Police Foil Kidnap Attempt By Bandits, Rescue Eight Travellers In Katsina

The Katsina Police Command have foiled a kidnap attempt on travellers along Jibia-Batsari road Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State and rescued eight persons.

The rescued victims include six females and two males while three others are, however, still missing.

The police spokesperson, Gambo Isah in a statement on Friday said the bandits who rode on motorbikes and were armed with AK 47 rifles attacked and kidnapped all the occupants of the motor vehicle, Volkswagen, Passat, Wagon (white) with registration number EPE 754 EZ and whisked them away into the forest.

“On receipt of the report, DPO Batsari led teams of Operation Puff Adder and Sharan Daji to the area, chased after the hoodlums, engaged them in a gun duel, and successfully rescued eight of the victims,” the statement read in part.

He said search parties are still combing the area to arrest the fleeing bandits and to rescue the remaining three missing persons.

Spain Opens Borders To All Vaccinated Travellers

File photo of commuters wearing face masks and sitting on a train at the Atocha Station in Madrid, Spain. PHOTO: JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

Spain opened its borders to vaccinated travellers from all over the world on Monday, hoping an influx of visitors will revitalise an all-important tourism sector that has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The opening kicks off what many are hoping will be a busy summer tourism season in Europe as vaccine rates pick-up across the continent.

On Monday morning, with the mercury already high, tourists from Germany, Ireland and Belgium could be seen passing through the arrival gates at Malaga airport.

At least 20 international flights landed in the morning at the most important tourist gateway in the southern Andalusia region.

READ ALSO: WHO Warns Of June-July Covax Doses Shortfall

Visitors arriving in the sun-soaked Spanish resort of Malaga were happy to finally be able to hit the beach after more than a year of lockdown misery.

“We’re thrilled, delighted. We love Spain, the sun, the food and everything about it,” said Irish holidaymaker Gillian Ford, who arrived from rainy Dublin having had her second vaccination.

“You only live once so you need to get out of here and enjoy,” she said before heading off to the beaches of Marbella with her husband Edward.

Under the new rules, Spain from Monday is allowing visitors in who have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.

Non-vaccinated Europeans — who could previously enter Spain with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours can now take a cheaper antigen test within the past 48 hours instead.

For some, the new rules allowed for long-overdue trips.

“I haven’t been out of Belgium for a year,” said Rose Huo, a 73-year-old Belgian who came to spend a month with her sister.

“Everyone is happy I think. We are still very careful but it’s a start,” she said.

 

– Hopeful for recovery –

Heavily dependent on its tourism industry, Spain was one of the Western economies worst hit by the pandemic, seeing a 10.8 per cent fall in its GDP in 2020.

The Spanish government has set an objective of drawing 45 million travellers by the end of the year.

But by the end of April, the country had only seen 1.8 million visitors, according to official statistics.

Regardless, those in the tourism sector are still hoping for a summer surge of visitors.

Jose Luis Prieto, president of Spain’s travel agents’ union (Unav) is hoping for a “spectacular recovery” after a punishing year.

According to him, over the last few weeks tour operators in Britain, France and Germany — Spain’s three main markets — have been receiving a large number of enquiries.

Across the country, from the Costa del Sol to the Canary Islands, hotels and restaurants have reopened after months of closures, and airlines have restarted routes dropped during the height of the pandemic.

Spain will also begin allowing cruise boats into its ports again from Monday.

 

– ‘Disappointing’ UK rules –

Despite Spain’s easing of measures, the United Kingdom, a huge tourism market for the country, has not yet removed Spain from its list of at-risk countries.

That means British travellers will have to quarantine on their return home as well as pay for expensive Covid-19 tests.

The British normally make up the largest contingent of tourists to Spain — in 2019 over one-fifth of Spain’s 83.5 million arrivals were from the United Kingdom.

Britain’s decision to keep Spain on its amber list was, however, “disappointing”, Health Minister Carolina Darias said.

Spain had put several measures in place to lure British tourists to its shores, such as allowing them to enter without having to present a PCR test from late May.

Against the backdrop of uncertainty, major travel operator TUI has cancelled all its flights to Spain until June 13.

