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Anthony Joshua is now set to clash with Oleksandr Usyk on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But the 31-year-old insists that he will do everything in his power to get the fight with his fellow Brit sorted in the UK as soon as possible.

Joshua told the Daily Mail  August 14, “That’s when the Fury fight was booked. It would have happened by now.

“We were meant to have fought by now and here we are talking about it. But it will happen.

“I know what people are saying about boxing politics, but I’ll promise before the end of my career I will have done everything in my power to fight Tyson Fury.

“We saw it with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao [not fighting until they were beyond their primes] but that was a superstar fight.

“Me and Fury is streets, two warriors, two fighters who have come from the amateur system in the UK, and have taken the world by storm.

“We’ll get it on in Britain. Don’t worry about age, boxing politics, don’t worry about the American dollar.

“This is a British UK fight which can happen at Wembley, Tottenham, the O2, York Hall.

“I look at it less as a mega-fight for the world and more from the point of view that we are guys who first met in Finchley ABC. It is a grassroots fight.”

[Sun]

The Katsina State governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has lampooned his colleagues agitating for collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) by individual states, describing the move as a joke.   

Rivers and Lagos states recently set in motion, plans to collect VAT directly from companies domiciled in their states. But the move by Rivers has been halted by a Court of Appeal. However, the state government has appealed the ruling at the Supreme Court.

At a meeting on Thursday, other governors from the region adopted the position of the two states by endorsing VAT collection at the state level. But Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, on Friday, denounced the position contained in the communiqué issued by southern governors as he kicked against decentralised VAT collection.

Masari said both Rivers and Lagos were reliant on population from other parts of the country to sustain their economy, expressing surprise that the governments of the two states would seek to exclude the rest of the country.

The Katsina governor spoke in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust on Sunday prior to Thursday’s meeting of the Southern Governors Forum in Enugu.

“First of all, this issue is before the Court of Appeal for determination, so I will not comment directly on it, but I will give you a scenario.

“What is Lagos without the rest of Nigeria? The market Lagos is boasting of is dependent on the larger part of the country. Benin Republic has a port, Togo has a port; do they have the population to back up the ports? Without us providing the demand part, what will be Lagos?” Masari said.   

He said all states benefitted from each other in the revenue equation and no one should look down on another because of those configurations.   

“VAT serves them and us. We provide the bulk of the market because without the rest of the states, what is Lagos or Port Harcourt?

“Any state that thinks it can survive in isolation is joking. We provide the demand that makes Lagos what it is.”

Masari, however, expressed support for devolution of power to allow states take the lead on issues of security and determine other fiscal issues according to their individual strengths.

The governor said the devolution of power should factor areas of responsibility of states but should be mindful of exclusive roles of the federal government.

“If you devolve, in the real term of devolving, I want to be able to fix the salaries of governors, professionals, civil servants. As a governor, I should not expect to earn as much as the Kano State governor, not to talk of Lagos, because their bases of revenue are not like mine. But that does not take away my authority as governor in Katsina, likewise a councillor in any of our local governments.

“Do you expect me to compare myself with a state that generates over N450billion internally when the best I have is between N12bn and N15bn?”

[DailyTrust]

The Presidency, on Saturday, provided a breakdown of the proposed projects and the benefiting states and government agencies on which the over $4 billion loan being sought by the federal government would be spent.

 Recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, recently requested Senate approval for sovereign loans of $4.054bn and €710million as well as grant components of $125m.

However, in a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency explained that the loans, which would be aggregated from various international financial institutions, are targeting infrastructure and development projects across the country.

According to the statement, the projects will attend to critical needs in the transportation, power, health, agriculture, education and other sectors of the national economy, all spread across the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“A total of 15 projects, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, are to be financed with more than $4 billion from multilateral institutions, under the 2018-2021 medium term (rolling) external borrowing plan.

“President Muhammadu Buhari had requested the Senate to approve sovereign loans of $4.054bn and €710million as well as grant components of $125m for the proposed projects.

“According to the letter by the President, the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

“The President’s request to the Senate listed 15 proposed pipeline projects, the objectives, the implementation period, benefiting States, as well as the implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“A breakdown of the ‘Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan’, shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125million grant for ‘Better Education Services for All’.

