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Coronavirus: Governor Wike alerts world on Federal Government’s hypocrisy

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…Fears Pandemic may escalate In Rivers
Rivers State Governor,  Chief Nyesom Wike has alerted the world that the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic looms largely in Rivers State due to the hypocrisy of the Federal Government and the wilful sabotage of the security agencies.
In a State Broadcast on Friday,  Governor Wike said that the predicament of the state cannot be over-emphasised.
He said: “This being so, it has become imperative to alert the State and in deed, the entire world, of the fact that a dangerous escalation of COVID-19 pandemic in Rivers State looms large in our horizon due largely to the hypocrisy of the Federal Government and the continuous acts of willful sabotage by security agencies.
“Therefore, while we cannot overstate the gravity of our present predicament, nobody should be surprised should Rivers State witness exponential increases in the infection and spread of COVID-19 cases in the days and weeks ahead as we begin intense testing.
“Nevertheless, our resolve and commitment remain strong and total; and as we continue to urge everyone of us to treat this as a matter of life or death, our message to you remains constant: obey our directives to stay at home and protect yourself, your family and our State from the spread of COVID-19. There is certainly no choice on this. Staying at home and staying safe for now is not just mandatory; it is the best available option in the circumstance.”
Governor Wike added: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.
“As recently as yesterday, we intercepted a lorry-load of livestock with 22 persons who bribed their ways into Rivers State from as far as Adamawa State despite the Federal Government’s claimed restriction on inter-state travels and our definitive closure of all entry routes into the State.
 “Even today, we intercepted, yet, another 8 trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains and being smuggled into the State from the northern parts of the country.
 ” Indeed, the extent of sabotage was such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated and exercised powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals and companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and direct violation of the lockdown orders of the State Government.”
The Governor rewarded Rumuigbo Community with N5m following the role their vigilance group played in intercepting a truck that had people hidden in it.
He said: “Let me express my appreciation to the overwhelming majority of Rivers people for complying with the “Stay at Home and Stay Safe” orders, including the temporary closure of business outfits and activities throughout the State.
 “In particular, I wish to commend the Rumuigbo community vigilante for rising to the challenge, as any responsibly community should do, by intercepting a lorry-load of livestock with 50 persons who illegally entered the State in violation of the lockdown orders.
“For this show of courage and patriotism, the State Government will reward the Rumuigbo community with the sum of N5,000,000.00 only.
“However, quite unfortunately, there are some residents who have chosen to put themselves and the larger public at the risk of infection with their irresponsible show of disobedience to our restrictions on human and vehicular movements during the lockdown.
“As a Government, a strong one for that matter, we have the responsibility to act decisively on the side of the law to safeguard the safety of our State and its residents.
“And so, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to graduate and make its way through the State, these actions, inactions and counter-actions from the the security agencies are rather amplifying the risk of a public health disaster in our State.
“From all indications, no matter what we do or try to do to fight this battle, it is becoming clear by each day that those forces bent on forcing COVID-19 pandemic on our State are not willing to cease their evil plot and intentions.”
The Governor said the state Government  will not shirk in its  duty to the people.  He said the Government will  unleash the full and severe weight of the law against any person or body of persons, who attempt to put themselves and other innocent people at the risk of spreading this disease in Rivers State.
He said: “While we appreciate the intervention and plea of clemency from well-meaning Rivers citizens, it is our position not to condone any sentiments on this matter because of the seriousness of the situation.
 “What we can assure everyone is that all those arrested for violating the relevant Executive Orders would certainly have their day in court and due process would be the hallmark of any punishment that they may suffer if duly convicted as prescribed by our ordinary laws.
“Accordingly, the undermentioned vehicles, whose owners have been convicted and the ownership thereof already forfeited to the State, will duly be auctioned by the Deputy Sheriff of the State High Court:
 (i)   IVICO Truck with Reg. No. KBK 336 XA;
(ii)   DAF Truck with Reg. No. Adanawa MUB 20 YH;
(iii)  HOWO Truck with Reg. No. Adamawa HNG 608 XA; and
(iv)   DAF Truck with Regi. No. PKM 48594 XA
“Truth be told, those who claim to be conveying essential food items into the State during this period of total lockdown are barefaced liars who are up to something more sinister.
” How and who can they sell their items to when all the markets, hotels and business outfits in the state have been closed down? Let all be warned that we’ll have none of such tricks in Rivers State at this very trying period.”
The Governor confirmed the three new cases in the state and gave a breakdown.
“Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.Unfortunately, despite our determined efforts, the State recorded three new cases, bringing our total confirmed COVID-19 infections to 17 as at the 7th of May 2020.
“While two of the new cases were contacts of an existing case, the third case is from the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, who has no travel history or conceivable contact with any other contaminated person.
” This situation points to two critical scenarios, which we must pay attention to. First, the threat of COVID-19 among us, is real, and second, the threat is growing as the number in infections and localities continues to rise and expand.
“While two of the new cases were contacts of an existing case, the third case is from the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, who has no travel history or conceivable contact with any other contaminated person.
“This situation points to two critical scenarios, which we must pay attention to. First, the threat of COVID-19 among us, is real, and second, the threat is growing as the number in infections and localities continues to rise and expand,” he said.
He reiterated the state’s concerns over the outrageous actions of Rivers enemies who continue to destabilize the fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
He said: “Our borders continue to experience serial acts of sabotage by security operatives, who allow, and in some cases, personally aid persons with risky COVID-19 status into the State.
“As recently as yesterday, we intercepted a lorry-load of livestock with 22 persons who bribed their ways into Rivers State from as far as Adamawa State despite the Federal Government’s claimed restriction on inter-state travels and our definitive closure of all entry routes into the State.
 “Even today, we intercepted, yet, another 8 trucks with 200 persons hidden in loads of grains and being smuggled into the State from the northern parts of the country.
” Indeed, the extent of sabotage was such that, even a Deputy Commissioner of Police unilaterally appropriated and exercised powers to illegally issue movement pass to individuals and companies indiscriminately in utter contempt and direct violation of the lockdown orders of the State Government.
“And so, as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to graduate and make its way through the State, these actions, inactions and counter-actions from the the security agencies are rather amplifying the risk of a public health disaster in our State.”

