1. Coalition groups sent a letter to Buhari to urgently address security concerns in north
A coalition of northern groups have written President Muhammadu Buhari, calling on him to urgently address all the security problems affecting northern Nigeria.
Among the NRI-member organisations which attended the meeting were: African Research and Development Agency (ARADA), One Nation Group (ONG), United Democratic Forum (UDF), Kano Community Based Organisations (K-CBOS), Voice of Widows Orphans and Divorcees of Nigeria (VOWAN), Youth Global Vision for Peace in Africa (YGV), Arewa Socio-Economic Project (ASEP), National Movement for Good Governance (NAMOGG) and Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF).
Key security issues of the country were deliberated extensively during the meeting, after which participants agreed to write an open letter to the president, for the attention of all Nigerians.
The participants, referred to as “concerned citizens,” voiced their support for the nation-wide calls for the immediate removal of the serving security chiefs in favour of those who will be seen acting more sincerely and seriously in defence of the people and national interest.
The meeting unanimously supported the various calls on government by concerned Nigerians from all walks of life to get its acts together and assume control of the security situation in the country in a manner that will bring to an end the “disturbing, destructive and traumatic spate of violence” that have held the North-Eastern, North-Central and North-Western parts of the country in the jugular.
The conveners said: “Our attention is particularly drawn to the more recent violent crimes in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger states, due to the degree to which they represent, not only the escalation, expansion and deepening of insecurity in the nation, but also the manner in which they further compound the security situation.
“The problems of violent assaults and terrorism, resulting in rape, theft, plunder, arson and kidnapping, which have led to the death, maiming, impoverishment and destitution of many, must be treated with the iron fists that they deserve, in a manner that is designed to promote law and order as well as ensure that justice is done to those who deserve it,” the letter stressed.
Parts of the deliberations during the meeting were contained in a statement issued by the NRI spokesman, Kabiru Ali Saliff, calling on the government to desist from arresting innocent people who are legitimately discharging their constitutionally guaranteed rights and demonstrating against the state of insecurity in the country.
“Government should rather be seen arresting and prosecuting those who are causing insecurity in the country,” the statement adds.
The NRI adviced Buhari and his principal appointees to be seen visiting and assessing situations, especially in the crisis areas, “as example to state governors and other categories of leaders, for them to also fulfill their supervisory roles effectively.”
“We call for immediate restoration of security, law and order in the areas concerned so that normalcy will be restored.
“Government should establish a special commission in the area to address the destructive consequences of the criminal violence visited on the localities.
“In this regard, government should immediately set up an expanded judicial authority structure for the public trial of all those arrested in connection with these criminal activities.
“Only in this manner will it be possible to do away with the kind of ethnic mischaracterisation and stereotyping that is used to conceal, cover up and avoid going after the actual criminals, and derelict public officials, involved in such dastardly acts.
“This will greatly help the communities involved towards treating and healing the trauma associated with such crimes. It will help to promote awareness of the fact that crime does not pay in opposition to the present situation where criminals tend to hold sway while innocent citizens remain dead, injured, impoverished and displaced without help.
“Justice heals, but in order for it to do so, it must be seen to be done,” Prof. Sule Bello said.
2. Nigeria should make case for extension of WAEC – Aremu
As steps were been taking to reopen schools after the COVID-19 lockdown, there should be continuous dialogue by all Stakeholders on how to reopen the schools with a view of protecting the lives of students and ensuring digital creative learning processes, Comrade Issa Aremu, Vice President Industriall Global Union has said.
Aremu, also Member National Institute, Kuru Jos, spoke on today in Kaduna on the occasion of this year’s International Nelson Mandela Day under the theme: COVID: 19: PREVENTING THE SPREAD IN SCHOOLS.
He said although the timetable for the West African Examinations Council’s (WAEC) senior school certificate examination (SSCE) has been announced to commence from August 4, he supported the opinion that Nigeria should negotiate an out-of-season date for WAEC SSCE until the COVID-19 curve which is currently on the rise would have flattened sufficiently.
“In Kenya, schools will remain shut till 2021. Ghana is already reconsidering the decision on reopening after a , spike in COVID-19. The JAMB Bulletin Volume 1 No. 18 of July 13, culled from a creditable South African source, 775 schools in the country have been affected by COVID-19. About 26 of the states in America are rolling back the plan to reopen schools,” he said.
He advised that caution should be the watch word because even with the adults there is an inefficiency of the NPIs (Non-pharmaceutical Interventions) to control Covid-19.
“Nigerian government should request WAEC to conduct the SSCE when the environment is right out of the regular May/June, November/December seasons. What ever the consensus on schools reopening, there is an urgent need for a systematic awareness about prevention of Virus infection among pupils teachers and parents,” he said.
“There should be Installation of hand-washing facilities, provision of equipment for body temperature checks, provision of personal protective equipments, body disinfectants at all entering points to their major facilities, including the gates, hostels, classes, offices, decontamination of the s hills premises and teaching facilities that ensure social/physical distancing in class sizes and meeting spaces among .”
“All these raise the critical issues of capacity and resources availability.
The most important advice is for all schools to encourage their students to maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene to remain safe.School proprietors, headmasters, and head mistresses must ensure that students have access to clean water and soap at all times while on the school premises.”
