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Private Sector Coalition Targets N120bn to Overcome COVID-19 CBN, Zenith, Access, GTB, UBA, Dangote, Otedola foundations pledge N1bn each Obinna Chima Leading players in the private sector have coalesced under the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19,

to mobilise resources to support the concerted efforts by the federation to fight the pandemic that has spread to eight states. The Central Bank of Nigeria

(CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who broke the news of the formation of the coalition at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday said it planned to raise N120 billion

for the acquisition of healthcare facilities for advocacy about the virus across the country, among others. According to Emefiele, the objective of the coalition is to

mobilise private sector thought leadership, mobilise private sector resources, increase general public awareness, education, and buy-in, provide direct support to private and

public healthcare ability to respond to the crisis as well as support the federal government’s efforts. Continued on page 17

UBA Provides N5bn to Fight Pandemic in Africa... Page 8 Friday 27 March, 2020 Vol 25. No 9118. Price: N250 TR


& RE A S O


FG Traces 4,370 Contacts as COVID-19 Cases Jump to 65 Buhari releases N10bn to Lagos, N5bn to NCDC to fight pandemic SGF, four ministers, four govs test negative Lagos Assembly passes punitive law, to discharge six patients Bauchi confirms second case Air France evacuates 378 Europeans, UK explores options Our Correspondents The federal government said yesterday that it was tracing at least 4,370 people of interest suspected of having contacts with or being in close proximity to persons whose COVID-19 status had been confirmed to be positive. The central government’s

revelation preceded President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement last night that he had received briefings from appropriate agencies on the status of COVID-19 in the country, saying he had directed the immediate release of N10 billion grant to Lagos Continued on page 17

No Plans to Enforce Nationwide Lockdown, Says Military Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja Military authorities yesterday denied any plans to enforce a nationwide lockdown today. It said media reports to that effect were speculative and unfounded. Some reports had claimed the Nigerian Army via a memo issued to army formations was

preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce curbs on movement to try to shield the country from the COVID-19 and is leasing equipment for "possible mass burial,"according to an army memo seen by Reuters. But a statement issued by Continued on page 17

STAY AT HOME... President Muhammadu Buhari working at home after dinner at the Presidential Villa, Abuja...yesterday

Anxiety in Zamfara as S’Court Rules on APC’s Application Today...

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Group News Editor Ejiofor Alike Email, 08066066268

UBA Provides N5bn to Fight COVID-19 in Africa Nigeria gets lion's share of N2.5bn Nume Ekeghe The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) yesterday announced a donation of over N5 billion ($14 million) through its UBA Foundation, to catalyse a comprehensive pan-African response to fight the COVID-19 global pandemic. A statement by the bank explained that the donation would provide significant and much needed support to Nigeria and 19 other African countries, by supplying relief materials, critical care facilities and financial support to governments. A breakdown of the support programme showed that N1 billion ($2.8 million) would be given to Lagos State Government; N500 million ($1.4 million) to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), N1 billion ($2.8 million) to the remaining 35 states in Nigeria; and N1.5 billion ($4.2 million) to UBA’s presence in countries in

Africa. In addition, the bank said N1 billion ($2.8 million) would go to medical centres for equipment and supplies as well as for free telemedicine call centre facility. The pan-African bank also stated that it would fund a medical centre immediately in Lagos, Nigeria, with beds for isolation and ICU facilities, managed and operated in partnership with Heirs Holdings’ healthcare subsidiary, Avon Medical Hospital. In addition, UBA said it would provide free telemedicine platform, that is physician-led, to provide direct access to medical advice to citizens, in compliance with social distancing requirements. Commenting on the intervention, the Chairman, UBA Group, Mr Tony Elumelu, said: “This is a time when we must all play our part. This global

Court Grants Kalu’s Co-convict Post-conviction Bail to Treat TB, Cancer Davidson Iriekpen The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, yesterday granted post-conviction bail to a former Director of Finance and Account at the Abia State Government House, Mr. Jones Udeogu, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment last December. Udeogu was convicted of N7.1 billion fraud and jailed alongside his principal and former governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who bagged 12 years in prison. Following an application by his lawyer, Chief Solo Akuma (SAN), yesterday, Justice Mohammed Liman granted N50 million postconviction bail to Udeogu pending the determination of his appeal against the December 5, 2019 judgment of Justice Mohammed Idris, who sent him to prison. Akuma told the judge that his client was suffering from prostate cancer and tuberculosis. He said Udeogu was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago at the Abia State Teaching Hospital and that in the course of carrying out tests on him, the hospital also discovered that he had tuberculosis. He said Udeogu was still making arrangements to book a date for surgery when he was convicted and sent to prison last December. In an affidavit filed in support of the post-conviction bail application, one Lazarus Agu said the correctional facility where Udeogu is serving his jail term “does not have the facility to provide the type of medical attention Udeogu requires to survive the ailments he is suffering

from.� “The correctional facility authorities have failed to provide or arrange for the treatment of the 2nd defendant outside the facility. “The type of ailment the 2nd defendant was diagnosed with is of communicable nature and exposes other inmates to great danger,� he added. In his ruling, Justice Liman said he was satisfied that Udeogu had disclosed reasonable cause of action to qualify for a post-conviction bail. The judge said: “I am of the opinion that this application has disclosed reasonable cause of action that the defendant’s health has greatly deteriorated and it cannot be salvaged by the doctor in the correctional service centre. Accordingly, this application is meritorious and succeeds.� He granted the N50 million bail with two sureties in like sum. The judge had on December 23, 2019, rejected a similar application by Kalu seeking a post-conviction bail pending the outcome of his appeal against his conviction. In his own application, Kalu had urged Justice Liman to release him on bail on the grounds that he was battling some health challenges, which the medical facilities in the prison could not handle. Besides, Kalu, who is the senator representing Abia North at the National Assembly, prayed the court to release him on bail in the interest of his constituents so he could continue to represent their interest in the legislature. But Justice Liman declined to grant the application, saying it lacked merit.

pandemic must bring citizens, governments and business leaders together – and quickly. “As we see a rapidly increasing number of cases of the coronavirus in Nigeria

and Africa, the private sector has to work hand in hand with various governments, in stemming the spread of the global pandemic. “We commend the efforts of governments and we

are keen to partner and contribute our resources to the collective effort, that will ensure the response to the pandemic is swift and effective.� Operating in 20 African

countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States and France, the United Bank for Africa has a strong record of supporting its communities, through challenging times.

LOCKED DOWN... Usually boisterous Area 1 Shopping Complex, Garki, Abuja deserted after a stay-at-home directive by the Federal Capital Territory Authority‌yesterday

Air France Evacuates 378 Europeans from Nigeria UK explores options of evacuating nationals Chinedu Eze A chartered Air France Flight AF0986 yesterday evacuated 260 European citizens from Nigeria and additional 118 European citizens from other West African countries through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, THISDAY has learnt. The British High Commission is also exploring options for sending its staff, dependents and other Britons to the UK. THISDAY learnt from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that the Air France flight landed in Lagos via Cotonou with 118 passengers on board at 3 p.m. local time. It was gathered that 260 passengers boarded the flight from Lagos and the aircraft took off to Paris about 3.44 pm local time. Investigation revealed that the landing of the aircraft was delayed for two hours over what NCAA called “load sheet balancing.� The aircraft was a Boeing 777-328 (ER) with registration number F-GZNP. THISDAY learnt that the federal government granted Air France - KLM one-week permission to evacuate European citizens from Nigeria. However, the airlines are also mopping up European citizens from the West Coast because of the projection that COVID-19 spread in Africa might spike in the coming

days. In a letter dated March 24, 2020, which emanated from the office of the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, with reference no: FMA/ATMD/501/C.17/ T2/562 and addressed to the General Manager of Air France- KLM in Nigeria and Ghana, Mr. Micheal Colleau, the federal government said it had approved for the airline to operate essential flights from March 26 to April 2. The letter read: “I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated March 23, 2020 on the above subject and to convey the Honourable Minister’s approval for your airline to operate essential flights from Lagos to Paris with flight number AF0986 originating from Cotonou (COO 0745 LOS 0820, LOS -0950 CDG 1615). “I am further directed to inform you to undertake the operation strictly based on the protocol guiding the kind of operation under COVID-19 as issued by the Nigerian Aeronautical Authorities, most especially, the All Operators Letter issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with ref: NCAA/DG/AIR/11/16/108 dated March 23, 2020.� The letter was signed by the Director, Air Transport Management, MS Naibi, on behalf of the minister. The General Manager, MMIA, Mrs. Victoria Shinaba, confirmed to THISDAY that the federal government

approved the flight to land, adding that precautions were taken to limit contacts as the pilot and crew were not allowed to disembark and the nationals were escorted to the plane. Sirika has, however, denied reports that British Airways has been given a similar approval to land in Nigeria to evacuate British citizens. Making the denial on his official Twitter handle, he said: “Henceforth only essential cargoes such as medicines, medical equipment, food, security, humanitarian supplies and related items will be allowed. Rumours such as British Airways flight landing in Lagos after the ban should be disregarded, it is false. This is a patriotic moment. All requests for flight clearance should state the aircraft type, tail number, name of operator, contact telephone, the airport of departure/ arrival, name of captain, crew nationality, souls on board, mission, date, time of departure, arrival and any information considered necessary.� The federal government had last week announced that from Monday, all the nation's airports would be shut to incoming international flights. Meanwhile, Ghanaian media have reported that a British Airways flight A81, Boeing 747, bound for Accra, the Ghanaian capital, took off from London on Monday, March 23 and was

expected to land in Kotoka International Airport, Accra but returned to the UK despite initial permission for the British High Commission to evacuate over 300 people mostly UK nationals from Ghana to the UK. An initial agreement to a request by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority said the approval was given by the inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19. But the decision was rescinded even before the flight could land in Ghana, leaving the nationals stranded. Over 200 persons have lost their lives in the UK after getting infected with the virus. Also yesterday, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing CB, said in view of the absence of commercial options, the mission was exploring options for sending its staff and dependents to the UK. She added that in view of the airport closures, the commission is also exploring flight options for British nationals who wish to return to the UK. In a statement she issued yesterday, Laing stated that the mission had taken the decision to reduce the number of UK staff and their dependents in the High Commission She said the mission would continue to provide uninterrupted essential services, including consular assistance.

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Editor, Editorial Page PETER ISHAKA Email


Government and other employers of labour should pay workers to lighten the burden, writes Adewale Kupoluyi


he sit-at-home directive meant to mitigate the adverse effects of the ravaging coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is timely and reasonable. It would be recalled that the federal and various state governments have closed down institutions, schools, and offices as preventive measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus. Hence, parents, children, and family members are compelled to be home for the next month or thereabout to encourage social distancing. Staying at home has a burden. In other words, as we are looking for a way forward in tackling this problem, there is the need to solve another serious challenge at hand. People go about their normal businesses for those working while students are pre-occupied with academic work alongside their teachers during office hours and weekends for extra classes. Sitting at home means less academic work and more time for pleasure and extra-curricular activities. This may eventually lead to slow academic work by the time schools resume. As planned by several public schools, the deployment of online teaching facilities would help keep teachers and students busy. Ordinarily, when people are busy working, they think less of food even though they still find the time to fill their stomachs but staying at home and doing far less work tends to make them eat more. Normally, people would have to spend more money to keep body and soul together. Not to defeat the essence of staying at home, governments at all levels should pay workers’ salaries without delay. They should not wait till the end of the month before doing so because of the peculiarity of this period. This would enable them to purchase basic needs otherwise staying home and doing nothing could be counter-productive. Employers of labour in the private sector should also endeavour to pay the outstanding salaries as many employees are being owed several months of unpaid salaries. Apart from food and other consumables, many homes hardly enjoy the public supply of electricity. Many Nigerians often resort to alternative sources of power such as the use of generators, inverters, and solar. Aside from this, they require power to pump water, watch television, charge their mobile telephones, and electronic devices. They also need to monitor news in the media and get updated on developments on the pandemic. To make life bearable for the people, affected authorities should ensure that there is at least uninterrupted supply of electricity for a certain period daily. Regulatory agencies should ensure that artificial scarcity of petroleum products is prevented otherwise the suffering of the people would become unbearable. This is because unscrupulous persons are used to hiding under emergencies to exploit their fellow citizens by hoarding petroleum products and sell at cut-throat prices. Nigerians spend a huge amount of money on fuel, diesel, kerosene, and gas. It is disheartening to note that despite the reduction in the pump price of petrol from N145 to N125, many filling stations have either refused to adjust to the new price regime or have complied but the volume of fuel being dispensed does not commensurate with the correct pricing. Government ministries, departments, and agencies in charge of public health and safety should not go to sleep simply because the people have been sent home. The should continue to put in place, sufficient,


realistic, and sustainable programmes of action to end the scourge, which could be a time bomb waiting to explode, if not well-managed. This should not be allowed to happen. The confinement should enable the relevant authorities to holistically address what has become a global problem. Public officials should stop playing politics with questionable statistics that they churn out to the people to give the impression that a lot of work is being done; that casualty is abysmally low, and that adequate equipment are on ground to curtail the viral spread. Honesty and openness is what is required at this period and not deceit, false claims, and propaganda that would help no one. Law enforcement agents should ensure that they keep a tab on peoples’ movement bearing in mind that some people are just restless and can barely stay indoors. Appropriate punishment should be meted out to violators that are reckless in moving from one place to another. As additional measures are to be unfolded, the government should be realistic in what is communicated to the people to ensure smooth compliance. In the next few days, there is the likelihood that many people would switch-over to social media to keep themselves busy. This should expectedly increase activity on the New Media. Hence, utmost care should be taken before posting and reposting fake, unverified, and misleading information that may likely cause more harm to society. Most of the information disseminated in social media appears to be incorrect. A potent way of ending the spread of falsehood is not to re-share anything without verification or authentication. We should be our brother’s keeper by being more responsive, observant and caring. We should cooperate with health officials by sticking to approved guidelines and instructions. Reporting any suspected cases of coronavirus to designated offices, telephone numbers and social media contacts would go a long way in reducing the spread of the disease. Parents and guardians should monitor their children and wards more closely because of the tendency to engage in illegal and immoral acts. Apart from the idleness that would be experienced by these young chaps, the urge to wanting to try new things and misbehave cannot be ruled out. Scrutiny and spontaneous checks on their activities should be taken seriously at this moment. On a positive note, rather than see the confinement in a negative light, it should serve as a good opportunity for family members to stay closer more than before, discuss and sort out issues. This period should spur people to take well-deserved rest, read, write, reflect deeply, be creative and observe penance, especially the faithful that are currently observing the Lenten season, to pray for quick end to coronavirus, pray for Nigeria in distress, and also pray against bribery and corruption in Nigeria. The reason for this is simple. We badly need divine intervention to solve the myriads of problems facing the nation and humanity in general, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, tribe, and race. It is hoped that the sit-at-home order would soon be over. This optimism can only translate into reality when we all do the needful. COVID-19 would certainly come and go! Kupoluyi wrote from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

FOR IHEDIOHA, SWEET ARE THE USES OF ADVERSITY Amanze Obi pays tribute to Emeka Ihedioha, former Governor of Imo State


t. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha - the man who has been sinned against - turned 55 on Tuesday. His 55th birthday, coming at a time he was removed from office as governor in controversial circumstances, takes us back in time. It reminds us of his momentous ascendancy to the office of governor. Ihedioha happened on Imo State with freshness and appeal. He came at a time the state and its people were in dire need of rehabilitation. As an accustomed hand in statecraft, Ihedioha knew what to do. He did not have to grope in the dark. He set sail the moment he assumed office as governor. No sooner had he assumed office than a certain newness set in. In fact, for the people of Imo State, the Ihedioha touch approximated to a new day. It obliterated the ugly past that they just emerged from. It marked a bright, new day. With that, the atmosphere in the state turned electric. The people felt a sense of relief. They were happy that they had come to the end of the long night of drudgery. In the seven months that he spent in office, he cleaned up the landscape of a state that was left to rot. His “Rebuild Imo� agenda was the soothing balm that the state needed. But there was a sudden eclipse. Enemies of the people came on the prowl. They took over the runway. They turned impunity to statecraft. The watching world was shocked to the marrows. But they did not care a hoot. But what rankled the most was that they got the highest court in the land to execute the dastardly assignment. The Justices threw away the hallow that distinguished them from the rank and file. They fell for dirty lucre. That is the ultimate tragedy of our sick fatherland. The process of atonement would have begun had the sinners felt some remorse. But rather than be

humbled by their sinful act, the violators are putting up a bold face. They are working hard to set up a new standard of sinfulness for us. They want their fraudulent indulgence to become the accepted way of life. Rather than hide their head in shame, they are strutting about with ignominious swagger. But the civilised world has refused to be provoked by the effrontery. Rather, decent minds are pitying them. In all of this, Ihedioha has shown the stuff he is made of. He has taken the violation with equanimity. He has been able to shepherd his large stock neatly. At every turn, he has made statements that portray him as the civilised man that he is. He has handed over the matter to the maker. That is statesmanship. That is maturity. He is fast turning his adversity to strength. William Shakespeare, the world’s greatest dramatist, certainly did not have Ihedioha in mind when he, in one of his plays, “As You Like It�, espoused on an inevitable human condition- adversity. In the pastoral comedy, Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English Language, had written thus: “ Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head.� Even though the works of Shakespeare, reputed as England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon�, mirrored the English society of his time, his messages have universal appeal and significance. Who would have thought that the immortal lines written in 1559, some 461 years ago, would resonate with eternal truth in Nigeria of our time? We do not need to return to the dirty details of the violation that took place in Imo State on January 14. Suffice it to say that the event of that day marked the darkest spot in our democratic experience. It was the day Nigerians realised, without any shadow

of doubt, that our courts have gone to seed. It was the day the hallowed chambers of the Supreme Court of Nigeria was desecrated without qualms of conscience. On that day, the world stood still in disbelief, wondering how Nigeria, a land of promise, ended up as a wasteland. It was the day that Nigerians finally came to the conclusion that their country is a joke. With the event of January 14, Nigeria no longer has a tomorrow. It was the day the faith of young Nigerians in the country was blown away by the wind. With that development, the youth of the country are convinced beyond measure that their tomorrow in this God-forsaken land does not exist. Their future has been sold to the vultures. The country has no values to pass on to the coming generations. As I noted earlier, a little relief would have come our way as a people had the sinful ones embraced the window of remorse that presented itself. Rather than do that, the Supreme Court toed the path of short-sighted arrogance. It chose to persevere in sin. It threw the merit of the case before it overboard and suffused the air with the balderdash that it is the final court and as such cannot review its own judgement. Rather than salvage itself and the image of the country, the Court chose to remain in the pit of disrepute. Today, we are being treated to the mellifluous game of self-righteousness. Unfortunately for the violators, their effort to deodorize this dog shit has failed. They look pitiable each time they try to lead us by the nose. Sophistry, whatever deceptive stuff it is made of, has failed them. The Ihedioha we know has always been a wise man. But his present condition has even made him wiser. At 55, he has been confronted with the worst oddity in Nigeria’s electoral history. But he is certainly not deterred. The experience has made him

a stronger man. It has internationalized his image. The chicanery that we were treated to has taught him particularly that the road to greatness is, more often than not, strewn with spikes. As a politician, he has, before now, weathered a lot of storm. But little did he knew that revisionists have been lurking menacingly in the shadows. But as a man gifted with the power of reflection, Ihedioha has approached his travail with philosophical calmness. He knows the value of introspection and he has deployed it brilliantly in his present circumstance. Were Ihedioha made of a simpler stuff, he would have been howling. But he is not. He is approaching the issue with arresting calmness. The lessons of adversity have taught him that the battle is not his. It is the Lord’s. As he attains 55 in this moment of adversity, men and women of goodwill identify fully with him. They know that he has been wronged. They are aware that state power which is always put to wrong use in Nigeria, has left the level of transgression. It has become a mortal sin. Ihedioha and Imo may be the worst victims for now. But what matters here is that the eyes of the world have been opened to our new level of lowness. Fortunately, the strength of an Ihedioha makes all the difference. With him and through him, we have come to learn. As he firms up for the battle for the soul of Nigeria, the rest of the country, except the misguided, are with him. We are consoled, even before we fall into similar “shitholes�, by the fact that there exist people like Ihedioha who see jewel in the ugly head of the toad. He is the shining light. And he is poised to show the way so that the people will follow. I wish him well as he undertakes this divine assignment. Happy birthday, the people’s governor.


T H I S D AY ˾ FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020

EDITORIAL THE SPIKE IN SUICIDE RATES The limping economy may be contributory to the problem


ccording to some recent statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), no fewer than a million people die annually from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. Even more ominous is the fact that there are an estimated 10 to 20 million attempted suicides every year. The rate at which Nigerians now also take their own lives has indeed become worrying. From jumping into the lagoon to hanging self with rope or electric cable, Nigeria is becoming a country where so many things that were in the past considered taboo now happen virtually every day—and these include the extreme act of deliberately taking one’s life. Even without statistics, reports on suicide involving Nigerians have grimly moved from an occasional blip to a very disturbing trend. There are many theories as to why some Nigerians now take their own lives. Indeed, the nation’s present socio-economic environment could be a predisposing factor to depression and THE PLIGHT OF THE perhaps suicide. UNDER-PRIVILEGED IS There is enormous STEADILY WORSENING emotional and AND MANY GO TO BED financial stress as WITH LESS THAN A well as pervadSURVIVAL DIET ing poverty and hopelessness everywhere. From the North to the South of the country, reported cases of suicide, not to mention the variety of those who use themselves as human bombs, are varied and now on the increase. There is therefore the need for the authorities to begin to examine some of the causes with a view to finding remedies for them. The plight of the under-privileged is steadily worsening and many go to bed with less than a survival diet. The unemployment crisis has created a lost generation of graduates who cannot find jobs. Many of them are exasperated. Yet it is an established fact that impoverished individuals are a major risk group for depression. And depression,

according to experts, is the most common reason why people commit suicide. But there are also other reasons why people take their own lives and devastate members of their family and friends with shock. According to medical experts, underlying mental disorders such as schizophrenia, excessive alcoholism, drug abusive play significant role in triggering suicidal thoughts. Schizophrenia is a disease with a wide range of weird symptoms like hallucinations, inner voices, disordered thinking and irrational fears and “emotions that seem out of tune with reality”.



oday, the use of hard drugs--particularly Indian hemp, cocaine and even methamphetamine are commonplace in the society--drugs whose adverse effects range from depression to suicide. Indeed, manic depression, an emotional seesaw, oscillating between exhilarating highs and devastating lows, is cited as one the reasons why there are so many mad men and insanity out there in the streets. But it would appear that neither the society nor the critical agencies of government are paying attention to this malaise. Not too long ago, motorists and residents of Osogbo, the Osun State capital cried out loud because of threats posed by mentally challenged persons. They attack residents, vehicle owners and children. One reportedly pushed a primary school pupil into a drainage prompting passers-by to beat and chase her away. But that is not unique to Osogbo as there are so many Nigerians afflicted with mental illness, a malady draped with the language of contempt. However, breakthroughs in science and medicine have brought hope that many mental patients can lead normal and productive lives. So are suicide victims if help can reach them early enough. Depression, one of the main culprits of suicides is treatable. This is why we call on all authorities to take out for rehabilitation the mentally challenged who roam the streets. Public officials at all levels should also by way of good governance pay serious attention to the constraints that could trigger in the people suicidal thoughts.


Letters to the Editor

TO OUR READERS Letters in response to specific publications in THISDAY should be brief (150-200 words) and straight to the point. Interested readers may send such letters along with their contact details to We also welcome comments and opinions on topical local, national and international issues provided they are well-written and should also not be longer than (9501000 words). They should be sent to along with the email address and phone numbers of the writer.

COVID-19 AND THE REST OF US Every challenge has opportunities that can be tapped - Anonymous.


hen Wuhan province in China reported symptoms of what is now known as Corona virus or Covid- 19, the world must have thought that it was not something that should be given attention. But suddenly like wild fire, it quickly spread into adjoining provinces and the whole country, then the world noticed! Just as they were grappling to come to terms with this pandemic, it entered Europe where Italy is worst hit. America and the rest of the world brought sporting activities, businesses, schools and religious activities to a halt. While these were going on, there were reports in some quarters about the virus not surviving in Nigeria due to the temperature and other weird assumptions but recent

happenings have thrown such assumptions to the trash bin because not only has it claimed a life as at the time of writing this piece but the number of reported cases is also on the increase. This has prompted government at all levels to come out with measures to contain the spread. However, I am not impressed with the lackadaisical nature of the way our leaders go on in carrying out their responsibilities. Be it as it may, there are positives to be taken which can change the face of our medical facilities forever. Many countries of the world have stopped issuing visas to other nationals and since this affects our politicians too, it now behooves the government to train, build, equip and maintain medical facilities in the nooks and crannies of this country to ensure that should event like this come up in the future, we shall not be taken aback! John Asi-effa Angels, Eket, Akwa Ibom State

10 THINGS TO GET OVER COVID-19 PANDEMIC One, all Nigerians should stay at home Two, private businesses should follow government lead by paying their workers, even if it is 50% of their salaries. Three, telecoms should give citizens free emergency credit for calls and internet access. Four, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should partner with state governments to provide emergency food suppliers to all states across the federation. Five, all corporate organisations should credit government with emergency support funds, which should be used to support citizens in need during this national emergency. Six, all political parties should issue statements declaring support for government and encourage their members to collaborate with government in any way they can. Seven, all traditional rulers should

complement government and assist them in ensuring compliance to directives in their domain. Eight, religious leaders should also support government by following instructions and disseminating same to their followers via the media. They should also encourage their followers to volunteer, as well as offer their places of worship to government for use. Nine, transporters and Leadership of NURTW should also collaborate with government and volunteer their members across the country to provide emergency transport services. Ten, lecturers through their association, ASUU should volunteer their services to government in whatever capacity necessary. Abdulrazaq Hamzat, Executive Director, Foundation For Peace Professionals




Report: Planned Phase out of Petrol Cars, Threat to Nigerian Economy Calls for risk mitigation Peter Uzoho The proposed ban on the use of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles in the coming years by some buyers of Nigerian crude oil, including China and The Netherlands, among others, will have severe impact on the country's economy, a report by Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) has said. However, FDC, in its latest monthly economic outlook report, advised Nigeria's leaders/policymakers to brace up for the challenge posed by the planned ban by the major oil buyers. Some countries have proposed to phase out the use of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles between 2020 and 2035, and replace them with electric or hydrogen-based cars as part of the agreement to solve the climate change challenge in the world. The United Kingdom has disclosed its intention to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, five years earlier than initially planned. This, according to FDC, will leave the consumer with the choice of either an electric or a hydrogen-based car, adding that the move was enacted to fight the climate crisis and reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050. It noted that other countries that intend to ban petrol cars

include Denmark – 2030, Germany – 2030, Ireland – 2030, with many more having similar goals. It stated that of the top 10 importers of Nigeria’s crude oil, two countries (Netherlands and China) planned to ban diesel and petrol cars. The report said: "More so, at least one state in eight of the top 10 countries signed the fossil-fuel-free street declaration, which is committed to banning emitting vehicles by 2030. This indicates that in no time more countries will be committed to the movement. "Nigeria needs to brace up for the impact of a gasoline and diesel ban. For a country whose revenue is mostly dependent on oil and its budget hinged on higher oil production and prices, the impact will be significant. "Currently, global oil prices are affected by the coronavirus outbreak, which is denting demand and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia." FDC recalled that the price of the global benchmark, Brent crude, sank to about $33 per barrel on March 9 the lowest level since early 2016, when the official naira rate was last devalued and Nigeria slid into recession. The price of Brent later slumped to 17-year low of $24 per barrel before

it recovered to $27 as at yesterday. It explained that the immediate impact of the drop in price was a depreciation of the currency to N368/$ and further to N420/$ before recovering to N368/$ at the parallel market.

FDC warned that if the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia continues and the outbreak of the COVID-19 bites deeper, Nigeria’s revenue and foreign exchange earnings would decline. It said the above scenarios

indicated that the Nigerian economy was only as stable as the global price of its main export - crude oil. It forecast that in the coming years, a drop in demand owing to the ban on petrol and diesel vehicles would be a double blow

to Nigeria, resulting in cutbacks of government activity due to shortage of funds, increased deficits, higher debt from borrowing, currency depreciation, depleted reserves and an economic slowdown or even a recession.

SERIOUS MATTER... National Assembly leadership practises social distancing at a meeting in one of its committee rooms in Abuja... recently

Anxiety in Zamfara as S’Court Rules on APC’s Application Today Alex Enumah in Abuja and Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto Anxiety has gripped members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State as the Supreme Court today rules on the APC’s application asking the apex court to set aside the consequential order that made the PDP the beneficiary of all elective positions in the 2019 general election in the state. A five-man panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, had on March 17 reserved judgment in the case till a date that will be communicated to that parties shortly after lawyers representing parties in the matter adopted their briefs of argument. However, a short message from the Director, Information, Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, to journalists said the apex court would deliver its ruling in the appeal today. The ruling of the apex court is coming barely few days after the apex court suspended sitting indefinitely over the COVID-19 pandemic. The apex court in a circular

dated March 23, 2020 and signed by the Chief Registrar of the court, Mrs. Hadizatu Mustapha, had announced a temporary suspension of court sitting in response to directives on curtailing the spread of the pandemic. The statement, however, said the court would only convene to deliver judgments and rulings in matters adjourned for such. However, as the court delivers its ruling in the Zamfara judgment review request, politicians and other Nigerians are anxious to know if the apex court will stick to its tradition of finality on issues already settled or deviate from it. The apex court had declined to set aside two previous judgments involving the removal of Imo State Governor, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, of PDP and that of the then Governor-elect of Bayelsa State, Senator David Lyon of APC. While arguing the application for setting aside of the consequential order that barred its clients from the 2019 general election, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) had informed the panel that the order was made out of jurisdiction. Clarke said the APC, which brought the application challenging the

consequential order, was not against the main judgment because the party did not conduct primary election for nomination of candidates for the 2019 general election. The senior lawyer who admitted bringing the application for the second time said what the Supreme Court ought to have done was to order a fresh primary election and election for all elective positions in the state. He informed the panel that the consequential order, which made the PDP candidates for all elective offices winners, was in bad taste and ought to be reversed. Clarke said it was wrong of the apex court to have declared over 400,000 votes as wasted simply because APC at the time did not conduct primary election known to law because of its internal dispute. He therefore urged the court to invoke its inherent jurisdiction to set aside the consequential order that brought PDP to power in Zamfara State and instead should order APC to conduct a fresh primary election and to also order the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct new election into all elective offices in Zamfara State.

