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BUHARI EXTENDS LOCKDOWN FOR 14 MORE DAYS IN FCT, LAGOS AND OGUN STATES ……Hails Health Workers

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Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday announced an extension of the ongoing lockdown the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States for a further fourteen days.

This is even as he has described as heroes, health workers who have been part of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The President who said this during a broadcast to the nation on the current state of the pandemic in the country, assured that measures to motivate the health workers to do more, will be introduced soon.

“At this point, I must recognise the incredible work being done by our healthcare workers and volunteers across the country especially in frontline areas of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

“You are our heroes and as a nation, we will forever remain grateful for your sacrifice during this very difficult time. More measures to motivate our health care workers are being introduced which we will announce in the coming weeks,” he said.

He also announced the extension of the lockdown by another 14 days and that more isolation centres will be built near the nation’s airports and land borders as part of measures to combat the disease.

“Using our resources and those provided through donations, we will adequately equip and man these centres in the coming weeks. Already, healthcare workers across all the treatment centres have been provided with the personal protective equipment that they need to safely carry out the care they provide.”

The president’s comments is in contrast to Health Minister, Osagie Ehanire, who, at a meeting with the leadership of the national assembly on last week, said he was not aware if health workers are being paid hazard allowance for the work they are doing.

He had added that whether during a pandemic or not, handling emergencies is a “standard job they (health workers) do every day.”

The number of confirmed cases in the country, according to the President, has been on the increase. As at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the NCDC announced a total of 323 confirmed cases, including 10 deaths.
…………
ADDRESS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE EXTENSION OF COVID- 19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN AT THE STATE HOUSE, ABUJA
MONDAY, 13TH APRIL, 2020

1. Fellow Nigerians

2. In my address on Sunday, 29th March, 2020, I asked the residents of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory to stay at home for an initial period of fourteen days starting from Monday, 30th March 2020.

3. Many State Governments also introduced similar restrictions.

4. As your democratically elected leaders, we made this very difficult decision knowing fully well it will severely disrupt your livelihoods and bring undue hardship to you, your loved ones and your communities.

5. However, such sacrifices are needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our country. They were necessary to save lives.

6. Our objective was, and still remains, to contain the spread of the Coronavirus and to provide space, time and resources for an aggressive and collective action.

7. The level of compliance to the COVID-19 guidelines issued has been generally good across the country. I wish to thank you all most sincerely for the great sacrifice you are making for each other at this critical time.

8. I will take this opportunity to recognise the massive support from our traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) during this pandemic.

9. I also acknowledge the support and contributions received from public spirited individuals, the business community and our international partners and friends.

10. I must also thank the media houses, celebrities and other public figures for the great work they are doing in sensitizing our citizens on hygienic practices, social distancing and issues associated with social gatherings.

11. As a result of the overwhelming support and cooperation received, we were able to achieve a lot during these 14 days of initial lockdown.

12. We implemented comprehensive public health measures that intensified our case identification, testing, isolation and contact tracing capabilities.

13. To date, we have identified 92% of all identified contacts while doubling the number of testing laboratories in the country and raising our testing capacity to 1,500 tests per day.

14. We also trained over 7,000 Healthcare workers on infection prevention and control while deploying NCDC teams to 19 states of the federation.

15. Lagos and Abuja today have the capacity to admit some 1,000 patients each across several treatment centres.

16. Many State Governments have also made provisions for isolation wards and treatment centres. We will also build similar centers near our airports and land borders.

17. Using our resources and those provided through donations, we will adequately equip and man these centres in the coming weeks. Already, health care workers across all the treatment centers have been provided with the personal protective equipment that they need to safely carry out the care they provide.

18. Our hope and prayers are that we do not have to use all these centres. But we will be ready for all eventualities.

19. At this point, I must recognise the incredible work being done by our healthcare workers and volunteers across the country especially in frontline areas of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

20. You are our heroes and as a nation, we will forever remain grateful for your sacrifice during this very difficult time. More measures to motivate our health care workers are being introduced which we will announce in the coming weeks.

21. As a nation, we are on the right track to win the fight against COVID-19.

22. However, I remain concerned about the increase in number of confirmed cases and deaths being reported across the world and in Nigeria specifically.

