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NIGERIA TO BEGIN PHASED EASING OF LOCKDOWN MAY 4TH

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Nigeria is to begin a phased eating of the lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory and other parts of the country on May 2nd, with the exception of Kano State where the recent total lockdown ordered by the State Government would remain in place.

There and other pronouncements were part of the Presidential address by President Muhammadu Buhari Monday night.
Below is the full text of the address:

1. Fellow Nigerians

2. I will start by commending you all for the resilience and patriotism that you have shown in our collective fight against the biggest health challenge of our generation.

3. As at yesterday, 26th April 2020, some three million confirmed cases of COVID nineteen have been recorded globally with about nine hundred thousand recoveries. Unfortunately, some two hundred thousand people have also diedpassed away as a result of this pandemic.

4. The health systems and economies of many nations continue to struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

5. Nigeria continues to adopt and adapt to these new global realities on a daily basis. This evening, I will present the facts as they are and explain our plans for the coming month knowing fullyfully aware that some key variables and assumptions may change in the coming days or weeks.

6. Exactly two weeks ago, there were three hundred and twenty three confirmed cases in 20 States and the Federal Capital Territory.

7. As at this morning, Nigeria has recorded one thousand two hundred and seventy-three cases across 32 States and the FCT. Unfortunately, these casesthis includes 40 deathsfatalities.

8. I will useam using this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the families of all Nigerians that have lost their lives loved ones as a result of the COVID nineteen Pandemic. This is our collective loss and we share in your grief.

9. Initial models predicted that Nigeria will record an estimated two thousand confirmed cases in the first month after the index case.

10. This means that despite the drastic increase in the number of confirmed cases recorded in the past two weeks, the measures we have put in place thus far have yielded positive outcomes against the projections.

11. The proportion of cases imported from other countries has reduced to only 19% of new cases, showing that our border closures yielded positive results. . These are mostly fellow Nigerians returning through our land borders. We will continue to enforce land border arrival protocols as part of the containment strategy.

12. Today, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has accredited 15 laboratories across the country with an aggregate capacity to undertake 2,500 tests per day across the country.

13. Based on your feedback, Lagos the State Government and the FCT with support from NCDC is hasve established several sample collection centers in Lagos and the FCT. They are also reviewing their laboratory testing strategy to further increase the number of tests they can perform including the accreditation of selected private laboratories that meet the accreditation criteria.

14. Several new fully equipped treatment and isolation centres have been operationalised across the country thereby increasing bed capacity to about three thousand. At this point, I will commend the State Governors for the activation of State-level Emergency Operation Centres, establishment of new treatment centres and the delivery of aggressive risk communication strategies.

15. Over ten thousand healthcare workers have been trained. For their protection, additional personal protective equipment have been distributed to all the states. Although we have experienced logistical challenges, we remain committed to establish a solid supply chain process to ensure these heroic professionals are can work safely and are properly equipped.

16. In keeping with our Government’s promise to improve the welfare of healthcare workers, we have signed a memorandum of understanding on the provision of hazard allowances and other incentives with key health sector professional associations. We have also procured insurance cover for five thousand frontline health workers. At this point, I must commend the insurance sector for their support in achieving this within a short period of time.

17. Nigeria has also continued to receive support from the international community, multilateral agencies, the private sector and public-spirited individuals. This support has ensured that critical lifesaving equipment and materials, which have become scarce globally, are available for Nigeria through original equipment manufacturers and government-to-government processes.

18. The distribution and expansion of palliatives which I directed in my earlier broadcast is still on going in a transparent manner. I am mindful of the seeming frustration being faced by expectant citizens. I urge all potential beneficiaries to exercise patience as we continue to fine tune our logistical and distribution processes working with the State Governments.

18.19. I have directed the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions to make further plans and provisions for financial stimulus packages for small and medium scale enterprises. We recognise the critical role that they play in Nigeria’s economy.

19.20. Our Security Agencies continue to rise to the challenge posed by this unusual situation. While we feel deeply concerned about isolated security incidents involving hoodlums and miscreants, I want to assure all Nigerians that your safety and security remains our primary concern especially in these exceedingly difficult and uncertain times. As we focus on protecting lives and properties, we will not tolerate any human rights abuses by our security agencies. The few reported incidences are regrettableregrettable, and I want to assure you that the culprits will be brought to justice.

