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Judgement On Imo Guber Tussle: S’Court’s Sack Of Ihedioha, Sad Commentary, PDP Declares …Mixed Feelings Greet Verdict Declaring Uzodinma Winner …As Apex Court Decides Tambuwal’s Fate, Monday

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the judgement of the Supreme Court, sacking, Imo State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha as ‘another very sad commentary on our nation’s democratic order.’
The party in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondinyan, yesterday, said it found it difficult to understand how Senator Hope Uzodinma/APC, who came 4th in the March 9, 2019 governorship election, with just 96,458 votes, will suddenly, by the token of the judgement of the Supreme Court, defeat Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP that scored 276,404 votes.
The party stated that most Nigerians were yet to understand the basis upon which the Supreme Court arrived at its decision.
Ologbondinyan said “it is lamentable that the destiny of the people of Imo State is being taken from the governor they chose and voted for and handed over to individuals and a political party that do not have their blessing and mandate and which they rejected at the election.
“The people of Imo State are now confronted with the challenge of having a government that they cannot identify with and which cannot connect with them, having not emanated from them.
“Moreover, all the gains, including the development and stability already achieved by the people-based government, under Governor Emeka Ihedioha/PDP administration in the State are now heavily jeopardised.
“Indeed, the mournful and despondent ambiance that now pervades Imo State is a loud testimony that the judgment did not reflect the expectation of the people of Imo State as expressed at the polls.
The Supreme Court, yesterday, voided the election of Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the governor of Imo State and announced Senator Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress (APC), winner of the election.
Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad led a seven-man panel of the Supreme Court to sack Ihedioha.
The judgement was unanimous as the judges held that Uzodinma won the March 9, 2019 governorship election in Imo State.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the lead judgment, ordered that the certificate of return issued to Ihedioha be immediately withdrawn, and directed that a fresh certificate of return be issued to Uzodinma.
Kekere-Ekun said Uzodinma must be immediately sworn in as the governor of Imo State.
In the election held in March, the INEC declared Ihedioha of the PDP as winner, having polled 273,404 ahead of his closest rival and candidate of the Action Alliance, Uche Nwosu, who polled a total of 190,364.
The candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Ifeanyi Ararume came third ahead of Uzondima of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The former polled 114, 676 while the latter polled 96,458.
However, the Supreme Court will release details of the judgment, next Tuesday.
Reacting, the governor-elect of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, said that his stolen mandate has been recovered by the Supreme Court.
Uzodinma, who spoke to newsmen through his spokesperson, Declan Emelumba, shortly after the apex court declared him the duly elected governor of the state, said that the court had demonstrated bravery.
The governor-elect accused the Peoples Democratic Party of not having good plans for the state.
He said, “The Supreme Court has declared Senator Hope Uzodinma as the duly elected governor of Imo State. The beautiful thing is that our stolen mandate has been recovered.
“The governor will arrive in Imo State on Wednesday (today) and he will address the people of the state. He has better plans for the people of the state. He is experienced and the state is in for good things.”
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court, had in a unanimous judgement by a seven-man panel of justices that was led by the CJN, held that Ihedioha who contested on the platform of the PDP, was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes.
The Supreme Court, therefore, ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Certificate of Return that was issued to Ihedioha by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
It ordered that a fresh Certificate of Return should be issued to Uzodinma forthwith, adding that he should be sworn in immediately as the governor of Imo state
The lead judgement was delivered by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, while other members of the panel concurred.
The apex court said it was satisfied that the lower tribunal wrongly evaluated Uzodinma’s case, when it failed to countenance a proof of evidence that was brought before it by a police officer that testified before it as the PW-54.
It held that records before it proved that election results from 388 polling units were unlawfully excluded from the overall collated results.
It noted that results from the cancelled polling units amounted to 213, 295 votes, adding that Ihedioha was returned elected, based on wrong computation of results.
According to the apex court, finding by both the tribunal and the appellate court to the effect that Uzodinma did not prove his case, “was as a result of misapprehension of the case of the appellant.
“There is merit in this appeal, it is hereby allowed. Majority judgement of the lower court affirming the election of the 2nd Respondent is hereby set-aside”, Justice Kekere-Ekun held.
She further directed the addition of all the unlawfully cancelled votes that were due to the appellant, declaring that Ihedioha was not duly elected by majority of lawful votes cast.
“His election is declared null and void and is hereby set-aside”.
The court further held that Uzodinma satisfied the statutorily required spread.
Aside the CJN, other members of the panel that concurred with the lead verdict were Justices Sylvester Ngwuta, Kayode Ariwola, Uwani Abba Ajji and Amiru Sanusi.
