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COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu Bans Okada Operation In Lagos; Gives Businesses, Markets, Malls 6-Hour Operation Time [Full Text]

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Ahead of the Monday expiration of the lockdown imposed by the Federal Government on Lagos State, Ogun State, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos State Government has introduced a strict framework for movement and re-opening of businesses.

The set of new guidelines, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said in his ninth briefing at the State House in Marina, are to safeguard the gains which the State had made in the past four weeks in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From next Monday, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government will be implementing the dusk-to-dawn curfew announced by President Muhammadu Buhari last Monday as part of the phased measures to reduce the risk of contagion of the COVID-19 disease among the residents and to consolidate on the response strategy deployed to combat the pandemic.

The Governor announced that the State public officers from levels 1 to 12 should remain and work from home unless otherwise directed by their Accounting Officers, saying the Accounting Officers of various Ministries would carry out a needs assessment of other critical staff who needs to report to work.

He said: “For those on Grade Levels 13 and above, Accounting Officers will carry out a Needs Assessment of critical staff, identify essential officers and draw up a Flexible Work Roster in compliance with Social Distancing principles. The Head of Service will provide further details via a circular.”

The Governor’s new framework made fundamental changes to the public transportation system and business dealings at corporate offices, local markets, and malls.

All passenger buses are not permitted to load to full capacity, Sanwo-Olu ordered in the new guidelines. All commercial vehicles, the Governor said, must carry a maximum of 60 percent of full capacity, and their drivers must use a face mask and observe other prescribed hygiene tips.

The Governor also suspended the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, across the State, with the exception of those used for courier and logistics purposes.

Sanwo-Olu directed the drivers of tricycles (Keke NAPEP) operating in unrestricted areas not to carry more than two passengers per trip and the passengers must keep an appropriate distance.

Besides, food handlers at public eateries and restaurants have been mandated by the State Government to wear masks and hand gloves at all times, especially during the preparation and serving of foods.

Only take-out meals and delivery services will be permitted at eateries and restaurants, Sanwo-Olu ordered, warning that in-dining services will not be allowed at the moment.

The Governor said all businesses that will re-open next week must operate between the hours of 9 am to 3 pm. The new directive on business operating hours affects all corporate firms, banks, malls, and local markets.

He said: “Following the culmination of the second phase of the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, and the nationwide address by President Muhammadu Buhari, it has become imperative for me to address our residents and to share a broader framework for the implementation of the President’s directives here in Lagos.

“There will be a dusk-to-dawn curfew from 8 pm to 6 am daily. This means that we expect all Lagos residents to stay in their homes in these hours, except those in essential services.

“All commuters are mandated to wear face masks at all times, sanitize with alcohol-based sanitizer or wash their hands with soap and running water before and after every trip. All motor parks and garages must avoid overcrowding. Social distancing is required for passengers queuing up to board buses.

“All buses should be loaded to a maximum of 60 percent of full capacity. No standing allowed in all BRT and LBSL bus operations. All air- conditioning systems in public transport systems must be switched off.

“Commercial Motorcycles, popularly known as Okadas, are to suspend their operations statewide, except for those motorcycles used for courier and logistics purposes. Tricycles (Kekes) operating in unrestricted areas, must not carry more than two passengers per trip and must ensure appropriate social distancing is maintained between passengers.”

In addition, the Governor announced the restriction of operating hours of water transportation companies to the period between 6am and 6pm daily.

He said under no circumstance should vehicles carrying food items have more than seven passengers.

All public and private schools from the primary level to tertiary education must remain closed, Sanwo-Olu directed. He said online classes and lessons that had already been started must continue until further notice.

The Governor added that businesses will be allowed to operate within the “Controlled Easing Phase” framework, clarifying that the expiration of the lockdown was not a directive for the full reopening of the economy.

“It is a gradual and controlled easing of the lockdown. We will continue to monitor the public health situation; the economic impact of the lockdown and always adjust our responses accordingly,” the Governor said.

The Governor acknowledged the role of the banking sector in sustaining the economy, urging banks to open all their branches and offer a full complement of their services to the public. He, however, said banking operations must fall within the stipulated hours of 9 am to 3 pm, adding that banks’ managements must ensure regular cleaning and decontamination of their ATM machines and devices regularly used by the public.

He said: “Companies that choose to operate within this Controlled Easing Phase are to operate between 9 am and 3 pm. They are also directed to operate at a maximum of 60 percent of their staff capacity. Some non-essential workers can continue to work online and remotely from the office. Online and work-from-home arrangements are highly encouraged to continue as much as is practicable.