However, Senator Kabiru Marafa, who is the first respondent in the matter, urged the apex court to dismiss the request of the APC for want of jurisdiction and merit. Marafa, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), informed the panel that the APC's application was caught by Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribed 60 days for hearing and determination starting from the date the notice of appeal was filed. Ozekhome argued that the apex court gave final judgment in the Zamfara governorship tussle over 10 months ago, adding that bringing such application for the second time is a gross abuse of the process of the apex court. He urged the court to dismiss the application with huge punitive fine to keep the party away from further abuse of court process. Ozekhome cited the decision of the court in the Bayelsa and Imo States' governorship tussles, adding that the apex court has made it clear that its judgment on any issue is final for all times, ages and that no force on earth can change the decision except a law made to that effect.

The CJN after taking submissions from counsel, reserved ruling to a date to be communicated to parties in the matter. Meanwhile, the supporters of APC and PDP yesterday told THISDAY that today’s apex court’s ruling will favour them. In an interview with THISDAY, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to Governor Bello Matawalle, Mr. Zailani Bappa, said the people of the state were expecting nothing less than victory for the governor. According to Bappa, there is no cause for alarm, adding that the stage is set for the apex court to dismiss the case. "Though I am not a lawyer, with the look of things, the apex court cannot contradict itself. You know this is the second time these people are calling for the review, which they know is not possible. “Those making noise about this case are Abuja-based politicians who were rejected by the good people of Zamfara because of the pains they previously inflicted on the people. "The Supreme Court has clearly stated in the case of Lyon and Diri and the case between Ihedioha and Uzodinma that the case is

as dead as corpse in the mortuary ready for burial as argued by Mike Ozekhome (SAN),� he stated. He explained that the atmosphere in the state was calm and the people are not expecting anything different from the previous judgment affirming Matawalle as the governor of the state. But the state’s Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr. Shehu Isah, told THISDAY that if justice is done to the case, APC would be victorious. "What we are saying is that the justices should look at the the merit of the case and do the needful,� he stated. The state Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Mr. Muhammad Shehu, did not respond to THISDAY’s enquiry on the security measures being put in place to maintain peace and order. But Gusau, the state capital, was calm yesterday as people went about their normal businesses. The Supreme Court had last year ordered that the candidates of parties that came second in the 2019 general election be inaugurated as winners following the nullification of the nominations of APC candidates on account of failure to conduct valid primary as required by law.



PAGE SEVENTEEN FG TRACES 4, 370 CONTACTS AS COVID-19 CASES JUMP TO 65 State and another N5 billion to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for tackling the raging pandemic. Buhari said the grant would enable Lagos State increase its capacity to control and contain the outbreak, while also supporting other states with capacity building, adding that the money for NCDC would help it to equip, expand and provide personnel to its facilities and laboratories across the country. The president stated: “The Nigerian Air Force is already making its fleet available to the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, to enable a better coordinated and more effective response across the country. “To protect our homeland from external exposure, I directed the immediate closure of our International Airports and Land Borders for four weeks in the first instance, to enable us to put up the appropriate policies, processes, and infrastructure to cope with suspected and confirmed cases at home, without risking a compounding of the situation with more imported cases.� Saying the inconvenience caused by the flight and travel restrictions to Nigerians abroad, who wanted to return home was regrettable, but necessary for the greater good of the country, the president thanked them for their understanding and cooperation. He listed other measures he had taken: “I have also directed that only cargo vessels that have been at sea for more than 14 days be allowed to dock in our ports after the crew have been tested and confirmed disease-free by the Port Health Authorities. This 14-day restriction, however, does not apply to vessels carrying oil and gas products as by their nature, there is minimal human contact. “We have also suspended the movement of commuter trains to limit the spread of the virus to other parts of the country.

“I have directed the NCDC to draft all its recent retirees back into service to beef up our manpower as we respond to the pandemic. “Furthermore, all NCDC staff and experts who are away on training or international assignments are to return immediately. Already the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is conducting an evacuation mission to bring back some of our specialists in Central Africa, to enable them to support the national response.� Buhari commended the monetary policy authorities for their financial intervention to support entrepreneurs and companies in a difficult time and stated that he looked forward to fiscal measures that would minimise the negative impact of the pandemic on the livelihood of millions of Nigerians. He reminded Nigerians that he had begun the process of review of the 2020 Budget, stating that he directed the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, to work with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, to ensure that all production of essential items such as food, medical and pharmaceutical products continued unhindered. “We are engaging our international friends and partners to share knowledge and to seek their support in our response to the pandemic,� Buhari said, adding: “We are grateful for the show of support thus far – we have already started receiving goods and supplies intended to help us scale up our efforts.� He commended the hard and heroic work being done by the nation’s medical personnel, the NCDC, Port Health Authorities, Security Agencies, State Governments, and all ad-hoc staff and volunteers. “I urge all Nigerians to be mindful of those among us who seek to spread panic and misinformation, and sow confusion at this time. We must

all pay attention only to the relevant government agencies working day and night to make accurate and useful information available to the public,� he said.

COVID-19 Cases Rise to 65 So far, 65 people have tested positive to the pandemic with 14 new cases recorded yesterday, the highest in a day since the spread of the disease to the country on February 27 by the Italian index case. A breakdown of the 14 new cases, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), showed that 12 were confirmed in Lagos, bringing the tally to 44, while two were confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to make its count stands at 12. "Of the 14 cases, six were detected on a vessel, three were returning travellers into Nigeria and one was a close contact of a confirmed case," NCDC tweeted yesterday. From the 65 total cases, Lagos has now recorded 44, FCT 12, Ogun three, Ekiti, Edo, Oyo, Bauchi, Osun and Rivers States all recorded one each. While 62 cases are under isolation and receiving treatment, three had been discharged after their viral load regressed back to negative. One person had died. THISDAY also gathered that the fumigation of the State House, including the office of the president commenced yesterday. Bauchi State also recorded a second case as the state government identified a patient described as a friend of the Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, who tested positive to COVID-19, as also testing positive to the virus. However, the results of tests conducted on some governors, ministers and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who

took the COVID-19 test, having come into contact with the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, who tested positive, showed they tested negative for the virus. The rising incidence of the pandemic has prompted the federal government and states to ramp up efforts to curb the spread. Some states have ordered the closure of their boundaries to interstate movements, an action which drew condemnations from lawyers who described the ban as illegal and unconstitutional. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday outlined fresh actions by the federal government to deal with the pandemic. The minister, at a press briefing in Abuja where he gave the number of people being traced, urged those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities. He also raised the alarm that Nigeria is on the verge of reaching the level of community spreading of COVID-19 and called for collective efforts to stop it immediately else the country will record exponential cases in the days ahead. Mohammed, however, said outside the “aggressive measures’’ being taken in containing the spread of COVID-19, the federal government was considering “tougher measures� to enforce compliance in order to stop the spread of the disease to states without incidence. Reacting to the status of the president, Mohammed said: “Mr. President is well, kicking and in charge,� adding that “at the appropriate time, he will address the nation.� He also confirmed THISDAY’s story yesterday that ministers and other top government officials were tested for the virus, adding that he was not at liberty to know the results. “As for me, I tested yesterday and the result came out negative.

After the test, we were supposed to go on self- isolation. But giving the nature of the crisis we have at hand, we cannot disappear. But we are taking the necessary measures,� the minister said. Mohammed identified some of the measures being considered by the federal government to contain the virus to include stopping inter-state/inter-town travels - except for essential services; closing all motor parks and inter-state rail stations, and using fire-fighting and other adaptable vehicles and personnel to fumigate cities and towns. “We will be considering and announcing new measures from time to time, but rest assured that whatever decisions we take will be in the best interest of Nigerians,� he added. The minister said while he did not intend to sound apocalyptic, time was running out, warning that if Nigerians did not urgently and more aggressively enforce the recommended measures, they would have a short window within which to stop the pandemic. He confirmed that the federal government had received donated safety and test kits from the Jack Ma Foundation in China, which include: 100,000 face masks, 1,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 20,000 test kits. He said some of the supplies would be distributed to the frontline health workers, while the test kits would be shared among the five test laboratories in the country. The minister added that the federal government was also taking measures to increase the number of bed spaces for the isolation of suspects. “The facilities we have now include a 40-bed hotel, the 60-bed Medical Centre in Zuba and the 160-bed centre in Abuja. We are still looking at other facilities within the Federal Capital Territory. “As we said during our last press conference, contact tracing

is very critical to stopping the spread of the virus. Today, we have 51 cases covering eight states: Lagos – 32, FCT – 10, Ogun – three, Ekiti – one, Edo – one, Bauchi – one, Osun – one, Oyo – one and Rivers – one. “We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities. We urge Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard.� While noting the decision of at least five domestic airlines, Air Peace, Aero, Azman, Dana and Arik, to suspend flight operations, the minister said the suspension would boost the efforts of the government to check the spread of the pandemic.

Relief as SGF, Akeredolu, Diri, Ehanire, Mamora, Others Test Negative There was relief yesterday as the SGF, Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu; Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri; Nasarawa State Governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule; Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora; and Minister of State for FCT, Dr. Ramatu Aliyu, all tested negative to the virus. Akeredolu shared the message that was sent to him by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro, indicating that the test was negative. Diri's acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said in Yenagoa yesterday, that the test result of the governor was obtained at NCDC-accredited laboratory at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State. "The result showed that Governor Douye Diri had ‘no evidence of COVID-19 infection," Alabrah said. Continued on page 42

PRIVATE SECTOR COALITION TARGETS N120BN TO OVERCOME COVID-19 He said: “In response to the impact of the COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, the CBN has in the last few days begun engaging Nigerian compatriots and stakeholders in the private sector on how to provide support to the Nigerian government in procuring equipment, funding and materials to combat the menace of this unfortunate pandemic in Nigeria.� According to Emefiele, although the number of cases so far in the country stood at 51 as of yesterday, the private sector leaders were concerned that the number might rise exponentially in the next few weeks. He added that Nigeria must prepare for the worst in responding. Emefiele said the CBN, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee and in partnership with the private sector led by the Dangote Foundation and Access Bank, came together to form the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19. “This coalition was created out of the urgent need to combat the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria. The rate at which the virus is spreading is

unprecedented and it appears we are fighting our most lethal adversary today. “So far, the federal government has made strides in the fight, but, it is clear that the private sector needs to step in to support efforts being made,� the CBN governor said. Emefiele explained that four major committees have been set up which include the Steering Committee; the Funding Committee; Operational Committee and the Technical Committee. “Steering Committee to provide leadership and steer the coalition and committees in procuring all needed funding, equipment and materials for the battle against this pandemic. “The steering committee will be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who currently chairs the Federal Government Committee on Covid-19. Other members of the committee will be announced later. “The second one is the Funding Committee. This committee will be responsible for the initial funding of this effort.

Membership comprises the CBN, Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and Femi Otedola. “Each member of this committee is expected to contribute at least N1 billion to this effort. More members are invited and allowed as long as they are willing to contribute N1 billion,� he added. Emefiele said the Operational Committee would be responsible for project management, logistics, communication and advocacy. He said: “This comprises the CBN, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GTBank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank and Nigerian Breweries. “We held a video conference with the Bankers’ Committee this morning and membership of this committee was agreed during the video conference meeting. “The fourth is the Technical Committee. This Committee is responsible for gathering data about the equipment and materials needed nationwide. They will also be responsible for intellectual leadership around testing issues, treatment protocols,

isolation centers, etc. “Membership Comprised of National Centre for Disease Control, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Federal Ministry of Health and select members of the operational and funding committee.� According to him, the coalition will be working with reputable institutions and consultants, including the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, Dr. Christian Happi and Dr. Phillip Onyebujo. Emefiele said information gathered so far revealed that to procure all needed equipment, material and all infrastructures needed to fight the pandemic, “over N120 billion needs to be raised.� He said the Bankers Committee and the stakeholders would be required to step up to support this endeavour. “We are already engaging other important stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad, such as the NNPC and players in the oil industry. “An account will be set up at the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive both naira and foreign currency from our donors.

“The Technical Committee will be providing information about the venue where equipment and materials will be received just for those who wish to donate materials and equipment. “They have made a commitment to provide funding, equipment, and material as well,� Emefiele added. He assured Nigerians that at the end of the process, reputable accountants would be engaged to account for how the funds were utilised as well as account for the materials donated. “The need for all Nigerians to play a role in this fight cannot be understated as we are quite literally in the fight of our lives. I must highlight the fact that this is not just about bringing money. Your time, your services, your products will all be helpful. “The committee has already begun work and we will keep you updated of our progress," he said. Responding to a question about private sector organisations that may not have up to N1 billion but would be willing to contribute, Emefiele said: “If you want to contribute N1, we would receive; if you want to

"The NA will continue to be professional, proactive and responsive in support of the constitution, democracy and government of Nigeria in line with its constitutional mandate of providing aid to civil authority when called upon to do so". The statement said the Army would leave no stone unturned to prepare to support the civil authority in times of emergencies of national magnitude. "The mischief of some unpatriotic few will not dissuade the Nigerian Army from working

with sister services, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to keep Nigerians safe. "The Nigerian Army calls on the general public to discountenance the publication going round that the federal government is locking down Nigeria by Friday, March 27, 2020 on the basis of the content of the directive to military formations to take proactive measures to prepare for possible call out to assist civil authority in the case of COVID-19 getting worse in the country".

NO PLANS TO ENFORCE NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN, SAYS MILITARY the Nigerian Army Headquarters said such publication was "false, vexatious" and designed to cause chaos. "It has come to the notice of the Nigerian Army and the general public some misleading publications in a section of the media with the title: 'Federal Government to Enforce Military Lockdown on Friday.' "The Nigerian Army wishes to dissociate itself from such false, speculative and vexatious publication designed by certain mischievous elements to create

chaos, panic and disaffection in the society that could only serve the ulterior motives of its promoters," it said. The statement signed by Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, said the document in question was a proactive directive for the army to prepare for possible escalation of the pandemic. "To put the record straight, the document being quoted was a proactive directive for the Nigerian Army to prepare for possible escalation of the COVID -19 based on the

happenings around the world on the pandemic. "The misinterpretation that government is locking down the entire country and pulling out the Army by Friday, March 27, 2020 is utterly false and baseless", it said. Musa said "the Nigerian Army considers the publication and negative interpretation being given the content of the classified document containing information meant for the Nigerian Army personnel as a violation of the official Secret Act.

contribute N1 billion or more, we would receive the fund and we assure you that we would account for it. “But what we are saying is that we have created a core group who would like to be identified that they are in the funding committee. "Naturally, what you expect is that practically everybody would want to be in that committee. But we are saying that to be a member of that committee, you must be somebody who is willing to contribute at least N1 billion,� he said.


NGN NGN 0.05 0.55 0.20 2.20 0.60 6.60 0.06 0.67 0.55 6.15 NGN 85.00 765.00 0.30 3.50 1.70 22.00 STANBIC 0.06 24.30 OANDO 0.05 2.15 HPE Nestle Nig Plc â‚Ś765.00 Volume: 172.163 million shares Value: N1.887 billion Deals: 3,542 As at yesterday 26/03/2020 See details on Page 35

% 10 10 10 9.8 9.8 % 10 7.8 7.1 6.9 2.2




Group Politics Editor NSEOBONG OKON-EKONG Email: 08114495324 SMS ONLY

A Word of Caution to Governor Obaseki Cecil Onosolease Esekhaigbe warns Godwin Obaseki about the antics of persons who may be benefiting from his political naivety


e is no less a child of providence. Attaining 56 years of age on March 20, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State is certainly the man of the moment for so many obvious reasons. With his unique disposition to life, the governor has come a long way navigating with peacefulness, humility, caring, compassion, vision, hardwork and the fear of his beloved God. He has carved a niche for himself as an outstanding leader whose approach to handling issues remains unbeatable and enduring. I will continue to make reference to my article titled, ‘Gov Obaseki and the Cocktail of Endorsement, written in May 2019. The quick take aways for ease of reference are 1: That the self denial that there was no problems between him and his political mentor amidst the cloud of insidious political tension was unhelpful. 2. That the attempt to build a self styled political structure by crushing the existing one would be counterproductive as recent history has shown. 3.That those encouraging him to take on his friend and political mentor are political jobbers and beggarly opportunists who want to profit from the ensuing political crises and he should be wary of them. 4. That this class of people really do not have political value but make loud noise to get pecuniary benefits from an unsuspecting and vulnerable Chief Executive Officer. 5.That Gov Obaseki has started well and should end well by not been distracted and drawn into an unnecessary political battles. 6. That the looming political war was neither just nor justifiable. 7. That the APC political class in Edo state should not play the ostrich and the state chairman should immediately swing into action to arrest the ugly trend. 8. That Obaseki should immediately close the seeming gap between him and Oshiomhole to avoid vicarious liability and the attendant political convulsion. 9. That he did not have the ammunition to fight a senseless war from the empty endorsement and diabolical instigations from the political jobbers. 10.That only his good works which he started could earn him a second term if he chose to recontest .I ended the sermon with my late father ’s instructive caution that”those who encourage a child to overeat may not follow the child to the “latrine” at midnight. Hardly had this article been digested when hell was let loose as Satan established his kingdom of madness. The drum beats of war metamorphosed into a full blown theatre of a political insurgency. Caution was thrown to the wind and political camps began to emerge. Democracy began to have its strain as best practices nose dived. Litigation took the place of political administration and thuggery became the new normal. Threats, tyrannical acts ,intimidation and cultism became the instruments of influencing political discourse Those who were

Comrade Oshiomhole will not foist a candidate on us and like any other Edo person he has just one vote. Godfatherism has been “destroyed” in Edo and there will be no Wind Assistance this time. I have said it earlier that since we refused to make and keep the peace and peace has been enforced on us , there are consequences. My advise to our dear Governor is that he should continue to win the hearts and mind of the people of Edo state with developments

COVID-19 Presents Opportunity to Demand Better Governance Iboro Otu urges Nigerians, particularly the youths to demand and get guarantees from governments at various levels by assuming their civic responsibilities


s Nigeria prepares for an eminent lockdown it is inevitable that many of our brothers and sisters are not ready. The unpreparedness of our people is due to a direct lack of resources that could lead to more devastating impact than COVID-19 itself. My focus is on the survival of the great people of Nigeria, especially my amiable, hardworking, inspiring youths and indigenes of Akwa Ibom state. It is in times like this that a credible and effective government shows itself at all levels. Where are all those leaders and their empowerment programmes? It is now that the bags of rice, hand sanitizers, gloves and face masks for everyone in our communities are needed! Are you seeing them in your neigbourhood? Who is your representative at the local, state and federal level? What is your government doing? Where are the world class hospitals? Where have the economic, health, rural and social infrastructure budgets been allocated? What is the plan for the many millions of daily-pay and unemployed people who will be holed up at home for weeks, if not months? What measures are being taken for the sick in these trying times? These

questions, and many more, have to be addressed now before they send you home to die quietly. Be mindful of fake assurances and false bravado mixed with great words of inspiration. History has shown us this is what happens right before the noose snaps. I call unto our youths to gather small hay while the sun sets. Demand and get guarantees before the ‘lock up/lock down’ begins. If the government can’t take care of you and your loved ones, now is the time for you and your loved ones to take care of government. You take care of government by assuming your civic responsibilities. Civic responsibilities include going to the appropriate offices, asking the right questions, demanding for answers and auditing them. On-the-spot assessment is necessary at this point. A quiet war has begun with an invisible enemy whose bullet is also silent. Don’t keep silent and die to a public burial. Civic responsibility means in times when the government fails to provide answers, the people must assume leadership and provide the necessary for everyone and their loved ones. Adequate protective and survival measures must be put in place now and the government must be held totally accountable for that.

supposed to douse the tension and rein in the combatants became ethnic champions and political patrons/matrons. A few who had the courage and altruistic motives to make peace were easily derided by the so called leaders. Some even sent their political pawns to insult a few of us that were advocating for peace. Emergency writers dotted the landscape to fuel the crises because to insult political opponents became money making ventures. The naked truth is that all these battles were not organic to Gov Obaseki and they were not his original ideas . I had the opportunity to engage with him severally to discern this fact. The persons behind the “Edo storm” were those who have personal political grievances and those who feel that Gov Obaseki was miserly with funds and to make money is to encourage the crises We all know the various attacks and counter attacks that have shaken the political landscape of Edo State with fresh and festrering scars. I have read in some newspapers where people who did not attend meeting with the President interpreting the outcome. Those who are not from Edo State making a choice for Edo people while the erstwhile combatants are now advocates of peace and reconciliation. Comrade Oshiomhole will not foist a candidate on us and like any other Edo person he has just one vote. Godfatherism has been “destroyed” in Edo and there will be no Wind Assistance this time. I have said it earlier that since we refused to make and keep the peace and peace has been enforced on us , there are consequences. My advise to our dear Governor is that he should continue to win the hearts and mind of the people of Edo state with developments .This is the surest path to continuity in office. You may now reconcile with your friend and political mentor but let it be clear that both of you must now shed the weight of the political jobbers that caused the impasse if genuine reconciliation makes meaning. Bring all the political class together and apologise where necessary. God does not deny a contrite heart and as a servant of the people humility is a virtue. Its not too late to get back on track. Your electoral fortune lies with the Edo people and not with a cabal or interlopers from other states. I also think that Oshiomhole should be left out from this new wave of conspiracy theory of endorsement. I pray that the coming election will give us a Governor that Edo state deserves. While we pray we must also know that the scripture says “faith without good works amounts to nothing. Let’s all work towards remaining a solid state with vibrant democratic culture .Idiocy should not have a place in Edo political arena. I wish all the aspirants including the Governor well in the coming electoral process. -Esekhaigbe is a retired Major General and concerned indigent of Edo State




Towering above Imo Governorship Oke Epia praises the fighting spirit of former Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State


he dust may have settled. The Eastern Heartland is no longer the headline news. At least, as far as gubernatorial litigation is concerned. The mill of governance now grinds. Or so it seems. But the seed of a thousand forests have been sown. And the shoots and boughs spread out beyond the borderlines of Imo. A sunrise moment splurges forth from the sunset of judicial settlement, albeit one of national, nay global steering. But only the discerning can see it. And only those with the innate prescience to scoop victory from the ashes of defeat can appropriate it. That is why the man in the centre of it all deserves his place in history. His moment in the sun cannot be denied him. When Chukwuemeka Nkem Ihedioha, erstwhile governor of Imo State, set out to challenge the curious January 14, 2020 judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which removed him from office based on the quirky quicksand subterfuge of the incumbent, some questioned his temerity to pursue justice. Among those who did was the lot who believed that justice is inferior to the procedural finality of the apex court of the land. Thus they balked and barked on television and other spaces of public discourse. But the more they did, the more the folly of injustice oozed from the miscarried justice they struggled to affirm. Eventually, this minority secured a majority judgment on March 3, 2020 to reaffirm the January 14 heist. But it was a judgment that was hamstrung by a lone voice on the bench. It was no coincidence that the minority judgment of His Lordship, Justice Chima Nweze, was the real story the newspapers feasted on the next day. Again, the winners won to lose while loser lost to win. “This decision of the Supreme Court will continue to hunt our electoral jurisprudence for a long time to come,” the learned justice said stoically in reference to the flagrant position of his colleagues on the bench. The erudite judge released several sound bites that made mammoth mockery of the majority decision on the matter: “In my intimate reading of the January 14 judgment, the substance of Ihedioha’s matter was lost to time frame. This court once set aside its own earlier judgment and therefore cannot use time frame to extinguish the right of any person. This court has powers to overrule itself and can revisit any decision not in accordance with justice. This court has a duty of redeeming its image. I am of the view that this application should succeed. I hereby make an order setting aside the decision of this court made on January 14 and that the certificate of return issued to the appellant be returned to INEC. I also make an order restoring the respondents as winner of the March 9 governorship election.” Justice Nweze wrote his name in gold and like many have said, history will be kind to him. Ihedioha spoke the minds of millions of Nigerians when he submitted that “even though justice was not served at the end, the well-articulated dissenting judgment delivered by His Lordship, Justice Centus Nweze, has vindicated our stand.” To put this in proper perspective, Ihedioha’s stand was not for himself alone. His stand was for justice to be served the mass majority of Imo people who voted him as their governor. His stand was for the judiciary of the country, the last hope of the common man, to be rescued from the lurch of infamy it had been thrown into on January 14. His stand was for Nigeria to be redeemed from the cesspool of global revulsion and shame she had sunk into. His stand was for Nigerians of conscience to be saved the unexplainable quagmire of explaining the arithmetical


Baba, This Your Baby is Sick Anthony Kila

illogic of the winner of a race losing his prize to not the first, second but fourth runner-up, to their children and future generations. His stand was the stand of millions of Nigerians who stood by him during the trying times, calling out injustice and demanding redress. It was therefore ennobling that Ihedioha paid tributes to these millions across the country and different parts of the world in a speech after the legal battle ended. “I will forever be in the debt of Nigerians of all walks of life, across ethnic, religious and political divides, senior citizens, journalists, civil societies, ordinary men and women of good conscience, who added their voice to condemn the injustice done in our case. These are people unknown to me personally but who could not bear the illogic of turning number four to number one on the basis of a fraudulently procured result, and appealed to the Supreme Court to save itself and our judiciary.” He continued: “Whatever may be the personal injury I suffer as a result of the miscarriage of justice, my main concern in this whole tragic episode is not about me. It has always been about the implications this judgment could have for the future of our democracy and the right of the electorate to have their votes count.” This is the stuff real leaders are made of. And for those who know Ihedioha closely or have followed his over two two-decade long political trajectory, this should not come as a surprise. For the period he has straddled the political terrain, the former governor has been through thick and thin. He fought alongside allies and activists in the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) to give the military a chase away from power. By serving in various capacities in the presidency and national assembly in the early years of the fourth republic, he bolstered the resource of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to help steer Nigeria away from the ruins of military rule into a burgeoning democracy battling diverse development challenges. These experiences prepared him lavishly to serve the people of Aboh Mbaise/ Ngor Okpala Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives by the time he got elected to represent them in 2003. Being a notable mobilizer, deft politician and team player, Ihedioha stepped up his hold on the politics of Nigeria when he emerged Chief Whip of the House of Representatives in 6th assembly. By the succeeding 7th House, he had networked so adroitly and was voted unanimously as the Deputy Speaker in a move that stunned bookmakers. His milestones in the legislature are legion both in terms of lawmaking and representation. -Epia writes from Abuja NOTE: Interested readers should continue in the online edition on

Dear President Obasanjo Even for a detailed man like you, I am willing to guess that you would have by now lost count of the number of tributes and Happy Birthday wishes you must have received since yesterday. A guess, I said not place a wager, yes, some us of are wise enough never to bet against you. Knowing you, I can imagine the impish grins and comments you must have regaled those around you as these messages and tributes pour in. Naturally and at the risk of your impish grins and comments, I also will like to here, add my own public Happy Birthday to you Baba. No need to pretend sir, those who know me are aware of my personal link of deference and affection to you. On such basis we can share the joke of saying happy birthday to Chief Dr. General President Elder Chairman Baba Olusegun Obasanjo. By the way, it must be noted that all your titles are earned and truly deserved; not one is honorary or bestowed. What a life! Of all your earned titles, like everything with you, the simplest one is also perhaps the most fascinating. You are in people’s mind the most senior and most recognized Baba in Africa and perhaps the world. I am not sure you are aware, at the mention “Baba” in any conversation in any part of Nigeria and beyond, people understand that you are the one the speaker is referring to, saying OBJ is mere a confirmation of the implied. In our Nigeria and indeed beyond, you are truly the father of many people, ideas, institutions, reforms and policies. Most don’t remember it but you are indeed the father of modern Nigeria. The latter is perhaps your biggest baby and it is by no way a small feat. You have directly shaped or being

Too many people are now questioning even the essence of this Nigeria and they do so not out of pure malice and greed, they do so Baba because this your big baby is sick and as a parent, you need to do more than something about it. I doubt anyone in Nigeria is as connected or respected and revered as you in this country, Baba

involved in shaping most of what makes Nigeria what is. Naturally and you know it, I do not agree with all your procreations. Very few people can be compared to you when it comes of being Pan Nigerian. Objectively speaking, most people become dwarfs when compared to you. You have through your life, ways and deed promoted and practiced the making of one big Nigeria. Most times at the detriment of the sectional, tribal sentiments that guide most others. Now Baba, I have sad news for you: this your big baby is sick. This your big baby has not grown to be a happy and or reliable adult, it is not safe, the nannies that are charged with taking of your baby Nigeria are not doing well. Your big baby is not safe for friends and family to visit. The children of your big baby do not trust and love each other. They thinking some of them a being treated like step children of a mean, daft and reckless step parent while the biological parent is absent. Most do not seem to understand or trust the judiciary that is supposed to assure them that right is right and wrong is wrong for all to easily see. Too many of the children of your big baby are too hungry and too unemployed to practice the savings and thrift you spent so much time and energy to promote and when they try to engage the banks you put in place they do not feel welcomed. The greatness you preached and worked for is still a dream, when compared to other children around the globe. Your big baby seems to rank high in bad things and low very low in good things. Your great passion: International relationship is still not an area of excellence for your big baby Nigeria. Trained professionals are not involved in shaping our international affairs and they are not making their mark. For the avoidance of doubt, let me state clearly that by modern Nigeria we mean the Nigeria of its present political and governmental structure, based on federal character and determined to make many nations part of one bigger nation rather than state or a union of nations. A Nigerian made of true Nigerians. Too many people are now questioning even the essence of this Nigeria and they do so not out of pure malice and greed, they do so Baba because this your big baby is sick and as a parent, you need to do more than something about it. I doubt anyone in Nigeria is as connected or respected and revered as you in this country, Baba. I think for the sake of your baby it is time to call in some favours. It is time to speak to some of those you made to tell them that they owe you the favour of saving your baby. It is time to speak to all of us directly and clearly to tell us all that you are now reviewing somethings. -Prof. Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS Lagos




T H I S D AY ˾ MARCH 27, 2020




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Quick Takes Sirika Receives Award


L- R: Member, Investiture Planning Committee, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Ikeja and District Society, Mr. Olaoti Bolarinwa; Chairman, Planning Committee, Austine Ngozika; New Chairman, CITN, Ikeja and District Society, Mr. Funso Olutayo Abidakun, and Member, Planning Committee, Mr. Adewale Olatunde, at the investiture ceremony of Abidakun as the ninth District Chairman and inauguration of new CITN exco in Lagos... recently

