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NATIONAL NEWS

Ebola: Doctors, Lawmakers reject Sept 22 date for resumption of schools

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– No cause for Alarm-FG

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Tuesday faulted the Federal Government’s directive to schools to resume on September 22 as against October 12, arguing that schools should not be reopened until all those under surveillance for the Ebola Virus Disease in the country are certified free.

Speaking through its National Secretary-General, Dr. Olawunmi Alayaki, the association said, “we are not happy with this decision on the resumption of schools. Schools should be shut till the last suspected case or patient is certified free of the virus.”

According to the NMA, the resumption of schools could be shifted till December or early part of next year because if Ebola should spread to any school, it would “assume another dimension.”

While urging parents not to be in a hurry to have their children back to school since children cannot survive isolation like adults, the association noted that, “we can shift the resumption date till next year or in the next three months if that is the time it will take. Government should have enough time to follow the standard procedure for containing the virus.

“Nigeria is peculiar because of her large population and we should be pragmatic and proactive. It will not augur well for the country if we have another outbreak due to carelessness.”

Speaking in the same vein, the Lagos State chapter of the NMA said that the Federal Government should have postponed the resumption date till the completion of surveillance and monitoring of contacts in the affected states.

Chairman of the Lagos state chapter of the association, Dr. Tope Ojo, who observed that many of the public and private schools in the country lacked basic hygiene and sanitary facilities that could help prevent the spread of the EVD by pupils, said: “It would not have cost the Federal Government anything to have waited till those under surveillance have completed the 21 days in all the states where they are being monitored.

“The government knows that it takes a longer time for children to get used to the idea of hygiene and sanitation. They are even more vulnerable because they would play with each other whether they are sick or not.

“How many children know that they should use hand sanitizers or avoid contact with anybody that has fever?

“Waiting till October when at least the situations in Rivers and Lagos states would have been conclusively managed is another safety measure the government should have taken. These kids are not studying to get a degree, so we are sure it would not have affected schools’ curricula,” he pointed out.

Also the House of Representatives has queued behind those calling for the postponement of schools’ resumption date. This is as it disclosed on Tuesday that it had directed its Committee on Education to review the September 22 resumption date for private and public primary and secondary schools in the country.

The Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Victor Ogene, who disclosed the position of the House in Abuja, said apprehension was still palpable among parents and guardians over Federal Government’s decision to change the earlier resumption date of October 13 to September 22.

The Leader recalled that the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, had earlier said that the October 13 resumption date was to give health officers enough time to bring the EVD under control.

Ogene, who noted that the leadership of the House was concerned over the fresh protests by the public, especially parents and guardians, said the House tasked the committee to look into the matter urgently “in the overall interest of the pupils and students, parents and guardians and the general well-being of the entire country.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, while speaking with PUNCH in Lagos, said there was nothing to fear over the federal government’s directive to schools to resume on September 22, noting that, “We have contained the situation. Ebola is no longer in the streets anywhere in Nigeria.

“We are working with the Federal Ministry of Education and we made it clear that in institutions having students returning from outside Nigeria, they should let us know.

“We will work with them and we have questionnaires which we are already using on airlines and ships coming into Nigeria as well as other means of transport. They will fill questionnaires. We will ask questions and conduct tests to see that they don’t have fever,” he said.

 

CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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