The Federal Government says state governments and school administrators should start making preparations for the full reopening of schools in the country.
It would be recalled that schools in the country were shut in March as part of measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
However, the Federal Government announced the resumption of graduating pupils effective August 4, 2020, to write this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examinations from August 17, 2020, through September 12, 2020.
Some state governments such as Lagos and Kogi had subsequently announced the full reopening of schools effective mid-September.
Speaking, yesterday, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, during a briefing at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, said the task force recommends phased return of students to classrooms.
Aliyu said, “For educational institutions which include day care, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Educational institutions should begin the process of working towards potentially reopening within this phase.
“However, we strongly recommend that states conduct risk assessment to ensure all schools are at a level of compliance and create a monitoring mechanism to assess, create, and monitor this level of preparedness.
“Meanwhile, all daycares and educational institutions are to remain closed to in-classes until this level of risk is assessed. And if there will be opening of schools, it must be staged and preferably carried out in phases to ensure that this does not pose a risk to the general public and in particular to vulnerable groups that might end up getting infected by students going back home.”
Also, the Federal Government said that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) should start making preparations to reopen its orientation camps nationwide.
Orientation camps across the country had been shut in March as part of measures to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
But speaking, yesterday, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, during a briefing at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, said the task force was in the process of developing “strict guidelines” to forestall the outbreak of infections when NYSC camps reopen.
Aliyu said, “For the National Youth Service Corps, the NYSC is to consolidate on safety measures currently being put in place and start preparing for the reopening of orientation camps when educational institutions open.
“We are in the process of developing strict guidelines to ensure there is no outbreak of Covid-19 when this process starts.”
Earlier, the NYSC Director-General, Brig. General Shuaibu Ibrahim, had said the scheme had embarked on measures to enable safe and efficient conduct of its operations as soon as Federal Government approved the reopening of its camps.
“Conscious of the possibility of the further or complete lifting of lockdown, the strategies mapped out by the NYSC management had taken care of various scenarios and would be presented to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Centre (NCDC) for guidance,” Ibrahim had said.
Similarly, the Federal Government said that the nationwide curfew in place in the country to restrict movement amid the Coronavirus pandemic is now from 12am to 4am.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, made this known during a briefing at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday.
Aliyu said, “I will first of all start with general movement. We are modifying the curfew to commence from 12 midnight to 4am nationwide, effective from 12:00 tonight.
“This does not apply to people on essential services and international travellers that might be returning from abroad.”
The PTF, following the lifting of the total lockdown occasioned by the pandemic, had on May 4, 2020, imposed a nationwide curfew from 6pm to 8am. It later reviewed the timing to between 10pm and 4am on June 1, 2020.
The PTF had also lifted the ban on inter-state movement and okayed the resumption of domestic and international flights.
Nigeria Needs Effective Leadership To Be Great -Wike
He stated this during the Juma’at service in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, held at the JIBWIS Directorate Headquarters, Central Mosque, Bonny Street, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on School Sports, Dr Okiri Mohammed, said despite the numerous challenges bedevilling the country, Nigerians must collectively resolve to make the nation great.
“Remember we have one country Nigeria, and we must make it great. For us to make it great, we must see it as our duty.”
The Rivers State governor said the task of nation building was the responsibility of every citizen of the country, and the 62nd Independence anniversary celebration should be seen as a time for stocktaking.
He emphasised that Nigerians must collectively continue to demand for probity and accountability from the leadership in order to move the country forward.
“Let us continue to ensure that there is probity and accountability in this country. We need effective leadership in this country before it will go forward.”
The governor charged Muslims to continue to preach the message of peace and join hands with other Nigerians to reduce crime and poverty in Nigeria.
”As Muslim you are charged to preach peace in your various homes. We have to make sure we collectively reduce poverty and crime. We have to make sure that this country is better.”
The governor pointed out that the country is at a critical juncture, and charged Nigerians to participate effectively in the 2023 general election.
“We don’t have another country apart from Nigeria and so, all of us collectively and individually have a duty to make this country better.”
Delivering his sermon, the Imam of Bonny Island, Yusuf Lamis, charged Nigerians to be patriotic and contribute to the development of the nation.
He said the earnest prayer of every Muslims in the country is for God’s intervention in the emergence of credible political leaders in the 2023 general election.
Wike Intervenes In Ula-Ehuda, Julius Berger Dispute
Wike, who visited Ula-Ehuda, yesterday, to assess the progress of the ongoing construction work and to settle the disagreement between the community and Julius Berger, advised youths in the community to learn how to channel their problem appropriately to the government.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Rivers State Commissioner of Works, Dr. Dakorinama George-Kelly; former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Chibudum Nwuche; Deputy Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Ogerenye Edison; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer in Rivers State, Sir Siminialayi Fubara; and others, said his administration takes exception to disruption of construction work in any part of state.
He admonished community leaders in the state, irrespective of their political leanings, never to politicise the issue of development, as this could be detrimental to the progress of their people.
“I tell people: don’t be a curse to yourself. And I’ve always told people too: don’t bring politics in the development of a place. If you bring politics, you’ll suffer it. None of you put pressure on us to say we must dualise this road.”
The governor explained that his administration took the decision to dualise the road in recognition of the fact that it would promote access to economic and social services, generate increased agricultural incomes and productive employment opportunities and reduce poverty in the state.
Wike, who urged the community to support the state government’s effort to improve infrastructure in the area, cautioned that government would, henceforth, not tolerate any disruption of the ongoing dualisation work.
“If you have problem, channel your problem appropriately. But don’t come and begin to use your young boys and young girls to stop the road construction.”
The governor assured the community that the concerns raised would be adequately addressed, adding that the government would not allow anyone or group of individuals to derail the progress of the area.
