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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.

BIG STORY

World-Famous Society Writer, Lanre Alfred Feeds Over 3000 Indigent Nigerians As He Adds A Year [PHOTOS]

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He is loved by many and respected among his ilk like he is fondly called, ‘African Prince’ by his friends simply because he is truly a prince of royal parentage and halts a princely heart.

Lanre Alfred as a celebrity journalist, author and businessman and publisher of The Capital; an online publishing platform, is former society editor and columnist at This Day Newspaper, author of five books and owner of Old English provision store with branches in Lagos

Lanre, on his birthday, generously doled out many good things to indigents people and this, he has been known for in past years.

This ace journalist, as many know he for, doesn’t give a hoot about giving to the underprivileged and he is remaining in that realm of generosity, philanthropy, charity, and human nature. And this is why many love him for his good gestures and kindness at all times.

Meanwhile, if not for COVID-19 pandemic in town, those who know Lanre as a man about town would readily tell that the man that writes about the intimate affairs of the rich, high and mighty of the society, would have painted the town red for his birthday because he has that pedigree and he calls all the shots when it comes to good partying.

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BIG STORY

Rape Epidemic: 12-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped By Four Masked Men In Lagos

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A 12-year-old girl, Blessing (not real name), is said to be experiencing trauma after she was allegedly gang-raped by four masked men at her residence in Abijo area of Ajah, Lagos State.

She was said to have been raped while playing alone in the compound around 2 pm on Thursday.

According to Saturday PUNCH, the victim, a secondary school pupil, was left bleeding from injuries she sustained in her private parts.

When our correspondent reached out to her mother on Friday morning, the victim was said to be asleep after receiving medical treatment.

The mother, identified simply as Anthonia, explained that she was not in the house when the perpetrators raped her daughter.

“I went to the office and was called (on the phone) and told that my daughter was raped in our house. I learnt she was having her online class when suddenly, there was a power outage. My husband rushed out to get fuel at a filling station so that she could participate in the class seamlessly,” the mother recalled amid futile attempts to control her emotions.

She stated, “Favour told us that while she was in the compound, four masked men jumped into the house through the fence. They took her inside and took turns to have sex with her, leaving her with multiple injuries.”

The distraught mother said incidentally in her office, she was listening to a radio programme about the recent wave of rape incidents in the country on the day her daughter was raped. Little did she know that her daughter would also become a victim.

“Immediately I received the call, I became so mad. I headed for the hospital where my daughter was rushed to. When I got there, I was told she suffered from ‘vaginal trauma’. The underneath of her clitoris was bruised and she had a deep tear that made her bleed severely,” Anthonia explained, painting a graphic picture of the cruel assault.

“She could have passed out if not that her dad got back home early. She lost a lot of blood. The bleeding stopped after the tear was stitched; although, she is still experiencing very severe pain,” the mother added.

Anthonia said the case had been reported at Ajiwe Police Station in Ajah.

She said, “I don’t think we are secure anymore because it seems like we are being monitored. They perpetuated their evil within the few minutes it took my husband to buy fuel.

“They could not enter through the gate because of ongoing construction at a building opposite ours. The site was crowded and that made them avoid entering through the front door. They scaled the fence. Some policemen followed us to the house and saw how the attackers scattered our things around.”

When our correspondent called Anthonia back on Friday evening, the victim was said to be suffering from trauma and could not speak on the incident.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, said the command had been duly informed of the crime and investigations were ongoing.

He said, “The police have been duly informed of the atrocity and have commenced an investigation into the case. We are on the trail of the culprits. It’s a bit complicated because those guys wore face masks, which makes us suspect the culprits are people close to them. They probably covered their faces to conceal their identities.”

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BIG STORY

#JusticeForUwa: Students Protest In Benin, Demand Death Sentence For Sex Offenders

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday occupied major streets of Benin City, the Edo state capital in protest.

The students demanded justice for Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin who was recently raped and killed.

They also demanded that a death sentence be pronounced for sex offenders.

The President of the students’ union, Danielson Akpan, spoke with Channels Television during the protest demanding justice for their late colleague.

The lawmaker representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Dennis Idahosa, who also joined the students in the solidarity march vowed that he would move a motion to support capital punishment at the floor of the house.

Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Johnson Kokumo had earlier on Wednesday promised that efforts would not be spared in ensuring that the culprits involved in the circumstances that led to Uwaila’s death are apprehended and made to face the law.

Kokumo made the promise when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased.

Uwa, a 22-year-old student of UNIBEN was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, Edo State Capital.

The hoodlums were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

The news of her death has continued to spark outrage with trends on social media demanding justice and an end to rape.

(Channels TV)

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