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Nigerian newspapers headlines Tuesday morning

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Confusion As Tribunal Nullifies Bayelsa Gov’s Election [LEADERSHIP]

Apprehension yesterday trailed the judgement of the governorship election petitions tribunal voiding the election of Douye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State.

The three-member panel of justices which nullified the November 16 governorship poll on grounds that Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) in the contest was excluded from the contest.

But the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) faulted the verdict of the tribunal, insisting that it excluded ANDP because the party fielded an underage candidate for the poll.

Two members of the tribunal, Justices Owei Woniwei and Yunusa Musa delivered a majority judgement which annulled the election against the minority verdict of the tribunal’s chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo.

Justices Woniwei and Musa, in their majority judgement, held that INEC illegally excluded ANDP and its governorship candidate, King George, from the election.

The justices said they found merit in the petition filed by ANDP challenging its exclusion from the polls.

Consequently, they nullified the election and ordered INEC to conduct a bye-election in the state within 90 days.

But disagreeing with the verdict, Justice Sirajo, said there was evidence that ANDP was disqualified from the election for fielding an ineligible candidate.

He noted that the party nominated an underage deputy governorship candidate, who admitted that he was 34 years old, instead of 35 years as stipulated by the constitution.

ANDP had in its petition at the tribunal contended that INEC unlawfully excluded it from participating in the election despite fulfilling all the statutory requirements.

But INEC maintained that the 2019 Bayelsa governorship election remained valid, just as it argued that ANDP fielded an underage candidate for the polls.

The commission through its national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who said the ANDP conducted its primaries and submitted the name of one Peter David as its deputy governorship candidate.

Okoye noted that the said candidate was 34 years-old at the time of the submission of the name which is contrary to Section 177(b) of the constitution.

He said, “As at the time of the submission of the name of the said candidate, he was 34 years-old, contrary to Section 177(b) of the constitution that makes it mandatory for a candidate for such office to attain the age of 35 years to be eligible to contest the election.

“In the candidate’s statutory declaration of age and affidavit attached to his form, the party stated that he was born on 10 February, 1985.”

Okoye added that ANDP’s nomination for the election was invalid, stressing that the party did not exercise its right guaranteed in the Fourth Alteration to the constitution by filing its suit within 14 days of the accrual of the said right.

“On Sept. 13, 2019, the commission wrote to the party drawing their attention to the constitutional age requirement of 35 years for Governorship/Deputy Governorship candidates as stipulated in Section 177(b) of the constitution.

“The commission also informed them of the invalidity of their nomination for the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Bayelsa State.”


Proposed Conviction Guidelines Will Ensure Prison Decongestion – FG [LEADERSHIP]

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF), Mr.

Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said that the proposed consolidated sentencing

guidelines would ensure that congestion in prisons in Nigeria is reduced to the barest

minimum through the use of non-custodial sentences.

The AGF said this is in line with section 470(2)(c) of the

Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA’, 2015 and section

2(1)(b) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.

Malami, who spoke at the Virtual Interactive session of the Presidential Committee on Correctional

Service Reform and Decongestion with stakeholders to review the

Federal Capital Territory Courts Sentencing Guidelines and Practice

Direction 2020, said the guideline is geared towards implementing one

of the major recommendations of the National Workshop on the Effective

Implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.

According to him, some of the objectives of the proposed guidelines is

to set out the appropriate standards and guideline for the sentencing

process in offences against the state, person, public order, morality,

homicide, property and corruption related offences, for the purpose of

ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in sentencing in the

Federal Capital Territory.

He also said that the new guidelines is to set out the requirements and

procedure for imposing custodial and non-custodial sentences for the

purpose of preventing abuse and ensuring reasonable uniformity and

fairness in the imposition of sentences.


79th Birthday: Keep Hope Alive, IBB Urges Nigerians [LEADERSHIP]

Former Military President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) has urged

Nigerians to keep hope alive as he marked his 79th birthday, yesterday.

In a short message sent to journalists after cutting his birthday

cake with the members of  his family , IBB who did not allow many

guests and  journalists into his house amidst fear of the spread of

coronavirus,  said he felt good clocking 79 years of age.

