Lekan Paul

Protecting Lives And Livelihood During And After The Pandemic: Nigeria Has A Viable Plan, By Richard Ogundiya

Many states in Nigeria have taken drastic measures including total lockdowns and border closures in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19. Most of the country’s workforce, precisely 80 per cent fall under the informal sector and are daily earners. For Nigeria’s urban and extreme poor, social distancing is an arduous and impossible task to achieve. However, the presidency and state governments have kickstarted several rescue palliatives targeted at vulnerable citizens and businesses, whilst providing health workers at the frontline of the pandemic with the support they need.

One day we will have to reopen the economy and lift the shutdowns no matter how long. We’ll need to hold out until the outbreak shows signs of receding, or perhaps the economic suffering will prove intolerable both to those in charge and to other Nigerians irrespective of class and status. COVID-19 will disrupt several sectors and give rise to a new era of human development.

The Economic Sustainability Committee inaugurated by President Buhari and chaired by his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is working to calculate the magnitude of the shock and sharpening their tools to save the economy from collapse. This focus includes job protection, income security, food supplies, and the general welfare of the most vulnerable people among us.

The committee which is also set up to save banks, prevent fiscal ruin, and safeguard future generations is made up of Ministers of Finance, Budget and Planning; Industry, Trade and Investment; Labor and Employment; Minister of State Petroleum Resources; CBN Governor, NNPC Group Managing Director and Permanent Secretary of the cabinet secretariat as the committee secretary.

The group is working on a full Sustainability Report detailing fiscal and monetary measures that will enhance Nigeria’s oil and non-oil revenues, develop a stimulus package and other clear-cut measures to create more jobs while keeping existing ones.

They have met regularly since the beginning of April, mostly via teleconferencing in adherence to physical distancing guidelines.

On Monday, 20th of April, the Vice President and other members met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to share and exchange recommendations that will plunge the country’s economy to new heights between now and 2023. The World Bank Group is acting quickly to step up support as countries respond to the crisis and manage a plethora of consequences including the risk of a global recession. The Bank Group expects to deploy up to $160 billion over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. 

It is great to see Osinbajo and his team work tirelessly to secure the future of Nigerians in a Post-Covid world through decisive, collective action and innovation. The committee says it is set to deliver the report to the President in the following week, it will contain robust and wide-ranging policies, strategies and visons necessary to sustain the economy and livelihood of Nigerians. 

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COVID-19: Young Nigerians Unveil Portal To Combat Coronavirus Infodemic In Africa

Following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID 19) in Wuhan China, confirmed cases of the virus have continued to escalate in many parts of the world and Africa, so also has a secondary issue of global concern that the World Health Organization has termed an ‘infodemic’ “an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” 

Two young Nigerian media expert, Solomon Adetokunbo a Public Relations entrepreneur and Samuel Ejiwunmi a lecturer of media & communication studies at the University of Lagos have risen to the task of combating the challenge of COVID-19 infodemic in Nigeria and Africa at large by developing an information & data driven fact checking portal named Coronavirus Fact Checkwww.coronavirusfactcheck.ng

Pandemics like Ebola, Coronavirus amongst others, has led to misinformation, rumours and fake news. During the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria in 2014, a WhatsApp broadcast made the rounds: “Please ensure that you and your family and all your neighbours bathe with hot water and salt before daybreak today because of Ebola virus which is spreading through the air. “Although the government officially debunked it, at least two people died and several others were hospitalized over excessive salt consumption. Similar situations are being repeated with people peddling fake coronavirus cures online and other conspiracy theories that have led to irreparable damage and loss of lives.

The Coronavirus Fact Check platform pools together different resources to solve infodemic.  This includes fact-checked news story garnered from trusted media outlets, real-time visual representation of the spread of COVID-19 in 54 African countries featuring an array of real-time data, statistical indicators, dashboards, and other types of data that enable visitors to explore the data and better understand the Coronavirus pandemic from a local, national and continental context. Information and data on the portal are generated from datasets shared and reported by local and international health organizations, news outlets, and other trusted sources, notable partners include Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Google’s Fact Check Explorer, Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN).

The “Resources Page” a very interesting and fact filled one provides tips for staying safe at home and a self-explanatory screening tool to ascertain your health status. Aside this, a fact check guide is embedded in the page to tutor users on how to identify fake news and cross check with fact-based websites. The portal which is now live can be accessed from any part of the world.