Meanwhile, the apex court deferred its judgement on appeal challenging the election of Governor Aminu Tambuwal of t state till Monday.
The panel initially stood down its proceedings to give judgements on appeals that arose from both Imo and Sokoto State governorship elections.
The CJN-led panel had concluded hearing on four separate appeals in Imo and two appeals in Sokoto State.
Even though the apex court was initially ready to hear 13 different appeals that emanated from governorship elections in six states, the CJN, however, announced decision of the panel to give priority to some of the appeals he said were due to expire.
He noted that whereas the statutory period for hearing of Imo State appeals would elapse by January 17, that of Sokoto State would expire January 20.
Consequently, the apex court adjourned appeals relating to governorship elections in Bauchi, Benue and Plateau states, some of which will elapse from January 25.
In Imo, while the first case marked SC/1461/19, was filed by Ifeanyi Ararume of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the two other appeals marked SC/1462/19 and SC/1463/19, were lodged against Ihedioha by Uzodinma and Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance, respectively.
Likewise, Ihedioha, who won both at the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, equally filed a Cross Appeal with Suit No SC/1470/19, wherein he challenged the minority judgement of the appellate court that gave victory to Uzodinma of the APC.
Meanwhile, Nwosu, who is son-in-law to the immediate past governor of the state, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, withdrew his appeal before it could be heard.
He predicated his decision to withdraw the appeal on a judgement the Supreme Court delivered against him on December 20, 2019.
The apex court had in the said judgement, held that Nwosu was not eligible to participate in the governorship contest, noting that he was nominated by both the APC and the AA.
Consequently, when his appeal was called up for hearing, yesterday, Nwosu, through his lawyer, Mr. Solomon Umoh, SAN, said he was no longer willing to continue the case.
“Based on the judgement of this Court dated December 20, in SC/1384/19, we had resolved to withdraw our appeal, on my advice to my client”, Umoh submitted.
Owing to withdrawal of his appeal, the apex court panel dismissed it.
All the other appellants, in their separate appeals, argued that Ihedioha was not the valid winner of the Imo state gubernatorial contest.
It was part of their contention that Ihedioha failed to obtain the constitutional one quarter of votes in at least two-third of the 27 local government areas of Imo State as required under section 179 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
They prayed the court to invalidate the outcome of the Imo State governorship election and order a fresh poll.
The appellants maintained that the tribunal wrongly evaluated their petitions and arrived at a decision that favoured Ihedioha and the PDP.
Besides, they alleged that the governorship election was not only marred by manifest irregularities, but was not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act.
While Ararume adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Yusuf Alli, SAN, Uzodinma was represented by Mr. Damian Dodo, SAN, even as Solomon Umoh, SAN, argued Nwosu’s case.
Cited as Respondents in the appeals were the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ihedioha and the PDP.
All the appellants prayed the court to allow their respective appeals and set-aside the lower court judgements that validated Ihedioha’s election.
Specifically, Uzodinma, urged the apex court to reckon with votes that accrued to him, which he said was unlawfully and illegally excluded from collation.
However, all the Respondents, through their lawyers, Aham Ejelam, SAN, Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN, and K. C. O. Njemanze, SAN, respectively, urged the apex court to dismiss all the appeals as lacking in merit and uphold the concurrent decisions of both the Imo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal and the Court of Appeal.
On his part, Ihedioha, prayed the apex court panel to ignore Uzodinma’s claim, maintaining that his appeal was not centred on exclusion of result, stressing that issues were joined on whether or not election actually took place in the affected polling units.
He insisted that the onus was on the APC candidate to prove that election held in the units, before he could allege the exclusion of his votes.
Aside drawing attention of the apex court to the fact that Uzodinma only produced 28 witnesses with respect to result from over 388 polling units, Ihedioha’s lawyer argued that the Appellant had no case in view of the judgement that recognised the nomination of Nwosu as candidate of the same APC.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in its judgement on November 19, upheld Ihedioha’s election victory.
The appellate court dismissed appeals that were brought before it by all the other aggrieved candidates.
The five-man panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, further awarded N500, 000. 00 cost against each of the appellants.
Though the appellate court was unanimous in the dismissal of the appeals by Nwosu and Ararume, a member of the panel, however, gave a dissenting judgement and upheld Uzodinma’s appeal, even as he awarded N1million cost against Ihedioha and the PDP.
In the case of Sokoto State, the panel fixed Monday to decide the appeal with No. SC/1466/19, which was filed by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the state, Ahmed Sokoto.
The APC candidate, who adopted his brief of argument through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Iziyon, SAN, is challenging the declaration of Tambuwal of the PDP, as the valid winner of the gubernatorial contest.
