Nigeria Records 328 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Now 11,844

 

Nigeria has recorded 328 new cases of the COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 11, 844.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), announced this on Friday.

According to the agency’s report, 121 of the new cases were recorded in Lagos, 70 in the FCT, and 25 in Bauchi.

Other affected states were Rivers with 18 cases, Oyo with 16, 15 in Kaduna, 14 in Gombe, 13 in Edo and Ogun, eight in Jigawa, six in Enugu, five in Kano and two each in Ondo and Osun states.

 

However, the NCDC also noted that a total of 3,696 patients have now recovered from the virus and have subsequently been discharged from isolation centers, while 333 persons have died.

Nearly four months since Nigeria recorded its first case in the country, the figures have continued to rise with Lagos still the epicenter after a record 5,663 cases, closely followed by Kano State with 985 cases and the FCT with 862 cases.

With the latest figures, Nigeria is ranked third on the list of most infected African nations after South Africa and Egypt.

To curb further spread of the virus, the Federal Government had imposed a lockdown on the three majorly affected states at the time (Lagos, Ogun State and the FCT) in March.

Subsequently, other states began to impose varying degrees of curfews and governors eventually agreed on interstate lockdowns as they began to record new infections.

But weeks after the FG-Imposed lockdown, President Muhammadu Buhari announced again that there would be a gradual easing of the lockdown in order to allow economic activities resume as the country could not sustain an extended period of economic inactivity.

While essential workers and other levels of workers have been allowed to resume so far, the government has still appealed to those who can afford to stay at home, to do so.

Reducing interpersonal contacts and maintaining social distancing of up to 2-3meters is said to be one of the ways to curb the spread of the virus but that in itself has proven to be a difficult task for most Nigerians.

Other measures to stay safe include sneezing or coughing into your elbow, washing of hands regularly, use of alcohol-based sanitizers and wearing of face masks.

Read Also: Muslims In Abuja Gather To Pray As COVID-19 Restrictions Ease

While most businesses have been allowed to resume with strict adherence to the above measures, schools, cinemas, clubs and other places of mass social gatherings remain shut.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has, however, allowed the reopening of worship centers.

While the PTF had said it does not recommend that people resume at places of worship, it noted that if they have to, they must adhere strictly to the guidelines, some of which include the mandatory use of face masks by worshippers and provision of handwashing spots at the entrances.

Also, the use of hand sanitizers with at least sixty per cent alcohol content and mandatory temperature checks was advised.

The PTF also mandated that facilities be structured in a way that physical distancing can be observed and as much as possible, congregants avoid activities such a hugging, shaking or kissing.

In addition, it noted that church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc) that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve, while the time for worship services should not be more than one hour.

Some Muslim faithful in Abuja could already been seen gathering for prayers on Friday as the restrictions get lifted.

President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, and other government officials were also among those who attended Juma’at prayers – their first since the lockdown was imposed.

For schools, the government had stated last week that it is not ready to take the risk of resuming just yet.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, debunked reports that schools would open on June 8, adding that there would be no resumption “until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them, this COVID material”.

PHOTOS: Muslims In Abuja Gather To Pray As COVID-19 Restrictions Ease

Muslims gather to pray in Abuja on June 5, 2020. Photos: Sodiq Adelakun/ChannelsTV

 

Muslims on Friday gathered to pray at a mosque, as places of worship reopen following the gradual relaxation of restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

This comes days after the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 released guidelines for the reopening of worship centers in the country.

 

The PTF, however, noted that it does not recommend that people should go to places of worship, but if they have to, they must adhere to the guidelines, some of which included the mandatory use of face masks by worshippers and provision of handwashing spots at the entrances.

 

 

Also, the use of hand sanitizers with at least sixty per cent alcohol content and mandatory temperature checks was advised.

 


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The PTF also mandated that facilities be structured in a way that physical distancing can be observed and as much as possible, congregants avoid activities such a hugging, shaking or kissing.

It also noted that church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc) that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve, while the time for worship services should not be more than one hour.

