Niger Governor Bello Tests Negative For Coronavirus

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

 

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19) and gone into self-isolation.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, confirmed this in a statement on Saturday.

She added Governor Bello has directed his aides to do the same, saying he may have come in contact with some confirmed cases of COVID-19 during his outing at Nigeria Governors Forum meeting and other national engagements.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Coronavirus Cases Rise To 97 As NCDC Confirms Eight More Infections

According to the statement, the governor is expected to continue his official functions from home for some time after subjecting himself to self-isolation and test.

He appealed to the people to embrace simple personal hygiene, procedures, as well as other precautionary measures that would guard them against contacting the dreaded virus.

“We are still calling on the general public not to panic or despair as the measures taken by the government is for the containment of the pandemic and in the overall interest of the people”, the statement added.

Niger State has yet to record any confirmed case of COVID-19, although some people believed to have had contacts with confirmed cases have gone into self-isolation.

Niger Govt Bans Movement Of People, Vehicles Over Coronavirus

Easter: Governor Bello Challenges Residents On Nation Building
A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

The Niger State government has banned intra-state and inter-state movement of people and vehicles in the state.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman of Niger State Task Force on COVID-19, Ahmed Matane, announced this in a statement on Friday.

He explained that the decision was part of measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

Matane stressed that the ban, which was with immediate effect, covers the entire territory of the state.

He noted that although there has not been any recorded case of coronavirus in Niger, the state government has intensified measures to safeguard the people from being infected with the disease.

The SSG, however, explained that vehicles conveying fuel, food items, and medicals, as well as those on essentials services were exempted by the order.

He urged motorists and the people of the state to abide by the directives and cooperate with relevant security agencies towards the enforcement of the ban.

This comes after the government banned religious, social gatherings, and all forms of assemblies as part of preventive measure to curb the spread of the pandemic which has become a global threat.

“All defaulters should bear the consequences of their action of lawlessness as security agencies have been directed to take drastic measures in order to ensure the compliance of the order throughout the state,” Matane warned.

Niger Governor Orders Suspension Of Juma’at, Church Services

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello,

 

The Niger State Government has directed the suspension of all congregational and weekly Friday prayers in all mosques across the State in the wake of  the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.

A statement issued by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ahmed Ibrahim Matane further disclosed that the State Government has also suspended Sunday services in all churches in the State.

The SSG who is the Chairman, the Niger State Task Force on COVID-19 explained that the suspension of the Juma’at prayers and church services comes as part of the State Government’s precautionary measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahmed Matane appealed to the people of the State to abide by all instructions and guidelines issued by the State Government, saying that coronavirus risks increase with mass gatherings.

According to the SSG, the Government has a duty to work with all religious leaders and other stakeholders with a view to ensuring that everything humanly possible is been done to reduce the chance of the virus taking root and spreading in the State.

As part of the required containment measures, the government has already ordered the closure of public and private schools as well as tertiary institutions for thirty days, imposed a curfew and suspended all public gatherings across the state, the statement added.

He called on residents to show more understanding and teamwork while the pandemic lasts and pray for God’s protection over the spread of coronavirus disease in the State.

COVID-19: Niger Governor Orders Civil Servants To Stay At Home

Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello,

 

The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has directed all civil servants to stay at home.

He ordered civil servants, from level 1-12, to stay off work except those providing essential services.

The governor gave the instructions on Monday while addressing the residents of the state, following the spread of the coronavirus.

According to him, the state has no record of the virus but the government is putting in place measures to curb any possible spread.

He also directed the closure of all Almajiri schools in the state with immediate effect from today, Monday 23.

Governor Abubakar further declared a curfew from 8:00AM to 8:00PM effective from Wednesday, March 25.

“All public gatherings have been banned from today,” he said. “Only those carrying out essential services will be allowed.”