London will not revisit its decision for another three weeks, losing precious time for those in the hospitality sector hoping to recover.

AFP

EU To Reopen Borders To Fully Vaccinated Travellers

File:  JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.


EU member states agreed Wednesday to reopen the bloc’s borders to travellers who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, European sources said.

Meeting in Brussels, diplomats also agreed to increase the level of new cases a country can hit before being declared unsafe — a measure that would open up travel into the EU from more places.

The recommendations will be adopted by EU ministers on Friday, they said.

Currently, non-essential travel into the 27-member European Union is banned, apart from a small number of countries deemed safe because of their low Covid case rate.

But businesses on the continent are reopening as virus restrictions are phased out and bars, hotels and restaurants are worried about the summer tourist trade.

Diplomats said that, under the new rules, travellers who could demonstrate that they had received the required number of doses of an EU-approved vaccine could enter the EU.

In addition, the number of cases per 100,000 people that a country could register over two weeks and still be considered for the green list will rise from 25 to 75.

This would still exclude non-vaccinated travellers from much of the world, but could allow travel from, for example, Britain, which is well-advanced in its vaccination campaign.

AFP

FG To Sanction Returning Travellers Who Fled Quarantine Facilities

A file photo of the SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, addressing reporters in Abuja.

 

Returning foreign passengers who fled the quarantine facilities and violated the compulsory requirement will not go unpunished.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, stated this on Monday at the resumed briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

He noted that the committee has received reports that some persons who recently returned to the country violated the mandatory quarantine requirement under the advisory by escaping from the facilities.

Mustapha, who is also the PSC Chairman, condemned the violation of the nation’s laws and hospitality, noting that the committee was awaiting the report of ongoing investigations and would impose appropriate sanctions on the violators.

He revealed that the PSC has considered several pre-emptive measures to be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the variants of COVID-19, should they get imported into Nigeria.

The SGF explained that this became important in view of the fragile state of the nation’s health systems, the disruption to the delivery of vaccines, and the lack of compliance with the extant public health measures and social measures contained in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021.

According to him, it is imperative to reinstitute the various public health measures that were put in place under the health protection regulations.

Read the full text of the PSC chairman’s briefing below:

REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL STEERING COMMITTEE (PSC) ON COVID-19 AT THE NATIONAL BRIEFING FOR MONDAY, 10TH MAY, 2021.

I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC).

​The PSC continues to watch with focus and concern the unprecedented rising cases of infection and fatalities caused by variants of concern in a number of jurisdictions around the world.

It has also continued to rely on data, science, and experiences around the world to establish the basis for steps to be taken to strengthen the National Response programme.

​Since the last national briefing on 26th April 2021, the PSC has also received the expression of genuine concerns by experts, international organisations, the Africa CDC, Nigerians, and other friendly nations over these developments.

It has also, on merit, assessed the situation in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the USA with a view to preventing the importation of the variants of concern.

The surge and virulence of the variants of concern have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of persons in India and a number of countries and has unfortunately disrupted the production of and global delivery programmes for vaccines. These developments clearly underscore the fact that indeed, no one can be safe until everyone is safe.

On behalf of the government and the people of Nigeria, the PSC wishes to express deep sympathies and condolences to these nations that have been badly affected by the new surge and pray that the Almighty should bring relief and a total halt to the ravaging effect on humanity.

The PSC also calls on all nations of goodwill, to continue the good work of supporting nations that are encountering turbulence at this time.

As you are all aware, the PSC has already issued a Travel Advisory which took into consideration, the utility of travel restrictions, outcomes of epidemiological risk assessment, factors that aid transmission as well as control measures that could be deployed.

In the Advisory, additional requirements were placed on passengers from India, Turkey and Brazil.  The Director-General (NCDC) will elaborate on this during the briefing.

The PSC has received reports of some returning foreign passengers who violated the mandatory quarantine requirement under the advisory by escaping from the facilities. We deprecate such violation of the laws of our land and our hospitality.

The PSC is awaiting the report of ongoing investigations and we wish to assure Nigerians that appropriate sanctions would be imposed on the violators.