Workers May Lose Jobs over Airport Closure Chinedu Eze There are indications that airlines, handing companies and other service providers in the aviation industry might lay off some of their workers or send them on compulsory leave without pay, following the suspension of their operations to avert the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the past three weeks Nigerian airlines have been recording low load factor and by the end of today almost all the domestic airlines would ground operations and majority of their workers would either work from home or go home and rest, while waiting for next directive from government. From all indications, each

AVIATION company or airline is expected to take a decision on how to deal with the labour issues. But reactions from employers in the industry show that majority of the workers would not get their full time pay cheques while the forced holiday or redundancy lasts. The President of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), Ahmadu Illitrus, told THISDAY that while the airlines and other employers in the aviation industry may not out rightly sack their workers, they may place them on half pay or they stay at home without pay. “Now that it is indicative that it

is a total shut down, I can assure you that it won’t be a job loss that will happen in the industry, but workers will be sent home and resume after the order has been lifted. “This is a force majeure, so employers will not declare total redundancy. They could tell the workers, stay at home, we will not pay you full salary, but you resume work we start. We anticipate it will get to stage employers will declare partial redundancy,” he said. Illitrus said many airline workers were not in the labour unions so it would be difficult to fight for them to protect against exploitation by the employers. He said the unions have good relationship with major

aviation handling companies whose workers are in the unions, assuring that labour and the management of the companies would reach a compromise that would benefit both the workers and their employers. “We have had discussions with the affiliate chairmen of the handling companies, no management has approached us, but if things get tough they will come. We have good relationship with the management of handling companies and we hope that by the time we overcome all these the jobs will come back,” Illitrus said. Also, THISDAY spoke with Continued on page 22

COVID-19: Terminal Operators Want Ports to Remain Open Eromosele Aniodun Terminal operators at the nation’s seaports have stressed the need for the nation’s ports to remain open at all times while the federal and state governments battle to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Vicky Haastrup, who stated this in a statement explained: “As we face the global public health crisis birthed by the Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, we advise government to ensure that the supply chain is not disrupted and the seaports keep running. “Even if other sectors of the

MARITIME economy are shut down to guard against the spread of the virus, the seaports should remain open to ensure that there is no shortage of food, drugs and other essential supply to Nigerians.” This is just as the Nigerian Ports authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) have employed several measures to curb the spread of the dreaded virus. As part of the measures, staff members who are not on essential duty have been directed to work from home by both agencies. However, the NPA has said that Nigeria has not gotten any issue that could warrant

shutting down its seaports at the moment. On its part, NSC has partially shut down its offices and direct staff to work from home as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus. The General Manager, Strategic Communications, of NPA, Jato Adams, said shutting the ports would be at the prerogative of the federal government. “For now, we do have any issue that could warrant shutting the ports and we are expecting that if there is anything; the Port Health will let us know. “So it is only the Port Health that can make that decision,” he said. Meanwhile, Haastrup in her statement emphasised that

the shipping sector was key in contributing to secure the continuity of economic activities, ensuring supply chains to industries; transport of essential goods, including energy and food supplies, and transport of vital medical and protective equipment, and supplies, She said: “It is imperative for the fight against COVID-19, the supply of essentials, as well as for increasing the chance of the economic recovery on the other side of the outbreak, that maritime and connected transport is allowed to continue, and that government works actively to support the sector throughout the period of the crisis. Continued on page 22

TheMinisterofAviation,Sen.HadiSirikahasreceivedthe‘Excellence in Public Service Award 2019,’ bestowed on him by the Businessday NewspaperinAbuja.Accordingtothenewspaper,theawardwasbased ontheoutstandingperformancesoftheministerandwasdetermined throughpainstakingselectionprocessbyitsawardcommittee. Among the achievements of the minister which qualified him for the award, as listed by the organisation, included the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport runaway, the certification of the Murtala Muhammed International airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airportAbujabytheInternationalCivilAviationOrganisation(ICAO). Otherachievements,accordingtothenewspaper,arethecompletion and commissioning of the terminal buildings of Murtala Muhammed International airport Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja,thesoon-to-be-commissionedMallamAminuKanoInternational airportKano,andtheongoingrehabilitationoftheAkanuIbiamInternational airportEnugu. Receiving the award on behalf of the minister, the Director General, NigerianCivilAviationAuthority(NCAA),CaptainMusaNuhu,saidthe honourwasinrecognitionoftheminister’sachievementsbeingrecorded inaviationsectorunderhisleadership. The aviation minister had also been honoured by the Independent NewspapersasitsMinisteroftheYear. AccordingtothemanagementofIndependentNewspapers,theaward on Senator Sirika was in recognition of his stoic commitment to the development of the Aviation industry in Nigeria, with special focus on infrastructuraldevelopment,safetyandsecurity. Thenewspaperhadlisted,amongotherthings,theongoingimplementation oftheAviationSectorRoadmapdevelopedbytheMinistryofAviation underhisleadership,theimpeccablesafetyandsecurityrecordofthe AviationindustryinNigeria,whichhaswonthenationglobalrecognition andawards.

Qatar Continues Flight Operation

QatarAirwayssaiditiscontinuingtokeepingtheskiesopenandgetting asmanypeoplehomeaspossiblyinthechallengingtimes. “Our state-of-the-art aircraft with their advanced air filter systems, combinedwithstrictbio-securityscreeningofourstaffmeanthatwe cancontinueoperatingasignificantnumberofflightstoreunitestranded passengerswiththeirlovedones. “Our commitment to getting people home stepped up on 24 March with:10,000extraseatsaddedtoitsnetwork;theprovisionofcharter servicestoEuropeandtheUSfromAsia;theadditionofextraflightsto Paris,PerthandDublinfromDohaandupgradingservicestoFrankfurt, London Heathrow and Perth with the addition of the Airbus A380 on thoseroutes,”theairlinesaid. TheDoha-basedcarriersaidfiguresforthelastsevendaysshowedload factors of over 80 per cent for flights to the UK, France and Germany, with a fall to 36 per cent for outbound services from those countries, illustratingthedemandforhomewardtravel. “QatarAirwayshasflownmorethan100,000passengershomeinthe last seven days while 72 percent of passengers carried on 24 March werenationalsflyingtotheircountryoforigin. “Working with embassies around the world, the airline has operated one-off services from destinations such as Phnom Penh, Denpasar, Manila and Kuala Lumpur to Europe. More than 5,000 passengers were flown home by these services over the last week, a number that isexpectedtomorethantripleoverthenextweek. “QatarAirwaysiscurrentlyoperatingflightsto75destinations*,though thisnumbermayreduceasnationsintroducetighterrestrictions,”itstated.

London City Airport to Close

London City airport is to close for all flights from this evening until the end of April. Flight Global said the operator of the downtown London airport said the move was to temporarily suspend all commercial and privateflightsfromtheairportcomesaftertheUKGovernment’slatest instructionsinresponsetothecoronavirusoutbreak. ”ThiswillbeginintheeveningonWednesday25Marchandisexpectedto lastuntiltheendofApril.Wewillkeepthisunderreview,”theairportsays. ”Atthispointinthisfast-movingandunprecedentedsituation,wethink this is the responsible thing to do for the safety and well-being of our staff,passengersandeveryoneassociatedwiththeairport.” Ciriumschedulesdatashowstherearescheduledtobe10airlinesoperating out of London City airport, the biggest of which is British Airways. UK regionalcarrierFlybehadbeenthesecondbiggestoperatoratLondon City,priortoitscollapseinFebruary.

“All international airports remain closed foe four weeks, except for aircraft in distress and over flights” Minister of Aviation,

Senator Hadi Sirika



BUSINESSWORLD WORKERS MAY LOSE JOBS OVER AIRPORT CLOSURE the Managing Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC, Basil Agboarumi, on the plan the company has for the workers during the sit at home period. He said that SAHCO told some of the workers to go and come back when work resumes, saying it was the sanest thing to do. “Those whose jobs are not critical were told to go home because what is important is the safety of the workers and their families. That was what we did when international operations were closed and that is what we are going to do for the domestic in order not to endanger the lives of our staff. Cargo service is still operating but it is a slim operation,� he said. Also a senior official of the Nigerian Aviation Handling PLC (nacho aviance) told THISDAY that the company has engaged skeletal staff to handle the few cargoes coming into the country. “We have had a meeting with the unions. We are taking away small allowances from the salary of our workers during the redundancy period. Such allowances like hazard allowance which they will not need while they are at home. So we have scaled down the salaries,� the official said.

COVID-19: TERMINAL OPERATORS WANT PORTS TO REMAIN OPEN “The continued functionality of the ports and port ecosystems is imperative for securing movement of goods at scale, for prevention of shortages and thus for maintenance of public order. “Observations from China during the COVID-19 outbreak show how a top priority given by national leaders to ensure business continuity in ports can help minimize the impact of precautionary measures on the fluidity of trade and port operations. “Central actions were supplemented by local initiative from local logistics and shipping industry. While much of Chinese society was in lockdown during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese ports continued operations with minimum disruptions. This was not least due to the top-down instruction by the Chinese government to stay open and prioritize business continuity in all provinces across the country.�


BOAN Applauds Customs’ Reversal of Ban on Cargo Movement Oluchi Chibuzor The Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) has applauded the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd.) over the recent reversal of ban on the use of barges to move cargoes at the nation’s seaports. The President of BOAN, Mr. Edeme Kelikume, who stated this at a media briefing in Lagos, noted that lifting of the ban would allow its members resume operations across the country’s waterways. However, BOAN has requested the NCS authorities, in accordance with government procedures, to issue a circular effecting the reversal. The customs had recently banned barging activities along the waterways, citing irregularities and safety concerns. Kelikume, said until they begin to see the actual implementation of those initiatives, they would be worried about the delay, which prompted the stakeholders to react very swiftly to address the issues. “We are gathered here today to first and foremost commend the responsiveness of the CG of customs and indeed the hierarchy of customs for hiding to the cry of stakeholders; who pointed to them that this was not the step in the right direction at the time when the country is been faced by global pandemic and our crude oil price is crashed to new levels. “We need to have the borders and seaports to function very

well and oil the wheels of trade and ensure that the country continues to generate revenue to sustain our populace. We commend the CG for swiftly retracting the decision to ban barging activities due to one or two infractions by few members of the association that we are yet to identify. “Having said this, we are still waiting a formal circular from the customs command to document the reversal, as we have had a meeting with senior official of the customs

who have confirmed to us that indeed it has been reverse. But it is very important as it is done in government circles that this reversal be properly documented for future reference,� he said. “It is very important that they engage with all stakeholders to get their impact and inputs before such decision are made, �he added. The association maintained that it would align with government in achieving its objectives for the maritime industry

and would not condole any errant members sabotaging the process. On if members have fully complied with the demands of government and the role barging activities has played to reduce the traffic gridlock along the port corridor, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA), Mr. Tony Nwabunike, acknowledged the timeliness of barge usage in Nigeria. “What we are saying is to generate income for the

economy and then BOAN and ANCLA are actually increasing the revenue of the maritime industry. We are asking our members to be law abiding and to be guided with the principles with our area of work. “Giving the level of grid locks that we are experiencing now in the port, using barges is one of the best system of transportation in the nation now because of the state of roads, as Kiyoto conventions includes it as key areas in ferrying goods,� he noted.


L-R: Uche Iheakanwa; his wife/Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief Champion Newspapers Limited, Mrs. Nwadiuto Iheakanwa; Head, Media Relations, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Abdul Imoyo, and Uche Dimgba. during Champion Newspapers Limited annual awards where Imoyo was bestowed with the ‘Best Media Manager of the Year,’ at an event that held in Lagos‌recently

COVID-19: LG Boss Wants Ships from High Risk Countries Stopped Sylvester Idowu in Warri As the COVID-19 continues to ravage the country, the Chairman of Warri South Local Government Area, Dr. Michael Tidi, has cautioned the management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), the

Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Customs Service and other relevant federal government agencies not to allow ships from high risk countries affected by the virus berth in Warri Port. Tidi, in a statement recently stressed that the warning became necessary following

reports that majority of the COVID – 19 cases confirmed in Nigeria were imported. He maintained that the complete closure of the country’s land borders by the federal government as part of measures to check the Coronavirus pandemic, made it

more imperative for the authorities to properly screen ships entering the country through the maritime borders. The Council Boss advised people of the oil rich Warri South Local Government Area not to entertain any fear, assuring that his government has

put all necessary machinery in place to prevent the virus in the area. He appealed to residents to place high premium on personal hygiene and be alive to the policy on social distance as it affects people with suspected health situations.

Maritime Workers Close Secretariat, Postpone NEC Meeting Eromosele Abiodun The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has announced the immediate closure of its national secretariat and postponement of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in the wake of the spread of Covid-19. President General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, in a state-

ment said: “The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria held a combined meeting of its National Administrative Council (NAC) and Central Working Committee (CWC) to deliberate on issues of national interest. “Amongst the issues discussed is the recent pandemic spread of the COVID – 19 which has brought many governments to a standstill and lock downs. We

note that the federal government of Nigeria has ordered a lock down of movement of people to reduce contact and spread of the disease. “Consequently, social gathering of more than 20 people at a time has been banned and such sundry methods put in place, “it stated. The maritime workers added, “In cognisance of government’s

directive to restrict movement of people and goods, and to further safe guide the lives of our members, we announce the closure of our national secretariat and its annex offices for the first instance of two weeks starting from the 25th March 2020. However, skeletal essential services will still be offered the general public. “In this same vein we

also announce the indefinite postponement of our National Executive Council meeting which had earlier been billed for 27th March 2020. We regret any inconvenience these decisions may cause. Lastly, we wish to announce the recent promotion of Com. Erazua Oniha as Deputy Secretary General, Education, Research and media.�


Hapag Lloyd Liner Makes Maiden Call at Ports & Cargo Terminal

Capital Market Editor

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Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, the flagship company of SIFAX Group and concessionaire of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos, has announced the addition of a new client to its growing clientele list. The company in a statement said the latest addition is Hapag Lloyd AG Limited, a German international shipping

and container transportation company, which is the world’s fifth largest container carrier in terms of vessel capacity. The shipping line, it added, made its maiden call at the terminal recently with one of its largest vessel, Navious Azure, a container ship built in 2007 with gross tonnage of 39,906 tonnes and length overall of 260.5m. While welcoming the vessel’s crew to the terminal, Manag-

ing Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, Mr. John Jenkins, expressed the company’s delight at the vessel’s maiden call, adding that the development is a testimony of the terminal’s readiness to provide cuttingedge port terminal services to more clients. He said: “We are excited to have this ship berth at our terminal today. We are delighted that Hapag Lloyd,

which is one the world’s largest ocean shipping fleet owners, prefer our terminal for their operations and the shipping line will call frequently at this terminal. “This business relationship with Hapag Lloyd is one of several partnerships we have been working on in the past few months. This new wave of patronage is a result of the massive investment we have made both in modern

equipment, quality personnel and improved processes over the years. All these have translated in better service delivery, which is what an average client wants.� Responding on behalf of the vessel’s crew members, Captain John Trafiero, who was overwhelmed by the hospitality and excellent service provided by the company, expressed his joy at berthing at one of Africa’s prime ports.





Air Cargo Bottlenecks May Put Lives at Risk, Says IATA Stories by Chinedu Eze The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has renewed call on governments to take urgent measures to ensure that vital air cargo supply lines remain open, efficient and effective. “Air cargo is a vital partner in the global fight against COVID-19. But we are still seeing examples of cargo flights filled with lifesaving medical supplies and equipment grounded due to cumbersome and bureaucratic processes to secure slots and operating permits. “These delays are endangering lives. All governments need to step up to keep global supply chains open,� said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac. The global body noted that the COVID-19 crisis has seen almost the entire worldwide passenger aircraft fleet grounded; a fleet, which normally transports almost half of total air cargo shipments. It disclosed that airlines are scrambling to meet the gap between cargo demand and available lift by all means possible, including re-introducing freighter services and using passenger aircraft for cargo operations.

To support these efforts, governments need to remove key obstacles by introducing fast track procedures for overflight and landing permits for cargo operations, particularly in key manufacturing hubs in Asia -- China, Korea and Japan -- in response to the increased number of cargo charters replacing withdrawn passenger operations. Governments also need to exempt flight crewmembers who do not interact with the public from 14-day quarantine requirements to ensure cargo supply chains are maintained and supporting temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply. Governments are also expected to remove economic impediments, such as overflight charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations during these unprecedented times and removing operating hour curfews for cargo flights to facilitate the most flexible global air cargo network operations The World Health Organisation (WHO) reiterated the importance of air cargo in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19: “Around the world the frontline health workers who fight against COVID- 19 need

to be continuously supplied with necessary medical equipment and protective material. “It is our collective duty to keep these supply lines open by continuing air cargo operations. The scale-down of air passenger flow is seriously hurting our scheduled freight operations. “We call on airline companies and governments to join the global effort to ensure dedicated freight capacity continues to operate on previously high volume passenger routes that are now closed down,� says Chief, Operations Support and Logistics, WHO, Paul Molinaro. “Air cargo is on the front line, not only fighting COVID-19 but ensuing that global supply chains are maintained for the most time-sensitive materials including food and other products purchased online in support of quarantine and social distancing policies implemented by states. “But we can only continue to do this if we work together with the support of governments. Keeping supply lines open also supports jobs in local economies for example producers of perishables in Africa and Latin America. We are stronger together,� said IATA Global Head of Air Cargo, Glyn Hughes.

Boeing Executives to Give Up Pay Boeing has announced several extraordinary measures to help the company through the coronavirus crisis, which has left the entire aerospace industry reeling. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer said in a statement that its chief executive, Dave Calhoun and board of directors’ chairman Larry Kellner, would forgo all pay until the end of the year. Flight Global reported that Boeing would also suspend dividends and continue to pause share-repurchasing plans until further notice. The company had suspended stock buyback programs almost a year ago, following the grounding of its 737 Max aircraft following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people. “Boeing is drawing on all

of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term,� the company said. Earlier in the week, former Boeing board member, Nikki Haley, resigned after disagreeing with the aircraft maker’s request for a $60 billion government aid package for the aerospace industry, funds the company says will help the industry weather the coronavirus downturn and protect 2.5 million jobs. Boeing’s request for aid came the same day President Donald Trump pledged to assist Boeing and other travel-related industries, including the airline sector, which also asked for an aid package of tax relief, grants

and loans worth a total of $58 billion. But last week, Trump said that he supports imposing stock buyback restrictions on companies that receive financial aid as part of the federal government’s coronavirus recovery package. Airlines and Boeing have been criticised for spending billions of dollars repurchasing their own stock during recent boom years. The company was already struggling with the 737 Max grounding when the coronavirus outbreak started. Resulting travel bans and declines in demand have led airlines to ground huge portions of their fleet and spurred some to defer or cancel aircraft orders. Analysts suspect more deferrals and cancellations are coming.

S’African Airways Seeks More Time for Turn Around Struggling South African Airways has asked the government for more time to turn the airline around. The third extension was reportedly due to the new challenging market conditions that have decimated the airline industry. Currently, the airline is restricted to flying only domestic shuttle routes between its hub in Johannesburg and Cape Town. South African Airways has been in financial peril for the last few months. The airline has been plagued by management issues, old aircraft (notably

Airbus A340 aircraft it uses to fly long-haul international routes) and aggressive expansion by rivals. Last year, the airline was placed into the care of a business rescue firm run by partners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana. But, since then, the two partners have asked the government for further extensions regarding their turnaround plan. The duo has run into several problems actioning their revitalisation of the airline, such as union disputes (being forced to retain expensive engineers) and even

the government themselves withholding funds. But this latest deferral is very much due to outside forces plaguing the industry, with very limited travel options for the airline to make money outside of South Africa. The airline has been restricted from operating regional African routes and international routes to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, forcing most services to be grounded and just be operating limited domestic capacity.

Retailers Groan as Airlines Ground Operations


Chinedu Eze There are many people familiar with the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos who cannot imagine that the airport will be closed and flight operations stopped at any point in time. Nobody would be believed if anyone had predicted that in December, but the pandemic, the COVID-19 has made it a reality. It has happened beyond the imagination of pundits. By Saturday morning, well known domestic carriers which use the Lagos airport as operational hub must have suspended their operation. Such airlines as Aero Contractors, Air Peace, Arik Air, Dana Air have shut down their flight service. Hit by the shutdown is the multimillionnaira daily economic activities that go with movement of flight services at the airport terminals, beyond the airport terminals and at the premises of the airports. Taxi operators at the airport churn out a daily living from their proceeds from air travel. Taxi operators live on their daily earnings. It is also the same situation for many retailers at the airport. Also, many eateries, snack bars and shops have shut down. The operators may not be able to remember in the remotest memory when the Lagos airport was shut down since 1979 it was opened for service. At the General Aviation Terminal, the Toyota Camry cars that grace every part of the taxi section of the car park have disappeared to the homes of their owners. Who knows when they will come back to the airport again? It is this gloomy cloud of uncertainty that has become so disheartening to the taxi operators. A staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) told THISDAY that while running away from being infected by coronavirus at the airports, many of the people that depend on the airport for their daily earnings would struggle with hunger when they lock themselves up in their home.

Hit by the shutdown is the multimillionnaira daily economic activities that go with movement of flight services at the airport terminals, beyond the airport terminals and at the premises of the airports

Bureau de Change operators, food vendors, retailers and travel agents were lamenting the shutting of airport due to the spread of the pandemic, coronavirus. When THISDAY visited the Lagos airport after the stoppage of scheduled flights, a deserted facility brought huge contrast to a place known for its hustle and bustle. The airport was almost empty but for the workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), other airport agency officials and airline workers that were moving out their working materials. Passengers had disappeared from the usually crowded departure lounge in the evenings. But another group badly hit by the unfortunate development at the airports are the touts who had totally disappeared from the facility. At the arrival hall, only one of the entrances was open with two security officials manning it. The same scenario was at the departures. Despite having more than two entrances, only one had security officials stationed there, while the others were locked. The Seymour car park, which used to have many cars, was virtually empty and Bureau De Change operators were seen loitering around trying to convince the few people who were going in and out of the airport to carry out transactions with them. That was their last breath of hope of getting patronage fort the day. One of the operators who gave his name as Mohammed Aliyu said even though the federal government shut the airport to contain the virus, he and his colleagues were apprehensive about the lull in their business pending when the airports would be reopened. He said even though he knew that the airport would be shut, he and three of his colleagues resumed work with the hope that some of their customers would still patronise them. At the shopping complex close to the airport where many restaurants are located, the situation was the same. THISDAY observed that most of the restaurants had very few customers. One of the restaurant owners, Mrs. Yemisi, attributed the dearth of customers to the shutting of the airport. She said even though she was happy that flights have been restricted, she and other food vendors hoped that the situation would improve and things get back to normal. But at the corporate level, THISDAY learnt that many of the workers at the catering companies that supply food to the airlines would be on pay cut. In fact, THISDAY learnt that some might not be paid and some were asked to take compulsory leave without pay. A FAAN official told THISDAY that the agency would be losing over N3 million daily from the tollgate at the link road between the domestic terminal and international terminal. It is hoped that life would come back when the airport would be opened after the devastating Coronavirus.





COVID-19: Need to Rescue Nigerian Airlines Globally the air transport industry remains the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic which is currently ravaging the world. In Nigeria, it has paralysed domestic airline operations. Chinedu Eze writes that without urgent financial intervention local airlines may collapse

Dana Boeing 737

Air Peace Aircraft


ir transport is described as the catalyst for any nation’s economy. This is because it is the fastest means of transport used by the drivers of any nation’s economy. When the world woke up to the tragedy of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in January and Wuhan Province in China where the disease started was put on lock down, the first global effect of the disease was the shrinking of flight operations. As the virus spread, consuming human lives in its wake, air transport continued to shrink until the world’s airspace is almost on lock down. As at Tuesday, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) put airlines losses to the pandemic to about $252 billion and warned the industry would lose more money and many of the airlines would go under. In fact, it is said that COVID-19 will resent the world. IATA said that after the virus devastation, the airline industry recovery would be hampered by economic depression, which the International Monitory Fund (IMF) said would be as bad as that of 2008. Stimulus for Airlines Countries have laid out stimulus plans for their airlines and some have already started supporting their carriers to surmount the financial crash occasioned by the Coronavirus. IATA recently commended nations that have announced stimulus plans for the airlines. Australia has announced an A$715 million ($430 million) aid package comprising refunds and forward waivers on fuel taxes, and domestic air navigation and regional aviation security charges. Brazil is allowing airlines to postpone payments of air navigation and airport fees. China has introduced a number of measures, including reductions in landing, parking and air navigation charges as well as subsidies for airlines that continued to mount flights to the country. Also, Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA), with government support, is providing a total relief package valued at HK$1.6 billion ($206 million) for the airport community including waivers on airport and air navigation fees and charges, and certain licensing fees, rent reductions for aviation services providers and other measures. In a similar vein, New Zealand’s government will open a NZ$900 million ($580 million) loan facility to the national carrier as well as an additional NZ$600 million relief package for the aviation sector. Also, Norway’s government is providing a conditional state loan-guarantee for its aviation industry totaling NKr6 billion ($533 million). Qatar’s Minister of Finance has issued a statement of support for the national carrier. Singapore has undertaken relief measures valued at S$112 million (US$82 million) including rebates on airport charges, assistance to ground handling agents, and rental rebates at Changi Airport.

Domestic Airlines In Nigeria, since the past three weeks flight operations have been hampered by low load factor, which forced airlines to crash fares below the cost of operation. By Monday some airlines had started considering suspension of operations and Aero Contractors was the first to announce the suspension of flight operation before the total lock down by the Lagos state government. Air Peace, which has over 50 per cent of the market share in domestic airline operation will suspend operation midnight today for the total lockdown because the management believed that it would be a major way to support government to stem the community spread of the disease by discouraging people coming together at the airport. It has to be noted also that Air Peace two weeks ago introduced a COVID-19 team, which administers and checks the temperature of every passenger before he is allowed to board every of the airline’s flight. The measure paid off as the process exposed suspected Coronavirus case. Operational Losses In Nigeria, domestic airlines have lost over 80 per cent of their market and are forced to bring down air fares to the “level that cannot even cover cost of fuel just to attract passengers to travel.� The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide disclosed to THISDAY in Lagos that the airline has lost about N2.1 billion in the last three weeks and has continued to lose money as load factor has gone below 40 per cent. “We have been losing a lot. We lose money daily because passenger figures have dropped by over 60 per cent. We lose N100 million daily and we have been doing that in the last three

We have to lock down ďŹ rst. You cannot assess damage before lock down. It is after lock down that we would know what the situation is. Air Peace, Aero Contractors, Arik Air and Dana Air are grounding operations. Airlines are going to go down

weeks. People are no longer flying. We now attract passengers by lowering the fares since the past three weeks. “We charge N23, 000 ticket for over 100 passengers in one flight. That is below the cost of fuel for a flight. We have to count the cost of insurance, spares and getting spares is very difficult now as there are no more international flights. So if you don’t have aircraft spares in your store, it becomes very difficult to replace the one in the aircraft because there are no flights. “Under the period of this pandemic, airlines are the worst hit. So we call on the federal government to see how they can help airlines, as other countries are doing; otherwise jobs will be lost. This is a global problem. “No airline can even pay salary this month. For the airlines to be afloat we need government support. Government can start by giving domestic airlines waivers on charges and taxes; unless they want the airlines to die,�Olajide said. Air Peace alone employed about 3,500 work force and it is projected that without intervention from government, the domestic airlines would be crippled financially and over 20, 000 of direct and indirect employees would lose their jobs. The Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, told THISDAY in an interview in Lagos that load factor in domestic operation has drastically gone down and it would get worse with the shut down of economic activities by the Lagos state government in the bid to check the spread of pandemic. “The load factor is out. How long can we survive this way? Load factor is below 40 per cent so airlines are not even getting the cost of operation so the best thing is to stop. The problem is that interest rates continue to grow. Banks will not recognise the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. “The value of the aircraft is going to be down and even when you ground your aircraft when the calendar dates come for mandatory checks, you must conduct the checks. If this shut down continues to summer the market will be distorted. “The whole problem is in a spin right now. We are still going to do retraining of pilots overseas but no country will open its borders for you. Insurance will continue to run but the airlines can only change premium from airborne insurance to ground insurance after 30 days, which will save them 20 per cent of the premium. The whole thing is a spin,� Meggison said. CBN/FG Financial Support Last week the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it would increase its intervention in local manufacturing and import substitution by N1 trillion. That was the second CBN stimulus package as part of the bank’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. Apart from the N1 trillion intervention, the CBN in addition to the N50 billion soft

loan to small businesses and had increased its intervention by another N100 billion in loan to support health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers, and innovators work with global scientists to patent or produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead. The airlines have urged the federal government to extend the CBN financial intervention to them, knowing the critical role the operators play in sustaining the economy and the fact that it is the sector that is most impacted by COVID-19. Bailout The Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi said before the coronavirus epidemic, many Nigerian airlines were in weak financial state and the situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, which has literally drained the last breath from the domestic carriers. He said the airlines need life support to survive. He said airlines need bailout. Sanusi also said a sincere bailout plan means that government or the CBN would have to know the impact of the financial loss, the particular area the airlines lost money and how much they would need in order to survive and sustain their operation; there would be need for airlines to point out areas they have the impact of the losses. “You know many Nigerian airlines have been struggling before COVID-19 degenerated their finances. Government must engage in smart bailout to help the airlines and this will go directly to the airlines. “So before the bailout is given, the airline will explain when the impact of COVID-19 was most felt. If it is in the area of salary; that the airline cannot pay salary again, government will look at the amount owed and pay and ensure the money was used for salary. If is to servicing leased aircraft or for maintenance, government will ensure that the money will be used for that purpose when disbursed,� Sanusi said. He said the amount given should be seen as a grant or loan that must be repaid, but long term, single digit loan. So the grant will be seen as an investment or it will be used to retain staff, instead of allowing workers to lose their jobs. Industry stakeholders and consultant, Amos Akpan, predicted that there would be a lock down after which the losses by airlines would be assessed, noting that it would be difficult for the airlines to survive without bailout, adding that it is a global problem and every country is rallying round to support their own airlines. “We have to lock down first. You cannot assess damage before lock down. It is after lock down that we would know what the situation is. Air Peace, Aero Contractors, Arik Air and Dana Air are grounding operations. Airlines are going to go down. It is a total industry problem but government must have to intervene. However, it is too early to assess the damage now,� Akpan said


T H I S D AY ˾ MARCH 27, 2020



Muogho: Our Aim is to Decongest Apapa Port, Eliminate Gridlock The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Jakys Limited, Mr. Henry Muogho, in this interview with Sunday Ehigiator, speaks on the move by his company to solve the lingering problem of congestion at Apapa ports, through the establishment of a bounded terminal and new Jetty set to be inaugurated in April


ow did this vision start? I worked with Ibru Organisation for over 40 years, and retired few months ago. Prior to my retirement, i conceived an idea of how to tackle the traffic gridlock and the monster of bridges being used as holding bays for trucks and containers in Lagos State. Based on this, I acquired two plots of land initially at Ijegun waterside, with the hope of using it as a tourist attraction centre. However, based on this gridlock, the idea then occurred to me to acquire other lands and use it as a way of barging containers from the port to Ijegun. Driven by this, I went to the community, which is Liverpool Estate (Zone 2) to brief them of my intention and asked them what they will need. And they made it clear that they don’t want tank farms at the other side of Ijegun was already being used as petroleum tank farms, but what would add value to their community which is what I also wanted. They likewise told me they needed a road, and they gave a budget which was between N35 million and N75 million. They also requested that, I meet with the larger community, which is Satellite Town forum. I went to them as well to inform them of my intentions. We then entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU), and then the road was constructed with a little over half a billion naira. Then, as the terminal was being done, I looked for a partner and found partnership in a shipping company, who are to represent the interest of an ‘off-taking shipping company worldwide.’ I told them that the only condition that I would give them the Jetty was for them to have a truck park, where all trucks coming to load would be at the truck park. So the nuisance value is outside the truck park somewhere around the Trade Fair area. They agreed and hence acquired that land. I also informed them that I don’t want public trucks coming to the Jetty. Hence, they also acquired a bonded warehouse along the Old Ojo Road. Therefore, it’s only their trucks that would be coming in tens at a time, to pick up goods. Hence, what this means is that, the Jetty is an extension of the port, to carry in containers with goods and also take empties through barging.In so doing, Apapa traffic gridlock would be reduced while the bridges which are currently being used as truck parks would be saved from collapse, the wear and tear of our roads would be reduced drastically more lost hours would also be saved. More so, the pollution and the noise would also be reduced, so people can go about their businesses in a more conducive environment. I hope this model would be adopted by the regulators and encourage it on other terminals and tank farm operators. More often than not, operators often claim that they have truck parks and holding bays that don’t exist. How is this model expected to work? So it is expected that holding bays and your truck parks must be within same vicinity. In other words, it is a triple plan project. The Jetty is like a triple Jetty, thus we have a bonded warehouse, and then the truck parks. Operationally, all trucks coming in would end in the truck parks. Therefore, there is a call-up system from the truck park to the bonded warehouse. There is also a call-up system between the jetty and the bonded warehouse. Thus, it’s only the ‘Off-Taking Shipping Company’ trucks that are allowed to come in. In furtherance to this Jetty model, we have another MoU with the community that regulates the working hours of the trucks. There is also the post-construction maintenance agreement. This covers how the road would

How about maintenance of the road? We had the sympathy that the maintenance of road should not be left to the community and government alone, hence to aid the government and the community, we imposed a charge on our own trucks. We decided that 50 per cent of the charge would be used for the maintenance of the road. So as of today, the community gave us people who are managing the gates, earning salaries and ensuring that the road is being swept daily, and if there are blockages, they are fixed. The other 50 per cent is being kept in the community exco’s account which the community and company will use for the maintenance of the road. What is the current capacity of the project? The size of the terminal is about 32,000 square-meters. If properly stacked, it can accommodate over 4,000 containers, and over 25 trucks loading at the same time. What is the estimate of the employment rate of this project? It is enormous, as you know, the shipping industry is a fast growing industry. So, we have the people doing barges, which are enormous, we have the barge drivers, tally clerks, security, etc. And then, if we have someone for example, who gains employment in a household, the multiplier effect in that house is more than five. In the community itself, the sweepers are there, some of the managers are there as well. Hence, the banking sector, restaurants, hospitality companies etc are not left out from benefiting from this project.

