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Today's News: Doctors Commence Strike, Another Prominent Nigerian Dies, US Sends Message To Nigeria

Nigerian Doctors Commence Strike

Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors on Thursday commenced a nationwide strike despite last-minute efforts by the Nigerian government to stop it.

The resident doctors, in a Twitter message, said the industrial action was not intended to hurt the public.

The association said on its Twitter handle, @nard_nigeria, on Thursday morning: “Nigerians must understand that we love them and the strike is not intended to hurt them but to challenge the Nigerian government @MBuhari @Fmohnigeria @LabourMinNG whose responsibilities amongst others is to care for her citizens and labour force to do the needful.”

The NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, also said the strike commenced by 8am Thursday.

The strike commenced two days after President Muhammadu Buhari left the country for the UK for a medical checkup.

A statement by the Presidency on Tuesday said the President “is due back in the country during the second week of April 2021.”

Again, Buhari extends PTF’s mandate - Punch Newspapers

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has again extended the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 which expired on Wednesday.

The President had established the PTF, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on March 9, 2020, to coordinate the government’s efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

On December 22, 2020 Buhari extended the mandate of the PTF till the end of March 2021.

The extension, which was based on the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, was announced during a meeting the President had with members of the PTF.

Buhari had said, “I am extending the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 till the end of March 2021, bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases, and the bid for vaccines.

 “Nigeria cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread of the Coronavirus and the attendant fatalities.

“There is also the need to speedily and strategically access and administer the COVID vaccine in a safe, effective and timely manner. This is an important obligation that we owe Nigerians as we go into year 2021, and it must be carried out through an efficient machinery.”

On Wednesday when the extension expired, our correspondent contacted the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on the telephone.

 The Presidential aide said despite the expiration of the last extension, the PTF was still in place.

Shehu said, “I can confirm to you that the PTF is still in place. So are all the non-pharmaceutical measures put in place to curtail the spread of the virus still in place.

“Nigerians will be addressed on the next steps after the Easter holiday.”

A competent source in the Presidency, who did not want his name mentioned, had earlier told our correspondent that Buhari might further extend the mandate of the task force “to enable it to continue coordinating ongoing vaccination and take delivery of other batches being expected.”

Nigerian beauty queen, Najeebat Sule murdered in America

Najeebat Sule, a former Nigerian beauty queen has been shot dead in the United States of America.

The doctorate student in Philadelphia was murdered while sitting in her car in front of her home, Daily Mail reports.

The shooter, a man, walked up to the vehicle and shot her several times. The police have not found a motive and have made no arrests.

The life of the 24-year-old, fondly called Najee, was cut just steps away from the family’s residence in the 8800 block of Frankford Avenue. She was texting with a pal.

“I can’t think of anything that would make anyone want to kill her”, Habibat Magaji, the friend, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 2019, Najeebat emergedsecond runner-up at Miss Nigeria International. She recently earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from West Chester University.

The father, Adewale Sule, recalled that he heard the gunfire and rushed out from the house towards the scene.

“I saw the guy shooting my daughter. He shot the last round and I pursued him. He ran back to his car.”

The mother, Tawakalitu Sule, said she spoke with Najeebat less than two hours before the shooting.

The bereaved women disclosed her daughter’s siblings – two girls – cry everyday because of their big sister whom they really miss.

The family currently lives at an undisclosed location due to safety concerns. The Sules immigrated to Philadelphia from Nigeria in the early 2000s.

Akeredolu goes on leave, transmits power to Deputy

Ondo Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has transmitted power to his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa as he embarked on a 15-day working vacation.

A statement by by his Chief Press Secretary, Olatunde Richard, said the working vacation was the first instalment of the Governor’s 2021 annual leave.

The statement said Akeredolu in a letter sent to the Ondo Assembly and addressed to Speaker Bamidele Oleyelogun, said the leave would commence from April 1st to April 23rd 2021.

It said Aiyedatiwa would perform the functions of the office of the Governor while Akeredolu is away on vacation.

“The Governor will resume for duties on Monday, April 26, 2021,” the statement reads.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky: US Accuses Nigeria Of Covering Up Killings Of Shiites | Naija News

A US report on human rights in Nigeria in 2020 says there is still no information on the federal government’s investigation or arrest of persons involved in the killings of followers of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky by the country’s military.

The United States says Nigeria should have more information available to the world about the alleged killing of 347 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) by the military, and their burial in mass graves.

The report sighted by Naija News also makes a lengthy commentary on human rights violations in 2020, similar to those reported between the country’s security forces and insurgent groups.

On the other hand, it looked at the progress made in human rights efforts, including the 55-year sentence handed down to a soldier sentenced to death in August after a military court found him guilty of homicide in Zamfara state.

The report also cites the activities of kidnapping groups that it says killed dozens of people by 2020.

It also accused security forces of arbitrary detention, human rights abuses and torture of suspects, saying there are sharia courts in 12 states and the FCT may prescribe punishments such as caning, amputation, flogging, and death by stoning.

Another issue that the report looked at was the overcrowding in Nigerian prisons and the prevalence of abuse.

It also expressed concern over the fact that in some prisons there was no provision for the care of pregnant women, apart from the shortage of food and water.

The report further states that although the judiciary is independent in Nigeria, the executive branch interferes with the pursuit of certain private interests, which is against the law.

PDP fixes April 10 for suspended zonal congresses | TheCable

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has fixed April 10 to hold its suspended zonal congresses in the south-west, north-west and north-central.

The date was communicated to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) via a letter signed by Uche Secondus and Umar Tsauri, respectively, the party’s national chairman and secretary.

Internal party crisis had stalled the congresses and forced the party’s national working committee (NWC) to postpone them.

Part of the challenge was the leadership tussle between some zonal leaders including in the south-west where Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo, and Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti, have been at loggerheads over the issue.

But the letter dated March 31 indicated the party’s readiness to hold the remaining congresses, with that of the south-west scheduled to take place in Ibadan, Oyo state.

The letter reads: “Please refer to our earlier letter with ref No.PDP/DOM/GF.2/VOL.IM/21-015, in which we informed the Commission (INEC) of the postponement of our planned zonal congresses in North West, South West and North Central.

“We now wish to inform the commission of new dates for the North West, South west and North central zones.”

The letter gave the location and dates for the congresses to include Ibadan for South west, Kaduna for North West and Makurdi for North Central.

“Please note that all our party’s activities shall be in accordance with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on COVID-19 as they concern social/physical distancing if people gathering in one place.”

Gunmen attack: Soludo is safe, says Anambra CP

Former Central Bank Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, is safe, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State, Monday Kuryas, has said.

Kuryas spoke on Channels Television, after gunmen attacked Soludo on Wednesday and killed three of his police orderlies.

The incident happened in Soludo’s home town in Isiofia in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Speaking on the television programme monitored by The PUNCH, the police commissioner said though Soludo was safe, the state Commissioner for Public Utilities, Emeka Ezenwanne, was abducted by the gunmen.

Kuryas said, ”The former CBN governor was holding a town hall meeting with the youths of his community called Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.

“Suddenly, unknown gunmen attacked my men that were providing security for him. In the exchange of fire, three of my men were killed but the professor is safe.

“However, the Commissioner for Public Utilities, Engr Emeka Ezenwanne, was abducted in the process and my men are on the heels of the abductors.”

The commissioner said he has since visited the ex-CBN governor and “reassured the professor of the security around him”.

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