 

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, and other government officials also attended their first Juma’at prayers at the State House Mosque in Abuja on Friday since the restrictions.

 

See more photos below.

Nigeria Records 348 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Infections Exceed 11,000

 

Nigeria has recorded an additional 348 COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 11,166.

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) disclosed this late on Wednesday.

According to the agency’s report, 163 of the new cases were recorded in Lagos, 76 in the FCT and 23 in Ebonyi.

Other affected states were Rivers with 21 cases, Delta, Nasarawa and Niger with eight each, Enugu with six, five each in Bauchi, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo and Gombe, four in Benue, two in Ogun, and one each in Osun, Plateau, Kogi and Anambra.

A total of 3,329 have been discharged, while 315 deaths have been recorded.

Nigeria has continued to record new cases of the novel coronavirus, three months after the first case was recorded in the country.

With the soaring figures, Lagos has remained the epicenter with 5,440 cases, closely followed by Kano State which did not record any new cases today, maintaining its initial 970 cases and the FCT with 763 cases.

The latest figures put Nigeria as third on the list of most infected African nations after South Africa and Egypt.

To curb further spread of the virus, the Federal Government had imposed a lockdown on the three majorly affected states at the time (Lagos, Ogun State and the FCT).

Subsequently, other states began to impose varying degrees of curfews and governors eventually agreed on interstate lockdowns as they began to record new infections.

But weeks after the FG-Imposed lockdown, President Muhammadu Buhari announced again that there would be a gradual easing of the lockdown in order to allow economic activities resume as the country could not sustain an extended period of economic inactivity.

While essential workers and other levels of workers have been allowed to resume so far, the government has still appealed to those who can afford to stay at home, to do so.

Reducing interpersonal contacts and maintaining social distancing of up to 2-3meters is said to be one of the ways to curb the spread of the virus but that in itself has proven to be a difficult task for most Nigerians.

Other measures to stay safe include sneezing or coughing into your elbow, washing of hands regularly, use of alcohol-based sanitizers and wearing of face masks.

Read Also: ‘No Hugging, Kissing’ – PTF Releases Guidelines For Reopening Worship Centers

While most businesses have been allowed to resume with strict adherence to the above measures, schools, worship centers and other places of social gatherings remain shut.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday said it does not recommend that people resume at places of worship, but if they have to, the task force will provide guidelines that would make it safe to do so.

In a set of guidelines later released by the PTF, places of worship were asked to comply with measures such as the mandatory use of face masks by worshippers, provision of hand washing spots at the entrances, use of hand sanitizers with at least sixty per cent alcohol content and mandatory temperature checks.

The PTF also mandated that facilities be structured in a way that physical distancing can be observed and as much as possible, congregants avoid activities such a hugging, shaking or kissing.

It also noted that church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc) that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve, while the time for worship services should not be more than one hour.

For schools, the government had stated last week that it is not ready to take the risk of resuming just yet.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, debunked reports that schools would open on June 8, adding that there would be no resumption “until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them, this COVID material”.

Trump, US Race Violence Leave Trudeau At Loss For Words

File photo of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a press conference. (Thomas KIENZLE / AFP).

 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared at a loss for words Tuesday, pausing for 20 seconds when pressed for his thoughts on US President Donald Trump’s threat of military mobilization against violent US protests.

“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” he said finally.

Now “is a time to listen, it is a time to pull people together and a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades,” he added.

Trudeau was responding to a CBC reporter who also asked the prime minister for his views on police using tear gas to clear protesters from outside the White House so Trump could pose for photographs at a nearby church damaged during civil unrest, and why Trudeau at times seemed reluctant to criticize Trump.

Usually quick on his feet, Trudeau’s pregnant pause during his daily COVID-19 briefing, televised live nationwide, spoke loudly.

The two leaders have had a rocky relationship since Trump walked out of a G7 summit in Quebec in June 2018, but they appeared to have mended fences last year at the conclusion of North American free trade negotiations.

As he has done in recent days, Trudeau chose to focus on Canada in his answer and reaffirmed that there was still a lot to do to fight racism in this country.

