COVID-19 Pandemic In Numbers: Global Surge Continues

n this picture taken on May 5, 2021, relatives wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) suit carry the dead body of a person who died due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a crematorium in Moradabad. 
Prakash SINGH / AFP



The COVID-19 pandemic continued to surge around the world this week, driven by a worsening situation in the United States and Canada.

Here is the global state of play according to a specialised AFP database.

– Five percent increase –

The average number of new daily cases globally increased by five percent over the week to 645,400, according to an AFP tally to Thursday.

The pandemic has continued to gain ground for the past two months largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant which is predominant in a number of countries.

The confirmed cases only reflect a fraction of the actual number of infections, with varying counting practices and levels of testing in different countries.

– Flare up in North America –

The number of new infections was by far the worst in the US-Canada zone, with 31 percent more cases compared to the previous week.

The pandemic also picked up speed, but more slowly, in the Middle East, which saw a seven percent increase, and in Europe where the number of cases increased by three percent.

It was stable in Africa and Asia.

There was a slow-down of four percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and by 31 percent in Oceania.

– Biggest spikes –

On a country basis, Azerbaijan saw the biggest pick up in cases, with an increase of 111 percent. Switzerland and Canada followed with 76 percent more, Israel with 52 percent more and Lebanon 48 percent more.

– Biggest drops –

Fiji saw the biggest drop of 47 percent this week, followed by Colombia (minus 36 percent), Mozambique and Zimbabwe each 34 percent less and Peru (minus 28 percent).

– Most new cases –

The United States continued to register the most daily cases over the week with 129,400 a day, an increase of 31 percent, followed by India (37,900, minus six percent) and Iran (37,500, an increase of 13 percent).

On a per capita basis the country that recorded the most new cases this week was Georgia with 746 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Cuba (538) and the Dominican Republic (497).

– Indonesia mourns most deaths – Indonesia continued to mourn the highest number of daily deaths, with 1,613 per day, followed by Brazil (884) and Russia (791).

At a global level the number of daily deaths increased by two percent to 9,540.

– Vaccinations -Ecuador led the vaccination race, among countries with more than a million inhabitants, jabbing 1.59 percent of its population every day this week.

Malaysia followed with 1.42 percent, Sri Lanka (1.37 percent), Singapore (1.22 percent), Panama (1.20 percent, Turkey (1.15 percent) and Trinidad and Tobago (1.02 percent).

While they are vaccinating more slowly, among the countries with the most advanced vaccination drives are the United Arab Emirates with 175 first and second doses per 100 inhabitants, Singapore (142), Israel (139), Denmark (137), Canada (136), Chile and Belgium (134 doses each), Spain (129), the United Kingdom (128) and China (127).

Some of these countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Chile have started administering third doses.

Katy Perry, Beckham, Others Call On G7 To Share COVID-19 Vaccines With Poor Nations

Katy Perry, Beckham, Sergio Ramos appeal to the group to pledge 150 million doses.



Nearly 30 celebrities, from singer Katy Perry to footballer David Beckham, called on the G7 Tuesday to share COVID-19 vaccines with poorer countries ahead of a summit in Britain this weekend.

The entertainment and sports figures urged the seven countries — France, Italy, the UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, and the United States — to pledge at least 20 percent of their supply between June and August, amounting to 150 million doses.

“The world has spent a year and a half battling the Covid-19 pandemic, but the virus is still spreading in many countries and producing new variants with the potential to put us all back where we started,” the missive warned.

“This means more school closures, more healthcare disruptions, and greater economic fallout — threating the futures of families and children everywhere,” it said.

Among the other signatories on the letter, which included a number of UNICEF goodwill ambassadors, were actors Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Singers Billie Eilish and Angelique Kidjo plus football star Sergio Ramos, Formula One driver Fernando Alonso and tennis star Andy Murray also signed the letter.

Britain is hosting the G7 summit in Cornwall in southwestern England starting Friday.

Japan Births Hit New Record Low In Pandemic

(FILE PHOTO) A member of the medical staff surveys one of nine babies kept in incubators, a day after they were born to a Malian woman at clinic in the western Moroccan city of Casablanca, on May 5, 2021. 