23. On 30th March 2020, when we started our lockdown in conforming with medical and scientific advice, the total number of confirmed cases across the world was over 780,000.

24. Yesterday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally was over one million, eight hundred and fifty thousand. This figure is more than double in two weeks!

25. In the last fourteen days alone, over 70,000 people have died due to this disease.

26. In the same period, we have seen the health system of even the most developed nations being overwhelmed by this virus.

27. Here in Nigeria, we had 131 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 12 States on 30th March 2020. We had two fatalities then.

28. This morning, Nigeria had 323 confirmed cases in twenty States. Unfortunately we now have ten fatalities. Lagos State remains the center and accounts for 54% of the confirmed cases in Nigeria. When combined with the FCT, the two locations represent over 71% of the confirmed cases in Nigeria.

29. Most of our efforts will continue to focus in these two locations.

30. Majority of the confirmed cases in Lagos and the FCT are individuals with recent international travel history or those that came into contact with returnees from international trips.

31. By closing our airports and land borders and putting strict conditions for seaport activities, we have reduced the impact of external factors on our country. However, the increase in the number of States with positive cases is alarming.

32. The National Centre for Disease Control has informed me that, a large proportion of new infections are now occurring in our communities, through person-to-person contacts. So we must pay attention to the danger of close contact between person to person.

33. At this point, I will remind all Nigerians to continue to take responsibility for the recommended measures to prevent transmission, including maintaining physical distancing, good personal hygiene and staying at home.

34. In addition, I have signed the Quarantine Order in this regard and additional regulations to provide clarity in respect of the control measures for the COVID-19 pandemic which will be released soon.

35. The public health response to COVID-19 is built on our ability to detect, test and admit cases as well as trace all their contacts. While I note some appreciable progress, we can achieve a lot more.

36. Today, the cessation of movement, physical distancing measures and the prohibition of mass gatherings remain the most efficient and effective way of reducing the transmission of the virus. By sustaining these measures, combined with extensive testing and contact tracing, we can take control and limit the spread of the disease.

37. Our approach to the virus remains in 2 steps – First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners.

38. With this in mind and having carefully considered the briefings and Report from the Presidential Task Force and the various options offered, it has become necessary to extend the current restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from 11:59 pm on Monday, 13th of April, 2020. I am therefore once again asking you all to work with Government in this fight.

39. This is not a joke. It is a matter of life and death. Mosques in Makkah and Madina have been closed. The Pope celebrated Mass on an empty St. Peter’s Square. The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris held Easter Mass with less than 10 people. India, Italy and France are in complete lockdown. Other countries are in the process of following suit. We can not be lax.

40. The previously issued guidelines on exempted services shall remain.

41. This is a difficult decision to take, but I am convinced that this is the right decision. The evidence is clear.

42. The repercussions of any premature end to the lockdown action are unimaginable.

43. We must not lose the gains achieved thus far. We must not allow a rapid increase in community transmission. We must endure a little longer.

44. I will therefore take this opportunity to urge you all to notify the relevant authorities if you or your loved ones develop any symptoms. I will also ask our health care professionals to redouble their efforts to identify all suspected cases, bring them into care and prevent transmission to others.

45. No country can afford the full impact of a sustained restriction of movement on its economy. I am fully aware of the great difficulties experienced especially by those who earn a daily wage such as traders, dayworkers, artisans and manual workers.

46. For this group, their sustenance depends on their ability to go out. Their livelihoods depend on them mingling with others and about seeking work. But despite these realities we must not change the restrictions.

47. In the past two weeks, we announced palliative measures such as food distribution, cash transfers and loans repayment waivers to ease the pains of our restrictive policies during this difficult time. These palliatives will be sustained.

48. I have also directed that the current social register be expanded from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households in the next two weeks. This means we will support an additional one million homes with our social investment programs. A technical committee is working on this and will submit a report to me by the end of this week.

49. The Security Agencies have risen to the challenges posed by this unprecedented situation with gallantry and I commend them. I urge them to continue to maintain utmost vigilance, firmness as well as restraint in enforcing the restriction orders while not neglecting statutory security responsibilities.