“The Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.

“The grant, which will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), will strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.

“Other projects to be financed by the World Bank are, the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

“The benefiting States for the agro-processing project are, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.

“The objective of the project is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating States.

“Similarly, the World Bank is also financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.

“The project, when completed, is expected to improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.

“Under the external borrowing plan, the World Bank supported projects also include Nigeria’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The project, which has an implementation period of 5 years, will respond to threats posed by COVID-19 through the procurement of vaccines.

“Furthermore, no fewer than 29 States are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria.

“The benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) are: Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau, Abia, Nasarawa, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.

“The World Bank is also funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-TinCan Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.

“The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project.

“The digital identity project will be co- financed with World Bank and EIB.

“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi States will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.

“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase 1 & II , electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.

“The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will implement the project aimed at increasing local capacity and capability in the development of power and renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

“Credit Suisse will finance major industrialisation projects as well as micro, small and medium enterprises schemes to be executed by the Bank of Industry while SINOSURE and Standard Chartered Bank will provide funds for the provision of 17MW Hybrid Solar Power infrastructure for the National Assembly (NASS) complex.

“The project, with an implementation period of five years, is expected to address ‘NASS power supply deficit and reduce higher overhead burdensome cost of running and maintaining fossil fuel generators (25MW installed capacity) to power the assembly complex,” the statement said.

[Nation]

 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has listed three conditions required to achieve unity in Nigeria.

He said government must be ready to respect, protect and guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens, without exception, for the country to remain united.

The Speaker also said that the people must be  free from want and have the resources to pursue their dreams and achieve their aspirations.

The third condition according to him, is to set Nigerians free from the current terror and accompanying limitations of wanton insecurity in all its forms.

Gbajabiamila, according to a statement by his media aide, Lanre Lasisi, listed conditions on Saturday,  at the 112th Founder’s Lecture of the King’s College Old Boys Association in Lagos.

The statement was titled, “House to ensure constitution amendment to provides for inclusiveness, unity – Gbajabiamila”

The theme of the KCOBA Lecture according to the statement was,  “Unity in diversity, stronger together.”

The Speaker noted that the ongoing  review of the 1999 constitution being undertaken by the National Assembly will correct all forms of imbalance in the country.

Gbajabiamila said Nigeria stands to achieve a lot when the citizens are united.

The Speaker said, “Nigeria’s unity is incumbent on our ability to do three things and do them well. The first is to ensure that the government respects, protects and guarantees the fundamental rights of all citizens, without exception.

“The second is to provide a society where our people are free from want and have the resources to pursue their dreams and achieve their best aspirations.

“The third is by freeing our people from the abject terror and accompanying limitations of wanton insecurity in all its forms.

“This is the pathway to a truly united Nigeria. A nation where our diversity is a source of strength, and we are not defined by the differences of tribe, tongue, religion and history.

“All of the above depends a lot on the quality of political leadership at all levels of government.

“It also depends on whether we are ready to have the difficult conversations about the realities of our country without recourse to easy tropes and comforting shibboleths.

“We cannot continue to assume and act in the assumption that every criticism, political action and governing decision, for good or bad, is the product of ethnic, religious or other such considerations.

“We need to begin once more to extend to ourselves the benefit of kindness and the assumption of good intentions. We are capable of this.”

The Speaker said that the House would ensure that the ongoing constitution amendment produces a document that would entrench inclusiveness and unity among Nigerians.

He said the efforts of the House would also put in place mechanisms for holding the institutions of state accountable and “put an end to the debilitating conflicts that continue to tear our nation apart.”

Gbajabiamila, who went down memory lane, said having inherited the union called Nigeria, “we have built it up and held it together. We accomplished this through joint effort over many years.

“We did it through citizens moving from one end of the country to another, acquiring education, building businesses, making friends, falling in love, and marrying. We did it through the joy of shared victories and the mourning of communal loss.

“We took ownership of our country by sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to secure democratic governance and make Nigeria into a place where grand visions can be made real by determined effort and where hope can thrive. As in the words of our old national anthem, we have made of this nation where ‘though tribes and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand’.”

