EId-el Fitr: Govt approves payment of May salaries to civil servants

The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed has approved the payment of May, 2020 salaries of civil servants in the state ahead of Eid-el Fitr celebration.

Already, the State Accountant General has been directed to ensure that the salaries are paid on or before the 20th of the month.

This development is to enable workers, including pensioners enjoy a happy Ei-el Fitr celebrations.

Governor Bala Mohammed assures civil servants of the commitment of his administration to prompt payment of salaries in addition to other reforms introduced to ensure effective service delivery.

The Governor has equally enjoined them to ensure total compliance with all the protocols against the infectious COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Keyamo frowns at criticism trailing Madagascar cure

Festus Keyamo, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, has reacted to the criticism trailing the COVID-19 cure produced by Madagascar.

Keyamo, on his Twitter page, wondered if the criticism was because the cure was developed in Africa.

“I really don’t know why there’s so much fuss about the Madagascar recipe. Why heavily criticize what a country has discovered to make people recover NOW from the illness, whilst we continue to wait for the almighty vaccine from the @WHO? Or is it because it is an African country?

“Put in another way, why can’t we make do with what we have now, until we get what the world is waiting for?”

Kano leader, Isa Hashim is dead

A respected indigene of Kano State, Prof. Isa Hashim, is dead.

Until his death, Hashim was a senior council member of the Kano Emirate Council.

Hashim, the Jarman Kano, died on Sunday after a brief illness.

A family member of the deceased, Aliyu Ibrahim, told NAN that Hashim’s health condition deteriorated in recent days.

Ibrahim confirmed that the remains of Hashim had been buried in accordance with Islamic rites.

The deceased was a professor of Political Science.

He was a senior lecturer with Bayero University Kano (BUK) where he taught for many years before his retirement.

His death came barely 24 hours after the demise of Emir of Rano, Abubakar Tafida.

Kano has lost many prominent indigenes in recent weeks.

The high death rate in the state is under investigation.

Gov. Fayemi blames COVID-19 for failure to pay minimum wage

Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has blamed the delay in implementation of the new minimum wage for senior civil servants, on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fayemi stated this in Ado Ekiti on Friday, during an address to commemorate the 2020 International Workers’ Day.

The Governor claimed the Public Service Joint Negotiation Council was close to wrapping up negotiations on the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage when the effects of the pandemic began to affect the economy.

This has now affected the resumption of negotiations, but Fayemi is optimistic the world economy would come out of the current recession.

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Fayemi said this would enable Ekiti State conclude the process of minimum wage implementation and its consequential adjustment.

“Salaries, pensions, and gratuities are being paid as and when due. I am sure you have received your April 2020 salary and all allowances due to our health workers who are at the frontline of the COVID-19 response have been paid.

“We have continued to pay the N30,000 minimum wage for junior cadre in the public service and have reinstated merit-based appointments to elevate the standards of the public service,” Fayemi said.

VIDEO: Ex-Speaker, Ghali Na’Abba debunks his rumoured death

Former Speaker of the House of Representative, Ghali Umar Na’ Abba, has insisted that he’s alive.

Na’Abba personally debunked rumours making the rounds that he was dead.

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Reports had emerged on Friday morning that Na’Abba died in a hospital in London after a surgery.

However, the former Speaker dismissed the report in a video shared by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Assistant on New Media, Ahmad Bashir.

“Debunking news of my supposed death, I would like to use this medium to assure everybody that I’m alive and in great health.

“Also I would like to condole with others who have lost their loved ones to the deadly pandemic.”

Like Social Media bill, Gbajabiamila allegedly copies Singapore legislation on Quarantine bill

On Tuesday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, introduced the Quarantine bill, which seeks to repeal the old act enacted in 1926 and enact the control for infectious Disease bill.

The bill was read on Tuesday for the first reading and the rules were suspended for it to be taken through second and subsequently given expedited passage.

However, the bill stalled because members had no copy of the bill and the Speaker decided to suspend the consideration until Tuesda,y 5th of May. In fact, the bill was listed on the Order paper for the committee of the whole consideration.

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But fact has now emerged that the bill by Gbajabiamila is a plagiarized work from the Singapore’s Infectious Disease Act of 1977.

