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BIG STORY

Buhari’s Team Lands In Kano As Five More Personalities Die

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent a team to Kano State as part of efforts to contain COVID-19 cases in the state.

The team met with state Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, on the directive of Buhari.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Abba Anwar, in a statement, said the team was led by Dr Sani Gwarzo and that they met with Ganduje at the Africa House, Government House, Kano.

Besides Gwarzo, others in the committee are a former Director-General of the NCDC, Prof Abdussalam Nasidi, and the Head of the Department of Health Services at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Bimpe Adebiyi.

According to the statement by Anwar, Gwarzo said the team members were in Kano to find out what the state needed to contain COVID-19.

He added, “President Buhari directed us to do everything possible to support, reinforce and mobilize support even beyond the nation.

“Your Excellency in the special committee sent to Kano to work with the state government are experts in public health and other areas.

“In the special committee, there are people like Prof Abdussalam Nasidi, the pioneer Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Contre, who is a professor of infectious diseases.

“There is also Dr Bimpe Adebiyi, who heads the Department of Health Services at the Federal Ministry of Health.”

In his remarks, Ganduje thanked Buhari for coming to the aid of the state. He restated his earlier call for more testing centers in the state, saying, “a testing center is the nucleus of the fight against COVID-19.”

Nasidi, on his part, said the team was in Kano to reinforce already existing structures in the state.

In a related development, the unusual deaths, especially among the elite and prominent people in Kano, continued on Tuesday.

Those who died included, Alhaji Uba Adamu, the father of the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University, Prof Abdullah Adamu. He died in the early hours of Tuesday.

Also, a spiritual leader of the Murtala Mohammed Central Mosque in Kano, Sheik Tijjani Yola, has also died.

A family source told journalists in Kano on Tuesday that the renowned cleric died in the early hours of the day.

The source said, “He passed away at his residence in the Gwale area in Kano in the early hours of Tuesday and was laid to rest around 9am the same day.”

According to the source, the death of Sheik Yola has left a big vacuum as he was managing one of the largest mosques in the city.

A former Speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Adamu Sarawa, died on Monday of an undisclosed ailment.

Also, a former chairperson of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, Kano State chapter, Hajiya Halima Shittu, also lost her life.

Shittu was said to have died at her residence at the NNDC Quarters on Tuesday morning and had since been buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

A lecturer at the Department of Architecture, Kano University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil, Dr Ghali Umar, died three days ago.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mallam Abdullahi Abdullahi confirmed the death of lecturer to newsmen in Kano on Tuesday.

He said the deceased had since been buried in accordance with the Islamic rites.

Residents have continued to entertain fears as the unusual deaths continue amidst the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

As of Tuesday, Kano has recorded 77 cases of COVID-19.

The NCDC testing center at the Aminu Kano Testing Hospital which was closed down about a week ago has resumed operation.

A top government official, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed the development to The PUNCH in Kano on Tuesday.

“The center resumes operation today (Tuesday) but don’t quote me because we have been directed to stop talking to the press. We should allow the task force to talk to the press.”

According to the official, the center which resumed testing would go a long way in reducing the trouble of taking samples to Abuja for testing.

BIG STORY

FG Insists On Wednesday Deadline For NIN Registration

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The Federal Government on Sunday insisted that the deadlines given for the registration of all Subscriber Identification Modules with valid National Identity Numbers were still in force.

It also declared that the NIN was mandatory for diplomats who reside in Nigeria, as well as for all other lawful residents across the country.

Asked whether the Federal Government had eventually advised the Nigerian Communications Commission as regards the deadlines for SIM registration with NIN, the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Ikechukwu Adinde, told our correspondent that nothing had changed.

It was reported on Thursday that the NCC was awaiting the advice of the Federal Government as regards the stipulated deadlines.

“The deadlines are still in force; there is no update for now and just like I told you last week if there is any change you will be communicated,” Adinde stated on Sunday.

Calls for deadline extension are mainly due to the large crowds that gather daily at the various offices of the National Identity Management Commission, as many telephone subscribers had yet to get their NINs.

On December 15, 2020, the Federal Government declared that after December 30, 2020, all SIMs that were not registered with valid NINs on the network of telecommunications companies would be blocked.

It later extended the December 30, 2020 deadline following widespread opposition against the earlier announcement and gave three-week extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to January 19, 2021.

It also gave six-week extension for subscribers without NIN from December 30, 2020, to February 9, 2021, but many organisations had called for a further deadline extension or outright suspension of the NIN integration process.

This came as the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, declared on Sunday that all diplomats living in Nigeria must have NINs.

The minister approved the setting up of a NIN enrolment centre at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs for diplomats. The desk would be set up on January 19, 2021.