Muogho be maintained and sustained. So far, everything has been working very well. Hence, it is just a value chain of our contribution to the Nigerian economy, to help reduce the menace of the traffic gridlock in Apapa and its environment. When the terminal becomes fully operational in March, and the Marwa road is expanded, the traffic volume on our roads would be reduced by not less than 50 per cent. While using the bridges as holding bay would no longer be happening as there would be no need for that any longer. On the other hand, when other companies do same thing, the gridlock would be totally eliminated, bridges saved, money spent by Government for road maintenance would reduce, and the suffering Nigerians are subjected to on a daily basis would be eliminated completely. What is the role of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in this system? All water ways in Nigeria belong to the federal government and as a result, the federal government uses the Federal Ministry of Transport, which controls Nigerian Inland Water Ways (NIWA) and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). Practically to build a Jetty first and foremost, you would have to first write to NPA, stating your intentions to construct a Jetty and request their guidelines. Thus, NPA will come and inform you of the guidelines while they also carry out their due diligence. Upon the fact that you are qualified, you would be assigned an Engineer to be monitoring the process. Far more than that, there is what is called an Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) which is very important. The Federal Ministry of Environment conducts an EIA, which takes about a year. Then we publish our intentions in two national dailies and radio. Afterwards, the federal government then comes in to do the necessary approvals which also come with various conditions, and all these we went through to be in compliance with statutory institutions.

Aside decongesting Apapa, what other value would this add to the populace and the country’s economy? Aside from decongestion, the project is meant to generate employment for the youth and increase commercial activities. More so, before now, there were no roads at all in the locality, but through this project, this place has now become semi-urban. The value of the area has gone up. We sand filled about 10 alternative roads for the community. We gave community money to complete an alternative bridge in the event that trucks are coming in, the community members can have an alternative route to use. The community roads were completely waterlogged which we sand filled. While the state government also came in to certify that what we did is value added to the community, by ensuring that the drainage we constructed for the community were in compliance with the state requirements. We also did other drainage that runs to several millions of naira, to evacuate all the waters to the lagoon. As of today, we have successfully tackled the problem of flooding in the whole area of where we operate in Liverpool Estate. We are also creating vibrant economy. As ports gets decongested, importers and exporters now gets their goods faster, instead of having them stay a day more and paying demurrage. Our priority is purely to decongest the ports, our roads and add value chain to the shipping industry. What is the length of the road? The road is about a kilometre long and done with interlocks. We have to dig almost 1.5 meters to excavate glasses and all sorts of wastes, before importing foreign soil to sand fill the road, before working on interlocks and the drainage, which are all covered with walkways.

What is the cost of this project? For all jetty constructions, the capital is always intensive. Ijegun is a muddy area. We had to sand fill, and ensure that everything that was used in building it was standard. Lafarge was used, and interestingly, all the engineers and contractors are local engineers, certified and working with foreign experts, who made the design. But it was executed and managed by local engineers which is a very good development. But it is expensive, we used concrete piles instead of sheet pile or steel sheets, and they were done to institutional regulatory standards. However as at today, the project is still ongoing and we can’t ascertain cost yet. But the cost is huge. What were some of the challenges encountered in the course of setting-up this project? First was financial cost. I had to go looking for ‘Off-taking Shipping Company’ as I could not bear the whole financial cost. The second challenge was community demands. Then some challenges from foreign exchange rate because building a jetty means that some of the materials that will be procured would be imported, and they have foreign exchange component. Hence, any time there is distortion in foreign exchange, the cost appreciates and this distorts your budget. How can government encourage more of this? The processes of acquiring land in this country is enormous, also is the process of getting bank facility. Thus, when people have idea of this nature on how to add value to the economy, government should assist by creating a bank intervention fund that will help to sought facility for them, due to the fact that lands in water front are always expensive. The processes of getting loans from banks is not easy and more often than note short term loans are applied toward capital project and this is suicidal.





As CBN Targets 300,000 Cotton Farmers Idris Hassan


otton stands out as the most important fibre material for Nigeria’s textile industry. The production of the cash crop in Nigeria, however, suffered a lull plunging the industry into near extinction. No thanks to the import substitution policy of past administrations in the country. Many of the textile factories have stopped operation altogether resulting in retrenchment of staff and the swelling of the unemployment market. However, a paltry 25 textile factories are hanging in there and operating at below 20 percent of their installed capacities with a joint work force of less than 20,000 people. The cotton growing sector was not faring any better. Actually, it was moribund until recently when the Central Bank of Nigeria intervened as part of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme. The situation in the sector, without doubt denied many small holder farmers the opportunity to earn a living. Furthermore, a large proportion of clothing materials, until the intervention by the CBN, were imported from China and other countries in Europe and Asia. The stories as told in the farms are the same also in ginneries across the cotton producing belt of Nigeria, an indication that the challenges are all the same. As if this was not bad enough, it was also observable that the active companies, which work seasonally, operate at below 40 per cent of their installed capacity, with many producing less than 200,000 metric tons per season It is this anomaly that gave rise to a downturn in cotton production and its negative implications for the Nigerian economy that inspired the Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to initiate policies to reverse the narrative of the past two decades. “It’s no secret that the past 20 years have been very difficult for many textile firms. They have faced rising operating cost and weak sales due to high energy cost, smuggling of textile goods, and poor access to finance�, he pointed out. The apex bank governor, based on his determination to rectify the situation, came to the conclusion that there was an urgent need to provide financial support to textile manufacturers at single digits rate, to refit, retool and upgrade their factories in order to produce high quality textile materials for the local and export market and generate employment opportunities. Emefiele followed this up with another policy measure which is the restriction of access to foreign exchange from the Nigerian foreign exchange market for the importation of all forms of textile materials and at the same time supporting the importation of cotton lint for the use in textile factories, with a caveat that such importers shall begin sourcing all their cotton needs locally beginning from year 2020. As a first step in fixing the cotton value chain, which begins with planting, the CBN, collaborating with some state governments, embarked on input distribution to 100,000 cotton farmers, cultivating 100,000 hectares in 23

States of the Federation. Determined to get it right, the CBN again convened a meeting of stakeholders in the Cotton, Textile and Garments (CTG) sub-sector, where the Governor inaugurated the steering committee to drive the process of perfecting timelines aimed at addressing part of the chain Ginning is a critical part of the cotton value chain. It is simply a process of separating the cotton lint from the seed before spinning should the factory plan to spin or pack into bales for either export or for sale to local factories for spinning. However, the number of active ginneries in Nigeria has reduced drastically as a result of reduction in production. Indeed, some ginning companies have

The beauty of the collaboration with CBN is that the policy is based on input ďŹ nancing. No cash component. He brought in input suppliers such as mechanization agents, fertilizer merchants and of course improved seedlings were made available to farmers. Each got a minimum of 40 kilograms which were more than enough for the planting season to the point that early farmers who lost their farms to bad weather had excess to replenish their farms

been inactive for upwards of 10 years because many are unable to sell their produce due to the inability of the textile companies to off-take the stock. In some other cases, there is not enough feedstock to process and make available to the active textile mills. Since the ginning part of the value chain plays a vital role in churning out quality cotton products for both export and local production, the CBN turned its attention to it in order to enhance quality. With the CBN support, which appears to be a magic formula, the ginneries, are once again, springing back to life. The CBN is also working on other parts of the value chain to ensure sustainability of the revamp process, just as it did with the rice revolution. With all points of the value chain, farming, ginning, spinning and textile made stronger, the country can truly look forward to meeting the apparel needs of schools, the military and paramilitary officers as well as those required for social functions. Indeed, with the strategy to increase cotton production and link it to an enormous market, hope is very high that the target yield of 1.5 metric tons per hectare and 300,000 metric tons of seed cotton to be produced by ginneries in Nigeria will be met. Beyond these, the move will save and earn foreign exchange for Nigeria. More profound, however, is the projected number of jobs that will be created in the sector in the years to come. The President of National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Mr Anibe Achimugu, in a recent interaction with the media was exultant in his assessment of the collaboration between the Central Bank of Nigeria and his association. “We are collaborating 150 per cent with the CBN. It is their programme and we are very happy to be part of it. Emefiele’s policy in the sector is a breath of fresh air.� He observed that before the CBN intervention through the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), farmers were recording very low yield per hectare as low

as 40-60 metric tons per year or 400-500 kilograms per hectare. He said that the beauty of the collaboration with CBN is that the policy is based on input financing. No cash component. He brought in input suppliers such as mechanization agents, fertilizer merchants and of course improved seedlings were made available to farmers. Each got a minimum of 40 kilograms which were more than enough for the planting season to the point that early farmers who lost their farms to bad weather had excess to replenish their farms. With all these, there was improved yield per hectare, ginneries, the textile and garment sector were empowered through a guaranteed price that will enable them to pay back their loans and earn a reasonable profit margin. “It has been a win-win situation. CBN recognized a major challenge in the quantity and quality of seedlings and addressed it effectively and efficiently.� The NACOTAN president said that the CBN approach is holistic as every single sub-sector in the cotton value chain has been considered and carried along just as he added that the CBN has an open door policy whereby any challenge is identified and addressed with the sole intention of ensuring the success of the policy which is restoring the sector to its pristine levels. “The CBN Governor is flexible and proactive in his approach. He speaks to us, explains to us and encourages us in our tasks.� He disclosed that the apex bank has directed the association to look for 300,000 farmers. Before this directive, the association had identified and registered 151,000 interested farmers. The target then was 200,000. “But because of delays in documentation, we could achieve neither the 200,000 target set by CBN nor the 151,000 we set for ourselves. Eventually, we have 90,000 in our record books. We are working on the new target of 300,000.� -Hassan is a public affairs analyst


NEWS METRO THISLIFE ART WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT Group Features Editor: Chiemelie Ezeobi 08038901925

Taaooma: The Phenomenal Skit Maker and Content Creator




Taaooma: The Phenomenal Skit Maker and Content Creator Apaokagi Adedoyin Mariam, popularly known as Taaooma wears many shoes as a skit maker and content creator. In her popular skits which has endeared her to many- with a large following of 751,00 on Instagram and 183,000 on Twitter, she either appears as Mama Taaoo, Taaooma, Baba Taaoo or Tayo, her brother. In this interview with CHIEMELIE EZEOBI, the Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management graduate delves into the Taaooma phenomenon, which has garnered her the Best Online Comedian of the year at the Gage awards, clinched her the Top 25 Under - 30 Nigerian superstars and also made her one of Leading Ladies Africa #100woman


ow did the Taaooma phenomenon begin? Firstly, people get the spelling wrong all the time. It is Taaooma with double ‘A’ and double ‘O’. Not Taaoma or Taoma. Taaooma is an abbreviation of all my names. I decided to use the abbreviation of all my names because it was quite hard for me to find a good nickname, So I took from Mariam and Abisola as well. What are the major inuences on your choice of skits to push out Everyday African parent-child lifestyle, African mother - child conversations and ways of life and also what happens in our general lives. (Day to Day activities). If you notice I try to infuse some trending words(footballers names etc) So people can be informed about things around them. How rewarding has it been? To the glory of God, it has been rewarding. And I still pray for more rewards (inshallah).



You portray a typical Nigerian mother, was your upbringing anything like that? Special recognition to all the mothers in the whole world, training a child is not a joking something(in Mama Taaoo’s voice). Most African parents train their kids like that but without the slaps. A lot of people think this is how my mum slaps me all the time but does not know that the slap is just a SIGNATURE I have created for myself to always add to the skits(Trust me it’s that slap part everybody waits for when watching any of my skits). My mum does not slap me like this, I just added the slap to exaggerate the humor. Some people talk about my skits supporting child abuse but do not know that the slaps are just for humor and has nothing to do with child abuse. How many years have you been on this? About five years now, I started 2015. You have garnered more fans of recent with your fans comparing you with another female skit maker, how do you plan to sustain the tempo? That’s in God’s hands, I will just keep trying my best and leave the rest in God’s hands and I do not have control over that. My fans are wonderful and I appreciate everyone of them. Take us through the process of making a normal skit Where should I start from (thinking)? *Costume - If I am going to play the four roles: Taaooma (Taaoo), Iya Taaoo (Ronke). Tayo (Taaooma’s), Kunle (Baba Taaoo) in a skit for example. Iya Taaoo’s costume is constant A, I need to get a dress for Taaoo and Tayo (Taaoo’s brother), Tayo is a guy so I need to get a dress that suits a guy more and for the Dad is costume too that is constant. rMake up - Nothing serious about this

TaaoomaasTaaoo TaaoomaasBabaTaaoo(herfather)

because I am not a make up person, so the only people I get to wear make up for is Tayo because is a guy and Kunle (Baba Taaoo). rConcepts - I develop concepts, which I mostly write down in my “story book� and ponder on it for a while. When I am feeling the story at the time I want to shoot it, I shoot, feeling it in the sense that there are so many stories I write down and when its time to shoot I don’t really feel its the best one to shoot at that time. After shooting, I edit which can take up to five hours if I am not lazy to edit. If I am, it takes up to three days for me to finish

editing a skit and then I upload. How do you appear as different characters in a skit and still make it authentic? It is done through an editing process called cloning. However, the characters comes easy to me whenever I am in each one’s costume and also the fact that I have experiences of both parents, it allows me to act out the characters easily. Who is Taaooma? Taaooma is 21 year old girl named Apaokagi Abisola Maryam. A Muslim From Kwara State. I had part of my primary school in Ilorin then I moved to

Abuja before traveling to Namibia, an instagram comedian, with a God loving spirit. Any qualiďŹ cations? Yes, I have a Bsc in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management. I graduated from Kwara State University in 2019 and currently serving in Lagos. Any plans to act? I have plans for my own movies in coming years which will be made under the production of The Greenade Company. So help me God. Although if I get offers in Nollywood, I will gladly take it.





‌Your weekly entertainment delight


How Creatives are Coping with COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, the creative industry is hit the most with cancelled shows and closed clubs. Vanessa Obioha chats with creatives on how they are surviving the pandemic


he creative industry has been badly hit by the novel coronavirus since the Lagos state government enforced restrictions on social gatherings. The Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu ordered closure of clubs and restricted the number of social gatherings to 25 as a preventive measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, thus affecting music shows, ďŹ lm festivals, and other events tied to the creative industry. “It’s terrible for the business though,â€?said Matthew Ohio,a showbiz promoter and founder of Industry Nite.“Entertainment, hospitality, travel sectors are the hardest hit. We thrive from social activities and interactions, which is what everyone is running away at the moment. Shows are cancelled, venues are closed, clubs are affected.â€? Ayoola Sadare, the convener of the annual Lagos International Jazz, Afrobeat and Fuji Festival which usually holds in April, in commemoration of the annual Jazz Appreciation Month, moved the event to September. “The festival has been postponed till September.This decision was made over a month ago when we anticipated that events might unfold like this. I am sure all jazz and music lovers would agree that it’s the best decision in line with the situation on ground and government directives. I believe they are also adhering to the stay home orders.â€? For celebrity dancer Kaffy, the directive from the government required her to shut down her dance studio and gym. She also postponed her 20th anniversary celebration slated for May to August. “We postponed the event till August. We are praying that we would have conquered coronavirus by then and get everyone back together. Safety however is my top priority, not the event. Everybody understands what is going on in the world right now so things are still in place. Our resource persons and other invited guests from within and outside the country are considerate and empathetic with us.They are very supportive and can’t wait for the pandemic to end.The feedback has been very amazing. They say man proposes, God disposes. It’s all for the best.â€? The crippling of socioeconomic activities inadvertently is a big ďŹ nancial loss to operators in the creative industry. Ohio noted that almost everyone is affected by the closedown of social venues. “It’s a heavy ďŹ nancial loss to everyone. From owners of venues, food vendors, production companies, ticketing companies , musicians, a whole entire ecosystem. Unlike some other

Matthew Ohio

Ayoola Sadare


sectors that can still partially operate such as the ďŹ nance,digital and telecoms,the entertainment industry is completely shut down.â€? Ohio however sees a beacon of light in the midst of the crisis. He advised that online streaming platforms are the best bet for creatives to showcase their work. “Stream and content.The few people who are probably beneďŹ ting at the moment are streaming platforms such as Netix,Youtube, MusicTime, iTunes etc. Everyone is at home watching or listening to something on the internet so if you have content, this is the time to put it out there. If you have a streaming platform, this is the time to promote it because everyone is stuck at home.â€? Creative entrepreneurs like Samuel Olatunji who made his directorial debut with the movie ‘Dear Affy’prior to the outbreak in Nigeria said he is exploring other distribution channels such as Iroko, Africa Magic channels and Netix. Kaffy said she already moved her dance and ďŹ tness classes to online while also educating her fans on the pandemic. “Most entertainers, particularly musicians have used online channels to drive trafďŹ c. I think it’s going to push more people to be

However, it is great to have more bonding time with my family. I‘ve had rehearsals cancelled, meetings, interviews postponed. I‘m just grateful for life, it’s forcing me to reprioritize what is truly important,â€?she said, adding that she needs some momentum boost. “I had some momentum building as the year started and now it feels like I’m ďŹ ghting to keep it going. There is so much to worry about - the virus and the people impacted all over the world. I’m trying my best to view this time as a self-development retreat. I’m back to learning a new language, reading abandoned books, checking up on loved ones.â€?Like other creatives, she’s also moving her work to social media. Ayoola Sadare “I could deďŹ nitely do more with social media. This is a good reminder that more than ever, people need to hear some encouragement instead of just bad news from every corner. This may be a good time to get more people listening to some of my positive lyrics such as ‘there is a ďŹ re inside of you and me...together... we’ll rebuild the future...’ It is such a difďŹ cult thing to isolate or distance oneself but it’s the least we can do to show we care about ourselves, those around us and the world at large.â€? ProliďŹ c ďŹ lmmaker Femi Odugbemi ďŹ nds the social distancing the perfect inspiration to complete abandoned works and read books. At the moment, he is reading the creative works of Zakes MDA,a profound South African writer whom he met at the Johannesburg Film Ranti Festival last year. “He is one of South Africa’s great writers. creative. I will implore entertainers who are It was an amazing experience spending time very inuential to use this opportunity to be with him. His storytelling is incredible. Right more empathetic and educate people. I still now I’m reading two of his books ‘Black Diasee some inuencers uploading pictures of mond’ and ‘Rachel’s Blue’. I’m also reading them at parties to undermine the gravity of T.D Jakes’‘Crushing: How GodTurns Pressure the pandemic. That’s not right. into Power.’â€? “This is the time to use their platforms to Odugbemi has also devised a way to make educate their followers who may not under- his stay at home more productive. First thing he stand the danger of not adhering to the social does is to turn off the news“It’s so depressing.â€? distancing order by the government.This is the He then proceeds to make a list of the things time to educate people, to teach them proper he wants to accomplish every day. hygiene and how to boost their immune system. “The crazy thing is I don’t have to dress Businesses deďŹ nitely would be affected but up to do everything. I ďŹ nish my exercise online streams and downloads will increase.â€? and I’m ready to work. I discovered that I In a city like Lagos that thrives on social accomplished much by midday. I realise gatherings, the staying at home orders is not that truthfully our destiny is consumed an easy step to follow. Nollywood actor and by Lagos trafďŹ c. By the time you go from director Ramsey Nouah said he is doing the home to work, you probably would have needful by practicing self-isolation. lost one to two hours. But in that same time “It is the only way to reduce spread and at home, I have ticked off two to three things death counts to the minimum and a better life on my to-do-list.This is very eye opening and for us.â€?Ranti, an opera performer who played explains why technology companies abroad the lead character in Ike Nnaebue’s stage play are comfortable with their workers working ‘Off-Key’ recently, said she is ďŹ nding it hard from home. I’m kinda liking it. It’s healthy. to accustom to social distancing. There are no distractions. I believe one can “It is tough to have to think twice about make staying at home very productive if they simply going to the market or grocery store. inculcate self-discipline,â€?he concluded.

Movies to Catch up on DSTV The beauty of DStv Catch Up is the awesome way it allows DStv customers not to miss any of their favorite shows while going about their hustle. You can get back after a crazy day, hit the Catch-Up button and watch all missed shows. Here are 6 movies you may have missed: Catch some laughter in this hilarious crime comedy, The Hustle: featuring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. Two con-artists, one low on rent and the other high-class team up to take down the man who wronged them

Child’s Play: is a horror movie culled from the famous Chucky movie. After moving to a new city, young Andy Barclay receives a special present from his mother, a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes his best friend. When the doll suddenly takes on a life of its own, Andy unites with other neighborhood children to stop the sinister toy from wreaking bloody havoc. Drunk Parents: Alec Baldwin and Salma Hayek star in this comedy. After sending their daughter to college, functioning alcoholic parents attempt to hide their financial

difficulties from her The kids are not left out, they and also Catch Up on Kung Fu Panda 2: When the murderous Lord Shen threatens China with a terrifying new weapon, Po must face a truth he never expected and defeat Shen for the good of Kung Fu. Are you a lover of mystery, then Radio Silence is for you. A relationship therapist, Dr. Jill Peterman with a popular call-in radio show has the world turned upside down when a caller commits suicide. The M-Net Movies Presents Tom Cruise,

a special celebration to a magnificent cinematic career that has spanned four decades is on and in full gear. If you have missed out on some of the movies, then let’s remedy that with DStv Catch with movies like; Mission: Impossible 1 and 2, Top Gun, Rain Man, Oblivion, Collateral Damage and lots more. Don’t miss any of these exciting movies many more on DStv. Visit to subscribe or upgrade and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.




Iyke Bede

Phyno SetsTrace Live Concert on Fire the practice. Prior to Phyno’s performance, the audience was treated to a brief stand-up from comedian Pencil. While they were still reeling in laughter, Phyno emerged on stage, donning a black tracksuit, black singlet, and black trainers with red accents, ready to switch to ghost mode.His sudden appearance elicited loud cheers from the frenzied crowd. Complete with a live band, the rapper charged the atmosphere with the critically acclaimed ‘Alobam’ anthem. Punctuated with his simple delivery style that was emboldened by his large stage presence, he proceeded to perform other top tracks from all his solo projects dating back to 2014’s ‘No Guts, No Glory’, up to his 2019’s offering. Promoting excellence in music on the local scene, Trace Live, a collaborative venture between media enterprise TRACE and Bolanle Austen-Peters (BAP) productions, over the years have brought artistes in an intimate setting with their fans.The current edition repeats this custom, allowing fans of the rapper to experience his unique style of making music up-close and personal. The call-and –response between the performer and his audience was indicative of the level of connection they had with his music. A

After his performance last Thursday, Azubuike Chibuzor Nelson, better known as Phyno, joined a coveted list of charismatic Nigerian performers as 2 Baba, Omawumi, Falz, Flavour, and Wande Coal, to host the Trace Live Concert series at Terra Kulture. ThemedTrace Live: Deal with It, the March concert draws its tagline from the rapper’s third solo studio album ‘Deal with It’, which was released last year. In the tradition ofTrace Live that lends a stage to artistes to promote their latest efforts, as well as highlight their rich discographies that span years, Phyno leaps on the series to extend the reach of the hip hop-centric ‘Deal with It’, thus, stimulating an audience outside of the south-east region of Nigeria. With fears of the COVID-19 pandemic, attendees were left with a doubt of whether the show would hold.These uncertainties posed by the contagion, however, were quelled by the organisers who ensured safety health measures were in place. Each guest was taken through a routine of hand sanitising, either with soap and water or hand sanitisers. A health professional was on ground to ensure the implementation of

special moment was when he explained the backstory behind the recording of ‘Man of the Year’, a track which eventually earned him a win in the Best Rap Single category at the 2013’s Headies. Beckoning on Jude, who sat next to Rudeboy, he relayed a tale of how generously he funded ‘Man of theYear’ project to the tune of a million naira. Moments like these further revealed their close-knit relationship as friends and colleagues. If the crowd was likened to spectators at a market square in an Igbo folklore, Rudeboy (Paul Okoye), Jude Engees Okoye, KCEE, and Zoro were the high chiefs present at such momentous occasions. The lot came out to support his gig. Occasionally, he paid special attention to his friends who were seated in the front row. With a decade under his belt as a mainstream act, the rapper remains true to his style; promoting local culture through his songs that are laden with Nigerian vernaculars. What remains impressive is how over the years, he has managed to stay relevant on the music scene. One way he achieves this is by exploring trends in contemporary music. Certainly, his performance that evening was nothing short of pure gusto that helped set the stage on ďŹ re.

Cultures Collide on 4AM DJ Manny NortĂŠ brings together some of music’s hottest artists worldwide hailing from Atlanta,London and Nigeria on his new track‘4AM’.The track, which is produced by NortĂŠ, implores the vocal stylings of LVRN’s 6LACK, Nigeria’s rising star, Rema and the UK’s Tion Wayne. 4AM is the ďŹ rst-of-a-kind collaboration for the music producer and presenter whose parents are Ghanaian and is set to take over the summer this year. A relaxed, yet up-tempo track, with a highly infectious melody — the combination of RnB with the notable Afrobeats baseline is a perfect fusion

for NortÊ’s ďŹ rst major offering as an artiste, and one that places itself perfectly across the genres. Paying tribute to his heritage, the visuals for the track is set in Accra and follows the group across the vibrant planes

Rema, 6lack, Manny NortĂŠ and Tion Wayne in 4AM.

of the city, as they are immersed in the local surroundings and culture.The visual perfectly complements the track as it details the allure, beauty and captivating essence of a woman. Shot in December 2019, director Meiji Alabi captured striking visuals in Norte’s parents’ hometown of Teshie. It was made possible by the Afro Nation Festival that took place at nearby Laboma Beach, Accra. “There’s no other time in the calendar where you’d be able to get these artists together in Ghana. I’m really appreciative of what has come to me, and I’m blessed,â€? NortĂŠ says of the experience.“I’m bringing them together on

Blazing Set to Change Nigerian Entertainment Industry With New Hits Ayodeji Ake

Nigerian artiste David Obinna Ifegwu with the stage name ‘Blazing’ has promised to change the Nigerian music industry with his new hit ‘Afurum Gi N’anya’. Blazing, an indigene of Abia State, who grew up in Lagos said his Exclusive Playlist (EP), will be out by June while his full album is set to be out on September with ďŹ ve tracks.

According to the musician, who has been doing music for seven years now, music has been his dream all his life because he believes that he possess lots of good sounds to change the Nigerian music industry. “Afurum Gi N’anya is a single which I recently released, produced by fantumb, we already has the video directed by Paul Gambit. By the the grace of God, my EP will be out by June or July “ I’m currently working on my album

which should be out this September. I am also working with my management to make sure that the album will be out this summer,â€? he said.He also said that he hopes to have a collaboration with Burna Boy and Davido in the nearest future. “You should be expecting Burna Boy and Davido but I will keep the time to myself for now. I’m also working on my acting career. I will also be featuring in my ďŹ rst movie appearance this year,â€?he added.