 

Below is the Governor’s full speech 

BROADCAST BY

ALHAJI (DR.) ABUBAKAR SANI BELLO, GOVERNOR OF NIGER STATE AND CHAIRMAN NORTH CENTRAL GOVERNOR’S FORUM ON THE OUTBREAK OF CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) IN NIGERIA AND LEVEL OF PREPAREDNESS AND PREVENTION IN NIGER STATE; ON MONDAY 23RD MARCH, 2020.

My fellow Nigerlites:
2.   The scourge of coronavirus (COVID-19) is real and with the confirmed cases in Abuja just a stone throw away from us, calls for more proactive measures and preparedness for any eventualities. Hence, I need to address you today.  The Covid-19 Virus with symptoms ranging from fever, tiredness, and dry cough to aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea does not manifest immediately rather these symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

3.    Already states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja have recorded cases. I wish to reassure the general public that there has not been any suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the State. But as proactive government, the State has resolved to create mass awareness and respond promptly to any case of the outbreak. In this regard we have put in place the following strategies:

a.  We have strengthened the surveillance system to detect any case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) including investigation and monitoring of any outbreak. The Public Health Emergency Operation Centre is at watch mode and enhanced surveillance is already in place.

b.  We have reactivated our Isolation Centre at General Hospital, Minna and isolation rooms in all our General Hospitals across the state.

c.  We have prepositioned drugs, medical supplies and personal protection equipment at the Isolation Centre in Minna.

d.  The sensitization of our clinicians on epidemic-prone diseases is ongoing. Treatment protocols are also being circulated.

e.  Niger State Government is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on effective means of sharing information on how to prevent infection and mitigate in case of an outbreak in the state.

f.    We have commenced risk communication through the media.

4. Niger State Government will enforce all preventive measures as advised by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), especially social distancing and hand washing routines. I hereby direct further that:

a.  All public and private schools and institutions in Niger State to remain closed down from today, Monday 23rd March, 2020.
b.  All public gatherings of more than 20 persons are prohibited from today 23rd March, 2020.

c.  All public offices including Ministries, Departments and Agencies must provide hand washing items at the entrance of their facilities.  Meanwhile, all civil servants on grade level 1-12 are to stay at home, except those on essential services.

d.  The general public including market men and women must practice social distancing and handwashing with soap regularly.

e.  The traditional leaders should ensure all Almajiri schools in their communities are closed down.
f.    All forms of street hawking and begging are by this directive banned.

g.  As from Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, the state shall observe daily curfew from 8:00am to 8:00pm till further notice.

5. Finally, I strongly advise the general public to be vigilant, adhere strictly to personal hygiene, social distancing and seek medical attention in the event of symptoms. We also call on individuals with travel history from countries and states with cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to ensure self-isolation and report to the nearest Health facility in the state.

6.    While asking people to adhere strictly to public health guidelines, I pray to God to bring an end to the scourge of coronavirus ravaging humanity, soon.
Thank you all.

Danjuma Kasimu Emerges Winner Of Rijau/Magama Election Rerun In Niger

 

Danjuma Kasimu of the All Progressives Congress has emerged winner of the rerun election for Rijau/Magama Federal Constituency in Niger State.

Kasimu pulled a total of 23,085 votes ahead of his closest rival, Alamu Emmanuel of the People’s Democratic Party who scored 16,812 votes.

The candidate of APGA Shehu Saleh Rijau scored 8,670 votes.

Announcing the results at the collation centre in Rijau, Professor Mohammed Abdullahi said Danjuma Kasimu having won the highest votes cast and fulfilled the requirement of the law is declared winner and returned elected.

READ ALSO: Niger Rerun Election Witnesses Large Turnout, Peaceful Atmosphere

The seat of Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency in Niger state was declared vacant by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamiala following the death of the member representing the constituency, Ja’afaru Iliyasu on December 2.

On Saturday, voters turned out in their number to exercise their franchise in a peaceful atmosphere.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in the state, Professor Samuel Egwu commended the process, describing it as free, fair and credible election.