Echoing the comments of the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres; who described the coronavirus infodemic as a common enemy, Solomon Adetokunbo remarked that flattening the infodemic curve will only be possible through a joint effort by multi-stakeholders from across globe, “as such we considered it necessary to rise to the occasion and be the voice from Africa providing an information/data narrative that meets the yearning of our people, thus ending the COVID-19 data dearth for Nigeria and Africa.”

Even so, the battle against fake news is likely to last as long as the virus. It is everyone’s duty to be calm, measured and take a more thorough investigation into what may be or not be, to help flatten this curve of dangerous information.

 “We can all play a role in beating the virus by making sure that we are sharing validated information and using trusted sources to inform our decision-making” said Samuel Ejiwunmi who further urged government at various levels and relevant stakeholders to be proactive in fighting COVID-19 as well as ongoing issue of misinformation online revolving around the coronavirus disease.

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APYF Thanks Kwara Governor For Appointing Member As KWASSIP Anchor/Consultant

The national body of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) received with absolute joy the news of the appointment of one of our pioneer and frontline members, Mr. Mohammed Brimoh by the executive governor of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak as the consultant for the newly inaugurated Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP).

On behalf of our teeming progressive members across the country, we wish to express our profound gratitude to HE, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak for finding it worthy to appoint Brimah to this position and as a result help in furthering the vision of our founder for a more deliberate youth inclusion and participation in governance.

Having been a part of the team that pioneered the implementation of the social investments programmes at the federal level since 2015; first as Special Assistant to the President on internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and later Job creation; we have not doubt that Brimah will play a very significant role in shaping the social intervention initiatives of the Kwara state government and deliver on the governor’s mandate of catering to the welfare of the most vulnerable.

We would like to remind His Highness that by this singular gesture, he has again reinforced the hope and aspirations of our members, particularly in Kwara, who have always waited for opportunities such as this to showcase their leadership skill within the realm of public governance.

We would like to warmly congratulate Mr. Mohammed Brimah and the entire APYF family in Kwara State. Indeed, we see the appointment of Brimah as a just reward for your collective and undisguised dedication to the struggle that birthed the present government in Kwara state. We’re confident that more would still come.

Finally, we are confident that Mohammed Brimah, with his versatile mind, proven leadership ability and his well known empathy for the less privileged, will bring his trademark ingenuity and obvious experience to bear in serving the good people of Kwara state.

We therefore appeal to all our teeming members in the state to support and pray for the success of the new appointee as this will further boost the image and reputation of our great forum.

Signed:Ife Adebayo
National Chairman, APYF

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COVID – 19: The Importance Of Protection Considerations In The Government Palliative Measures, By Ibrahim Adamu

COVID – 19 has so far disrupted the social norm and contract around the world. There has been disruption in sources of livelihoods, access to education etc. most especially in countries with high poverty incidence rate in Sub Saharan Africa.

It has therefore, become imperative for both Federal and State Governments in Nigeria to ensure and put into consideration Protection issues like Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the palliative and government response measures.

There is likely to be an increase in the rate of domestic violence due to economic stress and forced              co-existence. Government agencies responsible need to be proactive in ensuring reduction in household tensions through mass community awareness and follow up. This need synergy with local traditional institutions.

Accordingly, men and women may be unable to access their livelihood due to fear of stigmatization, lock down or movement restriction. When food becomes scarce in an emergency like the COVID – 19, it may force households to engage in negative strategies to cope like consuming less food which can lead to other health complications.

In addition, there is clear need to regulate and coordinate the response to mitigate both fraud and the risk of abuse and exploitation in responding to the situation by many actors.

Consequently, the decision by  the Government to support the school feeding program is a welcome development as it will ensure even with the disruption in classes and learning as a result of the closures, there is a reliability in source of food for many children.

Interestingly, of utmost importance for inclusion in the COVID – 19 response planning and palliative measures are the diverse / vulnerable group like older people, people with disabilities and those with underlying diseases. The diverse / vulnerable groups are clearly at risk of both social exclusion and isolation at home – and may be increasingly so in this period. Such groups may be difficult to reach with both support and information, especially in remote areas.

Nevertheless, the women health care providers in the front line working to save lives need to participate and be part of the leadership of the response and coordination to ensure inclusion and diverse views and input.

Finally , those coordinating the response should consider : barriers to accessing information by diverse / vulnerable  groups – Ensure and information is tailored to diverse / vulnerable  groups – And ensure the existence and strengthening of referral pathways especially the location of health facilities and hotlines for prompt communication.