​The PSC has also considered several pre-emptive measures to be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the variants of concern, should they get imported into Nigeria.

This step has become compelling in view of the fragile state of our health systems, the disruption to vaccines delivery and the lack of compliance with the extant public health measures and social measures contained in the CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) HEALTH PROTECTION REGULATIONS 2021.

​The PSC has therefore considered it imperative to re-institute the various public health measures that were put in place under the Health Protection Regulations.

In taking this step, the PSC requests the State Governments to please step up to play lead roles in the area of enforcement and sanctions. Similarly, our appeal goes to traditional, religious and community leaders to take up more ownership and responsibility for risk communication and community engagement on the virulent nature of the pandemic, concerns over the variants of concern and the need for compliance.  The National Incident Manager will elaborate on the re-instituted guidelines.

Closely associated with the control measures is the issue of vaccine access and administration. Given the challenge of vaccine nationalism compounded by the production situation in India, the PSC is exploring other options to get Nigerians vaccinated.

As at date, 1,690,719 persons have received their first dose of the vaccine in Nigeria representing 84% of the targeted persons for this phase. We appeal to States, especially those high burden areas, to push ahead with the vaccination programme. The Hon. Minister of Health and the ED-NPHCDA will elaborate on this.

​Accordingly, the PSC has produced a new Implementation Guidelines being Phase IV of our Eased restrictions of COVID-19 Lockdown in the Country. The Head of Technical Secretariat will brief you on the details of this new guideline.

The Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has fixed the cost of COVID-19 testing, whether PCR or otherwise, at $50 (Fifty US Dollars) at all Points of Entry with effect from 17th May 2021. This is to ease travel and trade among citizens of ECOWAS States travelling within the region.

Before I invite the Hon. Minister of Health, DG NCDC and National Incident Manager to elaborate on the details of measures Nigerians will be taking subsequently, let me use this opportunity to wish our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy Eid El-Fitr and may the Almighty answer all our prayers during the Ramadan.

I thank you all for listening.

FG To Sanction 20,216 Travellers For Shunning Post Arrival COVID-19 Test

(File Photo) PTF Chairman, Boss Mustapha, addresses reporters during a press briefing in Abuja on August 13, 2020.

 

The Federal Government has concluded plans to sanction travellers who breached public health protocols as precautionary steps to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Speaking during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force in Abuja on Monday, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said 20,216 travellers would be sanctioned for shunning COVID-19 test upon arrival.

“20,216 (31%) have not shown up for post-arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to,” he said.

“The PTF has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within the ambit of the law.

READ ALSO: Workers Below Grade Level 12 To Stay Home, Schools Remain Shut Until January 18 – PTF

“The PTF has surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed our domestic environment and has accordingly submitted its recommendations to Mr President on immediate measures to be taken.

“Accordingly, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has authorised the PTF to engage with the States and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.”

According to Mustapha, 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the government’s portal as of today.

“Out of this number, 77,025 (47%) made payment for post-arrival testing, 64,405 (84%) of the number are due for a post-arrival test, Out of 44,189 (69%) that were due for a post-arrival test, 44,189 representing (59%) of those tested,” he added.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

REMARKS OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PTF FOR THE NATIONAL BRIEFING OF MONDAY, 21ST DECEMBER, 2020

I welcome you all to the National Briefing for Monday 21st December 2020

Over the past four briefings, the PTF has been raising the alert flag on the rising number of infections in the country and the possibility of a second wave arriving at our shores.

Recent Epidemiology records confirm to the PTF that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world.

Particularly, Lagos, Kaduna and the FCT have emerged as the new epicentres during this period, with over 70% of all confirmed cases.

Two major indicators highlight the current increase in cases and transmission across Nigeria. These are:

Notwithstanding the fact that our testing numbers are fast approaching the peak recorded in July 2020, the number of cases being reported are disproportionately higher.

For example, in the FCT, despite recording an increase of 85% in tests conducted over the last week, the number of confirmed cases increased by 285% during the same time period; and

These trends point to a higher Test Positivity Rate (TPR) – the number of positive cases detected as a proportion of all tests).

