Why Cross River Is COVID-19 Free – Ayade

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has explained some of the strategies used to ensure that the state has not recorded any case of COVID-19.

The governor in an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said among many other strategies, Cross River State responded quickly to the pandemic by shutting its borders, closing airways and declaring ‘No Mask No Movement.’

He added that he also, personally, kept vigil at borders to ensure safety.

“As soon as we started reading in the papers and watching on Television the impact of the pandemic globally, what we did as a state was to quickly respond to it by blocking our state against the virus. We locked our borders immediately and commenced ‘No Mask No Movement’. We were proactive and we have continued to sustain that.

“Also, because we share borders with Cameroon, we ordered over 100 brand new vehicles. Policed all our borders, between Nigeria and Cameroon, including the legal and illegal. We ensured that we blocked all access to other states. We closed our airways.

READ ALSO: Churches, Mosques To Resume Activities In Cross River – Ayade

“I lead from the front, I personally spent the night at the borders, keeping vigil to ensure that entry and exit points are safe. Our borders and being manned by senior security operatives to ensure there is no compromise at that point,” he explained.

Governor Ayade added that the strategy deployed by the state government has been deliberate and this obviously has worked for them.

He said this even earned them a pass mark from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“Yesterday, NCDC and Federal Ministry of health officials just left here and they gave us pass mark. They were very impressed with our isolation centres and laboratories. They were very impressed with our border closures and checkpoints we have put in place to ensure the use of masks,” the governor said.

Cross River and Kogi State have remained the only states in Nigeria yet to record any case of the COVID-19 virus.

Ayade Asks FG To Lift Ban On Domestic Flights

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade has called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on domestic flights to allow local businesses to thrive.

Ayade while inspecting the ongoing asphalting of the dualised Odukpani-Calabar highway in the state on Sunday told journalists that the ban on domestic flights for the next four weeks will deal a great blow on local businesses and affect the nation’s economy negatively.

READ ALSO: Allow Healthy People To Work – Ayade Asks FG To Discontinue Total Lockdown

“We want to plead with Mr President to kindly review the option of keeping the Nigerian airways closed for another four weeks.

“Hotels are dying and laying off workers. Food suppliers and vendors are laying off workers. An additional four weeks will be a great blow and it will be difficult for some businesses to survive.

“As we continue to lock the domestic airports for another four weeks, what we are going to have in terms of economic loss, and in terms of social delinquency, the associated moral and social tension that will come with it, will be just too huge for the country to bear,” he said.

Ayade said rather than ban domestic flights, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) should devise strict guidelines to enable the aviation sector to continue to operate without increasing the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“The country is awash with massive unemployment. NCDC should come up with a policy to keep our people safe while we let our domestic businesses thrive.

“We can still be safe while allowing the internals of Nigeria to run. We can do so by allowing the domestic airlines to start flying,” he added.

The Federal Government had earlier on May 6 imposed an additional four-week ban on flight operations across the country as a measure to check the spread of COVID-19.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika while making the announcement said the aviation sector was recording huge losses as a result of the lockdown, adding that many airlines would not survive the economic loss as a fallout of COVID-19.

Court Stops INEC From Delisting Owan-Enoh As APC Governorship Candidate In Cross Rivers

 

The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, has ordered a stay of execution on the Federal High Court judgement, which ordered the delisting of Senator John Owan-Enoh as the governorship flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Cross River State.

The presiding judge, Justice Mojeed Awoade ordered that the two factions of the APC in the state should maintain status quo, pending the final judgment in the case.

Senator Owan-Enoh and the Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Usani, are both in contention for the party’s ticket for Cross River State governorship seat.

The Appeal Court had on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 refused an oral application by the Owan-Enoh faction for a stay of execution of the Federal High Court judgement.

READ ALSO: Senatorial Race: I Cannot Fail, I Won The Election – Akpabio

Justice Awoade had ordered all parties to maintain status quo, pending the determination of the appeal filed by the faction of the party led by John Ochala against the judgement of the Federal High Court.

He, however, granted the Ochala faction of the party leaves to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, which had on February 11 recognised the Etim John faction of the APC as the authentic leadership of the party in the state.
The court also directed INEC to recognise the list of candidates presented by the Etim John led leadership in the general elections.

But responding to the stay of execution order by the Appeal Court, the counsel to Senator Owan-Enoh explained that INEC had misinterpreted the Federal High Court order by delisting the names of the candidates of the APC earlier sent to the commission.

He insisted that Owan-Enoh remained the recognised governorship candidate for the March 9, 2019 election.

On his part, the counsel to Usani said his team would wait for the final judgement in the case, which is expected to be delivered before the governorship election on March 9, 2019.