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Major Shake-Up As IGP Posts, Redeploys 24 AIGs

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The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba has ordered the posting and redeployment of 24 Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs).
The directive, which is effective immediately, is in line with the new Manpower Development Policy of the police.
In a statement, yesterday, Force spokesman, Frank Mba, assured that the development would further help to drive the IGP’s vision.
Mba assured of improved services and effective response to security threats in the country.
The breakdown of the new appointments shows that AIG Zaki M. Ahmed is now AIG SPU FHQ Abuja; AIG Mustapha Dandaura is now AIG Zone 4, Makurdi; AIG Dansuki D. Galadanchi is new AIG CTU FHQ Abuja; AIG Okon Etim Ene is now AIG Zone 17, Akure; AIG Usman D. Nagogo is new AIG Border Patrol FHQ, Abuja; AIG Bala Ciroma becomes AIG Zone 7, Abuja; AIG Adeleke Adeyinka Bode, AIG Zone 9, Umuahia; and AIG Muri Umar Musa is new AIG Zone 13 Ukpo-Dunukofia, Awka.
Others include, AIG Lawal Jimeta Tanko as Commandant POLAC, Wudil, Kano; AIG Usman Alhassan Belel becomes AIG FCID Annex, Lagos; AIG Adebola Emmanuel Longe, AIG DOPS FHQ Abuja; AIG Musa Adze is AIG Investment, FHQ Abuja; AIG Philip Sule Maku, AIG DICT FHQ Abuja; AIG Usman Sule Gomna is now AIG Zone 6, Calabar; AIG Adamu Usman is now AIG Cooperatives; AIG Daniel Sokari-Pedro becomes AIG Zone 3 Yola; AIG Ahmed Mohammed Azare becomes AIG DTD FHQ Abuja; AIG Maigana Alhaji Sani is new AIG FCID Annex, Kaduna; AIG Audu Adamu Madaki now moves over as AIG Zone 12, Bauchi; AIG John Ogbonnaya Amadi becomes AIG Maritime, Lagos; AIG Ede Ayuba Ekpeji is new AIG Zone 8, Lokoja; AIG Mohammed L. Bagega now takes over as AIG Armament FHQ Abuja; AIG Bello Makwashi is now AIG Zone 15, Maiduguri; while AIG Balarabe Abubakar will now serve as AIG Works FHQ, Abuja.

