Friday, 07 August 2020
Business and Economy

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A United Kingdom based Nigerian nurse, Onyenachi Obasi, has died after contracting coronavirus from one of her patients.

Obasi, 51, of Barking and Dagenham succumbed to the disease on Wednesday, five weeks after being put on a ventilator at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, east London.

Her heartbroken niece, Ijeoma Uzoukwu described her as a dedicated and loving nurse who “gave her life doing what she loved.”

“We are just heartbroken. She was really loving, really sweet and a really cute person.

“She was a good example of unconditional love and just loved everyone. She was so giving and always had an ear – she took people as they were.

“She loved her job, but that is what caused her to fall ill in the first place.”

“She told me she had to do it,” Ms Uzoukwu said.

A few days after caring for a COVID-positive patient, Ms Obasi fell ill before eventually being admitted to hospital.

She was subsequently placed on a ventilator for five weeks and was slowly recovering before she caught an infection.

Ms Uzoukwu is organising a fundraiser to help pay for her aunt’s funeral and to also help provide for her 19-year-old son, who is vulnerable and was dependent on her.

She said: “It was just the two of them, and he relied on her for so much.

“We want to make sure he is taken care of for the foreseeable future and get him the help that he needs. He is a really sweet boy, and he has taken after his mum. He is such a nice boy and he is finding it really hard without her.”

Posted On Sunday, 10 May 2020 15:33 Written by

Russia posted another high figure of confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, the 7th day in a row.

According to the country’s health authorities, a fresh 10,817 cases were registered in the last 24 hours.

This was bigger than the 10,699 posted on Friday.

The new figure took the national total to 198,676, less than 2,000 from hitting the 200,000 mark.

However, Russia announced 104 new deaths.

The fatality toll in Europe’s new virus epicentre is now 1,867.

This is far beyond the range reported by other European countries with six-figure infections.

Germany with 170,588 infections has 7510 deaths.

Britain with 211,364 cases has the highest death toll of 31,241.

Spain, the worst-hit virus hit nation in Europe with 262,783 cases has a death figure of 26,478.

This was after reporting fresh deaths totalling 179 and new infections totalling 2,666.

On Friday, Spain posted higher figures of cases and deaths.

According to worldometers.info, there were 3,262 cases filed on Friday. The death toll same day was 229.

Posted On Saturday, 09 May 2020 13:08 Written by

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has nullified the trial of Dr. Orji Kalu, former Abia State Governor, who was convicted and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment over N7.1bn fraud and ordered a fresh trial.

In an unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court led by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, on Friday, the apex court nullified the entire trial, on the grounds that the constitution did not permit a judge elevated to a higher court to return to a lower court to conclude a part-heard case.

Justice Mohammed Idris, who had been elevated to the Court of Appeal bench, had returned to the Federal High Court in Lagos to complete the case which started in 2007.

The judge had sentenced the ex-governor to 12 years imprisonment for the fraud he allegedly perpetrated during his tenure as Abia State governor.

However, Justice Ejembi Eko, who delivered the lead judgment also declared as unconstitutional the provision of section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, on which the then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa (retd), relied on to authorise Justice Idris to return to the Court of Appeal to conclude the trial.

The panel unanimously directed the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to assign the case to another judge of the court for the trial to commence afresh, the Punch reports.

Posted On Friday, 08 May 2020 12:12 Written by

By Collins Nweze

THE United States Embassy in Nigeria has confirmed the existence of another $319 million (about N124.4 billion) looted by former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

According to the U.S., the funds are in the United Kingdom (UK) and France.

The revelation came three days after the Federal Government received $311 million repatriated “Abacha loot” from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

In a statement titled: “Return of stolen assets to the Nigerian people’, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria revealed that there is a separate $167 million in stolen assets in France and another $152 million in the UK which is still subject to litigation.

“The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152 million still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.” the statement said.