The Appeal Court has adjourned the case till Monday, March 4, 2019.

Six Nigerian States Get 375m Naira For 10 Days Feeding Of School Pupils

School pupils feeding initiative
The government says 5.5 million pupils will benefit from the school pupils feeding initiative nationwide

The Nigerian government says it has released over 375 million Naira this year to feed almost 700,000 primary school pupils in five states, in the implementation of its Social Investment Programmes.

A statement by the Presidency said virtually all States of the federation, except two, are now being processed for the payment of 30,000 Naira monthly Stipends to 200,000 graduates, the N-Power Beneficiaries.

Giving a media update in Abuja on Sunday, the spokesman for the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, said the current administration’s Social Investment Programmes, (SIP), were proceeding at different stages of implementation.

According to him, regarding the Homegrown School Feeding Programme, the Federal Government last week released money for this year, to Anambra, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ebonyi sates to cover the feeding for 10 school days.

“The sum of about 375.434 million Naira has just been released and paid to 7,909 cooks in those States for the feeding of a total of 677,476 primary school pupils,” Mr Akande said, giving the breakdown.

Breakdown Of Distributed Funds

According to the breakdown, Ogun State got a total of 119.648 million Naira paid to 1,381 cooks to feed 170,927 pupils, Ebonyi State 115.218 million Naira paid to 1,466 cooks to feed 164,598 pupils while Anambra State got 67.5 million Naira paid to 937 cooks to feed 96,489 pupils.

Oyo State got 72.2 million Naira paid to 1,437 cooks to feed 103,269 pupils and Osun State got 867,370 Naira paid to 2,688 to feed 142,193 pupils.

He said all monies were paid directly to the cooks and cover 10 days of school.

Mr Akande further disclosed that those figures would go up later this week when Zamfara and Enugu States expected to be paid 188.7 million Naira and 67.2 million Naira respectively are added to the benefitting states.

In Zamfara, the sum would be paid to 2,738 cooks to feed 269,665 pupils and in Enugu, the sum would be paid to 1,128 cooks to feed 96,064 pupils.

By then, he noted, over 631 million Naira would have been released so far in 2017 for school feeding in seven States, paid to 11,775 cooks and meant to feed over One million primary school pupils-exact number of pupils by then would be 1,043,205.

On N-Power, Mr Akande stated that the process of payments of verified graduate  beneficiaries had advanced and at different stages of progress in all but two states, noting that more and more of such beneficiaries are posting their glad experiences of receiving alerts on the Social Media.

This means, according to him, that payment of the December Stipends which had gone across the country would be completed in all states except two that did not meet the extended deadline for the verification process for December stipends.

He further told reporters that the processing of January Stipends were also in advanced stages.

The Vice President’s spokesman also assured some beneficiaries who have issues to remain patient, while observing that quite a number of the beneficiaries had banking information irregularities. He said the payment of the unemployed graduates, which had created a huge buzz across the country especially on the Social Media, is being done in batches.

Regarding the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) payments of 5,000 Naira per month, he told reporters that it would continue in the nine pilot states of Bauchi, Borno, Niger, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Osun, Oyo Ekiti, and Kwara States.

“While payment challenges are being experienced with the banks in some of the States, beneficiaries continue to receive their stipends which is being paid for two months.

“A total sum of 10,000 Naira is being paid for the CCT beneficiaries to cover the months of December and January. The CCT payments would be done six times in a year, with a payment of 10,000 to cover two months,” Mr Akande added.

South-South Consultative Forum Pushes For More ‘Women Rights’

Nigerian Women Can Be Change Agents If Empowered- NGO FounderMembers of the South-South Consultative Forum, comprising Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Delta State, are pushing for more protection for women against alleged assault and battery. 

The forum also reviewed emerging issues on women, peace and security, as incorporated in the National Action Plan, which is in line with the discourse at the South South Zonal Consultation and Review Meeting on the National Action Plan, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 earlier held in Asaba last year.

In what was described as “absurdity”, the forum condemned as a “taboo” sexual assault and battery of women by men or their husbands in whichever circumstances, assuring that the forum would do everything to protect womanhood.

Participants at the forum, many of whom were women, deliberated intensively on women, peace and security issues affecting women nationwide, disclosing that over 16,000 cases of sexual harassment and alleged rape was recorded in 2016 across Nigeria.

Declaring the forum tagged “South South Consultation and Review Meetings on National Action UNSCR1325” open, the Delta State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Reverend Omatsola Williams, said that the National Action Plan Meeting was informed by the United Nations Resolution 1325.