Gbajabiamila, who said “Nigeria belongs to all of us in equal measure,” noted that “the creation of this union was divinely ordained. Therefore, it is our sacred duty as citizens of this great country to identify the purpose of this divine creation and give ourselves to those activities that will make real the divine purpose of our national union.”

“In the House of Representatives, we are currently in the process of a substantive review of our nation’s constitution. Our objective is to deliver a constitution that more effectively organises our politics to make it more inclusive, enshrine efficient mechanisms for holding the institutions of state to account and put an end to the debilitating conflicts that continue to tear our nation apart.

“We will not produce a perfect constitution; no such thing has ever existed in the world.

“However, together we can, by the choices we make and our actions, use our constitution as the foundational document of our nationhood to give life to the best promise of Nigeria.”

[Punch]

Amid Federal Government’s concern over many Nigerians’ reluctance to take the Covid-19 vaccine and its plan to impose sanctions on those who refuse the vaccine when it is made available to all, some states have said they do not intend to force anyone to take the vaccine.

The states, including Enugu, Taraba, Cross River, Ogun, Bauchi and Abia, said they would keep appealing to their residents to take the vaccine instead of adopting strict measures to compel them.

Bothered about the low vaccination level across the country and the deadly nature of the Delta variant that is now in the country, the Federal Government had said it was exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians and that it would not hesitate to “apply the basic rule of law” against people who refused the vaccine because they would be endangering the lives of others.

The Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, on August 31, said, “The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health are exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians, including federal civil servants and corporate entities.

“Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we will need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesitancy. If some individuals refuse to take the vaccine, hence endangering those who have or those who could not due to medical exemptions, then we have to apply the basic rule of law, which stipulates that your human right stops where mine begins.

“So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others.”

Meanwhile, the six states ruled out such measures, saying they would continue to appeal to their residents.

In Enugu State, the Commissioner for Information and spokesperson for the state Action Committee on Covid-19, Mr Chidi Aroh, told one of our correspondents in an interview that the state would respect the fundamental rights of every resident of the state.

He added, “I know that in Enugu State, we encourage people to take vaccine but rest assured that in encouraging people to take vaccine, Enugu is a state that is guided by the law. We are going to respect the fundamental rights of everybody as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“So, in all we do, we will be guided by the process of the law and the administration will do everything within the extant laws. However, we say that it is proper for people to go and get vaccinated but we will not do what is illegal to get people vaccinated.”

In Taraba State, the Commissioner for Health and Chairman of the state task force on COVID-19, Dr Innocent Vakkai, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Jalingo, the state capital, appealed to the residents to take the vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus.

Vakkai said, “Though Edo State has made vaccination cards compulsory for entry into public places, for us in Taraba, we are appealing to residents to come out and get vaccinated. We received 60,000 doses of Moderna vaccine last week and I want to appeal to residents to come out and get vaccinated to avoid the spread of the virus.”

In Cross River State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, said residents were already taking the vaccine, thus there would be no need to force them to take it.

Edu said, “We have asked people to take the vaccine and Cross Riverians are taking it. In the first phase, Cross River was the highest for covering the target population. We had over 117 per cent. We even exhausted our vaccine and could not get the vaccine to give people the second dose for eight weeks.

“So, there is no need to force them. As we speak now, over 60,000 Cross Riverians have taken the new vaccine brought to us and more are still taking it. In fact, we will soon exhaust what we have and we will need more. So, making it compulsory is not necessary.”

In Ogun State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, ruled out the option of barring persons who had not been vaccinated from its facilities.

Coker said, “Ogun State has experienced cooperation from residents who have engaged the vaccination campaign wholeheartedly. We are vaccinating over 7,000 individuals daily, so the situation in Ogun State does not require such restrictions.

“What I would like to encourage people to do is to wear their masks properly in public as this is still the most effective way of curtailing the spread of the virus while we continue the vaccination campaign which is planned to continue until the fourth quarter of next year.”

In Abia State, the Executive Director of the state Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr Chinagorom Adindu, said the residents of the state would take it as enlightenment campaign was ongoing.

