​COVID-19: FG shuts bars, nightclubs; restricts guests at weddings to 50

The Federal Government has ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, and restaurants across the country, just as it reduced the number of guests at weddings, conferences, among others, to 50, following the second wave of COVID-19.

These were part of the new measures President Muhammadu Buhari has approved to curtail the further spread of COVID-19 across the country.

Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja on Monday.

Boss Mustapha said: “The PTF has surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed our domestic environment and has, accordingly, submitted its recommendations to Mr. President on immediate measures to be taken.

“Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the PTF to engage with the states and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.

“In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events:

“Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues; close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed;

“Restrict all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 persons;

“Limit All gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing; mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced, and

“Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only.”

​2023: Ukiwe, Nwodo, Anyim, others begin moves to actualize Igbo presidency project

Notable Igbo sons and daughters have begun moves to elicit the support of other regional blocs for the realization of south east presidency project in 2023.

They therefore called on every Nigerian to key into the project, saying time has come for the country to produce its next president from the zone.

The Igbo leaders spoke at the just concluded 6th World Igbo Summit which took place at the Gregory University Uturu, Abia State over the weekend.

Themed “Enduring Future for Ndigbo: Expectations and Challenges”, the Summit was essentially aimed at reawakening the Igbo consciousness and ensuring that Ndigbo become more organized and cohesive, making their voices, demanding for restructuring Nigeria and networking for Nigeria’s presidency of Igbo extraction, loudest.

The meeting which was attended by great leaders of Igbo extraction was chaired by former Chief of General Staff/Vice President of Nigeria, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (Rtd).

In attendance both physically and virtual were the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who also declared the Summit open.

The meeting also attracted the Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onuh and the former Senate President and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.

Others who attended included General (Sen) Ike Nwachukwu, Professor Joe Irukwu, Professor George Obiozor, Professor Ihechukwu Madubuike, Professor Greg Ibe, Iyom Josephine Anenih, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, Professor Godson Uwakwe, Dr Okey Ikechukwu, and so many other Igbo great intellectuals, professionals, businessmen, Civil society activists, gender advocates and other experts of Igbo extraction residing in different parts of the world.

A communique drawn at the end of the conference, jointly signed by Gen. Nwachukwu; Prof. Obiozor, Prof. Ibe, Iyom Josephine Anenih and Dr. Okwenna and made available to Vanguard in Abuja on Sunday also enjoined all Igbo politicians to prevail on their different political parties to ensure the inclusion of rotational presidency clause in their respective constitutions.

The Igbo group also insisted on restructuring of the country to achieve rapid economic growth and development.

The communique read thus: “After a two-day deliberation, the Summit resolved as follows:

“As Ndigbo, we shall continuously seek for a system or polity that guarantees and secures our social, political and economic interest in Nigeria, based on equality of citizenship, equity and justice.

“That we shall diligently and boldly work hard to convince other Nigerians to support Igbo’s quest to become the President of Nigeria as 2023 is the right time for Ndigbo to occupy the seat of the Presidency of Nigeria.

“To this end, the summit therefore urges Igbo politicians to ensure that their respective political parties produce candidates of Igbo extraction as presidential candidate of their respective political parties

“We call Igbo legislators in the National Assembly to seek collaboration with members from other zones to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate a provision that compels INEC to ensure rotation clause in parties constitution, as a requirement for registration, while all our sons and daughters in any political party strive to ensure “rotation of Presidency” Clause in their party constitution.

“The Summit urge Ndigbo to remain politically active and conscious to ensure that the about 26 million registered voting strength of Ndigbo all over Nigeria are effectively mobilized, through regular voter education to strengthen the capacity of the zone to negotiate and ultimately win the Presidency.

“That Ndigbo know that they can only realize their aspiration through persuasion of other Nigerians and are therefore ready and are engaging other Nigerians and people, and are not antagonistic and abusive as some people are wrongly asserting.

“The summit reaffirmed the urgent need for restructuring of Nigeria to allow for growth and development in line with resolutions of the 2014 National Conference and The Awka declaration of Ndigbo on the restructuring of Nigeria.

“The Summit acknowledged the fact that Ndigbo has substantial investments and is doing business in various parts of the country, we call on the Federal Government to ensure the security of lives and property of all Nigeria, particularly Ndigbo, as they are usually the main target of hoodlums in times of crisis.

“The Summit expresses their appreciation to the Chancellor and Management of Gregory University for being a wonderful host and for their commitment to the re-engineering of Igbo growth and development through her Igbo Renaissance Center.

“The Summit was organized to bring together Igbo elders, leaders and great minds to x-ray the historic and contemporary realities in Nigeria today, the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic, the EndSARS phenomenon and its resetting agenda on the socioeconomic and political landscape of Nigeria, and proffer options to achieving the set targets for Ndigbo going forward.”

​COVID-19: Lagos govt dismisses purported plan to lockdown economy

Lagos State Government on Sunday dispelled widespread rumour of plans to reimpose lockdown in the state, describing it as baseless, untrue.

This came following panic buying of foodstuff and other household items by residents as a result of viral rumour of reimposition of lockdown by the state government any moment from this week.

