FG To Shut Third Mainland Bridge For Six Months

BREAKING: Third Mainland Bridge Reopens
File Photo of Third Mainland Bridge

 

The Federal Government is set to shut the Third Mainland Bridge for six months starting from Friday, July 24.

This was confirmed by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Olukayode Popoola.

According to him, consultations are ongoing for another phase of repair works to begin on the 11.8km bridge.

Popoola explained that the work will commence on the outward mainland section of the bridge, and the ministry is working with relevant agencies to perfect traffic during the period.

READ ALSO: Alleged N2.2bn Fraud: Court Adjourns Fayose’s Trial To October 20

The bridge has gone through a series of repair works and was last shut in August 2018 for a three-day investigative maintenance check.

There have also been reports of some worn-out expansion joints on the structure, raising concerns over the state of the bridge.

This development will force motorists in Lagos who ply the bridge to begin making arrangements for alternative routes.

774,000 Jobs: Lawmakers Not Empowered To Give Directives To Executive, Says Keyamo

The Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo

 

The Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo, has taken a swipe at the members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour over a fracas that ensued on Tuesday.

In a statement he personally signed shortly after the disagreement, Keyamo insisted that the lawmakers were not empowered by the nation’s Constitution to dictate to the executive arm of government.

“I regret to say that their powers under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution is only limited to investigations, but NOT TO GIVE ANY DIRECTIVE TO THE EXECUTIVE.

“A Committee or Committees of both Houses do not even have powers to pass binding Resolutions.  They can only make recommendations to Plenary. In this case, even Plenary CANNOT give DIRECTIVES to the Executive,” he said.

Reacting to the purported suspension of the 774,000 jobs to be issued to Nigerians by the Federal Government, Keyamo knocked the lawmakers.

According to him, the misunderstanding arose when the lawmakers questioned why he did not privately submit the special public works programme to them for vetting.

READ ALSO: 774,000 Jobs: Drama As Senators Walk Keyamo Out Of Meeting

The Minister described it as tantamount to challenging the powers of the president.

“They suggested that they ought to have an in-put on how the programme should be im-plemented.  In other words, they sought to control the programme as to who gets what, where and how.

“After I left, I understand that the Joint Committees purportedly suspended the work of the Selection Committees nationwide until they decide how the programme should be run and who should be in those Committees. My opinion is that it is tantamount to challenging the powers of Mr. President,” he said.

The lawmakers had invited Keyamo to give details of the Special Public Works Programme where 774,000 people would be recruited by the Federal Government under the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Labour sought to find out the method of selection of a 20-man committee from each state for the programme.

COVID-19: FG To Reopen Schools For Graduating Students

A file photo of the SGF, Boss Mustapha, addressing a press conference in Abuja.

 

The Federal Government is to reopen schools nationwide for graduating students with immediate effect.

This was disclosed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday.

Speaking during a daily briefing in Abuja, PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reopening of schools nationwide.

“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later, the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020, through Midnight of Monday, 27 July 2020.

“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect: Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;

“Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July 2020;

“Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular, the use of face masks in public places;

“Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations,” he said.

The SGF also said that Nigeria has not reached its peak and with 39 molecular labs, the number of infections will continue to rise.

He asked all local authorities including religious and traditional leaders to ensure compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions.

FG Shuts Down Kara Bridge For Integrity Test

File photo of an accident scene at Kara Bridge.

 

A part of the outbound Kara Bridge on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has been shut down by the Federal Ministry of Works to enable the ministry to carry out an integrity test on the infrastructure and determine its serviceability.

This follows the numerous accidents that have occurred on the bridge over time; the latest which occurred on Sunday involving a fuel tanker and trucks which resulted in an inferno and the loss of two lives.

In a letter to the Lagos State Government seeking its support in carrying out the work, the ministry explained that the contractor handling that section of the expressway requested that the bridge be shut to facilitate the project.

The Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Kayode Popoola said that traffic would be diverted to two lanes, instead of the original three on the highway, and appealed for motorists’ cooperation and understanding.

READ ALSO: Fuel Tanker Explosion: Fire Fighters Put Out Inferno Along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

Kara Bridge got burnt after a tanker accident and we have to carry out an integrity test. The test will be done by Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd,” he said.

