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BREAKING: Senate Approves N10bn Loan For Kogi Three Days To Gubernatorial Elections

Peter Okunoren

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The Senate on Wednesday approved the N10bn loan refund for Kogi State despite stiff resistance from the opposition senators.

No sooner had the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, Senator Clifford Ordia, laid the report of his panel on the issue at plenary than the Senate President called for the debate on it immediately.

The Minority caucus in the Senate against the approval of the sum of N10.016billion for the Kogi State Government a few days to the governorship election slated for Saturday, November 16.

Attempts by the Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, to stop the process because it was not indicated in the order paper, was frustrated by Lawan, who insisted that the arrangement was in order.

Ordia, who read the report of his committee said necessary findings conducted by his panel showed that due process was followed by the Kogi State government in executing Federal Government projects.

He also said the Federal Government agencies in charge of the loan refund had approved the payment.

Senator Jibrin Barau, who spoke immediately after the presentation of the bill, asked his colleagues to approve it.

But Abaribe, in his contribution, said he agreed with Barau that states that had done the job of the Federal Government should be paid.

He, however, said that the approval appeared too hasty.

Abaribe said since the Kogi Governorship elections would hold on Saturday, the approval should be delayed for one week.

He said, “This is not the right time to approve such a loan refund. The exigency of the time suggest that we should delay for one week so that the money would not be used for something else.”

Lawan disagreed with Abaribe and said there was no time that the red chamber cannot approve the payment of the money.

Lawan subjected the matter to a voice vote and ruled in favour of those who supported its approval despite protests from lawmakers who were raising points of order.

One of the protesters, Senator Uche Ekwunife, wondered why the Senate President refused to take her point of order before ruling on the issue.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on penultimate Tuesday, sent a letter to the Senate, seeking its approval for the payment of N10bn to Kogi State.

Buhari, in the letter, addressed to Senate President, said the money would be used by the state government to settle local debts it incurred as a result of the projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.

Buhari said his request was based on the resolution passed by the 8th Senate

BIG STORY

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson Writes Britons, Warns ‘Things Will Get Worse’

Peter Okunoren

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to stay home and outlined stricter measures yet to come in the fight against the coronavirus.

“It’s important for me to level with you – we know things will get worse before they get better,” Mr Johnson wrote in a letter issued by Downing Street.

The missive is to be delivered to 30 million households this week.

“We are making the right preparations, and the more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal,” Mr Johnson asserted.

“At this moment of national emergency, I urge you, please, to stay at home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives,” he added.

Stay-at-home and strict social distancing rules must be obeyed, warned Mr Johnson, who has himself contracted COVID-19.

“These rules must be observed. So, if people break the rules, the police will issue fines and disperse gatherings,” he added.

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Britain has risen to more than 1,000 with over 17,000 infections.

Britain delayed imposing social-distancing measures on its population to stem the spread of coronavirus until last week.

On Friday, both Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced they had tested positive for the virus.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, also has the virus.

Mr Johnson, 55, has said he has mild symptoms including temperature and a persistent cough.

He is self-isolating and working from home.

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BREAKING: Panic As UI College Of Medicine Provost, Deputy Test Positive For Coronavirus

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The provost and deputy provost of the University of Ibadan, UI, College of Medicine, Professors Ezekiel Olapade-Olaopa and Obafunke Denloye, have tested positive to the dreaded coronavirus.

Olapade-Olaopa, who made this known in a Whatsapp group message Sunday morning said “Dear colleagues, I wish to inform you that the deputy provost and I tested positive for the COVID-19 following the tests done on Friday. Although we are both asymptomatic, we have gone into self-isolation for the 14 days while our contacts are being observed closely to determine if they should also be tested.”

It is, however, unsure whether the duo are new cases or parts of the four cases confirmed by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, last night.

Last night, the NCDC announced that the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state is now seven.

Before Saturday night’s announcement, the number of confirmed cases in the state was only three.

A breakdown of the case in the country according to the NCDC shows that Oyo State now has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the country behind only Lagos and FCT.

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BREAKING: Nigeria Immigration Boss Muhammed Babandede Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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The Comptroller-General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede, has tested positive for coronavirus, PUNCH Newspaper reports.

The CG, who disclosed this in a WhatsApp message to our correspondent this morning, explained that he is already on self-isolation since he returned from the United Kingdom on March 22.

The PUNCH later called him on phone and Babandede confirmed the development.

He stated, “Today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I have been on self-isolation since my return from UK on Sunday 22nd of this month with British Airways in Lagos.

“I urge my loved ones, Immigration Officers and Nigerians to pray for me and all those affected.”

Babandede urged immigration officers to continue working with his deputy to move the service forward.

He added, “It is a very difficult time but we can’t change what God destined for us.

“I urge officers to continue working with my able Deputy to further move our Service to another level. As advised by NCDC, I am totally isolated.”

This is happening barely 12 hours after the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, tested positive for COVID-19.

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