He said, “At the moment, we have not considered that. Abians are highly literate and are willingly taking it. However, the state government has embarked on mass enlightenment to convince more residents to take the vaccine.”

Also, in Bauchi State, the Executive Chairman of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, said the state had no plan to restrict people that had not been vaccinated from public facilities.

Mohammed, who is the Chairman of Contact and Surveillance Sub-Committee of the Task Force on COVID-19 in the state, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, said, “There is no plan on that; we have yet to discuss that at the committee level.

“My Chairman is the deputy governor and he has not said anything on that and we have not discussed it.”

Osun, Ebonyi back FG, Ondo plan enforcement

In Osun State, the Special Adviser to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola on Public Health, Dr ‘Siji Olamiju, said with the way the virus was spreading, those planning to take stringent measures over vaccination might be justified.

In Edo State, for example, the state government, led by Governor Godwin Obaseki, had mandated people of the state to take the vaccine; warning that as from September 15, anyone who had not been vaccinated would not be allowed into public places such as banks and worship centres.

Despite the ex parte order granted by the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt restraining the governor from enforcing his order mandating all residents of the state to get vaccinated, people without proof of vaccination were prevented from entering the state secretariat on Wednesday.

Olamiju, however,  noted that residents of the state had been coming for vaccination.

Olamiju said, “COVID-19 has come to stay. We just have to devise means of living with it in a way that it will not mar our existence as a people.

“As we see some other states making some stringent means, it is worth it. This pandemic is spreading. Here, we are looking at our indices and we are analysing them. If our indices point at doing the same, Mr Governor will not hesitate to do anything that will safeguard the healthy living of the people.”

In Ebonyi State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abakaliki on Friday, said it had a plan to enforce compulsory vaccination but it won’t do so now because a good number of the population had not been vaccinated.

“As we see some other states making some stringent means, it is worth it. This pandemic is spreading. Here, we are looking at our indices and we are analysing them. If our indices point at doing the same, Mr Governor will not hesitate to do anything that will safeguard the healthy living of the people.”

In Ebonyi State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezuruike, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abakaliki on Friday, said it had a plan to enforce compulsory vaccination but it won’t do so now because a good number of the population had not been vaccinated.

COVID-19 deaths hit 2,647 as recovery rate drops by 70%

Meanwhile, information from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says the country has recorded no fewer than 200,957 confirmed cases as of September 16, 2021.

Out of the figure, 189,346 have been treated and discharged while the nation has so far recorded 2,647 fatalities.

The NCDC also revealed that between August 31 and September 5, 2021, a total of 6,246 individuals were discharged but between September 6 and September 12, only 1,880 individuals recovered, signifying  a significant drop of 69.9 per cent recovery in one week.

Despite the increasing number of cases since the presence of the Delta variant was announced in July 2021, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency which monitors vaccination in the country in its daily update stated that as of September 16, 2021, only 1.6 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated with first and second doses.

According to the NPHCDA, 4,255,621 eligible citizens have been vaccinated with the first dose, which amounts to 3.8 per cent while only 1,745,663 have been fully vaccinated with both the first and second doses, representing 1.6 per cent of the population.

Experts and the World Health Organisation have expressed worries over the low rate of vaccination in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Over 3,500 passengers positive in six months

No fewer than 3,513 inbound and outbound passengers in the country tested positive for COVID-19 between March 8 and September 12, 2021, an update by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has revealed.

According to the update on the NCDC website, the 3,513 passengers comprised of 1,303 inbound passengers, 1,765 outbound passengers and 445 passengers not categorised as either inbound or outbound.

Within the period, the number of deaths recorded was 523.

Meanwhile, as of Friday afternoon, 2,942,578 samples have been tested in total, out of which 200,957 cases have been confirmed, 8,964 are still active, 189,346 persons have been discharged while 2,647 deaths have been recorded in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Federal Government had on March 23, 2020 suspended international flights in the country following the rise in the COVID-19 cases in the country. After about six months when the first wave of the virus began to decline, flights resumed on September 5, 2020.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, explained that all passengers coming into the country would have to undergo a COVID-19 test very close to their departure dates and that they would have to do another test eight days after arrival in the country.

