COVID-19 disruptions and survival of MSMEs
By Chijioke Okoronkwo, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
One of the critical areas of global economy adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sub-sector.
The Federal government was proactive and reactive in mitigating the impact of the pandemic on MSMEs.
At the onset, President Muhammadu Buhari constitutedthe Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC), headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to inter alia: develop a stimulus package and come up with measures to keep the economy afloat in the face of the COVID-19 economic disruptions.
Consequently, the ESC drafted and presented the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which was approved by Buhari.
Embedded in the ESC are copious step by step interventions under the Survival Fund, which made provisions for succour to the MSMEs.
Some of these plans are: Payroll Support-to support 500,000 vulnerable MSMEs in meeting payroll obligations of between N30, 000 to N50, 000 per employee over three months.
Formalisation Support-to provide free CAC business name registration for 250, 000 new businesses.
General Grant-to support the survival of 100,000 businesses most affected by COVID-19 pandemic with N50, 000 each.
Artisan/Transport Support-to provide 333, 000 artisans and transport business operators with a N30, 000 operations grant to reduce the effects of income loss.
Guaranteed Off-take Scheme-for bulk purchase of products from 100,000 MSMEs to protect jobs and livelihoods.
Speaking recently on the interventions, Osinbajo said that the Federal Government remained deeply committed to creating a more business friendly environment for MSMEs to thrive, as they were the engine room of the Nigerian economy.
According to the vice president, the survival of MSMEs is a key component of the ESP.
He said that President Buharis approval of the implementation of the MSMEs Survival Fund as part of the ESP was to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
Under the Survival Fund is a Payroll Support Scheme, which will provide up to N50, 000 in monthly salaries for up to 10 staff of a qualifying business, for a period of three months.
There is also a N50, 000 grant for 100,000 small and medium-scale businesses, while 333,000 self-employed persons working as artisans and transporters will benefit from a one-off grant of N30,000.
The president has also approved that the Federal Government bear the full cost of business name registration for 250,000 new businesses nationwide.
We are doing all these to support MSMEs across the country to maintain their staffing levels and keep their businesses afloat through these very challenging times.
The vice president said the Buhari administrations commitment to the success of small businesses was evident in its MSMEs Clinics initiative.
Mr Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Vice President,elucidated on thesmall businesses palliatives at the recent inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs in Abuja.
The special assistant, who is also the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes would go a long way in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on businesses.
The scheme will be starting with the Payroll Support; the Payroll Support targets 100, 000 businesses; however the number of individuals that will benefit from this is 500,000.
The next scheme will be the 100,000 MSMEs grants; what the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown; so, what we are trying to do is to very quickly inject N50, 000 each to 100, 000 micro businesses.
Afterward, there is a N250 CAC free registration; it is free for the MSMEs, but the government is paying the CAC for this.
So, what the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly with the MSMEs at about N12,000 or there about; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.
He said that under the National MSMEs Clinic, the vice president and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment have been to no fewer than 26 states.
Johnson said that in the course of the clinics, it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.
They will tell you they dont have N10,000 to N12, 000 to register their businesses.
So, the government had promised that at some point, we will assist, I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.
He said that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.
According to him, no fewer than 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30, 000 grants, adding that the government will be working with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.
After that, we move to the Guaranteed Off-take; we will be rolling out the schemes weekly; we plan to do that for four weeks in a row, if we can, and God permits, put a smile in the face of MSMEs across all board; that is our plan; if things change, we will let you know.
We are working with states because we do not want to get to a stage where the states will say how come 35,000 people are benefitting from our state and we do not know, he said.
Johnson said that the website for the Survival Fun is.
On her part, Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said that the two schemes were targeted to impact about 1.7million entities and beneficiaries across the country.
According to her, the MSMEs Survival Fund is a special grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and secure jobs from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that the scheme was estimated to save nothing less than 1.3 jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Katagum said that under the Guaranteed Off-Take, it was expected that about 300,000 jobs and 100,000 MSMEs would be saved by guaranteeing off-take of priority products.
The minister said that N75 billion will be put into the interventions.
Sharing similar sentiments at the event, Mr Okonkwo Obadigbo, a representative of the Orgamised Private Sector, described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as a true friend of MSMEs.
He said that since 2015, the policies of the current administration had been favourable to MSMEs in spite of security and infrastructure challenges.
A true friend is that person who has your back when times are good and when times are tough.
In my humble opinion, this Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Buhari, since 2015 has been a good friend of MSMEs.
Notwithstanding the challenges of insecurity and infrastructure, MSMEs have benefitted from many policies implemented by the Federal Government.
The Secured Transactions and Moveable Assets Act of 2017 established a national collateral registry which has eased the requirement from MSMEs in assessing bank credits.
The Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have executed several programmes and intervention funds for MSMEs in Nigeria.
The Finance Act of 2019 reviews the taxation of MSMEs, he said.
The portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries for the Survival Fund opened at 10 p.m. on Sept. 21.
According to the Project Delivery Office, the portal will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.
Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open at 10 p.m. on Sept. 21.
In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office, has designed a registration schedule.
Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Sept. 25 beginning at 12 a.m.
The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 a.m. on Monday Sept. 28.
