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COVID-19: Ekiti Shuts Markets Indefinitely

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Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti yesterday directed all markets in the state to be shut indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The latest action was in addition to an earlier government order restricting gatherings at events to only 20 persons; It also placed a work-from-home order on workers from GL 12 downwards as well as closed down schools.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olayinka Oyebode, said in a statement in Ado Ekiti that traders affected in the latest directive would not include those selling essential commodities.
He named such essential commodities to include foodstuff, medicine, medical equipment and water.
Oyebode said others that did not fall into the essential commodity category were to stay away from markets with effect from 5 p.m today. “
This is in a bid to curtail the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the state by ensuring that citizens observe the social distancing practice among other measures,” he said.
The government, according to the statement, also urged commercial vehicle drivers as well as National Union of Road Transport Workers and Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria to reduce the “ outrageous fares” being currently charged.
It said they should particularly consider students, who were returning home in their numbers, following the closure of schools in the state.
The government urged all citizens in the state to partner with the government in checking the spread of the coronavirus.

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FG Denies Alleged Non-Screening Of Americans At Lagos Airport

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The Federal Government has said that it would allow approved international flights into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, adding that the approved flights would be required to submit manifest of passengers to port health officials prior to arrival in the country.
The Federal Government, therefore, described as absolute falsehood reports that 26 Americans arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, last Monday without screening for Coronavirus.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while reacting to the claim, admonished the media to be circumspect of what they publish, and desist from dishing out fake news aimed at frustrating efforts of government and those in the frontline of fighting COVID-19 pandemic.
He said contrary to the report, the Americans were screened by the Port Health Authority and the Immigration while the crews did not disembark from the aircraft.
Mohammed said: “I am aware of the history of the 26 passengers and I have placed a call to the head of Port Health Services who denied the report.
“We have problem with the crude oil production in the Bonga field, so, they made an application for the expatriates to come into the country.
“They need to come and carry out some emergency works on the Bonga field, and they arrived yesterday.
“They met with the Port Health Authority and immigration that screened them, and we have the records to show that they were screened.”
The minister explained that the rule on border closure is that if any aircraft must come to the country on emergency, it must come in with two crews for inbound and outbound flights.
“Any flight approved to come into the country now must come with two crews so that there will be no way any of the crew members will get down and interact.
“But if they must come down, they must go into 14 days quarantine.
“It is wrong for the media to be publishing fake news that will frustrate the efforts of not just government but the Frontline people in this fight which are the health workers, the immigration and others.
“They are the ones that are at the highest risk of infection. When they make those sacrifices, to save the country it is wrong for a newspaper to report with a banner headline that they did not do their jobs when in actual fact, they did.
“Another implication of this which the newspaper did not know is that they have presented to the entire world as if Nigeria is not taking this fight seriously,” he added.

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PDP Wants Eminent Nigerians’ Group To Handle Palliatives

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately constitute an “Eminent Nigerians Group” to manage donations from the private sector and palliatives from the Federal Government aimed at curtailing the spread of the Coronavirus.
This is even as the party said the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Odinbajo, should immediately hands off the management of palliatives so as to eliminate corruption as well as political and bureaucratic bottlenecks that would impede effective administration of the social panaceas to vulnerable Nigerians.
In a statement issued by spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, the PDP also asked the President Buhari-led government to halt plans by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), to hike electricity tariff, saying Nigerians “are going through excruciating pains and cannot carry the burden of a further increase in costs.”
The statement read: “It is a time we must bring in eminent Nigerians from the private sector to assist in developing and implementing operable target-specific strategies to reach the vulnerable Nigerians across all informal sectors of our economy.
“The party expresses concerns that the Federal Government has so far failed to reach vulnerable Nigerians in the informal sector, including cab driver, ‘Keke’ and ‘Okada’ operators, artisans, labourers, market women, traders, food sellers, fruit vendors, farmers and dealers of perishable goods, motor mechanics, among others, whose survival directly depends on daily income in the markets, shops, and streets, which has been crippled by lockdowns occasioned by the COVID-19.
“Our party is deeply worried about the cries of hungry children whose parents can no longer go out to provide for their families at this critical time.
“The PDP, therefore, holds that the situation at hand requires an urgent involvement of all Nigerians irrespective of political, ethnic or religious persuasion.
“The party calls for special interventions for farmers as well as Nigerians involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of perishable consumer items by undertaking emergency bulk purchase, storage initiatives as well as waivers on loans so as to check waste and buoy production.
“We also urge for strategic intervention for distressed Nigerians such as cab drivers, ‘Keke’ operators, traders and other small-scale entrepreneurs, who took bank loans for their enterprises but have been grounded by COVID-19 pandemic.
“The PDP further demands that the federal government should adopt strategies to cut interest rates on such loans by microfinance and commercial banks in the country.
“In the same vein, our party pleads with landlords, particularly those of residential apartments, to bear with their low-income group tenants, whose businesses have been crippled at this critical time.
“Moreover, the PDP restates its call on President Buhari to reduce the cost of fuel from N125 to the appropriate pump price of between N80 and N90 per litre to mitigate the suffering of Nigerians during this time.

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Lagos State Executive Council Holds First Ever Virtual Meeting

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Lagos State Executive Council (EXCO) has held a virtual meeting – the first-ever in the history of governance in the state.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the meeting was held via Zoom, a free HD meeting application with video and screen sharing for up to 100 people.
The commissioner said in a statement the meeting was in compliance with the directive against gatherings as part of the anti-Coronavirus battle-plan.
“The meeting was slated for 10.45 am but almost all EXCO members had hooked up to the system at 10.00 am, awaiting the arrival of Mr Governor to kick-start deliberations for the day,” Omotoso said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu came online at about 11.05 am. On top of the agenda was the review of the management of COVID-19, especially the provision of additional isolation centres, the fumigation of the state against the spread of the virus, and the package for the less-privileged and daily income earners, the indigent.
“The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Gbolahan Lawal, briefed members on the distribution of the relief packages to local governments and local council development areas. Members reviewed areas where teething problems occurred and proffered ideas to solve identified problems,” he added.
There were comments by some members. As the debates and clarifications went on, the chairman announced that those eager to speak should spend a minute each.
While acknowledging the excitement of members for being part of the first virtual meeting of the Lagos State Executive Council, the commissioner said the feat affirmed that governance in Lagos will proceed seamlessly despite the 14-day restriction announced by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lagos and Ogun states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are on a 14-day lockdown.
“Members were in high spirits. Some of us were in our offices; others attended the online meeting from the comfort of their homes. With this historic achievement, residents are assured that governance in Lagos State will continue, irrespective of the situation around us,” Omotoso asserted.
The idea of the online meeting was mooted by Governor Sanwo-Olu, who directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to facilitate it. The Special Adviser (Innovation and Technology), Mr Olatunbosun Alake, moderated the meeting, reading out the dos and don’ts of the session which Science and Technology Commissioner, Hakeem Fahm described as “historic.”
“We should let our people know about this,” Waterfront Infrastructure Development Commissioner Kabiru Ahmed said excitedly after the meeting.

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