“Is to prevent and protect women from all forms of violence, promoting their issues, improving their participation in different spheres of the society and end impunity wherever the rights of women are violated through legal prosecution.

“We must protect the dignity of women, the forum is out to do this. In the recent times, we have found increasing cases of violence on women, especially battery, rape and assault. We want to put an end to such acts,” Reverend Williams added.

13 States Complete N-Power Verification

13 States Complete NPower Verification13 states of Nigeria’s federation have submitted verified lists of graduates engaged under the N-Power job creation programme of the federal government.

This comes as the government prepares to commence the payment of monthly stipends to the 200,000 graduates drawn from all 36 states.

A statement from the Office of the Vice President says some of the graduates have been deployed to their primary places of assignment, and payment of the 30,000 naira stipends will commence this month.

The states that have completed the verification include Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Cross Rivers, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina and Kogi States.

No Bailout For State Governors Owing Salaries

Buhari_Governors

The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors on how to offset over 100 billion Naira salaries of Nigerian workers ended without an offer of a bailout plan by the Federal Government to the States.

At the end of the meeting held on Tuesday, the Governors were only able to reach an agreement that the Federal Government should pay debts it owed the states over jobs they executed.

Zamfara State Governor and chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yari, who briefed reporters after the meeting, said that instead of a bailout, the state governments were told to look inwards and generate needed funds to clear their debts.

Poor Management Of The Economy

The State Governors also requested that the Nigerian Liquefied Gas Company’s tax should be paid into the Federation Account and be shared.

They also asked the Federal Government to ensure that monies accruing from the Federation Account should be shared, as stipulated by the constitution.

It is the first time the President will be meeting with the Governors to find a solution to the financial crisis that has made no fewer than 22 of the states owe salaries to their workers to the tune of 100 billion Naira (about $5,000,000).

The Nigerian Governors, whose lot has always been to come to Abuja to share in the Federation Account, through their chairman said they were pleased to meet with the President but that it was beyond a bailout as reported.

After a meeting of the All Progressives Congress Governors Forum last week, the chairman of the forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha, called for a bailout for states which have been unable to pay workers’ salaries.

He said that the current situation was a product of poor management of the economy.

“On the economy of the nation, we are concerned and worried by the dwindling revenue of the states which today has affected negatively, the lives of our people.

“The matter has become so serious that urgent action must be taken for a bailout for the states, as things are not getting better either.

“We have sat down to review steps that should be taken and we are calling for total overhaul of the system to block all the leakages in our nation’s economy,” Governor Okorcha said.

Other issues in the front burner include how to curb insurgency in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa states and what the president is doing in collaboration with the international community.

The Governors also expressed concerns over the decision to dismantle military check points, stressing that it was not the right time for such decision.

Some of the governors present include those of Nasarawa, Imo, Gombe, Benue, Delta, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Borno, Jigawa, Rivers, Ogun, Kebbi, Kwara, Taraba, Ekiti, Ondo, Kaduna, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Anambra, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Lagos, Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Yobe, Plateau (Deputy), Bayelsa (Deputy).

Nigerian Navy Commissions Secondary School, Calls For Girl Child Education

nigerian navyThe Nigerian Navy has promised to work closely with the government towards improving the educational sector.

This is inline with the campaign by the Nigerian Navy to ensure every youth especially the  girl child is educated in Nigeria.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Jubrin Usman stated this when he commissioned the first secondary school established by Nigerian Navy Officers Wives Association, NOWA in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.

According to the Naval boss, the Nigerian Navy will continue to support education and provide for all its need, stressing that education and development are intertwined.

He expressed joy over the school’s project put together by NOWA and urged youths in the environs to grab the offer in order to redirect their future ambitions through qualitative learning.

In the words of the facilitator of the project, there is no better way of investment than in the future generation of any society.

She strongly believes that the edifice will serve its core purpose which is nurturing young people into greatness.

Senator Ndoma Urges Government To Hasten Highway Projects

Victor-Ndoma-EgbaThe Senate leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, has urged the African Development Bank (ADB), International Communities and the Nigerian Government to speed up the completion of the multi-billion naira highway project along the border community between Nigeria and Cameroon Republic for onward use.

The access road, when completed, he said, would facilitate African integration and international trade within African countries under its purview.

While speaking to pressmen in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State, South South Nigeria, during an inspection visit to the site of the project, Senator Ndoma expressed satisfaction at the quality of the ongoing project.

He noted that the provision and construction of roads bring multiple socioeconomic benefits to the rural areas and results in forming a strong backbone for the agro-based economy.

According to him, 10,269km Lagos-Mombasa, eastern half of the highway had been completed through Kenya and Uganda, while a major section of the road in Nigeria, the 240km stretch from Enugu-Bansara-Mfum border with Cameroon, was ready and in use.