He commended the security operatives in the state, the NYSC and other stakeholders who partnered INEC to ensure the success of the rerun election.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner in the State, Adamu Usman has called the candidates in the election to desist from any act that could lead to a breakdown of law, advising them to seek the intervention of the court should they feel unsatisfied rather than taking the laws in their hands.

PHOTOS: Niger Rerun Election Witnesses Large Turnout, Peaceful Atmosphere

A woman casts her vote in the rerun election into the Magama/Rijau Federal constituency of Niger State on March 14, 2020.

 

The rerun election into the Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency commenced in a peaceful atmosphere in the two local government areas of Niger State on Saturday.

Three parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – fielded candidates for the election.

Channels Television observed a large turnout of voters in some of the polling units visited.

READ ALSO: Those Calling For Oshiomhole’s Removal Will Fail – Uzodinma

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Adamu Usman, led a joint security force to ensure there is no breakdown of law and order.

The seat of Magama/Rijau Federal Constituency in Niger state was declared vacant by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamiala following the death of the member representing the constituency, Ja’afaru Iliyasu on December 2.

See Photos Below:

Gunmen Abduct Five Female Students, Three Others In Niger

 

Gunmen have abducted five female students from a private boarding school in Mariga Local government Area of Niger state.

Also kidnapped were a teacher and two local security guards on duty.

The affected students were taken from the Tular Academy at Moruba in state where one of them already escaped.

The State Police Command said the attack took place late on Sunday, but for lack of communication, it only got the information late on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner, Adamu Usman, has led a combined team of police and Military personnel to Tular Academy school Moruba, in Mariga local Government.

READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests 42 Suspected Internet Fraudsters In Ogun

According to CP Usman, the bandits had taken advantage of poor communication network service to attack the school.

Only reporters from the Nigerian Television Authority and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria were however on the team.

He said the command has deployed additional security measures against further attacks.

“We have since deployed Special Technical Squad and Armed Anti-Kidnapping Squad to identify areas with a view to rescuing the victims unhurt,” he said.

The police boss also expressed displeasure over the porous state of the fence at the school and its location which to him are contributory factors to the attack.

He however solicited the cooperation of the public in volunteering useful information to the police to enhance their investigation and prompt response at all times.

INEC Publishes Credentials Of By-Election Candidates In Four States

A file photo of an INEC ad-hoc staff setting up a polling booth at a school.

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the credentials of the candidates participating in the forthcoming by-elections in four states.

INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, announced this in a statement on Saturday.

This comes two weeks ahead of the March 14 by-elections to be conducted in Niger, Kwara, Sokoto, and Jigawa States.

The by-elections are for Magama/Rijau (Niger) and Babura/Garki (Jigawa) federal constituencies, as well as Patigi (Kwara) and Kebbe (Sokoto) state constituencies.

A total of 10 political parties are expected to participate in the election.

The parties, according to INEC, are Accord, African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressives Congress (APC), All People’s Party (APP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), African Action Congress (AAC), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

With the publication of the credentials INEC is urging any individual or group that has reasons to challenge the credibility of the submitted documents to do so.

“The commission wishes to draw attention to the provision of Section 31(5) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which entitles “any person who has reasonable grounds to believe that any information given by a candidate in the affidavit or any document submitted by that candidate is false to file a suit at the Federal High Court, High Court of a state or FCT against such person seeking a declaration that the information contained I the affidavit is false,” said Okoye.

According to him, the commission is determined to conduct free and fair elections in accordance with extant laws while working with critical stakeholders to ensure the peaceful conduct of the exercise.

The national commissioner also appealed to all eligible voters in the respective constituencies to go out and exercise their franchise on the day of the elections.

Read the full statement below:

Terrorism: AU Plans Deployment Of 3,000 Troops To Niger, Others

 

The African Union on Thursday that it expected to send a temporary deployment of 3,000 troops to West Africa’s Sahel region, where regional forces are struggling to respond to a nearly eight-year-old insurgency by armed Islamists. 