Small businesses, indubitably, are key drivers of economic growth; hence, keeping them viable should be given great attention.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria
Source: NAN News
World Bank spent N90bn on community projects in 11 years official
The Community and Social Development Project (CSDP), an initiative of the Federal Government with support from the , spent N90 billion on community projects in 30 states from 2009 to date, an official has said.
Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, National Coordinator of the CSDP, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday that the goal was to reach out to poor communities so that development would flourish.
He spoke shortly after the presentation of the Community-Driven Development Policy (CDDP) held in Abuja.
Obaje said that the policy would provide a framework for organising poor communities and vulnerable groups together to access development resources from the government or donor partners to address their own peculiar needs.
Obaje also disclosed that CSDP had more than 17,000 micro projects across 30 states that had been designed, implemented and sustained by members of the community.
He added that the projects, which were community-driven, were conceived, implemented, managed and sustained by the members of community themselves.
The major plan for the implementation of the projects in all the 30 participating states, where over N90 billion had been expended from 2009 to date, is community development.
State offices of Community and Social Development Agencies facilitate the projects by helping the communities to identify and prioritise what their needs are, and help them to elect officials that will manage the Work Bank resources that come through the Federal Government.
Each community is expected to open an account and get registered with the Local Government Area.
This is the whole concept of the community-driven development approach. This has been experimental for the past 11 years and it has shown spectacular results.
The desire of the Federal Government now is that since we have done these projects so well, we should come up with a policy that will regulate the relationship of all the major stakeholders that are involved in delivering these services to poor and vulnerable groups.
Apart from our own local experience with the support of World bank, we have undertaken study tours to sister countries in Africa like Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Indonesia and India to learn how they address the challenges of poor communities.
The lessons we have gathered have directly helped us to put the policy together.
So, the policy we have is an advocacy tool or a delivery mechanism for bringing development to poor communities.
We are hoping that the policy will be approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and, subsequently, we will engage the National Assembly to enact a law.
For instance, in Indonesia, there is a law on villages and Ministry for Village Affairs and it is an offence punishable by law for any development partner to undertake a project in any community without consulting members of the community, he said.
Obaje expressed optimism that the policy would fast track the attainment of President Muhammadu Buharis vision to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty over the next 10 years.
He said that the major challenge of poverty was that it manifests largely in lack of access to basic social services such as water, education, health and nutrition.
Also speaking to NAN, Dr Nasir Mahmood, Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment, commended the CSDP team for drafting the policy document.
Mahmood said that he would submit the policy document to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, for onward presentation and consideration by FEC for approval.
Task Team Leader for CSDP at the World Bank, Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, told NAN that the policy document was a veritable tool to tackling poverty.
Source: NAN News
Chelsea recover from 3 goals down to draw at West Brom
Striker Tammy Abraham struck a late equaliser as Chelsea battled back from three goals down to draw 3-3 at West Bromwich Albion in their English Premier League (EPL) clash on Saturday.
An error by Marcos Alonso led to Callum Robinson opening the scoring for West Brom in the fourth minute.
The Irish striker made it two when Chelseas new signing Thiago Silva, who was given the captains armband, miscontrolled the ball.
Kyle Bartley was left unmarked to add a third in the 27th minute with a close-range finish to send Chelsea three goals down at the break.
However, Mason Mount threw the Blues a lifeline with a goal 10 minutes into the second half.
Callum Hudson-Odoi made it 3-2 in the 70th minute and it took until the third minute of stoppage times four minutes before Chelsea could find an equaliser.
This was when Abraham pounced on a loose ball in the box and slammed it home to snatch a point for Frank Lampards side.
We had a few chances in the first half, and they scored from every shot.
We knew we had to come out in the second half and keep going, not drop our heads, and thats what weve done, Abraham told reporters.
The 22-year-old striker described his side as a work in progress and said they would continue to improve.
We need to cut out the mistakes as a team - not just defensively. So, we dont concede. We need to be strong together and keep encouraging one another, Abraham added.
Chelsea manager Lampard was disappointed his side left themselves with a mountain to climb.
You cant legislate for pure mistakes, which they were today. Then it gives you a really difficult game to get back into, Lampard said.
Source: NAN News
Shelve economic shutdown, Buhari deserves commendation Group appeals to labour unions
The No Alternative to Buhari Osinbajo 2019 (NATBO 2019) has pleaded with labour unions to shelve their planned strike, stressing that shutting the nations economy now will be catastrophic for the nation.
Vincent Uba, National Coordinator, NATBO 2019, said in a statement that rather that protest, President Muhammadu Buhari deserved great commendation for his economic policies since 2015.
He stressed that Nigeria, like many other nations around the world, had suffered economically due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutting the economy would further complicate issues.
Nigeria, like all other countries of the world, is facing serious economic crises occasioned by the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the entire world.
There is no nation on the globe that its economy is not in a turbulent state, and the citizens not crying over the excruciating hardships.
Dealing with these economic crisis is the responsibility of every responsible government under the support and understanding of the patriotic citizens.
Those who are economically informed know that Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, is doing what it must do to keep the country moving.
The recent policies and actions of government are not punitive measures, but remedial in nature to prevent the country from collapsing economically and socially.
Uba argued that since the advent of this administration, there had been global unforeseen events that could only have been managed by prudent, disciplined and courageous leadership such as the one demonstrated by President Buhari.