Taking another look at the copy of the bill shared to journalists by the Spokesperson of the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, the similarities are glaring.

The major difference in the two bill is part two of the bill, where the old act which gives the president powers to declare public health emergency was carefully placed as section part 3. Besides this, the rest of the bill was more or less word for word adaptation of the Singapore’s act.

The 9th National Assembly is becoming notorious with copying legislations from other countries. First, was the social media bill sponsored by Sani Musa and now this infectious disease act.

The new bill as proposed gives enormous powers to the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Mr. Lasisi did not respond to test messages and calls placed to his cell phone on the bill.

See documents below…

Nigerian govt hints on strategy for easing lockdown

Nigerian Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has said that the gradual reopening of the economy will be done in phases, spanning a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each

The task force said that this phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions.

It also disclosed that the period would enable for a strengthening of the public health response which would reduce the recovery of the economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable in society.

This was made known on Wednesday by Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

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He spoke during the daily briefing on COVID-19, adding that state governments have been encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors.

Mustapha said, “In line with Mr. President’s directive in paragraphs 38-41 of his broadcast, the PTF has developed sector-specific guidelines. The gradual reopening of the economy will span a total of six weeks broken into three tranches of two weeks each.

”This phased strategy is designed to reduce the pains of socio-economic disruptions while strengthening our public health response, which would ultimately reduce the recovery of our economy and provide succour to the poor and vulnerable.

“To underscore the collaborative efforts with Sub-National levels of Government, they are encouraged to provide leadership in engaging relevant associations responsible for various sectors e.g market associations and transport unions for orderly and effective implementation. Similarly, I want to emphasise the need for the security agencies to strictly enforce these new measures that have been put in place.”

Coronavirus: FG distributes N43.416bn to 24 states

The Federal Government has disbursed N43.416 billion as performance-based grants to 24 eligible states on the basis of the results achieved in 2018.

The Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr. Hassan Dodo, made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.

She stated that the 24 beneficiary states that met the eligibility criteria were Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe States.

Dodo said the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said the fund was under the performance-based grant component of the World Bank-Assisted States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme-for-Results.

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Ahmed explained that the project was wholly-financed with a loan amount of 750 million dollars from the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group.

She said that the disbursement followed the participation of the 24 eligible States in the recent Annual Performance Assessment (APA) carried out by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF).

The minister explained that the SFTAS Programme was established by Federal Government with the concessional loan of 750 million dollars to support States through the provision of performance-based grants to States to the tune of 700 million dollars.

She said the programme also included the technical assistance in the sum of 50 million dollars to enhance their capacity to achieve the Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs).

“The DLIs are derived from the country’s 22-Point Fiscal Sustainability Plan and the 14 Open Government Partnership (OGP) commitments aimed at strengthening fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability across all States of the Federation.

“The Eligibility Criteria (EC) that States have to meet in order to qualify to receive any grants include the online publication of the approved annual budget and audited financial statement for the previous year.

“And the DLIs that eligible States receive grants for achieving improved financial reporting and budget reliability; increased openness and citizens’ engagement in the budget process; improved cash management and reduced revenue leakages through implementation of State Treasury Single Account (TSA).

“Also strengthening Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) collection; biometric registration and Bank Verification Number (BVN) used to reduce payroll fraud.

“Others are improved procurement practices for increased transparency and value for money; strengthened public debt management and fiscal responsibility framework; improved clearance and reduction of stock of domestic expenditure arrears and improved debt sustainability,” she added.

Buhari speaks on high rate of deaths in Kano

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his government is with the people of Kano and will not let them down.

He said this in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic crisis and the recent deaths in the state.

Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement on Wednesday noted that there is a global shortage of personal protective equipment.

He listed others not readily available as testing kits and other medical devices.

The presidency observed that in every country, there are some cities and regions more severely affected than others.

“In Nigeria, there are currently verbal autopsies underway in Kano State to identify the precise cause of the sudden and rapid increase in mortality in recent days”, the statement read.

“While some may wish to believe that there are other causes at play here like hypertension, diabetes, meningitis, and acute malaria’, there are others who say it is COVID-19. We should be prepared to accept the medical and scientific result of the autopsies and work together to confront the common enemy.”