The embassy gave details on the usage of the newly repatriated funds to Nigeria, disclosing that the funds will be used for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria.

It reads: “On May 1, the transfer of $311,797,876 from the United States Government to the Federal Republic of Nigeria was completed in accordance with a February 3, 2020 trilateral agreement among the governments of the United States, Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators.”

The statement by the embassy said: “These funds will be used by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria, as authorised by the Nigerian government.

“The recovered funds will help finance the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano road. These investments will support Nigeria’s economic development and benefit all of the Nigerian people. The agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight.

“The transfer of funds is an important first step in the disciplined implementation of the agreement. Nigeria’s continued vigilance, transparency, and accountability will ensure continued progress in the implementation. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its civil society partners to combat corruption and to ensure a successful outcome in the return of these funds. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”

Posted On Friday, 08 May 2020 05:29 Written by

From Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan, Justina Asishana, Minna and David Adenuga, Bauchi

Two COVID-19 patients receiving treatment in Oyo State as well as one each in Niger and Bauchi states have fled from isolation centres.

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde said the two people who ran away in the state tested positive to the deadly virus.

He said 975 samples had been collected for test.

The governor said the two fleeing patients brought the number of active cases in the state to 31 instead of 33.

Makinde announced the escape of the patients while giving an update on the state’s COVID-19 figures in a series of tweets on his Twitter handle.

The tweet reads: “We have received more results from pending COVID-19 confirmation tests. The result of one suspected case came back positive on May 03, 2020. The person is based in Ibadan.

“The results of five suspected cases came back positive on May 04, 2020. Four of these five cases are immigrants and the last person is an Oyo State resident.

“The results of five suspected cases came back positive on May 05, 2020. Four of these five cases are travellers from the North and the last one is an Oyo State resident.

“Of the 33 active cases being managed by the state, two have absconded, possibly to their permanent places of residence. This brings the number of active cases in Oyo State to 31.”

The Niger State patient is a woman who absconded from the Minna isolation centre.

Health Commissioner Dr. Muhammed Makusidi spoke on Wednesday on the fleeing patient at a media briefing in Minna, the state capital.

He described the escapee as a confirmed case from Kano, saying efforts were being made to trace her whereabouts and bring her back to the centre.

The commissioner expressed fear over the danger she poses to the state if she is left to mingle with other residents.

In Bauchi, Deputy Governor Baba Tela, who is also the Chairman of the Task Force Response Committee on Lassa Fever and Coronavirus, confirmed the escape of the patient.

The Nation newspaper
Posted On Thursday, 07 May 2020 12:37 Written by

The Nigerian Government has extended closure of airspace and airports across the country by four weeks.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this on Wednesday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He said, “Tomorrow marks the last day for the enforcement of the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to flights.

“We have assessed the situation in the aviation industry and have come to the conclusion that given the facts available to us and based on the advice of experts, the ban on all flights will be extended for an additional four weeks.”

Mustapha, however, said the minister for aviation, Hadi Sirika, would provide further details on the directive.

The Nigerian Government had two weeks ago extended the closure of the nation’s airspace and airports by another 14 days as Coronavirus infections increase in the nation.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika had said as a result of the extension of lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, it was no longer possible for the nation to open its airspace and airports for normal operation by 23 April, 2020.

Sirika stated that they would remain closed for a further two weeks, which he said, was subject to review.

“COVID-19. As a result of the extension on lockdown by Mr President it is no longer possible for us to open our airspace and airports for normal operations by the 23rd April, 2020.

“They will remain closed for a further 2 weeks. This subject to review as appropriate, please,” he tweeted.

Posted On Wednesday, 06 May 2020 17:05 Written by

Despite Brent-crude futures rallying in recent weeks, Nigeria, is facing a fast-looming future without reliance on fiscal revenue from its massive oil wealth, Bloomberg has reported.

Amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought to a halt economic activity and travel, demand for crude has been crippled, resulting in a dramatic oversupply.

