THE process to reopen schools and worship centres in the country has begun.
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has met with Christian and Islamic leaders to fine-tune the conditions for reopening churches and mosques, it was learnt.
Also on Wednesday, the PTF urged states, local governments and private proprietors to begin to take steps towards the return of pupils and students.
Ensuring the kids go to school safe is the critical issue before the reopening, Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said at the daily briefing by the PTF in Abuja.
Schools, from primary to tertiary were closed nationwide by the government in March at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic spread.
Since then, pupils and students have been at home. Some schools have been organising virtual lessons and lectures.
PTF Chairman Boss Mustapha using the advantage of the Children’s Day celebration, assured “them and their parents that all hands are on deck to reopen schools at a safe time.”
Listing some of the conditions, the minister, who denied that the government had given a June 8 date, said: “Those who are listening to us here should begin to listen to these plans. We don’t want to keep saying we are not ready. It is a forewarning to private and state governments that the only condition for which we are going to be reopening anywhere is that these places become ready to receive students and bring them home safely.”
The minister added that the reopening of schools may be staggered between students in junior and secondary levels to allow for social and physical distancing.
He said the government would consider introducing afternoon classes to ease crowdedness.
“We will do the same thing for primary school children where we may limit the number of children per class.
“What this may mean also is that we may have classes in the mornings, and then, have classes in the afternoons. So, whichever is convenient for you will now be divided. So that the whole of the infrastructure we have provided can serve us at different times.
“I am not sure whether there will be classes at night. We can do with morning and afternoon at the moment.”
The minister said that the ministry would also look at the sanitary condition of the schools before reopening, noting that schools must be ready to display manually-made hand sanitisers’ machine and be ready to receive the students by providing all the needed materials to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Nwajiuba explained that for tertiary institutions, there would be need to have a semester within a semester for the students.
He added that while some courses would do their semester first, others would follow suit in a bid to maintain social distancing measure.
He urged lecturers in tertiary institutions to use the period to upgrade themselves.
“Period like this should not be wasted and tertiary institutions must be functioning.’’
For secondary school students, the minister said that those in senior secondary might resume before their junior counterparts.
He said the plan was that the children should resume by the time schools had achieved the physical distancing measure.
He said: “For our secondary schools, we expect those who run them; our school based management committee (SBMC) should be able to look at what they need to do to manage them (schools) so that when we say that we are ready, there will be some readiness alongside everybody.
“We are going to publish a specification as to what we expect Covid -19 or post-covid-19 to look like. We are not talking about coping with COVID -19. There is a difference. We have come to understand that Covid -19 May not necessarily go away. So, we expect that we will adapt in the presence of Covid-19 what to do not in the absence of it. This is in spite of Covid-19 we will still have to work.
By Taiwo Okanlawon/ PM News
Controversial Nollywood actor, Uche Maduagwu, has stated that he does not regret supporting singer, Cynthia Morgan, because she is born to win like ex-Big Brother Naija star, Tacha.
Cynthia Morgan in an Instagram live video, with Ex-Miss Globe Nigeria, CASSANDRA, had revealed why she disappeared from the music scene despite becoming a household name.
Cynthia Morgan had alleged that Jude Okoye seized her accounts, made her stop using her name as well, and not promote her and does not own rights to the music she produced while still under Northside Inc, losing virtually everything.
However, Cynthia Morgan was dragged on social media after Jude Okoye released copies of the contract between the singer and his record label, Northside Entertainment.
Uche Maduagwu, while reacting to the new development stated this in a post he shared on Instagram on Wednesday.
“I dont regret supporting #Madrina, shes born to win like Tacha. It has never been about the contract she signed in the past and this is where a lot of people are getting it wrong, its about her survival as a woman in a male-dominated #music industry…,” the caption read.
Cynthia Morgan, now Madrina, later wrote an open letter of apology to her former record label boss, Jude Okoye and former manager, Joy Tongo, for blaming her career challenges on them.
