Tag Archives: COVID-19

MOURNERS LINE TANZANIA STREETS AT EX-PRESIDENT MAGUFULI FUNERAL(Photos)

Mourners have lined the streets of Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam to pay their last respects to ex-President John Magufuli.

His successor Samia Suluhu Hassan led the procession, with the coffin draped in the national flag taken to the Uhuru Stadium to lie in state.

Opposition politicians say that Magufuli, 61, had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

He was a Covid sceptic who at times denied the virus affected Tanzania.

Magufuli was the son of a peasant farmer and went on to became Tanzania’s president in 2015.

Some residents wept and threw flowers on the coffin which was pulled by a military vehicle on Saturday.

President Samia, who was sworn into office on Friday, led the government procession in which many wore black or green and yellow to represent the colours of the ruling party.

She is Africa’s only current female national leader – the Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial role – and joins a short list of women on the continent to have run their countries.

The government announced on Wednesday that Magufuli had died from a heart condition after he had been missing from public for several weeks.

His position on coronavirus ranged from stating it did not exist in Tanzania to saying the country had beaten the pandemic through prayer.

But in February, after a number of senior politicians died from the virus, he conceded it was circulating in Tanzania.

Known as the “bulldozer”, before the pandemic Magufuli was praised for his no-nonsense approach and hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting money.

On Friday President Samia spoke of the “heavy load” on her shoulders and urged for the “burying of differences” and unity during the mourning period.

Tanzania confirms death of COVID-19 sceptic, President John Magufuli

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptics, has died aged 61, the country’s Vice-President has announced.

Mr Magufuli had been absent from public life for more than two weeks, which led to speculation about his health.

Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan said he died in hospital in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, from the heart disease that had plagued him for a decade.

Mr Magufuli had not been seen in public since February 27, sparking rumours that he had contracted COVID-19.

On March 12 officials denied he had fallen ill, and on Monday Ms Hassan urged Tanzanians not to listen to “rumours” from outside the country, saying it was normal for someone to be checked for the flu or fever.

Mr Magufuli is the first Tanzanian president to die while in office.

Speaking on state broadcaster TBC, Ms Hassan said burial arrangements were underway and announced 14 days of mourning.

State television broadcast mournful and religious songs.

Mr Magufuli frustrated the World Health Organization (WHO) during the pandemic by playing down the threat from COVID-19, saying God and remedies such as steam inhalation would protect Tanzanians.

The former chemistry teacher mocked coronavirus tests, denounced vaccines as part of a Western conspiracy to take Africa’s wealth, and opposed mask wearing and social distancing.

Tanzania stopped reporting coronavirus data in May last year when it had recorded 509 cases and 21 deaths, according to the WHO, which has urged the government to be more transparent.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said on Friday that he had spoken to Mr Magufuli, and blamed the narrative of the President’s ailment on some “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

Tundu Lissu, Mr Magufuli’s main rival in the October election when the President won a second five-year term, had suggested Tanzania’s leader had been flown to Kenya for treatment for COVID-19 and then moved to India in a coma.

Mr Magufuli was re-elected for his second term in 2020, winning 84 per cent of the vote in an election result rejected by the opposition, which said it was marred by irregularities.
Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan
Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan could be Tanzania’s first female leader.

According to Tanzania’s constitution, Ms Hassan, 61, should assume the presidency for the remainder of the five-year term that Mr Magufuli began serving last year.

She would become the East African nation’s first female president.

COVID-19: Edo govt okays schools resumption on Feb 1, begins no work for teachers

The Edo State Government has approved the resumption of full academic activities for public primary schools in the state on Monday, February 01, 2020.

Secretary to the State Government, Osarodion Ogie Esq., in a statement, noted that parents are expected to make their children and wards ready for resumption on the scheduled date.

Ogie reemphasized that all public-school teachers and head teachers are required to be present in their various schools as failure to resume work on the said date would be considered forfeiture of salary, adding that the “government has activated the No Work, No Pay policy.”

The statement reads: “This is to inform all parents, teachers and the general public that all public primary schools in Edo State shall resume full activities on Monday 1st February 2021.

“Parents are expected to make their children and wards ready for resumption on this date. The Edo State Government wishes to reemphasize that all public-school teachers and head teachers are required to be present in their various schools.

“Failure to resume work would be considered forfeiture of salary as government has activated the No Work, No Pay policy.”