He added that from 2015 till date, there had been a glut in crude oil price, coupled with the challenges of corruption and insecurity, which only a leader like Buhari could have been able to handle.
Five years down the line, Nigeria is still existing as a nation, as against certain predictions before the 2015 general elections that the country would disintegrate and cease to exist as a nation.
All thanks to the astute leadership qualities of President Muhammadu Buhari, despite the sustained unpatriotic activities of IPOB and its allies.
When the price of crude oil, which is the mainstay of Nigeria economy, crashed globally from over per barrel to below in 2015 and plunged Nigeria into a recession, President Buhari and his team were able to manage the situation and steer the country out of recession.
Should we not be applauding the president that we are no longer in such a dehumanising era of the past? Should we not also thank him that we are no longer in the era of epileptic power supply. he queried.
Uba, while acknowledging that some areas still experienced problems, stressed that the government should be encouraged rather than chastised.
He noted that the ban on importation of rice had exposed how the so-called foreign rice was not as good as the local ones, adding that the new tax reforms had also improved the nations revenue generation.
Even though we know some areas still experience problems of power but it is not the same compared to what we were used to in the past.
We should encourage the president and his team to continue with result-oriented reforms that would turn around the Nigeria economy today for a better tomorrow?
This president was courageous enough to ban the importation of foreign rice and close the land borders to check the smuggling of the product.
Under the prevailing dwindling oil revenue and the current effect of COVID-19 on the economy, government has to embark on alternative sources of revenue.
Tax reforms, removal of subsidy on fuel and electricity tariff increase have become imperative at this time.
If government should listen to the organised labour and reverse these actions already taken for fear of labour going on strike to shut the economy, then the economy will eventually be shut and the same labour will turn around to blame the government for doing nothing, Uba said.
He called on the Nigeria Labour Congress, its allies and the citizenry not to judge the government unfairly on these current economic remedial measures.
He stressed that all Nigerians must be patriotic and show understanding in the spirit of sacrifice and embrace the good policies of government geared towards laying a solid economic foundation. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
Scores of terrorists killed in massive airstrikes on hideouts in Borno DHQ
By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole under subsidiary Operation Hail Storm 2, has eliminated scores of terrorists in massive air strikes on their camps in Borno.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Enenche said the latest success was the massive destruction of Boko Haram camps at Tongule on Sept. 24 as well as those at Bone and Isari B Musa on Sept. 25.
He explained that the air strike on Tongule was undertaken after surveillance missions revealed continued assembly of the terrorists within the settlement at nighttime.
According to him, the Air Task Force dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships for a night attack on the location, with their barrage of rockets neutralising several of the terrorists.
At Bone, a settlement along the Yale-Kumshe axis, on the other hand, was attacked by a force package of NAF fighter jets and helicopter gunships after credible intelligence reports established that the location served as a staging area from where the terrorists launch attacks.
The NAF attack aircraft engaged the location in multiple bomb and rocket runs, destroying several of their structures and neutralizing scores of terrorists.
Similarly, at Isari B Musa several terrorists, who were observed both within and in bushes surrounding the settlement, were taken out as the NAF attack aircraft took turns in engaging the target area, he said.
Source: NAN News
A military transport plane, carrying air force cadets, crashed and burst into flames near a highway in north-eastern Ukraine on Friday evening, killing at least 22 people on board, officials said.
The Antonov An-26 aircraft crashed while trying to land during a training exercise, the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Ruslan Khomchak, said in a statement.
Khomchak added that at least two more people were critically injured.
A video posted by Deputy Interior Minister, Anton Gerashchenko, on Facebook showed the plane in flames lying near a road and smoke billowing upwards in the night sky.
Pictures taken later showed rescue workers inspecting the wreckage near the town of Chuhuiv.
An investigation has started on what caused the crash.
One pilot reported failure in the left engine of the twin-engine plane, said Oleksiy Kucher, the governor of the Kharkiv region, according to Interfax Ukraine.
Kucher added that this would not have been a critical situation for an experienced pilot.
Citing preliminary information, Kucher said that some of the people on board managed to jump out of the plane when it was at low altitude.
An eyewitness cited by the Ukraine 24 news channel also said people had jumped out.
The crash happened around two kilometres (1.2 miles) from a military airport, the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said in a statement.
It said 27 people had been on board the plane, revising that figure from an earlier estimate of 28.
The cadets were from the Kharkiv University of Air Force, which is run by the Defence Ministry.
A state commission is being created to identify all the circumstances and causes of this disaster.
Search and rescue work continues on the spot, President Volodymyr Zelenskiys office said.
Zelenskiy will travel to the area on Saturday. (Reuters/NAN)
Source: NAN News
Crude oil prices,
Brent crude futures settled at .92 a barrel, down two cents while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures lost six cents to .25 a barrel.
Brent dropped 2.9 per cent for the week and WTI sunk 2.1 per cent
There is this second wave of fear overhanging the oil market at this point and thats holding us back, said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
In the worlds top oil consumer, the United States, infections are rising in the Midwest, while New York City, which was hit hardest in the spring, is considering renewed shutdown mandates.
More than 200,000 people have died of the virus in the nation.
U.S. fuel consumption remains sluggish as the pandemic constrains travel and hampers economic recovery.
The four-week average of gasoline demand last week was nine per cent below a year earlier.