50. Fellow Nigerians, follow the instructions on social distancing. The irresponsibility of the few can lead to the death of the many. Your freedom ends where other people’s rights begin.

51. The response of our State Governors has been particularly impressive, especially in aligning their policies and actions to those of the Federal Government.

52. In the coming weeks, I want to assure you that the Federal Government, through the Presidential Task Force, will do whatever it takes to support you in this very difficult period. I have no doubt that, by working together and carefully following the rules, we shall get over this pandemic.

53. I must also thank the Legislative arm of Government for all its support and donations in this very difficult period. This collaboration is critical to the short and long-term success of all the measures that we have instituted in response to the pandemic.

54. As a result of this pandemic, the world as we know it has changed. The way we interact with each other, conduct our businesses and trade, travel, educate our children and earn our livelihoods will be different.

55. To ensure our economy adapts to this new reality, I am directing the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19”.

56. The Ministers will be supported by the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Economic Sustainability Committee in executing this mandate.

57. I am also directing the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the National Security Adviser, the Vice Chairman, National Food Security Council and the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative to work with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to ensure the impact of this pandemic on our 2020 farming season is minimized.

58. Finally, I want to thank the members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for all their hard work so far. Indeed, the patriotism shown in your work is exemplary and highly commendable.

59. Fellow Nigerians, I have no doubt that by working together and carefully following the rules, we shall get over this pandemic and emerge stronger in the end.

60. I thank you all for listening and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Tinubu Directs Immidiate Implementation of Oronsanye Report

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* Misgivings in Aviation Sector over Proposal to Merge some Agencies

. . .

After 12 years of dilly dallying by successive governments, the much vaunted Orosanye Report that strongly recommended a drastic reduction in the cost of governance, has seen the light of day, after all.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, rose from its weekly meeting, and announced the approval for the adoption and implementation of the Orosanye Report.

The report was submitted to the Federal Government under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2012 but neither him nor his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari, had the political will to adopt and implement its lofty recommendations.

But briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting, which was presided over by President Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Information and National Orientation Minister, Mallam Mohammed Idris, said Council had approved the adoption of the report.

This, according to him, means that some agencies, commissions and departments of government have been scrapped, merged, subsumed under some others and others moved to new ministries where they are supposed to perform better.

“In a very bold move today,” said the Minister, “this administration, under the leadership of President Bola Tinubu, consistent again with his courage to take very far-reaching decisions in the interest of Nigerians, has taken a decision to implement the so-called Orosanye Report.

“Now, what that means is that a number of agencies, commissions, and some departments have actually been scrapped, some have been merged, while others have been subsumed. Others, of course, have also been moved from some ministries to others where government feels they will operate better.

“Like I said, this is a very far-reaching decision. It is aimed, one, to fine-tune or to restructure government operations as a whole. Secondly, it’s in line also with decision of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reduce the cost of governance.”

The Minister, however, explained that the adoption of the report did not mean people working in the affected agencies and departments will lose their jobs.

Orosanye

Highlights of Federal Executive Council decisions on Monday 26 February

 

Here are some of the highlights of the far reaching decisions taken today at the Federal Executive Council meeting, chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

 

1. FEC approved construction of Lagos-Port Harcourt-Calabar Coastal Superhighway to Messrs Hitech Construction Africa. The First phase made up of 47 kms will begin in Lagos.

2. Social security payments to the vulnerable households to begin immediately. Recipients will be those with NIN and BVN.

 

3. Social security payments to be extended to graduates from NCE and upwards

 

4. Consumer Credit to be established very urgently. Chief of Staff to lead a committee that includes Budget Minister, Attorney-General, Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, to make the scheme a reality.

 

5. The Council in order to enhance efficiency in the Federal service, and reduce the cost of governance, decided to implement the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye panel on the restructuring and rationalisation of Federal agencies, parastatals and commissions.

 

The implementation involves merging, subsuming and scrapping agencies with similar functions.

 

The Oronsaye report was submitted in 2012 to the Jonathan administration. In 2014, the Jonathan government released a white paper on the report. The Buhari administration after re-examining the white paper also released a second white paper in August 2022, but did not implement the report.