Also, recall that Sanwo-Olu, had last Friday, read the riot acts banning carnivals, concerts, and street parties until further notice, following the increase in coronavirus cases in the state.

Sanwo-Olu, in a statement, also returned the restriction that in places of worship in the state, no gathering must exceed 50 per cent of the maximum capacity of the venue.

He said, “This same disregard for Coronavirus guidelines is also being observed with Places of Worship across the State, in both their regular gatherings and the special gatherings organized to commemorate this Season.

“This is certainly not the time to lower our guard against the Coronavirus; it is instead time to step up our battle against this stubborn virus that has gripped the world for several months now.

“We cannot afford another lockdown of the economy. Amid an economic recession we must find a way to delicately balance the imperatives of life and livelihood. With this in mind, the only solution available to us is to take responsibility for all our actions, and to understand that we must stay safe not only for ourselves but for the sake of the entire society.

“We will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any person or organization caught breaching our public health regulations and protocols with regards to the Coronavirus disease.”

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, who gave the clarification when contacted, urged residents to ignore such statement and go about their lawful businesses.

While giving clarification to Vanguard, Omotoso, simply said, ” There is no such plans. We have issued guidelines that people should follow to keep us safe and sound. Lagosians are urged to obey the guidelines.”

On the free testing, the commissioner stressed that the state government had reiterated its call on residents to avail themselves of the free COVID-19 testing services offered at approved public laboratories across the State.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Information and Strategy, listed the four locations as Lagos State Bio-Bank (Located inside the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba); Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH, CHAZVY); Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Yaba; and Central Public Health Laboratory, Yaba (Operated by NCDC).

While advising anyone with symptoms that fit the case definition of COVID-19 to visit any of the Centres for testing free-of-charge, the State Government also urged residents to call the EKOTELEMED toll-free line on 08000356633 to speak with any of its medical personnel “24 hours a day, seven days a week for inquiries.”

Though, the state government had earlier said it might impose a new lockdown and return other measures if there was a recurrence of high cases of coronavirus in the state.

This was contained in a press statement by the state Ministry of Health few weeks back, titled, ‘Lagos calls for precautions against second wave of COVID-19’.

The statement quoted the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, as saying that many countries around the world have found it necessary to impose a second lockdown and restriction of movements, which have significant socio-economic and security consequences.

The commissioner, however, warned that “the continuous flagrant disregard of safety guidelines by citizens heralds’ danger and may lead to a second wave of new infections in Lagos”.

Part of the statement read, “The Lagos State Government has once again stressed the need for residents to strictly adhere to precautionary measures against COVID-19 infection transmission to prevent a recurrence of the situation that led to the lockdown of the economy.

“A resurgence of cases in Lagos may lead to the reversal of the strategically calculated measures put in place by the Government to open up the economy.

“The first wave of coronavirus started in December 2019 and swept through an unprepared world. The first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria was recorded in Lagos on the 27th of February 2020. Lagos has since become the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria with a record of 21,107 confirmed cases and 212 deaths from the virus till date.”

Abayomi advised citizens against unnecessary movement and social gatherings, “unless it is absolutely necessary stressing that travelling into and outside the country should be discouraged except when absolutely necessary”.

He said, “The erroneous belief that COVID-19 has been conquered and is no more in Nigeria should be discarded. Based on our data, this assumption is invalid. It creates a false sense of security among the citizens causing many to abandon the use of face masks and other safety measures and protocols put in place by the Government.

​Edo APC demands Governor Obaseki’s resignation

Edo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has called for the resignation of Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state over allegation of broken down security situation, disobedience of court order and that the state government was securing a N25b loan without disclosure of what it was being used for.

In a reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chris Nehikhare, said the APC has resorted to a wild goose chase to “oust the governor even as they continue to run from pillar to post to undo the will of Edo people.”

A statement on Sunday by chairman caretaker committee of the APC, Col David Imuse (rtd) said “No one is safe in Edo. The state is under siege. We have a governor who has lost focus. Fear and insecurity has become the order of the day”.

Imuse added that Obaseki has refused to obey a court judgment that declared the removal of the chairman of Estako East local government chairman from office as illegal and should be returned to office by allegedly mobilising “thugs to seal up the entrance of the Council Secretariat at Agenebode, denying the Chairman access.

“Because Edo state is designed to be governed by relevant laws, Edo APC is ready to take the bull by the horns, as it can no longer condone a governor who has no regard for the rule of law”.

The Edo APC Chairman who also blamed Obaseki for making Edo the third most indebted state in the country, wondered why he would “clamdestinely” resort to borrowing the sum of N25billion from the capital market without telling Edo people, why and what it will be used for.”

But in is reaction to the removal of the council chairman, Nehikhare said the state government was law abiding as it has appealed against the judgment and filed for stay of execution of the ruling while on the N25 loan, he said it was “a developmental loan secured by the state government to develop and revitalise critical infrastructures.

”The Edo State House of Assembly, which represents the Edo people also approved the loan months ago. To Imuse and his ilk, a loan approved by a state House of Assembly was secretly secured. This is irresponsible and garrulous talk”.

He said Obaseki was already assisting the police to rebuild destroyed police stations as a result of the violent turn of #EndSASR protests despite security being in the purview of the federal government.