The number of babies born in Japan hit a new record low last year, official data showed, highlighting concern over the pandemic’s impact on one of the world’s lowest fertility rates.

In 2020, the greying country saw 840,832 births, according to data released Thursday by the health and labour ministry.

Politicians have expressed concern that the population of the world’s third-largest economy is shrinking faster than ever, with couples hesitant to reproduce as the pandemic fuels financial instability and fears over hospital trips.

A declining number of births is a common trend among rich nations, and Japan has long been searching for ways to encourage a baby boom.

Its giant neighbour China this week announced it will allow couples to have three children after a census showed its population is also rapidly ageing.

Japan’s net decline in population, 531,816, was a record high while the birth rate — the average number of children a woman has — declined to 1.34, the data showed.

The number of marriages, 525,490, also hit a low not seen since the end of World War II, while the number of divorces also declined.

World Needs ‘New Mindset For Our Survival’, Says Goodall

British anthropologist and primatologist Jane Goodall takes the hand of a Spider Monkey during her visit to the Rehabilitation Center and Primate Rescue, in Peñaflor, Chile, on Nov. 23, 2013. (Hector Retamal/AFP)



Humanity needs to discover a “new mindset for our survival” as the world exits the pandemic only to face the looming dual crises of climate change and nature loss, renowned conservationist Jane Goodall said Thursday.

In an interview with AFP, the world’s pre-eminent primatologist said she was hopeful that COVID-19 could change people’s approach to how we interact with Earth.

“We basically brought this on ourselves by our disrespect of the natural world, forcing animals closer to people, making it easier for a pathogen to jump from an animal to a person,” said Goodall.

“And then, our absolute disrespect of animals — hunting them, killing them, eating them, capturing them, trafficking them, forcing them into terrible conditions, unhygienic and very, very cruel intensive factory farms.

“So hopefully this pandemic has woken people up. We must develop a new relationship with the natural world.”

As Western nations start making tentative steps towards exiting the pandemic, Covid-19 is still rampaging through developing nations.

Goodall warned against the temptation to rush back to unfettered economic growth at the expense of the planet and called on policymakers to redefine their approach to governance.

“Unfortunately there are too many people in power who are just eager to get back to business as usual. It’s all about the bottom line, about money,” she said.

“We have to somehow create a more sustainable, greener economy. We have to have a new mindset for our survival.”

– ‘Everything I do has hope’ –
Goodall, 87, has dedicated her life to better understanding the animal kingdom and promoting conservation efforts.

Born in London and without the funds to take a university course, she shot to international stardom in 1965 when she was featured on the cover of National Geographic for her trailblazing research on chimpanzees in Tanzania.

Her pioneering, up-close study of the behaviour of chimpanzees in the 1960s was the first to observe them using tools, a capacity that was until then thought to belong only to humans.

In the decades since, Goodall has championed sustainable practices and the preservation of nature through grassroots organisations and initiatives in all corners of the planet.

Normally a frequent traveller, she said the pandemic has forced her to adapt her activism. Among the new communication tools, last year she launched “Hopecast”, a podcast recorded in the attic studio of her childhood home urging listeners to be hopeful for the future of the planet.

Faced with ever bleaker warnings from scientists about climate change and biodiversity loss, Goodall insists it is possible for everyone to retain that hopefulness.

“Almost everything I do has hope in it. If you don’t hope that your actions are going to make change, why bother to act?” she said.

Ever the scientist, Goodall uses real-world evidence to back up her hopeful stance.

“I’ve had the privilege of travelling all around the world and I’ve met the most amazing people doing incredible projects,” she said.

“I’ve seen projects that are completely turning things around. Areas that we have utterly destroyed… nature can come back if we give her a change. Animals on the brink of extinction can be given a second chance.”

The United Nations this week said that countries had met a goal set a decade ago to protect 17 percent of land and 10 percent of marine environments by 2020.

“This movement is growing and this pandemic has given us a new sense of urgency,” said Goodall.