Ibrahim Adamu

Ibrash30@yahoo.com

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Reps To Monitor Chinese Medical Personnel, Says Gbajabiamila

The House of Representatives is to monitor the activities of the Chinese medical personnel that came into the country on Wednesday for the delivery of materials and equipment to the Nigerian government in the fight against coronavirus (covid-19), the Speaker, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila has said.

The Speaker said the need to monitor the movement of the Chinese medical personnel became important following fears expressed by Nigerians over their coming into the country.

This is even as the Speaker mooted a legislation for donation to government by the private sector and individuals, noting that there should be means of discouraging reneging on donations publicly made.

Gbajabiamila made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday during a meeting on the update on Covid-19 between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) where he emphasized the need for legislation for the disbursement of government and private funds for the pandemic.

He said without legislation, coupled with the fact that disbursement of government funds must be as prescribed by law, spending from the Covid-19 funds may become a subject of litigation.

He also expressed disappointment with the disclosure that medical and other personnel at the entry points and hospitals working on the coronavirus pandemic are yet to be paid hazard allowance.

The Speaker inquired from the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire about the whereabouts of the Chinese medical personnel and if they were subjected to the laid down protocol of the disease.

He said: “This engagement is to see how we can make things better. The Chinese medical personnel, are they coming to upgrade our laboratories, are you accepting them? Who are the technicians that have been running the Kaduna and Kano laboratories before now?

“Where are the Chinese personnel as we speak? How are you sure that the Chinese company responsible for this arrangement is complying with your directives?”

The Speaker also said since the disease is highly infectious, let the authorities test as many Nigerians as possible.

“My point is, let us begin to test everybody since the disease is highly infectious. We have a problem of contact tracing with people giving wrong addresses. Have you tried tracing them through the Immigration Service and telecommunication companies since there are other details that can be sourced from those windows?”

On the issue of legislative backing for funds devoted to the Covid-19 cause, the Speaker noted that disbursement from the fund without the approval of the National Assembly could become controversial.

“What we are trying to do is to see if constitutional provision is brought to bear on this issue as stated by Section 80 of the constitution, that disbursement from the coffers of government can only be in a manner prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.

“What we can do is to convene as soon as possible and give you, even if it is a one line item for you to appropriate this monies, this is because to do otherwise may become a subject of litigation, and the court can say you have no power to disburse from the money that is coming to the coffers of government,” Gbajabiamila added.

On the legislation against reneging on donations publicly made, the Speaker said: “Right now, there is no consequence for reneging on promised made on donations because there is no legislation. There must be some form of legislation to that effect, an instrument to compel pledges must be in place.”

In his response, the Minister of Health, Ehanire said the Chinese medical personnel were duly tested and quarantined in a facility belonging to the Chinese company that was responsible for the arrangement.

The Minister also said foreign airlines and embassies were cooperative in solving the challenge of tracing contacts of the indexes of the virus.

On his part, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who is also the Chairman of PTF, Boss Mustapha, in aligning with the position of the Speaker on the need for the legislation also assured that a comprehensive welfare package is being processed.

Others at the meeting that included the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan were the Ministers of the Aviation, Environment, Information and Foreign Affairs as well members of the PTF on Covid-19.

Signed:

Lanre Lasisi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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COVID-19: Why Pollution From Generators May Affect Us More, By Okechukwu Chukwuebuka

As the world battles the recent Corona Virus outbreak, many countries have like Italy and Ecuador have been greatly affected with the vulnerables and poor suffering more. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. With over 1.4 million infected cases around the world and 87,706 deaths, Nigeria has its own fair share from the figures. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) last reported there are 276 confirmed cases, 44 recovered cases and six deaths. The agency, alongside government institutions have been commended for their role and heads-on approach in containing the spread of the virus in the country.

More Demand for Power

Covid-19 has spread around the planet, sending billions of people into lockdown, with an increase in demand for power especially in Nigeria. Many are forced to work from resorting to much dependence on constant electricity. From working and video calling during the day to online betting Nigeria and video games at night, all of these activities need electricity and power. Nigerians spend more than 14 billion dollars every year to power their generator due to the epileptic power supply. With this lockdown, the figure may double this year as many have no option than to rely on the poor power supply to complete their daily tasks.

