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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents



The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.

Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.

“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.


“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.

“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.

“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.

“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.

Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than

30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.

“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.

“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.

The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.


Dennis Naku

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NSCDC: Presidency Stops Madu, Directs Gana To Remain CG Despite Tenure Expiration



There is confusion at the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over Commandant General, Abdullahi Gana stay in office.

Gana’s extended tenure elapsed on Monday, January 18.

In 2019, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Interior, elongated his tenure by six months.

The NSCDC spokesman, Emmanuel Okeh, in a statement on July 19, announced that the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, communicated the approval.

“Now, the Presidency has asked Gana to remain in office pending an official memo on the next line of action”, PRNigeria reports.

Gana was said to have handed over last Monday, to the Deputy Commandant General, Hilary Kelechi Madu, as acting Commandant General.

But the Presidency, it was gathered, insists it did not give a handover directive, and as such, the status quo be maintained.

The claim is that Gana still has two years in service.

If so, stakeholders wonder why was he granted a six-month extension that elapsed on Monday.

They argue that the government could have in 2019 approved his incumbency until “actual” retirement date.

Madu is currently the most senior officer at NSCDC after Gana.

The DCG in charge of Operations now has to wait longer as efforts are being made to further extend his boss’s stay in office.

It was gathered that powerful forces are lobbying the Presidency and top officials for this to happen.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Aregbesola had been warned not to grant additional tenure extension to heads of paramilitary agencies.

Aside Gana, others are Controller-General, Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS), Jaafaru Ahmed; and Comptroller-General, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Muhammad Babandede.

A retired Immigration Officer, Daniel Makolo, had stated that Aregbesola acted beyond his constitutional authority ab initio.

Aregbesola chairs the Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board (CDCFIB).

Makolo said he had no legal power “to recommend or extend the statutory tenure of any public servant, no matter and however industrious such an officer may be.”

The human rights lawyer pointed out that the Public Service Commission is the body empowered with specific provisions for entry and exit.

“The practice of arbitrary, illegal elongation of the statutory tenure of public office occupants sets a dangerous precedent for bureaucracy and national security”, he warned.



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Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia Floors NJC In Court



The Federal High Court, Abuja has dismissed an objection raised by the National Judicial Council (NJC) against the hearing of the case instituted by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia challenging her dismissal.
Ruling on the matter, yesterday, Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed all the objections on the grounds that they were misplaced and that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia’s claim was misconstrued.
The NJC had, in 2018, dismissed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court from the service of the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) on grounds of alleged gross judicial misconduct.
Not satisfied with the NJC’s action, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the process adopted by the fact-finding committee of the NJC that recommended her dismissal.
The judge asked the court to declare the report of the committee illegal, unconstitutional, null and void.
The dismissed judge maintained that her fundamental right to fair hearing was breeched in the way and manner she was dismissed from the court bench.
The NJC and other defendants in the matter, however, filed separate preliminary objections against the hearing of the suit on the grounds that the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain such a matter.
The council held that, being a labour-related matter involving an employee, the judge ought to have gone to the National Industrial Court to ventilate her grievances.
The defendants, the Attorney-General of the Federation, President Muhammadu Buhari, Justice Olufemi Akinta, Justice Ishaq Bello and Justice Julieth Kentu, denied the claim of denial of fair hearing alleged by the judge.
They also contended that the case was statute-barred having not been instituted within three months as required by the Public Officers Protection Act.
In her counter-affidavit, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, prayed the court to dismiss the objection to her suit on the grounds that she was challenging the constitutionality of her dismissal.
In his ruling, Justice Ekwo dismissed all the objections on the grounds that they were misplaced and that the claim of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was misconstrued.
The Judge held that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia raised constitutional issues bordering on denial of fair hearing in the manner she was dismissed.
He further held that the case of the dismissed judge did not fall under the provision of the Public Officers Protection Act as claimed by the NJC and as such, was not statute-barred.
The judge held that the plaintiff’s claim, being a constitutional matter, could only be heard by a Federal High Court and not the National Industrial Court as canvassed by the NJC.
The judge adjourned the matter until April 5, 6 and 7, for hearing of the substantive matter.

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10m Jobs In Limbo In Poultry Industry, PAN Alerts



The leadership of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) has lamented that no fewer than 10million jobs in the poultry value chain of the Nigerian economy would be lost, if pragmatic steps are not taken to address the challenges of scarcity of chickens and eggs facing the industry.
PAN also drew attention to the fact that the poultry industry in Nigeria may collapse soon, which will culminate into gross scarcity of eggs and chickens, if the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and governors failed to take appropriate steps to address the looming danger.
The alarm was raised, yesterday, during a press conference addressed by leadership of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) from six states in the South-West – Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti states as well as Kwara State in the North-Central.
The speakers, who converged on the press centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, included the association’s General Secretary, South-West, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi; chairmen of the association, Godwin Egbebe (Lagos); Bisi Babalola (Ekiti); Yemi Olukiran (Osun); Gbemisoye Agboola (Oyo); Rev Gideon Oluleye (Ondo) represented by Mr. Damian Ogunbo, secretary; Idowu Asenuga (Ogun), represented by Mrs. Blessing Alawode; and Ojo Akinwunmi (Kwara).
The association identified scarcity of maize and soybeans, being used to produce poultry feeds, as the factors that would usher in the menace, adding that 10million jobs in the poultry value chain of the Nigerian economy would be lost if pragmatic steps are not taken to address the challenges.
The association’s General Secretary, South-West, Dr. Olalekan Odunsi, said: “The poultry industry in the South-West Geopolitical Zone is over six decades, growing consistently and steadily to a population of 30million, a number representing more than 60 per cent of the National Poultry Population (NPP).
“In investment, this sector is worth over N2trillion. In job creation, it employs over 10million people directly and indirectly, using its wide value chain from farm to field. It is worthy of note that this sector is almost 100 per cent private driven.
“However, if urgent attention is not given to the lingering crisis of grains, especially maize and soya, we fear that an industry with such an enviable statistics may suffer a total collapse.”
He stated that about July, 2020, “the price of maize due to inadequate supply against the huge demand by poultry sector and other users, rose from a price of N105,000 – N165,000. In the midst of this hike in price, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced a ban on Forex for the importation of maize, which further drove the price to as high as N185,000/TON.”
The poultry farmers’ in the seven states, however, appealed to the Federal Government to approve urgent importation of animal feed grade of maize to sustain the over 50million layers, 100million broilers, one million breeders, and other classes of poultry, until the next harvest season.
“In the interim, government should enforce a ban on export of soya, both seed and the processed meal. The governors in the South-West should put as much efforts to the cultivation of maize as they have done with rice.”
Odunsi noted that “As at today, maize is N210,000/MT in most states of the South-West, Soya Meal N240,000/MT. Due to the fact that these two items form about 75 -78 per cent of an average poultry ration, the price of poultry feed has continuously been on the increase from about N2,750 -N3,000 in April 2020 to N4,850-N5,300, today.
“In December, 2020, most farmers, from small to large, were unable to sell their broilers because the cost of production was even higher than what an average Nigerian can afford. Presently, egg is going out of the reach of an average family with ideal price at N1,300 per crate but the farm gate price is still at N1000-N1,100, a price that will force farmers to close down.”

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