Friday, September 18, 2020

September 18, 2020

1.7 million to vote in Edo election – INEC


No fewer than 1. 72 million persons are eligible to vote in the September 19, Edo governorship polls while 483, 796 eligible voters will not participate .

This is according to a document obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission titled , ‘ Delimitation of Edo State ’ .

The document shows that the identified ineligible voters in Edo failed to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.

The document further showed that as of August 2018 there are 2, 210, 534 registered voters in the state, however, only 1, 726, 738 collected their PVCs .

It also indicated that the election will hold in 18 Local Government Areas , 192 Wards, and 2, 627 polling units .

A further breakdown of the registered voters shows that male accounts for 1, 159, 325 ( representing 52 per cent) , while 1, 051, 209 ( 48 percent) are female .

Similarly , from the total registered voters, the youth ( 18 – 35 years ) account for 50 per cent ( 1, 105, 338); Middle Aged ( 36 – 50 years ) , 29. 1 per cent ( 643, 551); and Elderly ( 51 – 70 years ) has 15. 99 per cent ( 353, 508) .

Eligible voters classified as the Old ( 70 years and above) account for 4. 89 per cent ( 108, 137) .

According to the number of collected PVCs , Oredo zone has 240, 197; Ikpoba -Okha , 214, 882; Egor , 158, 817; Etsako West, 128, 188 and Akoko Edo , 115, 343.

Further distribution of registered voters in the three senatorial districts of the state shows that Edo South has the highest figure of 1, 281, 414; the North with 564, 122; and Central senatorial district has 364, 998.

Edo South has seven council areas , the North has six , while Central has five Local Government Areas .

September 18, 2020

Bayern thrash Schalke 8-0 in Bundesliga start


Serge Gnabry hit a hat - trick as holders Bayern Munich romped to an historic 8-0 rout of Schalke on Friday in the opening game of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season behind closed doors.

The jaw- dropping result is the highest win in an opening game of a new Bundesliga season – five weeks to the day after their 8- 2 thrashing of Barcelona in the Champions League.

Germany winger Leroy Sane marked his Bayern debut by creating two goals for Gnabry, then added one of his own in the goalfest at the Allianz Arena .

Leon Goretzka, Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowksi also netted as the all -conquering European champions extended their winning - streak to 22 matches dating back to February .

England junior international Jamal Musiala, 17, became the youngest Bayern goal- scorer in the Bundesliga when he came on late .

Bayern had to brush off setbacks in the days leading up to the season opener.

On Thursday, the Mayor of Munich scuppered plans to allow 7, 500 fans into the Allianz Arena , due to rising new cases of the coronavirus in the Bavarian capital, hours after Bayern confirmed the sale of Thiago Alcantara to Liverpool.

Before kick - off , David Alaba , who is stalling over signing a contract extension with a year left to go , dropped out with a leg injury .

However, Bayern picked up where they left off 26 days after winning the Champions League final in Lisbon .

Cash-strapped Schalke continued their miserable finish to last season and David Wagner ’ s side have now gone 17 games without a win.

Gnabry opened the scoring with just four minutes gone with a great piece of finishing which gave Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann no chance .

Burly central midfielder Goretzka grabbed the second against his former club when he hit the bottom corner from the edge of the box on 19 minutes .

– Lewandowski underway -Lewandowski, the Bundesliga’ s top scorer last season with 34 goals , opened his account for 2020/21 with half an hour gone.

He netted a penalty after being brought down in the area by Schalke defender Ozan Kabak , who has been linked to a move to Liverpool.

Incredibly , Lewandowski has now scored in each of his last 10 games against Schalke , dating back to April 2016, including a hat -trick in last August’ s 3- 0 win over the Royal Blues in Gelsenkirchen.

It was 3- 0 at half -time , but Gnabry grabbed his second two minutes after the break when he fired into an empty net after a sprint by Sane pulled Faehrmann out of position .

The pair combined again when Sane chested the ball down after getting in behind the defence and rolled the ball off to the waiting Gnabry to claim his hat- trick just before the hour mark .

Mueller added the sixth on 69 minutes after Lewandowski had again cut Schalke ’ s defence to shreds .

The records were sent tumbling as Sane marked his debut with the seventh on 71 minutes when he sprinted onto Joshua Kimmich ’ s superb pass and fired home with Lewandowski unmarked outside him .

Musiala, who only turned 17 in February , became the club ’ s youngest scorer in the Bundesliga when he darted in from the left wing to add the eighth on 81 minutes .


September 18, 2020

Neymar to lead Brazil in World cup qualifiers


Brazil coach Tite kept faith with a troubled Neymar on Friday, choosing him to lead the Selecao as they launch their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign next month.

Young Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes comes into the squad and could make his international debut while Real Madrid striker Rodrygo also returns.

The five - time world champions play Bolivia in Sao Paulo on October 9, then travel to Lima to face Peru four days later . The matches were originally scheduled for March , but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The return to international play could be a welcome break for Neymar, who has had a tumultuous time since losing with the Champions League final with Paris Saint - Germain .

First he had to quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus and then , when he returned to action, was banned for two matches Wednesday for his role in a brawl at the end of PSG ’ s 1- 0 loss to Marseille .

The French league is investigating the star striker ’ s claim that Spanish defender Alvaro Gonzalez taunted him with racist insults .

Neymar’ s former PSG teammate Thiago Silva, who signed with Chelsea last month, also got the call from Tite, even though the center - back will be 37 by the time of the World Cup in Qatar.

But Tite dropped regular squad members including Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson .

He also held off calling up injured captain Dani Alves, 37, naming 19-year -old Gabriel Menino of Palmeiras instead .

Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Belgium in the 2018 World Cup.


Goalkeepers : Alisson ( Liverpool/ENG ) , Santos ( Athletico Paranaense ) Weverton ( Palmeiras)

Defenders: Danilo ( Juventus/ITA ) , Gabriel Menino ( Palmeiras) , Alex Telles ( FC Porto/POR) , Renan Lodi ( Atletico Madrid /ESP) , Thiago Silva ( Chelsea /ENG ) , Marquinhos ( Paris Saint -Germain /FRA ) , Felipe ( Atletico Madrid /ESP) , Rodrigo Caio ( Flamengo )

Midfielders: Casemiro ( Real Madrid /ESP) , Fabinho ( Liverpool/ENG ) , Bruno Guimaraes ( Lyon/FRA ) , Douglas Luiz ( Aston Villa/ENG ) , Philippe Coutinho ( Barcelona /ESP) , Everton Ribeiro ( Flamengo )

Forwards: Gabriel Jesus ( Manchester City/ENG ) , Rodrygo ( Real Madrid /ESP) , Neymar ( Paris Saint- Germain /FRA ) , Everton ( Benfica/POR) , Roberto Firmino ( Liverpool/ENG ) , Richarlison ( Everton/ENG )


September 18, 2020

Visa ban: Don’t disrespect Nigeria, FG tells US, UK


                  President Muhammadu Buhari

The Federal Government has frowned on the statements issued by the United States and the United Kingdom on the governorship elections holding in Edo State on Saturday ( today) and Ondo State on October 10.

It also expressed concern over the visa restrictions imposed by the US on unnamed politicians for alleged involvement in electoral violence during the Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship polls.

Both US and the UK had vowed sanctions on anyone who perpetrated violence during the Edo and Ondo elections , including imposing visa restrictions and blocking them from accessing their assets and prosecuting them under international law .

But reacting to the comments of its western allies on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement stated that it had taken note of their concerns regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo.

The government explained that the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd . ) , has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before , during , and after the elections .

The statement signed by the MFA spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye , added that Buhari also supported patriotic non- governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar Peace Committee.

Furthermore, it explained that there were ample provisions in the nation ’ s laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud .

However, it admonished the UK and US to cooperate with the relevant agencies by providing them concrete evidence of observed misconduct “ to allow our laws and regulations to take their course . ”

The statement added , “ It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally . ”

The FG further highlighted that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

“ The Federal Government , and especially the President , is committed to providing all necessary logistic , financial , and security support to the electoral process .

“ While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the European Union , we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and US to cooperate with our relevant agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course , ” the government stated.

Finally, the government expressed solidarity with the American government and people as regards their forthcoming election “ which we hope will be free from interference and violence. ”

September 18, 2020

Edo 2020: Your political lives in danger if APC wins, Wike tells PDP leaders

     Rivers State Governor , Nyesom Wike

 The Rivers State Governor , Nyesom Wike , has described the governorship election in Edo State on Saturday as a fight for the destiny of the Niger Delta region.

The governor spoke on Thursday during a meeting organised for leaders and elected representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party in Benin, the Edo State capital.

Wike urged them to discard fear and threats of violence as they resolve to participate in all the electoral processes.

He charged them to monitor the distribution of electoral materials and be vigilant to protect their votes.

“ The electoral battle may not be easy . But God is with us . With the people also on the ground , we will win.

“ Let me tell you , God forbid that APC wins; if they do, all of you here would have failed because your political life will be in jeopardy.

“ They will come with federal might , but do not fear because we have the electorate on our side . They did the same in Rivers State ; the people resisted them by protecting their votes , ” he stated.

Wike also expressed the need to mobilise the people of Edo for the gubernatorial election with the aim of liberating the state from godfatherism .

“ This is an opportunity for you to fight for the liberation of Edo State . You must all say enough is enough . One man should not be allowed to continue to insult Edo people. The godfather thinks what he says will always be. This is the time to stop him .

“ We want all the states in the South -South to be united . So , it is the best time to join your kith and kin from other Niger Delta states . This election is a fight for the destiny of the region . Edo State cannot continue to be alone , ” a statement by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications , Paulinus Nsirim , quoted Wike as saying ,

The governor also said the party representatives had done extensive campaigns from ward to ward and should work together to deliver the PDP during the election .

Wike , who is also the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for Edo State , advised the electorate not to be violent in their determination to liberate the state from godfatherism .

He said party faithful also needed to know how to be part of history in securing the future of the state.

Also , the Edo State Governor , Godwin Obaseki, said the meeting was at the instance of Wike , the Chairman of the PDP National Campaign Council for Edo State .

Obaseki noted that the meeting would address grey areas and other important issues required to secure electoral victory for the party.

Edo State Chairman of the PDP, Anthony Aziegbeme , said they had started to be vigilant and would resist any form of hijack of electoral materials .

September 18, 2020

WTO retains Okonjo-Iweala, drops three candidates


        Former Minister of Finance, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World Trade Organization dropped three candidates from the race to be the next Director- General of the body .

It also plans to reduce the contestants to two final candidates in the coming weeks.

Nigeria ’ s Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala still remained in the race , according to Bloomberg on Friday.

Okonjo -Iweala is a former finance minister in Nigeria and former Managing Director of the World Bank.

The Geneva - based WTO said Mexico’ s Jesus Seade , Egypt’ s Hamid Mamdouh , and Moldova ’ s Tudor Ulianovschi didn ’ t secure enough support in a first of three rounds of voting .

“ Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members , ” WTO General Council Chairman , David Walker , said in a statement on Friday.

The second phase of consultations would begin on September 24 and run until October 6 after which the WTO would announce two final candidates .

