The governors of the 36 states of the federation on the platform of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) have said that they are on red alert over the Lassa Fever epidemic and coronavirus that reportedly claimed 17 lives in the city of Wuhan, China since the virus was detected.
So far, over 500 people have reportedly been infected by the virus in China’s Wuhan City, leading authorities to suspend planes and trains in and out of the city of 11million people, as well as buses, subways and ferries.
The Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), last Wednesday, confirmed that a total of 82 cases of Lassa fever, including 14 deaths have been recorded.
Briefing reporters at the end of its first meeting of the year, Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said that the governors are working hand and hand with the Federal Ministry of Health and other agencies to intensify efforts to ensure the diseases are contained.
He said that, to this end, the governors have agreed to carry out immediate actions on the implementation of the Seattle Declaration, including the Constitution of a multisectoral Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) implementation committee, quarterly review of PHC performance in State Executive Council meetings, review of states‘ performance on the Abuja commitment and organisation of advocacy meetings with traditional and religious leaders.
Fayemi said: “The forum received an update from the NGF Secretariat on health priorities for the year 2020, including the implementation of the Seattle Commitment signed by the forum at a two-day High-Level Roundtable on Primary Health Care and Human Capital Development convened in November, 2019 (by Aliko Dangote and the Bill and Melinda Gates).
“On the Lassa Fever, we recorded cases in one or two states, Ondo in the South-West and Kano in the North.
“I believe all our states are taking precautionary measures to address this in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“We are working to ensure that this does not spread any further than they have at the moment.”
The NGF chairman speaking on other matters mentioned that, in regard to bailout deductions, even though states were meeting their obligation of paying back, they feel the monthly deductions ought to be lower than N162million.
Fayemi said: “On reconciliation for budget support facilities, that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.
“On budget support facilities specifically, states are already honouring their obligations. They are already paying back what is owed to the Federal Government.
“The question of the amount is something that we will continue to review. It is our view that we should be paying a lot less what we are paying but that is something that has not been addressed yet. But that has not stopped us from honouring the obligation to the Federal Government that lend the resources to us at the time that they did.”
The forum chairman also pledged the governors’ resolve to work with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to achieve broadband penetration and digital economy targets in Nigeria.
He said the commitment followed a presentation to the forum by a delegation led by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, to familiarise the governors on the new National Digital Economic Policy.
“The minister briefed the forum on the new national digital economy strategy, and solicited the support of states on the development of business regulations around the right of way and multiple taxations, around skills and innovations, infrastructure and indigenous content promotion.”
On the specific demands of the minister on waiver on the right of way, Adeyemi said: “The main demand with the minister is that we maintain the fee agreed in the year 2013 at the National Economy Council which is N145 per linear meter in the state.
“The context within which the issue of waiver came up is what has been offered in Kaduna State, for example, where the state government has waived the right of way fee and that is not compulsory or the decision of the forum even in demand from the minister, that should be a condition for broadband penetration or fibre optic laying in our states. It is just that where we think it might be viable, and then states will look at the possibility of doing this in our states; but the key demand which we are all interested in pursuing is to ensure that we do not increase the right of way fee beyond what has been generally agreed by governors and NEC.”
However, the 36 state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), yesterday, agreed that there should be a review in the payment process of the N614billion that was advanced to thirty five states as budget support facility.
The governors, who converged on Abuja, last Wednesday night, for the meeting at its Secretariat in Maitama, Abuja, discussed among others, issues of deductions for Budget Support Facility loan granted them by the Federal Government as top of the agenda.
The meeting which was the first in the year 2020 was ahead of yesterday’s National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa.
Responding to a question on reconciliation for budget support facilities after the meeting of the governors ahead of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, Chairman of NGF and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said, “that is something that has been handled. We have come up with our own recommendations of special fund generally not just budget support facilities.
Fayemi Orders Lockdown In Ekiti, Shuts Borders
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday announced a lockdown in the state, directing residents to stay at home from today.
The governor in a broadcast imposed a ban on all commercial activities as well as intra state travels, except for those bordering on essential services.