Since most Africans cannot solely rely on water transportation, many people depend on road transport for movement even with business transactions, which is the basis for the construction of the international road stretching through many African countries.

A maintenance programme for the international road has been instituted to ensure that it lasts and remains usable for many decades.

Eden Of Arts And Culture Exhibition By National Museum

vlcsnap-2014-03-29-21h59m17s4The National Museum in Lagos opened its doors to showcase its first exhibition for the year, the first to focus exclusively on traditional art of the ethnic groups dwelling along the Cross River Basin which stretches to the Cameroun Mountain.

Objects of trade, ancestral worship, terracotta, mask and other items, which are just a few of the works, found among the rich cultural collections in Nigeria are exhibited.

The show, titled Eden of Arts and Culture, intends to highlight a large section of what the museum has in its kitty while displaying talent that has been in existence for decades.

The museum has a lot of artifacts which cannot be seen in a single show and that’s the reason the management of the National Museum are taking it in bits, to avoid the exhibition being cluttered.

One historical monument which is of great interest to the people in Cross River state is the Ikom monoliths, it tells a story and origin of the people and the significance of facial and body marks.

Other historic monuments are the Ekpu, Ihemba, Ingay and other artifacts from Benue, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and Cameroun also featured in the exhibition.

SPORTS: Credit President Jonathan For Abdullahi’s Success – Amaju Pinnick

Amaju PinnickThe Executive Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, on Friday attributed the success of sacked Sports Minister, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi to President Goodluck Jonathan, maintaining that the President “gave him everything he needed to succeed.”

President Jonathan, on Wednesday sacked Mr Abdullahi and ordered that one of the 11 newly sworn in ministers, Dr Tamuno Danagogo, take over.

While on Sunrise Daily, Pinnick, who lauded the sacked minister, Bolaji Abdullahi as an excellent man who had a vision and mission, opined that “Sport is a continuous process and the minister being removed is a case of the devil and the deep blue sea.”

He also maintained that Abdullahi’s record beats those of his predecessors over the past 20 years. “In fact, in the last 20 years, he’s one minister that has been very exceptional in brilliance and putting things together but it goes beyond that.”

He further credited the ex-minister’s success to his easy access and rapport with the President, who gave him everything he needed to succeed.

He said that the success recorded by the former minister were also as a result of the President’s support. “That’s the key element; the Presidency gave him all the support, so you cannot attribute his success to him alone but also to the President.”

Mr Pinnick also credited the Nigerian Football Federation “as well as some state governments including Lagos, Delta, Cross Rivers, Rivers and (maybe) Ondo for giving the former minister a good platform to work on.”

According to Pinnick, “The good news about this whole thing is that he has been able to establish a template” which his successor will benefit from and improve on. So, the success story of Nigerian sports development can continue.

“I think in the historiography of Nigeria, annals of history in Nigeria, his name certainly will be etched in one place.”

On speculations that Abdullahi was sacked for political reasons, Pinnick said “you cannot serve two masters” and so “nobody wants to care whether you are successful.”

He maintained that people should not fault the President’s action as he may have information they are not privy to. Pinnick further advocated a fixed tenure for the position of Sports Minister in order to control how they are removed from office.

Jonathan sets up committee to review judgment on Bakassi Peninuslar

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday set up a committee to review the appealing judgment on Bakassi Peninsular to the neighbouring country Cameroun and how to take care of the people there.

The president’s decision which is coming a few days to the expiration of the appeal period on the case is following a long drawn out meeting, in which the president held with the leadership of the National Assembly over the matter in the presidential villa.

The meeting which lasted for about three and half hours had in attendance the vice president Namadi Sambo, the senate president David Mark, Speaker of the house of representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and other key principal officers of the National Assembly, the Attorney General of the federation, the governors of Cross- River, Akwa Ibom, Secretary to the Government of the Federation as well as some select groups from Bakassi state.

Other technocrats like prince Bola Ajibola who spoke to Channels Television after the meeting said that by the meeting the federal government has shown a candid concern for its people in Bakassi .

That according to him is the most important thing now. He commended the move to follow the rule of law, dialogue, and diplomacy in ensuring that the people are not wrongly dealt with.

Mr Ajibola expressed optimism that the committee set up will handle it in a record time.

Also speaking the Cross- River state governor, Liyel Imoke said that the president has shown great leadership quality by convening the meeting and standing firm on some of the decisions taken.

On his part, the senate president David Mark said that the executive and the law makers are on the same frequency on the Bakassi issue and will work in the same direction to achieve results.