Afrobeats Maverick, Don Coleone Revels in Latest Single ‘Pepper Everywhere’ Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

Afrobeats maverick, Ugoh Onyeocha, known by his stage name, Don Coleone, has urged upcoming musicians in Nigeria to be focused and determined to get to the top of their careers.“Whatever you are doing, just remain consistent and never quit because winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win. Consistency and a positive mindset are key,� Don Coleone said.The accountant and the founder of Don Coleone Cribx Records, who expressed his passion for entertainment, maintained that he is determined to

achieve his dream. He added that his latest single titled“Pepper Everywhere�was released in December and the video just released this January 2020.The song Pepper Everywhere hit the top 10 in the Nigerian music industry. With the latest “Pepper Everywhere� making wave in the Nigeria music industry, Onyeocha said his plan this year is to drop at least another single with videos prior to the album release. The Afrobeats sensation noted that he has not released an album but few singles of four. Don Coleone was born in Imo state on April 8, 1975 and was a student of Inyishi

Community Primary School Ikeduru LGA, and Amaimo High School before proceeding to study accounting and Finance at the Middlesex University UK, Dubai. His ďŹ rst foray into the music industry was in 2012 when he produced “Alabai Ogbanjeâ€? and “Sym19 Today na Todayâ€?, released in 2013 with visuals short in South Africa. He noted that his inspirations are P Didd, Birdman and Marlon Brando. Based in the United Arab Emirates, Onyeocha having been featured in some songs, has also currently released few afro beat singles titled ‘Runaway and Pepper Everywhere’with visuals onYouTube.


Who Will Become the Ultimate Couple? Due to the restriction on social gatherings following the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, things took an unexpected turn this week in the Ultimate Love reality show. First, Aunty’s abrupt farewell to the love guests. Shortly after the Sunday live show that saw JayKech’s love story interrupted, an emotional Aunty gathered the remaining couples in the courtyard and shared the heartbreaking news with them. She would no longer visit and hold private sessions with them. The Monday Mission was also cancelled, automatically putting the nominated couples: Roksie, DoubleChris, Iykeresa, ObiEbi and PreshDavid up for possible check-out. She however assured the couples that they could still reach her and wished them well in their journey of love. Her words evoked a gamut of emotions. From surprise to sadness, but shockingly a forgiving disposition. Contestants like Rosie and PreshTalker hugged out their differences while Obichukwu and Theresa swept their grudges under the carpet. The Love Pad was enveloped in an aura of love and harmony. By Tuesday, more changes were announced.The ďŹ nale earlier scheduled for April 5 will now take place this Sunday, March 29. Thus, the voting for the nominated couples closed on Monday and by Wednesday evening, Oluwaseun Olaniyan was in the Love Pad to announce the evicted couples. ObiEbi and PreshDavid were the unlucky couples to miss out in the ďŹ nale. Both couples left with a portmanteau ďŹ lled with gifts and a cash prize of N100,000 and N200,000 respectively. The ďŹ nalists were shocked at the sudden change but was also grateful that they made it to the ďŹ nale. This Sunday would see one of these couples, Roksie, Chivia, DoubleChris, Bolar and Iykeresa emerge as the ultimate couple in the reality show. Roksie or Iykeresa are likely to clinch the coveted title. So far, the couples have the highest votes ranking. For the last nomination that had both couples, Roksie fetched the highest number of votes with Iykeresa following behind. Chivia is the only couple who came in later in the show to stay till the ďŹ nale. Despite being constantly nominated in the ďŹ rst few weeks of nomination, the couple somehow survived and would be hoping for a miracle to emerge the ultimate winner. DoubleChris love journey is one of the inspirational stories from the reality show.Their love blossomed from a place of fear and uncertainty to one that is ďŹ lled with hope for a loving future. For Bolar,fans are intrigued by their peculiar way of resolving conicts. Perhaps, it might fetch them a win on Sunday.

Rema, Fireboy Headline 20th Edition of Jamrock Abuja Fest King Akan in Abuja

Abuja fans were treated to the best of Afro-pop as two leading young stars in the Nigerian music scene, Rema and Fireboy headlined the 20th edition of Jamrock Abuja Fest at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. The duo churned out songs from their

bucket of hits to the excitement of the over 2000 fans who showed up at the event. It was a night of music, food and drinks. The festival organised by Street Vibes Entertainment, which is celebrated seasonally, also had popular DJ Neptune on the wheels of steel. Since its inception in 2015, Jamrock Abuja Fest has been consistent in

delivering memorable event experiences, enlisting the services of superstars like Patoranking, Reekado Banks, Niniola, Seyi Shay, Orezi, Yung6ix to name a few. It is one of the few events in Abuja which boasts quality sponsorship and audience (a mix of Nigerian and foreign nationals).

ObiEbi dreams of making the ďŹ nale was cut short




with DR. KEMI AILOJE; Ă?ĂŒĂ?Ă“ĂžĂ?Ë? 08033083580


For couples who have been trying for a baby, the death of a child though not yet born can be very devastating. While this loss may seem invisible or unreal to others, to the woman who is affected it may be too hard to bear as some of the cases come with intense physical pain, bleeding, coupled with the very traumatic side of emotional roller coaster that comes with recurring pregnancy loss. What Does Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Mean? Recurrent pregnancy loss refers to three or more consecutive pregnancy loss or miscarriages. Miscarriages are early pregnancy losses, usually occurring in the first trimester or the first 90 days of the pregnancy. How Often Does Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) Occur? According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) between 2-5% of couples are affected by recurrent miscarriage/ loss, with one in ten pregnancies ending in miscarriage. 15-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage even before the pregnancy test. Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) May Be Early or Late Recurrent Pregnancy loss can be either early or late. Early pregnancy loss occurs during the first ninety days, or first three months of pregnancy and is considered a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. At that time, the weight of the baby is approximately five hundred grams, unable to support independent life. Several conditions can cause early Pregnancy loss ranging from hormone imbalance, embryo deformity, immune reactions to the growing baby among others. Late pregnancy loss can happen in the next six months of the pregnancy between 20 to 36weeks. If this happens weeks it is called preterm birth. These babies may have also died within the womb with delivery of a stillborn. A missed abortion can occur in late recurrent pregnancy loss. These cases can become true surgical emergencies with blood coagulation

and irregularities which if not handled quickly and accurately may result in the death of the mother –to- be. Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) May Be Spontaneous or Incomplete Recurrent abortions can either be spontaneous (occurring by itself) and threatened or incomplete with only pains which subside after complete bed rest. Complete miscarriage has several signs, incapacitating abdominal pain with bleeding from the womb and the portions of the developing baby. When this occurs three or more consecutive or non-consecutive times an extensive laboratory series of testing is mandatory. Several Factors Are Possible Causes Of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: r"OBUPNJDBM*BUSPHFOJDDBVTFT r&OEPDSJOFBCOPSNBMJUJFT r$ISPNPTPNBMPSHFOFUJDEJTPSEFST r0WBSJBOGBDUPS r5ISPNCPUJD r*NNVOPMPHJDBM r*OGFDUJPO r&OWJSPONFOUBM r6OFYQMBJOFE r0UIFSTm3JTLZMJGFTUZMFCFIBWJPVST JF illicit drug abuse, alcoholism and smoking. Anatomical /Iatrogenic Causes: The structure of the uterus (womb) has an effect on the ability to carry a child to term e.g.


polyps, fibroids in the cavity of the womb, a weak cervix (mouth of the womb) often referred to as incompetent cervix ,even adhesions, within the womb from previous surgical interventions can be the cause of a recurrent pregnancy loss. 5SBOTWBHJOBM6MUSBTPVOETDBOTDBOJEFOUJGZUIF exact nature. Some of the conditions can be corrected while others are permanent, but the fertility specialist/gynaecologist can best guide you to the best option available for conception. Endocrine Disorders: Adult onset diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (decrease or increased activity of the thyroid gland) and ovarian hormones imbalances (luteal phase defect) are some endocrine causes of recurrent miscarriages. Diabetes (elevated blood sugar) is a frequent cause of Recurrent Pregnancy Loss that can be present before or after the start of the pregnancy. It is the cause of 20-25% of miscarriages that happen even before the pregnancy test. If diabetes develops after the pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes, which should disappear/resolve after the delivery of the baby. As it occurs in 2-3% of all pregnancies it must be considered as a possibility and DIFDLFE GPS BU FBDI BOUFOBUBM WJTJU 6TF of a glucometer, with a finger prick is the blood test done. If the blood sugar is much raised the developing baby can suffer from overproduction of the growth hormone with

resulting large overweight baby at birth. If the diabetes was present before the pregnancy and the medications were oral, a switch to injections of insulin is recommended. A special diabetic diet with nutritionist consultation and a program of exercise for close monitoring of the blood sugar level is part of the best treatment plan. Thyroid gland abnormalities can cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (decrease or increased activity of the thyroid gland) and either can be the cause of recurrent Pregnancy loss. It is important to have a thorough blood laboratory workup to identify a potential cause. Thrombotic Causes: Thrombophilia is another common cause of early recurrent pregnancy loss. This blood clotting disorder can be either an inherited or acquired condition. The risk of blood clots forming inside of the blood vessels is increased in obesity, those with family history and pregnancy. Fortunately, this is one of the frequent causes of pregnancy losses that can be treated. Identification of a blood protein, homocysteine, if found can be treated. Laboratory testing of the complete blood count with further tests of various blood antibodies and blood proteins can give good treatment plan. Initial treatment with anticoagulants starts and dietary supplements with folic acid have been successful in most of these cases‌‌ TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK


The Charlatan-in-Chief in COVID-19 Pandemic


Ă˜Ă‹Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă™Ă&#x;Ă?ÞÓ×Ă?Ă™Ă? Ě‹ÍšÎ Ëœ ĂĄĂ’Ă?Ă˜ ĂœĂ?ĂŽ Ă‹Ă–Ă?ĂœĂž Ă“Ă? ÚÖËĂ?Ă?ĂŽ Ă™Ă˜ Ă“Ă˜Ă?ĂœĂ?Ă‹Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ“Ă?Ă•Ă™Ă?Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?Ě‹ĂŒĂ™ĂœĂŽĂ?Ăœ Ă‹Ă˜ĂŽĂ?Ù××Ă&#x;Ă˜Ă“ĂžĂŁĂžĂœĂ‹Ă˜Ă?Ă—Ă“Ă?Ă?Ă“Ă™Ă˜ ĂŒĂŁÞÒĂ?ĂĄĂ™ĂœĂ–ĂŽĂ–Ă?Ă‹ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂ?ËœĂœĂ?Ă?Ă“ĂŽĂ?Ă˜Ăž Ă&#x;Ă’Ă‹Ă—Ă—Ă‹ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă&#x;Ă’Ă‹ĂœĂ“ËŞĂ?Ă?ĂžĂ™ĂœĂ“Ă?ĂŽ Ă‹ĂŒĂ?Ă?Ă˜ĂžĂ–Ă?Ă‹ĂŽĂ?ĂœĂ?Ă’Ă“ĂšĂ‹Ă˜ĂŽĂžĂœĂ‹ĂŽĂ“Ě‹ ĂžĂ“Ă™Ă˜Ă™Ă?ĂŽĂ&#x;Ă?Ă•Ă“Ă˜Ă‘ĂœĂ?Ă?ĂšĂ™Ă˜Ă?Ă“ĂŒĂ“Ă–Ă“ĂžĂŁ Ă?Ă™ĂœÞÙĂ&#x;Ă‘Ă’ĂŽĂ?Ă?Ă“Ă?Ă“Ă™Ă˜Ă?ËœĂ“Ă?ÞÙĂŒĂ–Ă‹Ă—Ă?Ă?Ă™ĂœÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă&#x;ĂœĂ‘Ă? Ă“Ă˜ÞÒĂ?Ă˜Ă&#x;Ă—ĂŒĂ?ĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă?Ă?Ă?Ă‹Ă?ĂœĂ™Ă?Ă?ÞÒĂ?Ă?Ă™Ă&#x;Ă˜ĂžĂœĂŁË› In another sign of incompetence that resonates with how President Buhari badly managed Nigeria’s national security crisis that has now turned into a festering sore, the handicap president again ignored all prompts to act to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country--starting with the first imported case by an Italian visitor, until members of his executive cabinet are struck by the disease. This follows a gamble of traveling to countries with cases of the novel Coronavirus by these government leaders. First, Buhari’s inertia during crisis period re-surfaced with COVID-19 crisis. As he often do, the president failed to address the nation in the face of a pandemic, until the parliament forced him to do so, after a March 17 parliamentary debate on COVID-19. It is the hallmark of leadership to infuse courage in the heart of citizens during crisis. But Buhari has no capacity to lead in crisis time. He simply couldn’t

understand why he needed to address the nation with encouraging words in a time of fear. The other sad story is the composition of Nigeria’s COVID-19 Task Force. It is untenable that in a country with intellectually sound infectious disease experts, Buhari couldn’t find a single one to play a prominent or lead role in the taskforce. Mr. President gave the seriousness of our health and safety, and our ability to sleep with sound mind to Boss Mustapha, a government secretary whose experience in healthcare crisis management is limited and his countrywide political influence is challenged. In the taskforce, beside a Center for Disease Control’s representative, the only man in the taskforce with healthcare management experience is the state Minister of Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, a fine gentleman whose previous work as a medical doctor is helpful, except that he has worked more on political campaign strategies than in the surgical room in the last 20 years. It is unclear, if Mamora ever worked in any healthcare emergency. It is even worse that he’s a subordinate in the taskforce. Since end of January, countries have stepped up precautions as COVID-19 crossed borders with community spread, even as people freely moved from one country to another, particularly from China to other countries.

This means that the Nigerian government has all the opportunities to study the countries already in crisis, learn from their failures and implement plans to fence off spread of the virus in the country. But leaderhip failure in Nigeria is a continuum. The missteps and missed opportunities came from Nigeria’s delay in shutting down its airports and land borders before the virus boomeranged. Surely, the president’s men will rush to justify his slow response as observance of freedom of movement but in emergency where lives are in danger, it is the number one duty of a president to protect lives. The real story actually is that many government officials were intentionally out of the country during this global health crisis and the government waited for their return before taking it’s now too late decision to lockdown the country, By mid-February, when other countries in Africa suspended direct flights to China, thereby limiting the risk that an infected passenger will disembark and spread the virus, Nigeria did not take any serious decision on flight suspension. The COVID-19 is already taking its toll on the country with the ‘big and mighty’ coming down with sickness associated with the virus that has killed more than 17,000 people in the world and more than 150,000 cases. There are more symptoms reported by people impacted by the disease that are equally novel,

that is, different from the initially known symptoms of coughing and weakness. There are people reporting loss of taste and smell. For instance, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery has said “anecdotal evidence is rapidly accumulating from sites around the world that anosmia and dysgeusia are significant symptoms associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.� For what it means, anosmia is the loss of smell while dysgeusia is an altered sense of taste. There is something more worrisome about COVID-19 in Nigeria that we all need to pay attention to. It is that a vast majority of Nigerians do not know what underlying health conditions that they have. This is because most people don’t go for physical examination or medical check up to put it simply. It is my exhortation that every Nigerian living in the country observe diligently the recommended social distancing approach, act to protect others by behaving as if you already have the virus, report If you experience any of the symptoms or at least have an unusual fever. And if you’re looking for leadership in this time of crisis, look up to Lagos State, where the proactive and pragmatic leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu means more than hope. President Buhari is a pure pretender with no capacity to govern, but his masquerading leadership is what Nigerians have to put up with till 2023.






COVID-19: Lord Have Mercy


Abule-Ado Explosion: So, What Really Happened?



Funny? So why are you not laughing? Can’t see what is funny here when we are all being hunted by so much troubles from all sides.

Dr Ehanire (Minister of Health)


n all my fifty-something years on planet earth, I have never seen or imagined a thing that would shake the whole world to its very foundation like what the affliction called COVID-19 is doing to humanity. It is simply scary. Mankind is galloned full with fright and oodles of death. Some even think all these are a prologue to the much-talked about Armageddon in the Holy Books. It is even worse that we all, including the avowed technologically advanced countries are nibbling at the scourge. Nobody seems to know exactly what to do to avert or contain it.All kinds of suggestions are merely flying around. The volume of literature that had been generated on the COVID-19 as a plague has neither provided succor nor solution to the menace. The figures of casualties and spread of infection is hardly ever the same in any hour. It keeps changing incrementally and in high proportions. Then entire world is held down by the scourge. There is no doubting it that it will trigger a global melt down. Already, the signs of tougher years ahead are very much with us now. With the crash of crude oil price in the world market, the shut down of virtually every aspect of society, including airlines, schools, shopping malls, theatres, clubs, restaurants and eateries (serving only take-aways), even churches and other worship places, etc., surely, the pandemic has knocked down the world to a prostrate state. Recovering will be a far-paced project. The entire gamut of media networks around the world have been verily engaged in the focus and discourse of the pandemic. It has remained all talks and more talks, loading us with fears, panic and apprehensions of how unsparing and crushing the COVID-19 is. Scientists have not been able to tell us the origin and cause of the coronavirus. All they tell us is that it afflicted a small province (Wuhan) in China. And now the whole world is deeply and widely endangered. It all shows the vulnerability and limitations of man, in spite of all its avowed breakthroughs in science and technology. God is yet the invincible ultimate power. That is why, in utter helplessness, man has realised that the ultimate help and redemption from this viral thralldom is turning to God and

urs is a really funny country.

asking for mercy and intervention. In Nigeria, the infection seems to have kicked off with the high and the mighty, perhaps to show that in the face of intractable danger, we are all one and equal people. It is ironic that the affliction has come , first from the privileged class: those who have the capacity to travel to foreign lands. The index case was a fellow from Italy who landed in Lagos and developed symptoms of the disease in the last days of February. But in just three or so weeks, the entire Nigeria, nay, the world, is under the firm grip of the disease. With Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Mr Abba Kyari, Gov Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Mohammed Atiku Abubakar (son of the former Vice President) and several Nigeria’s “Big men� yet to be identified as being carriers of the virus, it is clear that it is a disease that respects nothing about social class or clout. Thus far, the only death recorded from the affliction in the country (as at Wednesday when this column was being tidied up), is still a “big man--- Suleiman Achimogu, former Managing Director, Pipeline and Products Marketing Compaby (PPMC). In fact, the poor carriers of the disease are most likely going to be collateral victims as some of them have neither owned an international passport nor been to any international airport, let alone travel to come in contact with the “oyinbo carriers� of the disease. All those who have tested negative to the virus are either people with travel history to countries with high figures of infection or those who have come in contact with those who have the disease in Nigeria. It is spreading even faster because the symptoms delay in manifesting. So those who are infected do not readily know that they are. And so they mingle and socialize, without knowing that they are, thereby spreading the affliction. This explains why somewhat “rural� states and communities have been yet spared from the ill-flakes of the virus. It is one plague that has bound humanity as one entity, despite the variations of colour,creed or clout. Even those who are not likely going to ask God for anything because all is cool with them are fast realizing that the only way out of the coronavirus fix is through God’s intervention, what with the fact that

man has come to the very end of its powers and prowess. That is why the general supplication is for God to have mercy and heal the land of all its afflictions and horror. Those who even thought the news about the COVID-19 plague is all a ruse, are fast realising that it is not only real, but a veritable agent of doom and death. Many have pointed out that with the total lock down of some states including Lagos, Rivers and Anambra, the people are really going to suffer. It is worse for those who depend on daily hustle to eke out a living. It is even worse that government is not thinking of providing palliatives. Does government have the resources or even the good thought of providing it? In Canada and America, where self-isolation has been ordered, government is making provision to the citizens to cushion the effect of not going to work. But not here. Many have even mocked the political parties for leaving Nigerians in the lurch, and compared it with political campaign seasons when politicians distribute unsolicited bags of rice, salt and such other household victuals. But right now when hunger is bound to be a harsher virus, no political party or government is talking about meeting the basic needs of the people. Not spared from the mockery are politicians who have the common penchant of travelling abroad for even the flimsiest excuse. Now everybody is forced indoors and compelled to look inward for domestic solutions to our problems and challenges. Lagos went on a total lockdown yesterday. Although Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has braced up with the challenges of managing the menace in Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, yet the economic consequences on the populace will be crushing. But harsh as it may be, it is better to be economically pumelled than to be dead. Only the living can measure a thriving economy. Many, including this writer, believe that we shall all meet on the other side of this affliction and heave a long sigh of relief, thanking God for releasing His mercy upon us and freeing us from the paralysis brought by the virus. Our stories shall end well, as a people.

Do we really pause to check what these troubles are? Or was it not just a dozen days ago that we had the massive explosion that literally tore the Festac Community and its environs in Lagos apart? Was that not where over 23 people were killed, many more injured, some even missing and many structures and properties worth billions of Naira destroyed? Twelve days after, what has been conďŹ rmed as the cause of that explosion? We just moved on, jut like that, as if the lives of those 23 people don’t count for anything. Hmmm, my father used to say what is crawling on your skin and what is biting you on your skin are different. You will surely attend to the one biting you first. Lagos and indeed Nigeria was still pondering on the Abule-Ado explosion when the COVID-19 pandemic broke into a frightening proportion. It became a biting matter and not a crawling issue. Or did you even forget that before the pandemic, the running national issues were the dethronement of former Emir of Kano, Alh Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and then the issue of the return of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole tothe APC secretariat, having got his suspension as National Chairman upturned by an Appeal Court? Did you hear anybody discussing those matters again? It makes the point that issues of greater importance will always overshadow those of lesser importance. And that’s what has happened to the Abule-Ado blast. Don’t give me that warped argument. Abule-Ado explosion was an accident of great proportion while COVID-19 plague is not. The latter had been waxing round the world since January. We chose to neglect it and did nothing. But Abule Ado suddenly bursted on the people on Sunday, March 15 2020, the Ides of March. What is more, while thus far, the COVID-19 has killed only one person, the Abule-Ado explosion crushed 22 people immediately. So which one should get the greater attention? Or is it because the Abule Ado victims are unknown names who have nothing to do with the Aso Villa? See why I said we are a funny country? But the NNPC issued a statement explaining that the explosion was

caused by the pressure on a gas pipeline, that a tipper was loaded with granite and parked atop the pipeline overnight, and that it was the pressure that triggered the explosion. That explanation had been faulted by NEMA which gave a different reason for the explosion. In fact, many people believe it was a bomb explosion, because a gas explosion should have caused huge ďŹ re that would consume wide expanse of land and properties. But the ďŹ re outbreak was just around a deďŹ ned space. They believe that only a bomb explosion could have wreaked that degree of havoc that extended far beyond the scene of the accident. Those who believe it was a bomb explosion argue that it may be a plot targeted at the Bethlehem College that was destroyed in the blast, especially as the hitherto dormant Federal Housing Authority (FHA) hastily came forth to lay claim to the ownership of the land where the school was built. They say there is more to the explosion than meets the eye. Hmmm, those are mere speculations and wild theories that cannot be established by law and proper judgement. Let us believe that government is determined to attend to all the victims of the blast, just as an official statement as to what really happened would be released. I can assure you that after this COVID-19 phase, they will get back to the issue. So, until then what happens to those who lost their loved ones, and whose properties were destroyed? Somebody has to be punished for the huge loss caused the concerned persons. We cannot continue like this in this country. There must be consequences for ill actions. But often times, these kind of costly infractions get swept under the carpet. That is why they keep reoccurring. Somebody should be punished for this disaster that claimed innocent lives. The people want to know. Government must communicate their ďŹ ndings and actions to the people. It is one disaster too many. Let those responsible for the blast be brought to book. It is then and only then would people be cautious and careful, knowing that they would be held accountable for their actions and even inactions. Be rest assured that a new sheriff is in town. And this sheriff will do all that is needful. I repeat, all that is needful.

FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2020 • T H I S D AY



T H I S D AY Ëž  Í°ÍľËœ 2020


COVID-19: CBN Suspends BDCs’Trading for Two Weeks Obinna Chima The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has suspended activities of Bureaux De Change operators for two weeks in line with measures to halt the spread of the COVID-19. This becomes effective from today. This followed a request by the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) to the CBN for the regulator to grant its members the two weeks break in view of the global pandemic. In a notice to BDC operators and directors, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the CBN’s approval meant that sales of foreign exchange to BDCs has been suspended till further notice. Gwadabe also advised members of the public not to go into panic buying, hoarding as

well as patronising street traders, saying the CBN has enough resources to meet demand when the BDCs return to operations. “This is to urgently bring to the notices of our members nationwide that following our letter of recommendations to the CBN to grant us a market holidays on our bidding days as a proactive and preventive measures on the scourge of the novel COVID-19 epidemic and the ban on all air/land travels. “The CBN has granted our request, effective tomorrow Friday March 27, 2020, there shall be no market days henceforth for a tentative period of two weeks,� a statement quoted the ABCON boss to have explained. Gwadabe advised members to observe strict guidelines on the preventive measures about the virus by wearing their mask, gloves, and frequent washing

of hands. “We also want to advise members to strictly comply with their regulatory obligations on their daily operation. If you are trading be cautious not to fall under the hand of security agencies. Don’t be involved in giving black market rates, street trading as doing so might create regulatory breach,� he said. Gwadabe said that CBN/ NFIU are tracking large movements of funds within the financial sector and the need to be cautious. “Once again accept our continuous assurances on serving you betters as we continue to ponder on lasting solutions to the growing challenges facing our operations amongst them crowd management, expansion of scope of our buisiness, lesser penalties, automation, among others,� he stated.


Fidelity Adopts Safety Measures against COVID-19 ČŠÂ’ÂœÂŒÂ•Â˜ÂœÂŽČąÂ‘Â˜Â ČąÂœÂ?ŠěȹÂ?ÂŽÂœÂ?ÂŽÂ?ČąÂ™Â˜ÂœÂ’Â?Â’Â&#x;ÂŽ Fidelity Bank Plc has advised its staff and customers to adopt safety measures against the COVID-19. The bank in a notice yesterday, said it had mandated its staff or immediate family member(s) who travelled out of the country to self-isolate for two weeks and obtain medical clearance before returning to work as part of its COVID-19 preventive and precautionary measures. “This process was activated and strictly adhered to by one of our staff members who returned from holidays in the United Kingdom. He was in self-isolation and underwent testing in line with the bank’s policy. “The test results returned positive at the weekend and we quickly arranged for him to be moved to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), where he is currently being attended to by health officials,â€? the statement revealed.

The bank stated that its management are in constant touch with the staff and have been monitoring the situation closely. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him. Though the staff has not been at the bank since returning from the UK, he however brought some consignments for two other staff which were delivered to them individually. “We have self-isolated the two individuals and sent them for necessary testing. In addition, the office where these two individuals work, has been temporarily shut and has been disinfected. “Due to the proactive measures taken by the bank, contact tracing within the bank was very swift and conclusive with no customers involved,� it added. Fidelity Bank said it has shut down its Federal Secretariat, Abuja Business Office and advised all staff/vendors to self-

isolate and go for testing in line with the policy on COVID-19, on account of possible exposure of a vendor staff. Apart from the directive on isolation and testing for staff and family members who had trips abroad within this period, the bank said it has in place, several other precautionary measures as advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other health institutions. These it listed include body temperature screening of staff and visitors before being allowed access to all its premises; wearing of gloves and facemasks by all frontline staff; and reduction in the number of staff expected to come to work. The statement further disclosed that 60 per cent of its staff now work remotely from home, adding that it has reduced the number customers allowed at a time into its banking halls to a maximum of five; among others.



-- CBN Bills Held by Money Holding Sectors


Money Supply (M2)


-- Quasi Money


-- Narrow Money (M1)


---- Currency Outside Banks


---- Demand Deposits


Net Foreign Assets (NFA)


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---- Memo: Credit to Govt. (Net) less FMA


---- Memo: Fed. and Mirror Accounts (FMA)


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FirstBank Introduces e-Learning Tool for Students The Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has announced that the bank in partnership with government and other stakeholders is extending its attention to immediate needs in the society in the face of the spread of the COVID-19, by putting in place complementary efforts in education to support students and minimise the disruption to education resulting from schools’ closure. Adeduntan, explained that many parents are concerned about children and wards whose education had truncated by the current crisis and are particularly worried about keeping children at home idle as all schools from primary through to tertiary institutions are closed across the nation. Owing to this, the bank said it has concluded plans with the necessary authorities to enable as many children as possible access e-learning. Speaking on the initiative, a statement quoted Adeduntan to have said, “we are warmed by the fact that different organisations have risen to

the various challenges and are supporting in areas such as health and welfare, and we feel the peculiar needs of our children and youth must not be left out and have therefore elected to focus on contributing to solving the current education challenge. “Education remains the bedrock of any society and we believe that when we educate our children we enable our nation and produce global citizens who provide ground breaking solutions for the continent and the world at large. “So, building educational partnerships is an avenue to support our children to remain resourceful and fully engaged at this time so they can compete favorably with their peers internationally. “It’s a responsible approach to empower them given that they are our future and the foundation to build our country to greatness. By partnering on this we are solving a problem for families and for our future.� In addition, he said the bank was working with the states, the United Nations Global

Compact; innovative technology firms such as Robert & John to provide e-learning solution with the Government approved curriculum for students across the country. The roll out of the e-learning tool would begin first week in April starting with Lagos State where FirstBank stated that it would support the roll out of, “Roducate which has been adjudged a best fit solution by educators, teachers and all necessary authorities.� “This solution has the full curriculum on both the online and offline versions with the offline version of particular interest as it eliminates the challenge posed by data affordability. “We call on well-meaning organisations and individuals to join us and collectively rise to address the challenges this current pandemic presents to our children and youth and are reaching out to other organisations with complementary solutions to also partner on this initiative for the youth who are our future. They must not be lost in this pandemic,� it added.