The Pollution Factors

Limited time outside the home means many are dependent on generators. This will also mean more pollution during this time in Nigeria. It’s interesting to note that this isn’t happening in other countries around the world. For example, the air quality has actually improved in big cities in India, while places in Italy and China are also experienced less pollution. In particular, a reduction in nitrous oxide gases.

While there are less cars on the road and industrial emissions during coronavirus, it seems like generators will increase noise and air pollution across Nigeria. For example, fuel stations in Lagos have said that hardly anybody is buying fuel for their vehicles. Instead, they are coming to full up jerrycans so that they can fuel their generators.

There are some businesses that are helping their employees during this time. For those that are encouraged to work from home, some companies are offering stipends. In particular, this is to cover generator costs. This is going to cost more money for people in Nigeria and since they are vital for work and general living, people are left with no choice but to keep purchasing fuel.

It is hard to believe that the Senate still wants to proceed with a bill to ban the importation of generators. It is clear to see that they are vital for the wellbeing of Nigeria until a better national grid can be established. Interestingly, a request for a five-year ban on generator importation was rejected in 2019. Senator Francis Fadahunsi wanted to prevent generators increasing. However, this was rejected unlike the ban that happened in 2015, which banned common generators that were imported. Once coronavirus is over, it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

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COVID-19: Defense Headquarters Dismisses Torture Video

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has dismissed videos currently circulating in the social media of soldiers torturing civilians for violating the Presidential directive to stay at home over the Coronavirus pandemic as a calculated attempt to blackmail the Military.

It said that the videos are misleading and are not related to the present military engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

According to a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche,  “the attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to some video clips  trending in the media.

“Consequently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria wishes to state that the videos  were old clips of past incidents that took place in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

“The clips are being used by some mischievous elements to tarnish the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Those videos are misleading, as they are not related to the present military engagement of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards the lockdown on COVID-19”.

It added that “the Nigerian Armed Forces sees those clips as calculated attempts to tarnish its professional integrity by some mischief makers.

“Members of the public are hereby advised to disregard those videos. It is the handwork of false news propagators. The Armed Forces of Nigeria remains undaunted and would not be distracted.

“Furthermore, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is committed to performing its constitutional roles towards ensuring the protection of our territorial integrity and the lives and property of the general public”.

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Buratai Commissions Blocks Of Flat At Ikeja Cantonment

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division Maj Gen Olu Irefin has commissioned two blocks of 39 flats each, totalling 78 flats, at Nigerian Army Cantonment IKEJA, Lagos today the 31st of March 2020.

The commissioning ceremony was the third since the GOC assumed duty in July 2019.

While emphasising how lucky 81 Division is in terms of benefitting from the COAS’ intervention, Maj Gen Irefin noted that the COAS had yet awarded another contract for the renovation of 4 additional blocks of flats for soldiers in the Cantonment.

This he said, signified the COAS’ commitment to the welfare of NA personnel and their families, and demanded nothing less than their unwavering commitment to duty and loyalty to constituted authority.

It is heartwarming to note that the COAS has indeed deployed enormous resources to facilitate the expeditious completion of the project.

This was with a view to ensuring that the erstwhile occupants who had to squat with colleagues to give room for the renovation, return immediately to their newly renovated flats thereby decongesting their temporary refuge in the spirit of the requirement for social distancing in the face of the ravaging COVID-19.

While congratulating the beneficiaries of the beautifully renovated and tastefully furnished apartments, the COAS urged them to ensure the facilities are adequately maintained.

SAGIR MUSA
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
31 March 2020

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Nigerian Army Approves New Postings And Appointments

In the rekindle spirit of professionalism, the Nigerian Army has released the postings and appointments of some affected senior officers.

The posting which was approved by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen TY Buratai is a routine/normal exercise intended to reinvigorate the system for greater professional effectiveness and efficiency.

The major highlight of the posting includes – the posting and appointment of Maj Gen ACC Agundu from Special Task Force (STF) Operation SAFE HAVEN Jos to Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) Abuja as Senior Research Fellow, Major General HI Bature from Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Defence Liaison Office National Assembly Abuja to Army Headquarters Department of Civil Military Affairs and appointed Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Maj Gen UM Mohammed from Nigerian Army Property Limited (NAPL) to the Office of the Chief of Army Staff and appointed Special Adviser Nigerian Army University Biu/Deputy Chairman Board of Trustees NAPL, while the erstwhile Special Adviser Nigerian Army University Biu Maj Gen CC Okonkwo now redeployed to STF Operation SAFE HAVEN Jos and appointed Commander, Maj Gen F Yahaya from Headquarters 1 Division Kaduna to Headquarters Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE (OPLD) Maiduguri and appointed Commander, while Maj Gen OG Adeniyi is redeployed from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD Maiduguri to NARC as Senior Research Fellow, Maj Gen S Idris from Sector 2 OPLD Damaturu- Yobe State redeployed to DHQ Abuja and appointed Director Liaison.