The goal was to name a new leader by November 7.

The vacancy arose when Brazilian director-general , Roberto Azevedo, decided to step down at the end of August, a year before his term was due to end .

The remaining contenders were all current or former ministers, something that trade officials had previously said was an important characteristic for a future Director -General .

They are Mohammad Maziad Al -Tuwaijri , Saudi Arabia’ s former minister of economy and planning; Liam Fox , the UK’ s former secretary of state for international trade ; Yoo Myung - hee, South Korea’ s trade minister ; Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala ; and Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril , Kenya ’ s former international trade minister .

The campaign to lead the WTO during the most turbulent period of its 25- year existence was playing out against the backdrop of the pandemic , a worldwide recession, the US- China battle for trade supremacy, and the American presidential election .

The vacancy offered an opportunity for the US, the European Union, and other nations to reshape the organisation , whose mission of economic integration was under threat from protectionist policies around the globe.

Without reform , it risked being sidelined during the biggest economic crisis in a century.

September 18, 2020

Ondo 2020: ADC debunks coalition with APC


Ahead of Ondo State governorship election, some reports have been going viral about a fraction of the African Democratic party (ADC) collapsing its structure with the All progressive congress (APC) in support of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s re-election.

The African Democratic party and its governorship candidate, Prince Dapo Adelegan, made a report via his official Twitter handle debunking the claim and assuring everyone not to panic of the news.

Comments as captioned from the series of tweets are as below:

“We say emphatically that Prince Dapo Adelegan is winning the forthcoming governorship election slated for October 10, and he is willing to welcome candidates or other political parties who may wish to support his aspiration to rescue the state from the misrule of Akeredolu’s government.

"In response to the news going around about a fraction of African Democratic party in Ondo East and West joining the Ondo APC camp, by virtue of the infancy of our political party system in Nigeria, such fluidity is expected, just as other parties have experienced it at this period.

"We want to reassure our followers not to be derailed by the event. We are forging ahead, and assured of a victorious end. The same way few are leaving, many more are are joining our camp, and this is why we are not perturbed.

"This is a divine mandate, a mandate to liberate our people from a system that robs them of their inheritance. We are confident, that Him who has called us is faithful to lead us to a victorious end. Eyi owu e wi… #Toluwalase" the tweets ended

September 18, 2020

Ogun workers suspend strike


           Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun

Organised labour in Ogun State has called off its one -week warning strike after a marathon meeting with the officials of the state government .

Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, Emmanuel Bankole, announced this on Friday after a closed -door meeting held at the Governor ’ s office , Oke- Mosan , Abeokuta.

Arising from the meeting , Bankole said the union leaders had secured the commitment of the government on their demands .

The organised labour had on Wednesday commenced a week warning strike over minimum wage, unpaid Contributory Pension Scheme ; non -promotion of staff since 2018 and unpaid leave allowances to all employees since 2015.

While calling off the strike , Bankole who was flanked by leaders of other unions , said , “ I want to urge our members across the state that we have been able to get the commitment of the government as to the welfare matters , hence, the strike is hereby called off , thank you . ”

September 18, 2020

Nigeria ranks 29th in world FIFA ranking


The Super Eagles of Nigeria have moved up from the 31st to 29th position in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings. 

In the latest rankings released by the football governing body on Thursday, Nigeria got 1493 points and are now third in Africa, with Senegal (20th) and Tunisia (26th) in first and second respectively.

Algeria (35), Morocco (43), Ghana (46), Egypt (51), Cameroon (53), Mali (57) and DR Congo (57) make up the top 10 rankings of African teams.

Nigeria’s last international game was a 4-2 away win against Lesotho in the 2021 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers, played in November 2019.

Belgium is still number one in the world FIFA ranking, followed by France, Brazil, and England respectively.

 Portugal, Uruguay, Spain, Croatia, Argentina, and Colombia make up to the top 10.
September 18, 2020

FG apologises for asking all bank, other account holders to re-register

The Federal Government has apologised for asking all account holders in the country’ s financial institutions to register their details again .

FG had earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self -Confirmation form.

The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.

Failure to do so , the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty .

The order to fill another Self -Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN , had attracted condemnations on social media.

However, in a tweet on Friday, the government apologised for misinformation.

It tweeted , “ We apologise for the misleading tweets ( now deleted ) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self - certification forms by Reportable Persons . The message contained in the @ firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody . FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly . ”

We apologize for the misleading tweets ( now deleted ) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self -certification forms by Reportable Persons . The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody . FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly pic. twitter. com/KBiPh 0lCwJ

— Government of Nigeria (@ NigeriaGov) September 18, 2020

In a press statement , the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “ reportable persons ” are expected to submit the form .

The statement read , “ This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self -certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax ( Common Reporting Standard ) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“ The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “ Reportable Financial Institutions ” under the CRS .

“ Reportable persons are often non -residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country .

“ Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction .

“ The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction , is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose . ”

Earlier, the Nigerian government said all persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of their institutions .

It had tweeted , “ This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions ( Banks , Insurance Companies, etc ) are required to obtain , complete , and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions .

“ Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account . ”

September 18, 2020

FG orders schools to conduct weekly COVID-19 assessment


        Director General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu

The Federal Government has released more guidelines that will prevent the spread of COVID -19 as more states fully reopen schools on Monday .

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control , which disclosed this on Thursday, stated that schools had been directed to conduct COVID -19 risk assessment every week.

The NCDC also disclosed that local governments and states were directed to conduct monthly and quarterly COVID -19 risk assessment in schools respectively .

The NCDC Director General , Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu , stated these in an electronic mail sent to one of our correspondents in response to enquiries .

