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COVID-19 UK Red List: NASS Wants Decision Reversed

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The Senate has taken a swipe at the government of the United Kingdom (UK) following the decision by the British Government to include Nigeria in their COIVD-19 red list.
The Senate also condemned in very strong terms, the U.K Government’s inclusion of Nigeria in their COVID-19 red list without justification.
Similarly, the House of Representatives, yesterday, berated the United Kingdom Government for placing travel ban on Nigerians amid the outbreak of Omicron, a new variant of coronavirus, This is as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given the British Mission in Nigeria 72 hours to rescind its decision to pause the issuance and processing of visas to Nigerians over the discovery of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
The Senate, however, called on the UK government to as a matter of urgency remove Nigeria from the red list and be sensitive to the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in taking decisions that affect Nigerian citizens.
According to the Senate, the action has become imperative against the backdrop of its concomitant implications as the decision was capable of affecting many citizens of Nigeria that have planned to spend their Christmas and New Year holidays with their families.
Resolutions of the Senate, yesterday, were sequel to a motion on the need for the Government of the United Kingdom, UK to remove Nigeria from COVID-19 Red List and sponsored by the former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Enugu West.
Ekweremadu came under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Orders as Amended.
The Upper Chamber has called on the Federal Government to constructively engage the British authorities with a view to reverse this inclusion.
The Senate has also called on the Nigerian Government to remain firm in the enforcement of all necessary protocols in the containment of every COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.
The Upper Chamber also called on the major vaccine powers, namely, Britain, Canada, America, and the European Union, among others, to take urgent and bold steps to ensure vaccine equity in the best interest of the entire human race.
Similarly, the House of Representatives, yesterday, berated the United Kingdom Government for placing travel ban on Nigerians amid the outbreak of Omicron, a new variant of coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, currently ravaging the world.
The House said that the decision was hasty and embarrassing to Nigeria.
The anger of the parliament followed a motion on the travel ban moved by the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Ndidu Elumelu and considered at plenary.
Some members of the House who took turns to ventilate their views on the issue, however, said the ban was a wake-up call for Nigeria as a country to reinvent itself as the true giant of Africa.
They, however, called for a diplomatic way to resolve the matter.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given the British Mission in Nigeria 72 hours to rescind its decision to pause the issuance and processing of visas to Nigerians over the discovery of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
NANS gave the ultimatum during its protest at the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, yesterday, over the travel and visa restrictions placed on Nigerians over the Omnicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
“If there is an absence of solutions in the next 72 hours, NANS will have no other choice but to shut down the activities of British and Canadian missions across Nigeria,” NANS said at the protest.
Following the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, the British government put Nigeria and other selected African countries on the red list.
The variant was first reported recently in South Africa and has since then been found in 38 countries, including France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Australia and others.
Chairman, NANS Ogun Chapter, Kehinde Damilola, said during the protest, that the association was displeased with the decision of the British government to place a ban on travels from Nigeria.
According to him, the decision is pure racism and an attempt to intimidate African countries, particularly Nigeria.
“We have come to say enough is enough with the treatment Nigeria constantly receives from Europe. The narrative has to change because Nigerians are not a symbol of havoc or hazard.
“This decision will affect not only visitors but also our international students who are studying in the U.K.
“The omicron variant did not emanate from Nigeria, neither do we have up to a dozen cases so why should we be punished for it even over other European countries?” he said.
The student leader urged the British mission in Nigeria to look into the situation without delay, adding that the exorbitant quarantine fee for students and visitors should also be revoked.
Also, NANS South-West Coordinator, Adegboye Olatunji, said that COVID-19 was not an African virus neither was the new variant, Omicron.
“Placing a ban on only African members of the Commonwealth is not right.
“We should be thinking of solutions on how to eradicate the virus and vaccinate Africans instead of coming up with red lists.
“We have thousands of students studying in the U.K. who have plans of returning to Nigeria for the festive season but their plans have been cut short.
“We are not here to fight anyone, neither are we here to cause havoc,” Olatunji said.
He added that NANS was ready to take the mantle to fight relentlessly for Nigerians studying abroad.
Policemen and other security agents were on ground at the British Deputy High Commission to prevent any security breach.
Speaking with newsmen, an official of the British mission, who did not disclose his name, said that audio-visual recording of the protest had been forwarded to appropriate authorities to address the issue.
“We will be relating happenings to the Deputy Head of Mission who will, in turn, make calls to London.
“That is where we are going to take it from because we can’t make instant decisions,” he said.
However, the reasons the United Kingdom added Nigeria to the travel red list amid concerns over the newly detected Omicron variant of Coronavirus, have been revealed by the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing.
Laing said the UK made the decision in order to protect the public health of its people while the government tried to understand the new variant.
She noted that despite the ban, the British government would work closely with the Nigerian authorities as the world faced the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
Laing further explained that the decision would be reviewed at the three-week review point on December 20.
According to the statement, “This decision is a precautionary measure to protect public health in the UK, whilst we try to understand this new variant,” the envoy was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Ndidiamaka Eze.
“I know that this decision will have a significant impact on people in both our countries, particularly at this time of year.
“We continue to work very closely with the Nigerian authorities in tackling the pandemic and commend their ongoing work.”
The red list which comes to effect on December 6 means that Nigerians who do not have UK citizenship or residence permit can no longer travel to the country until the advisory is revised.
The Nigerian government has faulted the decision of the UK government, describing it as unjust and discriminatory.