“And if you lose hope, you may as well give up. So whether it’s logical or not, that’s my job. And I couldn’t do it if I didn’t believe that if we get together now before it’s too late we can indeed slow down climate change and slow down biodiversity loss.”

– ‘Critical mass’ –
Goodall on Thursday joined the likes of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama in receiving the Templeton Prize, one of the world’s largest individual lifetime achievement awards.

Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation that awards the prize, said Goodall was selected for her scientific breakthroughs that “have profoundly altered the world’s view of animal intelligence and enriched our understanding of humanity”.

Goodall, who said she was “kind of blown away” to win, said she believed the world was reaching a “critical mass of people” who were passionate about preserving nature.

“None of us can absolutely predict what’s going to happen. So we just have to go on doing what we can do in the belief that we do have this window of time where we have to work really hard at changing governments, changing business and changing the mindsets of ordinary people,” she said.

“I don’t pretend to have all the answers. All I know is I am here to do everything I can to move us in the right direction. That’s all I can do. And that’s what I’ll spend the rest of my life doing.”

China Suspends Economic Accord With Australia

A pro-Beijing supporter holds China's national flag as he and others gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on November 12, 2020, a day after the city's pro-Beijing authorities ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers. Anthony WALLACE / AFP
China’s national flag. PHOTO: Anthony WALLACE / AFP


China on Thursday suspended an economic agreement with Australia, worsening an already-troubled relationship fractured by spats over the Covid-19 pandemic and human rights abuses.

Tensions between the two sides have soared after Canberra called for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and banned telecoms giant Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network.

China — Australia’s biggest trading partner — has already imposed tariffs on more than a dozen key industries, including wine, barley, and coal, decimating exports.

In the latest volley, the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue was pulled “based on the current attitude” of the Australian government, China’s National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement Thursday, blaming some officials of a “Cold War mindset” and “ideological discrimination”.

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Beijing will “indefinitely suspend all activities under the framework” of the agreement, the statement added.

Australia called the decision “disappointing”, with Trade Minister Dan Tehan saying the dialogue had provided an important forum for the two countries, but adding no such talks had taken place since 2017.

The Australian dollar sank 0.6 percent soon after the news.

Canberra has previously described the accord — designed to boost trade between both sides and introduce large Chinese investors — as one of the “premier bilateral economic meetings with China”.

The first meeting in 2014 was called a chance for “closer economic ties” by Canberra.

But relations between the two have sunk into the deep freeze.

“It’s mainly a symbolic move but still, the trend that it points to… discussion and dialogue being suspended at lower and lower levels, is a real concern,” said James Laurenceson, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at University of Technology Sydney.

“Overall, what we’re seeing in Canberra and Beijing is both sides doubling down and hardening their stance,” he said.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government scrapped a Belt and Road deal between Beijing and the state of Victoria.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative is a vast, trillion-dollar plan for a network of investments and infrastructure across Asia and the world.

Beijing reacted with anger to the Victoria state announcement, warning that taking the axe to the deal would cause “serious harm” to relations.

But critics have claimed the stand-off between the two sides is cover for Beijing to create geopolitical and financial leverage.

This week Australia added to the row by saying a Chinese company’s controversial 99-year-lease on Darwin Port was also under review and could be scrapped.

Darwin is the most important port on Australia’s north coast, the closest to Asia and a base for US Marines who rotate in and out of the country.

Defence minister Peter Dutton told the Sydney Morning Herald his department had been asked to “come back with some advice” about the 2015 deal and refused to rule out forcing Chinese firm Landbridge to divest on national security grounds.

The deal — brokered by local authorities in Australia’s Northern Territory — had raised serious concern in Canberra and Washington, where it was seen as a strategic liability.

It was not immediately clear if the row would impact on a free trade agreement between China and Australia that came into effect in 2015.


Sri Lanka Declares Worst Economic Downturn In 73 years

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Photo: ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP


Sri Lanka announced Friday that its economy shrank 3.6 percent last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making it the worst downturn since independence from Britain in 1948.

The unprecedented recession compared with a 2.3 percent GDP growth in 2019, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in its annual report for 2020.

It hoped the economy would rebound in 2021 and record an optimistic six percent growth on the back of improved local manufacturing and services.