According to the NCDC, the assessment will determine schools’ level of compliance with safety protocols including physical distancing, hand -washing and the use of face masks , whose violation can put students at risk of COVID -19.

Also on Thursday, the Presidential Task Force on COVID - 19 said the Federal Government would seize passports of travellers who failed to carry out COVID -19 test. It added that visas of foreign travellers would be cancelled .

Schools across the country were shut in March as part of measures to check the spread of COVID - 19.

But the Senior Secondary School 3 students resumed on August 17 to write the West African Senior School Examinations.

At its press conference on September 3, the PTF recommended phased reopening of schools.

Following the PTF’ s recommendation , states that have announced dates for reopening of their schools include Ogun, Lagos , Osun, Ekiti , Delta and Kogi States . States , where schools are resuming on Monday , include Lagos , Ekiti , Osun and Ogun.

On Thursday, the NCDC DG told The PUNCH that part of its responsibility was to work with all relevant stakeholders to strengthen the country ’ s capacity for early detection and response to COVID -19 cases .

He stated , “ We have also continued to educate the public on measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID -19.

“ We know that as the economy and society re -open gradually , we may record a spike in COVID - 19 cases . We have reviewed the situation in other countries that have re - opened schools as well as guidance from WHO, UNICEF and other public health authorities.

“ There is lesser risk of COVID -19 cases in school settings , if schools carefully coordinate, plan and put the required safety measures in place before reopening.

“ We are working closely with the Federal Ministry of Education , PTF-COVID -19, states and our partners to ensure that the required safety measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our schools. ”

“ The PTF-COVID - 19 and Federal Ministry of Education have mandated schools to conduct periodic ( weekly ) risk assessments . This is to review the gaps that may exist in reducing the risk of COVID - 19 spread in schools, and tailor interventions to address these gaps . Local governments areas and states are to conduct monthly and quarterly risk assessment respectively . ”

“ In addition to this , schools are to set up school health teams including teachers and learners that would facilitate implementation of the safety protocols in schools. LGAs and States have been advised to set up multi- sectoral school health committees dedicated to supporting and monitoring the implementation of safety protocols in the school. ”

Speaking further on risk assessment, the NCDC spokesman Emeka Oguanuo , said it included , “ the process of identifying and analysing potential gaps , threats that may cause a likelihood of COVID - 19 spread.

“ Risk assessments in public health are also done to determine severity or degree of an outbreak. In this case , it is done to determine if school re - opening is safe and whenever a bridge in safety is observed , it can be addressed by relevant stakeholders. ”

Meanwhile, the PTF on Thursday warned international travellers arriving the country to carry out COVID -19 test within 14 days of their arrival .

The National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, said at the task force ’ s briefing in Abuja that such Nigerian travellers who failed to carry out the PCR COVID -19 test within the stipulated period would have their passports suspended for six months , while foreigners would have their visas on their way out of the country cancelled .

He explained that a passenger must have a negative PCR COVID - 19 test, upload it on the prescribed portal and generate a QR Code, before departure and must pay for another test within seven days, and undergo the test within 14 days of arriving Nigeria .

He said , “ We are urging passengers coming into the country to make sure they pay for their COVID -19 PCR test by day 7 of arrival . If passengers do not have a test for COVID 19 by day 14, our system will pick up these passengers and if it is very clear they haven’ t had a test for COVID 19 , the passports will be suspended for a period of six months .

“ Therefore it is really essential for non -Nigerians, their visas on their way out of Nigeria will be cancelled . So , they might have difficulties coming to the country. ”

He said although government continued “ to have issues with payment” for the PCR test by arriving passengers , it would “ not insist on evidence of payment before boarding , but we will be releasing a strong recommendation to airlines that preferably people come onboard with the QR Code. ”

Aliyu said it was unrealistic and unsustainable for the Federal Government to bear the cost of the PCR test for every passenger arriving the country.

He said , “ Currently about 5, 000 air travellers come in and out of Nigeria , and the PTF wants to ensure that we do not lose the gains made in the response.

“ It is therefore critical that passengers are tested and follow protocols correctly. When fully open , the number of passengers going through the country is not small . At the moment , our daily testing number is about two and a half thousand ( 2, 500) per day . If we add the passenger numbers coming , potentially , we are tripling the number of tests we do every day, and that is why we have to use the private sector to get this leverage while at the same time working to bring down the cost for passengers.

“ Therefore it will it be costly and unrealistic for the Federal Government to bear the cost for test for each passenger coming into Nigeria . This will not only be unsustainable but will also redirect precious resources away from the public health response. ”

Aliyu also said it was unnecessary to subject resuming students to the coronavirus test.

He said it would amount to an unnecessary financial burden on parents to ask students to provide COVID -19 test as condition for resuming schools.

He said what was more important was for schools to enforce compliance with the non - pharmaceutical measures and be vigilant in monitoring children and quickly isolating the them on showing the first suspected sign of COVID .

He said , “ If you do a PCR test today, the greatest value it has is if it is positive. If it is negative , that negative result applies to the time the sample was taken. Beyond that, 48, 72 hours – three days, four days after you are tested, you can still come up with a positive result.

“ So when it comes to students in schools, we encourage schools to be vigilant to make sure they monitor children that are sick , check temperature, to make sure they have access to hand - washing facilities , in terms of non -pharmaceutical interventions, and to have a very low threshold for making sure that a child is excluded at the first sign that they might have COVID .

“ In general children do not present symptoms, but they may still have respiratory symptoms . Even in the absence of COVID , a child having rashes, having diarrhoea or having a cough , ideally should be excluded from school if he is unwell , so that other children do not catch the diseases .