20. I urge all Nigerians to continue to cooperate and show understanding whenever they encounter security agents. Furthermore, for their protection, I have instructed the personnel of the security agencies be provided with the necessary personal protective equipment for their own protection.
21.

21.22. As we continue to streamline our response in the epicenters of Lagos and the FCT, I remain am concerned about the unfortunate developments in Kano in recent days. Although an in-depth investigation is still ongoing, we have decided to deploy additional Federal Government human, material and technical resources to strengthen and support the State Government’s efforts. We will commence implementation immediately.

22.23. In Kano, and indeed many of other States that are recording new cases, preliminary findings show that such cases are mostly from interstate travel and emerging community transmission.

23.24. Drawing from these, I implore all Nigerians to continue to adhere strictly to the advisories published by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. These include rRegular hand washing, social physical distancing, wearing of face masks/coverings in public, avoidance of non-essential movement and travels and avoidance of large gatherings remain paramount.

24.25. Fellow Nigerians, for the past four weeks, most parts of our country have been under either Federal Government or State Government lockdowns. As I mentioned earlier, these steps were necessary and overall, have contributed to slowing down the spread of COVID nineteen in Nigeria.

25.26. However, such lock downs have also coame at a very heavy economic cost. Many of our citizens have lost their means of livelihoods. Many businesses have also shut down. No country can afford the full impact of a sustained lockdown while awaiting the development of vaccines or cures.

26.27. In my last address, I mentioned the Federal Government will develop strategies and policies that will protect lives while preserving livelihoods.

27.28. In these two weeks, the Federal and State Governments have jointly and collaboratively worked hard on thishow to balance the need to protect health while also preserving livelihoods, leveraging global best practice while keeping in mind our peculiar circumstances.

28.29. We looked atassessed how our factories, markets, traders and transporters can continue to function while at the same time respecting adhering to the NCDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.

29.30. We assessed how our children can continue to learn without compromising their health.

30.31. We reviewed how our farmers can safely plant and harvest in this rainy season to ensure our food security is not compromised. Furthermore, we also discussed how to safely transport food items from rural production areas to industrial processing zones and ultimately, to the key consumption centers.

31.32. Our goal was to develop implementable policies that will ensure our economy continues to function with while still maintaining our aggressive response to the COVID nineteen pandemic. These same difficult decisions are being faced by leaders around the world.

32.33. Based on the above and in line with the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on COVID nineteen, the various Federal Government committees that have reviewed socio-economic matters and the Nigeria Governors Forum, I have approved for a phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States effective from Saturday, 2nd May, 2020 at 9am.

33.34. However, this will be followed strictly with aggressive reinforcement of testing and contact tracing measures while allowing the restoration of some economic and business activities in certain sectors.

34.35. The highlights of the new nationwide measures are as follows;
a. Selected businesses and offices can open from 9am to 6pm;
b. There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements are will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
c. There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
d. There will be Ppartial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allowfor the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
e. We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene. Furthermore, the restrictions of on social and religious gathers shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.

35.36. For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos & Ogun States shall subsist remain in place until these new ones come into effect on Saturday, 2nd May 2020 at 9am.

36.37. The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector specific details and timing guidelines to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses and institutions.
37. The above are guidelines. State Governors may choose to amend adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued aboveon public health and hygiene.
38.
38.39. These revised guidelines do will not apply for to Kano State. The total lockdown recently announced by the State Government shall remain enforced be enforced for the full duration. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic.

39.40. I wish to once again commend the frontline workers across the country who, on a daily basis, risk everything to ensure we win this fight. For those who got infected in the line of duty, be rest assured that Government will do all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period. I will also take this opportunity to assure you all that your safety, wellbeing and welfare remains paramount to our Government.

40.41. I will also recognize recognise the support we have received from our traditional rulers, the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and other prominent religious and community leaders. Your cooperation and support has significantly contributed to the successes we have recorded to date. I will urge you all to please continue to create awareness on the seriousness of coronavirus among your worshippers and communities while appealing that they strictly comply with public health advisories.

41.42. I will also thank the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Presidential Task Force for all their hard work to date. Through this collaboration, I remain confident that success is achievable.

42.43. I also wish to thank corporate organisations, philanthropists, the UN family, the European Union, friendly nations, the media and other partners that have taken up the responsibility of supporting our response.

43.44. And finally, I will thank all Nigerians again for your patience and cooperation during this difficult and challenging period. I assure you that government shall continue to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and livelihoods our citizens and residents.
39. I thank you 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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