Asked how he felt at 79, the former Nigeria Military President said,  “I

feel good, I thank God for His mercy and grace.”

He said that he appreciated those who sent him goodwill messages at his

79th birthday and thanked them for their good comments about him.

When asked about his birthday message to Nigerians, IBB briefly said, “They

should still remain and keep hope alive.”

IBB yesterday marked his 79th birthday without much

guests, as was usually the practice in the past.

LEADERSHIP gathered that this might not be unconnected with the current

COVID-19 pandemic.

The only major guest was the governor of Niger State, Alhaji

Abubakar Sani Belllo  who led few people to the house to present the

usual birthday card.

The governor had extolled the virtue of the former Nigerian leader and

prayed for long life and good health for IBB and his family.

Meanwhile the Niger State commissioner for Information, Mohammed Sani

in a statement marking IBB’s birthday said, “It is with profound sense of joy that the Niger State government on behalf of the entire citizens of the state wishes to join millions

of well wishers in rejoicing with Nigerian Icon and Elder statesman

whose wealth of experience in leadership has remain a source of

reference as he clocked 79 years”.

He stated that,” IBB is not only a professional soldier, pragmatic

leader but also a role model for all politicians and political leaders

within the nation, continent and the world at large,” adding that, “we

appreciate and identity with him (IBB) especially the numerous

outstanding achievements in the military and politics amongst which

was the moving of the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja.”

The commissioner further stated that the state government and the

people of the state salute the steering qualities displayed by

IBB as a military President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,

pointing out that, “his (IBB) tenure as military President also

brought in many improvement which has made Nigeria a united and

indivisible nation till date.”


Amaechi, Reps in face off over $33b Chinese loan [THE NATION]

THERE was heated argument at the House of Representatives Hearing Room 028 yesterday between Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi and House Committee Chairman on Treaties, Particulars and Agreement Ossai Nicholas Ossai.

It was during the legislative hearing on the loans agreements signed by the ministry. At issue was an alleged $33 billion loan which Ossai said Nigeria had signed.  But the minister denied any such agreement.

The drama unfolded before Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Muhammed Bello.

Amaechi, who had warned the committee against scrutinising the Chinese loans, repeated his position that Nigeria might lose the opportunity of a loan to fund the Lagos-Calabar coastal rail line and the people of Southsouth will be denied that project because “of the committee you set up to investigate the Chinese loans.”

Ossai (PDP Delta), frowned at the “misconception and misgivings” on the legislative scrutiny of various agreements signed by government officials.

He said: ”We have heard some people ask why we are focusing on only Chinese-related loans and commercial contracts. We will like Nigerians to know that we aren’t focusing on only Chinese loans. From what we know, Nigeria has over 500 bilateral loan and commercial contracts agreements and investments treaties with different countries and institutions.

”There is no way the committee will do a thorough job without segmenting the issues based on countries, institutions, or MDAs. Thus, it must be clearly noted that this is not targeted at only China, neither was it designed to impede the development of the railway sector and other infrastructures.

“But rather to ensure full disclosure, transparency, accountability, utmost good faith, and value for money in both the bilateral loans and commercial contracts agreements entered into by the Nigerian government.

“The loan agreements we have seen so far, show that government officials charged with the responsibility of representing Nigeria were more desperate to just take the loans at any condition, possibly using non-negotiated loan agreements templates rather than go through the rigour of diligent technical review of negotiating specific clauses with clarity and for national interest.

”For instance, it’s a common practice that most international loan agreements would adopt ‘Sovereign guarantee’ and a neutral international arbitration centre as opposed to waiving of our national sovereignty in an omnibus manner; especially in dealing with countries like China, known to possess an absolute state status on their institutions and corporations.

“However, the immunity clauses in most of these agreements before us are not only ambiguous but very obscure. And without recourse to the fact that Nigerian government had issued circular on the subject matter with reference number SGF/OP/S.3/X/ 1737 dated 11th August, 2014 that provided guideline on issues of waiver of sovereign immunity clause during loan and commercial agreements negotiations.

