All publications of ELnews . Benin City , Nigeria
Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Others Lament Poor Compliance With COVID-19 Protocols As Vaccination Kicks Off
Anumber of states, including Edo, Osun, Bauchi, Oyo, Zamfara and Cross River have expressed frustration at the poor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols by their people.
According to the Punch, the various state governments said this had led to the increased number of COVID-19 cases recorded by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
This was as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, received their first COVID-19 vaccine shots on Saturday in Abuja.
Dr Cyprian Ngon of the National Hospital Abuja had become the first Nigerian to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria on Friday.
Nearly four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Abuja on March 2. The shipment was said to be the third and largest delivery to be made by the global COVAX initiative, which was created to ensure that low- and middle-income countries have fair access to doses.
In Edo State, the COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, while speaking with journalists in Benin City, the state capital, said it was discouraging that residents were refusing to comply with the government’s directive to tackle infection spread.
“It is quite discouraging that while the government steps up measures to protect residents against this deadly virus, some recalcitrant members of society have disregarded these orders, thereby endangering the lives of others,” Obi said.
He appealed to the people to complement the state government’s efforts at curbing the community spread of the virus by complying with the government’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We call on all residents to adhere to the compulsory use of face masks and other precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus as the government alone cannot win this battle,” he said.
In a similar vein, the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, on Saturday decried poor compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols, urging the people of the state to adhere to them.
Oyetola said this at the special prayer session to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his late mother, Alhaja Wulaimot Oyetola, held at the deceased’s residence at Iragbiji, Boripe Local Government Area of the state.
“I am using this occasion to appeal to our people to take COVID-19 protocols more seriously than before and stop insinuating that the virus has been eliminated.
“As we can see and hear, the second wave is deadlier, hence the need for all to adhere strictly to all the safety protocols and guidelines,” he said.
The governor described his late mother as a woman of virtue and an epitome of womanhood, adding that he was what he was today because of his parents’ teachings.
Also, in Bauchi State, the Chairman of the state Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, expressed worry about the people’s refusal to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
He advised that people should not see the availability of vaccines as a reason to defy the protocols.
Mohammed, who is also the Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said, “I don’t know why people are refusing to adhere to the protocols even with the fact that we are currently having a second wave of the pandemic.
“Children are already being infected in the second wave. The people should take COVID-19 seriously because it is still deadly.
“People should wear their face masks, use hand sanitisers, observe social distancing, among others. It is unfortunate that many people no longer observe the protocols. If you go to the banks and other crowded places, you will see people without face masks.”
Mohammed said even after receiving vaccination, people should still observe the protocols.
In Zamfara State, the Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Yahaya Kanoma, also asked the people to keep observing the safety protocols despite the discovery of vaccines for the disease.
“People should be very careful and should not discard COVID-19 protocols simply because of the vaccines. Even if one is vaccinated, he or she should not abandon the use of face masks as well as keeping social distancing,” he said.
Similarly, the Incident Manager and Coordinator, COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre in Oyo State, Dr Taiwo Ladipo, warned about the danger of failing to comply with the protocols, saying that vaccines “are not an absolute guarantee against the virus.”
He said, “The vaccines do not prevent you from getting the virus. What the vaccine does is just to boost your immunity against getting it.
“The vaccine, therefore, is to reduce the severity of the virus. Despite the provision for the vaccine, people should adhere to the COVID-19 protocols such as hand washing, use of sanitisers, social distancing and the use of face masks. These have to be observed even when you take the vaccine shots.”
Also, the Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, decried poor compliance with COVID-19 protocols, advising the people of the state to keep adhering to the guidelines.
“Nigerians should continue to observe COVID-19 protocols despite the procurement of vaccines as the vaccines do not provide 100 per cent protection.
“The people should continue to use their face masks, hand sanitisers and other non-pharmaceutical interventions until Nigeria attains herd immunity. Even though the vaccine provides immunity, you can still get the virus through the nostril and pass it on to someone else,” she said.
Meanwhile, in preparation for the receipt of vaccines, Edu said the state would spend over N30 million as counterpart funding for the first phase of the vaccine roll-out.
She said, “We should be spending over N30m for the first phase of the rollout, which includes e-training.
“We have built cold stores as part of the funding. We have test-run all our cold chain equipment which are supposed to receive the vaccines, and they are ready to go.”