“The pandemic has also offered an opportunity to reset the economy’s focus and to address longstanding structural weaknesses and establish a production-based, productivity-driven economy,” the bank said.

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The pandemic hit the island’s lucrative tourism sector while sharp contractions were seen in construction, manufacturing as well as in services, the bank said.

It said the central government’s debt also rose to 101 percent of GDP last year, up from 86.8 percent of GDP in the previous year, underscoring the debt crisis faced by the South Asian nation.

International rating agencies have expressed fears for Sri Lanka’s ability to service its huge foreign debt as the country’s foreign reserves fell sharply in the past year.

The island’s economy was trying to recover from the effects of the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 279 people when the pandemic hit in early 2020.

Two weeks ago, Sri Lanka secured a $500 million loan from China to shore up its foreign exchange reserves as the local currency came under intense pressure and fell to a record low.

Chinese influence in the South Asian nation has been growing in recent years through loans and projects under its vast Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, raising concerns among regional powers and Western nations.

Between 2005 and 2015, Colombo borrowed billions from China, accumulating a mountain of debt for expensive infrastructure projects.

Sri Lanka was forced to hand over its strategic Hambantota port on a 99-year lease to a Chinese company in 2017 after it was unable to service the $1.4 billion debt from Beijing used to build it.


COVID-19 Compared With Other Deadly Viruses

Karin Hildebrand, a doctor in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Stockholm’s Sodersjukhuset hospital walks in a corridor before treating patients with COVID-19 on June 11, 2020, during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP)




The global death toll from COVID-19 passed three million on Saturday, with the pandemic already having killed more people than most other viral epidemics of the 20th and 21st centuries.

But there have been notable exceptions. The post-World War I Spanish Flu wiped out 50 million people, according to some estimates. And over the decades AIDS has killed 33 million.

Here are some comparisons:

– Flu epidemics –
In 2009, the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, caused a global pandemic and left an official death toll of 18,500.

This was later revised upwards by The Lancet medical journal to between 151,700 and 575,400 dead.

That brings it close to seasonal flu, which accounts for between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization.

In the 20th century, two major non-seasonal flu pandemics — Asian flu in 1957-1958 and Hong Kong flu in 1968-1970 — each killed around one million people, according to counts carried out afterwards.

The greatest catastrophe of modern pandemics to date, the flu pandemic of 1918-1919 also known as Spanish flu, wiped out some 50 million people according to research published in the 2000s.

– Other viral epidemics – The death toll from Covid-19, which emerged in central China in late 2019, is far higher than that of the haemorrhagic fever Ebola, which was first identified in 1976.

In four decades, periodic Ebola outbreaks have killed some 15,000 people, all in Africa.

Ebola has a far higher fatality rate than Covid-19: around 50 percent of people who are infected die from it.

But Ebola is less contagious than other viral diseases, namely because it is not airborne but transmitted through direct and close contact.

AIDS is by far the most deadly modern epidemic: almost 33 million people around the world have died of the disease, which affects the immune system.

No effective vaccine has been found, but retroviral drugs, when taken regularly, efficiently stop the illness in its tracks and heavily reduce the risk of contamination.

This treatment has helped bring down the death toll from its peak in 2004 of 1.7 million deaths to 690,000 in 2019, according to UNAIDS.

The hepatitis B and C viruses also have a high death toll, killing some 1.3 million people every year, most often in poor countries.

In 2002-2003, Covid’s predecessor SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that emerged from China was the first coronavirus to spark global fears, but killed just 774 people in the final toll.

– Three million equals… -As a matter of comparison, the figure of three million people represents a little bit more than the population of Jamaica or Armenia.

It is also three times the toll of the Iran-Iraq war which raged from 1980-1988, or 2,000 times more than the 1,500 who died in the sinking of the Titanic.

Over the past month, more than 10,000 people have died every day from the coronavirus.

It is as many as the 10,000 children who die every day from hunger around the world, according to the UN.

National Sports Festival: Obaseki Receives Torch Of Unity

Governor Godwin Obaseki receives the torch from Ministry’s South-South Director of Sports, Peter Nelson. PHOTO: Twitter/@GovernorObaseki


Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki on Sunday received the Torch of Unity for 20th National Sports Festival at the Government House in Benin City.