In other parts of the world, daily increases of coronavirus infections are hitting records and new restrictions are being put in place to limit travel.
In India, throughput by crude oil refiners in August fell 26 per cent from a year ago, most in four months, as demand ebbed because the pandemic is hindering industrial and transport activity.
At the same time, more crude oil entering the global market threatens to beef up supply and push prices lower.
The U.S. oil and gas rig count rose by six to 261 in the week to Sept. 25, energy services firm, Baker Hughes Cosaid.
Libya has recently boosted production and Shellhas provisionally booked the first crude tanker to load at Libyas Zueitina terminal since January.
Iranian oil exports, meanwhile, have risen sharply in September in defiance of U.S. sanctions, three assessments based on tanker tracking showed. (Reuters/NAN)
Source: NAN News
By Sumaila Ogbaje
Troops of Sector 2 (Chad), Multinational Joint Taskforce (MNJTF), have rescued 12 hostages from the Boko Haram terrorists enclave near Barkalam in Lake Chad.
The Chief of Military Public Information, MNJTF, Col. Muhammad Dole, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Ndjamena, Chad and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Dole said the troops ambushed Boko Haram terrorists and sustained heat against them along the fringes of Lake Chad Basin with attendant successes.
He said that three canoes were capsised during the offensive operation, leading to the death and arrest of some terrorists, while others sustained various degree of injuries.
According to him, the 12 persons rescued comprise of one male adult, three women and eight children.
In line with its policy of safe transfer of surrendered insurgents and rescued hostages, the Headquarters, MNJTF used Helicopter to facilitate their movement from Baga Sola to NDjamena, Chad.
While receiving the rescued persons at Air Force Base, the Chadian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Lt.-Gen. Abakar Daoud, reiterated the absolute commitment and determination of the National and MNJTF forces to combat the menace of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin.
Daoud urged the troops to remain focus and resolute to rid off insurgency, so as to restore normal socioeconomic activities in the region.
The rescued hostages were moved to a military medical facility for further examinations and medication, and thereafter reunite them with their families, he said.
Source: NAN News
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and some notable Nigerians have urged their compatriots in the Diaspora to key into government efforts for national development.
Some of the notable Nigerians include Mr Innocent Chukwuma, CEO of Innoson Group, and Nigerias High Commissioner to Canada, Amb. Adeyinka Asekun.
They called on Nigerians in Diaspora to key into efforts by the Federal Government to harness their resources directly for national development
The advice came at the just concluded 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Americas (NIDOA) with the theme, Harnessing Diaspora Capital for Sustainable Development in Nigeria.
According to them, Nigerias emigrant communities are critical national assets mostly needed now to drive their countrys post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts.
However, they called for a conducive environment and formal structures back home to leverage the capitals, influence and connections of the Nigerian Diaspora.
In a pre-recorded video message, Adesina highlighted the strong financial power of Nigerians abroad as shown in their remittances averaging billion (N8 trillion) annually.
Think of it. What this means is that Nigerias value added Diaspora is a significant net gain rather than a brain drain.
The Diaspora, however, is more than money of course. The Diaspora represents knowledge, strategic influence and networks.
In a world of hyper change, Nigeria needs its best and brightest to tackle the most challenging issues of our time, and to ensure its rightful place in the League of Nations.
Together, let us inspire a greater Nigeria, a developed, prosperous and dynamic country bursting with energy and hope, he said.
The AfDB president lauded President Muhammadu Buharis foresight in setting up the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) to properly harness their brains, innovation and entrepreneurial capacities.
He called for the right policy and political engagement to attract Nigerians abroad and properly tap their huge capitals for national development.
In a keynote address, Innoson noted that the huge remittances of the Diaspora to Nigeria is an indication that they are interested in the wellbeing of their fatherland.
But remittances are not enough. We need them back to the country. We need the strength from abroad to power our economy.
We need the Diaspora human capital to come back and contribute to our GDP. This is the way forward to achieve our greatness.
If Innoson Vehicles after 10 years is still waxing strong in spite of the challenges, I believe that you too can succeed in Nigeria, because whatever that is wrong in Nigeria can be corrected with what is right in Nigeria, he said.
The automaker also stressed the need for government to create the right environment for Nigerians to return home and contribute their quota.
For his part, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada said the quantum of financial flows from the Diaspora was capable of sustaining Nigerias development if properly channeled.
Asekun said: I believe it is commendable and worthwhile to send in money for day-to-day living and for consumption.
But I also believe that the whole impact of these flows will be felt upon the development process when a structure is brought to bear in the process.
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa made very valuable points in terms of all the various initiatives in place such as the opportunities for mortgages, he said.
Turning to Nigerians, home and abroad, he noted that the nations development is in their hands, adding that the creation of an enabling environment in Nigeria is also their collective responsibility.
The Chairperson of NiDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, highlighted some programmes the commission has initiated, including a Diaspora trust fund.
Recently we put in place the Nigerians in Diaspora Trust Fund Committee to work out modalities so that we can have a proper structure for Nigerians who want to invest at home.
The committee was inaugurated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs not long ago and will soon report back to us.
We are also working with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria for what we call Diaspora Mortgage Programme where you can sit in the comfort of your home and be able to get a mortgage and then a home in Nigeria.