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Alleged Insecurity In Rivers, Exaggerated, Envoy Affirms …$10bn NLNG Train 7, Proof Rivers Is Safe, Wike Insists

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The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, says the purported insecurity in Rivers State and some other parts of the country, was being exaggerated by the media.
Young-Chae, has meanwhile hinted that political stability of Nigeria remains key determinant factor for Korean companies willing to invest in Nigeria.
The Korean envoy stated this during a courtesy call to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Saturday evening.
Young-Chae explained that contrary to negative media reports, he felt safe visiting Rivers, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Ogun, and other states in the country.
“I visited Bayelsa State. The other day, I visited Adamawa and Ogun states, and it seems to me that the security situation is in a way exaggerated. In most places, I feel safe. But the media coverage is often exaggerated and making matters worse.
“The biggest concern for Korean companies is political stability. So, political stability is key for Korean companies to decide investment in Nigeria. We want to see continuous political stability in Nigeria, and that is what I have seen here (Rivers).”
The ambassador, who was accompanied by his wife and officials of Korean Embassy in Nigeria, commended Wike’s able leadership over the years.
“We have seen enormous progress in Rivers State in terms of infrastructure. I salute your able leadership”, he said.
Young-Chae said Korea was seeking more economic cooperation with Rivers State and the rest of the country in the areas of construction, oil, gas, agriculture, fishery and even cosmetics, medicine, and pharmaceutical products.
He declared his readiness to help Nigerian companies penetrate into Korean and East Asian markets, which combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now surpasses that of Europe and North America, respectively.
He commended the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor for being a worthy ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Korea.
In his response, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike commended the Korean ambassador for his pragmatic and objective analysis of the security situation in Rivers State.
“Let me sincerely thank you for saying clearly that the issue of insecurity is being exaggerated. People pay the media to carry negative publicity against states. Nobody will deny the fact of the problem we are facing in the country today, and also the world in general.”
The governor disclosed that prior to the take-off of the $10billion NLNG Train 7 project, he held meetings with the managing directors of Daewoo and Saipem, and they were quite satisfied with the level of security in the state.
“Rivers State is one of the safest states in this country today. Get the security statistics from the police, from the State Security Services, from the military, they will tell you so. When people say Rivers State is one of the most unsafe states, you then ask them: where did you get your statistics from?”
He further added, “You and I know if there is insecurity today, NLNG Train 7 cannot take place, because that is one of the biggest investments in this country today, $10billion investment. Nobody can make that kind of investment in a state where there is so much insecurity.”
Speaking on the issue of unemployment, the governor explained that if the national economy is not stable, it will invariably affect the sub-nationals.
“If the national economy is booming, then, there is the tendency that the component units of the economy will also boom. So, people who do not have ideas of the economy will come up to say that there is so much unemployment in the state.”
Wike expressed the willingness of the Rivers State Government to partner with the Republic of Korea in agriculture, technical education and medicine.
The governor observed that most countries were now depending less on oil as a major source of revenue.
He added that for Rivers State to survive, the government was focusing on agriculture by establishing a cassava processing company.
He remarked that the state government was willing to provide all necessary documentation, land, and give all the necessary waivers and incentives to Korean investors wishing to invest in agricultural sector in Rivers State.
“We will make sure that we give you the concession for those private investors, even tax rebate as it may be”, the governor added.

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Nigeria Going Through Worst Unemployment Crisis -World Bank