”We expected government officials negotiating and signing these loans to fully comply with this guideline and also ensure that the clauses are couched to clearly reflect same”.

Questioning the rationale behind accepting Hong Kong as arbitration centre for the Chinese loans secured by Nigeria, he said “arbitration centres for bilateral loan agreements are known to be generally on neutral grounds unlike what we have in most of the Nigeria/China agreements where Hong Kong that is also governed by China laws was designated as the Arbitration Centre.

“From our experience, the MDAs sign these commercial agreements in billions of dollars, then go to the President and Federal Executive Council for approval to execute, including securing loan facilities through Ministry of Finance and Debt Management Office (DMO) and then proceed to negotiate the terms of these loans before coming back to Mr. President who then writes the National Assembly asking for approval for billions of dollars to do projects without attaching the negotiated loan and commercial contracts agreement details.


Governor’s convoy attacked with pistol [THE NATION]


THE Police in Imo State have arrested 15 people who allegedly attacked the convoy of Governor Hope Uzodimma on Monday.

He was on his way to the 34 Attilary Brigade, Obinze, to inaugurate an officers mess built by the state government when the incident occurred.

The hoodlums, armed with guns and machetes, claimed to be staff members of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) protesting non-payment of salaries.

The government said its position that most of the protests in the state were sponsored by the opposition had been vindicated.

Commissioner of Police Isaac Akinmoyede said the suspects claimed they were ISOPADEC employees who were “owed three months’ salary”.

He said they were arrested with one locally-made pistol, two machetes, a mask, a chain and a padlock.

Akinmoyede said: “They attacked the vehicles in the convoy with a locally made pistol and machetes.”

He said the incident, which occurred around Concord area of New Owerri, did not claim any life.

“But in the process, windscreens of some of the vehicles in the convoy were smashed and the vehicles damaged,” he said.

The Police chief said the suspects have been handed over to state Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.

Commissioner of Information and Strategy Declan Emelumba said the fact that people claiming to be the staff of ISOPADEC could arm themselves with guns and matchets validated the state’s position that most of the protests were politically-motivated.


Diri, PDP head for appeal as tribunal orders fresh poll [THE NATION]

BAYELSA State Governor Duoye Diri has been removed from office.

The State Governorship Election Tribunal, which sat in Abuja, removed him through a two-to-one split verdict.

But the governor and his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have said they will appeal the judgment.

The tribunal voided the election of the governor and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhruojakpo, following a petition filed by the Advanced Nigerian Democratic Party (ANDP) its National Chairman, Charles Ogboli, and its candidate in the November 16, 2019 election, King Lucky George, who complained about unlawful exclusion.

In the majority decision, Justices Owodunni and Yunusa Musa (members of the three-man panel) upheld the argument by petitioners’ lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), that the ANDP and its candidates were unlawfully excluded from the election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Both Justices upheld the petition, nullified the election and ordered INEC to conduct a fresh election within 90 days.

But the commission said on Monday it exempted George because he was not validly nominated.

The tribunal sat in Abuja due to security concerns in Bayelsa State.

In his dissenting decision, the tribunal chairman, Justice Ibrahim Sirajo, dismissed the petition for lacking in merit.

Justice Sirajo held that there was evidence that the ANDP was disqualified from the election for fielding an ineligible candidate.


Oshiomhole lashes DG PGF [THE NATION]

DIRECTOR-GENERAL of the Progressives Governors Forum Salihu Lukman has come under fire for his constant attack on the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its former chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

Lukmon has been issuing statements in his “personal capacity”, attacking the APC and Oshiomhole without being called to order by the Forum of APC governors.

Oshiomhole on Monday said he would not want to wrestle with a pig which is what it means replying Lukman, who said he was pushing for the APC victory in the Edo State governorship election so as to plot his way back on APC national chairman.

Oshiomhole told reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday that Lukman is a failed politician who is “being used by cowards” who cannot face him.

He said Lukman was foisted on the Progressives Governors Forum as DG after failing elections, by Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.

“You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki to go and wrestle with a pig? I will not.