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March 2018

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The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $26.94 a barrel on Wednesday, compared with $26.53 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations. The OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Djeno (Congo), ZaďŹ ro (Equatorial Guinea), Rabi Light (Gabon), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela) SOURCE: OPEC headquarters, Vienna




CSCS Goes Digital as Stock Market Closes on Positive Note Goddy Egene The Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, which is the financial market infrastructure for the Nigerian capital market, has suspended services to walk-in clients, and switched to the use of digital channels as part of efforts to check the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a notification to all its stakeholders, the company reiterated its commitment to

continued delivery of efficient service through the challenging Coronavirus pandemic, hence the activation of its business continuity plan and going fully digital. CSCS explained that it would leverage its digital channels to meet all requests at this period, as it joins global institutions in the campaign for social distancing. Commenting, the Chief Executive Officer, CSCS Plc, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, said: “As the financial market infra-



structure for the Nigerian capital market, we are fully committed to efficient delivery on all our services, as we work with all stakeholders to reinforce the resilience and liquidity of the Nigerian capital market, even at this globally challenging period. Having activated our business continuity plan, which has long been envisaged as a part of our crisis management framework, we are fully operational, even as a notable percentage of our staff have been empowered to




work remotely from home. More importantly is our campaign on social distancing, better hygiene practice and other precautions against the contagious spread of COVID-19, as the safety of everyone is paramount to us, just as we have activated all relevant measures to ensure the safety of all depository assets�. He added that as a part of strategy of dealing with the pandemic, CSCS has since suspended all business travels and temporarily physical meetings,



including its internal sessions, thus leveraging digital technologies such as Zoom, Webex, audio conference calls amongst others. “We thank you for your understanding as we all rise up to stem the spread of this virus and adapt to new challenges arising from the pandemic. Our focus is on helping you and ensuring continuity of our services as a financial market infrastructure. We are committed to our core values of SECURE and will continue to keep you updated as we jointly


navigate these times. Please stay safe� Jalo-Waziri stated. Meanwhile, the stock market closed on positive yesterday with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index (ASI) appreciated by 0.13 per cent to close at 21,757.47, while market capitalisation added N15.2 billion to be at N11.3 trillion. Gains recorded by banking stocks such as Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc boosted the performance.

2 6 / 0 3 / 2 0 2 0 DEALS





     ˾  FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020 Thisday Afrinvest 40 Index Up 0.8%


Yesterday, the Thisday Afrinvest 40 Index rose 75bps to close at 923.67 points following declines recorded in GUARANTY (+5.3%), ZENITH (+3.0%), and ACCESS

Fundamental Performance Metrics for THISDAY AFRINVEST 40 Index

;нϵ͘ϴйͿ͘ dŚĞƐĞ ƐƚŽĐŬƐ ĐƵŵƵůĂƟǀĞůLJ ĂĐĐŽƵŶƚ ĨŽƌ ϭϱ͘ϴй ŽĨ Ticker

the index.


Banking Stocks Boost Market Performance... ASI up 13bps zĞƐƚĞƌĚĂLJ͕ ƚŚĞ ďĞŶĐŚŵĂƌŬ ŝŶĚĞdž ĂƉƉƌĞĐŝĂƚĞĚ ϭϯďƉƐ ƚŽ Ϯϭ͕ϳϱϳ͘ϰϳƉŽŝŶƚƐĚƵĞƚŽďƵLJŝŶŐŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚŝŶďĂŶŬŝŶŐƐƚŽĐŬƐ - GUARANTY (+5.3%), ACCESS (+9.8%) and UBN ;нϭϬ͘ϬйͿ͘ ŽŶƐĞƋƵĞŶƚůLJ͕zdƌĞƚƵƌŶƐĞƩůĞĚĂƚ -ϭϴ͘ϵйǁŚŝůĞŵĂƌŬĞƚ ĐĂƉŝƚĂůŝƐĂƟŽŶŝŶĐƌĞĂƐĞĚEϭϱ͘ϮďŶƚŽEϭϭ͘ϯƚŶ͘ĐƟǀŝƚLJůĞǀĞů ǁĂŶĞĚ ĂƐ ǀŽůƵŵĞ ĂŶĚ ǀĂůƵĞ ƚƌĂĚĞĚ ĚĞĐůŝŶĞĚ Ϯϲ͘ϭй ĂŶĚ ϭϱ͘ϳйƚŽϭϳϮ͘ϮŵƵŶŝƚƐĂŶĚEϭ͘ϵďŶƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞůLJ͘dŚĞŵŽƐƚ ĂĐƟǀĞƐƚŽĐŬƐďLJǀŽůƵŵĞǁĞƌĞ ZENITH (40.6m units), UBA ;ϭϱ͘ϵŵ ƵŶŝƚƐͿ ĂŶĚ STERLING ;ϭϯ͘Ϯŵ ƵŶŝƚƐͿ ǁŚŝůĞ MTNN ;Eϱϵϰ͘ϴŵͿ͕






Bearish Sector Performance Sector performance was mixed as 3 indices gained while 3 lost. The Banking and Insurance indices posted gains, up ϲ͘Ϭй ĂŶĚ ϭ͘ϵй ƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞůLJ ĚƵĞ ƚŽ ƉƌŝĐĞ ĂƉƉƌĞĐŝĂƟŽŶ ŝŶ GUARANTY (+5.3%), ACCESS (+9.8%), NEM (+9.6%) and WAPIC (-8.3%). The AFR-ICT index also appreciated 0.2% due to buying interest in CHAMS (+9.5%). Conversely, the Consumer Goods and Oil & Gas indices depreciated 4.6% ĂŶĚϬ͘ϮйƌĞƐƉĞĐƟǀĞůLJĨŽůůŽǁŝŶŐůŽƐƐĞƐŝŶNESTLE (-ϭϬ͘ϬйͿ͕

Price Previous Current Change Price Weightin YTD Change g

Current Price

1 MTN Nigeria Communications PLC 2 Airtel Africa PLC 3 Guaranty Trust Bank PLC 4 Zenith Bank PLC 5 Nestle Nigeria PLC 6 Dangote Cement PLC 7 Access Bank PLC


















2.7x recorded in the previous trading session as 24 stocks ĂĚǀĂŶĐĞĚ ƌĞůĂƟǀĞ ƚŽ ϴ ĚĞĐůŝŶĞƌƐ͘ dŚĞ ďĞƐƚ ƉĞƌĨŽƌŵĞƌƐ

































































48.9% 34.7%




































































and JBERGER (-7.2%) led the laggards. Despite gains recorded in Yesterday's session, low oil prices and the conƟŶƵŽƵƐ ƐƉƌĞĂĚ ŽĨ Ks/-ϭϵ ƉŽƐĞ ĂƐ ŵĂũŽƌ ƚŚƌĞĂƚƐ ĨŽƌ ŝŶǀĞƐƚŽƌƐŝŶƚŚĞĚŽŵĞƐƟĐĞƋƵŝƟĞƐŵĂƌŬĞƚ͘

6.2% -56.2%














































25 Sterling Bank PLC 26 UAC of Nigeria PLC 27 Custodian and Allied Insurance 28 Presco PLC 29 Union Bank of Nigeria PLC 30 Total Nigeria PLC 31 Oando PLC 32 NASCON Allied Industries PLC 33 Julius Berger Nigeria PLC 34 Wema Bank PLC 35 Ardova PLC 36 Continental Reinsurance PLC











70.0% 11.0%




















































































































12.5% 14.5%

8.0% 108.0%
















































23.8% -11.0%


37 Beta Glass PLC 38 Notore Chemical Industries Ltd 39 AXA Mansard Insurance PLC 40 Transcorp Hotels Plc

P ric e










P ric e C hg %

T ic k er

Vo lum e

P ric e C hg %


























































T o p 10 T r a d e s b y V a l u e

T o p 10 L o s e r s T ic k er

P ric e 765.00






T ic k er


P ric e C hg %











5.3% -6.9%

P ric e C hg % -10.0%



















T o p 10 T r a d e s b y V o l u m e







Afrinvest West Africa Limited



22 Unilever Nigeria PLC 23 Guinness Nigeria PLC 24 FCMB Group Plc


7.5% 10.7%


19 Okomu Oil Palm PLC 20 Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC 21 Transnational Corp of Nigeria

were UCAP ;нϭϬ͘ϬйͿ͕ UBN ;нϭϬ͘ϬйͿ ĂŶĚ MORISON ;нϭϬ͘ϬйͿ ǁŚŝůĞ NESTLE (-ϭϬ͘ϬйͿ͕ GLAXOSMITH (-7.9%)



15 International Brew eries PLC 16 Ecobank Transnational Inc

T ic k er


Divindend Earnings Yield Yield


T o p 10 G a i n e r s








NIGERIAN BREWERIES (-0.7%) and OANDO (-2.3%). Lastly,

price decline in WAPCO (-Ϯ͘ϭйͿ͘



10 Nigerian Brew eries PLC 11 Lafarge Africa PLC

17 Fidelity Bank PLC 18 11 PLC



8 United Bank for Africa PLC 9 FBN Holdings Plc

12 SEPLAT Petroleum Development C 13 Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC 14 Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC

Price Change Index to Date


















Asset Management

Investment Research

Ayodeji Ebo |

Ola Belgore |

Abiodun Keripe |

Adedoyin Allen |

Oluwarotimi Ashimi |

Adedayo Bakare |


FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020 ˾T H I S D AY


FBNQuest Advises Investors to Diversify Portfolios Goddy Egene FBNQuest Asset Management has encouraged investors to consider contrarian investing by taking advantage of the FBN Nigeria Eurobond (United States Dollars) Fund to diversify their

portfolios. Contrarian investing is an investment strategy that involves purchasing and selling in contrast to prevailing sentiments of the time. This means an investor is buying assets when other market participants are selling. A contrarian simply seeks

A Mutual fund (Unit Trust) is an investment vehicle managed by a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) registered Fund Manager. Investors with similar objectives buy units of the Fund so that the Fund Manager can buy securities that willl generate their desired return. An ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) is a type of fund which owns the assets (shares of stock, bonds, oil futures, gold bars, foreign currency, etc.) and divides ownership of those assets into shares. Investors can buy these ‘shares’ on the

opportunities to buy or sell specific investments when the majority of investors appear to be doing the opposite. The impact of the COVID-19 and falling crude oil prices have made major markets trading at steep discounts while central banks/governments are

floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is an investment vehicle that allows both small and large investors to part-own real estate ventures (eg. Offices, Houses, Hospitals) in proportion to their investments. The assets are divided into shares that are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. GUIDE TO DATA: Date: All fund prices are quoted in Naira as at 25Mar-2020, unless otherwise stated.

responding through rate cuts and cash injections into their economies. This situation presents an opportunity for investors to invest and diversify their portfolios. And the Managing Director of FBNQuest Asset Management, Ike Onyia, said the FBN Nigeria

Eurobond served as a veritable source of diversification of portfolios for investors, as it provides a viable option for contrarian investing and wealth creation. “At this time, the FBN Nigeria Eurobond Fund provides an

opportunity for Nigerian investors to diversify their asset classes on their wealth-creation journey. This is especially as it remains accessible to all categories of investors, offering the lowest minimum investment requirement currently at $2,500,” Onyia said.

Offer price: The price at which units of a trust or ETF are bought by investors. Bid Price: The price at which Investors redeem (sell) units of a trust or ETF. Yield/Total Return: Denotes the total return an investor would have earned on his investment. Money Market Funds report Yield while others report Year- to-date Total Return. NAV: Is value per share of the real estate assets held by a REIT on a specific date.

DAILY PRICE LIST FOR MUTUAL FUNDS, REITS and ETFS MUTUAL FUNDS / UNIT TRUSTS AFRINVEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 818 885 6757 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Afrinvest Equity Fund 112.14 115.80 -23.43% Afrinvest Plutus Fund 100.00 100.00 6.50% Nigeria International Debt Fund 293.02 293.02 -6.22% ALTERNATIVE CAPITAL PARTNERS LTD Web:, Tel: +234 1 291 2406, +234 1 291 2868 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ACAP Canary Growth Fund 0.86 8,686.00 514463.58% ACAP Income Funds 0.76 0.76 34.40% AIICO CAPITAL LTD Web:, Tel: +234-1-2792974 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AIICO Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 7.07% AIICO Balanced Fund 2.46 2.51 -0.09% ANCHORIA ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED, Tel: 08166830267; 08036814510; 08028419180 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Anchoria Money Market N/A N/A N/A Anchoria Equity Fund N/A N/A N/A Anchoria Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM INVESTMENT MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: 0700 CALLARM (0700 225 5276) Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn ARM Aggressive Growth Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Discovery Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Ethical Fund N/A N/A N/A ARM Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A AXA MANSARD INVESTMENTS LIMITED Web:; Tel: +2341-4488482 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn AXA Mansard Equity Income Fund 85.69 86.29 -10.81% AXA Mansard Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 6.15% CAPITAL EXPRESS ASSET AND TRUST LIMITED Web: ; Tel: +234 803 307 5048 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn CEAT Fixed Income Fund N/A N/A N/A CHAPELHILL DENHAM MANAGEMENT LTD Web:, Tel: +234 461 0691 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Chapelhill Denham Money Market Fund 0.07 0.05 7.00% Paramount Equity Fund 9.65 10.04 -22.05% Women's Investment Fund 104.32 105.15 -5.56% CORDROS ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:, Tel: 019036947 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Cordros Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 6.39% Cordros Milestone Fund 2023 94.41 94.79 Cordros Milestone Fund 2028 101.22 101.69 CORONATION ASSEST MANAGEMENT , Tel: 012366215 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coronation Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 4.84% Coronation Balanced Fund 0.81 0.81 -13.12% Coronation Fixed Income Fund 1.31 1.31 -1.19% EDC FUNDS MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web: Tel: 012265281 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class A 100.00 100.00 5.83% EDC Nigeria Money Market Fund Class B 1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00 4.83% EDC Nigeria Fixed Income Fund 1,184.36 1,188.02 1.99% FBNQUEST ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234-81 0082 0082 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn FBN Fixed Income Fund 1,292.32 1,293.96 0.10% FBN Balanced Fund 129.35 130.23 -11.90% FBN Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 6.19% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Institutional 110.91 111.79 -6.99% FBN Nigeria Eurobond (USD) Fund - Retail 111.50 112.37 -6.95% FBN Nigeria Smart Beta Equity Fund 101.01 102.17 -22.38% FCMB ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web:; Tel: +234 1 462 2596 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Legacy Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 7.37% Legacy Debt Fund 3.71 3.71 1.66% Legacy Equity Fund 0.94 0.95 -17.36% Legacy USD Bond Fund 1.09 1.09 1.04% FSDH ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: 01-270 4884-5; 01-280 9740-1 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Coral Growth Fund 2,831.52 2,860.67 -5.09% Coral Income Fund 3,139.04 3,139.04 14.51% FSDH Treasury Bills Fund 100.00 100.00 6.37% GREENWICH ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web: ; Tel: +234 1 4619261-2 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Greenwich Plus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.26% Nigeria Entertainment Fund 113.71 114.44 5.35%

GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED Web: ; Tel: +234 9055691122 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn GDL Money Market Fund N/A N/A N/A INVESTMENT ONE FUNDS MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 812 992 1045,+234 1 448 8888 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Abacus Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.32% Vantage Balanced Fund 2.03 2.06 -7.29% Vantage Guaranteed Income Fund 1.00 1.00 10.90% Kedari Investment Fund (KIF) 138.69 139.06 -3.35% LOTUS CAPITAL LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-291 4626 / +234 1-291 4624 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Lotus Halal Investment Fund 1.13 1.15 -3.12% Lotus Halal Fixed Income Fund 1,128.25 1,128.25 2.69% MERISTEM WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD Web: ; Tel: +234 1-4488260 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Meristem Equity Market Fund 7.29 7.36 -25.60% Meristem Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 4.68% PAC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 271 8632 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn PACAM Balanced Fund 1.33 1.35 8.99% PACAM Fixed Income Fund 12.31 12.34 8.87% PACAM Money Market Fund 10.00 10.00 5.00% PACAM Equity Fund 0.91 0.91 PACAM EuroBond Fund 83.28 85.25 SCM CAPITAL LIMITED Web:; Tel: +234 1-280 2226,+234 1- 280 2227 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SCM Capital Frontier Fund 108.88 110.76 -11.16% SFS CAPITAL NIGERIA LTD Web:, Tel: +234 (01) 2801400 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn SFS Fixed Income Fund 1.03 1.03 2.68% STANBIC IBTC ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 280 1266; 0700 MUTUALFUNDS Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Stanbic IBTC Balanced Fund 2,521.35 2,532.80 -5.65% Stanbic IBTC Bond Fund 210.33 210.33 1.58% Stanbic IBTC Ethical Fund 0.88 0.89 -13.48% Stanbic IBTC Guaranteed Investment Fund 273.87 273.95 1.86% Stanbic IBTC Iman Fund 154.92 156.64 -12.59% Stanbic IBTC Money Market Fund 100.00 100.00 5.41% Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund 7,674.15 7,756.30 -13.39% Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (USD) 1.16 1.16 1.34% Stanbic IBTC Shariah Fixed Income Fund 118.18 118.18 0.00% UNITED CAPITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT LTD Web:; Tel: +234 803 306 2887 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn United Capital Balanced Fund 1.07 1.09 -10.75% United Capital Bond Fund 1.77 1.77 2.21% United Capital Equity Fund 0.59 0.61 -16.28% United Capital Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 7.22% United Capital Eurobond Fund 113.52 113.52 1.49% United Capital Wealth for Women Fund 1.04 1.04 -4.85% QUANTUM ZENITH ASSET MANAGEMENT & INVESTMENTS LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1-2784219 Fund Name Bid Price Offer Price Yield / T-Rtn Zenith Equity Fund 9.01 9.10 -12.37% Zenith Ethical Fund 10.80 10.90 -7.04% Zenith Income Fund 23.24 23.24 4.55% Zenith Money Market Fund 1.00 1.00 5.02%


Yield / T-Rtn

3.20 120.83 52.49

-66.85% 1.45% 0.85%

Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

7.33 74.18 56.15

7.43 75.73 57.18

-15.77% -19.80% -23.85%

Fund Name FSDH UPDC Real Estate Investment Fund SFS Skye Shelter Fund Union Homes REIT

EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS Fund Name Lotus Halal Equity Exchange Traded Fund SIAML Pension ETF 40 Stanbic IBTC ETF 30 Fund

VETIVA FUND MANAGERS LTD Web:; Tel: +234 1 453 0697 Fund Name Vetiva Banking Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Consumer Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva Industrial Goods Exchange Traded Fund Vetiva S&P Nigeria Sovereign Bond Exchange Traded Fund Bid Price

Offer Price

Yield / T-Rtn

2.24 3.39 9.94 10.32 163.19

2.28 3.47 10.04 10.52 165.19

-36.58% -42.43% -17.60% -0.66% -12.50%

NAV Per Share

Yield / T-Rtn



INFRASTRUCTURE FUND Fund Name Chapel Hill Denham Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund

The value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise. Past performance is a guide and not an indication of future returns. Fund prices published in this edition are also available on each fund manager’s website and FMAN’s website at Fund prices are supplied by the operator of the relevant fund and are published for information purposes only.




Africa’s Window to Contain COVID-19 Narrowing, Says WHO About half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa still have a “narrowing’’ opportunity to curb the spread of coronavirus in the local population, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. WHO Africa Head, Matshidiso Moeti, said this at a news teleconference. Moeti said, “The virus has multiplied across Africa more slowly than in Asia or Europe but more than 40 nations on the continent have now reported a total of 2,850 with

73 fatalities. “It has been a very dramatic evolution. “Governments across the region needed to invest their efforts in aggressively tracing all those people whohavebeenincontactwithimported cases to isolate them and prevent transmission of the disease locally. “Countries need to work on this containment while preparing for a possible, broader expansion of the virus.” The effort needs to be accompanied bypubliceducationcampaignstoensure

peoplearemaintainingphysicaldistances, something that could help limit the spread of the virus. This should also complement other measures put in place like halting passenger flights. South Africa has ordered a lockdown of its population for three

weeks while Kenya has imposed a night-time curfew to prevent the disease from spreading. “We still have a window… it is narrowing every day as data on the geographic spread to more and more countries tell us,” she said. John Nkengasong, the Head

of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a health body of the AU, said African leaders were preparing to engage with their wealthier counterparts to secure vital equipment. Equipment supplies are respirators and ventilators in case infection rates

worsen. Nkengasong told the same teleconference that countries with advanced industrial bases like South Africa, Egypt and Morocco could be used to produce such equipment if needed.

UK Announces Additional £210m for COVID-19 Vaccine Britain on Thursday announced an extra £210 million ($251 million, 227 million euros) towards the global fund to find a coronavirus vaccine, taking its total contribution to £544 million. “While our brilliant doctors and nurses fight coronavirus at home, this record British funding will help to find a vaccine for the entire world,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “My call to every G20 country and to governments around the world is to step up and help us defeat this virus,” he added. Britain’s contribution is

the largest by any country to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the international fund to find a vaccine, London said in a press release. Following Thursday’s virtual summit of G20 leaders, Johnson’s government also unveiled new funding to speed up the production of tests and treatments for the virus. CEPI has said it needs $2 billion additional funding to develop a vaccine. According to the latest figures, 463 people have died from the virus in Britain and more than 9,500 people have been infected.

US Offers $15m Reward for Arrest of Venezuela’s President Maduro The United States will offer $15 million for information leading to the arrest of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on drug-trafficking charges, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday. Pompeo announced the reward as the Justice Department unveiled charges against Maduro, describing him like a common criminal rather than a head of state as

Washington tries to help opposition leader Juan Guaido take power. “The Venezuelan people deserve a transparent, responsible, representative government that serves the needs of the people — and that does not betray the trust of the people by condoning or employing public officials that engage in illicit narcotics trafficking,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Prince Charles Did Not Jump the Queue for a Coronavirus Test, Says UK Britain on Thursday said heir-tothe-throne Prince Charles, who has coronavirus, did not jump the queue for a test because his symptoms and condition met

CHANGE OF NAME I, formerly known and addressed as VIGBEDOR, GODWIN SAVIOUR, now wish to be known and addressed as VIGBEDOR, SAVIOUR KOKU. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I, formerly known and addressed as REBECCA GOMA, now wish to be known and addressed as REBECCA YANI GOMA. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note. I, formerly known and addressed as OLAWALE FATAI FISAYO, now wish to be known and addressed as OLAWALE FATAI ODUNAYO. All former documents remain valid. The general public should take note.

the criteria. Charles, 71, tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week but is in good health and is now self-isolating at his residence in Scotland with mild symptoms along with his wife Camilla, who tested negative, his office said. The prince, who is in good spirits, was working at his desk as usual on Thursday, a royal source said.


Venezuelan President, Mr. Nicolas Maduro, delivering a speech during a pro-government demonstration in Caracas...recently.


US Blames China for Endangering World with Coronavirus As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads to more countires across the world, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (UK) has said China had endangered the world by suppressing information about the virus outbreak thus allowing it to spread far beyond the Communist Republic’s borders. “First it tried to suppress the news,” Ambassador Woody Johnson wrote in an article for

The Times newspaper published on Thursday. Johnson added that Beijing had then selectively shared critical information while stonewalling international health authorities. “Had China done the right things at the right time, more of its own population, and the rest of the world, might have been spared the most serious impact of this disease,” the ambassador wrote.

US President Donald Trump has said Beijing should have acted faster to warn the world after the outbreak of the disease there. He also dismissed criticism that his labelling it as the “Chinese virus” was racist. Recently, he brushed aside a reporter’s question as to whether it was potentially harmful to AsianAmericans to give the disease that name, as well for an unnamed White House official to have

privately termed it the “kung flu”. On Monday, the president said Asian-Americans were not responsible for spreading the disease and needed to be protected. “When the crisis finally abates, we should take stock of the outcome and evaluate the costs of this breakdown in international collaboration,” Ambassador Johnson wrote in The Times.

Ramaphosa Tests Negative for Coronavirus as South Africa to Begin Lockdown South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he has tested negative for coronavirus after taking the test as a precautionary measure. The presidency said this in a statement on Thursday, hours before the start of a countrywide lockdown. The statement said that the president underwent the test on Tuesday on the advice of physicians and received his results on Wednesday night, adding Ramaphosa had held meetings

with a variety of people in recent weeks. South Africa has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases, with no reported deaths. The Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize has warned infections are expected to keep rising. Ramaphosa has been praised for ordering some of the toughest measures on the continent, including a 21-day lockdown to begin on Friday morning from midnight. He has deployed the army to support the police.

But the lockdown threatens to cripple an economy already beset by power cuts and shrinking since the end of last year. “I’ve got two months cash in the bank. Nothing more. After that we close down,’’ Rajan Govender, 51, said at his family-run Indian restaurant in a Johannesburg suburb, as he prepared to send staff on compulsory paid leave. “We can weather a few weeks, but not longer.’’ Mining and metal refining companies, the core of South Africa’s

economy, are either reducing or shutting down production altogether. Mines Minister, Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday that South Africa will continue to process platinum group metals, even as gold, chrome, manganese are scaled down. The rand has hovered around four year lows for the past two and a half weeks, and on Thursday it weakened from a brief respite, as relief faded over an announcement by the central bank of a quantitative easing programme.

Germany to Conduct 500,000 COVID-19 Tests Weekly Germany has boosted its coronavirus test rate to 500,000 a week, a virologist said Thursday, adding that early detection has been key in keeping the country’s death rate relatively low. “The reason why Germany has so few deaths compared to the number of infected people can be explained by the fact that we carry out an extremely large number of laboratory diagnostic tests,” said Christian Drosten, who heads the Institute of Virology at Berlin’s Charite University Hospital. “Estimates from the last days

show that we are carrying out half a million tests a week,” he added. Drosten also highlighted Germany’s dense network of laboratories spread across its territory as a factor contributing to early detection. Meanwhile, the research ministry said it would commit 150 million euros ($164 million) to improve communication between hospitals and laboratories about coronavirus patients’ health data, hoping the information exchange could feed into the development of a vaccine.

Official data compiled by the disease control agency Robert Koch Institute show that 36,508 people have been infected in Germany, including 198 who have died from the disease. At 0.54 percent, Germany’s death rate is far lower than the 7.3 percent in Spain where 4,089 deaths were recorded for 56,188 confirmed cases. France has also recorded 1,331 fatalities of 25,233 confirmed infections – a death rate of 5.2 percent. Besides the large-scale testing, experts in Germany also said that the virus has largely

affected a younger, healthier section of the population compared to elsewhere. At the same time, experts have repeatedly warned that in the country where almost a quarter of the population is over 60, the number of deaths could still skyrocket if people do not stick to measures to help halt contagion. Lockdown measures are in place across Germany, preventing people from leaving their homes except for essential trips, while most shops, restaurants and bars are closed.

FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2020 • T H I S D AY





Delta Announces Lockdown, Closes Borders Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa yesterday announced lockdown of all activities in the state and closure of all borders as part of state government’s efforts to make the state free from COVID-19 pandemic. In a broadcast in Asaba, who is the Chairman of the Central Committee on Managing and Containing the Coronavirus Pandemic in the state, stated that the lockdown would be effective from Wednesday, next week, while the closure of borders and other entry points into the state would commence at 6 a.m. on Sunday. He also ordered the closure of Asaba airports to traffic from 6 p.m. on Friday (today).

He explained that the committee took the far- reaching decisions to further ensure that people in the state were safe. “As promised, we have continued to monitor and review developments concerning this global pandemic on a daily, if not hourly basis. ``Although there has been no confirmed case in Delta, we deemed it fit to take further measures to avert any outbreak or contain its spread if it occurs. “Consequently, after a meeting with the Central Committee on Managing/Containing the Coronavirus Pandemic headed by me, several far-reaching decisions were made and I hereby order

that the Asaba airport should be closed to traffic effective from Friday, March 27, 2020 at 6 p.m. “All land borders into and out

of Delta are to be shut effective 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 29, 2020. “All businesses - malls, supermarkets, markets and shops

- are to close from Wednesday, April 1, 2020. “All residents in the State are to stay at home from Wednesday,

April 1, 2020. “Food sellers are to conduct their businesses within the precinct of their homes and are

Wike Directs Closure of All Markets in Rivers Davidson Iriekpen Rivers State Governor, Hon. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has confirmed the index positive case of coronavirus in the state, declaring that the state government has commenced contact tracing of all those she had contact with. Wike also announced that all markets in the state are to remain closed from Saturday, March 28, 2020. The governor also directed that all civil servants from Grade Level 1 to 10 are to remain at home from Friday, March 27 until further notice. In a broadcast yesterday, Wike said: “It is however unfortunate that despite all the preventive measures we put in place, our state has recorded a positive case as confirmed by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). “The positive case is a 19-year-old female model from Edo State who resides in Port Harcourt. Her travel history reveals that she travelled to France, Italy and Greece before returning

to Port Harcourt on March 16, 2020. “On arrival to Port Harcourt, she was asymptomatic and commenced self isolation in her family house before her samples were collected and sent to the Reference Laboratory, Irrua in Edo State.” The governor added: “The patient is presently being managed at the State Treatment Centre and she is doing excellently well. “As it is in normal established practice, intensive line listing and contact tracing of all those she came in contact with has commenced in full force. “In addition, samples have been collected from high risk contacts for further evaluations while decontamination process has also commenced. “As the State Chief Executive, I want to sincerely thank this young lady for her patriotic spirit which aided health officials to get relevant information in this direction

NMA SeeksVolunteers to Tackle COVID-19 Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has urged volunteers among public health physicians, and infectious disease specialists, to make themselves available to help tackle the COVID-19. It decried the apparent lack of enough isolation centres across the states of the federation. In a statement issued yesterday by NMA President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, the association said that there is the need for collaboration between the federal and states in dealing with the pandemic “We request our state chairmen to compile and submit the list of volunteers (public health physicians, infectious disease specialists, epidemiologists, GPs, health communication experts, nurses and other health professionals) who will be willing to assist in areas with high prevalence at present, to the National Secretariat of NMA on or before the close of work on Friday, March 27, 2020,” he said.. NMA further said that a more result-oriented situation would be one where the federal and the

states are comparing notes, sharing intelligence and taking a uniform stand on issues like modalities for effective implementation of interrupting the chain of transmission (social distancing), case detection, contact tracing and self- isolation. According to the association, these lapses have resulted in the recent cases where some individuals who defaulted the self-quarantine directives and went about mixing freely with the public. “NMA further laments the absence of purpose-built isolation centres, unlike in the not-toodistant past where Infectious Diseases Hospitals existed in every state of the Federation. To make matters worse, in most of our hospitals, there is severe inadequacy of critical care facilities like purpose-built Intensive Care Units (ICU). These ICUs with ventilators/artificial respirators make the difference between life and death in complications from COVID-19. It is scary that the dearth of these facilities is the same in all the 36 States and the FCT,” it said.