According to the NCDC, between September 6 and 12, 2021, a total of 5,473 inbound travellers were tested, out of which 141 were positive and within the same week, 46 deaths were recorded. Also, between August 30 and September 5, 2021, 5,129 inbound international travellers were tested, out of which 149 tested positive and within the same week, 98 deaths were recorded.

Between August 23 and 29, 4,539 inbound travellers were tested, out of which 161 were positive. The number of deaths recorded in different parts of the country was 186.

The previous week, being August 16 to August 22, 4,590 inbound travellers were tested, out of which 195 were positive. The number of deaths recorded in different parts of the country was 49. From August 9 to August 15, 4,662 inbound travellers were tested, out of which 184 were positive and deaths recorded in some parts of the country was 32.

While 157 inbound passengers tested positive between August 2 and 8, the record for July 26 to August 1 was missing. However, from July 19 to 25, 2,836 inbound passengers were tested, out of which 74 were positive, while 107 positive cases were recorded when 4,398 inbound travellers were tested between July 12 to 18.

From July 5 to 11, 4,282 inbound passengers were tested, out of which 81 were positive; 14 passengers tested positive out of the 2,991 inbound travellers tested between June 28 and July 4. Also, between June 21 and 27, 2,872 inbound travellers were tested, out of which 23 tested positive.

Meanwhile, between March 8 and June 20, 2021, 445 inbound and outbound passengers tested positive, and within the period, 97 persons died of the virus.

Myth about vaccine discouraging people – UI committee chair

The Chairman, University of Ibadan COVID-19 Emergency Response Committee, Prof Victoria Adetunji, has said many Nigerians are afraid of taking COVID-19 vaccine because of the myth that the vaccines were produced to reduce human population.

Adetunji, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, said this on the sidelines of training and inauguration of UI Task Force Supervisors on COVID-19.

She said, “Many are not taking the vaccine because of the myth going around that COVID-19 vaccine is meant to kill people. Some are saying it is the mark of the devil, 666, but as a Christian, I know that rapture would have taken place before the devil’s mark would be given.

The Acting Vice Chancellor of UI, Prof Adebola Ekanola, said it was unfortunate that some people still did not believe that the virus was real.
[Punch]

The battle for the national chairmanship of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC has begun with several stakeholders making behind-the-scenes consultations on their prospects of taking over from the Caretaker National Chairman, Gov. Mai Mala Buni.

The moves followed the conclusion of APC’s membership registration and revalidation exercise as well as the commencement of its Congresses which states from the Ward level ahead of its National Convention.

Also, in the wake of the controversy generated by the Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo Governorship election vis a vis the implications of the dissenting judgment for the APC, there have been increased political horse trading among aspirants for party positions.

A 4-3 split decision of the court had dismissed the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party PDP aspirant in the 2020 Ondo State Governorship Election, Eyitayo Jegede SAN against the incumbent Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN and the ruling APC.

Some of those who wanted to get Gov. Mai Mala Buni out of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee have continued to espouse the provision of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

The section provides that; “The Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever”.

Also, Article 17(iv) of the APC constitution states that; “No officer in any organ of the Party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”.

The minority judgment of the apex court which touched on these provisions have heightened activities among partisans, especially those angling to chair the party at the national level.

Saturday Vanguard takes a look at some of the frontrunners in the contest. They include the Senator, representing Niger East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani Musa, former Governors Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa state; Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara.

Uche Edochie, son of veteran Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie has said that he spent over N6 million to treat  COVID-19  virus at an isolation treatment facility in Gbagada in Lagos.

Edochie took to his Instagram page @ucheedochie to share and announce his recovery experience.

He stated that the facility where he was treated charged him N350,000 per day and was there for 12 days before being moved to First Cardiology Centre in Ikoyi for lung and heart rehabilitation.

The total cost of his treatment had exceeded N6 million, he said, adding that many people died of the virus because of the high cost associated with its treatment.

“COVID costs a fortune and I know a guy whose treatment cost N17 million. When I fell sick weeks ago, I thought I had malaria, so I spent the first couple of weeks treating malaria.

“By the time I realised this could be something else, it was too late and I was rushed to the hospital with 80 per cent of my lungs damaged.