“ These are sensitive precautions that we will urge schools to take . It will be an unnecessary burden on parents, to be honest , for students to be tested for COVID by PCR or whatever because , it has value only for that material time. ”

Also at the press conference , the Federal Government said the country was flattening the curve of COVID - 19 pandemic, considering the consistent drop in number of reported cases in the country.

The government also appealed to the Joint Health Sector Unions to shelve its strike, warning that it could not afford the consequences particularly in view of the coronavirus pandemic .

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the PTF on COVID , Boss Mustapha , who stated these , urged the electorate in Edo State to be careful by observing physical distancing.

Mustapha clarified that even though the celebration of the nation ’ s diamond anniversary on October 1 deserved to be loud and elaborate , it would be low - key because of COVID – 19.

The SGF said , “ Looking back at our national response, using science , data and experience from other countries, we cannot but say that tremendous progress has been made and that we are beginning to notice that the curve is flattening . However , as we have always stated, this positive development shall be taken with vigilance and cautious optimism.

“ This is based on the fact that we are convinced that we have not tested enough. We have only recently reopened our international flights and that nations that have opened up their economies have done a re - think following the resurgence of the cases in their countries . ”

The Minister of Health , Dr . Osagie Ehanire , said Nigeria had commenced discussions with Russia and other countries producing reliable vaccines for a possible supply when they were developed.

He said that although India had been promised 10 million vaccines from Russia , Nigeria would not be left out of similar arrangements.

Ehanire said , “ With regard to the conversation we had with His Excellency , the Russian Ambassador , there was no memo. We requested to know about the development of their vaccines, how far they have gone, and what they have done so far .

“ His Excellency came with a memoir which is a document explaining how far they have gone and giving us contact information of their scientists , particularly the research centre where this development was going on .

“ At the meeting we had with the Ambassador , we also had our own side ( experts) present – who asked questions and were given a website to contact the scientists at the research centre . That conversation is going on as I speak and I haven’ t got a report yet .

“ I read a few days ago that Russia had promised India, I think , 10 million vaccines, if I remember correctly from what I read . India is among the 20 countries or so , who have applied as at last count , and told Russia that they were interested and they have been promised 10 million when the vaccines are ready . ”

September 18, 2020

Osaka withdraws from 2020 French Open


Japan ’ s Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the upcoming French Open with a hamstring injury .

The 22-year - old had her left hamstring taped when she battled back against Victoria Azarenka in the U. S . Open final in New York on Saturday to win her third Grand Slam title .

“ Unfortunately , I won ’ t be able to play the French Open this year , ” the world number three wrote on social media in a message she also posted in Japanese.

“ My hamstring is still sore so I won ’ t have time to prepare for the clay – these two tournaments came too close to each other for me this time .

“ I wish the organizers and players all the best . ”

French Open will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct . 11 after being moved from its usual late May -June slot due to the coronavirus pandemic .

The hamstring issue had prompted Osaka to withdraw from the final of the Western & Southern Open in the run -up to the U. S . Open but it did not appear to hamper her at Flushing Meadows .

Osaka made headlines in New York as much for her performances on court as for her commitment to social justice causes.

For each of her U. S . Open matches she wore a different mask that carried the name of a Black American, aiming to highlight racial injustice in the United States to a wider audience .

The withdrawal of Osaka , who has never advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, comes as another blow to the tournament after world number one Ash Barty of Australia said she would not be defending her title due to COVID -19 concerns .

On the men’ s side , Roger Federer will not compete as he continues to recover from knee surgery .

Osaka ’ s absence would improve Serena Williams’ s chances of winning a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title if the American chooses to play .

The 38-year - old has pulled out of the Italian Open with an Achilles issue .

The French Tennis Federation ( FFT) said on Thursday it would allow 5, 000 spectators per day following a recent spike in COVID - 19 cases in the country .

It had previously said the clay court major would permit a maximum of 11, 500 fans per day.

( Reuters/NAN )

September 18, 2020

Akeredolu’s SSA on Political matters Resigns


                      A copy of the resignation letter 

The senior special assistant to governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Political matters in Ondo south senatorial districts, Hon. Andrew Ogunsakin has resigned his Appointment.

Andrew was a close Political associate of former governor Olusegun Mimiko and the Zenith Labour Party candidate for Okitipupa/Irele Federal constituency in the last general election before he joined the All Progressive Congress.

He said, " The call of my constituents on me to join the train to actualize a common aspiration different from what is offered by your government and party stands as the root of my decision to quit at this point.”

Below is his resignation letter as sent to the governor through the secretary to the state government:

"Permit me your Excellency, to use this medium to convey my irrevocable decision to resign my office as Senior Special Assistant on Political (South) to the Governor of Ondo State with effect from today, September 18, 2020.

"I thank your Excellency for the opportunity afforded me to serve the good people of Ondo State as SSA, for the period I was in office.

"Once again, Sir, please accept my appreciation, and very high regard"

September 18, 2020

US Places Akeredolu on Visa Ban watch list


Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State is on the watchlist of the United States Government and could be slammed with a visa ban before or after the October 10 governorship poll in the state, Sahara Reporters has gathered.

Top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and security operatives are also among notable Nigerians slammed with the visa ban by the US Government.

Families of some Nigerian politicians are among those affected by the latest US sanction, which will also see to the deportation of their children and spouses already domiciled in America soon.

Recall that the US Government had on Monday said it imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians involved in undermining democracy during the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa states elections and in the run-up to the September and October 2020 Edo and Ondo states elections.

Those affected by the latest visa ban have received notification by email and or text messages, it was learnt.