“You see, what I want the media to interrogate, how does winning Edo…when I was removed as national chairman, Edo was APC…So, do I have to win Edo to become the chairman? Do I look so unemployed? I’m 68.

“So, what they don’t understand is that, it is not the office of chairman that made me who I am. It is my pedigree from my days as labourer in the textile industry to be the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of NLC.

“There is no village I go to that people do not know me and it is this that I used to override the Godfathers in Edo State for two consecutive terms and even got the governor elected through elections, no violence before becoming the national chairman.

“So, if you remove the office, it is like our President now, though I cannot compare myself to him, but it is like President Muhammadu Buhari.

“He bonds with the people, that bond was not created by the fact that he is the president. In fact, he became the president because of that bond.


If I respond to PGF DG, it’s like fighting a pig – Oshiomhole [PUNCH]

A former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Monday, boasted that the office of the chairman of the ruling party did not make him who he is today.

Rather, the former President of the Nigeria Labour Congress said it was his pedigree as a labour leader that made him.

Oshiomhole said this in an interview with State House correspondents shortly after he met behind closed doors with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The former governor of Edo State, whose tenure as the APC chairman ended on June 25, 2020, with the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee, was reacting to a statement credited to the Director-General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Dr Salihu Lukman.

Lukman had accused some influential party chieftains of allegedly plotting to return Oshiomhole as the national chairman of the party.

But when asked to react to the allegation, Oshiomhole said he was not unemployed.

He said, “You want me to engage in a fight with a pig? If you engage in a fight with a pig, the pig already is stained by its nature and you will wear your white garment, and in my own case, khaki, to go and wrestle with a pig. I will not.

“When I was removed as national chairman, Edo was APC. So, do I have to win Edo to become the chairman? Do I look so unemployed? I’m 68.

“So, what they don’t understand is that it is not the office of chairman that made me who I am.

“It is my pedigree from my days as a labourer in the textile industry to be the general secretary of textile workers all over Nigeria and becoming the president of the NLC.


How herdsmen killed my fiancé, kidnapped me –Oyo female farmer [PUNCH]

A businesswoman, Modupeoluwa Oyetoso, has been mourning the death of her fiancé, who was shot by suspected herdsmen at the Lanlete area of the Ibarapa East Local Government Area of Oyo State.

PUNCH Metro gathered that the lovers were returning from the farm when the four suspects waylaid them around 5pm.

While the fiancé was attempting to manoeuvre his way to escape the attack, one of the gunmen reportedly shot him.

“The bullet hit my fiancé at the back of his head. I didn’t know what to do, as the blood was rushing out of his head. I thought I could save him, so I attempted applying pressure to stop the blood, but I couldn’t do it because the car, which was still in motion, was about to hit a tree,” Oyetoso said during an interview with @twinklefiles on Youtube.

After managing to stop the vehicle, the assailants reportedly caught up with the businesswoman, whisked her away into a nearby forest and abandoned her fiancé for dead.

While in the forest, Oyetoso explained that the suspects “brought out a rope, tied my hands and one of them used the rope to pull me, while another one at the back was hitting me anytime I slowed down as we were running to leave the scene. When I slumped, they beat me and pulled me up. I had to summon the strength to run with them as it was raining.”

PUNCH Metro was told that when the suspects got to a safe location, they instructed Oyetoso to contact her parents and demanded N50m for her release.

She said, “When we got to a place, they brought out my fiancé’s phone, removed his SIM card, inserted it into another phone and asked me to call my parents to inform them that they wanted N50m for my release.

“My dad started pleading with them and they told him that if he wanted to see me alive, he should find it. They spoke with him in Yoruba, but they communicated with themselves using another language.

“I farm in a place where we have a lot of Fulani settlers; I am familiar with them. They (suspects) were dressed like them, so, I know they were Fulani. In the forest, they told me they don’t have cattle and that the only thing they do is to kidnap for money. They said next time I see robbers, I should stop instead of running because what they want is just money. One of them even told me to take what happened as fate and at that point, I realised that they were thinking about my fiancé.