Others affected include – Maj General AA Adesope from Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management to NAPL and appointed Group Managing Director, Maj Gen MG Ali from Headquarters Theatre Command OPLD Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces Command Doma, Nasarawa State as Commander while the erstwhile Chief of Civil-Military Affairs AHQ Abuja Maj Gen US Mohammed has been redeployed to 1 Division Kaduna and appointed General Officer Commanding.

Similarly, Brig Gen HI Daniel from the Defunct Army Special Forces Command Maiduguri to Headquarters Training and Doctrine Command Minna and appointed Director Army Training Support, Brig Gen BE Onyeuko is to remain in DHQ Abuja as Acting Director Defence Media Operation, Brig Gen NM Jega from Training and Doctrine Command Minna to Infantry Corps Centre Jaji and appointed Chief of Staff, Brig Gen LA Araba from Nigerian Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty Abuja now redeployed to Sector 2 OPLD Damaturu, Yobe State as Ag Commander, Brig Gen VO Ita from DHQ, Abuja to Headquarters 402 Special Forces Brigade Azare and appointed Commander while Brig Gen JAL Jimoh from Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD Monguno to Headquarters 31 Brigade Minna and appointed Commander and Brig Gen GTO Ajetunmobi has been redeployed from 31 Brigade Minna to Nigeria Army Welfare Limited by Guaranty, Abuja as Executive Director Operation.

Others are – Brig Gen LG Lepdung from Headquarters Infantry Corps Centre Jaji to DHQ Abuja and appointed Deputy Director Procurement (Logistics), Brig Gen MO Ihanuwaze to remain in Office of the Chief of Army Staff Directorate of Audit and Financial Management as Acting Director, Brig Gen EC Obi – Osang from the defunct Headquarters 707 Special Forces’ Brigade Makurdi to Headquarters 401 Special Forces’ Brigade Makurdi as Commander while Brig Gen GM Mutkut is redeployed from the Defunct Nigerian Army Amphibious Command OPLD Baga to Headquarters 403 Amphibious Brigade Baga and appointed Commander and Brig Gen JR Lar from Nigerian Army School of Artillery Kachia to Sector 3 Artillery Brigade OPLD Monguno as Commander.

Also, Colonel DJ Abdullahi from the defunct Headquarters Nigerian Army Special Forces’ Command Maiduguri to Headquarters 4 Special Forces’ Command Doma Nasarawa State and appointed Acting Chief of Staff, Colonel EC Emere from Nigerian Army Archives to Nigerian Military School Zaria as Deputy Commandant and Col MO Agi is to remain in Headquarters Nigerian Army Armour Corps Bauchi as Acting Chief of Staff among others.

All the postings and appointments take effect from the 1st of April 2020.

While wishing all the officers well in their respective appointments, the Chief of Army Staff enjoins them to take their new responsibilities/appointments seriously and discharge all duties professionally with utmost loyalty to the Nation and the Service.

SAGIR MUSA
Colonel
Acting Director Army Public Relations
31 March 2020

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Covid-19: Youth Task Force Begins Sensitisation, Distribution Of Relief Material Nationwide

A group of concerned Nigerian youths under the auspices of Nigerian Youth Task Force on COVID-19 (NYTFC) has said it will explore feasible ways and implement methods of assisting the Nigerian people in partnership with all the relevant stakeholders to contain the spread of COVID-19 and cushion the effect of the StayAtHome directive for the most vulnerable Nigerians. 

The group said it realised this target through a structure it has already set up across the nation.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the national coordinator, who is also a Senior Special Assistant to the President in Youth and Student Affairs, Hon. Nasir Adhama and the convener, Comrade Bello Shagari, said the group  will partner the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) to embark on massive sensitisation and distribution of relieve materials. 