There is no excuse any more. You now have NIDCOM to work with and we are determined that the Diaspora will never be ignored again in the annals of our country, she said.
All the speakers lauded the tremendous achievements of NIDOA in the last 20 years, especially its influence on governments policies that led to the establishment of NIDCOM.
Earlier, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of NIDOA, Mr Obed Monago, said the organisation had sustained its mission, including promoting patriotism, networking and cooperation among Nigerians in the Diaspora since its creation in 2000.
Monago said the theme of this years AGM was apt coming at a time Nigeria needs all the resources it could muster to recover from COVID-19.
The impact of COVID-19 has shown that time is now for the Diaspora to think inwards and homewards and act in the most definite ways to help bring about the socio-economic development that is so much needed in our country.
However, we will passionately ask the federal government to provide that enabling environment for us to build our country.
This includes corruption eradication, rule of law, transparency, checks and balances, infrastructure, constant power supply, accountability, favourable monetary policies, ease of doing business, among others, he said.
Source: NAN News
Muhammad Babandede, CG Nigeria Immigration Service
By Ibironke Ariyo
The Federal Government has approved the deportation of 10 Egyptians and seven Sri-Lankans with immediate effect.
Mr Sunday James, Public Relations Officer, Nigeira Immigration Service (NIS), disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
James said that the Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbeshola, had signed the deportation order in pursuant to section 45, subsection 2, section 46, subsection 1 and Section 47, subsection 1 of the Nigeria Immigration Act 2015.
He said that the 10 Egyptians had violated the conditions for their entry and the Minister had ordered their deportation with immediate effect.
Seven Sri-Lankans that were jailed for petroleum product related offences after serving their jail terms were ordered by the court to be deported to their country as well.
The minister also signed the deportation order of one Ali Mahamat Taher to France and one Kasinathan Ramasamy to India who were found to be involved in activities violating the conditions of their entry into Nigeria.
Taher was found to be engaged in activities capable of undermining the security of a friendly neighbouring country to Nigeria in Maiduguri, Borno state.
While Ramasamy was found working as a shop attendant in Kano, he said.
NAN reports that the Comptroller General, NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, had directed that all migrants in Nigeria should comply with the laws guiding their residence and entry following the resumption of international flight.
The public are hereby advised to note that all special exemptions granted to migrants due to COVID-19 has elapsed,he had said.
Source: NAN News
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire.
By Abujah Racheal
The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated the first Infectious Disease Centre (IDC), in the Federal Capital Territory, and handed it over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH).
Speaking at the inauguration of the 40-bed centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the centre would improve Nigerias capacity to respond to all infectious diseases.
With laboratory testing and case management in one location, there is a much shorter time between sample collection and infection confirmation.
This will ensures early initiation of treatment and thus mitigate mortality during infectious disease outbreaks.
I am very proud that today, we now have an international standard centre where we can manage highly pathogenic infectious disease cases, including critical medical and laboratory equipment, Ehanire said.
The minister hinted that the model would be replicated across the 36 states to ensure that the country was better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks.
Other facilities in the hospital inaugurated by the minister included the Accident and Emergency Unit which is a 32-bed facility with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), radiology suite, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating theatre and oxygen supply unit.
Also inaugurated was a Cardiology Unit with facilities for non-invasive procedures including a 4D echocardiograph.
The minister also laid the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block which, when completed, would have facilities for specialised therapies, an emergency area, consulting, psychotherapy and seminar rooms, and a pharmacy.
The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a remark, said that the project commenced in 2019 following the outbreak of the Lassa Fever in 2018 and the urgent need for a centre to manage infectious diseases.
In addition to managing viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever, Ihekweazu said the Centre was designated for the management of cases of other infectious diseases, including Coronavirus, in the FCT.
The NCDC boss stated that the treatment centre also had a molecular laboratory for the prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases.
He said it was even more important to establish a treatment centre in Abuja to improve health security, while noting that COVID-19 had shown that no investment in the health sector was too small.
Ihekweazu reinforced the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Prof. Bisala Ekele, the Chief Medical Director of UATH, reaffirmed the commitment of the hospital management to ensuring optimal utilisation of the treatment centre for the management of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ekele stated that the NCDC had supported the FCT Administration to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through training of health care workers on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
He added that the commission had also assisted in the provision of medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and deployment of rapid response teams.
He disclosed that the NCDC had deployed and maintained a team of epidemiologists to support the FCT health authorities in response to the pandemic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCDC is mandated to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
Part of its role involves supporting states and building their capacity to respond to outbreaks, with directives from the Minister of Health.
NAN reports that the NCDC conducted a joint onsite assessment with relevant stakeholders in the FCT and it was agreed that UATH, Gwagwalada was strategically placed and suitable for the treatment centre. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
The Court of Appeal on Friday reserved judgment in Bayelsa deputy governors alleged certificate forgery suit.
TheDeputy Governor, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, asked the Court of Appeal in Abuja to dismiss the alleged certificate forgery suit brought against him by the governorship candidate of Accord Party, Mr Ebizimo Diriyai.
Diriyai is appealing the August judgment of the Bayelsa Governorship Election Petition Tribunal that dismissed his petition against the Nov.16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa.
When the matter came up on Friday, Ewhrudjakpo told the Justice Adzira Mshella led five-member panel of justices that the case of the Accord Party on the alleged certificate forgery was statute barred.