 

However, the Tinubu administration has decided to confront the monster of high governance cost by implementing elements of the report.

 

An eight-man committee has a 12-week deadline to ensure that the necessary legislative amendments and administrative restructuring needed to implement the reforms are effected in an efficient manner.

 

The committee comprises Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General and Justice Minister, Budget and Planning Minister, DG Bureau of Public Service Reform, Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Special assistant to the president on National Assembly. The Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as the secretariat.

 

Key recommendations for implementation:

 

1. National Salaries, Income and wages Commission to be subsumed under Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission. The National Assembly will need to amend the constitution as RMAFC was established by the constitution.

 

2. Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to be merged with Bureau of Public Enterprise and be rechristened as `Public Enterprises and Infrastructural Concession Commission

 

3. National Human Rights Commission to swallow Public Complaints Commission

 

4. Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by Federal Ministry of Finance

 

5. NEMA and National Commission for Refugees to be fused to become National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission

 

6. Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission

 

7. NACA and NCDC to be merged

 

8. SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform(BPSR)

 

9. NALDA to return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

 

10. Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA

 

11. National Commission for Museums and Monuments and National Gallery of Arts to become one entity that will be known as National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.

 

12. National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe.

 

13. Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa and Directorate of Technical Aid Corp to be merged under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

14. Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

15. Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria

 

16. National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to be emerged into an agency to be known as National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency(NBRDA).

 

17. National Institute for Leather Science Technology and National Institute for Chemical Technology to become one agency.

 

18. Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to become one agency.

 

19. The National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.

 

20. National Institute for Trypanosomiasis to be subsumed under Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.

According to the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga who released the details, the list is not exhaustive.

* Unease in Aviation Sector

Meanwhile, there’s an uneasy calm in the nation’s aviation sector over the proposed merger of some agencies as some experts believe that such an action will go against International Civil Aviation Organisation regulations.

The trio of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) were recommended to be merged into a new body to be known as the Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA) and their respective enabling laws amended accordingly to reflect the merger.

Chris-Aligbe, a former image maker of the defunct Nigerian Airways, in an earlier interview, has faulted the plan by the Nigerian government to merge the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, saying it is not the best thing to do.

Mr Aligbe said that each of the agencies proposed to be merged had its specific function under the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“I was shocked to the marrow when I heard it. the decision is funny,” he said.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the regulatory body for aviation in Nigeria. It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 by the National Assembly and assented to by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act was further amended in 2022.

The Act not only empowers the authority to regulate aviation safety without political interference, but also to carry out oversight functions of airports, airspace, meteorological services as well as economic regulations of the industry.

While the NCAA is the apex regulatory body in the country, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is an air navigation service provider with a mandate to manage the Nigerian airspace to a level consistent with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation standard and recommended practices.

The agency is also designed to increase Air Traffic Management (ATM) capacity in order to manage the increasing air traffic volume and simultaneously reduce delays, to enhance service quality and reduce cost for airspace users.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) came into existence by an Act of the National Assembly – NIMET (Establishment) Act 2003, enacted on May 21, 2003, and became effective on June 19, 2003 following presidential assent. The Act was also amended by the immediate past government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is a Federal Government agency charged with the responsibility of advising the government on all aspects of meteorology; project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather (and climate) forecasts for the safe operations of aircrafts, ocean going vessels and oil rigs.

The Act also makes it the responsibility of the agency to observe, collate, collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside; co-ordinate research activities among staff, and publish scientific papers in the various branches of meteorology in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.

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FAAC SHARES N 1,149.816 BILLION JANUARY 2024 REVENUE TO FG, STATES AND LGs

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Accountant General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein

By Elizabeth Okwe

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N1,149.816 Trillion January 2024 Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.

The revenue was shared at the February 2024 meeting of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) chaired by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun

According to a communique issued by FAAC, the N1,149.816 Trillion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N463.079 billion, distributable Value Added Tax (VAT) revenue of N391.787 billion, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) revenue of N15.922 billion and Exchange Difference revenue of N279.028 billion.