It was reliably gathered that a former governor of Edo State and ex-National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello, are also among those affected by the sanction.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna on the other hand had his own visa ban extended after being banned from entering the US since 2010 over a graft case.

(Sahara Reporters)

Thursday, September 17, 2020

September 17, 2020

Edo 2020: IGP orders restriction of vehicular movement


The Inspector -General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu , has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement in Edo State ahead of Saturday governorship election in the state.

The Force Public Relations Officer , Mr Frank Mba, made the disclosure in a statement on Thursday.

The statement was titled ‘ Edo Guber Election: IGP orders restriction of vehicular movement’ .

He said the order was part of the efforts by the police to ensure orderliness and safety during the election .

Mba said the vehicular movement restriction would be from 11:59 p. m on Friday to 6. 00 p. m on Saturday.

He said the restriction order was informed by the need to prevent the free flow, circulation , and use of illicit arms and hard drugs during the election .

Mba said it was also to checkmate the movement of political thugs and other criminally minded individuals from contiguous states from hijacking and disrupting the electoral processes .

Mba regretted any inconveniences the restriction order would cause the citizens.

He urged citizens to see the restriction as part of the necessary sacrifices towards the enthronement of democracy.

The statement read , “ In line with concerted efforts at ensuring public order and safety, during the forthcoming Edo Gubernatorial election slated to hold on Saturday , 19th September , 2020, the Inspector General of Police, IGP M . A Adamu, has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 11:59 PM on Friday, 18th September , 2020 – 6pm on Saturday , 19th September , 2020.

“ The IGP notes that the restriction order is informed by the need to prevent the free flow, circulation , and use of illicit arms and hard drugs and checkmate the movement of political thugs and touts and other criminally- minded individuals especially from contiguous States from hijacking and disrupting the electoral processes.

“ He enjoins citizens to go out en -masse on the day of the election and vote , noting that the Police and other security agencies have been sufficiently mobilized to provide a safe, secure and conducive environment for the election .

“ While regretting any inconveniences the restriction order may cause the citizens, the IGP enjoins the citizens to see the restriction as part of necessary sacrifices towards the enthronement of democracy. He however warns that the Force will not sit idly by and watch citizens who may want to engage in any criminal act – violent and destructive acts , snatching of ballot boxes , vote -buying , vote -selling, hate speeches, and other act( s ) capable of compromising the electoral processes . ”

September 17, 2020

Babalakin quits as UNILAG Pro-Chancellor over crisis


                        Dr. Wale Babalakin

The crisis at the University of Lagos took a new twist on Thursday with the resignation of its Pro- Chancellor , Dr . Wale Babalakin ( SAN) .

A media aide to the suspended Pro-Chancellor of UNILAG, Mr Mikail Mumuni, confirmed the resignation of Babalakin as the institution ’ s chairman of Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor.

Mumuni , in a phone call to our correspondent, said , “ It is true. Dr Babalakin has resigned from UNILAG . ”

The resignation came a few hours after the SVP headed by Prof. Tukur submitted its report to the Minister of Education , Mallam Adamu Adamu.

Babalakin ’ s resignation dated September 2020 was addressed to Adamu and entitled : ‘ Letter of resignation’ , said there were too many vested interests in UNILAG case , who were not approaching the issues objectively.

The letter reads , “ I would like to thank the President of the Federal of Nigeria , President Muhammadu Buhari for giving me the opportunity to serve as the Pro- Chancellor of the University of Lagos ( the “ University”) from May 2017 till date .

“ I am also grateful that I was considered fit to be the Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team on the Agreement reached with university unions in 2009, from January 6, 2017 till date . I equally want to thank you sir, for your role in recommending me to the President .

“ Recent events have made my position in these two offices untenable. I led the Governing Council of the University to remove the Vice -Chancellor of the University from office for amongst other reasons:

a. Corruption and financial recklessness ;

b. Forgery ;

c. Complicity in the collapse of the University library and planned cover up;

d. Deliberate policy of wrongfully concealing information;

e . Depriving the Faculties in the University of funds ;

f . Concealing and distorting finances of the Internally Generating Units of the University;

g . Undermining the academic process and seeking to appoint a Professor by fiat ;

h . Siphoning of the University’ s funds through dubious contract awards;

i. Undermining the office of the Registrar ;

j. Failure to follow due process in organizing the University ’ s convocation ceremony ; and

k. Sponsoring or acquiescing in the unconstitutional actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU) , University of Lagos chapter .

“ Sir , it is noteworthy that all the Federal Government Representatives who are the independent members on the Governing Council voted for the removal of the Vice -Chancellor .

“ After calm had been restored in the University, the Visitor acting within his powers , set up a Presidential Visitation Panel to review the actions taken by Governing Council . The Vice- Chancellor ( who had been removed from office ) and myself were told to recuse ourselves for the duration of the Visitation Panel. I find it difficult to understand how a non- executive Chairman of a Governing Council could be requested to recuse himself during the visitation.

“ The Vice- Chancellor could only recuse himself if he were still in office . Implicit in this position is that the Vice -Chancellor was acknowledged as still being in office despite his removal .

“ The terms of reference of the Visitation Panel clearly indicated to any discerning person that the Visitation Panel was empanelled to exonerate the Vice- Chancellor and implicate the Pro -Chancellor. For easy reference, the terms of reference of the Visitation Panel are :

a. To review the report of the Council sub-committee on review of expenditure of the University of Lagos since May 2017 and make appropriate recommendations after affording all those indicted an opportunity to defend themselves;

b. To examine the steps taken by the Council leading to the removal of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe , and ascertain whether due process was followed as stipulated in the Universities ( Miscellaneous Provisions) ( Amendment ) Act , 2003, and the principle of fair hearing adhered to ;

c. To determine whether the process ( if any ) leading to the appointment of the acting Vice Chancellor for the University was consistent with the provisions of the enabling Act ;

d. To make appropriate recommendations including sanctions for all those found culpable by the special visitation team on the allegations contained in the report as well as other subsequent actions arising therefrom; and

e . To make any other recommendations that will assist the government to take decisions that will ensure peaceful , stable and effective administration of the University.