International flights: PTF differs as Sirika fixes August 29 [PUNCH]

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday announced that international flights into and out of Nigeria would resume on August 29.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, however, said that the date was not sacrosanct.

International flights were suspended by the Federal Government across the country about five months as a result of the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sirika announced the resumption date for international flights at Monday’s briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, after tweeting same via his Twitter handle earlier.

He stated that as a result of resumption, all evacuation flights which were introduced across the country in the wake of the ban on international flights, would end on August 25.

Sirika said Nigeria’s international airports had reached advanced stages of preparedness for the resumption of international flight operations.

He further disclosed that like it was done during the resumption of domestic flights across the country, the international flights would commence with two major airports.

He named the airports as the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Sirika said emphasis would be placed on the observation of all the safety and technical guidelines as prescribed by global and health authorities, which would be communicated in due course.

The minister said, “I am pleased to announce the resumption of international flights from the 29th of August, 2020.

“It will begin with Lagos and Abuja airports as we did with the domestic flight resumption. Protocols and procedures will be announced in due course. We thank you for your patience.”

The minister also said passengers must take a COVID-19 test from wherever they were coming from and stressed that this must be very close to their departure dates.

He said, “A portal will also be opened for passengers to pay for another COVID-19 test to be done eight days after arrival in Nigeria.

“They will also fill in health questionnaires online and hand them in at the point of entry, instead of filling the forms on the aircraft or on arrival.”

Meanwhile, officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on Monday inspected facilities at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja ahead of resumption of international flights.


Hiccups, compliance as WASSCE begins [SUN]

The long-awaited 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) commenced across the country, yesterday, amid hiccup, including late arrival of materials, rumour of paper leakage and arrests in some centres.

Tales that the Mathematics question papers had leaked inaundated social media on Sunday night.

However, the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC), in a swift reaction on its Twitter handle dismissed it : “This is fake. Scammers do this every year. Only gullible candidates fall prey.”

No fewer than 1,550,000 candidates are participating in the examination spread across 19,129 centres nationwide. The exams would end on September 12.

The examination was initially billed for April 6 – June 5, but was suspended due to the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic. Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC,  Patrick Areghan, told newsmen during an inspection tour of some centres in Lagos that he was impressed with the level of compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

Areghan warned that the council would deal decisively with any act of malpractice, irrespective of who was involved. He warned principals that they would equally not be spared, if any act of malpractice was recorded in their respective schools during the duration the examination.

“Right now, with the aid of technology, we have caught a supervisor in Nasarawa and a candidate in Rivers trying to snap a question paper and send outside for solution. These persons have since been handed over to security agents for necessary actions. We will stop at nothing to ensure that the integrity of our examinations is not compromised,” he said.

He dismissed the possibility of lowering the standard of the examination as a result of the pandemic, adding that it would not be obtainable.

Areghan said the council was faced with the challenge of increased cost of conducting the examination, as it had engaged more supervisors and invigilators.

In Oyo State, the exercise began on a faulty note as examination materials and external supervisors arrived late in some schools.

Investigation  in the state capital, Ibadan, showed that the examinations did not begin on schedule, due to the late arrival of invigilators and examination materials.

Some schools started the examinations almost an hour behind the 9.30 a.m. scheduled for its commencement because of the late arrival of invigilators and sensitive materials.

Mrs Bolarinwa Oluyinka, Vice-Principal (Academic), Ansar-Ud-Deen High School, Ibadan, said: “I cannot say the reason why the WAEC supervisor is late; immediately the person is here, we are already set and will commence the examination.”

However, the COVID-19 safety protocols, including social distancing, were adhered to by the authorities of the schools visited.

Mrs Grace Oluwasogo, chief invigilator, Isabatudeen High School, Ibadan confirmed that the sitting arrangements were made in line with the WAEC procedures.

Mr. Fasasi Abdullahi, principal, Islamic High School and Chairman, Oyo State Committee on Safety Protocols for Schools on WASSCE, noted that the committee had sensitised all secondary schools in the state to that effect.

Mrs Folasade Ayodele, principal, Oba Akinbiyi Model School, Ibadan, noted that the main hall was being earmarked for the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) for the JSS III students, hence the use of classrooms, corridors and laboratories for the examinations.