He said it was statute barred because it was not filed within the 14 days stipulated by Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Earlier, Mr Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh, SAN, counsel to Ewhrudjakpo told the court that what the appellant took to the state election petition tribunal was a pre-election matter which was erroneously labeled as a post election matter.
Machukwu-Umeh said that in compliance with relevant laws, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), published names of Bayelsa governorship candidates and their running mates 60 days before the election .
This, he added was for the general public to make claims and objections.
He contended that in breach of the law, the Accord Partys governorship candidate did not file any claim or objection within the 14 days allowed by law.
The senior lawyer further argued that being a pre-election matter, the appellant ought to have filed his case at a Federal High Court, High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) or High Court of a state.
He said that the appellant no longer had a live case against the deputy governor and urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
Other respondents in the suit, Gov. Douye Diri, INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also asked the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for being incompetent and a waste of the courts time.
They prayed the court to uphold the judgment of the tribunal which had earlier dismissed the appellant s petition along with three others.
After taking arguments from all counsel in the matter, Justice Adriza Mshella, announced that judgment was reserved and a date would be communicated to parties in the suit.
News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) recalls that the Bayelsa Election Petition Tribunal had in August, dismissed the petition of Diriyai against Ewhrudjakpo.
The petition was dismissed on the grounds that the allegation of certificate forgery against Ewhrudjakpo was not proved by the petitioner.
Diriyai had dragged INEC, Diri, Ewhrudjakpo and the PDP before the tribunal alleging certificate forgery and falsehood against the deputy governor.
He alleged that the deputy governor forged his NYSC exemption certificate, which he presented to contest the Nov. 16 governorship election in Bayelsa.(NAN)
Source: NAN News
Prof. Jega, Former INEC Boss
By Naomi Sharang
Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Friday said that Nigerias political space needed cleansing, and urged every Nigerian to contribute own quota to ensure that.
He stated this at the inauguration of the 34-member Policy Advisory Committee of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), on Friday in Abuja.
Jega, who is a member of the advisory committee of the PRP, said that all hands must be on deck to sanitise Nigerians on the electoral process.
I believe that all Nigerians can no longer sit on the fence as everybody needs to contribute to the cleansing of politics in Nigeria.
There should be no fence sitters; our future is at stake. We cannot allow bad people to continue to govern us or misgovern us and continue to wreck our country and its future, he said.
The former INEC boss said that he would help members of the committee to prepare position papers, policy criticisms and policy frameworks that would make PRP a strong political party that could win elections.
Earlier, Chairman of the party, Mr Falalu Bello, while inaugurating the members, had said that the members were thoroughbred intellectuals drawn from a wide field of specialisation and experience in Nigerias intellectual vineyard.
He said that the committee would operate in 10 working sub-groups including foreign policy and Pan-African Solidarity and Unity, internal security, civic liberties and values orientation, among others.
Bello said that the primary assignment of the group would involve carrying out a critique of the existing government policies and programmes in the working sub-groups area of interest.
He advised the members to take full cognisance of the many progressive provisions of Chapter two of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution in carrying out their assignment.
Our party, the PRP, shall court the involvement and participation of intellectual workers in the struggles for material and social advancement of the working masses of this country, he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that members of the committee, which is coordinated by Mr Richard Umoru, include Prof. Ifeanyi Anigbogu, Dr Aminu Aliyu, Mr Abdulkadir Isa, Prof. Ahmadu Sanda, Hajiya Aishatu Dankani, among others. (NAN)
Source: NAN News
Dr Chikwe Ikekweazu NCDC Boss
By Franca Ofili
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has received three Smart Walk-Through Booths for COVID -19 sample collection, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of the centre has said.
Ihekweazu said the booths were donated by the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Sample collections will done safely and easily in the country.
This donation reflects the understanding that the fight against COVID-19, really requires joint effort.
The booths are designed in a way that when people need samples collected, you dont have to dress in your full Personal protective equipment (PPE), this is a model that will make simple collection more easier and health workers protected, he said.
Ihekweazu said that the booth would enhance the fights of COVID-19 in the country and promised to ensure it was properly used as required.
He said the booths would be put into effective use at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, the Central Public Health Laboratory and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Lagos.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora said that Nigeria needs collaboration in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mamora appreciated the government of Korea and advised the NCDC to ensure proper use of the booth.
Also speaking, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Maj.-Gen. Lee In-tae who was represented by Mr Woochan Chang, KOICA Country Director said that the donation marked another milestone in the bilateral relations that established since 1980.
Lee said that the booths are expected to provide medical staff with effective protection during test sample collection, support mass screening for COVID-19 in a timely and efficient manner and reduce the usage of PPE.
He said some key features of the booths include: Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, high efficiency bi-directional fan module conductive for medical staff to collect test sample.
He advised the NCDC to ensure efficiency and good maintenance of the booths (NAN)
Source: NAN News
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has renewed the appointment of Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau as the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and Ahmed Bobboi as the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF).
Mr Femi Adesina, who confirmed the appointments in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said Simbi Wabote was also reappointed as Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
He said the renewal of the appointments followed recommendations to the President by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Syla.
Adesina revealed that Aliyu was credited to have ran the PTDF successfully in the past four years, keeping faith with the Seven Strategic Priorities he had introduced in January 2017.