“ As stated earlier , the Vice- Chancellor was removed for various reasons and not just as a result of the findings contained in the Dagari Report . Items ( b) and ( c) were directed at the Pro-Chancellor and Governing Council . Unfortunately , those items deal with the interpretation of the laws of the land . The appropriate forum to determine the laws of the land is a court of law or a judicial tribunal. It cannot be determined by academics of a different discipline no matter how distinguished . These terms of reference are ultra -vires the Visitation Panel as constituted.

“ The membership of the Visitation Panel is simply inappropriate in the circumstance. How can a committee of Vice- Chancellors determine the culpability or otherwise of the actions of a Pro- Chancellor and a Governing Council ? On the face of it, it is simply wrong!

“ Furthermore, the Vice -Chancellors on the Panel were drawn from relatively smaller universities who are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure contained in the University of Lagos Act ( as amended) . Even Vice- Chancellors of state universities were included . As Chairman of the Federal Government Negotiation Team , I know the challenges faced with the administration of state universities.

“ I only appeared before the Panel out of my very great respect for you , Sir . My training as a lawyer revealed to me very clearly, that the Panel was inappropriate for the assignment . During my appearance , I made it very clear that I was appearing in protest and the Panel, as constituted , could not determine the issues before it.

“ The active participation of the staff of the Ministry of Education in the Panel and their contributions throughout the sittings especially the hounding of witnesses who came to testify against the Vice- Chancellor was enough to show very clearly that the technocrats in the Ministry had a defined agenda. Their obvious agenda was to humiliate the Governing Council . Sir , fortunately there is a verbatim recording of the proceedings of the Visitation Panel, and you may wish to direct objective persons to listen to the recording .

“ I am particularly relieved by the comment of the Chancellor of the University, His Royal Highness, Alhaji ( Dr) Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al Amin El - Kanemi CFR on the situation in the University . In a letter dated 15th September 2020 and addressed to your good self ( which I was copied) , His Royal Highness stated thus:

“ I have discovered that there are too many vested interests in this matter , who are not approaching the issues objectively. For this reason, I strongly advise that the Visitation Panel should not submit any formal report to the Minister that may hinder my ability to deal with the issues comprehensively ”

“ I have served the university system in Nigeria with my heart and intellect . Amongst other offices , I was :

a. Pro -Chancellor , University of Maiduguri ( 2009 – 2013);

b. Chairman , Council of Pro -Chancellors of all Federal Universities ( 2009 – 2013);

c. Chairman , Federal Government Implementation Team of the 2009 Agreement ( 2009 – 2013);

d. Chairman , Federal Government Negotiation Team of the 2009 Agreement ( 2017 till date );

e . Pro -Chancellor , University of Lagos ( 2017 till date ) .

“ These were made possible by a system that provided resources and also ensured proper monitoring of the resources . The educational system in Nigeria requires more funding but most importantly, it requires prudent management of the limited resources . It was my determination to ensure that the limited resources of the University of Lagos were properly utilized that motivated me to lead the Governing Council to take the decisions which the Governing Council took .

“ In all these positions that I have held, I did not receive any remuneration . Specifically:

a. I did not receive any sitting allowance.

b. I did not receive any tickets or travel allowance.

c. I did not receive or use any official car. d. In the University of Maiduguri and University of Lagos , I did not allow the institutions to provide me with food or drinks. I paid for every right or privilege that was conferred on me .

e . Even when I travelled to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ( UNESCO ) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria , I paid for my ticket and my expenses .

f . I did not obtain any contract from the education sector in my relative long sojourn in the sector .

“ My motivation for my actions is that I had the best education that an intellect could provide in Nigeria and abroad . It is my fervent desire that every Nigerian should have the sort of opportunities I had.

“ I remain very grateful to all the members of the Federal Government team on the Governing Council of the University of Lagos , namely :

a. Alhaji Ali Hussein ;

b. Rev . Yomi Kasai ;

c. Dr . Bayo Adaralegbe; and

d. Dr . Saminu Dagari .

“ It would be very difficult to find a group of more selfless persons than these individuals . It is acutely hurtful that I am leaving before achieving our goal of sanitizing the University of Lagos , and turning it to a reference point in Africa and the world , rather than the unenviable poor position it now occupies . Unfortunately , I must stand by principle . In a situation where my employers believe that the actions I took may not be right, the appropriate thing to do is bow out in honour. ”

September 17, 2020

Nurses, midwives serve strike notice over fuel hike


The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives has handed a two -week ultimatum within which the Federal Government should reverse the increase in the price of fuel and electricity tariff or face an indefinite strike.

This was the outcome of its communique issued by the Central Working Committee of the Nigeria Labour Congress held in Abuja on Wednesday.

The NANNM expressed these decisions in the directive signed by its General Secretary , T . A . Shettima , issued to its State chairmen and Secretaries and sent to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

The document reads , “ I write to forward herewith the communique issued at the end of the Central Working Committee of the NLC held on September 16 2020.

“ In summary, the meeting discussed the unprecedented hike in the cost of Petroleum Motor Spirit ( and) the outrageous increase in electricity tariffs .

“ The meeting resolved to issue a 14 days ultimatum to the Federal Government within which to reverse the increases or face an indefinite strike .