Accordingly, a glut of Nigerian oil has been bringing the country about $10 less than the $30 a barrel registered on Tuesday.

“It’s now dawned on everyone across the country how severe this threat is. There is a possibility that at least for three to five years, there’s going to be no revenue flowing to the government from oil,” Andrew Nevin, a partner and chief economist for Nigeria at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, told Blooomberg.

Zainab Ahmed Minister of Finance: Double whammy challenge

Once oil prices, which normally contribute about half of Nigeria’s fiscal revenue, are at around $20 a barrel, Nigeria receives very little cash for its crude, Nevin of PwC was cited as saying at a webinar on 30 April.

Current global measures to fight the spread of COVID-19, with lockdown procedures, travel bans and shut industries, have driven oil prices to new lows where they fail to cover the costs of pumping barrels for many of Nigeria’s companies, writes the outlet.

Despite such low prices, on 5 April traders were cited as acknowledging that around a quarter of Nigeria’s oil cargoes for his month were still awaiting buyers, with at least six tankers used as storage space for about 4.5 million barrels of crude were idling off Gibraltar and nearby Ceuta.
According to tanker tracking data cited by Bloomberg, the tankers, floating in the area since the end of March, were about to be joined by another one.

Despite such low prices, on 5 April traders were cited as acknowledging that around a quarter of Nigeria’s oil cargoes for his month were still awaiting buyers, with at least six tankers used as storage space for about 4.5 million barrels of crude were idling off Gibraltar and nearby Ceuta.

According to tanker tracking data cited by Bloomberg, the tankers, floating in the area since the end of March, were about to be joined by another one.

On Tuesday Nigeria’s Finance Minister spoke in a webinar to deplore the twin challenge of dealing with the coronavirus epidemic itself and economic impact from it facing the country.

“It’s a double whammy. This has set us back significantly,” said Zainab Ahmed.

Clement Agba, minister of state for budget and national planning, echoed the dismal forecasts, saying: “It is no longer a secret that government revenues have collapsed.”

Nigeria was already struggling before the pandemic, as a US shale oil boom had slashed the country’s crude exports to America.

About 40 to 50 percent of the oil was typically sent to the US.

Amid the dire forecasts, Nigeria has sought a $3.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to shore up the country’s 2020 spending plan.

It’s also requested a further $3.5 billion from the World Bank and other financial institutions.

In late April, the IMF reviewed its earlier forecast of an anticipated 2 per cent growth of Nigeria’s economy, predicting it would shrink by 3.4 percent in 2020.

According to the IMF, crude revenues were predicted to decline by $26.5 billion this year, down from $54.5 billion in 2019.

With oil making up 9 percent of the Nigerian economy, crude exports fetch over 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings.

“This is a period of crisis… Job losses are imminent across the petroleum industry. The impact of this will start reflecting from June and July.

“The reality is that some members will certainly be impacted.

“What matters most to us is how to manage the process of any of such expected exit,” Shell Nigeria’s Fortune Obi, a spokesman of the country’s oil union for senior workers, was quoted as confirming.

The economic downfall could spark social unrest in a country that has witnessed spells of militant violence for years, with oil facilities often targeted by protesters lashing out against allegedly unfair practices by the government and large oil companies.

Regarding possible future government measures, experts predict there will be pressure to keep oil wells pumping, with focus on maximizing revenue by slashing output from high-cost producers.

Deep offshore operators would potentially be the hardest hit from such moves, said Cees Uijlenhoed, chief financial officer First Exploration & Petroleum Plc.

He added, optimistically, that prices might tentatively reach around $50 a barrel by the end of 2020.

Posted On Wednesday, 06 May 2020 13:17 Written by

From Moses Emorinken, Bolaji Ogundele and Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

  • PTF raises concern over overcrowding in public places
  • House-to-house search for virus carriers begins in Kano
  • 30 doctors, 3 policemen test positive in Lagos, Katsina

A lockdown of the country again is likely.