These are: Domestication, Cost cutting, Sustainable funding, Efficient internal processes, Linkages with the industry, Utilization of centers of excellence, and Pursuit of home-grown research.
According to him, Bobboi gets his reappointment for having run PEF in a way that made it a key and strategic player in the administrations oil and gas reforms, especially in stabilizing the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, among others.
He said the NCDMB boss, Wabote, won his pips for managing the NCDMB and completing its headquarters building.
The presidential aide said that Wabote also initiated many landmark projects that were widely commended by industry players.
All the appointments take immediate effect, he said.
Source: NAN News
Police IG Mohammed Adamu
The Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has pledged continuous support to discourage examination malpractices during the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
He said the force would continue to partner with the examination body to ensure that perpetrators were brought to book.
He said 12 suspects were arrested for their involvement in various examination malpractices in the just concluded WASSCE in some states across the country.
Mba said the arrest of the suspects followed renewed partnership between the examination body and the police aimed at ensuring and promoting the integrity of examination processes.
Investigations by Police revealed that the suspects used their privileged positions as invigilators, supervisors and school functionaries to conspire, perpetrate and encourage varying degrees of malpractices.
The malpractices among others include online transmission of examination questions and answers on various social media platforms, he said.
He said that the suspects were arrested in Kano, Rivers, Nasarawa and Bauchi states.
Mba said that the I-G had enjoined parents, guardians, students and all stakeholders in the examination processes to cooperate with the police and the exam body to end examination malpractice.
Source: NAN News
By Donald Ugwu
On Sept. 19, the nations electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), proved book makers wrong by conducting what has so far been termed as one of the freest and credible elections in the country.
The election was devoid of the usual violence and conspiracies to steal the mandate of the electorate to chose who governs them.
INEC, in just 24 hours delivered a verdict from the Edo polls, that returned incumbent Gov. Godwin Obaseki of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for a second term in office.
That day, Edo, The Heartbeat of the Nation, was calm and the fear that the state would experience bloodletting was doused by the conduct and carriage of most of the political stakeholders, before, during and after the governorship polls.
Months before the exercise, following the utterances from political gladiators, Edo was almost torn apart, as hoodlums masquerading as party loyalists, fought at the gate of the palace of the Benin monarch.
The Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, had prior to the incident, said that he would call his sons, Obaseki and his main challenger, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu, to a peace meeting, in order to ensure violence-free election in Edo.
The Oba did. With the National Peace Committee, led by former military Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Bishop Matthew Kukah, its secretary, following immediately after, a peace accord was eventually signed, setting the stage to what came out of Edo.
The questions now are: After Edo what next? Will INEC do an encore in the next election already scheduled for Ondo State on Oct. 10? Will the votes of the Ondo State electorate count and will it also be non-violent?
INEC already knows that all eyes are on it and that if it achieves the same feat as it has done in Edo, it would have fully restored credibility in the nations electoral system.
In Edo, INEC used its newly created Z-pad, a technology-driven visual portal to upload all results collated at the polling units to a central portal to remove any act or attempt to manipulate the outcome of the results at the various collation centres.
The Z-pad was akin to the strategy adopted by then Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, for the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
The Commission mounted a bill board at the commissions headquarters in Abuja, where collated results were published in quick sequence.
Available results showed that Chief MKO Abiola, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party was coasting to victory before the election was annulled.
The Z-pad adopted by INEC for Edo governorship election worked as the usual cobwebs which hitherto festooned the dusky beams of form EC8, the document for the recognised manual transmission of results, were removed.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Sept. 23 began a three-day visit to Ondo State to assess the preparedness of his men to replicate the feat in Edo.
He assured Nigerians, especially Ondo State electorate that the Commission was fully ready for Oct. 10.
The reassurance has been a soothing balm to the people, after a wild fire on Sept 10, torched more than 5,000 card readers for the polls stacked in containers in the state INEC office.
We have already recovered. Unfortunately, we lost 5,000 smart card readers, but we recovered by getting the prerequisite number of card readers from the neighbouring Oyo State, and they have been delivered.
They have arrived, been charged and configured and are ready for the election on Oct.10, in Ondo State.
We will use the Z-pads to upload results on election day real-time and we have moved those Z-pads from Edo to Ondo State for the election.
So, the same preparations that we made for Edo, we have also made for Ondo State, so we are prepared for the election, he said.
Yakubu said he would also meet with the council of traditional rulers, security agencies, and officials of the Commission in the 18 local government areas of the state for the purpose of the election.
This is the first visit. We are still coming back a week after for the main stakeholders visit and the signing of the peace accord, he said.
INEC achieved success in Edo, but remaining on top is usually a major challenge for persons and institutions that must be exposed to tests.
It is expected that the umpire will not relax as it must gather all information on what transpired in all previous elections, assess what went wrong in some instances and do its possible best to correct them.
Available records showed that Edo has 2.21million registered voters, 1.73 million qualified to vote, as 483,796 persons failed to collect their voter cards.
The winner emerged with 307,955, votes, while the states population from a 2014 estimate is five million.
Obviously, it was not 100 per cent success in Edo as there were still cases of poor voters turnout, intimidation by the presence of 30,000 police men, harassment of mostly female voters and various allegations of vote-buying.