However, in a counter move, Tambuwal, who won the election with a slim margin of 342 votes after a supplementary poll, and was declared winner by both the tribunal and the appellate court, also filed a Cross Appeal marked SC/1467/19.
Tambuwal’s lawyer, Muyiwa Akinboro, SAN, argued that the appellant failed to show any reason why the apex court should tamper with concurrent judgements of the two lower courts.
He contended that the appellant was unable to establish that judgements of both the tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which affirmed Tambuwal’s election, was perverse.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have taken to the micro-blogging platform ‘twitter’ to pour out their emotions over the declaration of Hope Uzodinma of the APC, winner of the March 9, 2019 Imo state governorship election and the immediate sack of Emeka Ihedioha of the PDP, as the governor of Imo State.
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Fr Ejike Mbaka, had during the 2019 crossover ministration, asked Ihedioha to prepare to leave office, saying that holy spirit has rejected him, and that new hope, with a new flag, will take over the government of Imo State.
“Those who are attacking the message are just casting Pearl before swine, the Holy Spirit has said it, and that is final.
“I don’t know how it will happen, but the only thing is that I see hope, joy, and a new government coming in Imo State.
“Even though Ihedioha has won in a tribunal and at the Appeal Court, that doesn’t mean that he will triumph in Supreme Court enough of all this brouhaha!
“What we are doing in adoration here is spiritual, it is not according to our power, it is a holy spirit, once he reveals it, we say it.
“Ihedioha and co should go and relax. This is not unprecedented, it happened to Jonathan, Atiku and Peter Obi and after everything, my prophecy came through. You must not be the governor of Imo State, and you are not better than Hope Uzodinma,” Mbaka was said to has said.
His prophecy came to pass, yesterday when the apex court, Supreme Court, sacked Ihedioha and declared Uzodinma winner.
Reacting, former PDP head of New Media, Deji Adeyanju, extolled Mbaka, saying that he is a real man of God.
His words, “Mbaka, the real man of God”.
Major-General Odogwu, said, “Mbaka my spiritual father, you are God sent to the voiceless, let those that keeps insulting u carry on”.
Salihu “One Supreme Court justice go don leak results to Father Mbaka cause what is this”.
PatoG “He is coming with a new flag to restore the dignity of that noble land. New leadership will break barriers and there would be joy in the land of Imo. Lift your candles as I bless Hope Uzodinma and I empower him spiritually to take over. How, I do not know.”
However, jubilation has taken over the political atmosphere of Imo state, after the Supreme Court declared Senator Hope Uzodinma, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), authentic winner of the 2019 governorship election.
Our source observed, yesterday, in Owerri, the celebration mood was high as some people were seen discussing it happily.
Uzodinma won at the Supreme Court while challenging the declaration of the outgoing governor of Imo, Emeka Ihedioha, who was declared winner of the 2019 Guber election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Though it was also observed that members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who were at some point waiting to start celebration were suddenly shocked by the verdict of the Supreme Court.
Some people have called on Uzodinma, to ensure continuity in governance and introduce his quality programmes to make life suitable for the people of Imo State.
While other political analysts have urged him (Uzodinma) to see his victory as a victory for Imo people and try to bring genuine experts in his style of governance.
Uzodinma was advised not to follow antagonist pattern of governance and that he should concentrate on providing for the people of the state their welfare.
Speaking to newsmen, the Director of Media and Strategy to Senator Hope Uzodinma, said: “Senator Hope Uzodinma will address Imo people by tomorrow. We will like to tell you that the stolen mandate of Imo people has been recovered and Ndi-Imo are happy again. By the time he’s sworn in he will be addressing the good people of Imo State.

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COVID-19: Wike Slams Curfew On Parts Of State Capital …Suspends Obio/Akpor Council Chairman , Deputy … Grants Waivers To Categories Of Professionals

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Following the violation of the market closure order, the Rivers State Government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt City local government areas.
In a broadcast, yesterday, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike said that the State Security Council reached the decision after it monitored compliance with the state government’s directive.
He said: “With effect from Tuesday, March 31, 2020, there will be a dusk-to-dawn curfew from Obiri-Ikwerre Junction (Ozuoba, Rumualogu) to Choba and from Education Bus Stop to Agip Junction, Ikwerre Road.
“All beer parlours and public drinking joints are hereby closed because they have suddenly become an extension of night clubs that were earlier shut down.
“Any beer parlour or public drinking joint found to be open shall be acquired by the state government.
“All landlords are advised to warn their tenants who use their property as beer parlours or public drinking joints to adhere to this directive.