Ogie further noted: “Head Teachers and Teachers who are desirous of staying away from work in support of the sponsored strike action by certain elements of the Edo State Branch of the National Union of Teachers, are required to hand over all school property in their custody to their respective Education Secretaries.

“The Edo State Government through the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) is collaborating with the relevant security agencies to ensure the protection of all public schools and any willful destruction of government property will be met with criminal prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prof Gregory Ibeh: Nigerian Don Endows $1 million for COVID-19 Research

Nigerian academic, entrepreneur and inventor Prof. Gregory Ibeh has endowed $1 million for the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Ibeh will also help facilitate the research via his Abia-based Gregory University Uturu, which announced the move in a statement on January 19.

According to Rosemary Igboekwe, Registrar of Gregory University Uturu,the endowment fund, which will be available to Scientists and Researchers within the bounds of southern Nigeria as grants, will be channelled through Gregory Iyke Foundation, the philanthropic organ of Prof Gregory Ibe.

The move will put Nigeria, which has been heavily reliant on foreign scientific aid, high on the ladder of COVID-19 research globally.

A letter addressed to Vice Chancellors of federal,state and private universities in southern Nigeria signed by the Registrar therefore requests, “Interested Research Scientists to submit their proposals to the secretary of the COVID-19 Research Fund Committee, Dr Prince Nkemakolam Okoroh of the Department of Biochemistry, Gregory University Uturu, on or before February 28, 2021.”

The statement adds that, Gregory University Uturu has all the required instruments and equipment that will aid smooth conduct of the research exercise.

Applicants can submit proposals via the following emails; pnokoroh@gregoryuniversityuturu.edu.ng
vc@gregoryuniversityuturu.edu.ng
registrar@gregoryuniversityuturu.edu.ng,
They can also reach out through the following phone numbers:

07038834806
O7060968996
08035827247

This is not the first time Ibeh, who is also the Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu and chairman of Association of Owners of Private Universities, will be joining the fight against COVID-19.

Previously, he donated 850 bags of(50kg) rice to the Abia State government food bank for distribution to the needy in the 17 LGAs of the state during the period of lockdown.

He also released over 10,000 cartons of noodles to the 17 local government areas and groups in the state, while also providing two ambulances to assist the state’s inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to convey blood samples to Abakaliki for testing.

All the donations were channeled through Gregory Iyke Foundation

2nd wave: Obaseki postpones reopening of schools, reinforces curfew in Edo State

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has suspended the resumption of schools in the state over the increasing cases of COVID-19.

In a statement on Friday, Obaseki also reviewed the curfew earlier imposed on the state to now span from 10pm to 5am.

He said schools in the state earlier planned to resume on January 18 in line with the Federal Government’s directive would now remain shut till February 1.

He said, “Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020, with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons.

“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.

“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease. This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease, but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.

“Schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.

“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January 2021.”

On religious gatherings, the governor said, “Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently.

“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.

“Monitoring/Enforcement teams must be set up and include powerful and influential religious leaders as drivers. There must be sensitization on covid-19 prevention during every meeting. Written commendation by the governor and deputy governor will be issued to religious institutions who show good compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures.”

Here are some of those working against corruption fight in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Frontline civil rights defender and philanthropist, Chief Patrick Eholor has taken government officials and parastatals in President Mhammadu Buhari’s government to the cleaners.

Eholor believes there are many elements in the government that are too neck-deep in corruption that they would never let the fight against it succeed.

In this interview, he mentions names and explains why he does not see any ray of hope, with such elements serving in the government.

Excerpts.

Minister Chibuike Amaechi:

Chibuike Amaechi is one of the problems of this country. As a Minister, he has done nothing else but to follow the north sheepishly.

Do you remember when he was a governor? Amaechi started the worst elephant project ever in Nigeria, by jumping into monorail construction. He claimed he wanted to connect it across Port Harcourt, but after a few kilometers, the project was abandoned, permanently, and is today, a monumental waste in the city. That monorail project cost the Rivers State Government a whopping N33.9 billion. As a matter of fact, the technical partners handling the project then, Arcus Gibbs Nigeria Limited described the project as a hoax!

Amaechi is a white elephant project man. At the moment, he is very busy connecting roads, and two roads from Jigawa and Sokoto to Niger Republic. While the railways will gulp a whopping $1.96billion, the roads will consume N30 billion.

Sadly, the old rail roads that connected his homestead of Rivers and the rest of the country are abandoned, and there is no plan on ground to start the projects.