The presidency added that globally, communities with similar socioeconomic dynamics like Kano have found it very helpful, the sort of lockdown measures now imposed, with markets and other public places of worship shuttered more strictly.

“If there is reason to believe that the mortality rate in Kano due to COVID-19 is out of control, it will spell a serious development to which the best action would be for the Federal government and state government to work more tightly together to find solutions and implement them together.”

The statement urged current or former holders of office from Kano and other states in Nigeria to be united.

It added that there is no time to talk and that the common purpose should be to preserve the lives and health of citizens.

‘Address Nigerians again’ – Buhari under fire over cash relief, test kits’ shortage

Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s Monday night speech.

He observed that the President was silent on the cash relief to Nigerians, test kits’ shortage, job losses, plans to ensure the nation survives COVID-19 economic shock, among others.

The lawyer, in his reaction sent to Lasgidi Reporters, said Buhari simply dictated another broadcast and urged him to urgently speak to Nigerians again.

He described the latest address as “largely uninspiring”, as it did not address the core issues being faced by Nigerians in this COVID-19 era.

Noting that the broadcast attempted to reflect the minds of Nigerians on the need to ease the lockdown given the hunger and suffering, Adegboruwa insisted it fell short of providing any solution to the “biting economic issues staring us all.”

“COVID 19 has constituted a huge distraction from the economic catastrophe that the nation has fallen into, without a clear blueprint from the President on his plans to take us out of the woods”, he complained.

“Prior to COVID 19, the President had set up a Presidential Economic Team that was to be reporting to him directly and nothing has been heard from that Team since then.

“After COVID 19, the President also set up another economic team to work out how Nigeria will respond to the economic issues post-COVID 19. The President did not address this in his broadcast.

“Prior to the President’s broadcast, his media aides had informed the nation that the President had met with the Minister of Health and the Director-General of NCDC, to take reports from them.

“Both of them had earlier informed Nigerians that there were no more testing kits and other valuable reagents. The President did not address this critical issue,” he said.

The SAN declared that there was nothing in the President’s broadcast about efforts being made to rebuild the health system, which the head of the COVID 19 Task Force (the SGF) admitted had become inadequate. Ghana is building 90 world class hospitals post-COVID 19.

He observed breach of protocol as a draft speech had been released ahead of the broadcast, containing different contents, from the one eventually read by the President, showing lack of coordination, which has in turn created confusion.

Adegboruwa lamented that Buhari did not also address the issue of failure of compliance with the lockdown directives and the measures being taken to solve this and that the broadcast was silent about international and local flights and general movement in the air.

“Curfew cannot work in Lagos State because of it’s peculiar traffic situations. People are usually up and on the road by 4am from the Mainland and from Ogun State to the Island and they close and stay in traffic till midnight, most of the time.

“With interstate lockdown and night curfew, most people working in Lagos from Ogun and Oyo States cannot meet up. The President should have consulted with the Governors of these States.

“As the National Assembly is now resuming, the President should liaise with them to have a law on COVID 19 in order to harmonize all COVID 19 regulations, to avoid the prevailing confusion across the land. It is urgent.

“The other point is that of the palliatives, which are not getting to the people that needs them. The President should involve mass-based entities and the civil society.

“There is therefore the need for another Presidential broadcast, to address the major issues of the economy. Nigeria is heavy and reeking in debts; its revenue profile is abysmally low now due to the fall in the prices of oil,” he added.

He warned that with the closure of land and air borders, the Customs cannot do much, and IGR will be low, given that the private sector had been down for about two months now.

Adegboruwa asked what will happen to workers in the private sector, as to issues of salaries, pay cuts and likely job losses, all of which will lead to more unrests, increase in crime and poverty.

“The President should consider major incentives to the private sector and the SMES in order to inspire economic growth.

“Without any doubt, China has become the major economic partner of Nigeria in social infrastructure, so what happens post COVID 19, given that China is at the centre of the pandemic?

“Whilst I commend the President for responding to the fears of Nigerians on extended lockdown, the Presidential broadcast is rather uninspiring as it has not addressed the main issues confronting Nigerians”, the senior lawyer added.