“Traditional rulers, youth leaders and Community Development Committees are to ensure that beer parlours and public drinking joints in their areas remain closed.”
The Rivers State governor charged traditional rulers, youth leaders and Community Development Committees to ensure that all beer parlours remain closed.
He added: “Any traditional ruler who allows markets to be open in his domain will be deposed.
“Government is investigating the illegal operation of markets at night at Woji and Elelenwo communities. Further violation by residents of these two communities will attract declaration of curfew.”
Wike said further violation of the directive for markets to remain closed will attract a state-wide curfew.
The Rivers State governor announced waivers to different categories of persons in view of the directive of the state government.
They include: Medical and pharmaceutical personnel, food and beverages, essential oil and gas staff, petroleum products and media workers and newspaper distributors. All these categories of staff must identify themselves with valid identity cards.
The governor declared: “My Dear Good People of Rivers State, based on suggestions by well-meaning Rivers people, government is looking into the setting up of food markets across the state.”
The Rivers State governor announced the immediate suspension of the council chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area and his deputy for failing to implement the state government’s directive on the closure of markets.
He said: “Let me reiterate that this government will continue to do what is right no matter who is involved. As you are all aware, no conventional war has grounded global life and economy like Coronavirus has done.
“Everybody is affected. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to defeat Coronavirus. I want to sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude to our health professionals on the frontline of this fight. Let me also thank all the security agencies, individuals and organisations who are collaborating with us to make Rivers State safe.
“I am confident that with our collective resolve, our dear state will contain the spread of this virus.”

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Nigeria Earned $32.6bn From Oil, Gas In 2018 -NEITI

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Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), yesterday, disclosed that Nigeria earned a total of $32.63 billion from the oil and gas sector in 2018, a 55 per cent increase on the $20.99 billion recorded from the sector in 2017.
In a statement on the release of the 2018 oil and gas industry audit, NEITI also announced plans to release the 2019 audit report this year, effectively clearing the backlogs of the audits of the extractive sector and making the reports more timely and relevant.
Giving a breakdown of the $32.63 billion earned in 2018, NEITI stated that company-level financial flows into government coffers were $16.6 billion, while flows from sales of federation crude oil and gas accounted for $16.billion.
It said, “A five-year trend analysis of the earnings from the extractive sector showed a 54.6% drop from $54.6 billion in 2014 to $24.8 billion in 2015. The earnings further dropped by 31.2% to $17.05billion in 2016, but increased by 23% to $20.99 billion in 2017 and by 55% to $32.63 billion in 2018.
“Though the last two years bucked the trend of persisted decrease since 2014, the revenues from the sector in 2018 were still a staggering 40% below the $54.6 billion earned in 2014 when oil prices commenced a precipitous fall.
“The NEITI 2018 audit reconciled payments by seventy-one companies and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) that met the materiality threshold set for the exercise. A total of eight government entities were also covered by the audit.
“Out of the $32.63 billion earned from the sector in 2018, the sum of $19.92 billion was transferred directly into the Federation Account, while $5.21 billion and $4.04 billion were transferred into the Joint Venture (JV) Cash Call Account and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) designated accounts respectively.
“The NNPC designated accounts are the Naira and dollar accounts where domestic crude sales and the federation equity, royalty, petroleum profit tax and in-kind oil sales are paid into respectively before remittance to the Federation Account.
The report further disclosed that “$2.10billion was transferred into third parties project financing accounts and $1.37billion were recorded as subnational transfers.”
On production, NEITI stated that the total crude oil production in the country within the period under review was put at 701 million barrels, representing a slight increase of 1.5% when compared to 690 million barrels produced in 2017.
Giving a breakdown of crude oil production, NEITI disclosed that Joint Ventures (JVs) contributed highest production of 315 million barrels, followed by Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) which recorded 270.610 million barrels.
In addition, it noted that other funding arrangements like Sole Risk (SR), Marginal Fields (MF) and Service Contracts (SC) accounted for 92.2 million barrels, 22 million barrels, and 1.3 million barrels respectively.
NEITI said, “JV companies’ production increased by 3.12% in 2018 compared to 2017, while PSC operators’ production decreased by 10.90%. Similarly, SR operators’ production increased by 58.72% in 2018 compared to 2017. Production from the SC decreased by 10.27% while production from MF operators increased marginally by 1.18%.”
NEITI further disclosed that total crude oil lifted for both export and domestic sales in 2018 was 701 million barrels, representing a 1.9% increase when compared with total liftings of 688.3 million barrels in 2017.