This follows Monday’s gross disobedience of the protocols as Nigerians got some relief after weeks of restrictions.

It was the first day after the easing of the shutdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.

Before the four-week stay-at-home imposed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lagos and Abuja had been under some forms of restriction for at least one week.

Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is not pleased that there was a breach of social distancing with overcrowding in public places, interstate movement and shunning of face masks.

“Today, we might forgive a little bit because it was the first day. However, we will have infections because of what happened today (yesterday), no doubt about that.

“But what is more important is how we can learn from the mistakes of today (yesterday) into tomorrow and into next tomorrow, so that by Friday, hopefully they will have normalised some of these things.

“The challenge for us as a society is how we now organise ourselves to mitigate this risk to limit transmission from each other. We don’t want an explosion of new infections.

“But if we do have that explosion, there will be almost no choice left for the leadership of the country than to ask all of us to go back into our homes.

“For the benefits of having a few hours a day of coming out and reopening parts of the economy, there is a price to pay and that price is that we organise ourselves to do this strictly,” Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said. He spoke during the daily briefing of the task force in Abuja yesterday.

Dr. Ihekweazu said although the PTF expected some lapses in compliance with safety precautions by some people, corporate organisations, especially banks, flouted the NCDC guidelines for infection prevention and control.

Read Also: How pandemics resurged after lockdown rules were relaxed

He said the panel noted that only a few bank branches opened a development that led to the high number of customers seen in them.

The NCDC boss explained that the Federal Government expected a few extra infections as a result of the lapses on Monday.

“Initial reports are not too pleasing across the country. When we say take responsibility this time, we really needed to address corporate Nigeria. One of the biggest groups that we have allowed to restart business today were banks,” he said, adding: “When you limit the number of branches that open, everybody goes to the one branch that is open; that becomes counter-productive.

“We can produce all the guidelines in the world, but if organisations fail to support the implementation of these measures and focus on a risk-based approach, then our efforts might amount to little or nothing.

National Coordinator of the task force, Dr. Aliyu Sani, also clarified that “the easing of the lockdown is in no way a license to relax our self-protection measures.

”It is also not …to return to business as usual. The danger of acquiring COVID -19 is even more clear and present now that we are all slowly going back to work.”

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, enjoined Nigerians to be more cautious” countries who eased or lifted restrictions, suffered an increase in new cases.”

”We need to protect, not only ourselves, but each other and our loved ones. We need to make sacrifices today for a better tomorrow,” he advised.

PTF chairman, Boss Mustapha lamented that crowds at the banks milled around without giving a hoot to possible spread of COVID-19.

He charged banks to help in solving the crowd problem by ensuring that their online platforms were set right and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash.

Mustapha also noted that state governments and security agencies had been advised to ensure strict compliance by corporate organisations to the regulations for the current phase of national response.

He appealed to Nigerians to continue being responsible citizens, adding that easing the lockdown did not mean danger had already been averted.

He said, “The PTF has been monitoring the level of compliance with some of the measures and early observations showed lack of compliance with social distancing and wearing of masks.

“We note particularly the chaotic scenes around the banks and other financial institutions. We must reiterate that the danger of infection is not over and that individual actions will contribute to the success or failure of our measures.

“We urge citizens to minimize the risk of getting infected while in the banks. We similarly urge the banks to ensure that their ATMs and online banking systems are in good order and stocked regularly to avoid convergence of customers in their premises.

“The PTF fully understands the desire of Nigerians to come out to continue their lives after five weeks of lockdown.

“State governments and security agencies have however been advised to enforce the measures rigidly and violators will be prosecuted.”

On inter-state travels, Mustapha said the PTF was not pleased at the rate of movements across the states, including recent transfer of Almajiris.

He noted that with the new phase of the national response, such movements would be regarded as violation of regulations.