“The Nigerian Youth Task Force on COVID-19 (NYTFC) is ready to deploy its volunteers amongst which are well trained medical personnel with vivid knowledge of the ongoing pandemic and strategies to curb its spread through proper sensitization, dissemination of useful information and combatting fake news. We have also prepared strategies to mobilize relief materials to distribute for the most vulnerable Nigerians who live from hand to mouth in order to enable them survive during the period of isolation.

“We also understand that societal partnership is crucial in combating the spread of Covid-19 in Nigeria, hence it has become imperative for the Nigerian Youths who constitute over 65% of the country’s population to step in and get involved in assisting the Nigerian Government and strategic stakeholders in limiting and eliminating the spread of the virus which does not discriminate based on age, race, ethnicity, religion or status.
“We recognize that the youth have a role to play and the community must come together in vigilante participation against the virus.

“The task force will be engaged in daily planning and discussion with a view to sharing important updates and provide guidance and communication to the members of the public nation-wide on impact of Covid-19.

“We will be in frequent contact with Federal, State and Local Governments alongside  public health agencies, to provide our inputs on policy strategies in the pursuance of our commonly shared objective.”

The NYTFC revealed  that it has a nationwide spread consisting of volunteers from community to the national level. 

“There are ward, local governments focal persons, state coordinators and zonal supervisors. The secretariat is headed by the National Coordinator and led by the Convener with an operational base in Abuja.”
While Commending the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Ministry of Humanitarian, National Disasters, IDP and Social Development, the entire members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, the Lagos State Government, the FCT Administration and all the health workers, the youth group also commended all its volunteers nationwide and encourage them to remain on their feet in this fight against COVID -19.

“We also thank His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari for taking decisive actions to put a halt to the spread of the virus. We pray to Almighty God to make COVID-19 patients recover quickly. Together, we can achieve a Nigeria that is immune of COVID-19.”

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Ismaeel Ahmed Felicitates With Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu At 68

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Social Investments, Barrister Ismael Ahmed has Felicitated with the National Leader of The All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his 68th birthday celebration.

In a congratulatory message signed by him, Ismael described the celebrant as a leader per excellence with a wealth of experience that continues to inspire his personal growth and experience.

He further described the celebrant as a man who always give young people the opportunity to excel and nuture them into becoming leaders in successive years.

While applauding his style of leadership, Barrister Ismaeel recalled the day Asiwaju met and took him in and personally saw to his rise in political circle while treating him with kindness, respect and adoration as if he were his son.

However, Barrister Ismaeel also stated that Asiwaju’s contribution to politics and democracy in Nigeria will continue to have a lasting impact in the years to come emphasizing that he hasn’t just contributed to our political leadership but has also made leaders out of his proteges over the years.

Ismaeel therefore wishes Asiwaju more fulfilling years of peaceful service in good health, happiness and all round wellness while reiterating that the entire nation will always be thankful for his role in our political history.

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Re: Pantami And Ministerial Arrogance, By Adewunmi Olaoluwatomi

When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour.” – Piers Anthony

It is evidently and surprisingly clear that Nigerian online columnists are resorting to distortion, falsification and misuseof their God-given talents, instead of penning on government policies that make impact to citizens. Unfortunately, few and many others avail to be agents of misinformation and manipulation in their quest to gain cheap popularity. Although the Freedom of Information Act gives one chance to comment on matters affecting the nation, it also stated clearly that unfounded and baseless allegations are not to be entertained.

Last Friday 27thMarch, 2020, a faceless columnist appeared on Sahara Reporters (online newspaper) to maliciously discredit one of Nigeria’s famous and revered technocrats in person of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM. The writer, knowingly or unknowingly, failed to set aside his irrationality to at least outline the achievements of the Honourable Minister in the Information and Communications Technology sector of Nigeria.

I wish the writer of that unfounded and ill-nurtured article, Emmanuel John, is known to the Nigerian public so that his-behind-the-scene ulterior motive to engineer a rift between highly respected personalities could be revealed.

At this point in time, the likes of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, should be encouraged, emboldened and cheered for the wonderful job he has been doing since his appointment as Minister by Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. The author of that piece seemed to be oblivious to the current realities at the Ministry and Parastatals it supervises. He has brought himself so low in his move to venomously undermine the personality of Dr Pantami.

The author un-assiduously claimed that the Honourable Minister blocked Professor Umar Garba Dambatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), from making a complete speech during the Launching and Commissioning of some projects supervised by the Ministry. He arrogantly stated that, “the EVC’s Speech was about the complex and how it came into being.  The minister, who had earlier evidently lied to the President that it was him who built the gigantic project, could not allow the EVC to tell the President the truth.”