The TPR was below 5% through September and October and we recorded a low point of 3% nationally in late October 2020. However, recent trends in cases have seen this number increase to 10% in the second week of December.

These high numbers are further reflected in the increase of admissions to COVID-19 treatment centres and fatalities, particularly in the three epicentre states.

The result of the analysis carried out by the PTF further indicate that the current pattern of spread and the surge is likely to be driven by the following factors:

The lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions – particularly the disregard for mask use in public, large gatherings as a result of events linked to the yuletide season and recent civil demonstrations,

Further disregard for other public health preventive measures, such as hand hygiene and physical distance requirements,

The activities and assumptions of our youthful population which has resulted in an increase in the infection rate among young people, who are subsequently infecting older and more vulnerable family members.

From our assessment, the current situation is clearly the consequences of certain occurrences and events of the last few weeks. These include:

A sudden increase in social gatherings involving large congregations from different parts of the country, and the world, at events such as weddings, religious activities, political rallies, conferences and end of year celebrations,

These events, classified globally as ‘supers-spreader events’, make the risk of a single infection causing a large outbreak among attendees significantly higher,

Furthermore, as we reopened the economy, we experienced increased economic, social and religious gatherings and activities all of which have combined to play a part in viral transmissions. These include:

The opening of the international airspace in September 2020 – while the average number of daily imported infections into the country in the last 90 days is estimated to be about seven cases, compared to 100-150 reported new infections in the community since the beginning of community transmission, the test positivity rate in travellers arriving Lagos has recently doubled to 6.3%,

The resumption of schools – outbreaks have been reported in schools following the resumption of physical classes,

The resumption of NYSC orientation camps – this risk has been mitigated by ensuring that all NYSC members were screened for COVID-19 prior to admission to camp, but confirmed cases have still been identified through tests carried out,

The full opening of offices with the return to work of government workers from GL. 12 and below – outbreaks have also been reported in public offices, most likely linked to overcrowding, poor ventilation and the lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions, and,

The opening of the economy with progressive relaxation of restrictions in congregational areas such as places of worship, restaurants, bars, lounges, shopping, and event centres.

You will also recall that the PTF established the Nigeria International Travel Portal for the control of possible importation of the virus.

Statistics show that a good percentage of in-bound travellers have breached the travel protocols thereby making surveillance and testing suffer undue setbacks.

The following statistics will be of interest:

As at date, 163,818 inbound travellers have been captured on the portal,

Out of this number, 77,025 (47%) made payment for post-arrival testing,

64,405 (84%) of the number are due for a post-arrival test,

Out of 44,189 (69%) that were due for a post-arrival test, 44,189 representing (59%) of those tested, and,

20,216 (31%) have not shown up for post-arrival test thereby endangering members of the community and breaching the protocols they signed up to.

The PTF has concluded arrangements with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on these defaulters for breaching the public health protocols, within the ambit of the law.

The PTF has surveyed developments and actions taken by governments around the world, assessed our domestic environment and has accordingly submitted its recommendations to Mr President on immediate measures to be taken.

Accordingly, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has authorised the PTF to engage with the States and the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.

In line with the authorisation, the PTF wishes to issue the following advisories to sub-national entities for implementation over the next five weeks because these activities are considered super spreader events:

Close all bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues,

Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed,

Restrict all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events shall be restricted to not more than 50 persons,

Limit all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing; mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced,

Where more than 50 persons are attending, any such events, the gathering should be held outdoors only,

Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity in compliance with social distancing rules.