The decision was made at the African Union summit earlier this month, Smail Chergui, head of the AU’s Peace and Security Commission said, but the announcement was not made until a press conference Thursday.

“On the decision of the summit to work on deploying a force of 3,000 troops to help the Sahel countries degrade terrorist groups, I think this is a decision that we’ll be working on together with the G5 Sahel and ECOWAS,” Chergui said.

“I think this decision has been taken because as we see, as you can recognise yourself, the threat is expanding, it’s becoming more complex,” Chergui added.

G5 Sahel is a 5,000-member joint force already on the ground in the Sahel, and ECOWAS is the West African regional bloc.

A localised revolt that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

Around 4,000 people died in the three countries last year, a fivefold increase over 2016, according to UN figures.

 ‘Humanitarian crisis’ 

The bloodshed has escalated despite the presence of a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali and rattled coastal countries to the south of the Sahel.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said this week that the Sahel faced an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis”.

Final decisions from the AU summit have yet to be published, but diplomats have confirmed details of the proposed Sahel deployment.

“The summit decided to deploy about 3,000 troops for a period of six months to work with the countries of the Sahel to deal with the menace that they are facing,” Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s ambassador to the AU, told AFP.

“It’s just a sign or a show of solidarity with the people of the Sahel.”

South Africa took over as AU chair at the summit and plans and to host an extraordinary AU summit on security issues in May.

Makaya said he hoped the Sahel deployment would take place “during the course of the year”.

 ‘Not the right answer?’ 

But many details of the possible deployment have yet to be worked out.

Makaya said no countries had come forward to volunteer troops, and it was also unclear how the deployment would be financed.

“Of course the member states have been called upon to make offers and contributions, and they did, some member states did make offers during the discussions,” he said. “But we are not at liberty to mention their names now.”

Elissa Jobson, director of regional advocacy for the International Crisis Group think tank, was sceptical as to how effective an AU deployment would be.

“While it’s good to see that African Union leaders are showing real concern about the conflict in the Sahel and are moved to do something about it, the deployment of troops isn’t necessarily the right answer,” Jobson said.

The deployment would “have to be part of a well thought through political strategy that should also include dialogue with the jihadist groups in the region,” she added.

Thursday’s press conference took place as part of a meeting of AU and European leaders.

EU foreign minister Josep Borrell said at the press conference that an AU deployment to the Sahel would be “very much welcome”.

“I think we have enough logistical coordination capacity in order to manage all together,” he said.

AFP

PHOTOS: 25 Ex-Boko Haram Fighters Return To Nigeria From Niger

Some of the repentant Boko Haram fighters.

 

 

Authorities in Niger Republic have handed over 25 repentant members of the Boko Haram terrorist group to the Nigerian government.

The former insurgents had recently laid down their arms and surrendered to the Nigerien government.

The government of Niger had subsequently reached out to the Nigerian government, asking for their evacuation.

The repentant Boko Haram fighters arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on Wednesday in the company of their wives and children.

They were also accompanied to Maiduguri by the Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa.

On arrival, General Shafa handed over the repentant insurgents to the Borno State government through the Ministry of Women Affairs, for profiling and rehabilitation.

He also called on other insurgents still fighting in the forest to take advantage of the Federal Government’s Operation Safe Corridor to drop their arms and give peace a chance.

In her remarks, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Zuwaira Gambo, said the state government has equipped a rehabilitation centre where the returnees would have access to psychosocial support and skills acquisition.

See more photos below:

Police Inspector Killed, Two Officers Injured In Shootout With Bandits

Police-Policeeeee
A file photo of a police patrol van.

 

 

A Police Inspector, Ibrahim Chibok, has been killed during a shootout with bandits who attacked Muchiya Kaji village in Niger State.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Niger, Muhammad Abubakar, confirmed this in a statement on Monday.