In its analysis of the total lifting in 2018, NEITI stated that 255.6 million barrels or 36% was lifted by NNPC on behalf of the Federation, while companies lifted 445.5 million barrels or 64% of total liftings.
It said, “The liftings by NNPC indicates an increase of 5.95% when compared to 241 million barrels lifted in 2017. Further analysis showed that out of 255.6 million barrels lifted by NNPC in 2018, actual sales were 255.3 million barrels valued at $18.2 billion.
“Out of the 255.6 million barrels lifted on behalf of the Federation by NNPC, a total of 107.63million barrels was recorded as Domestic Crude Allocation (DCA) in 2018. Out of this figure, 94 million barrels or 87% of the DCA were utilized for Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP), while the balance of 13.58 million barrels or 13% was delivered to the refineries.
“Ordinarily, 160.2 million barrels (or 445, 000 barrels per day) should have been allocated for domestic consumption but only 107.63 million barrels or 67% of the customary allocation for domestic consumption was allocated in 2018.
“The sum of N2.295 trillion was realized as proceeds from sales of domestic crude oil allocation in 2018, out of which the following deductions were made: N722.3billion for under – recovery of imported petroleum products, N28.3 billion for crude and product losses and N138.95billion for pipeline repairs and maintenance cost.
“In 2018, total crude oil losses due to theft and sabotage was 53.28million barrels, an increase of 46.15% when compared to 16.824million barrels recorded in 2017”.
Similarly, the report put total products losses in 2018, due to pipeline breakages at 204,397.07 cubic meters.
“On gas production, the NEITI 2018 oil and gas report revealed that the total gas production for the year under review was 2,909,143.69mmscf, while total gas utilization was 2,909,143.55 mmscf.
“From the report, $307.20 million was realized from the sales of Federation gas of 633.55thousand metric tons in 2018. This represents increase of 7.10% when compared to 721.80thousand metric ton valued at $286, 85 million realized in 2017.
“The national gas reserve stood at 200.79tcf as at end of 2018. This is made up of 101.98 tcf of Associated Gas (AG) and 98.81 tcf of Non-Associated Gas (NAG). With the 2018 annual gas production quantity, the gas Reserves Life Index (RLI) was estimated at 92 years”, the report disclosed.”
On management of Joint Venture Cash Call, the report disclosed that aggregate cash call funding for 2018 amounted to $5.98billion.
In addition, the report noted that: “outstanding Cash Call Liabilities amounted to $3.66billion, comprising $3.41billion (93%) legacy liabilities and US$260million (7%) performance balance payable to JV operators”. Another feature of the oil and gas report is on social expenditure.
“Total social expenditure (mandatory and voluntary expenditures) was $902.67million. This consists of voluntary contribution of $59.27million (6.57%) while mandatory contribution stood at $843.39million (93.40%)”.
The mandatory contribution was made up of NDDC’s 3% levy of $683.38million and NCDMB’s 1% levy of $160.01million. Oil and gas industry contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 was put at 7.8%.
“The flows in the industry accounted for $32.64billion in absolute terms. This represents 7.8% of the total GDP Current Basic Price of ($ 418.12billion)”.

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Lagos Discharges Five Coronavirus Patients

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Lagos State Government yesterday discharged five coronavirus patients at Infectious Disease Centre, Yaba Mainland Hospital.
This brings to eight the total number of discharged patients from the centre.
The patients, who had been quarantined at the isolation centre for weeks, looked stable and unruffled.
Although, the discharged patients preferred annonimity, they expressed joy and satisfaction over the treatment they received.
While thanking the State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his support and proactiveness, they pleaded that the workers at the Centre should be given life insurance.
While speaking to reporters, one of the patients said: “I came in here on the 15th and after the test showed positive, I was asked to come back the next day. So I was admitted here.
“Initially, there were hitches but it later turned out fine. The health workers did fine, all our challenges were attended to. I’m a living witness together with my other colleagues.”
He gave an impressive hope, saying people should not panic as the virus could be defeated.
“We can beat it. I want to assure others that this is not their resting place. Encourage yourselves, take your medications and in no distant time, you will get out of here.
“I want to appeal to the federal government and Lagos State government that, they should remunerate all those workers who have volunteered to work accordingly, so as to serve as encouragement to others, adding that, “If they are not here as first responders, many would have died.”
Another patient saidL “I was admitted last Sunday. Initially there were challenges, the following day, they brought bed, mask and some equipment.
“Apart from what my colleague said, the workers should be insured. Proper insurance will let people do what they have to do.
He narrated a scenario where the workers could not attend to him because he tested positive, saying “they went back and I slept of. I woke up around 3 a.m. So they deserve life insurance to encourage them to do their job.”

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