We Are Brothers, Oshiomhole Says, Embraces Obaseki In Edo
Former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has described the incumbent governor of the state, Godwin Obaseki, as his brother and friend on Saturday.
The two hitherto political rivals met in Auchi, Edo State, at the Centenary Birthday Thanksgiving of Msgr. Thomas Oleghe and 18th Canonical Erection Anniversary of the Diocese of Auchi.
Obaseki, who exchanged greetings with an elbow-bump in compliance with COVID-19 preventive protocols, with his predecessor, said they are both sons of Edo with the interest of the state at heart.
Obaseki also said he has no personal grudges against the All Progressives Congress's former chairman but only dislikes his politics style, a statement from the governor's office said.
The governor said, "I don't have anything personal against Oshiomhole. I may not like his politics, but he has not done anything personal against me. We all are interacting with the interest of the country and the development of our community at heart."
On his part, Oshiomhole, a guest at the event, hailed his successor, describing him as "his brother and friend".
Oshiomhole said, "Once the governor speaks, the matter ends. The governor knows that pensioners here might not be able to do much; that is why he said every other thing required to complete the hostel of the Catholic School of Nursing and Midwifery in Uzairue, his government will do."
The governor, who was elected on the platform of APC in 2016, was denied the party's ticket for a second term in 2020 due to intra-party wrangling.
He later defected to the Peoples Democratic Party. He defeated Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the APC candidate and the anointed candidate of Oshiomhole and Bola Tinubu in the 2020 Edo State Governorship Election.
BREAKING: Buhari Receives COVID-19 Vaccine In Aso Villa
President Muhammadu Buhari was on Saturday vaccinated against COVID-19.
Buhari was vaccinated by his personal physician at about 11.51 am at a brief ceremony witnessed by top government officials at the New Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President was the first among the nation's strategic leaders to take the vaccine after some frontline health workers at the National Hospital's treatment centre, Abuja, were vaccinated on Friday.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control had early on Friday cleared the 3.924m doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived in Nigeria on Tuesday for usage.
We ready for diaspora voting – INEC chief
Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, will commence the registration of eligible voters by 2021 ahead of the 2023 general elections, the chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, has said.
The exercise, which will begin in January, will run for next 18 months – and stop about six months before the elections, he said.
He also said N1 billion has been budgeted for the registration exercise.
Mr Mamood disclosed this in an interview with journalists on Wednesday, shortly after his 2021 budget defence at the Senate.
“For continuous voter registration, the Commission intends to resume voter registration in the first quarter of 2021. And once we resume, it will be continuous for one and half years, at least until six months to the next general election,” he said.
“In other words, the Commission is not going to resume voter registration for a week, two weeks or a month but we are working out the details.”
The INEC boss also disclosed that the commission is ready to “roll out” diaspora voting to enable more eligible Nigerian citizens working in diplomatic missions or those permanently living abroad to vote.
He, however, said it will require amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act by the National Assembly.
“The Commission is desirous of giving Nigerians living abroad the right to vote, after all, all our neighbouring countries do so.
“But it requires the amendment to the constitution and the Electoral Act for that to happen. And we have already worked out the document. Once the law is amended today, we can roll out.
“We are ready. We have had several meetings with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) but we can’t go beyond what the law provides,” he said.
In the same vein, he called for an amendment to the Electoral Act to allow disenfranchised groups to vote. These include journalists, security personnel, INEC staff, among others.
He also sought amendment to allow Nigerians with their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to vote anywhere they find themselves.
“It’s not just those in the armed services, the police involved in election duty, journalists, INEC adhoc staff and some INEC staff don’t vote. The reason is that you are posted for election duty to places other than where you are registered, and the law says you vote where are registered.
“So, if you pass some amendments to the Electoral Act to enable people to vote, two solution perhaps, early voting, so that those involved in election duty can vote early or major reform of electoral legal framework to allow people to vote wherever they are.”
For 2021, INEC proposed a budget size of N40 billion, which is expected to cover the growing personnel cost; overhead, electoral expenses as well as litigations.
This is even as the INEC boss stated that the commission pays an average of N4.5 million to secure the service of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a fee he said is based on a payment scale designed by the Ministry of Justice.
While he said INEC has no problem with its budget performance for 2019, the commission ,however ,encountered a few financial challenges in the budget for 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Mahmood sought the Senate’s approval to take N5.2 billion from a “Special INEC Fund”. This, he said, is to make up for the shortfall.