“I couldn’t eat or breathe and I was on oxygen for weeks; I could not walk either, including having severe chest pains. It felt like I was dying and waking up over and over again, I have never seen anything like this,” Uche said.

The actor’s son said it was the first time in his life that he had no control over anything.

 “I felt like I was on a boat drifting away in the still of the night rudderless.

“The days that followed passed by slowly and everything was a blur and I remember lying in the hospital floating endlessly like a feather in an abyss of nothing.

“The days turned to weeks and my recovery was going well. I am fully cured of COVID now and I am able to walk a little,” he said.

He added that his  lungs would take months to heal completely, but he was currently on oxygen and other medications.

Uche urged governments to invest in affordable treatments, to prevent more people from dying of the virus, while lamenting that in spite of the lockdown, wearing of nose masks and vaccines, the virus was still spreading.

“Even those vaccinated are still catching it, but thank God I am back home,” he said.

He thanked his family members and healthcare workers for their incredible support, saying, “In all these people, I saw the face of God and I will never forget. 

(NAN) 

 

JUSTICE Ladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court on Friday made a declaration that campaigns for self-determination by people in Nigeria is legal and a fundamental human right. 

Delivering judgement in a suit filed against the Federal Government by Chief Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, Justice Akintola said with the combined provisions of international and domestic laws, Nigerians, including Igboho, had the unquestionable and inalienable fundamental right to campaign and agitate for self-determination. 

The judge also awarded N20 billion to Igboho against the Federal Government as aggravated damages over the invasion and destruction of his home by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) on July 1, 2021. 

Respondents in the suit were Attorney General of the Federation, the State Security Service (SSS) and Director, State Security Service, Oyo State. 

Justice Akintola granted all the 16 reliefs sought by Igboho in the suit filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Chief Yomi Aliyu, SAN. 

The reliefs include: “A declaration that the Federal Government’s resolve to prevent him from propagating his belief in ‘Yoruba Nation’ in association with others was against his fundamental rights to freedom of thought, conscience and association.” 

Specifically, Igboho asked the court to declare that he and his Yoruba indigenous people had unquestionable and/or inalienable fundamental right to peacefully campaign and seek self-determination of Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and lobby the legislature to amend the CFRN, 1999 as guaranteed by Article 20 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation, 2010, and Articles 3, 4, 7, & 18 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People made at its 107th Plenary Meeting of Thursday 13th September, 2007, thereby insulating campaign for self-determination from criminal culpability. 

Other reliefs sought by Igboho are: “A declaration that the respondents resolve in preventing the applicant from propagating his belief in association with other like-minds in creating a Yoruba Nation and/or Oduduwa Republic for his Indigenous Yoruba People and hunting him with gun with a view to arresting him dead or alive when he had not called for war in achieving same was against his fundamental rights to freedom of thought, conscience and association since campaign for self-determination is recognised by Nigerian law and international treaties of organizations to which Nigeria belongs. 

“A declaration that apart from violating the fundamental right of the applicant to fair hearing, it is unequitable and unfair for the 2nd & 3rd respondents to exhibit guns, ammunition and other dangerous weapons and incriminating documents in public and claim that same belong to the applicant when their officers in actual fact shot their way into the house of the applicant situate, lying and being at Igboho Villa, 1, Dalag Street, Off Soka Bus Stop, Soka Area, off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ibadan, without subjecting themselves and their convoy of vehicles to prior search by the applicant who neither signed any inventory nor search warrant containing inventory to that effect. “A declaration that the media trial of the applicant by the 2nd & 3rd Respondents in exhibiting prohibited and/ or illegal items as Applicant’s before the press and live television is usurpation of judicial power reserved by CFRN, 1999, for courts and violently violates the fundamental right of the applicant to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law recognised y the said constitution and properly constituted for that purpose. 

“A declaration that invading and or blocking the assets of the applicant and putting no debit order on his bank accounts is a violation of his fundamental right to own property and wealth guaranteed by CFRN, 1999, and Article 21 of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of Federation, 2010. 

“An order of injunction restraining the respondents, their agents, privies and associates in other security forces and or anybody acting on their behalf and or instructions from arresting, detaining, molesting, harassing and/or in any way interfering with his right to personal liberty, freedom of movement and peaceful enjoyment of his property without fear of the invasion of his home by the respondents.” 