L-R: Bayelsa State Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ebipre Ndiomu; Governor of Bayelsa State, Sen. Douye Diri; state Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Laye Julius; and his counterpart on Joint Negotiation Council, Comrade, Olomo Dimie, during a courtesy call at Government House, Yenagoa... yesterday

Lawan Urges FG to Provide Relief for Ordinary Nigerians House expresses commitment to wipe out pandemic Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, yesterday warned that trouble looms ahead if the federal government fails to urgently provide special relief for ordinary Nigerians to cushion the effect of stay-at-home order in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. This is coming just as the House of Representatives also yesterday expressed its commitment towards ensuring that the epidemic is totally wiped out of the country. Lawan, who gave the warning

as a follow-up to Wednesday’s meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and some ministers and heads of government agencies, emphasised that not making provisions ahead of time to address the basic needs of poor Nigerians may likely lead to more problems for the government, and less result in controlling the spread of the disease. According to him, “our prayer is that we are able to overcome this menace of COVID-19 in good time, because it is really taking a toll on our lives. “If we have to eventually

shut down our country, then as a government we must be prepared to have some relief for the most ordinary people. “As a government, we must find our own money to fund something for our people, because the United States of America that is talked about or the British Parliament is because this involves public funds. “I’m not seeing anything at the moment targeted at providing some relief. If we lock up Nigeria today, then we will wake up trouble, because majority of our citizens go to market everyday

before they can get something to eat. “So, you lock them up in their houses with a threat of disease and without food. We need to have something, a plan of some sorts, in addition to making sure we don’t lock up the farmers’ market for example, where people can easily go and buy something, and of course pharmacies. “This is a time to think deep and wide, to provide for our people, in order for us at least to deal with this challenge at the moment,” Lawan advised.

El-Rufai Imposes Total Curfew in Kaduna John Shiklam in Kaduna The Kaduna state government has imposed curfew throughout the state, following the non-compliance to measures adopted to stop the spread of COVID-19. The deputy governor of the state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe who announced the imposition of the curfew yesterday in state-wide broadcast, said the decision was in line with the 1999 Constitution. She said the decision was “in exercise of the powers vested on the Governor by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria1999, (as amended),

Sections 2 and 8 of the Quarantine Act 1926 and the Kaduna State Public Health Law of 1917.’’ Balarabe said the state has therefore “been declared a public health area, COVID-19, is hereby declared as a dangerous, infectious disease within the meaning of the Quarantine Act.” According to her, the State Standing Committee on COVID-19 prevention met yesterday to review the global and national developments relating to the pandemic. She said “the committee also considered reports of unsatisfactory compliance levels with the

preventive measures that have been outlined by the government in repeated announcements and with increasing severity, over the past seven days.’’ The deputy governor noted that apart from flouting the directive against large gatherings, ‘’there were also reports of certain persons not obeying the ban announced on motorcycle taxis and ‘Keke-Napep ’tricycles.’’ She declared that ‘’from midnight of Thursday, March 26, 2020, all residents of Kaduna State must stay at home. No offices, businesses of any sort or places of worship are allowed to open.’’

Balarabe said “the only category of persons exempted (from the curfew), are workers on essential services such as health workers, the fire service and security personnel.’’ The deputy governor warned that the curfew will be strictly enforced by security agencies, adding that ‘’they have clear directives for the immediate arrest and prosecution of any person that violates these measures.” She said ‘’Churches and Mosques will be shut; there will be no congregational prayers or services either within these places of worship or outdoors.

Fidelity Bank Takes Proactive Measures to Protect Staff, Customers Fidelity Bank has mandated staff or immediate family members who travel out of the country to self-isolate for two weeks and obtain medical clearance before returning to work as part of our COVID-19 preventive and precautionary measures. According to a statement by the company, this process was activated and strictly adhered to by one of its staff members who returned from holidays in the United Kingdom.

“He was in self-isolation and underwent testing in line with the bank’s policy. The test results returned positive at the weekend and we quickly arranged for him to be moved to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), where he is currently being attended to by health officials,” the statement said. “We are in constant touch with him and have been monitoring the situation closely.

Our thoughts and prayers are with him. “Though the staff has not been at the bank since returning from the UK, he however brought some consignments for two other staff which were delivered to them individually. “We have self-isolated the two individuals and sent them for necessary testing. In addition the office where these two individuals work, has been temporarily shut and has been

disinfected. Due to the proactive measures taken by the bank, contact tracing within the bank was very swift and conclusive with no customers involved. “We have also shut down our Federal Secretariat, Abuja Business Office and advised all staff/vendors to self-isolate and go for testing in line with our policy on COVID-19, on account of possible exposure of a vendor staff.





Afe Babalola Tasks Scientists on Solutions to Pandemic Funmi Ogundare Legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, has challenged Scientists in his institution to engage in research in order to join other scientists in other parts of the world to find a lasting solution to the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic threatening to ground the country to a halt. Worried and concerned that the pandemic which has led the Federal Government to close down all educational institutions in the country and limit the number of worshipers in church and mosque services to as low as between 20 and 50, partial lockdown of some states, Babalola invited scientists in ABUAD’s Colleges of Engineering, Sciences and Medicine and challenged them to take advantage of the one-month blanket closure of schools, to engage in research and come

up with workable solutions. Babalola who made this known in a statement, said the move will make them globally relevant in the scheme of things. He observed that Nigerian academics usually go to sleep after obtaining their Ph.Ds which should be the beginning of research and contributions to knowledge base and service to humanity as it is done in other parts of the world. According to him, “I have always said that I am a big dreamer. I dream big. It is not a crime to dream, but it is a sin not to dream. I said much about this in my autobiography titled: ‘Impossibility Made Possible’. For me, I don’t believe anything is impossible.” The ABUAD founder said he will first dream about a thing and then go ahead and give it a try, adding, “If you dream of reaching the sun and you don’t get there,

you will at least get to the moon. The philosophy of this university is determination, industry and integrity. The combination of all these should gear you as scientists in your various fields to tackle this all-important assignment.

“I implore you all to go to work immediately. I promise to give all the necessary support. I am ready to provide the necessary funding and equipment for your research and come out with results that will be beneficial to humanity. With our

huge investment in the Sciences, Medicine and Engineering, we should be able to do something tangible and reasonable to combat Covid-19 “It is common knowledge that we have invested heavily

in the Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. When the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) came to our university in 2015, they marveled at the modern equipment in the 37 laboratories in our College of Engineering.”

Falana Asks FG to Invoke Quarantine Actintroduction into and spread in Davidson Iriekpen

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) has requested the federal government to invoke the Quarantine Act, which provides for and regulates the imposition of quarantine and in accordance with its powers under Section 305 of the Constitution of Nigeria. He said that federal and state governments will have difficulties enforcing regulations they put in place to combat the COVID-19 without the necessary legal backing. Falana made this declaration in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday in reaction to decision of the government to deal with those found disobeying regulations announced to combat COVID-19. The senior lawyer’s statement was entitled “Regulations to Combat COVID-19 Cannot be Enforced Without Legal Backing.” “Having confirmed that the Presidency is on lockdown, we are compelled to call on state governors to apply the Quarantine Act which provides for and regulate the imposition of quarantine and to make other provisions for preventing the

Nigeria and the transmission from Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases. “In particular, state governors are enjoined to invoke section 8 of the Act which empowers them to make such declarations and issue necessary regulations to combat any infectious disease like the COVID-19. “Once the declarations are made police officers will be in a position to enforce the provision of section 5 of the Act which states that any person who contravenes the regulations made pursuant to the law shall be liable to a fine of N200 or imprisonment for a term of six months or to both. “Furthermore, the attention of members of the public should be drawn to the stringent penalties prescribed by the Criminal Code and Penal Code for offences endangering life or health, including reckless or negligent acts causing harm to people,” he stated. The senior lawyer recalled that the federal government had threatened to deal with religious and political leaders who have been flouting the measures put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Tremendoc Provides Support for Nigerians Sunday Okobi Tremendoc, Africa’s leading telemedicine platform, has announced the expansion of its operation team to make available a team of 200 doctors to provide medical assistance to Nigerians and the world to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The group stated also that the Tremendoc app, which accessible to the public, is a platform that connects patients with licensed doctors who can consult, diagnose, prescribe medication and make recommendations on medical conditions and treatments. The app, which

is available on both the iOS and Google Play Store, was re-launched last year and has completed over 5,000 consultations in 2020 alone, with capacity to do more in the coming months mostly in this pandemic period. Tremendoc in a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, said: “In today’s dynamic and technology-driven world, it has become important for patients to have access to health care regardless of their geographical location. This has become even more crucial in light of growing public fears around visiting health care centres and possible exposure to COVID-19.


L-R: A senior police officer; Commander of Rapid Response Squad, Mr. Tunji Disu; and Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, enforcing compliance with the stay-at-home directive to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Lagos...yesterday

Lagos Assembly Passes New Law to Sanction Violators of Lockdown Directive Lifts suspension on four members Eddie Alegbe The Lagos State House of Assembly has passed into law a bill empowering security agencies to arrest people who flout directives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the state. This is coming as the lawmakers yesterday lifted the suspension placed on four of its members. The bill, passed into law yesterday, recommended that those who flout the lockdown directive be jailed for a month or fined N100,000 The bill, titled ‘A Law to Combat and Stop the Spread of Corona Virus Pandemic in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes’,

has 25 sections. The bill also empowered Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to spend at least N20 billion to combat the pandemic in Lagos State. The Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, directed the Clerk of the House, Mr. Azeez Sanni, to prioritise sending a clean copy of the passed bill to Sanwo-Olu for his assent. “The Bill empowers the governor to incur the Kick-off expenditure sum of N20 billion to combat and stop the spread of the pandemic. “The governor in combating the Coronavirus pandemic shall declare a state of emergency in the State to protect the people of the State from the pandemic.

“The Bill calls for a Trust Fund named Coronavirus Pandemic Trust Fund with a board to manage this, but supervised by the Executive. The Trust fund shall consist of funds and material donations from individuals, private and public organizations. “As from the commencement of this law, only essential services such as food supply, pharmacy, shops, water supply, petrol filling Stations and other relevant agencies shall be in full operations unless the Governor declares otherwise. “All security agencies in the state, including the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety

Corps Agency shall effectively ensure that policy directives of the governor are implemented and enforced. “Where there is a violation of a close down or stay at home order, security Agencies shall have the power to arrest without warrant and may detain any person who violates the close down or stay at home order for at least 48 hours. “Where the arrested person is found guilty, the person is liable to a fine of N100,000.00 or one month imprisonment or three months Community service.” Meanwhile, the state assembly has lifted the suspension placed on four of its members.

Ibom Air Suspends Flight Operation Okon Bassey in Uyo Following the fears being generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Akwa Ibom State Government has ordered the state-owned aircraft, Ibom Air, to suspend operation. Also, civil servants in government employment were told to stop work with effect from March 30, 2020.

A statement issued yesterday by the state government and signed by the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, said the “Ibom Air will suspend all flight operations from March 29, 2020.” The SSG disclosed that the state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has equally approved payment of salaries of state government workers for March

yesterday. “Workers are advised to prepare to stop work and stay at home for one week with effect from March 30, 2020. The stay-at-home order will be strongly enforced,” he stated. The state government also announced the closure of all borders and roads leading in and out of the state with immediate effect, except for the

transportation of food items. According to it, “Markets are to remain open for sale of foodstuff and essential items only. “All Churches are strongly requested to fast and pray for God’s mercies on March 29, 2020. Residents and citizens are also strongly advised to apply all the preventive measures earlier announced.

God Using Pandemic to Teach Humanity a Lesson, Says Keyamo The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN), has claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used by God to teach humanity a lesson. Keyamo said this in a tweet late on Wednesday. The minister asked

Nigerians to seize the opportunity to ask God for forgiveness, adding that He will intervene. He added, “God has allowed COVID-19 to afflict the human race only to redirect our steps back to Him. We have so distorted

God’s word to suit our own human weaknesses and satisfy our greed, even in supposed holy places. We should collectively ask for forgiveness and it will all end in praise. “Aside the spiritual angle to this scourge, we must all

work and pray; God can only help those who help themselves. Those recalcitrant pastors must realise this. “All the directives of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control must be followed to the letter by all and sundry before it can quickly end in praise.”





Benue CAN Recommends Suspension of Church Activities, Weddings Abide by Fayemi’s congregation restriction order, says Ekiti CAN Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti and George Okoh in Makurdi The Benue State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has recommended the suspension of all church and wedding activities in the state as a proactive measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the Ekiti State chapter of the association has directed his members across its 17 jurisdictional centres of in state to comply with the restriction of number of congregation to 20. In a message issued by the Benue State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva, yesterday in

Makurdi, the association appealed to churches to comply with the recommendation to curtail the spread of the pandemic. Leva said the recommended suspension would take effect from April 1 and enjoined all churches to cooperate. In a message titled: ‘The Reality of COVID-19:Acall for strict compliance’, the association appealed to proprietors of mission-based schools to also adhere to the directive for the closure of schools by the state government. It said: “It has become very pertinent for me to address you today concerning the reality of COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the world to unavoidable

panic. “The rate, at which it is spreading, therefore, calls for real collaboration and unity of purpose to ensure we curtail further spread among our people. “In this regard, we urge all church leaders, clergymen and the Christian

community in Benue State to duly observe the following adjustments we have made regarding our Christian activities. “Considering the importance of the week-long fasting and prayer session organised by CAN in conjunction with the

state government, which is to round off on March 29, 2020, we wish to say that with effect from April 1, 2020, we will encourage churches to enforce smaller units of congregational worships of not more than 50 people. “We also recommend the

suspension of Sunday services and Mass for the next two weeks to monitor the situation. Christians are encouraged to continue with home devotions, crusades, conventions, revivals, vigils as well as refresher courses.

NCC Moves to Curtail Spread of COVID-19 Emma Okonji Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecommunications industry regulator has put in place new measures to reduce COVID-19 spread. The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had listed new measures that NCC must implement to make telecoms network resilient throughout the outbreak of the virus. In a statement issued by NCC yesterday and signed by its Director, Public Affairs, Dr. Henry Nkemadu, NCC said the new measure will support initiatives by other stakeholders to curtail the scourge. The commission in conjunction with industry players and all other government agencies, has agreed to reduce the frequency of physical meetings all through

the period of the outbreak and consider alternative electronic meeting platforms, in order to reduce person to person contact that may arise from travels or meetings. According to the statement, “departments within the commission that interface with customers have developed e-platforms where all licensing requests, consumer complaints and BTS investigation requests could be channeled or provide designated e-mail addresses to be used for such requests throughout the pandemic period. “The commission has also approved resource sharing by operators throughout the period of coronavirus. These include fibre optics cables and other resources in the event of cable cuts and other unforeseen developments during the period of coronavirus outbreak.

Sowore: FG Planning to Arrest, Infect Me with COVID-19 Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja The Publisher of Sahara Reporters and Convener of the #RevolutionNow Movement, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, has accused the federal government of planning to re-arrest and infect him with COVID-19. In a post on his Facebook page, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 election said his planned rearrest was due to a publication by Sahara Reporters that the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Abba Kyari had contracted coronavirus. “Following the revelation by SaharaReporters that the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari contracted coronavirus and subsequent revelations about the criminal conducts/ negligence that has brought Nigeria to the nadir of this global pandemic, the Buhari regime today sent some high-powered delegation to the Chief Judge of the

Federal High Court of Nigeria to help procure a judge to grant a detention order against me. “The courts are reportedly on break due to COVID-19 pandemic. This was leaked to our lawyers a few minutes ago. They plan this time is to use the Nigerian Army for the sinister plot. The plan is to obtain a court order and then send soldiers to shoot up my residence in Abuja by claiming that I resisted arrest with armed colleagues, if I am arrested alive they would take me to an Army Barracks in Abuja to be tortured and /or infected with COVID-19. I am not raising the alarm to scare anyone; it is to inform our compatriots that we should brace for difficult days ahead. “However, rest assured that we are in high spirits and are totally convinced that we may be turning a historic corner in the face of brutal repression. I am urging all t o s t a n d firm, unbowed and unbroken.”


Shops in Wuse Market, Abuja shut down by the order of the FCT minister to check the spread of COVID-19... yesterday


FG TRACES 4,370 CONTACTS AS COVID-19 CASES JUMP TO 65 Sule, his deputy, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe and a man suspected with symptoms of COVID-19 in isolation at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH) in Nasarawa State all tested negative for the virus. The deputy governor of the state, who is chairman of the state Quick Response Committee, yesterday in Lafia, the state capital, said: “Governor Abdullahi Sule, I and the man in isolation at the DASH in Lafia have all given our samples in Lafia. It was taken for a test at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the results for all the three of us proved that we are negative.” Mamora in a WhatsApp message said the test conducted on him on Wednesday came out negative. The FCT junior minister confirmed her negative status on her personal Twitter handle yesterday, saying: “Dear compatriots, I am glad to inform you that my results came out this afternoon and tested negative to #COVID-19.” Briefing journalists yesterday on the pandemic, Ehanire said the top presidency official who tested positive on Monday was being attended to at a secure government facility in an undisclosed location based on peculiarities of his case. The minister, who declined further comments on the identity of the president’s aide and location of his treatment said the health condition of the patient could not be revealed except with his consent. While explaining the handling of the case of the top aide, Ehanire said: “We have four categories, up to 80 per cent may have little or no symptoms; some will have mild, some moderate, and some severe symptoms and will require oxygen and ventilator and those

with severe symptoms are the ones that will go to Gwagwalada. The others will be in facilities where they will be taken care of. The president’s aide, who tested positive, is receiving treatment in a secure facility in the country; he does not need category four treatments; he requires general treatment.” He added that most of those who were known to have had contact with the presidential aide had undergone test with the NCDC and contact tracing for all casual contacts and close contacts had been done. He said he had the permission of the SGF and that of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Marshi, to reveal the results of their tests, which are negative. The trio was among the contacts of the top presidential aide. “I am one of those who tested and it came out negative. The permanent secretary and the Secretary to the Government of Federation also tested negative. Every other person that did the test has to reveal his status by himself,” he said. Ehanire also opened up on the fears about the state of health of other top government functionaries who might have had close contacts with the top presidential aide, saying that they had been tested and were awaiting the results. Speaking further on the condition of the president’s aide and Bauchi governor, the minister said at present they had not developed symptoms, adding that they were being kept in isolation in a secure government facility where they were being monitored and checked but that if they got to a critical level they would be moved to a higher facility.

Bauchi Confirms Second Case The confirmed cases of the virus have increased to two in Bauchi State. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aliyu Maigoro, announced this during a press conference yesterday. According to him, the second case is a 62-year-old male and a close friend of the state governor. Maigoro explained that 48 samples were taken for test and two had been confirmed positive. He added that 37 others returned negative while the results of nine samples were still pending. Six COVID-19 Patients to be Discharged in Lagos Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr. Tunde Ajayi, has said six of the patients at the Infectious Disease Hospital had recovered and would soon be discharged. Ajayi via his twitter handle, @thetundeajai, said: “Six of our #COVID19 in-patients have recovered and will be discharged soon. There is something Lagos is doing right. Lagos takes the lead.” The cheering news came just as the Lagos State House of Assembly passed an emergency bill yesterday empowering the governor with extensive powers to deal with the pandemic and stipulating punishments, including a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for anyone who violates the directives of the governor. Lawyers Kick as States Close Boundaries to Interstate Movements Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Mr. Ebun-olu Adegboruwa and Mr. John Baiyeshea have said it is illegal for state governors to close borders

over fear of COVID-19. They spoke against the backdrop of some states such as Rivers, Kano, Kogi, and Osun banning interstate movements. Adegboruwa stated that the right to freedom of movement is guaranteed to every citizen of Nigeria under section 41 of the 1999 Constitution and also under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. He noted that through this fundamental right, every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part of Nigeria and no citizen of Nigeria shall be refused entry to or exit from any part of Nigeria. “Consequently, no state governor is allowed to deny any citizen of Nigeria the right of movement into or exit from any state in Nigeria, even under emergency situations such as coronavirus. There has to be a law backing up such policy or declaration,” he said in a statement. Adegboruwa argued that most states in Nigeria share boundaries with other states such that denial of access to one state may lead to denial of access to other states. Baiyeshea also told THISDAY that the states lacked powers to shut borders. According to him, the constitution makes the closure of sky, sea and land borders the responsibility of the federal government. He, however, said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious crisis, including a constitutional crisis in the country, stressing that whatever action was taken by state governors should not be an issue at this stage. He blamed the action of the governors on the failure of the federal government to take prompt initiative against the spread of the disease.





Niger Suspends Friday, Sunday Religious Services Laleye Dipo in Minna The Niger State Government has suspended the weekly Friday prayers by Muslims and Sunday service for Christians as one of the ways to discourage large gatherings of people of more than 20 against the spread of

the COVID-19 virus. The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman of the state Committee on COVID-19, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, gave the directive in a statement made available to journalists in Minna yesterday. Matane also placed a ban on

all congregational prayers by both Christians and Muslims. He explained that the suspension of the Jumma’at prayers and church services are part of the state government’s precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemics in the state. According to him, “Government has a duty to work with all

religious leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that everything humanly possible is done to reduce the chance of the virus taking root and spreading in the state.” Matane, therefore, appealed to the people of the state to abide by all instructions and guidelines issued by the state government, saying that coronavirus risks

increase with mass gatherings. He also called on the people of the state to “show understanding and teamwork” while the pandemic lasts, and pray for God’s protection over the spread of the disease in the state. In the meantime, the 12-hour curfew imposed on the state effective from last Wednesday has been reduced to 10 hours.

The curfew is now from 10a.m. to 8p.m. as against the previous 8a.m. to 8p.m. For the second day running, the state was in near partial lockdown as the restriction of movements of people and vehicles took effect. All markets, petrol stations and departmental stores were opened up to 10 a.m. and closed later.

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

the impending total lockdown of the country being announced by federal and state governments, said that appropriate measures should be taken to mitigate the suffering of the vulnerable ones in our midst while the governments implement all possible measures to stop the spread of the COVID-19.

He noted that there are several millions of the people in the country who are either unemployed or underemployed and whose means of livelihood depends on daily income and asked the governments to come up with policy measures that would cushion the effects of the lockdown on them

as being witnessed in other climes. Obi, who was the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, commended the efforts of some political leaders, captains of industry and corporate bodies toward containing the spread of the virus.

Anambra Communities Defy Obiano, Hold Social Gatherings Obi Urges Elected Public Officers to Relocate to their Constituencies David-Chyddy ElekeinAwka Despite the ban on all social activities, including weddings, traditional marriages, burials, clubbing and others, some communities in Anambra State defied government orders, and still held such gatherings. THISDAY gathered that the flaunting of the order in the communities has angered the state Governor, Willie Obiano, who has vowed to deal with the leaders of any community that fails to enforce their subjects to heed his order. A memo, which was sent to all the president-general of the communities in the state, which was obtained by THISDAY, showed that the governor expressed dismay over the actions of the people in the affected community. The memo was signed on behalf of the state Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy

and Affairs, Greg Obi, by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the ministry, Henry Nwasike. According to the memo, “Dear President-General, please, I am directed to inform you that the Governor, Willie Obiano, has expressed dismay that most communities, despite continuous awareness, are not carrying out the state government’s directive on measures put in place to prevent the COVID-19 in our dear state. “The governor noted that the people in most communities still engage in social events, such as funerals, weddings among others, and other gatherings above 30 persons. To this end, the state government will hold the president-general accountable in any community where this directive is abused, and appropriate sanctions may be applied where applicable. Let’s help ourselves to stay alive and safe.”

The Vice Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed concern over the plight of vulnerable and unemployed Nigerians whose survival is tied to their day-to-day activities. Obi, who spoke on the heels of

Youth Party Tasks Govt on Ventilators, Public Gatherings Sunday Okobi A political party, Youth Party (YP) has urged the federal government and all state governments to take decisive steps to halt the spread of the COVID-19. In a statement signed by the party Director of Communications, Ms Ilamosi Ekenimoh, it stated that “the sudden surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19

in Nigeria requires a strong sense of urgency and bold leadership from both the federal government and all sub-national governments. “It is important to reiterate the fact that defeating this pandemic will require the collective action of the government and citizens.” The party, however, highlighted important recommendations that could help to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

It advised that “governments across the country must step up sensitisation and awareness campaign to educate citizens of their responsibilities in fighting this pandemic. Perhaps, the government may need to pass laws restricting gatherings beyond 20 persons during the period of the pandemic and must be prepared to enforce those laws to the last letter.” Calling for citizens’ action and volunteerism, Ekenimoh

said: “It is obvious that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is gradually becoming overwhelmed by the torrent of phone calls on their hotlines by concerned citizens. This has resulted in a delay in response by the agency on several occasions and has heightened panic. The government should, therefore, request citizen’s participation by making a call for volunteers.



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Osoba: I Have No Symptoms of COVID-19 Gboyega Akinsanmi A former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba yesterday disclosed that he never developed any symptoms of COVID-19. Osoba, however, clarified that he had decided to observe self-isolation in line with the directive of the Lagos State Government, contrary to reports that the guests of the Nigerian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade at his 80th birthday might have contacted the infection. He made the clarification in telephone conversation with THISDAY last night, saying linking

the pandemic to Oguntade’s 80th anniversary was not only unfair, but a deliberate attempt to blackmail the respected legal icon. There were reports that Osoba was among eminent Nigerians, who attended the 80th birthday of the retired jurist held in the United Kingdom recently. The report also claimed that those who attended Oguntade’s birthday had gone into selfisolation for fear that they might have contracted the dreaded viral infection. The report had claimed that two unidentified persons were alleged to have died of the infection after attending the party.

Responding to the reports yesterday, Osoba lamented that there was a lot of blackmail and alarm going on the internet that one Rotimi Adigun had died of avirus and that those who attended the anniversary should submit themselves for test. Osoba, who was also a guest at Oguntade’s birthday said: “I want to clear the air that I, after attending the party, have not developed any sign of illness or symptoms of the pandemic.” Osoba noted that nobody has told Nigerians that Adigun died of virus, as there was no autopsy to prove such claim.

BUA Foundation Donates N1bn to Support Fight against COVID-19 To strengthen the national response to COVID-19 in Nigeria, the Founder of BUA Group, Alhaji Abdul Samad Rabiu, has announced a donation of 1billion in cash through the BUA Foundation and has also placed an order for an additional donation of equipment and medical supplies, including testing kits and medical protective gear to nine states in Nigeria. These medical supplies are being airfreighted and will arrive Nigeria as soon as possible. States to benefit include: Lagos, Kano, Adamawa, Edo, Kwara, Rivers, Abia, Akwa-Ibom and Sokoto.

Speaking on the donation, Rabiu said that it was very important for the private sector to support the government’s effort to curb the spread of the virus, while also adding that the N1billion donation will be done through the Central Bank of Nigeria-led “Private Sector Coalition Committee against COVID-19”. “This donation will not only provide additional needed funds to the government and NCDC’s efforts but will also serve to protect healthcare and medical workers on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. In addition to donating the

ordered medical supplies and equipment to the two most populated states in Northern and Southern Nigeria, we have also selected seven states across all geopolitical regions in Nigeria where significant members of the BUA workforce and their families are situated to help preparedness and response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Each of these nine states will receive about 100,000 protective facemasks, 1000 highgrade medical protection and isolation gear, 2,000 protective goggles, 1,000 gloves and 1,000 testing kits amongst other things.” Rabiu added

Edo Govt Begins Fumigation of Streets, Public Places Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City The Edo State Government and all the local government councils in the state yesterday began a state wide simultaneous fumigation of all parts of the state in order to keep the environment clean and rid it of the deadly virus and other diseases. The state government also declared its resolve to enforce the stay at home order on residents to avert possible spread of the deadly disease in all parts of the state. It further noted with dismay that civil servants were not adhering to the stay at home order while most markets and other public service outlets have flagrantly disobeyed the directive without any thought of the consequences of their actions in

the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Philip Shaibu, stated this during a press briefing in Benin City, capital of the state. He noted that the monitoring of the implementation of the stay at home order around the state indicated a partial compliance to the directive. Shaibu also stated that the state government has secured the support of the stakeholders and leaders of transport unions to implement the new sitting arrangements in commercial vehicles, which allowed taxi cars to carry only one passenger in front and two at the back while buses would carry one passenger in front seat and two persons in each row of seats. He urged commercial bus drivers in the state to ensure

they produce manifest of their passengers on daily basis. “By tomorrow (today), we have asked the task force to ensure total compliance on the directive on stay at home to avoid the spread of the virus,” he said. Shaibu also warned hotels, which are hosting some returnees on self-isolation in their facilities, must take precautionary measures while dealing with such customers to contain the spread of the COVID-19. The deputy governor pointed out that the state government, private hospitals and doctors under the umbrella of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) are collaborating in tracking the estimated 111 contacts.

Osun Closes Major Markets, Land Borders Osun State government yesterday announced the closure of major markets with effect from Friday, March 27, (today) while also limiting the boarding capacity of vehicles operating within the state as part of the ongoing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State. In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Wole Oyebamiji, the government announced that all markets in the state, including Orisumbare, Ajegunle spare

parts market and Ayegbaju market will be shut with effect from today. The statement further announced that all shopping malls will also be shut, except for their pharmaceutical, foods and medical needs outlets. Speaking on transportation within the state, the SSG said: “all motorcycles henceforth will carry only one passenger, while all mini buses will carry only four passengers with one passenger in front, one in the middle and two at the back seat”.

The statement also announced the closure of the land borders into the state with effect from Saturday, 28th March. In another development, the government advised all returnees from the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other countries marked as high risk countries, who returned to the State of Osun in the last two weeks, to call the State’s emergency number - 293 - for instructions on how to stay safe.



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Nigeria Records 176 Deaths from Lassa Fever Outbreak Martins Ifijeh Amidst the burden from COVID-19, Nigeria has recorded three new deaths from Lassa fever, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 176 since the outbreak in January. This was contained in the latest Lassa fever situation

report published last night by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The report shows that within the last one week, 28 new cases have been recorded while the total confirmed cases in the country are 932 since the last 12 weeks. Of the 28 new confirmed cases since the past one week, Edo and

Ondo states had the highest with eight and five cases respectively. For the week under review, no healthcare worker was affected. The distribution of cases across

the country also shows that only 10 states have so far not been affected by the outbreak since January. The states are Zamfara, Niger,

Ekiti, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, Kwara, Cross Rivers and Imo and Yobe. “Of the 932 recorded cases since January, patients currently being

managed in the country are 48.” The report also showed that since the past five years, the burden of the outbreak is highest this year.