“All entertainment centers, such as event centers, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, day clubs, nightclubs, and beaches shall remain closed until further notice. Swimming pools, gyms, barber-shops, Spas, beauty salons, and all public parks, including those in private and residential estates, will continue to remain closed for another two weeks in the instance, at which point we will review and advise on the permissible opening date for these establishments.”

Sanwo-Olu said the Government’s whistleblower channels would be fully opened to report companies that would flout the new directives. He said whistleblowers would be guaranteed full protection and their identities will be kept strictly confidential.

The Governor also announced that he would inaugurate a Committee on Thursday, which will comprise representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Private Transport Operators, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), and the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.

The committee, he said, will be charged with the responsibility of communicating the new State Government’s framework to their members for ease of implementation and compliance.

BIG STORY

UPDATE: How Lagos Lawmaker, Tunde Buraimoh ‘Big Daddy’ Died of COVID-19 At Lagos Isolation Center

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The popular lawmaker representing Kosofe Constituency 2 in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Barrister Taofeek Olatunde Buraimoh is dead.

He died early Friday, 10 July 2020. He was aged 59, two months shy of his 60th birthday celebration, on September 30.

A close family source confirmed his death. Although the cause of his death is yet to be made official, The ELITES exclusively learnt that Buraimoh died from COVID-19 complications in one of the isolation facilities of the Lagos State Government.

Ironically, Buraimoh was reported to have paid a visit to the isolation center two weeks ago, to donate foodstuffs and other items to the patients.

He fell ill shortly after. The lawmaker was later rushed to the isolation center when the illness took a turn for the worse. He died in the early hours of today.

Until his death, Braimoh was the chairman house committee on information, security, and strategy in the Lagos state house of Assembly. He had also served in the Parliament as the chairman house committee on Judiciary, petitions, and Lasiec, he was also a one time chairman of Kosofe local government area, now Ikosi-Isheri local council.

He is survived by his wife, Yetunde, and children.

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BIG STORY

Big Daddy Is Gone! Lagos Lawmaker, Tunde Buraimoh, Dies Two Months To His 60th Birthday

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A member of the Lagos state House of Assembly representing Kosofe Constituency II, Hon. Tunde Buraimoh has been declared dead.

His colleague, Honourable Sanni Ganeey Okanlawon from Kosofe Constituency 1, broke the news via social media.

The late lawmaker is said to have died exactly two months to his 60th birthday.

Buraimoh, who ensured that the assembly holds a special session for late Senator Bayo Osinowo, was said to have fallen ill and became indisposed for days to ensure he recovers from the health challenges quickly and resume to office.

A source from the House of Assembly confirmed to the Guild that the former lawmaker, representing Kosofe Constituency II, was battling with two underlying health issues, diabetes and High Blood Pressure (BP) before he passed on.

The source added that his health challenges and that of Osinowo were reasons the assembly suggested yesterday to the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, that more private hospitals should be accredited and ask Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, to work with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to assist the state gain control over coronavirus.

Although the news of the late lawmaker who was fondly called Big Daddy, has not been made official, a member of the family told our correspondent that the former assembly spokesman died early hours on Friday and that other members of the family were yet to come to terms that the former lawmaker was no more.

A member of All Progressives Congress (APC) in his constituency told The Guild that though they were yet to receive any official statement from the family since news of his death filtered in, meanwhile, the party members have started trooping to his home to commiserate with the Buraimohs.

Details Shortly

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BIG STORY

Diezani Removed $70m From NNPC In 12 Bags —– Ex-NNPC GMD

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos heard on Thursday that in 2015, a former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke ordered the removal of $70 million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 12 padlocked bags.

A former NNPC Group General Manager told Justice Muslim Hassan that he delivered the bags to an Abuja-based banker on Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

He testified that he and others “had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority”.

The former GGM appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Executive Director of a top commercial bank, Dauda Lawal.

Lawal is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N928,000,000

The commission accused him of handling $25 million out of $153 million, which the former minister allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general elections.

The trial opened on Thursday with the ex-NNPC GGM appearing as the first prosecution witness.

Led in evidence by EFCC Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered the cash-laden bags to the Abuja banker, identified simply as Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The witness said: “My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.

“At the end of such briefings, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My lord, the source, the content, and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me.

“Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, my lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect.

“Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained $70 million.”

Under cross-examination by the defense counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

Justice Hassan adjourned till July 21, 22, and 23 for the continuation of trial.

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