Igboho also demanded that the court should compel the respondents jointly and severally to pay him N500.5 billion made up of the sum of N500 million as special damages for the damage done to his car and residence at Soka, Ibadan and the sum of N500 billion being exemplary and/ or aggravated damages for malicious invasion of his Soka residence. 

He also asked the court to declare that the damage of his property was a violation of his fundamental right to peacefully own property and wealth as well. On the invasion of the home of the activist, the court held that “the applicant led credible and unchallenged evidence against the respondents. The respondents did not deny the invasion of the applicant’s residence, rather they admitted the invasion on mere allegation of suspicion. 

“Suspicion cannot take the place of law, no matter how strong it is. The ugly show of crude fire power by the respondents or their agents, leaving death carnage and destruction behind should be condemned.” 

The court further held that the invasion of Igboho’s residence in the middle of the night without a warrant violated his fundamental human rights to property, life and family under section 35 (i) (a-c) of the 1999 constitution. 

“In the absence of any evidence that Nigeria is in a state of war, the action and overzealous conduct of the agents of the second and third respondents should be condemned in strongest possible terms. If the identities of the agents of the second and third respondents were known, they would have been made liable for their action,” the judge said. 

Justice Akintola further held that the second and third respondents were silent on how the arms and ammunition allegedly paraded in Abuja were recovered from Igboho’s residence, noting that, “It is difficult to believe that the arms and ammunition were recovered from his residence because there is no evidence to that effect.” 

Justice Akintola added that the judgement would serve as a lesson to government agencies who are fond of infringing on the fundamental human rights of citizens and further awarded N2 million as cost to Igboho. In his reaction after the judgment, Igboho’s counsel, Alliu, SAN, said the judgement was a victory for democracy and the rule of law, adding that it had further proved that the court is the last hope of the common man. 

“We now see that we have to go back to the motto of the NBA, and that is exactly what happened today, which means, where there is a damage, there is a remedy. We can see the language used by my learned lord, Justice Ladiran Akintola, and you heard what I said in court that today’s case is history and lawyers yet unborn will refer to it as you are referring to previous cases,” Aliyu said. 

 [Tribune]

 

Saturday, 18 September 2021 13:58

Why We Made Pantami Professor —FUTO

AUTHORITIES of the Federal University of Technology, (FUTO), Owerri, have explained why the university made the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, a professor, saying the name he gave to the university was Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim before his appointment. 

FUTO also insisted that the appointment of the minister to the position of professor “followed required due process.” 

Pantami was recently elevated to the academic rank of a professor by FUTO along with some other lecturers of the university. 

The minister’s elevation has generated controversy, with many faulting FUTO on the promotion of the minister, who has never been on the teaching roll of the university and whose highest academic attainment was just a lecturer before he ventured into politics. 

Speaking with Saturday Tribune on the issue, the Registrar of FUTO, Mr John Nnabuihe, said: “The university knows him as Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim based on the documents in his file submitted,” adding that he was assessed alongside other internal members who were alsoappointed as professors. Nnabuihe defended the promotion as deserving, saying it was “based on his qualification which he merited through long years of research works.” 

Nnabuihe said Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim was not “promoted” as reported in some quarters but was “appointed” because he was a Reader. 

The FUTO Registrar said “the only reason why it looks like it is a promotion is because he was a Reader and has not attained such position before. So, he is appointed into a higher position than where he was before.” 

He said: “Somebody who is not your staff, you cannot promote him.” Nnabuihe said that after Dr Ibrahim graduated in Computer Science, he started as a lecturer at the Abubakar Tafawa Belewa University. Dr Ibrahim, according to him, later went to another university in Saudi Arabia and was thereafter appointed as an “Associate Professor,” which was where he stayed for some time until he was appointed as the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) which he said was “like a research institute.” 

According to him, in such a research institute, somebody could be there and at the same time would be publishing papers that could make him qualify. He said based on that, a particular university “could decide to appoint someone as a professor.” 

The FUTO Registrar told Saturday Tribune that in September 2020, FUTO advertised for the position of professor and lecturers in different disciplines in the institution and Dr Ibrahim applied. 