He also cautioned against drawing comparisons between Canada and the United States, or concluding “that we are much better here.”

“Canadians (must) recognize that we too have our challenges, that black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day,” he said.

“We need to see that not just as a government and take action, but we need to see that as Canadians. We need to be allies in the fight against discrimination.”

Senegal Arrests 70 Over Violent Protests Against COVID-19 Curfew

File photo of residents in Dakar on May 23, 2020. (Photo by JOHN WESSELS / AFP)

 

Senegalese police arrested more than 70 people on Wednesday after protests tinged by violence broke out in several cities across the West African country demanding a nighttime coronavirus curfew be lifted.

The protests over the 9:00 pm and 5:00am curfew started on Tuesday and continued into the night, their severity prompting an appeal for calm by a major Muslim leader.

In Touba, a religious hub 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of the capital Dakar, three police vehicles and an ambulance were set ablaze, a senior official said on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A coronavirus treatment centre there was attacked and the windows of the offices of electricity provider Senelec were smashed, the source said.

Witnesses added that post office buildings in Touba — the seat of the politically powerful Sufi Muslim order called the Mouride Brotherhood — were attacked.

In the neighbouring town of Mbacke, protesters damaged the local headquarters of radio station RFM, which is owned by singer and former minister Youssou N’Dour, according to the local journalists’ association 3CM.

The group said in a statement that it “firmly condemns these acts of vandalism” and “calls on the authorities to ensure the safety of the media during this period of riots”.

In a separate statement, the Council of Broadcasters and Press Publishers of Senegal (CDEPS) said “those responsible for this rampage must be tracked down and brought to justice”.

Protestors also erected barricades and burned tyres in Mbacke, other witnesses said.

The Senegalese media added demonstrations also occurred in Tambacounda, in the east of the country, and Diourbel, in the west.

There were 74 arrests — 29 in Touba, 38 in Mbacke, five in Tambacounda and two in Diourbel — a source close to the case said on Wednesday.

– ‘Go home’ –

The caliph, or leader, of the Mouride Brotherhood, Serigne Mountakha Mbacke, made a rare late-night TV appearance to call for an end to the protests in Touba, Senegal’s second-largest city with a population of around a million people.

“Go home. Tomorrow we will look at the source of the problems and how to address them. I don’t think we have ever seen this in Touba,” he said.

The curfew, imposed by President Macky Sall on March 23, bans movement between 9pm and 5am.

It is being implemented in tandem with a ban on travel between Senegal’s regions.

The measures have been extended until the end of June, although Sall eased other restrictions on May 11, allowing places of worship and markets to reopen.

High schools in the West African state had been due to reopen on Tuesday, but this step was delayed at the last minute after 10 teachers in the southern region of Casamance tested positive for COVID-19.

The country has recorded nearly 4,000 cases of coronavirus, 45 of them fatalities.

The figures are low compared to countries in Europe and the United States, although experts caution that, as elsewhere in Africa, Senegal is vulnerable to the pandemic because of its weak health system.

Demands for an easing of restrictions have mounted in the face of the plight of many Senegalese who depend on menial day-by-day jobs.

Around 40 percent of the population live below the threshold of poverty, according to a World Bank benchmark.

The government is expected to announce in the coming days whether it will ease some of the emergency curbs.

Charges Filed Against All Four Police Officers Involved In George Floyd’s Killing

 

Three Minneapolis policemen were charged Wednesday for their role in the killing of a handcuffed black man that ignited nationwide protests, while more serious charges were filed against the officer primarily responsible.

Minnesota prosecutors had announced a third-degree murder indictment Friday against 44-year-old Derek Chauvin — the white officer filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes while he pleads: “I can’t breathe.”

But they said they were increasing the charge, roughly akin to manslaughter, to second-degree murder, which does not involve premeditation but carries stiffer penalties.

“I believe the evidence available to us now supports the stronger charge of second-degree murder,” Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison said.

“We’re here today because George Floyd is not here,” Ellison added. “He should be here. He should be alive. But he’s not.”

Chauvin’s three colleagues at the scene of Floyd’s May 25 arrest for allegedly seeking to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit bill are accused of being complicit in the killing.