Various groups, politicians, diplomatic community and ordinary Nigerians have hailed Edo polls and want its lessons to spread to Ondo State and other subsequent polls.
The U.S., which had issued a no visa order on any person that could undermine the Edo polls, on Sept. 24, endorsed the processes that led to a successful Edo polls.
The country lauded INEC and the security agencies on the positive roles they played during the election, which it said, strengthened democracy in the country.
It called on all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security agencies to improve the electoral process during the Oct. 10, Ondo State governorship election.
The United States remains concerned with reports of some violence that did emerge during the election, and reports of vote-buying and intimidation of both voters and civil society domestic observers.
We will continue to encourage all stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, and the security services to improve the electoral process in the upcoming Ondo State governorship election.
As a democratic partner of Nigeria, the United States remains committed to working together to achieve our mutual goals of peace and prosperity for the citizens of both countries, it said via the Facebook page of the United States Diplomatic Mission to Nigeria.
The U.S. stressed the need for all Nigerians and other stakeholders to give its support in anyway, to make the system better for posterity.
Analysts recall that former President Goodluck Jonathan, demonstrated statesmanship and sportsmanship after the 2015 Presidential Election as he put a call to President Muhammadu Buhari to prevent endless tussle at the election tribunal and usher in peace to the electoral space.
Buhari had since built on this by making sure that there was improvements in conduct of elections so that the opposition, no matter who, has the hope that victory can come its way.
Nigeria cannot afford to disregard the already established principles; the country should continue marching forward. It can never be late. (NANFeatures)
Source: NAN News
FIFA has suspended Trinidad and Tobago from international football after its football association (TTFA) pursued a dispute through the countrys High Court in contravention of the world governing bodys statutes.
The TTFA and FIFA have been at loggerheads since March after the world governing body dissolved the executive of the cash-strapped association.
FIFA said it had installed a normalisation committee after they concluded the TTFAs former leadership had engaged in various acts of serious mismanagement.
This was opposed by TTFA president William Wallace and contested in court.
The suspension was prompted by the former leadership of the TTFA lodging a claim before a local court in Trinidad and Tobago in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA, FIFA said in a statement.
This course of action was in direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.
FIFA said they gave a Sept. 16 deadline to withdraw the case which was extended to Sept. 23 before the decision was taken to suspend the TTFA.
This suspension will only be lifted when the TTFA fully complies with its obligations as a member of FIFA, including recognising the legitimacy of the appointed normalisation committee and bringing its own statutes into line with the FIFA Statutes, it added.
Trinidad and Tobago are scheduled to play Guyana in their next competitive fixture on Oct. 8, the start of their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.(Reuters/NAN)
Source: NAN News
The coronavirus pandemic threatens to turn back the clock on a decade of progress in women and childrens health, according to a United Nations (UN) report released on Friday.
The report highlights significant advances made since the launch of the UNs Every Woman Every Child movement 10 years ago, including more than one billion children being vaccinated, and deaths of under-fives reaching an all-time low in 2019.
However, the report notes that these gains were not evenly distributed across the globe.
Last year, 5.2 million children died of preventable causes before reaching age 5, and 82 per cent of those deaths were concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The coronavirus crisis is exacerbating existing inequalities, with the most vulnerable women and children most affected by disruptions to health services, according to the UN.
Without more efforts to tackle preventable child deaths, 48 million children under five could die between 2020 and 2030, the report warns.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, a child under the age of five died every six seconds somewhere around the world, UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a press release.
Millions of children living in conflict zones and fragile settings face even greater hardship with the onset of the pandemic. (dpa/NAN)
Source: NAN News
The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Thursday in Les Sables dOlonne, France, inaugurated the first ever purpose built hydrographic survey vessel.
The Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Suleman Dahun, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.
The Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said the new vessel was conceived as a replacement for NNS LANA, which was decommissioned about 10 years ago.
Ibas, who was represented by Rear Adm. Abraham Adaji, said this at a ceremony at the OCEA Shipyard.
According to the CNS, the ceremony marked a giant stride in the efforts toward actualising the dreams of not only restoring but enhancing the service survey capability.
He also emphasised that surveying and charting play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation and delivery of maritime security.
Ibas added that the new vessel would enhance the safety of Nigerias maritime environment as well as serve as a critical component of deployment of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The CNS stated that the vessel would also play a critical role in the protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce.
Ibas, however, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the recapitalisation of the NN Fleet.
Earlier, Mr Fabrice Weinbach, who represented Mr Roland Joassard, the CEO of OCEA, said the LANA was the result of the excellent cooperation between the NN and OCEA teams.
Joassard thanked the Nigerian Embassy members of staff and the Nigerian Building survey team for their commitment and professionalism.
He noted that the new ship demonstrated the willingness of Nigeria to improve the knowledge of the countrys waters with a sea proven platform and up-to-date equipment.
Joassard added that the OCEA and NN relations would be strengthened through the supply of integrated logistic support services, including training, to maintain the operational readiness of the crew, the ship LANA.
As well as its equipment and systems and the on-site technical assistance.
Also, Nigerias Ambassador to France, Mrs Modupe Irele, highlighted the significance of the ceremony as a manifestation of good Nigeria French relations.
She noted that the construction of the vessel started in 2018 and was scheduled to join the NN fleet in 2021.
Source: NAN News