He said: “If an associate professor is in a particular university and another university wants him and after assessing him he is qualified based on his research works and credentials, such a person could be appointed as professor by that university.” 

On when Dr Ibrahim would be available to take up his new job in the university, the Registrar said that “is his business,” saying “he applied and FUTO has assessed and appointed him, it’s not my business” (when he would take up the position). On whether FUTO has cyber security as a course, the Registrar said the institution has a Department of Cybersecurity under its School of Information and Communications Technology. 

ASUU orders probe 

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has launched an investigation into the appointment and has directed its FUTO chapter to look into the circumstances under which Pantami was promoted to the highest academic rank in the institution. 

Reacting to the development, the chairman of ASUU, FUTO branch, Mr Christopher Echereobia, told Saturday Tribune that the union was aware of the development, adding that the union was already investigating the issue. 

Echereobia said the national secretariat of ASUU had directed that “the issue should be investigated to ascertain the true position of the matter.” 

He explained that the union held its zonal meeting on Wednesday and the issue was discussed. 

The FUTO ASUU chairman said investigation was ongoing and as soon as the inquiry was concluded, the union would come out with its position. He said ASUU members in the institution had been given two weeks to investigate the matter and come up with their findings. 

Echereobia said: “I just came back from Awka. We have been meeting and we want to get to the root of the matter.” 

The ASUU chief said already, the union had contacted ASUU at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Univeristy (ATBU) because they learnt that Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim was a one-time staff member there before he went for a PhD and later went to Medina. 

He added that the union was also trying to reach the Saudi institution to ascertain the true position, whether he was “associate professor” there or not.

[Tribune]

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed targeted sanctions on the leaders of the military juntas in Guinea and Mali, a move aimed at forcing the rapid return of the countries to democratic rule.

The decision was taken at an extraordinary summit of heads of state and government of the 15-member bloc in the Ghanaian capital, Accra on Thursday.

A statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission said the sanctions which involve travel ban and freezing of financial assets are aimed at members of the juntas and their family members.

In Guinea, the sanctions take effect immediately against all the members of the National Committee of Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) junta and their family members. And in Mali, it will affect only people identified as participating in a deliberate move to forestall the transition process there.

The summit was attended by heads of states from nine countries, including the leaders of Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Senegal. Nigeria, the regional superpower, was represented by its Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

The summit was chaired by Ghanaian president and current chairman of the bloc, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

“The Conference reiterates its strong condemnation of the coup of September 5, 2021 and reaffirms its demand for the immediate and unconditional release of President Alpha Condé,” the statement read by ECOWAS President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou at a press briefing reads in part. It adds that the bloc holds the leaders of the junta individually and collectively responsible for the safety of Mr Condé.

“The Guinea junta leaders were ordered to conduct presidential and legislative elections and hand over power to the elected officials within six months. All members of the CNRD were barred from contesting the presidential election.”

ECOWAS leaders in the statement however also acknowledged the “apparent commitment” of the junta to work for a quick return of constitutional order, citing ongoing consultations with national and international actors in the country.

Mali, where the military first seized power in August 2020 and later in May this year, is expected to conduct elections in February 2022, according to the resolution of an earlier summit by the regional leaders.
But there have been concerns that the transition government might not meet the deadline, amidst indication that the junta was dragging its feet.

The report on the political transition in Mali was presented by the former Nigerian President and ECOWAS envoy to the country, Goodluck Jonathan. The bloc’s decision, according to the ECOWAS statement, was an endorsement of the main recommendations contained in the Jonathan report.

It expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of the preparation for the elections and insisted that the date stipulated must be followed.

The Mali transition government was also ordered to submit by the end of next month a roadmap outlining the essential stages of the transition towards the elections, insisting that only reforms necessary to conduct the elections on the date indicated should be implemented.

The Chairman of the commission was instructed to compile and submit the list of individuals and groups of individuals involved in the alleged efforts to derail the Mali’s transition process for appropriate actions.

ECOWAS leaders also called for support from the African Union, European Union, United Nations, and Multilateral and bilateral partners in the enforcement of the sanctions.

 
 
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