He said that anyone that violated the latest measures aimed at checking further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, risked a six-month jail term.
The governor expressed regrets that past measures adopted by him to curtail the virus were being brazenly ignored.
He said: “It is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive measures as well as maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
“While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities
“ If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti in unimaginable proportions.
“ As you are aware, the state is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably.
“ So, we cannot afford a public health crisis,
“ It is therefore in urgent public interest that, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti .
“ The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti for an initial period of 14 days.
Ebeku, Toby, Okocha Hail Rivers HOS
Three prominent sons of Rivers State, including the current Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku and former Deputy Governor of the State, Sir Gabriel Toby have lauded the State Head of Service, Rufus Godwins for his book on discipline in the Nigerian Civil Service unveiled in Port Harcourt recently.
Prof. Ebeku who was the book reviewer says the 292 page work was properly written and well researched, ‘and must be regarded as an important addition to the literature of civil servants in Nigeria, saying, “in fact it stands out as the first book to be written by a Nigerian lawyer on the subject of discipline of civil servants in Nigeria.”
The commissioner said the work entitled ‘A Handbook on Discipline of Civil Servants in Nigeria’ basically elaborates the dos and don’ts in the civil service, the disciplinary procedures and associated matters, describing Godwins as a gentleman par excellence, an intellectual giant and a flamboyant lawyer, adding that the author was his classmate at the now Rivers State University (RSU) Law graduating class of 1985 and close friend, saying “He Godwins is affirmation of confidence, a man of excellence and impact.
On his part, former deputy governor of the state, Sir Gabriel Toby lauded the author for the well-researched work which he said was a compendium of the civil service rules, the constitution and judicial pronouncements.
Toby further said, “Discipline is the bedrock on which the civil service itself thrives, any community, any nation cannot stand without discipline. On the other hand of course indiscipline is a veritable drag of progress and development and it destroys vision and mission. Indiscipline is an obstruction to achievements.”, just as he recommended the book to all.
Chairman of the occasion and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Onueze Okocha congratulated Rufus Godwins for his work, describing the HOS as a ‘rising star who is still rising.’
Okocha who represented former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Iche Ndu further said, “It is my belief as many have believed that it (the book) will go a long way in helping the civil servants to understand their responsibilities and ensure that they discharge those responsibilities with honesty, dedication and integrity.
While endorsing the book, he said, “The book deals with discipline of the civil servants in Nigeria, particularly the ones in Rivers State. Many people take the rules of the Civil Service for granted. But on it as I know from my days as Attorney General defines all the items, all the rules and regulations which should be observed and performed strictly to the letter by those in the civil service.
“I came close to him (Rufus Godwin) first in 1990 when I have the pleasure to serve as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State. Those days were military regimes. And he was one of the rising stars in the ministry, I entrusted a huge, serious responsibilities to him because I had seen in him the ability to discharge his duties with seriousness, with dedication, honesty and integrity.
By: Dennis Naku
Commissioner Scores ASALGA High On COVID – 19 Prevention
The Rivers State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Barr. Osima Ginah, has scored the Government and people of Asari-Toru Local Government Area high for their level of preparedness and awareness creation on the deadly coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19 in the area.
The Commissioner made the assertion while sensitising the people in Buguma at the weekend, in line with the directives of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to his council.
Briefing the Executive Chairman and other principal officers of the LGA, Barr. Ginah said he was officially present in the area to deliver the Governor’s message on the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the whole world irrespective of political class, age, religion and race.
According to him, the governor was working tirelessly to curb the menace of the disease and therefore sought the understanding and cooperation of the people to win the battle.
He advised that in the interest of safety of lives, all well meaning people living and doing business in the area should ensure they obeyed simple life-saving instructions such as: avoiding crowded areas, handshakes, conducting burial ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, meetings, crowded church services/jumat services, unnecessary touching of the face, etc, describing these acts as sources of transmission of the disease.
Responding, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Chief Odiari Princewill, thanked the Commissioner and his entourage for coming and expressed readiness of the local government in combating the disease.
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