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See Fubara’s Victory As God’s Design, Wike Tells Rivers PDP

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has described the victory of Hon Siminialayi Fubara at the gubernatorial primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state as God’s design.
The PDP gubernatorial primary held, last Wednesday, at the Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who spoke after Fubara was declared the winner of the primary, said so many people strove to clinch the slot but only one person can emerge.
The governor also declared that with the victory of Fubara, Rivers PDP now has a candidate that will fly its flag in the 2023 governorship election.
“I never knew I’ll be governor when I became governor. You have also heard what the candidate said that he never knew he will become PDP candidate.
“But to the glory of God, he is the candidate of PDP. This is because power comes from God. Whoever God says will be, will be.”
Wike pointed out that when it comes to producing the governor of the state, all tribes need to work together on it because no one particular tribe can do it alone.
He said because his administration has performed credibly well in the state, any candidate that the party presents will easily win in the 2023 general election.
“With the performance of our administration, and with what we have achieved in this state, there is no candidate that PDP will present that will not win election.
“Our campaign focus will be like this, that we made promises to the state to do roads and other projects, ask us, have we done them? Yes, we have.
“We will ask them (other parties), what have you done for Rivers State? Certainly nothing. So, who tells you that any other party can come and win this state? Let no one deceive you about that.”
Wike explained that after the presidential primary, PDP leaders in Rivers State will set up a team that will work to ensure that the party wins the 2023 gubernatorial election.
He expressed optimism that those who believe in the party will be dutiful in working for the candidate to win.
In his acceptance speech, Hon Siminialayi Fubara, the immediate past Accountant General of Rivers State, described his victory as evidence of grace.
He called on all party faithful to support his victory and the new drive to consolidate on the achievements of Wike’s administration.
“It is victory for Fubara. It is victory for the party. It is not just victory for the party, but victory for moving the state forward.
“The purpose of this special event this night is also to consolidate on the achievements, on every side, of this present administration.
“We are going to work together to sustain the work that this administration has already done for us.”
In his opening address, the Chairman of PDP in Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor said the party was poised to conduct a peaceful and successful gubernatorial primary.
Akawor explained that the party was delighted to have conducted peaceful congresses in the 319 wards and 23 local government areas of the state, including primaries for state and National Assembly.
Declaring the result of the gubernatorial primary, Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Prof. Walter Mboto, said Hon Siminialayi Fubara, polled a total of 721 votes to emerge PDP candidate for the 2023 governorship election.
He explained that Isaac Kamalu polled 86 votes to emerge second position, while Dax Alabo George Kelly polled 37 votes and Tammy Danagogo polled 36 votes.
Also, he said, Chief West Morgan polled 4 votes, David Briggs 4 votes and Brother Felix Obuah polled 2 votes, while eight votes were voided.
“The delegate list that we have has a total number of delegates expected to vote as 980. Total number of accredited out of this 980, 898 delegates were accredited. The total number of votes cast in this election is 898. The total number of valid votes cast is 890. 8 votes were voided.”