Again, Court Insists PDP Has No Candidate in Kogi Guber Election Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja The Federal High Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, has once again disqualified the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) standard bearer in the November 16, 2019 governorship election, saying the party had no candidate in the election. Justice D.U Okorowo, who delivered the judgment in the case of Femi Peter vs. (1) PDP (2) INEC (3) Musa Atayi Wada in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1147/2019 last Wednesday, granted all prayers sought by the petitioner. The suit, which was filed by a lawyer, public interest litigator and citizen of Kogi State, Femi Peter, sought among other prayers, an order disqualifying Musa Atayi Wada (the PDP candidate in the November 16, 2019, Kogi State gubernatorial election) from contesting the election having presented false information/false document to INEC in support of his candidacy. It was alleged that Musa Wada forged the certificate of his primary education which he presented to INEC together with his Form CF001.

It was also alleged that he presented false information on oath when he stated in his Form CF001 submitted to INEC that he had never presented a forged certificate to INEC. In proof of his claims, the plaintiff supplied letters written by both Kwara and Kogi State Ministries of Education confirming that Wada’s certificate of primary education was not authentic. Also supplied were sample certificates issued in 1973 which showed clearly that Wada’s certificate bore no semblance in content and character (including serial number) as those genuinely issued by the Ministry of Education of Kwara State in 1973. Justice Okorowo, after analysing the avalanche of evidence provided by the plaintiff held that the plaintiff has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the certificate of primary education of Wada was a forged/false document, and that he lied in his Form CF001 when he answered ‘NO’ to the question whether he had ever presented a forged certificate to INEC.


L-R: District Governor, 404-B2 Nigeria, Mr. Wesley Kafidiya; newly installed President of Ikeja Lions Club, Mr. Omooba Bamikole Adediwura; and his wife, Mrs. Modupeola Adediwura, during the public presentation of the 40th president at the 40th anniversary of Ikeja Lions Club in Lagos…yesterday AKINYELE ABAYOMI

Insurgency: Military Air Strikes Destroy ISWAP Hideout in Borno Kingsley NwezehinAbuja The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) yesterday deployed fighter jets that bombarded the hideout of terrorist group, Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) killing scores of insurgents. The attack aircraft, operating under the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole, struck the hideout of the insurgents in Muktu, northern Borno State, destroying logistics stores of the terrorists.

Awar update issued by theActing Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, said the air interdiction was part of Operation Decisive Edge launched by the military to contain insurgents, who surrounded themselves with hostages and mines in Sambisa Forest. “The Armed Forces of Nigeria has destroyed some structures belonging to elements of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in air strikes conducted

at Muktu in the Northern part of Borno State. “The mission was executed by the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole yesterday, March 25, 2020, as part of the ongoing subsidiary Operation Decisive Edge, after Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) flights indicated that the ISWAP elements were using some compounds in two locations within the settlement to store their logistics as well as train their fighters.”

According to the update, fighter jets were deployed to engage the identified compounds, scoring accurate hits leading to the destruction of the structures as well as the neutralisation of their occupants. It further said “the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the North-east, will continue to sustain the offensive against the enemies of our nation”.

Court Orders Interim Forfeiture of General’s N293m, Land, MTN Shares

NigerVows to Nab Killers of 27 Police, Military Officers

Davidson Iriekpen

Laleye Dipo in Minna

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of N293million, six parcels of land and 30, 000 MTN shares recovered from a former Commander of the military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, in the Niger Delta, Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Atewe (rtd). Justice Mohammed Liman made an order for the temporary forfeiture of the assets to the federal government, following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The anti-graft agency had alleged that the assets were part of the proceeds of N8.5billion which Atewe allegedly diverted from the military operation between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015. The landed properties were identified as 50 hectares of farmland at Plot No. FL746B Gaube Farmland Extension II Layout, Kuje, Abuja; a piece of land located at Commercial Layout, Yenagoa Gardens, Bayelsa State; one hectare of land in Kuje District, Abuja; Plot No. CP10, Sector Centre B Layout,

Kuje, Abuja; Plot MF62 Outer Northern Expressway Cadastral Zone, Abuja; Plot No. 1228 Jahi, Abuja; four hectares of land designated as Plot No.CP6386 and Plot No.CP6387, Sabon Lugbe, Abuja. An investigating officer of the EFCC, Mr. Adamu Yusuf, said Atewe purchased the 30,000 MTN shares for N170,350,000. Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order the temporary forfeiture of the assets. After listening to him, Justice Liman granted the prayers and ordered that the temporary forfeiture order be published in a national newspaper. The judge adjourned till April 20 for anyone interested in the assets to appear before him to show reasons why they should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government. The EFCC has since 2016 been prosecutingAtewe alongside a former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi; Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga.

Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has vowed that the state government will fish out the killers of police and military officers in Galadimakogo village in the Shiroro Local Government Area of the state. Not less than 27 policemen and military personnel posted to the area to protect the villagers against bandit attacks were slain in yet-to-be-known circumstances last Sunday. Bello said though “the reports

about the unfortunate attack have been unclear, the suspects who master-minded the heinous crime would not go unpunished, as the government would do everything lawfully possible to bring the bandits to justice and prevent against future occurrence.” The governor made the vow when he received in audience security chiefs led by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), AbdulMajid Ali, and Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 7, Hosea Karma, at the Government House in Minna,

according to a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel Berje. The statement noted that Bello, who is now in self-isolation having been in contact with some of his colleagues during their series of meetings in Abuja last week, also described the killing of the security operatives “as most embarrassing,” pointing out that “the loss of the gallant officers to the bandits is painful. “We are working together with governors of the North-west states, and security agencies are

making progress in tracking and identifying the locations of the criminals, and very soon, such locations will be verified and attacked.” Bello commiserated with the army, police and families of the gallant officers over the unfortunate incident, and prayed God to grant the souls of the deceased eternal rest. He said with the latest development, government will no longer dialogue with the bandits, adding that “it is time to take the fight to them (bandits).”

Ogoni Elders Allege Poor Execution of $360m Clean-up Contracts Chuks Okocha in Abuja The Ogoni Elders Council the ‘Gbo Kabaari,’ has written a letter to the Minister of Environment over what it described as the flawed implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) recommendations of Ogoni Clean-up exercise, alleging insiders abuse within government agencies. The letter dated March 18 2020,

which was sighted by THISDAY, also accused officials NOSDRA of complicity . The letter was signed by Senator Bennett Birabi as Chairman; Dr. Aluba Bari D. Nbete, General Secretary; with Mr. Ledum Mitee; Mr .Baritor L. Kpagih; Chief Monday Nbueh; Chief Michael Aloega and John Pascal Nalley, as members. The Ogoni elders alleged that: “Even more worrisome

is the fact that by the UNEP Report which forms the basis of the clean-up exercise, about 30 per cent of the estimated cost of $1 billion for the first five years of the exercise was to be utilised for the provision of alternative drinking water, alternative employment for those in artisanal refining and restoration of artisanal refining sites,Ogoniland Restoration Authority and Centre for

Excellence in Restoration. “Yet, nothing significant has been done about these out of the $360million that is reported to have been released so far for the clean-up exercise. There is equally a mind-boggling disproportion between the said reported disbursed amount and the scope of job done in terms of remediation, environmental sustainability, livelihood enhancement”.




Group Sports Editor Duro Ikhazuagbe Email 0811 181 3083 SMS ONLY

Shanghai Tempt Ighalo with £400,000-a-week Deal to Return to China Duro Ikhazuagbe with agency report These are indeed rosy time for former Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo, whose football career was presumed to have hit a dead end with his drift to the Far East. Following the resurgence of his career at Manchester United he joined on loan on January transfer deadline day, his parent club Shanghai Shenhua yesterday offered Ighalo a new £400,000 (about N190million)a-week deal to extend his stay in the Chinese Super League. According to UK’s SportsMail, Ighalo’s performances have been enough to impress the Red Devils hierarchy to want to sign him on a permanent basis for £15million this summer when his loan deal expires on May 31. But Shanghai Shenhua are hopeful of swaying the 30-year-old with an eye watering package to keep him in the Chinese Super League for another two years, according to Sky Sports. United’s deal with the Chinese side ends a month earlier than most loan deals, and the club may have to agree an extension if they want to keep him for the remainder of the Premier League season should it continue on through the summer due to the coronavirus. This could see him stay with United until June 30,

with players’ union FIFPro working on a solution to contract uncertainty amid the present football shutdown. Shanghai were recently prepared to cash in on Ighalo if United could match their valuation of £15m, and a permanent switch to Old Trafford looked on the cards with United happy to pay it. But now the Chinese outfit are ready to increase his wages from £300,000 per week to £400,000 per week, with a two-year extension that would see him remain with the club until 2024. Ighalo is said to be flattered by the staggering new contract offer, but he is putting all of his focus on playing for the club he supported as a boy until his loan deal expires. United started the campaign with just one senior striker as Marcus Rashford was given the task of carrying the club’s attacking threat after Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan - with no replacement brought in. Mason Greenwood has helped the cause, scoring an impressive 12 goals in just his second season in professional football, but with the 18-year-old lacking in experience, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought in Ighalo in a temporary switch in January. Ighalo had Premier League experience from his time at Watford and has a decent track record across his career, but many felt he wasn’t the calibre of player the club were hoping to attract, with the Nigerian entering his

CAF, Inter Milan Celebrate Taribo West at 46 The Confederation of African Football (CAF) sent best wishes to former Super Eagles defender,Taribo West, who turned 46 years old yesterday. Taribo who last played for the Nigerian senior team in a 1-0 friendly victory against Libya in Tripoli in 2005, was celebrated by CAF alongside Indomitable Lions of Cameroon’s Pierre Womé, Justice Majabvi of Zimbabwe and Michael Olunga of Kenya. CAF wrote on its Twitter handle yesterday: “Happy Birthday to Pierre Womé, Taribo West, Justice Majabvi, Michael Olunga. Hope you have a terrific day!” The Rivers State born Taribo made his Super Eagles debut in a 3-1 defeat to Sweden in 1994. During his time with the Eagles, Taribo represented Nigeria at the Ghana/Nigeria 2000 and Mali 2002 Africa Cup of Nations. He was also a member of the Eagles squad to the France ‘98 and Korea/Japan 2002 World Cups. At junior level he was part of the James Peters-led Flying Eagles squad that crashed out in the group stage, at the 1993 African Youth

Championship in Mauritius. Taribo was part of Nigeria’s U-23 Dream Team that won gold in the men’s football event of Atlanta ‘96 Olympic Games. At club level, Taribo played for Obanta United, Sharks, Enugu Rangers, Julius Berger, Auxerre, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Derby County, Kaiserslautern and Partizan Belgrade. He won the FrenchLigue 1 with Auxerre and the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) with Inter Milan.

Taribo West

thirties and playing in the Chinese Super League. But he made a fast impact

to life at Old Trafford, scoring four in just three starts - including two in the

Europa League and two in the FA Cup. His presence in the team has been

applauded by Solskjaer, who called him ‘a breath of fresh air ’.

Odion the toast of Shanghai Shenhua

Africa Senior Athletics Championships Postponed The 22nd edition of the Africa Senior Athletics championships has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of Africa’s best track and field athletes were scheduled to converge in Algiers, Algeria, between 24 and 28 June this year for the championships. The last edition of the championships held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State in 2018. But a statement shared by the host Algeria Athletics Federation

(FAA) on their website stated, “Following the magnitude of the pandemic and the containment and awareness measures decided by the public authorities, the two sports authorities decided to postpone these championships to the summer of 2021.” The new dates of the African biannual championships will be decided later, although organisers are looking at the 2021 summer period, which is likely to fall around the same time as a rescheduled Tokyo

Olympic Games. This decision to postpone was arrived at after consultation and agreement between the FAA and the African Athletics Confederation. The announcement came after the International Olympics Committee officially announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics Games to 2021. The last championships took place in Asaba, Nigeria in 2018 with world stars Caster Semenya, Conseslus Kipruto,

Marie-Josée Ta Lou, Akani Simbine, Amos Nijel, Hugues Fabrice Zango amongst those who walked away with gold medals. The cancellation of the Athletics championships follows the cancellation of the African Cross Country championships which was to be held in Lome, Togo on 8 of April. CAA moved the event to March 2021, the same month as the World Cross Country championships.

Six Boxers, Officials Test Positive at Olympic Qualifier in London Six members of boxing teams who attended an Olympic qualifying event in London in March are said to have contracted Covid-19. The Turkish Boxing Federation said two fighters and a coach tested positive since returning from the event. Marko Marovic of the Croatian Boxing Federation also claims a fighter and two of its coaches have the disease. He told BBC Sport: “Our epidemiologist says they were most probably infected during (the) Tokyo 2020 qualifier.” Marovic, secretary general of the Croatian Boxing Federation, added: “Our first concern is the health of our boxing family. We are still praying that everything ends well and there will be no other positive tests.” He said both Croatian coaches and the fighter were “stable” and in quarantine. Earlier, organisers of the Road to Tokyo competition at the Copper Box - including an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing

Task Force - were branded “irresponsible” by the Turkish Boxing Federation after three of its team tested positive. The event was called off after three days because of the pandemic. Turkish Boxing Federation president Eyup Gozgec told BBC Sport that organisers failed to take the outbreak seriously enough and “didn’t care”. He added: “I just want to know, when the whole world was on high alert, why they hosted this event? “We didn’t see any hygienic standards there. There were no preventative measures.” The IOC said its Task Force was “not aware of any link between the competition and the infection”. It added that at the time of the competition there were no governmental restrictions in place, but expressed its sympathy for the affected athletes. The local organising committee also said they had applied extra precautions and

that no teams had reported symptoms at the event. In a scathing letter sent to the board members of the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC), and seen by the BBC, Gozgec wrote: “Two of our athletes (and a coach) have tested positive for (Covid-19) after returning to Turkey from London. All of them are in treatment now and thankfully are in good condition. “This is the disastrous result of the irresponsibility of the IOC Boxing Task Force.” Gozgec says he now intends to write to all European boxing associations asking if any of their teams at the event have since tested positive. “The organisers were irresponsible, and I think they didn’t realise the severity of the issue so they just didn’t care,” he said. “They just didn’t take this outbreak seriously and they didn’t care about it. They did no tests for us. They just told us to go. They dropped us at the airport and that was it.” He added: “They knew

they were going to have to cancel - why go with it? The health of our athletes and staff is our priority.” It is not clear whether the fighters and coach contracted the virus in London or once they returned to Turkey. Organised by the IOC’s Boxing Task Force (BTF) following the suspension of international federation the AIBA last year, the European qualifying event started on 14 March with full crowds at the Copper Box, the day after major sporting events including all professional football in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had been suspended. After the first two days of the event, the BTF decided that “due to the changing situation with coronavirus and concerns for public, athlete and volunteer welfare”, the event would take place “behind closed doors”. However, following the third day of competition, the event was suspended.




Bundesliga Top Four Make 20m Euros Cash Pledge to Other Teams The four Bundesliga clubs in this season’s Champions League have pledged 20m euros (£18.3m) to support fellow German teams during the coronavirus. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen will forego their share of the national media revenue and donate the remainder from their own funds. The German Football League (DFL) will decide how the money will be distributed. “We want to send a signal of solidarity to all clubs in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2,” Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. The last Bundesliga fixture was played on 11 March and football in Germany’s top divisions was suspended with immediate effect on 13 Marchbecause of Covid-19.

Former West Germany striker Rummenigge added: “In these difficult times, it’s important that the stronger shoulders support the weaker shoulders. With this, we also want to show that football is standing together right now.” Dortmund chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves. “Borussia Dortmund is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects

of the pandemic.” Christian Seifert, a spokesman for the DFL executive committee said: “The initiative shows that solidarity is more than just lip service in the Bundesliga and

Bundesliga 2.” Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and his wife Anna have contributed one million euros(£923,900) to fight the virus, team-mates Leon Goretzka

and Joshua Kimmich set up a fund called We Kick Corona and contributed one million euros between them, while Manchester City’s German winger Leroy Sane has also made a considerable

financial donation. On Wednesday, players and directors at Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund agreed to take temporary pay cuts.

Player Contracts Should be Extended Due to Covid-19, Says FIFA Current contracts for players and coaches should be extended until the end of the delayed domestic football seasons, according to an internal FIFA document presented to its Covid-19 Working Group. The confidential document, seen by Reuters, also recommends allowing transfer windows to be changed in accordance with new season dates and urges clubs and players to work together to find solutions to salary payments during stoppages. The document is due to be discussed by members of FIFA’s Working Group later on Thursday. No decision on the issues has yet been taken by FIFA. FIFA set up the working group on March 18 and said in a statement that it will “assess the need for amendments or temporary dispensations to the FIFA Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players” to protect contracts for both players and clubs and adjusting player registration periods. “This work has already started and will be conducted in consultation with all key stakeholders, including confederations, member associations, clubs, leagues and players,” FIFA added. Most domestic and international football competitions around the world have been suspended due to the pandemic and national team tournaments such as Euro 2020 and the Copa America have been postponed. While domestic leagues are

Gianni Infantino FIFA President

hoping to resume when the threat from the virus has receded, concrete start dates have yet to be fixed. That leaves the issue of expiring player contracts, which are usually timed to finish at the end of a given season, as a potential headache. The key suggestion to the working group in the document seen by Reuters is that “where an agreement is due to expire at the original end date of a season, such expiry be extended until the new end date of the season”. The same approach would apply to deals for next season, with their start date delayed in accordance with the shifting calendar. The risk of some domestic divisions starting and finishing earlier or some national leagues having a different start date to other countries is also tackled in the document. “In case of overlapping seasons and/or registration periods, and unless all parties agree otherwise, priority be given to the former club to complete their season with their original squad, in order to safeguard the integrity of a domestic league championship”. Transfer payments between clubs, scheduled around league start and end dates should also be delayed until the new start date of a season or its first registration period, the document states. The working group will also examine the issue of clubs’ responsibilities to pay their staff when leagues are suspended. The document states that clubs, players and coaches should be encouraged to work together to agree on salary reductions and deferrals. Yet they should consider the alternative, where possible, that agreements between clubs and employees are suspended when teams are not playing or training. It is also recommended that FIFA use its newly-created ‘Fund for Professional Players’ to help ease any difficulties that clubs are facing. Transfer windows, fixed around the end and start of the seasons, will also need to be adjusted to fit in with altered season dates and the documennot exceed the maximum 16-week period.

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are among the top four German teams that have pledged 20 euroes to other clubs in the Bundesliga

Italian Football Chief Ready to End Season in August Italian football federation (FIGC) President, Gabriele Gravina, said late Wednesday he was determined that the Serie A season would be concluded even going into August. All sports in Italy have been suspended until April 3 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the postponement of Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics.

“We will do everything to complete the championships, if necessary we will ask for the support of UEFA and FIFA to go beyond June 30 and play also in July or August,” Gravina told Radio Marte. “It’s premature to think of a date, but we must think positively, also for the health of Italians and hope that this situation will end as soon as

possible.” The FIGC chief had last week expressed his hope that the championship could resume on the weekend of May 2. A meeting is scheduled for Thursday between the representatives of the Italian league, FIGC, the players’ union, coaches and the government to evaluate the future. “There are many issues,” said

Gravina. As for the suspended championship, Gravina rejected either cancelling or assigning the title as the table stands where champions Juventus were leading by a point when the season was halted. “This would lead to an unpleasant scenario. As long as possible, I will continue to reject these options.”

Gatlin Says He Can Win Sprint Gold at Tokyo Olympics Former Olympic and world 100m champion Justin Gatlin has said that he can win gold at the Tokyo Olympics despite him likely being 39 when the postponed Games take place. The Olympics, due to begin in July, were postponedthis week because of the coronavirus pandemic. American Gatlin, 38, won gold at Athens 2004 and the world title in London in 2017 after a second doping ban.

Asked if he could win in Tokyo, he told TMZ Sports:”My educated guess is yes.” The Games will be staged “no later than summer 2021”, according to the International Olympic Committee. Gatlin, who turns 39 in February, said: “A lot of people think that time is against me, but that is far from the truth. “Resting your body, refocusing yourself and staying hungry, we will come back re-energised for

2021. “My body has not been worn down by running a lot of races in 2020. It won’t be that big of a difference being 38 to being 39.” Gatlin served a four-year between 2006 and 2010 after testing positive for testosterone, his second doping offence after a year’s suspension for using a banned amphetamine in 2001. His victory at London 2017,when he shocked a retiring Usain Bolt and fellow American

Christian Coleman, was greeted by jeers from the crowd. Gatlin did not rule out continuing beyond 2021, saying the example of American football star Tom Brady, who signed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneersthis week at the age of 42, had inspired him. “It’s giving me hope that that maybe a 40-year-old Justin Gatlin on track won’t be too crazy,” he said.

Real Madrid to Set up Santiago Bernabeu as Covid-19 Supplies Hub Real Madridhave announced their intention to set up the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as a hub for storing medical supplies, and for organisations and businesses to make monetary or material donations in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Spainhas been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak, with reports on Thursday putting the number of confirmed cases over 56,000, with fatalities now having breached the 4,000 mark. As a result of the aggressive spread, Spain extended their countrywide lockdown until April 12 at the earliest. With football on hold for the foreseeable future, various clubs and players have been making

donations or personal sacrifices to do their bit in the fight against the illness, and Madrid’s latest gesture should go some way to helping curb the spread in and around the Spanish capital. A statement released on Thursday read: “Real Madrid, in collaboration with the High Council for Sport (CSD), has launched a project in Madrid to supply and distribute strategic medical supplies to be used in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of the close collaboration between the two institutions, the Santiago Bernabeu will offer a space that is equipped to store the donations of medical supplies required in the fight

against this pandemic. “All of the stored supplies will be passed on to the Spanish health authorities, under the authority of the Spanish government, so that the resources, so necessary in the current health emergency situation, are employed in the best and most efficient manner. “In addition, Real Madrid will provide a facility for organisations and businesses, particularly those belonging to the sports sector, to leave money or material donations that they wish to make to the Ministry of Health. This initiative is in addition to those which, pursuing similar outreach aims, may be established by the government. “Through the mechanisms

already in place and under the constant supervision of the lead medical supplies centre in the Madrid town of Valdemoro, the Ministry of Health will be responsible for allocating the donations to the centres and organisations in greatest need. “The contact telephone number of this large medical supplies centre at the Santiago Bernabéu is 900 100 688. “The centre can also be contacted via the following email address: Covid19donaciones@ “Donations can be made to the following current account, which belongs to the Real Madrid Foundation: ES17 2100 5731 7802 00320934 (Caixabank).”

Friday March 27, 2020





Price: N250


NLC to FG “Elitist syndrome or the Nigerian ‘bigmanism’ has severely impaired our response as some senior government officials refuse to subject themselves for routine test, self-isolation and tracking. These negative attitudes contribute to rising number of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria” – The NLC blaming top government officials for spreading of coronavirus in the country.


Feast of the Passover I

n my present state of lockdown and shutdown in metropolitan Europe, I’m reminded of the days of our childhood in Ekiti. In the near term, society lockdown has been the stock response to the uncontrollable outbreak of epidemic disease since classical antiquity. According to Prophet Mohammed ‘When you hear that (a plague) is in a land, do not go to it and if it occurs in a land that you are already in, then do not leave it, fleeing from it.” I distinctly remember two precedents - the outbreaks of smallpox and cholera in the early 70s, I think, (in Okemesi) where similar response was deployed. The shutdown was for the purpose of communal cleansing and purification rites. After due consultation with the superintendent deities and the consequent prescription of atonement sacrifices; the senior masquerades from each clan were summoned and mandated to bear the ritual sacrifices to portentous spots and locations in and around the town- road intersections, gateways to the town, shrines etc. Mass vaccination and inoculation were not quite forthcoming at the time and it took the personal intervention of my uncle to make arrangements for the vaccination of as many members of the clan as possible.This was double insurance for the lucky clan. To the best of my knowledge-subject to the limitation to which the boundless curiosity of this adventurous little child of the big man (omo minister) can be gratified, I can attest to the efficacy of the larger community spiritual fortification. News travels fast in the close knit community but seldom would you hear of any casualty thereafter. On their return from the rarefied battlefield of the spirit world and the determination that the votive offerings have been accepted, the masquerades were accorded a heroic welcome and an adhoc Egungun carnival then ensued. For me, there is an outstanding puzzle to this sacred exercise. The ingredients comprising the sacrifice potions were usually inclusive of coins, food items like eggs, meat and the rest. And I recall that the notorious rascally urchins in the community used to sneak in to retrieve and pocket the coins, and make a feast of the food items! And they seemingly committed this sacrilege with impunity- they just go on with their lives unaffected by any noticeable repercussions, be they bodily harm, ailment or misfortune.This weird misdemeanor was also prevalent among primary and secondary school students. I wouldn’t know how these guys fared in latter life though. In the circumstance, I guess the important and relevant point was that those ritual appeasements and atonement appeared effective. Where, before the intervention, there was an outbreak- such trends were, to all appearances, halted in quick order. Anthropological speculators have adduced a measure of overlap between Yoruba indigenous religious sacraments and Judaism. It was while I was ruminating on this wavelength that my mind was arrested by an old testament exemplar- the pseudo historical account of the ‘feast of the passover’. On account of those who

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire are not familiar with the narrative of the biblical exemplar, I will quote, at length, the scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy “The Passover Feast commemorates Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Today, the Jewish people not only celebrate Passover as a historical event but in a broader sense, celebrate their freedom as Jews. One day, through a man named Moses, God came to rescue his people. At the time Moses was born, Pharaoh had ordered the death of all Hebrew males, but God spared Moses when his mother hid him in a basket along the banks of the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and raised him as her own. Later, Moses fled to Midian after killing an Egyptian for cruelly beating one of his own people. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and said, “I have seen the misery of my people. I have heard their cries, I care about their suffering, and I have come to rescue them. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people out of Egypt.” (Exodus 3:7-10) After making excuses, Moses finally

Now I know better but the most critical lesson I have learnt from the raging pandemic is just how vulnerable humanity is at the hands of mother nature. And that maybe there is a potent spiritual dimension to all this

obeyed God. But Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. God sent ten plagues to persuade him. With the final plague, God promised to strike dead every first-born son in Egypt at midnight on the fifteenth day of Nissan. The Lord provided instructions to Moses so his people would be spared. Each Hebrew family was to take a Passover lamb, slaughter it, and place some of the blood on the door frames of their homes. When the destroyer passed over Egypt, he would not enter the homes covered by the blood of the Passover lamb”. As it was with the Passover so it was with the momentary shutdown of society in Ekiti of yore-so the scourge of the plague may be engaged and subdued. As the placement of the ritual identification (or anointing to put it in Pentecostal parlance) passover blood of the lamb on the lintel of the Jewish household was directed by the Jewish God, so was the ritual sacrifice prescription mandated by the Yoruba superintending deity or divinity speaking through the adept diviner. Now, sitting down at home, in part, in voluntary detention in Cardiff- and in part, in collective communal obedience to the directive of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I was reminded of the Yoruba parallel of Ìséde (forbidden from wandering out of your residence) to enable a wholesome grappling with the essence of what plagues the community. Emboldened with inherent confidence in the supersonic, almost godlike technological sufficiency of the contemporary global superpower (Putin would not like this but I think there is only one left) my initial reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and attendant global panic was lighthearted trivialisation. This attitude was further encouraged by the initial medical briefing that it was no more lethal than the common cold with similar symptoms and pathology. And the logical conclusion that only geriatrics and those compromised by immune deficiency are the vulnerable population. Now I know better but the most critical lesson I have learnt from the raging pandemic is just how vulnerable humanity is at the hands of mother nature. And that maybe there is a potent spiritual dimension to all this. Yet, even in my initial dismissive attitude, a fortnight ago, I acted in a manner contrary to my outward disposition of belittling the crisis-as all smoke without fire. Seizing upon the lull in social activities, light human traffic and creeping highway desolation in Oxford, my minder encouraged me to acquire a six months deferred enlightenment excursion to the historic tourist spots in the city-especially the museum. And among the places we visited was a six hundred years old church where I encountered the non visible antiquated apparitions who had been dwelling therein in as many years. On our way out I chanced upon a book of prayer requests and without hesitation I made the sole request that God should cure and rid the land of COVID-19. As the scourge gathered tempo, worldwide attention became riveted by the going ons in America, the lone worldwide hegemon- a veritable case of when Washington sneezes (never mind it was actually China that did

the sneezing this time around), the rest of humanity catches COVID-19. Never mind the theatre of the absurd that has become Trump’s America-. And of course, Trump being Trump, the American President has gone through his routine motions of blundering buffoonery, bearing false witness on about every topic reinforced with arrogant display of pre pubescent distemper in the glare of daily media briefing sessions. In his typical huff and bluster, he had declared himself a war time President squaring up to a worthy adversary called COVID-19. Yet we all remember how brave he proved himself when he was confronted with the prospect of being drafted for a real war at the prime of his manhood. And I now regret forgetting to include him in my shopping prayer basket at the antique house of God the other day. Next to the pandemic, the Trump Presidency would be my priority prayer point worthy of being extirpated from the company of decent humanity. Need we iterate that many world and African leaders today are plagues in human form?. And the opportunity of getting rid of the most virulent looms larger everyday in the run down to the November showdown. Insha Allah,Trump would go the same sneaky way (like a thief in the night) he alighted on all of us, his ruinous tenure to wrought. I’m appalled at his poll numbers- that a President this defective can command the unwavering support of at least 40 per cent of the voting age population of Americans beats hollow the imagination- ‘an unpopular president who still has a lot of Americans who like him’. While erroneously disavowing the possibility of Trump getting elected as President four years ago, Fareed Zakaria did not know how prophetic he would prove when he characterised Trump as a cancer on American democracy.Transiting from the enormous idealism signposted by the election of Barack Obama’s to the dangerously profane and perverse incumbent is a tough call. I have no doubt in my mind that the dark coronavirus patch the world is trending through is pregnant with providential meanings for mankind. In the inspired lyrics of my all time favourite musician, Bob Marley- ‘there is a natural mystic blowing through the air and if you listen carefully now you will hear, many more will have to suffer, many more will have to die, don’t ask me why’... Unlike Bob Marley, you can ask me why and I will respond as follows: Remember the prophetic Zakaria branding of Trump as a cancer? Another befitting characterisation is sharing the profile of a bacchanalian Pharaoh of the orgiastic Cleopatra-ptolemy order. Trump, of course, cannot be the only Pharaoh in the universe. There is one in Russia, there is another in Syria, North Korea, Turkey, and some would add Nigeria. And remember, for every Pharaoh, there is the red sea. A spiritual cleansing is coursing through the world, the avenging angel of God is wielding the spear to hack down the workers of of iniquity (country by country) and perceiving the blood of the lamb identification mark on those who have not partaken of the iniquities- will pass them over.

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