He revealed that two other officers of the Niger State Police Command were injured during the incident which occurred on Sunday in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.

Abubakar said the slain and injured officers were part of joint police and military team who received a distress call that some armed men suspected to be cattle rustlers had stormed Muchiya Kaji village.

He noted that the team responded quickly and engaged them in a fierce gun battle, adding that three bandits were fatally wounded while the others abandoned the cattle and fled into the bush.

READ ALSO: As Leaders, We Owe Nigerians Actions, Not Only Explanation – Lawan

The command’s spokesman disclosed that one AK-47 rifle and a motorcycle were recovered as exhibits.

“Unfortunately, one Police Inspector, Ibrahim Mitra Chibok, attached to Niger State Police Command died during the encounter, two officers sustained gun wounds and are receiving treatment.

“The Police are on the trail of the armed bandits,” the statement said.

According to Abubakar, the slain police officer was part of the team that engaged bandits and cattle rustlers who invaded Dankolo Village in the same Mariga LGA on Friday last week.

He said the team recovered 13 cattle and fatally wounded three bandits who were later confirmed dead.

“The Niger State Police Command and the Force as a whole deeply regret the demise of the gallant inspector for paying the supreme price in fighting armed banditry in the state.

“The police command joins his friends and loved ones in commiserating with the deceased’s family over his demise. We pray that God Almighty should give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” the statement added.

20 Killed In Niger In Food Distribution Stampede

Niger Map

 

Twenty people, many of them women and children, were trampled to death on Monday in a stampede for food and money for refugees in southeast Niger, sources said.

“We have a provisional toll of 20 dead,” a medical source said. Aid workers confirmed the account and said about 10 people had been injured.

The accident occurred at a youth and culture centre in Diffa, the main town of a region of that name that abuts Nigeria and Chad.

The region has been repeatedly hit by attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist group since 2015.

It hosts 119,000 Nigerian refugees, 109,000 internally-displaced people, and 30,000 Nigeriens who have returned to Nigeria because of instability there, according to UN figures released October.

The aid being distributed had been given by Babagana Umara Zulum, the governor of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, a Nigerian official told AFP.

He had come to the region to visit camps for refugees and the displaced, and had already left the town when the stampede occurred.

 Crowd 

“They were distributing food and money — 5,000 naira ($13.75, 12.7 euros) per person,” a local resident told AFP, referring to Nigeria’s national currency.

“Thousands of people, most of them refugees, heard about the handout and left the camps, sometimes travelling up to 100 kilometres (60 miles) to get to Diffa,” the source said.

A local official said he was astonished at the situation. “Normally, people who are entitled to the handouts send a representative to Diffa to pick it up. But this time, the refugees themselves decided to come and get it, travelling dozens of kilometres (miles).”

Another resident said: “Even ordinary inhabitants of Diffa rushed there in the hope of getting the handout.”

A large amount of food, cooking oil and clothing, as well as the money, was due to be distributed, a Diffa municipal worker told AFP.

“Thousands of people were in the courtyard of the MJC (Culture and Youth Centre) and nearby,” he said.

“As soon as the first people received their rations, the compressed crowd started to get excited, the organisers were swiftly overwhelmed and then it all kicked off — women, children and the fit ones started to push,” the employee said.

“The weakest people fell to the ground. Some were injured and others were crushed to death.”

A local journalist said the emergency services arrived swiftly, taking wounded people to local treatment centres, while bodies were taken to the morgue of the nearby Diffa hospital.

 Floods 

Zulum visited three sites housing more than 100,000 Nigerian refugees — camps at Bosso, Garin-Wazan and Toummour.

In addition to a crisis sparked by jihadist violence, Diffa is also battling floods caused by the Yobe River, which delineates part of Niger’s border with Nigeria.

The floods have left more than 20,000 people without shelter, according to the local authorities.

They have also devastated rice and pepper fields, whose harvests provide the backbone of the local economy.

AFP