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Lagos APC: Go Test Your Popularity At The Primaries, GAC Tells Ambode, Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) has urged governorship aspirants in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to go and test their popularity in the party primary.

Briefing journalists, at the APC state Secretariat, on Acme Road, yesterday, on the official stance of the 22-man GAC, who met last Saturday, Dr. Abayomi Finnih, in company with Professor Tunde Samuel affirmed that the council, unanimously, adopted direct primaries to pick APC candidates, including for the governorship contest.

GAC, the highest decision-making organ of the party, is headed by the APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Finnih assured that there will be level-playing field among the three aspirants jostling for the governorship ticket of the party.

The governorship aspirants are the incumbent, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Managing Director of the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and former commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Femi Hamzat.

The council had, after last Saturday’s meeting at Tinubu’s Bourdillion, Ikoyi residence, insisted on the direct primary for all governorship aspirants slated for the September, 29 primaries.

The APC leader, who spoke on behalf of the council, assured that all necessary machinery has been put in place to ensure a peaceful, free and fair exercise.

“It is not Tinubu’s affair as it is being peddled around in the social media and some quarters. The GAC has no preferred candidates among the aspirants. It is not about Tinubu, it is a collective decision. We resolved to provide a level-playing ground for the contenders without fair or favour.

Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu, has reached out to the former Lagos State governor and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

Sanwo-Olu is also discussing with the camp of the factional APC chairman in the state, Fuad Oki. He was said to have, in the past, met with the former APC legal adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire and other critical shareholders of the party.

Sanwo-Olu was represented by the Director General of his campaign organisation, Tayo Ayinde, during the meeting with Oki.

Sources close to Sanwo-Olu said: “Our principal’s meeting with Fashola held on the phone, for several minutes, during which the duo expressed mutual understanding particularly as the former worked under the latter as commissioner…”

In a related development, the APC national leadership has, for the fourth time, shifted the presidential primary from Thursday, September 27 to Friday, September 28.

President Muhammadu Buhari is the party’s only known aspirant for the 2019 presidential poll.

The ruling party had initially fixed September 26 as the date to conduct the direct primary but later shifted to September 25, then Thursday, September 27, before the latest date was announced in a statement by acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena.

He, however, hinged the reason for the latest postponement on a clash of dates with the Osun governorship election re-run, which holds on Thursday.

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BREAKING: President Buhari Declares 14 Days Curfew In Lagos, Abuja, Ogun For Two Weeks [FULL STATEMENT ATTACHED]

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a two-week shut down of all activities and movements in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State.

The President also ordered the payment of two- month conditional cash transfers to those considered the most vulnerable in society, even as those in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps will be be provided with two months food rations.

Read Full Speech below:

ADDRESS BY H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA ON THE COVID- 19 PANDEMIC SUNDAY 29TH MARCH, 2020

1. Fellow Nigerians,

2. From the first signs that Coronavirus or COVID-19 was turning into an epidemic and was officially declared a world-wide emergency, the Federal Government started planning preventive, containment and curative measures in the event the disease hits Nigeria.

3. The whole instruments of government are now mobilized to confront what has now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis.

4. Nigeria, unfortunately, confirmed its first case on 27th February 2020. Since then, we have seen the number of confirmed cases rise slowly.

5. By the morning of March 29th, 2020, the total confirmed cases within Nigeria had risen to ninety-seven.

6. Regrettably, we also had our first fatality, a former employee of PPMC, who died on 23rd March 2020. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this very difficult time. We also pray for a quick recovery for those infected and undergoing treatments.

7. As of today, COVID-19 has no cure. Scientists around the world are working very hard to develop a vaccine.

8. We are in touch with these institutions as they work towards a solution that will be certified by international and local medical authorities within the shortest possible time.

9. For now, the best and most efficient way to avoid getting infected is through regular hygienic and sanitary practices as well as social distancing.

10. As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic. By washing our hands regularly with clean water and soap, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and areas, coughing into a tissue or elbow and strictly adhering to infection prevention control measures in health facilities, we can contain this virus.

11. Since the outbreak was reported in China, our Government has been monitoring the situation closely and studying the various responses adopted by other countries.

12. Indeed, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was one of ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China and understudy their response approach. I am personally very proud of Dr Ihekweazu for doing this on behalf of all Nigerians.