Total revenue of N2,068.154 billion was available in the month of January 2024. Total deductions for cost of collection was N78.412 billion, total transfers, interventions and refunds was N639.926 billion and savings was N200.000 billion.

Gross statutory revenue of N1,151.808 billion was received for the month of January 2024. This was higher than the sum of N875.382 billion received in the month of December 2023 by N 276.426 billion.

The gross revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) in January 2024 was N420.733 billion. This was lower than the N492.506 billion available in the month of December 2023 by N71.773 billion.

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Former Deputy Governors, Others Call for Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution over Theft of N100 billion

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Alhaji Sule Iyaji, former Deputy Governor of Benue State

Two former Deputy Governors, Alh. Sule Iyaji and Elder Simon Achuba of Benue and Kogi States respectively on Monday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and other anti-graft agencies to arrest and prosecute former Governor Yahaya Bello for allegedly stealing and embezzling well over N100 billion from Kogi State coffers.

This, they stated, will serve as deterrent to other public servants within and outside the state.

The group also wants the anti-corrupt agencies to beam their searchlight and bring the former Governor Yahaya Bello to account for misappropriating over N1 trillion that accrued to the state as according to them, in his 8 years of maladministration.

Addressing the media at the stakeholders meeting in Abuja, Iyaji who spoke on behalf of the group, said the meeting was prompted by series of infractions, abuse of power, intimidation and encroachments on the rights of the people in the state by the previous and present administrations.

Yahaya Bello
Kogi Stakeholders want him arrested and tried for corruption

“That EFCC should assist in the recovery of Kogi state Assets in various locations that former Governor Bello sold to himself at giveaway prices vide his cronies and agents acting at his behest.” They said.

In a unanimous declaration, they added: “We, the stakeholders noted with dismay the wanton corruption, extra judicial killings, crass misappropriations of the over N1 trillion that accrued to the state as revenue throughout the tenure of the administration of the former Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, the promotion of thuggery and brigandage, rent seeking, absence of visible and tangible developments in the state and promotion of ethnic politics in the state leading to the imposition of his cousin, Governor Ododo on the state as his successor.”

While condemning the eventual declaration of Alh. Usman Ododo as the purported winner of the said election, they condemned killings of indigenes of Kogi East and takeovers of some fishing and agrarian communities in Omala and Dekina Local Government Areas by herders.

Iyaji said the Illegal sales of Kogi state Government properties in kogi East, other parts of Kogi state, Abuja, Lagos and Kaduna by the administration of former Governor Yahaya Bello was deliberated and a source of concern to the stakeholders.

 

On the urgent need for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to call the the Kogi State Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr. Bethrand Onuoha to order, they averred that the continuous retention of of the CP who has alledgedly and confessed to extra judicial murder of their compatriots and serving police officers at the behest of the ormer Governor Yahaya Bello.

 

They said: “The stakeholders also noted the unlawful acts of dethronement of four (4) traditional rulers across the state by the former Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello in one day and the threat by Governor Ododo to replicate same in kogi east and other parts of Kogi State.

 

“The meeting moved against illegal mining activities all over Kogi East and other parts of kogi state by armed thugs of former Governor Yahaya Bello.”

 

According to them, Governor Ododo has demonstrated his poor sense of history and judgment by taking on the Ata Igala, Mathew Opaluwa Oguche Akpa 11, in his first action as Governor of kogi state, adding that the Ata, represents and he is the alter ego of an ancient tradition and people that dates back to the 13th century and hence should not and must not be ridiculed against the established protocol by anyone, not to talk of Governor Ododo whose emergence is a sham, and the position being strongly contested in court.

 

They added: “We noted with horrific amazement the abandonment of governance and decency by a bench warmer like Ododo, who recently declared himself unfit for the high office of state Governor, and unconstitutional establishment of the office of immediate past governor, now attempting to denigrate the ancient traditional institutions by claiming to forget to acknowledge the presence of the number one traditional ruler in the state at his inauguration as Governor.

 

“The stakeholders cautioned that, Ododo should retreat from the back of Yahaya Bello who was driven by vendetta and irresponsible use of constitutional powers wherein he dethroned four (4) first class rulers in a single day, just few hours to the end of his tenure without any just cause.”

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