The INEC Fund is a provision in the Electoral Act 2010 that enables INEC save a percentage of its allocation for emergency duties and rainy days. And no withdrawal has been made from the Special INEC Fund in the last 10 years.
“The Commission cannot be independent unless it is financially independent. There are some activities that happen that are time bound or bound by some specific provisions of the constitution that the Commission has to undertake,” he told journalists.
“So, the fund was established to allow the Commission to discharge those responsibilities. It was established in 2010 but there was no cause to spend from it, and from the last five years this Commission did not spend from it.
“But what has happened now is our budget for 2020 dropped to N40 billion from N45.5 billion in 2019. And as a result of the 10 per cent COVID cut, it further dropped to N36 billion in the middle of the year when we had already made preparation for expenditure, and therefore, since that fund is made for the rainy days, I informed the committee that the rainy day has come. So we are taking part of the fund to balance our budget for this year.”
In his remarks, a member of the committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, said the Senate will address the aspect of its desired reforms ranging from funding for elections to remuneration for INEC staff.
He, thereafter, directed the INEC chairperson to, within the next three months, report back on specific issues that require legislative action and as well as improved salary structure for the commission.
AFCONQ: No fans for Super Eagles, Sierra Leone clash – ministry
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 have advised the Edo State Government and the Nigeria Football Federation against allowing fans into the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, during the 2021 AFCON qualifier between the Super Eagles and Sierra Leone on November 13.
This is coming after the Edo State Government announced that the gates would be thrown open for fans to watch the game at the refurbished Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
The ministry said admitting fans into the match venue would amount to a breach of the COVID-19 protocols.
In a letter addressed to the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, the ministry stated that the game “will not have any audience and no gathering”.
The letter read in part, “The ministry wishes to bring to your urgent attention that in compliance with the condition of no gathering agreed upon by the ministry and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 before the Federal Government opened up football and contacts sports, the match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not have any audience and no gathering save for players, match officials and government officials from both countries. “Testings must be conducted on all of them prior to the match.”
The ministry added, “The no gathering, no audience for football and contact sports is still in force, which means there shall be no gathering for the Nigerian vs Sierra Leone match, as any violation of this condition may lead to a rollback of the opening up of football and contact sports in the country.
“The PTF and the ministry are on the same page on this matter and the protocol for clearances rests with both the ministry and the PTF when it comes to staging any sports event in Nigeria.
“Full compliance with COVID-19 protocols is to be enforced.
“The PTF is worried about a spike following the second wave of Covid-19 and is considering another lockdown.”
Edo election: Court fixes November 16 to hear APC’s perjury case against Governor Obaseki
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, slated November 16, to hear a perjury suit the All Progressives Congress, APC, instituted against Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
The suit marked FHC/B/CS/74/2020, which also has a member of the APC in the state, Edobor Williams, as co-Plaintiff, is alleging that Obaseki lied about his academic qualifications.
The Plaintiffs accused the governor of forging the university certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in aid of his qualification for the governorship election that held in Edo State on September 19.
They equally told the court that there were discrepancies in the subjects that Obaseki claimed he passed in his West African Examination Council (WAEC) exam and subjects in his testimonial.
Consequently, APC and Williams are praying the court to declare that Obaseki’s claim in his INEC form EC9 at column C, sworn to on June 29, 2020 at the Federal Capital Territory High Court Registry to the effect that he obtained from the University of Ibadan in 1979, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classical Studies, is false and contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010.
They also want the court to declare that Obaseki lied on oath when he swore to an affidavit on June 29, 2020 that he worked in Afrinvest Limited from 1994 to 2014 when he retired.
Specifically, the Plaintiffs are seeking among other things, “A declaration that the 1st defendant is disqualified from contesting election to the office of Governor of Edo State for non-fulfillment of the constitutional requirement in section 182(1)(j) of the Constitution of Nigeria and upon presenting false/forged certificate to INEC contrary to Section 31 (5) and (6) of the Electoral Act, 2010”.
They want the court to declare that the the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, “having sponsored a candidate who supplied false information on oath and presented false/forged certificates to INEC is not entitled to participate in the election scheduled for September 19 or on any other date that may be appointed for the purpose”.
More so, the Plaintiffs are praying the court for an order disqualifying Obaseki and the PDP from the September 19 governorship election, as well as, an order directing INEC to remove the name of the PDP and its candidate from the ballot paper or election records or materials.