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Nigeria is currently going through one of its worst unemployment crises in recent times, a new report by the World Bank has stated.
The multilateral institution also noted that the socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians in the last 10 years have led to an astronomical increase in the number of citizens seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries.
This is as the World Bank, in a separate report, has estimated that about 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 pandemic between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report, which expressed concern about the country’s rising unemployment situation, was published by the Washington-based institution with support from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) trust funds.
In the report titled, ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’, the World Bank further estimated that there were 2.1million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria in 2020 alone.
World Bank, however, blamed a combination of rising unemployment, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations as resulting in increasing pressure on young Nigerians to migrate in search of gainful employment overseas.
In addition, the Washington-based institution disclosed that the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased threefold since 1990, growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019.
It explained that despite this trend, the share of international migrants as a proportion to Nigeria’s population has remained largely constant, increasingly slightly from 0.5 per cent in 1990 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.
According to the bank, recent rise in irregular migration notwithstanding, the share of international migrants in Nigeria’s population was much lower compared to the shares in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.
The data showed that the number has risen by over 1,380 per cent in the years between 2010 and 2019, indicating that in comparison, the number of persons coming into Nigeria from outside has been relatively stagnant in the decade under consideration
“An important trend that is observed in the data is the rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria. The share of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria has increased drastically in the last decade, growing from 27,557 in 2010 to 408,078 in 2019,” it stated.
It noted that although the country was reaping dividends from the success of its citizens in the Diaspora, which was put at five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, when it comes to the discourse on international migration, the narrative has not been palatable.
“Nigeria is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working age population grew from 102million to 122million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 per cent per year.
“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working age population, grew from 73million in 2014 to 90million in 2018, adding 17.5million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.
“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70million—lower than the level in 2014— while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29million to 52million between 2014 and 2020.
“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth,” the World Bank report noted.
However, between 2010 and 2020, the international financial institution estimated that the unemployment rate rose five-fold, from 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 33.3 per cent in 2020, with the rates being particularly acute since the 2015/2016 economic recession and further worsened as Covid-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020.
Increasingly, it noted that educated Nigerians were struggling to find employment opportunities in the country while unemployment rates increased substantially for Nigerians across all education levels over the years, becoming progressively challenging for educated Nigerians to find employment opportunities.
“Combined with significant demographic changes and increased aspirations of the youth, Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is creating migratory pressure in the economy.
“Unemployment is considered to be a key driver of migration. Consequently, multiple surveys show that the number of Nigerians, who are looking to migrate internationally, is high and increasing,” it pointed out.
In the last few years, the bank stated that the number of persons eager to migrate has increased from 36 per cent in 2014, to 52 per cent in 2018, noting that the desire to migrate remains higher among unemployed (38 per cent), youth (39 per cent), secondary education graduates (39 per cent), urban residents (41 per cent) and post-secondary graduates (45 per cent) in Nigeria.
It maintained that since there has not been an expansion of legal migration routes for youth increasingly eager to find opportunities in the overseas labour market, young Nigerians are opting for irregular migration routes to realise their hopes for a better life.
“What is worrying, however, is the increase in the number of forced and irregular migrants from Nigeria,” it disclosed.
It stressed that to ensure mutual cooperation, the European Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), which was established in 2015, with the aim to promote areas of mutual development interest between Europe and Africa, has since provided more than €4billion in aid to African countries to address various development-related challenges and priorities in Africa.
Since its inception, the EUTF, the bank stated, has provided more than €770million for migration-related projects in Nigeria, with most of the funds invested in border control measures, awareness campaigns to stop trafficking, and the creation of jobs domestically, including for returned Nigerian migrants.
While predicting that by 2100, Europe’s working age population between the ages of 20 and 64 would decline by 30 per cent owing to low birth-rates and increased longevity, it further projected that at same time, the working age-population in Nigeria could increase by 140 per cent.
“By expanding legal pathways for migration and implementing supporting measures to reap dividends from current migrants in the Diaspora, Nigeria can further benefit from international migration.
“Nigeria’s institutions are well-placed to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective Nigerian jobseekers to find employment internationally and can be supported to help design schemes that increase the returns to human capital investments for Nigerian youth,” the report concluded.
In a related development, the multilateral institution has estimated that 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report by the bank’s experts at the Imperial College of London, revealed that over 4,100 Nigerian children lost one or both primary caregivers within the aforementioned period, while 4,300 lost one or both primary and secondary caregivers.
The report posted on the bank’s blog was jointly authored by World Bank’s Lead Economist, Laura Rawlings and a senior technical advisor, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Covid-19 International Task Force, Susan Hillis, and titled, “For every two Covid-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. We must do more to address the orphan crisis.”
The report stated: “The Covid crisis will leave many unwanted legacies. The world has been closely tracking the Covid-19 death toll, with official mortality counts now reaching over four million people, largely concentrated among adults. The children left behind have been practically invisible.
“Our estimates of the toll on children left behind, just released, are that for every two people, who die of Covid, one child is left orphaned, facing the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver, who had been living in their home.
“By the end of June 2021, because of Covid-19, our estimates show that nearly two million children under 18 years had lost a mother, father, and/or grandparent caregiver, who lived in their household.”
According to the experts, countries with primary caregiver death rates of at least one per 1,000 children include Peru (10.2 per 1,000 children), South Africa (5.1), Mexico (3.5), Brazil (2.4), Colombia (2.3), Iran (1.7), the USA (1.5), Argentina (1.1), and Russia (1.0).
They also noted that at the current rate, one child was being orphaned every 12 seconds due to a Covid-19-associated death, adding that the toll was growing.
The authors noted that the Covid-19 related deaths had a wide range of effects on the children from economic, developmental to psychological impacts, which would reverberate across generations.
According to them, children orphaned by Covid face a constellation of risks, which often arrive with rapid and broad consequences.
“The threats of poverty, malnutrition, displacement and separation from siblings or other family members, school dropout, depression, violence and child marriage can emerge suddenly from the Pandora’s box of Covid-19,” they said.
Nigeria had as of July 20, 2021, recorded about 2,128 Covid-19 deaths, suggesting that for every one death in the country, an average of two children become orphans.

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