Tou Thao, 34, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Thomas Lane, 37, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

The arrest of all of the officers involved has been a persistent demand of protesters who have taken to the streets of dozens of US cities for the past nine days to condemn police brutality and demand racial justice.

Tens of thousands of people defied curfews in several US cities overnight to voice anger over 46-year-old Floyd’s death but the protests were largely peaceful and did not feature the looting or clashes with police of previous days.

Floyd’s family, in a statement, called the arrests a “bittersweet moment” and a “significant step forward on the road to justice.”

“These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department’s widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people’s constitutional rights,” his family said.

“We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support by Americans in cities across the country, and we urge them to raise their voices for change in peaceful ways.”

– ‘Last Resort’ –

While condemning Floyd’s death, President Donald Trump has adopted a tough stance towards the protesters, saying they include many “bad people” and “you have to have dominant force.”

“We need law and order,” he repeated on Wednesday.

Trump has also raised the possibility of invoking the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops to quell unrest, an option rejected by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said the National Guard should play that role when needed.

“The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” Esper said.

“We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

Trump meanwhile denied media reports that he was rushed for his safety to the White House bunker while protests raged in the streets outside.

“It was a false report,” Trump told Fox News Radio, before saying that he did go into the secure area for an “inspection” and only for a “tiny, little, short period of time.”

Reports of Trump taking shelter sparked a wave of online mockery, which is believed to have contributed to his decision on Monday to make a controversial walk across Lafayette Park — just outside the White House grounds — to visit a partly damaged church.

Police violently dispersed mostly peaceful crowds of protesters to clear a path for Trump, and the photo opportunity was loudly condemned by religious leaders, the president’s political rivals, and onlookers around the country.

National Guard troops have been heavily involved in controlling the unrest in several US cities and Trump threatened on Wednesday to send them to Democratic-ruled New York City if the authorities there “don’t get their act together.”

– ‘No More’ –

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the Insurrection Act remains “a tool available” to the president, who is facing a tough reelection battle in November.

“The president wants to protect America’s streets,” McEnany said. “We cannot have burning churches. We cannot have police officers that are shot. We cannot have businesses that are looted and destroyed.”

Protests continued on Wednesday in several US cities and curfews remained in place in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, while slightly loosened.

Los Angeles County narrowed its curfew by four hours, from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am instead of 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said the curfew in Washington would be from 11:00 pm to 6:00 am instead of starting at 7:00 pm.

Former president Jimmy Carter called meanwhile for an end to racial discrimination.

“People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say ‘no more’ to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy,” the 95-year-old Carter said in a statement.

“We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”

US Suspends Flights By Chinese Airlines In New Spat With Beijing

 

Washington on Wednesday ordered the suspension of all flights by Chinese airlines into and out of the United States after Beijing failed to allow American carriers to resume services to China.

The move adds to a growing friction between the world’s two largest economies amid the coronavirus crisis and in the wake of a two-year trade war that has not been fully resolved.

The US action takes effect June 16 but could be implemented sooner if President Donald Trump orders it, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

The suspension applies to seven Chinese civilian carriers, although only four currently are running services to US cities, including Air China and China Eastern Airlines, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

“US carriers have asked to resume passenger service, beginning June 1st. The Chinese government’s failure to approve their requests is a violation of our Air Transport Agreement,” the department said in a statement.

US air carriers had sharply reduced or suspended service to China amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Airlines and Delta Air Lines submitted applications at the beginning of May to resume flights but have been unable to receive authorization from Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC), the DOT said.

The latest spat between Washington and Beijing centers partially on the CAAC deciding to determine the flight limit for foreign airlines based on their activity as of March 12.

But US carriers had suspended all flights by that date due to the pandemic — meaning their cap was calculated to be zero — while Chinese-flagged flights continued.

The “arbitrary ‘baseline’ date… effectively precludes US carriers from reinstating scheduled passenger flights to and from China,” the US order says.

The department also said there are indications Chinese airlines are using charter flights to get around the limit of one flight a week to increase their advantage over US carriers.