Enforce compliance with NPI protocols, especially the advisory on wearing of face masks in public spaces,

To reduce overcrowding in public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and schools, states are advised to implement the following:

Encourage virtual meetings in government offices. The leadership of such offices are to ensure that all offices are well-ventilated offices, and encourage staff to work from home where possible,

All government staff on GL.12 and below are to stay at home for the next 5 weeks; Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives are to be held accountable for enforcing NPI rules in their domains with frequent spot checks,

The PTF on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Education expects that schools would have vacated from the 18th December 2020 and remain closed till at least the 18th of January 2021 to enable the measures introduced to take effect,

All persons above the age of 60yrs and/or with comorbidities are to be encouraged to stay at home and avoid crowds,

All non-essential travels – both domestic and international during the holiday season are seriously discouraged,

To strengthen risk communication and community engagement activities over the next five weeks, states are encouraged to:

Engage community and religious leaders, arrange town hall meetings (ideally set outdoors) to address concerns,

Intensify public messaging activities, leveraging on existing government and partner assets,

Reach out to youths and younger adults with health promotion activities,

Invest in local face mask purchase and distribution to the general public to encourage use.

Where applicable, the PTF shall also implement these authorisations.

For example, it shall work with the Nigeria Immigration Service to impose sanctions on all in-bound travellers who violated the travel protocols and endangered the lives of their loved ones and other citizens by refusing to take the post-arrival test.

The PTF will similarly work with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to implement aspects related to the Public Service.

A lot of discussion is still going on around the calls for the restriction of international travels due to the discovery of new strains of the virus in certain countries.

The PTF, Aviation and health authorities including the WHO, are assessing the situation closely and would take a position as soon as a cogent scientific basis are established.

The protection of Nigerians remains our primary concern and we reassure Nigerians of our resolve not to relent.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 22nd December 2020 at 3.00 pm, the PTF shall be submitting its end of the year (2020) Report to Mr President and Nigerians shall be kept abreast of developments in this regard.

I now call on the Hon. Minister of Health, the Director-General (NCDC) and the National Coordinator to update you on the technical developments.

I thank you for listening.

Travellers Feared Killed, Kidnapped As Insurgents Mount Checkpoint On Maiduguri-Damaturu Road

Borno is situated in northeast Nigeria.
A map of Borno, a state in north-east Nigeria.

 

Residents of Maiduguri have been thrown into panic following the killing and abduction of several travellers along the Maiduguri-Damaturu expressway in Borno State.

The 133-kilometre highway is the only major road that links Borno to other parts of the country.

The killing and abduction of travellers on Friday is the latest and deadliest of similar incidents as the insurgents redouble their activities on the road in recent times.

Witnesses told Channels Television on Saturday that armed men believed to be insurgents stormed the highway in large numbers and mounted an illegal checkpoint around Auno, barely 23 kilometres to Maiduguri from where they picked their victims.

According to them, travellers in scores of commercial and private-owned vehicles were caught up in the attack.

However, military authorities have yet to confirm the incident.

Multiple sources also confirmed that the insurgents moved from vehicle to vehicle, scrutinising and interviewing passengers, asking non-Muslims and those not dressed like Muslims to step out of the car they were in.

They also warned the travellers against attempting to escape and those who tried to beat a retreat were instantly shot dead, a survivor revealed.

It is not clear how many people were abducted or how many got killed while trying to escape, but many cars were said to have been set ablaze.

According to witnesses, troops of the Nigerian Army later arrived at the scene after the assailants had retreated.

They directed all the travellers to move back to the next village before they combed the road to ensure it was safe for motorists.

The flow of traffic along the Maiduguri-Damaturu Road has been heavy lately with many people travelling to and fro the city for the holidays.

While air travel is presumed the safest means of transportation in and out of Maiduguri at the moment, many prefer to travel by road.

This, according to them, is as a result of the high cost of tickets to and from Maiduguri which is between N100,000 to N120,000 for Abuja and N170,000 for Lagos.

 

Suicide Attack In Konduga Town

Elsewhere, a source told Channels Television that a suicide bomber infiltrated Kaimari area in Konduga town, about 38 kilometres away from Maiduguri.

The bomber, a teenage girl, was said to have detonated the explosive she was wearing and blew herself up.

According to the source, two male civilians were instantly killed and three others injured were rushed to a hospital.

One of the victims later died of the injuries sustained, raising the number of deaths from the attack to three.

“We evacuated three dead bodies and two people who were seriously injured from the scene,” an aid worker Abubakar Mohammed told AFP on Saturday.

Konduga and surrounding villages have been repeatedly targeted by suicide bombers from Boko Haram, which typically attacks soft civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations.