13. Since his return, the NCDC has been implementing numerous strategies and programs in Nigeria to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on our country is minimized. We ask all Nigerians to support the work the Federal Ministry of Health and NCDC are doing, led by the Presidential Task Force.

14. Although we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programs have been tailored to reflect our local realities.

15. In Nigeria, we are taking a two step approach.

16. First, to protect the lives of our fellow Nigerians and residents living here and second, to preserve the livelihoods of workers and business owners to ensure their families get through this very difficult time in dignity and with hope and peace of mind.

17. To date, we have introduced healthcare measures, border security, fiscal and monetary policies in our response. We shall continue to do so as the situation unfolds.

18. Some of these measures will surely cause major inconveniences to many citizens. But these are sacrifices we should all be willing and ready to make for the greater good of our country.

19. In Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19, there is no such thing as an overreaction or an under reaction. It is all about the right reaction by the right agencies and trained experts.

20. Accordingly, as a Government, we will continue to rely on guidance of our medical professionals and experts at the Ministry of Health, NCDC and other relevant agencies through this difficult time.

21. I therefore urge all citizens to adhere to their guidelines as they are released from time to time.

22. As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.

23. This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread.

24. We also created a Presidential Task Force (PTF) to develop a workable National Response Strategy that is being reviewed on a daily basis as the requirements change. This strategy takes international best practices but adopts them to suit our unique local circumstances.

25. Our goal is to ensure all States have the right support and manpower to respond immediately.

26. So far, in Lagos and Abuja, we have recruited hundreds of Adhoc staff to man our call centers and support our tracing and testing efforts.

27. I also requested, through the Nigeria Governors Forum, for all State Governments to nominate Doctors and Nurses who will be trained by the NCDC and Lagos State Government on the tactical and operational response to the virus in case it spreads to other states.

28. This training will also include medical representatives from our armed forces, paramilitary and security, and intelligence agencies.

29. As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated.

30. As I mentioned earlier, as at this morning we had ninety-seven confirmed cases. The majority of these are in Lagos and Abuja. All the confirmed cases are getting the necessary medical care.

31. Our agencies are currently working hard to identify cases and people these patients have been in contact with.

32. The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have traveled from these centers.

33. We are therefore working to ensure such interstate and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread.

34. Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States.

35. All citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes. Travel to or from other states should be postponed. All businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

36. The Governors of Lagos and Ogun States, as well as the Minister of the FCT, have been notified. Furthermore, heads of security and intelligence agencies have also been briefed.

37. We will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases. We will ensure the treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other States.

38. This order does not apply to hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution.

39. Furthermore, commercial establishments such as;
a. food processing, distribution and retail companies;
b. petroleum distribution and retail entities,
c. power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and
d. private security companies are also exempted.

40. Although these establishments are exempted, access will be restricted and monitored.

41. Workers in telecommunication companies, broadcasters, print and electronic media staff who can prove they are unable to work from home are also exempted.

42. All seaports in Lagos shall remain operational in accordance with the guidelines I issued earlier. Vehicles and drivers conveying essential cargoes from these Ports to other parts of the country will be screened thoroughly before departure by the Ports Health Authority.

43. Furthermore, all vehicles conveying food and other essential humanitarian items into these locations from other parts of the country will also be screened thoroughly before they are allowed to enter these restricted areas.

44. Accordingly, the Hon. Minister of Health is hereby directed to redeploy all Port Health Authority employees previously stationed in the Lagos and Abuja Airports to key roads that serve as entry and exit points to these restricted zones.

45. Movements of all passenger aircraft, both commercial and private jets, are hereby suspended. Special permits will be issued on a needs basis.

46. We are fully aware that such measures will cause much hardship and inconvenience to many citizens. But this is a matter of life and death if we look at the dreadful daily toll of deaths in Italy, France, and Spain.

47. However, we must all see this as our national and patriotic duty to control and contain the spread of this virus. I will, therefore, ask all of us affected by this order to put aside our personal comfort to safeguard ourselves and fellow human beings. This common enemy can only be controlled if we all come together and obey scientific and medical advice.

48. As we remain ready to enforce these measures, we should see this as our individual contribution in the war against COVID-19. Many other countries have taken far stricter measures in a bid to control the spread of the virus with positive results.

49. For residents of satellite and commuter towns and communities around Lagos and Abuja whose livelihoods will surely be affected by some of these restrictive measures, we shall deploy relief materials to ease their pains in the coming weeks.