Ezeife, Utomi, Odumakin, Kokori berate electoral process [SUN]

Anxiety and jubilation enveloped Bayelsa State, yesterday, following the nullification of the  election that produced Senator Douye Diri as governor in November 2019.

A three-man Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja voided the election over wrongful exclusion of Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) and its candidate, King George, by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the November 16 election.

Immediately the news of the judgment filtered into Yenagoa, thestate capital, it threw the Government House and supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into  panic and apprehension.

The opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) camp, however, came alive with many supporters waving the party flag and hugging one another at their secretariat along Melford Okilo road in jubilation over the judgment which they believed would afford their candidate the opportunity to participate in the reordered election and reclaim his mandate.

To forestall the breakdown of law and order, a combined team of armed policemen, soldiers from the 16 Brigade and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were deployed to the streets by the government.

Diri, however, told Bayelans and PDP supporters that there was no cause for fear as he had instructed his lawyers to appeal the judgment.

The governor in a statement by his acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah said: “We trust in the judiciary and we are appealing the judgment. With God on our side, we will get justice. This is a court of first instance and I have instructed our lawyers to file an appeal. We have a right of appeal even up to the Supreme Court.”


International flights to resume August 29 –Sirika [SUN]

The Minister of Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika, yesterday said that international flights into and out of Nigeria would resume on Saturday,  August 29.  Sirika who made the announcement on his official Twitter handle, said flights will begin with the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

“Glad to announce the resumption of international flights from August 29, 2020. Beginning with Lagos and Abuja as we did with the domestic flight resumption. Protocols and procedures will be announced in due course. We thank you for your patience,” Sirika said.

Nigeria had placed travel restrictions on international flights into the country on March 21, after the country’s coronavirus cases doubled from 12-22. The airports closure was meant to last one month but as cases grew globally, the resumption date was postponed.

The Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos were the first to be shut as measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, the country’s civil aviation regulator, NCAA, announced in a statement while Enugu, Kano and Port Harcourt were shut afterwards.

The Federal Government  said the closure was necessary to contain the spread of the virus across the country. However, domestic flights have resumed in the country since then.

Although there were speculations last month that restrictions would continue till October, Sirika took to his Twitter handle to announce  flights resume earlier than reported.

On his Twitter handle on Tuesday, July 21, Sirika said the ministry will announce the agreed resumption date, regardless of the ban by countries in Europe.

“International Flight resumption date is not October. In liaison with the Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Presidential Task Force of  COVID-19, we will announce the agreed date, regardless of the ban by Europe, UAE among others. May be earlier than October,” Sirika said.


Flood: Relocate to safer ground, NEMA tells Imo, Abia communities [SUN]

national Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has urged residents of flood prone communities in Imo and Abia states to relocate to safer ground to avoid flooding.

Head of Imo/Abia Operations office of NEMA, Evans Ugoh, made the call in Owerri, yesterday, during a sensitisation visit to some flood prone communities in the two states.

Nigeria Hydrological Services (NIHSA) and Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had predicted torrential rain in 28 states, including Imo from September to December, which may cause serious flooding in the affected states.

Ugoh said based on the prediction, it became necessary for NEMA to hold a sensitisation campaign in the two states which ended in roadwork and rally in Abia.

Ugoh, who led a team of NEMA officials and other disaster stakeholders on the sensitisation rally, warned against building houses on waterways.

He said houses already built on waterways in the two states might be demolished.

It was gathered that some communities in Imo have come under serious flood attack since 2012, while about 80 houses have been submerged in Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta councils in 2019.

“In response to NIHSA and NIMET prediction, NEMA Director General, Muhammadu A. Muhammed, approved the sensitisation, aimed at sending early warning signal to prone communities,” he said.

He urged Imo and Abia residents to ensure monthly sanitation and regular decongestion of drainages.

According to the NEMA official, local governments likely to be affected in Abia include Umunneochi, Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa North and Ukwa West while in Imo are South council, Owerri West, Owerri North, Ohaji-Egbema and Oguta.















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