She wrote, “I Cynthia Morgan, would like to use this platform to appreciate all the love, well wishes and support from everyone… My heartfelt appreciation once again goes to Jude and Joy. It is the pain speaking, not Cynthia. Thanks for giving me the platform to grow the Cynthia Morgan brand.”
LAGOS State Government will from July introduce what it describes as First Mile and Last Mile (FMLM) mobility solution to replace banned Okada and tricycle.
Transportation Commissioner Frederick Oladeinde, speaking yesterday at the 2020 ministerial press briefing at the JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja, said: “Following the restriction of motorcycles and tricycles for commuter operations in some areas in the metropolis, the government is working on implementing a First Mile and Last Mile (FMLM) mobility solution.”
He explained that Okada and tricycle are not part of the state’s transport architecture, adding that they are constituting nuisance on the roads and responsible for the high rate of accidents and crimes.
“We have identified 285 last mile routes within the seven bus reform initiative zones across Lagos. We have developed bus specifications and shared same with potential bus manufacturers. We expect these to be rolled out in the next two months,” Oladeinde said.’
Lagos State Government has inaugurated 37 roads and carried out repairs and rehabilitation of more than 354 others.
It said that ongoing and uncompleted projects inherited from past administrations would be completed to improve the living standard of Lagosians.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructures, Aramide Adeyoye, who spoke yesterday at the 2020 ministerial press briefing at the JJT Park, Alausa, Ikeja said that one of the major projects inherited by the administration, which would be completed, was the Agege Pen Cinema flyover bridge designed to reduce travel time for residents of Ifako-Ijaiye, Agege and Alimosho local governments.
She said the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration will make the 4th Mainland Bridge a reality, adding that the administration plans to expand the Agege-Berger Road to reduce travel time.
By Nimot Sulaimon/ PM News
Canadian gospel singer, Jonathan Steingard has said that he no longer believed in God.
Steingard, in a lengthy Instagram post, admitted that after a lifetime as a Christian, he no longer believed in God and would be leaving the band.
He goes further to explain the reasons why he came to such a conclusion.
‘‘I still find myself wanting to soften that statement by wording it differently or less specifically – but it wouldn’t be as true”, he said.
Read his post below:
The 36-year-old Canadian musician went on to write that losing his religion occurred over several years.
His former band ”Hawk Nelson” released a statement on Wednesday, supporting his choice to leave the band.
Governor Godwin Obaseki has a big obstacle to overcome to clinch a second term ticket of the All Progressives Congress as the party’s big guns backed another candidate.
He is Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, from Obaseki’s constituency.
In a major move on Tuesday night, the faction that has been fighting Obaseki picked Ize-Iyamu as its consensus governorship candidate.
The faction is loyal to National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Obaseki’s former godfather now his biggest political foe.
Ize-Iyamu, was a former Secretary to Edo State Government (SSG) and rejoined the APC from PDP last year. He lost the governorship to Obaseki in the 2016 election.
He is expected to slug it out with Governor Godwin Obaseki for the direct primary of the party slated for June 22.
He was presented by chairman of the screening committee, Senator Francis Alimikhena, the representative of Edo North Senatorial District.
The screening committee has as members a former Edo Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen; Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe; ex-Edo Speaker Thomas Okosun.
Others are former Minority Whip of the House of Representatives Samson Osagie; ex-member of the House of Representatives Patrick Obahiagbon and Deputy Leader of the House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday said no man can stop him from being governor for a second term in the state.
Obaseki is having a running battle with his godfather and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Adams Oshiomhole.
Oshiomhole’s faction of the party, had on Tuesday night endorsed the candidacy of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu as the consensus candidate of the party for the Edo poll.
But Obaseki, in an interview on Channels TV, said he was confident of returning to power as first man of the state because “power comes from God.”
The governor said he is a man of peace and not a violent person.
“I am not a violent person. But I am confident that the way I got into power is the same way I will return.
“God gave me power. If he wants me to return I will continue. No man can stop me. Power comes from God,” he said.
He said he had always canvassed for peace and believed election should not lead to bloodshed.
On the rift within his party, Obaseki said that he was not distracted, adding that his focus was on developing Edo State.