The Governor received the torch from the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, represented by the Ministry’s South-South Director of Sports, Peter Nelson.

The governor who announced this on his official Twitter handle said Edo State is hosting not to make money but as patriotic Nigerians.

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He added that the festival is important enough to encourage youths and get them to do one of what they know how to do best, which is sports.

Governor Godwin Obaseki with the unity torch. PHOTO: Twitter/@GovernorObaseki


“We are hosting, not to make money, but as patriotic Nigerians: We need to do things to heal the land as we have passed through a terrible year.

“Despite what we have gone through as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; in spite of our challenges as a country, we see hope in our young people.

“We also want to make a statement that we have not been overcome by this pandemic. Despite the pandemic, we must continue to do the things we need to do to keep life going.

“For us as a country, we have come to stay as one united, indivisible entity. We have our challenges, but I see this festival as a stepping stone. We would go through this stage and get out stronger and better,” he said.

He added that, more than ever before, Nigerians need to come together at this time. This is why our administration decided to hold the 20th NSF in Benin City. We are happy to receive this torch and promise to keep it alive and pass it on to the state which will host the 21st NSF.

Obaseki later passed the torch to the Deputy Governor and the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Philip Shaibu, for onward transmission to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, the main venue of the festival.

FG Distributes Cash To Poor Victims Of COVID-19, Boko Haram Insurgency In Yobe


The Federal Government has commenced the distribution of cash relief to poor and vulnerable rural women affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and the COVID-19 pandemic in Yobe State.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouk during the commencement of the programme in Damaturu, the state capital, said the grant is aimed at increasing access to financial capital for an improved economy.

According to her, Yobe State Government had earlier received over N980 million under the Federal Government conditional cash transfer programme from inception and six other local government councils are currently benefiting from the programme.

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She explained that the sum of N20,000 will be disbursed to about 10,000 beneficiaries to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cash relief programme was introduced in 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration with the aim of poverty alleviation.

The objectives of the conditional cash transfer programme include improving environmental sanitation and management; encourage household financial and asset acquisition; engage beneficiaries to attain sustainable livelihood; improve household consumption; increase in utilisation of health and nutrition services and improve school enrolment and attendance.

Kaduna Govt Approves Resumption Date For Primary, Secondary Schools

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: A student takes the temperature check before resuming at Garki area Abuja. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.


The Kaduna State Government has approved Monday, February 1, 2021, as the resumption date for some primary and secondary school students in the state.

A Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Education, Phoebe Yayi who made the announcement on Friday explained that only SS3, JSS3, and JSS1 for public and private secondary schools have been approved to resume on Monday, while primary 6, 5, and 4 of Private Schools only are to resume on the same day.

According to her, the decision to reopen the schools was taken after extensive appraisal of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State and a series of consultations with relevant stakeholders of both State and Federal Health and Education sectors within and across the State.

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The statement further said that all public Primary Schools remain closed until all the COVID-19 protocols have been properly put in place before they will be opened.

It says that appropriate resumption dates for the rest of the classes SS2, SS1 and JSS 2 in public and private schools and Primary 3, 2, 1, and Nursery classes will be announced in due course, subject to school’s compliance with guidelines in place.

The Kaduna State Ministry of Education has therefore directed all Principals and Head Teachers to make arrangements to receive Boarding and Day students of the above-stated classes on Monday, 1st February 2021.

However, the Ministry says the State Covid-19 Task Force will continue to monitor all schools to ensure safe learning environments against the pandemic in addition to strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the State Government.

It advises all administrators of public and private schools to note that, they must comply with all COVID-19 protocols including temperature checks at the school entrance, compulsory wearing of facemasks, regular hand washing/use of sanitizer, and all COVID-19 guidelines as directed by the COVID-19 Taskforce.

The government however warned that any bridge in complying with these protocols may lead to the closure of the affected school without any notice.