According to him, there would be a partial closure of one lane in the sense that instead of three lanes, traffic will now be restricted to only two lanes, that is, the Ibadan-bound lane.

Already, some Lagos State Emergency Workers have been working to remove the burnt tanker and truck which had been left on the bridge since Sunday.

FG Releases N4.5bn To 31 Federal Teaching, Medical Centres

The Federal Government has released the sum of N4.5 billion to 31 Federal Teaching and Medical Centres across the country.

The sum is to cover hazard and inducement allowances for the month of April and May.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Friday while briefing State House Correspondents in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The Minister spoke after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Just this morning before we went to see Mr President, the Ministry of Finance reported that as at 3:00 am this morning, paid the allowances for a hazard to 31 Teaching and Federal Medical Centres and special hospitals of the Federal Government’s service.

“And they have extended close to N4.5billion because we are paying them off the arrears of April and May. The payments for June will also be done when these ones are sorted out. So we have expended N4.5billion as we speak this morning for these payments,” he said.

Ngige’s comments come three days after a meeting between the Federal Government delegation and the National Association of Resident Doctors aimed at resolving the strike embarked upon by the association ended in a deadlock.

READ ALSO: Northern Governors Meet, Take Measures To Tackle Insecurity In Region

The striking doctors refused to reconvene after a brief recess and their president, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, told Channels Television that they are not ready to shift position until their demands are met.

However, Ngige insisted that the meeting was successful, as most of the demands are being resolved.

He later noted that the representatives of the striking doctors have informed them that their members do not agree with the resolutions from the meeting so far, and as such cannot call off the strike until some tangible evidence of commitment from the government is received.

Also speaking, the Minister of Health says the government has the obligation to protect the health of citizens, and since the doctors are not ready to resume, certain steps must be taken.

He also noted that a circular has been sent out to all government hospitals to open a register from Wednesday, to take note of doctors that will resume for work.

Reps Query Home-grown School Feeding Programme

 

The House of Representatives has queried the Federal Government’s home-grown school feeding programme.

The Special Adviser to the President on School Feeding Programme, Dotun Adebayo confirmed this on Wednesday.

Speaking before the Huse of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, he said that states engage the schools and cooks while the Federal Government makes the payments.

The lawmakers are requesting the details of the cooks engaged, as well as the pupils.

Meeting Between FG, Resident Doctors Ends In Deadlock

 

The meeting between the Federal Government delegation and the National Association of Resident Doctors on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.

The striking doctors refused to reconvene after a brief recess and their president, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, told Channels Television that they are not ready to shift position until their demands are met.

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige insists that the meeting was successful, as most of the demands are being resolved

He later noted that the representatives of the striking doctors have informed them that their members do not agree with the resolutions from the meeting so far, and as such cannot call off the strike until some tangible evidence of commitment from the government is received.

Also speaking, the Minister of Health says the government has the obligation to protect the health of citizens, and since the doctors are not ready to resume, certain steps must be taken.

He also noted that a circular has been sent out to all government hospitals to open a register from Wednesday, to take note of doctors that will resume for work.

The register closes by 12:00 pm.

Read Also: Gbajabiamila Urges Resident Doctors To Reconsider Strike Action

This comes days after the doctors embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.

According to Sokomba, the union took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.

He said the meetings have failed to resolve the lingering industrial disputes which include the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors.

He also decried the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr Sokomba added that this has exposed many of their colleagues to coronavirus and resulted in the death of some of them.

COVID-19: FG Spent N169m On Evacuation Of Nigerians – PTF

 

The Federal Government has spent N169million on the evacuation of Nigerians returning from overseas.

This was revealed by the National Coordinator, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu, on Tuesday.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Aliyu said the PTF got N22billion for the effective handling of COVID-19 response in the country.

“At the moment, as far as I know, only N169million was spent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the evacuation of Nigerians, mainly on their accommodation.

“We haven’t spent much because of the need for prudence in the first place. We need to have clear evidence. A lot of the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of government are yet to do their quick procurement,” he said.

READ ALSO: Reps Grill PTF Over N22bn COVID-19 Funds

Aliyu’s reaction comes 24 hours after the House of Representatives grilled PTF members on COVID-19 over the expenditure of funds allocated and donated for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; and the Minister of Health, Professor Osagie Ehanire, were represented by permanent secretaries.

In attendance at the session was the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu.

FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday

 

The Federal Government has declared Friday, June 12 as public holiday to mark this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the announcement on Monday via a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.

While congratulating Nigerians at home and abroad for the entrenchment of democratic rule in the country, Aregbesola commended the heroes of democracy for their dogged determination and sacrifice in promoting democracy in the country.

READ ALSO: About 60% Of 979 Deaths In Kano Linked To COVID-19 – Health Minister

He, however, asked the citizens to continue to “cherish these selfless efforts and collaborate with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to ensure the realization of the democratic ideals which these Patriots fought for, even at the cost of their lives.”

The Minister also reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to battling the scourge of COVID-19, seeking the cooperation of all Nigerians.

In doing this, he wants the citizens to take responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities.

Court Restrains FG From Auctioning Some Marginal Oil Fields

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
Court Gavel

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and the Director, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from selling, auctioning or accepting bids for some marginal fields belonging to some oil and gas operators.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke said the restraining order would subsist until the hearing and determination of a suit on the issue.

The marginal field operators include Associated Oil and Gas Limited, Dansaki Petroleum Unlimited, Bayelsa Oil Limited, and Bicta Energy and Management Systems Limited.

Others are Del-Sigma Petroleum Nigeria Limited, Goland Petroleum Limited, Independent Energy Limited, Sahara Energy Limited, Sogenal Energy Limited, and African Oil and Gas Limited.

Through their lawyers, led by Tayo Oyetibo SAN, the marginal field operators, commenced a suit in court challenging the purported revocation of the awards of marginal fields by the Federal Government, sequel to a letter of revocation dated April 6, 2020.

They alleged that they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the production and development of the affected marginal fields.

Their lawyers also stated that the purported revocation of their awards of marginal fields by the government violated their constitutional rights to a fair hearing, their rights under the Petroleum Act and under the guidelines governing marginal fields in Nigeria.

They then asked the court to halt the attempt by the Federal Government to include the affected marginal fields in the next bidding rounds, pending the determination of their suit.

After listening to the lawyers, Justice Aneke in granting their request noted that the respondents did not file any process in opposition and were also not represented by any counsel in court though they were served with hearing notices that the matter would come up for hearing today, the 3rd of June.

The court has adjourned to June 29 for the hearing of the substantive suit.

Domestic Flights May Resume June 21 – FG

A security official and medical personnel move around at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun / Channels TV
File photo of security officials and medical personnel at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun / Channels TV

 

The Federal Government on Monday said the ban placed on domestic flights may be lifted by June 21.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this during a briefing at the nation’s capital in Abuja.

Aliyu at the briefing also asked the aviation sector to begin to develop protocols that will lead to the resumption of domestic flights any time from June 21.

READ ALSO: PTF Reduces Nationwide Curfew, Orders Full Operation In Financial Sector

“The aviation industry is requested to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from the 21st of June onwards.

“When we say from June 21, we mean that we are preparing the aviation sector towards that date. That date may not necessarily be June 21, it could be June 26, 28 or even July 1.

“It depends on whether or not they are prepared. So we are giving them a time frame of three weeks to start preparing for domestic flights.

“We are giving an opportunity for the aviation sector that is heavily regulated to make sure that they start getting their acts together so that airports open up in a safe way,” Aliyu said.

Aliyu also noted that once domestic flights resume then arrangements would be made regarding interstate travel because you cannot have a ban on interstate travel and you have people flying from one state to another.

He added that passengers would be required to wear masks or face shields and maintain physical distancing while airports would also have to mark areas to reflect social distancing.

FG Fines UK-Based Airline, Flairjet N1m For Violating Aviation Regulation

A file photo of the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

 

A UK-based airline, Flairjet has been fined the sum of N1million by the Federal Government for violating COVID-19 commercial flights’ ban regulation.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says the fine was the maximum penalty provided for in the country’s civil aviation regulations.

READ ALSO: FG Evacuates 69 Nigerians Stranded In Lebanon

The Federal Government had banned international and local flights in the country as part of the efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak and only allowed essential and emergency flights to operate in the airports.

According to Sirika, Flairjet had applied and received approval from the ministry of aviation to carry out humanitarian operations but was caught on May 17 operating commercial flight into Nigeria.

The flight crew has also been quarantined for 14 days in line with precautions recommended by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).