“Our overriding goal is not the perpetuation of this situation, but rather an improved environment wherein the carriers of both parties will be able to exercise fully their bilateral rights,” the order said.

– Downgrade for American –

In early January 2020, before the pandemic struck, US and Chinese carriers operated approximately 325 weekly flights between the two countries.

US carriers praised the administration’s move

“We support and appreciate the US government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness,” Delta spokesperson Lisa Hanna said.

And Katherine Estep of industry trade group Airlines for America said the order should “ensure fair and equal opportunity for passenger airlines with respect to service to and from China.”

Airline shares jump on Wall Street, with United gaining 12.5 percent in an upbeat market.

The fight over air travel comes after the US imposed restrictions on Chinese telecom giant Huawei and ordered a probe into the actions of Chinese companies listed on American financial markets.

Trump also has blamed China for the US coronavirus outbreak and blasted the country in a fiery speech last week over a new security law in Hong Kong.

China mocked the US stance on Hong Kong in light of civil rights protests across the US following the police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man.

“Racism against ethnic minorities in the US is a chronic disease of American society,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said earlier this week.

Meanwhile, American Airlines, which is not planning to resume service to mainland China until late October, saw its debt downgraded Wednesday by S&P Global Ratings due to the company’s precarious situation.

Airlines have been among the hardest hit by the global pandemic as air transport has been virtually shut down, forcing many to announce massive layoffs.

S&P lowered American’s debt grade a notch to “B-” saying the cost-savings measures it has taken “will be insufficient to offset the effects of sharply lower demand from the impact of the virus on the company’s credit metrics.”

American is a beneficiary of the government’s Payroll Support Program, under which it will receive $5.8 billion through July 2020, but S&P said the carrier still has a cash shortage.

I Don’t Think INEC Should Provide Face Masks To All Voters – Professor Of Pol Science

 

A professor of political science, Adele Jinadu, has said that it is not feasible for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide face masks for all the voters in the upcoming Edo and Ondo state governorship elections.

Professor Jinadu said this on Wednesday, during a Citizens Townhall On Voting Amidst COVID-19.

“My point is not that INEC cannot provide but that we also as citizens have the responsibility to assist INEC in doing its work and making the elections take place.

“It is not feasible for INEC to provide masks for every voter. But there are activism groups all over the country who can assist in doing that as part of their own contribution to the electoral process,” he said.

Read Also: Edo Ready For Governorship Election Despite COVID-19, Says Obaseki

His comments come days after the INEC boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission is set to proceed with the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states despite the COVID-19.

According to Mahmoud, although the pandemic has disrupted activities globally, the PTF has now issued guidelines on protective measures for the gradual restoration of normalcy nationwide.

On that basis, he noted that the Commission recently released its own policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a document titled Voter’s Code of Conduct for Elections during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the INEC noted that wearing of facemasks at the Polling Units and all election centers is mandatory.

It, however, noted that voters should make provisions for their own face masks.

See the full list of guidelines below.

 

Giving a breakdown of the expected figures, the INEC boss said: “The Edo and Ondo Governorship elections, as well as the five Senatorial and four State Assembly bye-elections, are spread across nine states of the Federation involving a cumulative number of 62 Local Government Areas (LGAs); 687 Registration Areas (RAs); 9,149 Polling Units (PUs) and 6,454,950 registered voters.

“Put in the context of our sub-region, the number of registered voters for these off-season elections is equivalent to holding General Elections in Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde put together,”.

20 More COVID-19 Patients Recover In Lagos

A file photo of the Commissioner for Health in Lagos, Professor Akin Abayomi. Photo: [email protected]

 

Twenty more COVID-19 patients have recovered in Lagos State.

This brings the total number of recoveries in the state to 928, according to the Ministry of Health.

Of the 20 newly recovered patients, six were females while 14 were males and they have all been discharged from various isolation facilities.

“The patients; 11 from Gbagada, 8 from Eti-Osa (landmark) and 1 from Agidingbi Isolation Centres were discharged having fully recovered & tested negative to #COVID19,” the ministry said.