This assertion is false and aimed at damaging the international reputation of Dr Pantami. To set the record straight, the Honourable Minister has never claimed building the said project, but rather asseverated that it was supervised by the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as enshrined in Nigeria’s law.

The author negated his trustworthiness (if he has any) in throwing tantrums, not knowing that it was paramount that whenever Mr President happened to be at an event, timing must be strictly adhered to. In a situation like this, speakers cling to the time allocated to them and limit their presentations.

One will be flabbergasted on the manner the author is trying to create chaos and conflict between the already established synergy among sister Agencies under the Ministry. 

In a saner society, faceless Emmanuel John lacks moral and intellectual prowess to comment on matters pertaining Digital Technology, especially to someone whose outstanding professionalism and integrity earned him the highest recognition in the global IT industry: The Fellowship of the British Computer Society (FBCS).

Dr Pantami, as a man for the job, who has served as an IT Consultant to many National and International industries, is also a fellow of the Institute of Information Management (FIIM).

Only fools will sit down and be looking at the sky, believing that it will fall. Dr Pantami’s unmatchable contribution and impact to the growth of Information Communications Technology in Nigeria, through his extensive knowledge and vast experience, earned him elevation to the position of Minister. Because of Dr Pantami’s technical-know-how style in the IT sector, saw the need and recommended to Mr President to rename the Ministry’s name and expand its mandate to align his commitment with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Change Agenda as well as be in line with global best practices. He is largely responsible for the renewed vigour and focus in the industry. He has sustained an unprecedented level of professionalism and compliance in the sector.

To say that under Dr Pantami, either the NCC or its Executive Vice Chairman is being undermined is the highest intellectual turbulence one could have ever imagined. People with accurate mindset will never make such baseless allegations with buttress.

The writer should have checked his words before going to press. His piece contained malicious and dangerous declaration that may land him in jail. Nay, personalities like Dr Pantami are always after the progress of the nation, not stooping to the level of low-key bonehead and jackass.

NCC has recorded tremendous achievements under the supervision of the Honourable Minister, only dickhead could shamelessly deny that. Since Dr Pantami was sworn-in as Nigeria’s new Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, he has been working with strict compliance and cooperation from all the Chief Executive Officers under his Ministry.This led to the directive given to the NCC to block all unregistered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

The NCC, through its Director of Public Affairs, Henry Nkemadu, has since informed  Nigerians that the Commission has successfully deactivated over two million (2m) unregistered SIM cards across telecommunication networks in the country. This action has significantly curtailed the menace of kidnappings and other crimes perpetrated using SIM cards. This has clearly shown Dr Pantami’s working experience and synergy with Parastatals under his supervision.

In today’s world, especially at a time Nigeria is moving towards diversification from resource-based to knowledge-based economy, the need for effective teamwork is critical for the business. This is what Dr Pantami exhibited in matters relating to his relationship with all the Agencies and Parastatals under his purview. The ability to simultaneously perform as an individual and together with your colleagues or employees in effective teamwork is key to attaining growth and success.

The Minister’s achievements can be seen even by a blind man, which is why the President himself commended him for bringing the Agencies and Parastatals to work together as one, align them to work harder, cooperate and be supportive of one another. He even thanked him for the high level of synergy that has been created amongst the parastatals under the Minister’s supervision.

Nigerians are living witnesses to testify on what Dr Pantami, the Honourable Minister, is doing. He has rejigged the Ministry and realigned its work schedule, encouraged mutual support and shared goals, cooperation and provides workplace synergy among the Parastatals. With this, Agencies and Parastatals are able to feel a greater sense of accomplishment, collectively responsible for outcomes achieved and feed individuals with the incentive to perform at higher levels.

Dr Pantami has become steering wheel in leading Federal Government of Nigeria on strategic implementation of programmes aimed at diversifying the economy. Oil and gas can no longer be dependent upon because countries around the world, especially the developed ones, are switching to digitalization in almost all their means of activities, including transportation.

Dr Pantami’s unprecedented achievements in ensuring that Nigeria lifts itself to reach the required level in the Global Information Technology Development Index can never be overemphasized. He is leading a rescue mission of Nigeria’s migration from natural resource economy to ICT-based economy. As true Nigerians, it is our collective responsibility to stifle any nincompoops trying to distract the Minister; we must not let that happen.

olaoluwatomia@gmail.com

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