While at it, Amaechi is busy, warming up to become a president!

The Inspector General of Police

The Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu is supposed to be the watchdog for good behavior among Nigerians, but the police force has continued to be an organization lacking in morals and ethics, and swimming in corruption.

Every year, the IG would announce that road blocks have been cleared on our roads, but that statement is always in theory. As a matter of fact, the road blocks usually increase in size of police officers, and they have ended up making the road blocks cash cows. There, senior officers compel the junior ones to make daily returns for them, and thereby exploit transporters. The IG is very much aware of this, but chooses to pretend he does not.

The same ritual is repeated every year, about police attaches to VIPs. The IGP would order the withdrawal of officers attached to VIPs across the country, but fail to do anything to implement the order. This way they have reduced respectable officers to bag carriers and mere drivers to rich men and their wives.

The police is paid over N300,000 per personnel by the VIPs, and only a little fraction of this money gets to the officers themselves. You can see why they refuse to withdraw them in truth. They are fantastically corrupt, and are making money from the VIPs!

State Governors, FG, Covid 19

The government has turned the fight against Covid 19 into a mere jaw exercise. First, NCDC and the FG started by bandying figures that didn’t really exist, and when they got funds to cater for citizens who were locked down in their homes, the funds were hoarded by governors and states, palliative measures were hijacked, and items meant to be shared were hidden away from the people, even perishables. It took the End SARS protests to expose this shameless act by our governments.

In Lagos, they are busy arresting poor people who cannot afford to defend themselves claiming that they are fighting Covid 19, yet they pretend they don’t know about the parties and feasts being hosted by their fellow moneybags.

It is at these parties that the London, and American, and other foreign returnees have been using to spread the disease, and this has led to the recent spike.

Despite the fact that he United Kingdom has cried out over the new dangerous strain of the disease, Nigeria has refused to close its borders from Europe and other such vulnerable countries. The result is that our people get exposed to Covid 19 infections.

All that the Federal Government and States are interested in is the Covid 19 funds. No one is genuinely interested in fighting the disease. Or ensuring that Nigerians are well cared for, medically and otherwise.

I can tell you that Nigeria is not yet serious about the fight against Covid 19. They are treating the pandemic with kid gloves, and it will be suicidal if this unseriouness and love for money overwhelms us and lands this country in a mess where it becomes impossible to deal with the pandemic.

Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio has no business being a minister, with the level of corruption cases against him. At first in 2015, a whopping N108 billion corruption case was brought against him by the EFCC.

A few years after down the line, Senator Akpabio in his capacity as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, along with the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Daniel has been accused of embezzling N40 billion.

This man was brought to testify at the Nigerian Senate and he could not defend himself. This is the man that heads the ministry, and says he has come to clear up the Ministry.

How can a man stinking of so much corruption be able to fight it, and clean up the Ministry?

Festus Keyamo

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo said N46 billion had been budgeted to provide certain jobs for 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

In their projection, they are to pay each of the beneficiaries who is either a graduate and Masters Degree holder N20,000, when the government realised that the minimum wage is N30, 000.

Literally, they will be giving a graduate N60,000 within three months, which is less than $200. The disbursement of such money to the graduates will not address the issue of unemployment in the country.

The best option was for the Federal Government is to use that money to establish industries across the geo-political zones to absorb the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

The Minister also kicked off this so-called empowerment programme with wheelbarrows and cutlasses for the youths, most of who are graduates. How can you give cutlass and wheelbarrow to graduates? When they have openings at the NNPC, FIRS, CBN, Nigerian Customs, Immigration, NIMASA, NLNG, and so on, then give it to their own children.

The children of the common Nigerian is only good for wheelbarrows and cutlasses. They spent N46 billion to acquire those things. Tell me how we intend to end corruption in this country.

ASUU and Covid 19

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has began to play the kind of dirty politics that the Nigerian Labour is used to. After keeping our youths at home for one whole year, and then having reached an agreement with the Federal Government, they are now saying that they cannot go back to the classrooms to teach.

Apparently, they want to begin to demand for more money to return to school.

ASUU, in as much as he had a genuine cause to go on strike initially, must avoid the temptation of keeping our youths at home again.

Schools may not resume January 18 due to Covid-19, says FG

The Federal Government has said that it is currently reviewing the January 18, 2021 resumption date for schools across the country due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

It said that the date was not sacrosanct, hence the likely announcement of a new date, depending on the country’s Covid-19 indicator.

