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COVID-19: Oyo Task Force takes sensitisation to Oke Ogun




…Failure to wear face mask will attract penalty, says Info Commissioner

The sensitization and enlightenment drive of the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force continued on Thursday, as the state’s Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, led members of the Media and Sensitisation Committee of the Task Force to Oke Ogun zone.

Similar sensitization efforts had been taken to Oyo and Ogbomoso zones in the past weeks, as the state government continues to intensify efforts on sensitization as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus in the state.

This was as the Task Force maintained that failure to wear nose masks in the state will soon begin to attract penalty, as defaulters of the guideline will be prosecuted and appropriately punished.

The committee said that wearing of face masks was in line with COVID-19 protocol designed to guarantee the safety and well-being of everyone.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, who also doubles as a member of the committee, quoted the commissioner as saying that the guidelines put in place by the state on how to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus are for the benefit of the people.

Olatubosun urged residents of Igbeti and Kisi in Olorunsogo and Irepo Local Government Areas of the state to ensure that they maintain physical distance, adhere to restrictions on religious worship, ensure the washing of hands and use of sanitisers as well as ensure the constant use of nose masks.

While speaking at the palace of the Onigbeti of Igbeti, Oba Emmanuel Oyekan Oyebisi, the commissioner explained that the state government led by Governor Seyi Makinde “believes in the welfare and good health of every resident of the state.”

He explained that over one million face masks have been produced by the state’s Covid-19 Task Force and that they are already being distributed to the residents of the state for free, adding that thousands of the masks have been distributed.

He added that the distribution was still going on in all the local governments of the state.

He said: “We are here to continue the state-wide sensitization drive on how we all can play our part in containing the spread of the COVID-19. This pandemic has put the entire world at a standstill and our dear state has also been affected.

“But our governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, places great importance on the welfare, wellbeing and good health of the people. This is why the Task Force under his able leadership has made it a responsibility to touch every area in the state to enlighten the people on the roles they can play to stop the virus in our state.

“Though there have been messages on various media platforms, it behoves on the government to move from streets, villages, towns and cities in the state to sensitize the residents on the need to take precautions given by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).”
Olatubosun told the Onigbeti-in-Council, community leaders, market men and women as well as representatives of various organizations to spread the message of containing the COVID-19, adding that the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force will soon enforce the compulsory wearing of the nose masks.
He maintained that erring individuals would be prosecuted and fined N20,000.000 per person.
Similarly, while speaking at the palace of the Iba of Kisi, Oba Moshood Oyekola Lawal, Olatubosun said the that the level of compliance on nose covering was low.
He said, “When I entered Kisi land, I discovered that the level of compliance on wearing of nose masks was very low. I urge all the security agencies to join hands with traditional rulers with a view to combating the virus.”
In his response, Oba Moshood Oyekola Lawal vowed that he, together with government and security agencies would ensure that people abide by the precautions of the government and its agencies.   
Sensitizing the people in Oja Oba and Kara Markets in Igbeti and Kisi respectively, a member of the Nigeria Red Cross Society, representing the Risk Communication Pillar of the Emergency Operation Centre of the state, Mrs Adekunbi Oladipo, urged people to abide by the laid down precautions.

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Reps disagrees with FG, says WASSCE must be conducted





House of Representatives has disagreed with the Federal Government on the alleged cancellation of 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examinations due to be conducted soon.

Speaking through its Committee on Basic Education and Services, the House expressed dissatisfaction over the statement of Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu that Nigerian students would not be participating in the examination WASSCE for fear of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a press statement signed by the Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere on Friday in Abuja, the lawmakers stated that the Education Minister did not inform the country if the decision was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.

The House called on the relevant ministers to immediately interface with various State governments and stakeholders in the education sector on how to conduct a hitch-free exercise.

They warned about the adverse effects of failing to conduct the examination.

Ihonvbere said:

“The Minister also did not also inform the public if the decision was the outcome of a meeting with all State Governments that are in charge of all but the Unity Secondary Schools that are owned by the Federal government.

“The Hon. Minister of State, in his usually consultative and participatory approach, had briefed the nation at the COVID 19 presidential Committee briefing, over the airwaves and in an appearance before the House Committee on Basic Education where he assured Nigerians that all steps had or were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID 19 protocols.

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country. It is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, frustrate the students, and show to our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“The reversal also shows that our policymakers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it.