“ You are by this letter directed to start mobilisation and sensitisation of our members . We shall keep you posted on any further development in this regard. ”

September 17, 2020

NCC warns against illegal use of GSM boosters


The Nigerian Communications Commission has warned against the illegal use of GSM boosters by individuals across the country .

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

In a notice on its website , the commission said individuals desirous of using GSM boosters should note that they could only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators .

In the notice , which was signed by the agency’ s Director of Public Affairs , Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission said , “ The attention of the NCC has been drawn to the fact that GSM boosters are being illegally used by individuals in Nigeria .

“ Members of the public should note that wilful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act , 2004. The commission will not condone any flagrant breach on this law. ”

It said monitoring mechanisms had been put in place and anyone caught using GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator would face arrest and prosecution .

The NCC said any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM boosters should contact the commission.

September 17, 2020

41,000 African health workers infected with COVID-19 -WHO


Over 41, 000 health workers have been infected with Coronavirus in Africa , the World Health Organisation, said on Thursday.

While calling on African governments and other stakeholders to make greater investments and sustained commitments to the working conditions and safety of healthcare workers , the agency stressed the need for patients and health workers protection from the COVID - 19 pandemic.

Also , the Federal Government commended the heroic roles played by healthcare workers at the frontline of COVID -19 including working at odd hours, suffering discomfort, stigma, risk to infection , and death .

The government stressed that many health workers have lost their lives to COVID -19 globally.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa , Dr. Matshidiso Moeti , and Minister of Health , Dr . Osagie Ehanire , stated this in separate messages to mark this year ’ s World Patient Safety Day with the theme: ‘ Health Worker Safety : A Priority for Patient Safety . ”

Moeti said the agency, in collaboration with its partners, national and provincial authorities, has trained more than 50, 000 health workers in the African Region in COVID -19 infection , prevention, and control.

She said , “ In the WHO African Region , more than 41, 000 health workers have been infected with COVID - 19, accounting for 3. 8 per cent of all reported cases . Some countries, like Sierra- Leone and Cote d ’ Ivoire have made progress in reducing the proportion of health worker infections . Others such as Eritrea , Rwanda , and Seychelles have not recorded a single case of COVID - 19 among health workers .

“ To protect health workers from COVID -19 and contribute to enhanced patient safety, in collaboration with partners and national and provincial authorities, WHO has trained more than 50, 000 health workers in the African Region in infection prevention and control, with plans to train over 200 000 more.

“ Around 31 million items of personal protective equipment have been shipped to member- states and guidance documents on best care practices are in-development, to support the creation of enabling environments for safe health workers and safe patients. ”

Ehanire , who said the Ministry would work on creating a specific policy on patient safety, added that the National Health Act ( 2014) and Patients ’ Bill of Rights ( 2018) , however , advocated for the safety of patients .

He said , “ Aspects also reflected in such guidelines and measures for infection prevention and control as injection safety, firm perioperative protocols , radiation protection , and pharmacovigilance. These are building blocks for consolidation into a single ‘ Patient Safety Policy’

“ Global experience from the pandemic response exposed the fragility of most health systems and humbled even those thought to be the most robust . It also bared deficits in infrastructure , equipment, manpower , and management . The fatigue of overburdened care providers and the psychosocial impact of covid19 on both patients and caregivers were apparent .

“ Since only healthy and safe health workers can provide care and safety to patients, the Government of Nigeria made it a point of duty to ramp up training of health workers in infection prevention and control and supplied barrier personal protective equipment to avoid virus transmission and risk to our staff. Infected healthcare workers would face quarantine, which could mean manpower shortage and interrupt essential healthcare services .

“ Despite all our sacrifices, more will be expected of us who have signed up for the healthcare profession. We shall be reminded that we have committed to serve humanity and that the lives and wellbeing of our patients are in our hands . In truth , ours is the noble profession, where the responsibility we are given for the lives of others or for the others who have entrusted their lives to us , begins with ensuring that they are safe in our care , no matter the cost to us . It must be an article of faith . ”

September 17, 2020

APC Members Will Betray Akeredolu For Ajayi, Says Primate Ayodele


                        Primate Elijah Ayodele

Primate Elijah Ayodele, founder of the INRI Spiritual Evangelical Ministry predicted that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo will be betrayed by some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming guber election.

In an exclusive interview with Legit TV in Lagos, Ayodele stated that the governor will face a big problem as some people in APC will throw their weight behind Agboola Ajayi, Akeredolu’s embattled deputy.

“Akeredolu will be betrayed. There is a mole in Akeredolu’s group. Somebody is going to follow up with Agboola who is Akeredolu’s deputy.

“Some people in APC will back him up against Akeredolu. He will not find the election so easy, it is going to be very tough. And if he does not work out his strategy very well, that election might turn around and come to Agboola.

“But if Akeredolu works very well, he can still regain the seat,” the popular cleric prophesied.

The Ondo governorship election has been slated for October 10, 2020, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with the poll looking like a three-horse race.

Governor Akeredolu, who is seeking election on the platform of APC, will be putting his popularity on run against his estranged deputy Agboola who is going into the race with the flag of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), and Eyitayo Jegede of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Recall, Starnews had earlier reported that the Ondo Deputy Governor denied rumours being peddled by some members of the opposition sides that he is faced with financial constraints ahead of the state’s guber election.

Speaking ahead of the forthcoming poll, Ondo Deputy Governor, Ajayi described the rumour of him being cash-handicapped as false.

The embattled deputy governor also boasted that he has enough resources to finance his campaign despite insinuations from the major opposition camp that lack of funds was the reason ZLP has not launched its campaign.





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