In 2019, no fewer than 30 people were killed in Konduga when three bombers detonated their explosives outside a hall where football fans had gathered to watch a match on TV.

Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of residents in Borno since 2009.

Troops Kill Two Bandits, Rescue 39 Travellers Abducted In Kaduna

A photo released by the military on September 5, 2020, shows some soldiers riding on motorbikes during an operation in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

Troops have killed one bandit who attempted to abduct some travellers at Kwanar Tsintsiya axis of the Kaduna-Zaria Road in the north-western part of the country.

An attempt to kidnap the travellers on Monday morning was thwarted by soldiers of the 4 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Igabi Local Government Area (LGA) of Kaduna State.

During the operation, the troops also rescued 39 other people kidnapped by the bandits while travelling from Sokoto State to Onitsha in Anambra State, south-east Nigeria.

The Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed the incident in a statement.

He noted that the incident happened in the early hours of Monday, adding that the operation carried out by the troops was successful.

Aruwan stated that due to the superior firepower of the soldiers, some of the bandits escaped with bullet wounds while the troops were already trailing them to areas said to be their enclaves.

He said troops also repelled another bandit attack on the Kaduna-Abuja Road when they attempted to advance towards the Audu-Jungom axis in Chikun Local Government Area.

A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria's North-Central region.
A map showing Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north-west region.

 

According to the commissioner, the bandits were pursued to Ungwan Tuta from where the troops lost contact with the criminals.

He insisted that the bandits were denied freedom of action by the troops as they could not carry out their nefarious act.

While the troops successfully dislodged the bandits along the Kaduna-Abuja road, Aruwan disclosed that a stray bullet fired by the criminals hit a driver and passenger.

He stated that the troops also responded to distress calls about bandits attacking residents in the same general area.

Following their arrival at the location, the soldiers recovered 69 cattle while one of the bandits was killed in the process.

On Sunday evening, troops rescued some passengers kidnapped by bandits on the Kaduna-Kachia Road in Kachia Local Government Area.

In his reaction, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, commended the soldiers for the onslaught against the bandits.

He also condoled with the families who lost their loved ones and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

COVID-19: Security Operatives Intercept 150 Travellers, Almajiri Children In Kaduna

 

No fewer than 150 travellers including almajiri children have been intercepted in three vehicles by security operatives along the Abuja- Kaduna road on Wednesday.

They were attempting to move into Kaduna State from the Federal Capital Territory, (Abuja) and Nyanya in Nasarawa State.

The Commissioner for Human Resources and Social Development in the state, Hafsat Baba, confirmed this to Channels Television on Wednesday, adding that other almajiris were also intercepted in Soba and Giwa Local Government Areas of the state.

According to her, out of the 150, 90 are from Kano State, while the others are from Nasarawa and Birinin Gwari Local Government in Kaduna.

She further explained that all the non-indigenous Almajiri and other travellers have been returned to their states, while those from Kaduna have been quarantined for a period of 14 days.

Baba stressed that the ban on inter-state travels at this moment is still in full force in Kaduna state. She, therefore, warned that any unauthorised person coming into the state will be sent back or quarantined for 14 days.

COVID-19 Panic: Taraba Considers Quarantining 65 Travellers Intercepted By Police

Map of Taraba
Taraba is a state in Nigeria’s North-East region.

 

The police in Taraba State have intercepted 65 persons traveling from Ogun State to Adamawa.

According to the police, the heavy-duty vehicle that conveyed them from Ogun state was able to beat all the border patrol teams with the claim that he was conveying food items not knowing that there are human beings in it.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police Operations, Faleye Olaleye said that upon reaching Jalingo, the driver of the said vehicle dumped them and ran away with the vehicle to an unknown destination.

READ ALSO: IGP Redeploys Rivers State Commissioner Of Police

Upon interrogation, the police discovered that the individuals, said to be workers of a Chinese firm in Ogun, paid huge sums of money to be conveyed to Numan in Adamawa.

One of the travellers, Haruna Adamu, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of others said after the Chinese company closed down, they were asked to leave, hence the decision to use such strategy.