This disclosure was made by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, at the resumed briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 in Abuja on Monday, January 11, 2021.

Adamu, in his statement, said, “When we decided on that date, it was just a target toward what we are working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in the society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.

“Even today at the PTF meeting, we looked at the rising figures and thought we should probably take another look at it. On the Jan.18, 2021 date for school’s resumption, we are reviewing it,” he said.

The Minister also added that the issue was considered at the PTF meeting held on Monday, and the ministry would take it up on Tuesday.

Recall that the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, in December 2020, directed that schools across the country should remain closed until January 18, 2021, due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, had warned that a significant rise in Covid-19 infections appeared imminent by January 2021 due to continued violations of safety protocols, especially during the Christmas period.

Coronavirus resurges as Edo records 36 new cases in 5 days

Edo State recorded 36 new cases of coronavirus in the last five days and a total of 198 cases of the virus since it started tracking the second wave of the pandemic in the state from December 1, 2020.

The COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, disclosed this in a meeting of the State Emergency Operation Centre headed by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.

Obi said that of the 36 new cases, 12 were reported from the PCR molecular laboratory at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), in Benin City, while 24 cases were at the laboratory at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH), Irrua.

According to him, “We recorded 36 new coronavirus cases in the last five days. A total of 198 cases have been reported in the state since December 1, when we started tracking the second wave of the pandemic. We currently have 104 active cases in the state. We have a case positivity of 12.5 percent.”

He noted that the state government has reactivated its disease surveillance system to manage the spread of the pandemic, urging residents in the state to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“We are prepared to deal with the second wave of the pandemic, but the people must play their role. They should ensure to abide by the precautionary measures set by the government to curb the spread of the virus.”

UK under total lockdown again as Covid-19 hits hard

Everyone in England must stay at home except for permitted reasons during a new coronavirus lockdown expected to last until mid-February, the PM says.

All schools and colleges will close to most pupils and switch to remote learning from Tuesday.

Boris Johnson warned the coming weeks would be the “hardest yet” amid surging cases and patient numbers.

He said those in the top four priority groups would be offered a first vaccine dose by the middle of next month.

All care home residents and their carers, everyone aged 70 and over, all frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be offered one dose of a vaccine by mid-February.

Schools in Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”, the Stormont Executive said.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson told the public to follow the new lockdown rules immediately, before they become law in the early hours of Wednesday.

All the new measures in England will then last until at least the middle of February, he said, as a new more infectious variant of the virus spreads across the UK.

The PM added that he believed the country was entering “the last phase of the struggle”.

Hospitals were under “more pressure from Covid than at any time since the start of the pandemic”, he said.

And he reiterated the slogan used earlier in the pandemic, urging people to immediately “stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.

On Monday, the UK recorded more than 50,000 new confirmed Covid cases for the seventh day in a row.

A further 58,784 cases and an additional 407 deaths within 28 days of a positive test result were reported, though deaths in Scotland were not recorded.

At-a-glance: New rules in England

*People cannot leave their homes except for certain reasons, like the first lockdown last March

*These include essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot do so from home

*All schools and colleges will close to most pupils from Tuesday with remote learning until February half term

*Early years settings such as nurseries will stay open

*End-of-year exams will not take place this summer as normal

*Elsewhere, university students should not return to campuses and will be taught online

*Restaurants can continue to offer food delivery, but takeaway alcohol will be banned

*Outdoor sports venues – such as golf courses, tennis courts and outside gyms – must close

*But outdoor playgrounds will remain open

*Amateur team sports are not allowed, but elite sport such as Premier League football can continue.

Abia schools set to resume 1st term

The Executive Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has approved the resumption of all Public and Private Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools in Abia State for the continuation of the First Term of 2020/2021 on Monday January 11, 2021.

According to a Press Release signed by Dr Kanelechi CK Nwangwa, the Commissioner for Education, Abia State, all School Heads and Proprietors are to ensure that all the COVID 19 Guidelines and Protocols already put in place are strictly maintained and observed.

“They should also note that by this directive, the First Term, 2020/2021 will now officially end on Wednesday February 10, 2021.

“This is to ensure that the First Term runs a full course as expected. Any School Proprietors that shortchange this schedule and decide to cut corners by running an abridged term will be appropriately sanctioned.

“The duration of First Term 2020/2021 is from November 2, 2020 to February 10, 2021 with the Christmas break in-between. Be properly guided”, it stated.