Read Also: Nigeria Records 241 New Cases Of COVID-19, Total Infections Rise To 10,819

As of Tuesday, Nigeria had recorded 241 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 10,819.

According to the NCDC, Lagos reported the highest number with 142 new cases, followed by Oyo with 15 and the FCT with 13.

Other states with new cases include Kano with 12, Edo 11, Delta 10, Kaduna and Rivers each with nine, Borno eight, Jigawa four, Gombe and Plateau each with three and Osun and Bauchi each with one.

While the number of deaths rose to 314, the total number of discharged cases nationwide grew to 3,239.

LIVE: Citizens Townhall On Voting Amidst COVID-19

 

Welcome to the Live TV and Virtual Citizens Town Hall which will focus on the theme: Voting Amidst the COVID-19, with specific reference to the 2020 Edo and Ondo Governorship Elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on May 21, released its policy on conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The purpose of the policy, according to INEC, was “to enable officials and staff of the commission to understand and respond adequately to the challenges of conducting elections in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its health and financial implications, as well as to provide a guide for engagement with stakeholders during the elections”.

The electoral body also noted that the policy will regulate the conduct of the upcoming governorship election in Edo and Ondo and rescheduled bye-elections and so far, INEC is consulting relevant stakeholders to harness feedback on the proposed policy.

 

 

In light of that, this townhall is conducted to complement the INEC-led consultations on the policy. Specifically, the Citizens Townhall seeks to achieve the following specific objectives;

1. To facilitate public debate on the impact of COVID-19 on elections with a view to harnessing citizens inputs into the INEC policy on election in the context of the
COVID-19 pandemic.

2. To raise public awareness on the policy especially the new processes and guidelines introduced in the electoral process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The debate is proposed to bring together a cross-section of stakeholders including INEC, NCDC, security agencies, CSOs, political parties, citizens and the media to discuss the practicalities of conducting elections amidst COVID-19 and the overriding implications of not conducting elections within constitutional time limits.

Stay tuned to our platforms for more.

Lagos Govt Launches Community Policing

A file photo of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Photo: [email protected]

 

Lagos State has taken new steps towards improving security in all communities across the state, with the inauguration of the State Community Policing Advisory Committee (SCPAC) and its operations arm, State Community Policing Committee (SCPC).

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, inaugurated members of the two committees at a ceremony held at the State House in Alausa, pointing out that the event marked a turning point in the government’s deliberate effort to re-strategise and rethink the security architecture using Community Policing Initiative as proposed by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Muhammed Abubakar Adamu.

According to the governor, the initiative is long overdue and is aimed at addressing inadequacies of the current policing model, which he says has failed to engage members of local communities and neighbourhoods in knowledge sharing and intelligence gathering that could help in nipping crimes in the bud.

SCPAC, which is co-chaired by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu, and chairman of Council of Obas and Chiefs in Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, will be the custodian of the initiative and it is to maintain highest level of oversight on community policing in the State.

SPAC, on the other hand, will be responsible for managing and coordinating the state-level operations of the community policing programme, and it will, among other functions, help identify security threats in communities and work with the police and the Community Police Officers (CPOs) in evolving appropriate strategies for addressing them.

Sanwo-Olu said the community policing initiative was conceived and rolled out to achieve fundamental changes in the way the government responds to security matters and make security agencies proactive in discharging their statutory duties.

“Today is a particularly important and auspicious day for the good people of Lagos State. We are gathered here to take an important step in the implementation of a long-overdue policing reform effort – the Community Policing Initiative,” the governor said.

“In a democracy, the involvement of the people in all matters of governance, especially on issues that impact directly on their well-being is key to achieving good governance. One of the inadequacies of our current policing systems has been the inability to tap the knowledge and intelligence that exists at neighbourhood and community level.

“The work that the Police are expected to do becomes more difficult when they are expected to do it alone. No matter how well-resourced or technologically advanced a Police Force might be, there might be no progress without the trust and support of the communities in which they operate. Every citizen has a role to play in ensuring that the security architecture functions optimally.”