Aside governor Obaseki, other Defendants in the matter are the PDP and INEC.
Meanwhile, though the suit was initially filed before the Benin Division of the Federal High Court, it was subsequently transfered to Abuja.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned it at the behest of counsel to the Plaintiffs, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, who noted that the case was listed for mention.
On his part, counsel to governor Obaseki, Chief Ken Mozia, SAN, who did not oppose the request for adjournment, told the court that he had filed a motion to challenge the competence of some of the processes that were filed by the Plaintiffs.
Before he adjourned the matter till November 16, Justice Mohammed drew attention of all the parties to the fact that the suit was lodged since July 14.
Justice Mohammed stressed that the suit, being a pre-election matter, has a life span of 180 days that will expire by January next year.
He therefore urged the lawyers to cooperate with the court to ensure speedy determination of the matter.
According to the judge, since both parties would have to call witnesses to give evidence with regards to the disputed issues, they must be mindful of the life span of the matter.
The court directed the Plaintiffs to open their case on the next adjourned date.
NFF rates Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium ‘world class’ ahead of AFCON’ qualifiers
The President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Melvin Pinnick, on Monday, described the renovated Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin, as a ”world class” edifice.
Pinnick, who was on an inspection tour of the facility, added that the improvements it had undergone since his last visit were tremendous.
Reports monitored by newsmen noted that the President was led on the inspection by the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles are billed to play their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone at the Benin Stadium on Friday, November 13. The visit was therefore an opportunity for Pinnick to have a first-hand view of preparedness ahead of the tie.
“There is a tremendous improvement compared to the last time I came. The turf is very brilliant, it’s what you see in world class facilities. I thank the government of Edo for this facility and we are proud of this achievement,” the President remarked.
“The Super Eagles can’t wait to come and play in the State. I’m in touch with the players, who are all excited to be here to play for the country especially, Ahmed Musa, the captain of the team, whose mother is from Edo and he is anxious to play for the nation and his State.
“The NFF will move into the state on Friday, November 9, while the players will start arriving from November 11. And after the game, make preparations to fly to Sierra Leone on Friday or Saturday.
“I will communicate all I have seen here to the Ministry of Youths and Sports and also the Executive Committee. I am happy with what we have seen here today and the Supper Eagles will be playing here for a long time.
“We are also going to bring the Super Falcons here to play. They are the most successful team in Africa, you know. This is home. Like I told you, I made a promise on behalf of the federation, that is promise kept.”
The President then addressed the State as represented by the Deputy Governor.
“And also, we’ve always been thankful to Edo government for being there for Nigeria Football Federation, and we thank them for that generosity at every point in time because these are very sensitive times.”
Pinnick laid out the attention the NFF is focusing on adhering to recommended COVID-19 protocols.
“We are also working because they have been a lot of people coming into the stadium, we have to observe the COVID-19 protocol to the letter. They have written to us officially. This is about 15,000 sitting capacity stadium.
“They want about 6,000 to 7,000 where they will sit out to observe social distancing, so we are going to look at it. We will send a letter to the Ministry and also send a letter to the Presidential Task Force.
“I have already spoken to CAF, we will send a representative of CAF. We are working towards reducing every mistake humanly and materially possible and ensure we have success.”
About the opponents, the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, the President said jocularly, “The team is like coming home to meet your brother but we will just quietly beat them home and away.”
On the newly installed Video Assistant Referee (VAR) equipment in the stadium, Pinnick said that he had told Governor Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy Philip Shaibu to showcase all facilities they have in the stadium.
“You have to showcase whatever facilities you have in Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium. We had to write to CAF for approval of the usage of the VAR, but we are very excited about it,” he said.
In response, Shaibu assured Pinnick that the State was excited to host its first international game in the newly renovated stadium.
“That was what it was intended to achieve, to have both national and international games here, and we are also excited that in the course of building this stadium, we followed international standards.
“We were all in touch with NFF while we were building the stadium to also guide us with all the FIFA necessary facilities we need to put in place.
“What we have here today is an international standard stadium and we are excited that we are having this game here. And, don’t forget that we are having a game in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“You know that COVID-19 task force in the State is very strong and they are already being recruited to be part of this game. So, we are going to make sure that COVID-19 protocols are observed in line with international best practices.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to Edo people, that there is going to be a lot of games here. This one, we will not have full capacity spectators. We are going to admit half into the stadium.