“We have always canvassed for peace. What are the issues in Edo and what are the issues that cannot be resolved in a democracy. Our concern is to use the resources of the people to develop the state.
“This shouldn’t lead to bloodshed. We will not accept to be cowed and intimidated because some people think that they can manipulate rules and cut corners,” he stated.
When asked if it’s not the resources of the people of Edo State that was used for him to become the governor, Obaseki said, “I have friends with resources. I worked for eight years behind the scene before I became governor.
“So all that insinuations about using somebody’s resources…I became Governor on the platform of the party and I am grateful for it.”
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.87 per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
In a posting on its website on Monday accessed by The Nation, NBS said the performance was recorded against the backdrop of significant global disruptions, resulting in sharp fall in prices and restricted international trade arising from the COVID-19 public health crisis.
It said the Q1 2020 performance represented a -0.23 per cent point drop when compared with Q1 2019, and 0.68 per cent point dip relative to Q4 2019, adding that this was a reflection of the earliest effects of disruption, particularly on the non-oil economy. In the review period, the NBS report indicated that quarter-on-quarter, real GDP growth was -14.42 per cent compared to 5.59 per cent recorded in the preceding quarter.
Also in Q1 2020, aggregate GDP stood at N35,647,406.08 million in nominal terms, NBS said, pointing out that this performance was higher when compared to first quarter of 2019, which recorded N31,824,349.67 million, with a nominal growth rate 12.01 per cent year-on-year.
The report indicated that relative to Q1 2019, the nominal growth rate was higher by 0.11 per cent points but lower than the preceding quarter by -0.32 per cent points.
NBS said in the review period, an average daily oil production of 2.07 million barrels per day was recorded, stating that the production level was higher than the 1.99 million barrel per day recorded in the same quarter of 2019 by 0.08mbpd and the fourth quarter of 2019 by 0.06 million barrels per day (mbpd).
The report indicated that non-oil sector grew by 1.55 per cent in real terms during Q1 2020, saying this was lower by -093 per cent points compared to the rate recorded during the same quarter of 2019, and -0.72 per cent point slower than the corresponding period of last year.
It said the non-oil sector was driven mainly by Information and Communication, Financial and Insurance, Agriculture and Mining.
It said in real term, the Non-Oil sector contributed 90.50 per cent to the nation’s GDP in the review period, which was less than its share in the first quarter of 2019 put at 90.78 per cent and the forth quarter of 2019 which contribution was put at 92.68 per cent.
The NBS report listed activities that witnessed weaker performance relative to Q1 2019, including quarrying, road transport, accommodation, food, services, as well as real estate.
By Abankula/ PM News
A former director-general of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), Mr Theophilus Okere, stabbed his wife to death early on Monday and he did not seem to know he had committed murder.
When asked about his wife after the murder, he replied: ‘My wife is sleeping”.
The murder happened at Imerinwe community in the Ngor-Okpala Local Government Area.
According to reports, the police have arrested the man.
Okere’s wife, Beatrice was described as a retiree of the Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo.
The couple had been married for 50 years. She was in her 70s.
Some reports said Okere ran away from home after the killing.
But the police arrested him following a tip off.
A source in Imerienwe said the 85-year-old former IBC boss had been suffering from dementia.
According to the source, Okere most times is not aware of his actions.
The source disclosed that the family had been managing Okere’s dementia for some time.
”Okere has been down with dementia and the family has been managing the problem.
”Even today that he stabbed his wife to death, when he was asked why he did it, he responded that his wife was still sleeping.
”The other Sunday, Okere went to church and said that his car was missing when in fact the car was parked in his compound,” the source said.
The spokesman of the Imo State Police Command, Mr Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the incident, told NAN that the police had commenced investigation into the matter.
“It is true that the former director-general of the state-owned broadcasting corporation, Mr T.C. Okere, about 85-years, allegedly stabbed his wife to death this morning.
”The command has commenced investigation into the matter,” Ikeokwu said.