50. Furthermore, although schools are closed, I have instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development to work with State Governments in developing a strategy on how to sustain the school feeding program during this period without compromising our social distancing policies. The Minister will be contacting the affected States and agree on detailed next steps.

51. Furthermore, I have directed that a three-month repayment moratorium for all TraderMoni, MarketMoni and FarmerMoni loans be implemented with immediate effect.

52. I have also directed that a similar moratorium be given to all Federal Government funded loans issued by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture and the Nigeria Export-Import Bank.

53. For on-lending facilities using capital from international and multilateral development partners, I have directed our development financial institutions to engage these development partners and negotiate concessions to ease the pains of the borrowers.

54. For the most vulnerable in our society, I have directed that the conditional cash transfers for the next two months be paid immediately. Our Internally displaced persons will also receive two months of food rations in the coming weeks.

55. We also call on all Nigerians to take personal responsibility to support those who are vulnerable within their communities, helping them with whatever they may need.

56. As we all pray for the best possible outcome, we shall continue planning for all eventualities.

57. This is why I directed that all Federal Government Stadia, Pilgrims camps and other facilities be converted to isolation centers and makeshift hospitals.

58. My fellow Nigerians, as a Government, we will avail all necessary resources to support the response and recovery. We remain committed to do whatever it takes to confront COVID-19 in our country.

59. We are very grateful to see the emerging support of the private sector and individuals to the response as well as our development partners.

60. At this point, I will ask that all contributions and donations be coordinated and centralized to ensure efficient and impactful spending. The Presidential Task Force remains the central coordinating body on the COVID-19 response.

61. I want to assure you all that Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies with a role to play in the outbreak response are working hard to bring this virus under control.

62. Every nation in the world is challenged at this time. But we have seen countries where citizens have come together to reduce the spread of the virus.

63. I will, therefore, implore you again to strictly comply with the guidelines issued and also do your bit to support the Government and the most vulnerable in your communities.

64. I will take this opportunity to thank all our public health workforce, health care workers, port health authorities and other essential staff on the frontlines of the response for their dedication and commitment. You are true heroes.

65. Thank you all for listening. May God continue to bless and protect us all.

President Muhammadu Buhari
29th March 2020.

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99-year-Old Bible Translator Dies In Nigeria [PHOTO]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Deacon Stephen Ejueyitsi Aganbi, a Bible translator, has died in Koko, headquarters of Warri North Local Government.

A statement issued in Koko said Deacon Aganbi died in his home early hours of Thursday.

Deacon Aganbi, 99, served as chairman for the Itsekiri Bible Translation Project and the team completed the Old and New Testament Translation in the Itsekiri language.

The statement signed by Business Mogul, Mr. Felix Aganbi said the late Bible translator, gifted interpreter, and scholar had a strong influence in Itsekiri literature.

“Deacon Stephen Ejueyitsi Aganbi was a legal guru, a highly reputed politician of the Second Republic in Nigeria and the Olare-Aja of Koko (community head”.

The statement praised Deacon Aganbi for putting his learning to the service of the Church and using the Bible to nourish the faith and life of believers.

“Deacon Stephen Ejueyitsi Aganbi served as a spiritual guide to many.”

It also praised the accomplished and careful translator for his well-known vision and linguistics competence in the languages of the Niger Delta region

By Ovie Henry

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BREAKING: German Minister Commits Suicide After ‘Coronavirus Crisis Worries’

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Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, has committed suicide apparently after becoming “deeply worried” over how to cope with the economic fallout from the coronavirus, state premier Volker Bouffier said Sunday.

Schaefer, 54, was found dead near a railway track on Saturday. The Wiesbaden prosecution’s office said they believe he died by suicide.

“We are in shock, we are in disbelief and above all, we are immensely sad,” Bouffier said in a recorded statement.

Hesse is home to Germany’s financial capital Frankfurt, where major lenders like Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have their headquarters. The European Central Bank is also located in Frankfurt.

A visibly shaken Bouffier recalled that Schaefer, who was Hesse’s finance chief for 10 years, had been working “day and night” to help companies and workers deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Today we have to assume that he was deeply worried,” said Bouffier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“It’s precise during this difficult time that we would have needed someone like him,” he added.

Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier.

Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Merkel’s center-right CDU party.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

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