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FAAC: FG, States, LGCs Share N656.602bn Revenue

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The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N656.602billion as April 2022 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, states and local government councils.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a virtual meeting of the FAAC for May 2022.
The N656.602billion total revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N461.189billion, Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N166.522billion, the sum of N8.891billion being excess bank charges recovered and augmentation of N20billion.
In April 2022, the total deductions for the cost of collection were N29.609billion and the total deductions for transfers and refunds were N147.651billion.
Director (Information, Press and Public Relations), Office of the Accountant General of Federation, HenshawOgubike, said in a statement, yesterday, that the balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) was $35.377million.
The communiqué confirmed that from the total distributable revenue of N656.602billion; the Federal Government received N257.611billion, State Governments got N201.256billion and the Local Government Councils received N149.251billion.
The sum of N48.485billion was shared to the relevant states as 13percent derivation revenue.
Gross statutory revenue of N635.037billion was received for the month of April 2022.
This was lower than the N933.304billion received in the previous month by N298.267billion.
From the N461.189billion distributable statutory revenue, the Federal Government received N217.412billion, the State Governments got N110.275billion and the Local Government Councils received N85.017billion.
The sum of N48.485billion was shared with the relevant States as 13percent derivation revenue.
In the month of April 2022, the gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) was N178.825billion.
This was lower than the N219.504billion available in the month of March 2022 by N40.679billion.
From the N166.522billion distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue, the Federal Government received N24.978billion, the State Governments got N83.261billion and the Local Government Councils pocketed N58.283billion.
The Federal Government got N4.684billion; the State Governments received N2.376billion and the Local Government Councils pocketed N1.831billion from the N8.891billion Excess Bank Charges recovered.
The N20.00billion augmentation was shared as follows: the Federal Government received N10.536billion, the State Governments got N5.344billion and the Local Government Councils received N4.120billion.
According to the communiqué, in the month of April 2022, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Excise Duties increased marginally, while Oil and Gas Royalties, Import Duty, Companies Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) all recorded significant decreases.

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Children’s Day: FG Establishes Family Court In 16 States 

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Ahead of this year’s International Children’s Day celebration, the Federal Government has established family courts in 16 states to ensure child-friendly justice for children, either as victims or as offenders of violence.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen who disclosed this at a press briefing on Tuesday noted that the establishment of family courts resulted from the effective advocacy and sensitisation for effective implementation of the Child Rights Law across the country.
According to her, the theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Strengthening Supportive Systems for the Protection of the Nigerian Child; A Wake-Up Call.’
The minister noted that despite efforts by the government and other stakeholders, children were still vulnerable and victims of abduction, ritual killings, rape, child marriage, domestic abuse, and others.
She said, “As a ministry, we are sometimes overwhelmed with these issues and it will seem as if we are not doing enough.
“More worrisome is the recent increase of violence in schools, where children are physically and sexually abused online and offline.
“In the meantime, the ministry, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, has developed policies and carried out a series of programmes to ensure the safety of children.
“The establishment of family courts in 16 states of the federation is a direct result of the effective and sustained advocacy”.
Tallen also said that to ensure the safety and protection of children, she also reconstituted the technical working group on ending violence against children in the country.

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