rain

Kano State Government has finalized arrangement to distribute the Federal government palliatives to less privilege.

The state government action came few hours after The Guardian reported how the same food items were abandoned in an open space and being hit by rain and sun.

A statement issued by Commissioner for Information, Malam Garba, explained that the State Fundraising Committee on COVID-19 which is keeping the custody of the food items is finalizing arrangement to commence distribution of the 110 truck load of food items to poor families in the state.

“We took into consideration that the rainy season has already set and took measures to protect the grains from getting destroyed by the prevailing hot weather occasioned by the scorching sun or rain by keeping them under waterproof tarpaulin,” the statement said.

The commissioner noted that the committee has already completed the first phase of the distribution exercise of the distribution of palliatives donated by corporate organisations and individuals to the deserving households across the 484 political wards in the 44 local government areas of the state.

He stressed that arrangement for the second phase of distribution of the palliative delivered by the federal government will commence soonest.

Garba, however, did not clearly state when the second phase of distribution will begin.

Source: guardian.ng