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Hot Breaking News This Morning, July 20, 2020

1. Buhari is in control, says Presidency

President Muhammadu Buhari is in control of his administration, despite revelations of corruption, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said.

Shehu said the fact that the President did not cover up any of the alleged acts of graft showed the anti-graft war was on course.

The presidential aide was reponding to comments and an editorial criticising the President over increasing allegations of corruption in his administration.

“As many detractors have done lately, these ‘influencers’, ‘celebrated columnists’ and ‘editorial comments’ do no more than endorse the opposition’s utterly wrong and fallacious position that the President is not in charge of his government.

“Sometimes, we are forced to wonder whether some writers are mindful of the implication of words for the strategic and territorial interests of the nation.

“The fact that these baseless and appallingly mischievous attacks can freely be aired is itself evidence of the right to freedom of expression prevailing in the country today,” he said.

Shehu said while Nigerians were bound to hold divergent opinions on corruption in agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), many of the comments were disguised as objective criticisms but “are merely speaking the language of the opposition – the people who ruined the country during their 16 years of corruption on an industrial scale”.

He added: “The government was the first to point out the obvious embarrassment that potential acts of wrongdoing by the EFCC leadership would cause the administration.

“The question to ask is: did they expect the President to draw a curtain over these suspected scandals by not ordering audits and investigations? And for them to turn around to accuse him of a cover-up?

“To cover up and not order audits and investigations as the President did would amount to a historic betrayal of the mandate and the faith placed in him by Nigerians.

“President Buhari’s integrity, uprightness and probity are intact and well known. Let us remind these so-called editorial writers that ECOWAS, Africa Union and the international community at large recognised President Buhari as Champion of the Anti-Corruption Fight in Africa.

“Nigerians are convinced that he is honest. They voted for him as President against the background of corruption, public policy paralysis and growing menace of terrorists threatening to take over a sizable portion of the nation’s territory.

“In his five years in office, there is not a single charge of corruption against his person.

“As the leader of the country, President Buhari fully understands and bears the full weight of the solemn oaths he swore to defend the nation’s constitution, its citizens and territory.

“Disinformation is not a viable option for opposition. The Buhari government has done nothing to warrant these criticisms.

2. JAMB admission to begin August 21

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has given tertiary institutions the nod to begin first and second choice admissions for 2020/2021 from August 21.

The board said the deadline for admissions would be communicated to heads of tertiary institutions at a later date to be determined by the Federal Government.

JAMB insisted that the admission processes must be conducted on Central Admission Processing System (CAPS), warning institutions not to bypass the system.

The board said these in its 2020 admission guidelines signed by its Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, and released by its Head of Media and Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin.

“The first and second choices admission exercise be conducted for all institutions from August 21, 2020, to a later date that would be determined by the Federal Ministry of Education and communicated to all the institutions.”

“The uncertainties of the Covid-19 make it impossible to fix a terminal date,” the board said.

JAMB explained that the guidelines for 2020 admission would enable participants in admission process to know what to do.

The board warned heads of institutions against flouting decisions of its 2020 policy meeting, held last month, insisting that all admissions must be carried out in honest and transparent manner.

“The guidelines explain the nitty-gritty of the processes of admission of candidates into the Nigerian tertiary institutions.

“All heads of institutions and admission officers are advised to carefully study and understand the content of the document with a view to implementing it fully for a seamless and transparent admission exercise.

“The decisions as well as the policy directives as contained in the address of the Honourable Minister of Education at the policy meeting shall serve as the guidelines for the 2020 admissions exercise.”

“All heads of tertiary institutions are to ensure total compliance with the guidelines.

“Sanctions shall be applied to institutions that violate the decisions,” the board said.

The board said it has stopped illegal or irregular admission in any form, saying all admissions must pass through it.