“The PTF has also received reports on the level of compliance with the nationwide ban on inter-state movements. The objective of the ban is to slow down the spread of virus across state boundaries.

“The determination of government to enforce this policy is not in doubt and as we progress, we believe that proper alignment with the directives of Mr. President would be pursued.

“There has been very noticeable relocation of Almajiris from one state to another, up until yesterday (Sunday). With the ban on interstate movement, the continuation of this exercise will not be in alignment with the guidelines issued.

“The PTF shall engage the respective state governments on how to achieve their objectives.”

The task force also lamented that some states involved in ‘deportation’ Almajiris were helping in the breach of the ban on interstate movement.

Posted On Tuesday, 05 May 2020 12:31 Written by

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A woman, her adult son and husband have been charged in the fatal shooting of a security guard who refused to let her daughter enter a Family Dollar in Michigan because she wasn't wearing a face mask to protect against transmission of the coronavirus.

Calvin Munerlyn was shot Friday at the store just north of downtown Flint a short time after telling Sharmel Teague’s daughter she had to leave because she lacked a mask, according to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.

Teague, 45, argued with Munerlyn, 43, before leaving. Two men later came to the store.

Teague; her husband, Larry Teague, 44; and Ramonyea Bishop, 23; are charged with first-degree premeditated murder and gun charges.

Larry Teague also is charged with violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order mandating that all customers and employees must wear face coverings inside grocery stores, Leyton said.

Witnesses identified Bishop as the man who shot Munerlyn in the back of the head, Leyton said.

Sharmel Teague has been arrested. Police were looking for her husband and son.

No information has been released about the daughter, who has not been charged in the shooting.

“It is important that the governor’s order be respected and adhered to, and for someone to lose their life over it is beyond comprehension,” Leyton said earlier Monday in a statement.

On Thursday, gun-carrying protesters and other demonstrators rallied inside the state Capitol, calling for coronavirus-related restrictions to be lifted. Some protesters with guns — which are allowed in the statehouse — went to the Senate gallery. Some senators wore bulletproof vests.

As of Monday, Michigan has reported 43,754 confirmed COVID-19 virus cases and 4,049 deaths due to complications from the disease.

“The hostile tone that we have seen in recent days on television and in social media can permeate our society in ways we sometimes don’t fully realize or anticipate,” Leyton told reporters Monday. “Decisions like staying home when we can, wearing a mask when going to the store and staying a safe distance from those around us — these should not be political arguments. They don’t necessitate acts of defiance, and we simply cannot devolve into an us versus them mentality.”

About 150 people attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night. On Monday, a makeshift memorial was started outside the Family Dollar.

Munerlyn’s mother, Bernadett, said she wants justice for her son.

“They didn’t have to take my baby and it wasn’t that serious,” she said. “All you people just have to do is listen to the law, listen to the governor. Just stay home. If you don’t have to come out, then you wouldn’t need a mask unless you’re out getting groceries or necessities. All my baby was doing was his job working and doing his job.”

Whitmer offered her condolences.

“It is incredibly sad that in this crisis that this life was lost," Whitmer told reporters Monday. “We are mindful of how important it is that people keep a level head, that we do the right things protecting ourselves and protecting others.”

Posted On Tuesday, 05 May 2020 12:25 Written by

Nigeria, on Sunday night recorded 170 new cases of Coronavirus.

According to a tweet from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, (NCDC), Lagos State recorded 39 cases, Kano State had 29 cases, Ogun State had 24 cases, Bauchi State had 18 cases and Kaduna state recorded 15 cases.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Sokoto State recorded 12 cases each, with Katsina State having eight cases, Borno State had seven cases, Nasarawa State had three cases, Adamawa State had two cases and Oyo State had one case.

As it stands, 2558 persons have tested positive to Coronavirus in Nigeria, with 400 patients discharged, and 87 deaths recorded

Posted On Monday, 04 May 2020 12:39 Written by
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