“Schools will be on shift to enable them to meet with these guidelines as the first shift will run from 08:00 am – 12:00noon while the second shift will be from 01:00 pm – 05:00 pm. The class size should not exceed 20 students per normal class with 1.5m to 2.0m physical distancing, schools must also have a COVID-19 Committee which will comprise of the SBMC, PTA, Community representative, Health personnel, Students, and Teachers representatives to monitor and ensure compliance. Parents are also advised to provide their children/wards with facemasks and other sanitary items to help in curtailing the spread of the virus.

“The State Government is reiterating that all Schools should voluntarily comply and take personal responsibility for their own health and abide by the simple preventive measures as it is the right and safe thing to do,” the statement read in part.

The Ministry also promised to continue the e-learning program using Google classrooms, radio and television stations, and other online applications, and administrators of public and private schools are encouraged to adopt blended learning system.

Lagos Govt Directs Schools To Reopen January 18

Students of Rising Sun Children School wear face masks as a preventive measure to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in their classroom in Yaba, Lagos, on October 12, 2020. PHOTO: Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP


The Lagos State Government has ordered all public and private schools in the state to reopen for the second term 2020/21 academic session from Monday, 18th of January, 2021.

This was announced on Monday in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo.

She noted that this is in line with the Federal Government’s directive coupled with the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Adefisayo enjoined all schools to make efforts to comply with all the outlined Covid-19 requirements for resumption schools.

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According to her, this is “Not just for the improvement of overall school operations but for the safe reopening of academic activities to support the Lagos State Government’s quest for a full return.”

The Commissioner advised that schools should have flexible plans where students and teachers who feel sick can teach or learn from home via available online platforms, adding that schools should also strive to avoid any COVID-19 infection among all students and staff.

She also enjoined teachers, students, and visitors to wear facemasks at all times, observe physical distancing, embrace regular handwashing with soap under running water and maintain a high standard of personal hygiene within the school premises.

COVID-19 Disrupted Our Plans On Constitution Amendment, Says Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege


Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, has said the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the plans for votes to be taken on the constitution alteration bills in December 2020.

Omo-Agege who chairs the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed on Friday in his New Year message titled ‘We Must Not Give In To Despair.’

He, however, promised that all hands are on deck to ensure that the votes are taken soonest and the report of the panel would be ready in record time.

He said: “The Coronavirus pandemic disrupted our earlier plans to have the constitution alteration bills voted on sometime in December last year. Consequently, we will have those votes taken on each of these bills separately in not too distant time.

“I firmly believe that we are on course to true greatness. Let us keep hope alive as we renew our collective resolve to ensure that the dreams and labour of our heroes past are transformed into a better future for succeeding generations,” Omo Agege said in the statement.

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He also called on Nigerians to use the New Year to renew their commitment to collective prosperity, growth, and development by contributing more to nation-building and stressed the need for citizens to continue to demonstrate love and exhibit compassion towards one another.

The lawmaker acknowledged the resilience and perseverance of Nigerians in the midst of the socio-economic difficulties in the Year 2020, occasioned by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, and urged them to reignite their undying spirit and enter the New Year with vigour and hope.

“Covid-19 has upended the global economy with its devastating effects not only on health but on domestic economies and multilateral trade, cooperation and aid. It has led to a recession in various countries, killed over a million people, and wiped out millions of jobs.

“We are also confronted with security challenges in most parts of the country.

“As Nigerians, we stand together, confident that we shall again, overcome these challenges. Our ability to overcome our challenges collectively have never been in doubt, what we need now more than ever is to galvanise these unique qualities for the good of all.

“As a people, we must continue to imbibe the spirit of togetherness and love for one another. We must also support government at all levels by contributing our quota to the generation of wealth and the alleviation of poverty in the land,” he stated.

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) had earlier in August 2020 commenced the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution(as amended) Alteration Bills and amending certain provisions of the law.

The Ad-hoc Committee which is chaired by Omo-Agege constitutes 58 lawmakers representing the 36 States of the Federation and the six geo-political zones. Other members of the Ad-hoc Committee include the eight Principal Officers of the Senate.

Since the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, several constitution amendment bills have been proposed by lawmakers and referred to the Ad-hoc Committee for further legislative action.