A statement issued in Abuja by Pantami’s aide, Femi Adeluyi, stated that the centre would provide support for members of the diplomatic corps and would be managed by the communications ministry through NIMC.

The ministry stated that the centre was being set up based on the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in order to simplify the process for diplomats.

It said, “The NIN is mandatory for diplomats who will reside in Nigeria for a continuous period of two years or more.

“It is also mandatory for all other lawful residents in the country as stated in Section 16 of the NIMC Act 2007.”

It stated that the law had made it mandatory for Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN since 2007.

It, however, noted that compliance had been low, until recently.

It said the communications ministry was committed to creating an environment that was conducive for all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain their NINs.

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BIG STORY

Lagos Schools To Run Second Term For 61 Days

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Barring any closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second term of the 2020/2021 academic session is meant to last for 61 days for public and private schools in Lagos.

According to the revised calendar for the 2020/2021 academic session released by the Office of the Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), the second term is slated to run from January 18, 2021, to April 30.

The mid-term break has been scheduled for March 4 and 5.

There will also be two public holidays – Good Friday on April 2 and Easter Monday on April 5.

Resumption for the third term has been scheduled for May 4, while the term is to terminate August 6.

Schools have been directed to strictly follow the time table.

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Dangote Completes Nigeria’s Longest Concrete Road

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The Dangote Group has completed Nigeria’s longest rigid pavement located in Kogi State.

It is the first of its kind, top engineers say.

The 43KM Obajana-Kabba road constructed by Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), as

been described by motorists as the country’s most strategic highway that is aiding travelers between the North and the South.

Olatunbosun O. Kalejaiye, the Project Director, said he was excited that the Corporate Social Responsibility Project is being delivered for use by Nigerians, adding that while the rigid pavement has been completed, the company was dressing the shoulders.

Site Engineer Samuel Obosi assured that the dual carriageway will be durable and less susceptible to potholes and repairs like asphalt road, adding that it would crash the rate of road accidents in the country.

Motorists said it is now one of the busiest roads linking the two regions in the country.

“Thank God it is a concrete road. It can withstand any heavy-duty vehicle,” Alhaji Lamidi Sikiru, a driver expressed optimism.

John Moses, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, said his taxi business is booming compared to when the road was very deplorable with potholes and barely used by motorists.

A community leader of Apa Bunu Kingdom and spokesperson for the community Sam Omosayil commended the Dangote Group, saying that the road has attracted a lot of businesses along the road.

Traditional and community leaders eulogized the President of the Dangote Group.

The Bajana of Obajana Land, King Idowu Senibi described the project as gigantic and the first of its kind anywhere in Nigeria.

“Dangote is our son. We would protect his huge investment and gigantic concrete road. I am happy that this is happening in my lifetime and in my Kingdom. This is a great opportunity for us and many generations to come. Our society will be opened as you can see vehicles and commercial activities have started coming up. May God Almighty bless Dangote and all his staff.”

Speaking in the same vein, the traditional head of Akpata Land Frederick Durojaiye Balogun said his people were very proud of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, adding that the Dangote Cement, Obajana plant, which is the single largest cement plant in the world, has brought honour and respect to their Kingdoms.

“His presence has brought a total turnaround in our lives. Also, permit me to appreciate the Federal Government for this joint effort. We are very grateful,” he said.

Speaking, the King of Okebunku Land in Kabba Bunu Local Government, Timothy Omonile commended the President of the Dangote Group and charged other philanthropists to emulate him, adding that that is the only way Nigeria can develop its economy and infrastructure.

He said the construction of the road has helped cut down the rate of criminality in the state while describing the Group President of Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as God sent.

Rechel Olatunji, a businesswoman said she makes more money now and that business is booming because of the road.

Another businesswoman Veronica Samuel prayed fervently for the Dangote Group, adding that the new road has changed her life, and enabled her to sponsor her children to school.

Worried by the huge sum of money used in road repairs, President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote had said plans were afoot to revolutionize Nigerian roads with concrete, stressing that resources used in road repairs and maintenance would be channeled to other more important needs of the nation.

“We are going to be building concrete roads in the country so that anytime we build a road, we do not have to go back to repair after the third raining season, but move on and use the resources to address other pressing needs of Nigeria,” Mr. Dangote had said.

It would be recalled that as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS), the Dangote Group had earlier commissioned the 26 km Itori-Ibese Concrete Road.

At the commissioning, the Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had noted that the stride by the Dangote Group demonstrated the unwavering commitments of an indigenous investor towards the industrialization of Nigeria.

A statement from the Corporate Communications Department of the Dangote Group said: “Concrete roads last longer than asphalt roads and do not have potholes. It does not require frequent maintenance as asphalt roads. It saves fuel for motorists and protects tires from wear and tears.”

The statement said it is part of the Group’s determination to support the government and Nigerians in order to grow the economy and facilitate ease of doing business.

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