According to the governor, deploying technology and equipping the police with modern gadgets to fight crimes remains a novel idea that any government could introduce, but he added that such cannot be a substitute for mutual trust and cooperation between the police and members of their host communities.

He said a citizen-centric approach to tackling crime and criminality would take a lot of pressure off the police and allow them to focus energy and resources on issues that matter most.

The community policing model, Sanwo-Olu suggested, will give every community resident a strong sense of participation in governance and strengthen the social contract between the Government and citizens. He praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his unequivocal support for fundamental security reforms in Nigeria.

He said: “We are implementing this policing initiative with sole objective of creating a platform for citizens’ participation towards improving security in our communities. We want Lagos State to be a role model for the rest of the country in terms of how community policing should function. We want to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence, one that engenders speedy resolution of issues as they arise.

“Community policing, in its ideal implementation, will take a lot of pressure off the Police Force and allow them to focus their energy and resources where it matters most. It will give citizens and residents a strong sense of participation in governance, and strengthen the social contract between the Government and the governed. A citizen-centric approach to tackling crime and criminality is a big plus for democratic practice and governance.”

The Governor charged members of the committees to discharge their tasks with patriotism, integrity and diligence, saying their membership was a “rare privilege” and an opportunity to serve Lagos and the nation.

“I urge you all to be bold and innovative in the work of developing and implementing the necessary operational guidelines and procedures that will promote and sustain mutual trust, respect and confidence between the people and security agencies, and make Lagos State a no-go area for all those who seek to undermine our security,” Sanwo-Olu said.

To further take the initiative down to neighbourhoods and draw more participation from residents at the grassroots, Sanwo-Olu said the state government would be constituting additional committees, which will include: Area Command Community Policing Advisory Committee, Local Government Community Policing Advisory Committee, and Divisional Community Policing Committee.

The governor also used the occasion to re-assure all security formations in the state of his administration’s commitment to support their activities by providing equipment and resources through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) and other interventions.

Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in charge of Training at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Mr. David Folawiyo, who represented the IGP, said the nation had reached a point where the police must interface with community members in maintaining social order.

“It is a bottom-up approach that shifts focus on reactive law enforcement to proactive problem solving,” he said.

Other members of SCPAC include: Heads of security agencies in the State, representative of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Apostle Kehinde Sowemimo, representative of the Lagos Muslim Community, Sheikh Sulaiman Abou-Nolla, representative of the Lagos chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, representatives of three senatorial districts in Lagos.

Membership of SPAC include: representative of the Commissioner of Police, DCP Etim Oqua Efiom; representative of traditional institution, Oba Momodu Ashafa; Muslim community, Bashorun Sikiru Alabi; CAN representative, Bishop Stephen Adegbite; PCRC representative, Prince Yemi Adenowo; representative of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Mrs. Blessing Abiri; representative of the Lagos chapter of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, Mr. Lookman Aminu; representative of people living with disabilities, Hon. Israel Akiode, representative of the Nigeria Bar Association, Prince Dele Oloke, and representative of the Lagos chapter of National Council of Women Societies, Alhaja Sikirat Agoro.

Channels TV Visits Muhammadu Buhari COVID-19 Isolation Center in Kano

 

Channels Television on Wednesday visited the Muhammadu Buhari COVID-19 Isolation Center in Kano State where some patients are currently receiving treatment.

According to our correspondent, some of the patients were in high spirits as they gradually recover from the disease and await their discharge from the 80-bed capacity isolation center.

Read Also: Kano Govt Says Isolation Center In Viral Video Is Being Renovated

Despite the rapid spread of the virus in the state, many have remained in doubt as to whether it really exists.

On April 11, 2020 Kano recorded its index case of the COVID-19.

Since then, the figures continued to rise rapidly making the state the second-highest in terms of the number of infections, with 970 positive cases.

So far in the state, over 4,000 samples have been tested and from the 970 positive cases, 639 are active, while 286 patients have been discharged from various isolation centers.

45 deaths have, however, been recorded.

Meanwhile, the state government says it is still investigating to know the cause of other recent ‘mysterious deaths’ across the state.