“We had no place to go when the company closed down, we stepped out and found a vehicle heading to the north, then we contributed to pay him to convey us,” he said.

Adamu who noted that the bargain was for the driver to take them to Numan, said they were surprised to know that they were dumped in Jalingo, with another arrangement to convey them via 18 sitter buses to their destination.

He said despite the lockdown in Ogun State, they violated it and moved out since Wednesday, April 15 before been intercepted today in Jalingo.

While denying to have the mobile phone number of the driver, nor the registration number of the vehicle, Adamu stated that the amount spent on their transportation is N720,000.

Reacting to the development, the state’s Commissioner of Health, Dr Innocent Vakkai, said their presence in the state is worrisome and could make residents panic.

The Commissioner however noted that state government is considering quarantining them in its isolation centres or to take them to Adamawa state for quarantine since that is their final destination.

Kaduna Converts NYSC Camp To Quarantine Centre For Unathourised Travellers

Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe.

 

 

The Kaduna State government has converted the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp located along the Abuja- Kaduna highway into a quarantine centre.

The state deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe, confirmed this during an inspection visit to the facility on Thursday along with members of the COVID-19 Task Force in Kaduna.

She explained that the facility would be used to quarantine travellers coming into the state during the lockdown, as part of measures to contain the further spread of coronavirus.

Balarabe warned unauthorised persons coming into Kaduna during the lockdown to better turn back or get ready to be quarantined at the NYSC camp for 14 days to ascertain their COVID-19 status.

She disclosed that similar quarantine facilities have been set up at all the 17 entry points into the state, with a view to curtailing the influx of travellers and reducing the chances of inter-state transmission of coronavirus.

The deputy governor reacted to the allegation of some security operatives collecting bribes from unauthorised motorists and granting them entry into Kaduna.

She said the complaints were being investigated by the relevant authorities with a view to putting a stop to such misconduct.

US Considering Ban On Travellers From Europe Over Virus – Top Official

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli testifies before the Senate Homeland Security Committee during a hearing on the government’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 5, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

The United States is weighing a ban on travelers from Europe to slow the spread of the coronavirus, a senior US official said Wednesday.

“The question is a live question about how to treat Europe as a whole,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“That is not to the level of using legal authorities to block travel yet. But it is under consideration,” he told a congressional hearing.

“As each country, or in this case region, becomes more and more problematic it obviously gets reviewed on a day-to-day basis,” Cuccinelli told the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Europe presents a unique problem,” he said, pointing to the Schengen Area that maintains open borders between most of the Western European countries.

Cuccinelli, who is also acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said that Italy, the European country worst hit by the COVID-19 virus, is pre-screening passengers on all direct flights to the United States.

But Cuccinelli said the United States does not have adequate resources to screen travel by Italians or others who are flying indirectly to the United States from Europe.

He gave no additional information on the possibility of a ban.

Earlier a top government health expert said the largest threat to the country with respect to the virus is transmission from Europe.

“Where our real threat is right now is Europe,” said Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That’s where the cases are coming in from. If you want to be blunt, Europe is the new China,” he said.

AFP

Gunmen Kidnap Three Travellers In Kwara

Chief Imam’s Son, Two Others Kidnapped In Ogun Community

 

Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have kidnapped three indigenes of Obbo-Aiyegunle in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.

The incident occurred on New Year’s Eve along the Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle Road in the state.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Kwara, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, could not confirm the incident but promised to provide details of the incident later.

Those kidnapped include a lady and two men, while the fourth in the same vehicle with them escaped with serious injuries.

The kidnappers were said to have demanded a ransom of N50 million from the families before they would release the victims.

A former chairman of the Ekiti Local Government and an indigene of the town, Ezekiel Gbadeyan, told Channels Television that the victims were travelling to their hometown for the New Year celebration before the incident.

He decried that kidnapping has been a recurrent event in the area due to the deplorable state of the road linking Osi and Obbo-Aiyegunle.

“That incident was the fourth in the last few weeks, but local hunters have always been rising up to the occasion of preventing innocent souls from been kidnapped,” Gbadeyan said.