“House Committee disagrees with the Honourable Minister and believes that reconsideration is urgently needed to save our educational system on the following grounds that Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of Covid 19, that Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools.

“The Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders; that WAEC should quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID protocols.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the Ministries of Environment and Health, should immediately work out an agenda to fumigate all classrooms, provide handwashing buckets with soap and water, and facemasks to all students; that the original plan of opening hostels for boarding to facilitate so-called revision classes should be cancelled immediately and the students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately and Mr President should direct all his Ministers to return to their states, work with the Governors and ensure the smooth implementation of the policy and conduct of the examination.

“We are parents just like him. No Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of their child. We are convinced that if our policy of no boarding house, the reconceptualising scope of exams, use of all classrooms and halls in the schools, quadrupling the number of invigilators, provision of facemasks, sanitizers and handwashing facilities are followed, the WASSCE can be conducted with ease and with no repercussions. Let us collectively save and advance our educational system and build a future we can be all proud of”.

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Buhari signs reviewed 2020 budget on Friday – Presidential aide




President Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday sign into law the revised 2020 budget passed by the National Assembly in June.

The Personal Assistant on New Media to the President, Bashir Ahmad, confirmed this on his Twitter handle in Abuja on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two chambers of the National Assembly, Senate and House of Representatives, had on June 10 and June 11 respectively passed the revised 2020 budget of N10,805,544,664,642.

NAN recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had on May 13 approved a revised budget of 10.523trillion.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed this, said the Council approved the reduction of oil benchmark price from the initial 57 to 25 dollars per barrel, crude oil production from 2.18million to 1.94million per day.

She said: “The council has approved our recommendations and the approval has these key parameters.

“The crude oil price is approved at $25 per barrel, crude oil production is at 1.94 million barrels per day and then an exchange rate of N360 to $1.

“The revised budget is now in the total sum of N10.523 trillion, a difference of just about N71.5 billion when compared to the approved budget.

“This is because, as we cut down the size of the budget, we also have to bring in new expenditure previously not budgeted, to enable us adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The federal government in this budget will have direct revenue of funding the budget of N5.158 billion. The deficit to this budget, N5.365 trillion and this will be financed by both domestic as well as foreign borrowing.

“The foreign borrowing we are doing for 2020 are all concessionary loans from the IMF, which has already been approved and has crystallized, from the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank as well as Afro EXIM bank.

“There will also be some drawdown of previously committed loans for major ongoing projects that we will be drawing from both existing facilities as well as some special accounts with the approval of Mr. President and the National Assembly,’’ she said.

However, the legislators increased the budget from the initial N10.5 trillion submitted by President Buhari to N10.8 trillion.

The figure shows that the sum of N2,488,789,433,344 is for capital expenditure and recurrent non-debt expenditure rose to N4,942,269,241,984.

Others are N2.6 trillion for debt service and N2.9 trillion for sinking funds.

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Lebanese ambassador walks out on Nigerian lawmakers





Lebanese ambassador to Nigeria, Houssam Diab walked out on the house of representatives committee members on diaspora affairs on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

Diab had gone to the National Assembly for a meeting called by the House of Representatives to discuss the maltreatment of Nigerians in Lebanon.

The meeting was also said to have been called to discuss the detention of one Temitope Arowolo, who’s being detained over the alleged attempted murder of her master.

The ambassador, who according to reports was expecting a closed-door meeting met lawmakers with other government officials and journalists at the venue of the meeting.

Irked by what he saw, Diab got up and walked out on the lawmakers.

Reacting, Chairman of the committee, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, said she was shocked that the ambassador could walk out on them.

According to ThePunch, Some members of the committee went after the ambassador and later called for a closed-door session, sending journalists, security men and aides out of the venue.

Speaking after the meeting, Akande-Sadipe said, “It was an informal meeting because the Ambassador was nice enough to join us at the meeting. There is no law that says he has to be here today but because he has an interest in the joint relationship between Nigeria and Lebanon.

“We have a lot of Nigerians in Lebanon and we have a lot of Lebanese in Nigeria. We have a relationship with Lebanon from the 50s so you can imagine how we have been.

“This meeting today has further reiterated that the Lebanese community and the Nigerian community always stand together to ensure that justice and respect for human lives is a priority, and we will work together to bring modern-day slavery to an end.”

Akande-Sadipe said the Lebanese government had agreed to release Arowolo and other Nigerians held in the country.

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