“The best way for schools to avoid COVID-19 infection is to ensure students and teachers wash their hands frequently,show students how to cough or sneeze into a tissue, or to cough into their elbow if they
cannot get tissue, clean and disinfect their premises often and encourage sick students and teachers to stay home,” he said.
He explained that 2020 Nelson Mandela Day assumed a special importance as the world grapples daily with COVID-19 pandemic. “What would have been Mandela’s reaction at times like this? Mandela would have called for global partnership and coalition against the pandemic as he rightly did against HIV/ AIDS. The current challenge is school reopening in Nigeria.”
“After four months of closures, there are discussions on possible reopening of schools first for pupils and students in primary six, Junior Secondary School 3 and Senior Secondary School 3 to enable the pupils/students prepare for examinations to complete a phase of their education,” he said.
The labour leader commended government response on COVID-19 ,saying despite the enormous challenges, the Presidential Task force on COVID-19 has done creditably well.
“Also many state governors like that of Kaduna and Kwara have risen to contain the pandemic. One of the commendable decisions of the Federal government is the stay-at-home- order issued by the minister of education in March after due consultations with stakeholders and derived from empirical data from Nigeria’s COVID-19 Presidential Task Force (PTF), ” he said.
3. I made wrong choice, Akeredolu opens up on defected deputy Ajayi
GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has declared that he made a wrong choice in his deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi who Defected To The Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Akeredolu said this in Igbekebo, in Ese-Odo council area of the state during his “meet the delegates” tour ahead of the next Monday primary election.
According to him “despite the criticism and attack from various quarters that Ajayi is my cousin, l felt that l had made a choice but a wrong choice.”
Akeredolu said he was happy that Ajayi showed his true colour, describing his exit from the party as a cleansing for the better performance of the party.
Akeredolu urged the people of the local government not to bother about the embattled deputy governor who has left the progressive family for the PDP.
He thanked members and leaders of the party in Ese-Odo for standing firm and not leaving the party with Ajayi, adding that it showed that his decision was not acceptable to the people.
Akeredolu, therefore, urged the party delegates to vote for him in the next Monday Primary Election of the party, noting that he was prepared to do more for the people of the state.
He thanked the people for their supports in the previous elections and the love is shown to him with their steadfastness.
The governor said the administration has done a lot in the local government and assured that more development will come to the town if re-elected for another term.
4. Ekiti bans traditional festivals, vows to prosecute defaulters
As part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Ekiti Government Today announced the suspension of all pending local and traditional festivals in the state.
In a statement in Ado-Ekiti today by the State Coordinator of COVID-19 Task Force Response Team, Prof Bolaji Aluko, the government directed traditional rulers in towns and villages to indefinitely suspend all local festivals in their domain.
Aluko explained that the traditional festivals were suspended for the rest of the year because of the increasing cases of COVID -19 in the state.
He revealed that the State had so far recorded 78 positive Coronavirus cases, with 29 active, 2 deaths, and 47 discharged, warning that the cases can rise dramatically if public assemblies continues unchecked.
Aluko raised the alarm that travels from within Ekiti State and various parts of Nigeria by indigenes and visitors to the state during this period of the pandemic, had started to occur as the towns and villages was gradually entering season of local festivities.
According to him, the attendant incidents of virus transmission in these crowded and boisterous situations, where social distancing is practically impossible, and mask wearing, which is also required, may be impractical for prolonged times.
”Consequently, the wise course is to seriously discourage these festivals at this time.
“In fact, they are effectively banned by current government guidelines requiring social distancing and limited-number assemblies.
”Therefore, we are appealing to all Obas, Council Chairmen, Councillors and community leaders for the cancellation of the public celebration of all upcoming festivals and cessation of ongoing ones in all part of Ekiti until further notice.
” These festivals should be observed in the quietness of homes. Some Obas have already been commendably proactive and announced cancellation for the rest of the calendar year,” he said.
The COVID-19 Coordinator, called on the people of the state to comply with the government’s directives against crowded assemblies, lack of social distance, and non-wearing of masks would, and must be enforced by the security forces.
”We ask for your cooperation because Ekiti State currently has cumulatively recorded 78 positive COVID-19 cases, 29 of which are active, with 2 deaths and 47 discharged, but the cases can rise dramatically if public assemblies continue unchecked.
5. FG test runs Warri-Agenebode-Ajaokuta rail line
Following the completion of work on the Warri-Agenebode-Ajaokuta standard gauge rail line by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, a test run of coaches on the route commenced Today.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed this on his Twitter handle..
“Today, we started test-run of the newly-delivered coaches on the completed Itakpe-Warri standard gauge rail line,” he wrote.
The test-run earlier slated for April had to be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, which also led to the temporal stoppage of rail transportation by the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC.
The 276-km rail line links Warri in Delta and Agenebode (Edo) to Ajaokuta in Kogi State.
Work on the rail line started in 1987 in the military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida but was abandoned by successive administrations owing to the paucity of funds.
In 2009, the then government of President Umaru Yar’ Adua reactivated the project at a cost of about $200 million (N72 billion).
The project, in 2019, was extended to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, as the Buhari-led government signed a N1.4 trillion ($3.9 billion) contract with the China Railway Construction Corporation, CRCC, to connect the rail line to the nation’s capital.
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