“We have come to open up your community to be like a city, and you want to send your community backwards, it will not work. Support us to do what we are doing.”
Earlier, the Chairman,Ula-Ehuda Community Development Committee, Monday Princewill Evergreen, thanked Wike for the project, and appealed for the inclusion of drainage in the Ula-Ehuda section of the Ahoada-Omoku highway.
“We are grateful that you brought this project to our community, not just our community, Ahoada East. For long, we had envisaged that this road will be dualised and constructed. It was until you came that that dream was realised, and the community and the entire people of Ekpeye are eternally grateful to you.”
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Dr. George-Kelly D. Alabo, had advised some protesting youths at the Ula-Ehuda axis of Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway to shun obstructive means of demonstration at the project site, because if the project,was not completed as a result of their actions, the people of the area would be the ones to lose and not Julius Berger.
George-Kelly advised them to allow the construction giant to continue with their work while he makes an arrangement for a round-table talk between all parties involved to find an amicable solution to the contentious issue on drainage before the end of the week.
Residents of Ula-Ehuda in Ahoada East Local Government Area were addressed by the commissioner, who was accompanied by the Chairman of Ahoada East Local Government Council, Hon. Ben Eke, to inspect the Ahoada-Omoku Dual Carriageway project, last Tuesday.
“I am not here to blame anybody but to solve a problem. I am here to provide a solution that will be good for the community, the government, and the contractor. If we must tell ourselves the truth, stopping them from working will not solve the problem, it would even put you at the disadvantaged end because if this project is not completed, it is the people of this area that will lose, not Julius Berger.
“Please, do not make the mistake some youths of a particular local government area made. They stopped two projects of the state government in their area over frivolous demands, the state government made several attempts to persuade them to allow the construction of the projects to continue, like I am doing now, but they refused. Contractors left sites, and the projects were abandoned. Two years after, the contactors are yet to resume work for excuses of community disturbances. When the contractors eventually go back to sites, the projects may become more expensive for government, given the current fluctuations.
“The best thing to do now is to allow the contractor to finish the initial scope of the project first.Maybe, before the commissioning, you can make this other demand, and we will forward same to the governor. Please, realise that even in your demands, due process has to be followed.
“I am appealing to you to allow them complete this work on schedule so that it can be commissioned by or before December. By Friday this week (yesterday), I’ll be having a meeting between the ministry, the council chairman, representatives of Julius Berger, the project CLOs, and Ula-Ehuda community leaders. I will like the community to include, at least, two indigenous civil engineers in their delegation so that they can understand and interprete to you some technical details that would be discussed in the meeting,” the commissioner added.
Also, the commissioner inspected the 8.020km Akpabu-Itu-Omudioga Road project, phase 1 in Emohua Local Government Area.
Checks show that asphaltic binder course had been completed for the entire road length and 700m asphalt wearing course had been done so far.
The project is 75percent completed and in progress.
Catholic Bishops Vow To Work For Credible Polls In 2023
The commitment is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja and Very Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, after the 3rd General assembly of the Archdiocese.
In the communique issued on Saturday in Abuja, the bishops enjoined Parishes, families, Church societies and groups to dedicate special moments to pray for a hitch-free election.
“We call on Catholics and indeed all Nigerian citizens to be consciously and actively involved in the electoral processes at all levels.
“Voter registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card, casting votes on election days with a firm and clear conscience to elect credible leaders who will bring about the true dividends of democracy”, they said.
The bishops commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act into law to enhance the sanctity of the electoral process.
“We task the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure political fairness and transparency, to consolidate the trust reposed in them by Nigerians.
“Parishes and Catholic institutions within our Archdiocese are encouraged to arrange and organize voter awareness programmes, seminars and workshops guided by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, to better equip our people for greater political responsibility.
“We remain open and willing to collaborate with relevant government agencies, electoral bodies and security operatives to ensure peaceful and credible election processes in the coming year,” the communique added.
The bishops cautioned politicians not to regard the election as a ‘do or die’ affair, adding that they must also refrain from money politics, manipulative and divisive practices along ethnic, social and religious lines to win elections.
“Even though we decry the hard economic situations in the nation, we strongly discourage all Catholics and especially our youths from lending themselves as easy recruits for political thuggery and other criminal activities to enthrone selfish and incompetent aspirants into electoral offices.
“We discourage and condemn any form of vote buying or selling and other electoral malpractices during the elections,” the bishops said.
The bishops advised catholic politicians from all political parties within the Archdiocese to participate in Church activities, so as to be better known by the faithful.
They called on all people of goodwill to cooperate with security agencies to root out criminal elements within communities.
The bishops, however, urged security agents to remain professional in discharging their duties and resist any attempt to be used to intimidate the people by corrupt politicians.
The communique called on Catholics across the country to match work with prayer, for peaceful electioneering process.
They called for sustained prayers for the country, adding: “Nigerians should take courage and be of ardent hope, for the storms will soon be over.”
Business15 hours ago
FG Probes IOCs’ Oil Exploration, Production
News13 hours ago
2023: Rivers CP Meets Candidates, Advocates Peaceful Campaigns
Sports14 hours ago
ICC U-19: Nigeria Battles Big Wigs In Abuja
online games2 days ago
Most Impressive Sporting Facilities in Nigeria Ranked
News13 hours ago
PSC Appoints 2 DIGs, Promotes 12 CPs To AIGs, Elevates 417 Officers
Women15 hours ago
It Takes Two To Tango
News12 hours ago
Independence: IGP Orders Massive Personnel Deployment To Ensure Crisis-Free Celebrations …Beefs Up Security Around Venues
Rivers14 hours ago
HYPREP Set To Clean Up Ogoni Shorelines …To Plant 5m Seedlings