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Lagos Finalizes Register-To-Open Guidelines, Set To Restart Economy

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Lagos State Government has set the process of re-opening its economy in motion, with the rollout of Register-to-Open guidelines.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State Government daily battles the reality of balancing reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the State’s response to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Governor said the battle to stop the ravaging virus in Lagos had subjected the State to a delicate situation of having to manage hunger resulting from weeks of a slowdown in economic activities and also the movement of consumer goods to keep the economy afloat.

He said the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines were the major part of the measures initiated to achieve phased re-opening of the State economy, adding that Government had offered incentives that will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of labour.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this development while speaking at a webinar organized by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”. The Governor was a panelist in the online discussion that also featured Governors of Kaduna and Edo states, Mallam Nasir el-Rufa’i and Godwin Obaseki.

The webinar had about 1,200 people who participated from across the globe.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government remained committed to tackling COVID-19 and breaking the cycle of its transmission, but added that there was a need to address hunger and job loss that could arise from prolonged lockdown of the economy.

He said: “We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only dependent on commercial activities in Lagos alone, but also other states across the federation. We have had weeks of engagement with players in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.

“Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities. As we prepared for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have a higher number of labour.”

The Governor, however, maintained that the re-opening would not be done in haste, but said construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given the large number of employment they generate. He added that entertainment, hospitality, and aviation industries would be considered in the second phase of the intervention.

Sanwo-Olu said the weeks of inertia in the economy also had a significant impact on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), stressing that millions of small-scale businesses operating in the State could completely fold up if the economy is not fully reactivated.

In addition to granting a three-month moratorium to MSMEs that applied for loan facilities at the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds (LSETF), Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had started to compile data of registered MSMEs in the State for operational support that would cushion the effect of economic slowdown on their businesses.

He said: “The other part of our intervention is our conversation with big corporations in various sectors on the requirements they may want from us to ensure that they do not retrench their staff in this emergency period. This conversation is very important. The companies have given us a retinue of incentives they want us to give and these are the things that will affect the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We are willing to make this sacrifice to prevent loss of livelihood for millions of our citizens.”

In the course of the lockdown, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government provided palliatives for over 800,000 households, pointing out that there was a need to bring succour to residents that live on a daily wage.

The Governor said people must trust the Government on the management of the coronavirus and data being churned out.

Answering a question on the biggest consequence which COVID-19 had on State economy, Sanwo-Olu said: “Lagos has been affected both on the healthcare and economy sides. We have had to take a deep dive into our budget and have about 25 percent cut, which is not a very good number for us. This is the time we need to continue to spend to stave off pressure on our citizens. However, we need to be prudent at this time and cut unimportant expenditures. Salary is one thing we cannot even touch.

“In terms of direct economy, entertainment industry, hospitality, land transportation, and aviation businesses have been affected significantly. These sectors are large employers of labour. We are thinking through on how to reset these sectors in a graduated manner and bring back the economy on the full swing.”

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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