Imo state Commissioner of Police Isaac Akinmoyede also said investigation is ongoing to ascertain if the man committed the heinous crime.
Nigerians on social media have expressed their disappointment over what they described as a public show of shame between the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.
Dabiri-Erewa had gone on the social media to accused Pantami of using armed men to evict the NIDCOM staff.
She alleged that she and NIDCOM staff were locked and thrown out of their office.
She said: “In one year, we don’t have an office. The office we got, given to us by NCC (Nigeria Communications Commission)…but we were actually driven away by the Minister of communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami.
“Within two days, they drove us out with guns and what happened? The place was given to us by NCC….
“You know we all help each other, NCC as an agency of government said there is a place you can use to settle in, and just as we settled in, I was in Ethiopia when I got a call. I thought that it was a joke.
“I came back from Ethiopia on Thursday, this happened on Tuesday. By Friday, when I went to the office, guns, armed men had taken over the place. I thought it was a joke. But here is the thing, I’m a government employee, so is he. It’s government business.”
However, Dr Pantami responded on twitter by calling Dabiri-Erewa as a liar.
He tweeted: “This is a fat lie from her. The owner of the building @NgComCommission has faulted her lies on their social media platforms. The minister has never given that directive to any gunman. We need to be very objective in reporting. I have never sent any gunmen there, and I have no one.”
Responding to Pantami’s tweet, Dabiri-Erewa wrote: “An Islamic scholar should not lie, Hon Minister ( Phd). You did that to me because I am a woman. Your disrespect for women is legendary. Left the ugly incident behind me since February. But please release all our office equipment. Public office is transient.”
The public exchange of words between the duo received backlashes from many on social media, who queried their maturity in handling intra-government affairs.
Awwal Nasir said: “I wonder when political office holders will learn to settle internal government politics away from media. These tantrums displays a lack of communication and trust between them, It is really sad and shameful.”
Mazi Olayinka Danladi wrote: “I am so sorry and so sad that this is happening. Public office is indeed a very bad adventure. I hope our dear brother and Shaykh and Mama Diaspora will do their best to see that this is resolved without further hullabaloo. This isn’t good for the image of the nation.”
@sadeniran urged both parties to sheath their sword, adding “@DrIsaPantami, Why not put a call through to @abikedabiri instead of this public show of shame! You are not helping the @NigeriaGov you are both serving with this open name callings… A tree can never make a forest! Hope good reasoning will prevail…”
Nsikanabasi Umoffong said: “Make una fight tear cloth Abeg, if that will send the #GovernmentOfCrooks parking…”
Emma Umeh wrote: “Government of confusion, just imagine the disorganisation going on in this administration. It’s just a shame.”
Yemisi Fakunle wrote: “My take is this, there is something grossly wrong with the seat of power in Nigeria! Where is the Fourth Estate of the Realm? Abike is like a Minister, if not pronounced as one! How on earth can agents of the same government have this kind of altercations in the public domain?
Abu Mu’meen pleaded with the duo to take their fight off the social media.
He said: “I’ll plead with you both, for Allah’s sake to take your fight off social media forum. The only things that are being damaged here are the excellent reputations that you both have.”
The UN agency said it did so out of safety concerns.
It said it was concerned about safety of the drug, after a study from The Lancet revealed higher mortality rates among COVID-19 patients who took the drugs.
“The authors reported that among #COVID19 patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate”, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
He said hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.
Hydroxychloroquine has been touted by President Donald Trump as a cure for coronavirus.
He even revealed he took the medication for two weeks as prophylactic
Tedros full statement:
On Friday, TheLancet published an observational study on hydroxycholoroquine & chloraquine and its effects on COVID-19 patients that have been hospitalised.
“The authors reported that among #COVID19 patients receiving the drug, when used alone or with a macrolide, they estimated a higher mortality rate.
“The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally.
“The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and, in particular robust randomised available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug
“The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board.
“The other arms of the trial are continuing.
“This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloraquine in #COVID19.
“I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria.
“WHO will provide further updates as we know more.
“And we will continue to work night and day for solutions, science and solidarity”