​COVID-19: FG to review Jan 18 school resumption date

The Federal Government on Monday said it would review the January 18 earlier date fixed for resumption of schools across Nigeria .

It attributed the decision to the second wave of COVID -19 currently ravaging the country .

The Minister of Education , Adamu Adamu , disclosed this while answering questions during a press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 in Abuja .

Adamu said , “It ( January 18 date of school reopening ) is not sacrosanct. When we decided on that date it was just a target towards what we were working on. Of course , we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.

“Even today ( Monday ) at the PTF meeting , we looked at the rising figures and thought about if we should probably take another look at it. On the January 18 resumption, we are reviewing it, we are going to review it. At the PTF meeting today ( Monday ) we considered it and tomorrow ( today , Tuesday ) , the Ministry is going to take it up .”

​18-year-old girl sets lover ablaze after quarrel in Benue

An 18-year-old girl, name withheld, has been apprehended by the Police after she allegedly set her boyfriend ablaze after a quarrel in the Wadata area of Makurdi town.

It was gathered from an eyewitness that the teenage girl carried out the dastardly act Monday morning at about 2 am when the victim was fast asleep.

According to him “the loud scream from the victim attracted the attention of neighbours who rushed to help him but he had already suffered much burns.

“The neighbours immediately rushed him to the nearby Makurdi Federal Medical Centre, FMC, where he was admitted for treatment,” he said.

When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Deputy Superintendent, DSP, Catherine Anene who confirmed the incident said the 18-year-old poured petrol round the victim’s one-room apartment before setting it on fire.

“We don’t know yet why she did that. We are yet to question her but I can confirm that she has been arrested and just brought to our custody.

“The incident happened about 2:00 am today (Monday) at Zaki Biam street in Wadata. We will let you know further details,” the PPRO said.

This latest incident is coming just a few weeks after a man in his 40s, identified as Nicodemus Nomwange, set himself and his girlfriend, Shiminenge Pam, ablaze at the High-Level area of Makurdi town. And within the same period a young woman also allegedly set her lover ablaze in his residence on Shaahu Road in Gboko town.

​Inferno: Minister wants reorganization of Kugbo furniture market

Disturbed by the frequency of fire outbreaks in Kugbo Furniture Market in the Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC, Federal Capital Territory FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has called for the reorganization and remodelling of the market.

Special Assistant on Media to the minister, Mr Austin Elemue in a statement on Monday said Dr Aliyu made the call when she visited victims of the Kugbo inferno.

The minister also commended critical stakeholders for the prompt response, stressing that the spirit of sportsmanship exhibited shows that much would be achieved by doing things together.

While pledging that the FCT Administration would see how best to assist the victims, she, however, tasked traders to take precautionary measures as most of the goods sold in the market are highly inflammable, revealing that the personnel of FCT Fire Service is poised to train traders on how to curtail fire outbreak.

She also commended the traders for assisting the victims to salvage some of the damaged goods, noting that in most cases of inferno, unscrupulous elements seized the opportunity to cart away other people’s belongings.

“This is sad especially in this very difficult period that we are all grappling with the economic situation and how to survive with our little businesses. Nevertheless, I must also quickly sympathize with victims of this inferno that led to the loss of property.

“We must also thank God that there was no loss of life, but at the same time, we must say a big thank you in appreciation to our first respondents who came to contain this ugly incident such as FCT Fire Service, FEMA, NEMA, and other stakeholders especially those who quickly came to our aid, like the Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force.

“These critical stakeholders and the hands of fellowship extended to the FCT Administration shows that with togetherness we can conquer. We must say a very big thank you to all of you because the disaster could have been worse than this if not for your prompt intervention.

“And for all those who lost their property, it is not because they have offended God in one way or the other. We should take it in good fate and God’s willing, FCT will do everything at its best to ensure that we put an end to these ugly occurrences.

“We will look forward to the reorganization of the market. Thank God there is a skeletal space for the fire trucks to move in, and we need to improve on it in terms of creating more spaces to make it more motorable. FCT Emergency Management Agency will come and take stock of the extent of damaged goods, even though we have some figures here”.

Conducting the minister round the scene, the Acting Director FCT Fire Service, Malam Sani Sa’idu, said the fire outbreak could be linked to an electrical surge, adding that over 80 timber shades and 300 furniture shops were affected by the inferno.

Sa’idu also maintained that as soon as the service received the information from Kugbo residents, the service deployed personnel from Nyanya and Karu and then activated the Federal Fire Service, before the intervention of firefighters from the Nigeria Army, Air Force and the Navy.

​774,000 jobs meant to tackle insecurity, unemployment — Aregbesola

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has disclosed that the Extended Special Public Works programme (ESPW) was conceived as a strategy to tackle growing unemployment and insecurity in the country.

Aregbesola, who spoke during the flag-off of the Osun State special public works programme at the Local Government Service Commission, Government Secretariat, Abere Osun State.

The Minister who was represented by the former Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security in the State, Mr Kunle Ige, said the programme is aimed at addressing the most vulnerable people in the society from the economic effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ESPW is an outcome of the Pilot Special Public Works Programme in the Rural Area approved by President Muhammadu Buhari and implemented by the NDE in early 2020.

“The pilot programme was implemented in eight states of the Federation in order to gauge its impact on addressing the ballooning population of the unemployed and rising insecurity in some parts of the country. This strategy was adopted to fast-track the achievement of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020).

“However, with the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, President Buhari directed the Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) under the chairmanship of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to craft economic measures to cushion the adverse socio-economic effects of the pandemic.

“The ESC delivered on its task with despatch and hence the key sectors of the economy underwent vigorous scrutiny and a blueprint termed the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) was developed with the various core Ministries steering the implementation of the approved programmes.

“Under the NESP, the Ministry of labour and Employment decided to adopt a proactive approach by engaging the nation’s youths in some important sectors of the economy. This strategy is intended to facilitate the creation of productive and inclusive societies in our nation.

“It is also aimed at shielding the most vulnerable from the ravaging effects of COVID-19 which include, but are not limited to, pervasive hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, and joblessness.

“The need to quickly address the above mentioned informed the decision to implement the ESPW. As I address you today, our target is to immediately engage the 774,000 selected unemployed Nigerians for the programme to execute carefully selected projects across the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

“Each participating Local Government identified its preferred projects and will be responsible for ensuring that they are executed as planned. It is instructive to mention that all the tools and equipment required have been provided hence the Federal Government expects strong commitment from all stakeholders in ensuring efficient implementation.

“Although the ESPW is an ephemeral strategy (to last for three months, 5th January-4th April 2021); I am convinced that it will provide the necessary economic palliatives to these 774,000 unemployed youths. Added to this, the youth who diligently participate in the project’s implementation may deploy the knowledge /skills acquired to become self-employed. In addition, the government and the organized private sector may in due course create/provide exit options”, he said.

In his address, the State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his Administration’s commitment and keen interest in youth empowerment, saying the initiative was in line with Osun’s Development Agenda aimed at guaranteeing and securing a better future for the teeming youths in the State.

Oyetola who was represented by his Deputy, Mr. Benedict Alabi, said the Administration has developed workable modalities named “Osun Youth Policy” that articulates the government’s vision, objectives, and plans in driving its focused agenda for the young people.

The governor urged the beneficiaries of the programme to justify the confidence reposed in them by using the opportunity provided by the government to give their best in the service of the nation and the State.

He said “The programme, though a short-term response to the rising spate of unemployment in our country, deserves to be commended for its ambitious coverage and transparent recruitment process.