Ahead of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), graduating students of the Federal Capital Territory have resumed school with their face masks.
The Senior Secondary School (SSS) III students of Federal Government Girls, Bwari resumed on Monday following the partial removal of suspension by the government to allow exit classes to write their examination.
This is to enable them to write their examination which commences on August 17.
The Senate on Tuesday received a formal request for the confirmation of 11 nominees as Judges of the Federal High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The request was contained in a letter read on the floor during plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The letter read: “In accordance to Section 256(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, I have the honour to forward for confirmation by the Senate, the under-listed names of eleven (11) nominees as Judges of the High Court of the FCT, Abuja”.
The nominees are: Abubakar Husseini Musa (Adamawa State); Edward Okpe (Benue State); Babashani Abubakar (Borno State); Emuesiri Francis (Delta State); Jude Ogho (Delta State); Josephine Enobi (Edo State); Christopher Opeyemi Oba (Ekiti State); Mohammed Idris (Kano State); Hassan Maryam Aliyu (Kebbi State); Fashola Akeem Adebowale (Lagos State); and Hamza Muazu (Niger State).
The Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, while relying on Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules objected to the absence of a nominee from the FCT.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC– Ekiti Central), while coming under the same point of order, explained to the contrary that the FCT already has Judges on the bench of the FCT High Court.
“What is being done by the National Judicial Council at the moment is to fill existing vacancies on the bench of the FCT Judiciary.
“What will become an issue is if you take list of the over 40 Judges of the FCT and any particular state is missing, that is when it becomes an issue.
“A major criterion is to ensure that states that do not have anybody on the bench are given priority. I just wanted to clarify that FCT has Judges on the bench of the FCT”, the lawmaker explained.
In a related development, the President also requested the upper chamber to confirm the appointment of three members of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
“In compliance with the provision of Section 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and pursuant to Section 1(2) and (3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act LFN 2004, I write to request for confirmation by the Senate, the following three nominees for appointment as members of the Code of Conduct Bureau. The curriculum vitae of the nominees are attached herewith.
They are: Barr. Ben Umeano (Anambra State – South East); Hon. Johnson Abonaema (Edo State – South South); Olayinka Babatunde Balogun (Ogun State – South West).
Also to be confirmed is the appointment of Umar Garba Danbatta, as Executive Vice Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a second term of five (5) years.
According to President Buhari, the nominee’s appointment is in accordance with the provision of Section 8(1) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003.
Meanwhile, the confirmation of the nomination of Idahagbon Williams Omoregie for appointment as Commissioner of the Federal Civil Service Commission was referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Establishment and Public Service.
The Senate President also referred the nominations of Usman Mahmud Hassan as Commissioner of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to the Committee on National Planning and Economic matters; Tella Adeniran Rahmon as Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission to the Committee on INEC; Suleiman Sani as Career Ambassador; and the appointment of 41 Non-Career Ambassadors to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Committees are expected to submit their reports to the Senate in two weeks.
The Lagos State Government has stopped the reopening of worship centers initially scheduled for Friday, June 19 (mosques) and Sunday, June 21 (churches).
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the decision at a press briefing on Tuesday.
According to him, the development became necessary as a result of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.
“Dear Lagosians, in the most recent guidelines which we issued on the gradual easing of the lockdown, based on the advice of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, I noted that we would shortly be permitting the restricted opening of religious houses, on the condition of strict compliance with detailed guidelines issued by the Lagos State Safety Commission.
“We have been closely monitoring the situation since then, and have now concluded that we cannot proceed with any form of re-opening for places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice,” Sanwo-Olu said.
“This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, it is simply in line with our ongoing evaluation of evolving scenarios regarding the course of the infection in Lagos State and the corresponding public health advisory guidelines issued by the experts.
“So, let me say this again: we are now hereby suspending, with immediate effect, the plan to re-open religious houses and places of worship in Lagos State, until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and continue to base our decision-making on data modelling; as well as on the responsibility we have to act in a manner that ensures the protection of all of you the people of Lagos State.
“Therefore, until further notice, all places of worship in Lagos State will remain closed. Social and events centers, and social clubs, will also remain closed, for now,” he added.
On Monday, Nigeria recorded 573 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,658.
Of the new infections, Lagos reported the highest figure with 216 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 7,319.
Consequently, the state has remained the epicentre of infections in the country, closely followed by the FCT with 1,264 and Kano state with 1,158.
To curb further spread of the virus, the Federal Government had in March, 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 federal government-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 2-3 meters 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.
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.
However, on June 1, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 lifted the ban on religious gatherings in the country.
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.
Following the announcement, states began to lift the ban placed on worship centers.
In Lagos State, the governor on June 4, announced that worship centers could reopen but limit the capacity of persons per time to 40%.
For larger worship centers, he said the maximum of attendees should be 500 persons per time.
The reopening was to commence on June 21 for churches and June 19 for mosques.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has given a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be implemented.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday April 27, approved that as from May 4, the lockdown could be eased in phases to allow the recommencement of socio-economic activities, as with a 6:00 am t 8:00 pm curfew in place.
But according to the National Coordinator of the Task Force, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.
“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.
For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.
Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.
On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.
The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks, and other hygiene methods.
On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.
For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.
Financial institutions such as banks will be allowed to open but there will be restriction of opening hours between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm.
Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in in-home delivery of food.
Academic institutions are, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.
“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.
As for government staff, he stated that they will be allowed to resume based on specific grade levels and specific days, so as to reduce the level of congestion at the workplace.
He explained that President Buhari gave the hint in his broadcast to the nation – the third since the outbreak of coronavirus in the country.
Adesina noted that the President’s action was in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 3 of the Quarantine Act, CAP Q2 Laws of the Federation 2004, and all powers enabling him in that behalf.
“It is a figment of their imagination. Maybe before now, they are used to politicising everything, but we are moving away from that now. We are facing reality because COVID-19 knows no barrier.
“COVID-19 knows no tribe, religion or even political party. From the composition of the organogram, the structure is replicated down to the grassroots,” she said.
She added volunteers and representatives from various groups, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), League of Imams, political parties, civil society groups, among others were part of the distribution process.
According to Aliyu, over 600,00 households are targeted to receive the package which is made up of 5kg of rice, 3kg of garri, 3kg of semovita, 2kg of beans, 10 sachets of tomato paste, and one litre of groundnut oil, among others.