It said: “All applications for admissions to First Degree, National Diploma (ND), National Innovation Diploma and the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) into full time, Distance Learning, Part Time, Outreach, Sandwich, etc, must be processed only through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

“Institutions, which are still involved in advertising or selling application forms for admissions into the programmes, should stop henceforth.

“Institutions should advise candidates to apply to them through JAMB. Duplication of application forms is not allowed.

“JAMB and the three regulatory agencies – (National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) – will ensure that all tertiary institutions comply with this policy directive.

“The duration of all non-full time studies must be maintained as approved by the regulatory agencies. This is generally not less than 150 per cent of the equivalence of full time,” JAMB added.

3. Third Mainland Bridge: Fed Govt, Lagos fixing alternative routes

BARELY four days to the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge for rehabilitation, the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr. Olukayode Popoola, has said massive rehabilitation of alternative routes is progressing.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday that the Federal Ministry of Works and Lagos State Government were tackling the rehabilitation works together simultaneously on different access paths.

Popoola said rising from a stakeholders’ meeting on July 13, participants, including the roads maintenance interests groups, swung into action to ensure minimal traffic discomfort.

He added that during the meeting, an agreement was reached for urgent interventions across major access routes, which was being complied with.

“The efforts we have made so far concerning the partial closure of the Third Mainland Bridge on July 24, some of the alternative routes that people may take are being repaired.

“The Federal Ministry of Works has repaired Iddo-Oyingbo Road. We asked the contractor, Messrs Borini Porini, to go there and fill the pot holes, which they have done.

“We also cleared the drains there after our meeting with stakeholders on July 11th,” Popoola told NAN.

He added that CCECC was deployed to fix failed portions of the Independence Tunnel on Ikorodu Road on Thursday.

Popoola said that Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) had fixed bad portions and cleaned drains at Ijora Olopa.

He said the Lagos State Government agreed to fix bad portions around the Iganmu Bridge, adding that its public works agency was also fixing some other roads.

“I was with the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu last Wednesday and they promised to address the failure around the Iganmu Bridge.

“I am sure they have started because they are working with the Lagos State Public Works Corporation,” the federal controller said.

4. Osun panel alerts to fake NDE website

The Federal Government Special Public Work Selection Committee in Osun State has warned residents to watch out fraudsters hosting a website for recruitment for the 774,000 jobs.

The Osun State Chairman of selection committee, Ambassador Abdulyekeen Abilagbo, gave the warning in a statement in Osogbo, the state capital.

The chairman explained that the website of the special public works programme: www.specialpublicworks.gov.ng is only for information and not for recruitment.

He added: “Neither the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and the state selection committee have the knowledge of the job recruitment and the public is hereby warned to disregard the website, not to fall victim of fraudsters.

“We are still expecting the guidelines and selection modalities from the federal ministry of labour and employment.”

Giving reasons for its warning, Abilagbo said: “The committee received several reports of an existing fake NDE website for the recruitment process and it is imperative to protect the unsuspecting members of public not be the victims.”

5. Wear face mask or risk prosecution, Fayemi warns

ANYONE who refused to wear face mask in Ekiti State beginning from today, risks arrest and prosecution, Governor Kayode Fayemi has warned.

Governor Fayemi said the drastic step was to contain the most dangerous stage of the COVID-19 which is community transmission of the virus. He expressed grave concern over non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols in the state.

The governor, who spoke through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Olawale Fapohunda, in Ado Ekiti, said mobile courts had been established to prosecute and impose sanctions such as fines and community services on defaulters.

Fayemi, who also described as unacceptable residents’ disbelief that pandemic is not real, said the state government would as from Today begin enforcement of the COVID-19 regulations with appropriate sanctions for violators of use of face mask and social distancing.

Fapohunda said: “Mr Governor is very concerned about what appears to us to be widespread lack of compliance with the COVID-19 regulations in Ekiti State, particularly with the wearing of face masks.

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EFCC Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Mallam Garba Shehu Muhammadu Buhari Nigerians

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