“We are going to make sure that they are well-spaced to meet COVID-19 protocols, so we are very ready and excited. Only that we are going to appeal to our President so that we can use our VAR facilities, so that the doubting Thomases will know that there is actually VAR in this stadium,” he joked.
The encounter against the Leone Stars is scheduled for Friday, November 13, with a reverse fixture four days later at the Siaka Stevens Stadium, Freetown.
#EndSARS: Group wants police, citizen reconciliation before inquiries
As the Judicial Panels of Inquiry into police brutality against citizens across the country begin sittings to look into the allegations and suggest compensation and the restitution were possible, a group in Edo state, Concerned Edo Citizens Forum (CECF) has suggested a town hall meeting first to reconcile members of the public and the police to be midwife by the state government before the sittings of the panels of inquiry.
A statement by the Convener and Secretary of the group, Roy Oribhabor and Osamwonyi Ibude yesterday expressed concern that the police are yet to return their posts apparently yet to recover from the hostilities meted out to them during the protest and suggested that a reconciliatory meeting could restore police confidence on the public.
He said: “We once again sympathise with the police over the killings of their personnel.
“However, we appeal to Edo State Government to institute reconciliatory mechanism to tackle the situation and formulate workable direction to serves as panacea, it’s on record that the morale of police are down hence, discussion, interaction and negotiation are necessary at this material time to provide a platform between the people and police to rob minds on the subject matter therefore, town hall meeting is the only way to go to develop and promote mutual understanding to enhance policing in our society.
“In as much we salute the effort of the Government to set up a judicial panel of inquiry but reconciliation is the first move to boost the morale of police because there is serious disconnection between the police and the people hence, public moral building is vital.”
Edo government eases curfew from 6am to 10pm
The Edo State Government has relaxed the curfew imposed on the state between 10 pm and 6 am daily.
A press statement from the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, stated that the adjustment takes effect from Tuesday.
Part of the statement read, “The state government has further reviewed the curfew time in the state to commence from 10pm to 6am daily, as against 6pm to 6am.
“The adjustment will be effective from Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
“The government is fully committed to the security of lives and property and is working with security agencies to ensure peace and order is fully restored in the state.”
Edo university holds convocation
The management of Edo University, Iyamho, has announced the commencement of activities marking the 2nd graduation ceremony of the University.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Engr. (Prof.) Emmanuel Aluyor, who announced this at a pre convocation press briefing on Monday, said the convocation will be held in conjunction with the rescheduled 4th Founder’s Day ceremony of the University.
According to the program of events, the rescheduled Fourth Founder’s Day Lecture will hold on Wednesday, 4th November; the Convocation Lecture on Friday, 6th November; while the Convocation Ceremony for the award of degrees, will hold on Saturday 7th November, 2020 at 11:00 am.
The rescheduled Fourth Founder’s Day Lecture of the University, with the title: “The Nigerian Air Force, Making giant strides in keeping Nigeria safe,” will be delivered by Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, and chaired by the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro.
This is even as the Convocation lecture, titled “The impact of Covid-19 on Tertiary Education: A view from West Africa and possible implications for African Universities,” will be delivered by Prof. Adams Zahir of Worcester State University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, on Friday, 6th November, 2020, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu.
Prof. Aluyor disclosed that all the lectures and Convocation proper will be held via Webinar on Zoom.
A breakdown of the 50 graduating students from 2019/2020 academic session shows that four students bagged First Class, 21 students will graduate with Second Class Upper Division, while 22 will be awarded Second Class Lower Division and three will graduate in Third Class Division.
Enumerating the modest achievements of the University since it was established in March 2016, Prof. Aluyor, said that apart from the uninterrupted learning in the institution, the Governing Council of the University, has approved over 100 scholarships each year to indigent students.
“On the 27th of July, 2020 at the Association of African Universities (AAU) webinar, we shared our success story with the international community on a topic: Lecturers and Students E-teaching and Learning in Africa: The Edo University Case Study.
“The President, Federation of African Engineering Organization, Engr, Martin Manuhwa among other people also applauded our technological initiatives that redefine the nation’s educational system. Our achievements are already in the public domain but let me at this juncture capture a few of them for bibliographical exactitude.
“All programmes due for accreditation by the NUC and other regulatory bodies have been accredited with the least score of 82% for assessed programmers,” he said.
The VC also commended the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, for sustaining the University to an enviable height as envisioned by the founding fathers.