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COVID-19. Buhari’s address failed to address real concerns – PDP

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The Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]on Sunday said that the address of the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari’s on the COVID-19 pandemic failed to address the salient demands of the impact of the scourge on the nation.

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Olosgondiya, also said that outside the social distancing and isolation, which, he said Nigerians had already imposed on themselves, Buhari had no new solutions to offer the nation.

He said,

“The PDP regrets that the address did not touch on the real necessities of majority of Nigerians who reside in the states where President Buhari had ordered a lockdown.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President failed to respond to demands on hope for medications, direct social palliatives, cut in taxes as well as reduction in the pump price of fuel even with the cut in the price of petroleum and crude oil in the international market.

“Our party notes as saddening that even in areas where Mr. President announced an ambitious intervention, such remained largely cosmetic as there are no clear palliative content but moratoriums on loans with no clear data for implementation.”

He said that Buhari should be reminded that already, the COVID-19 had affected the performance of those loans. He added that granting them moratoriums is therefore of no consequence to the capital and interest on them.

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According to him, it is rather unfortunate that Nigerians had to wait this long for an address that, he said, came out empty and failed to respond to anxieties.

He stated that Nigerians expected Buhari to articulate an across-the-board and far-reaching strategy that would have captured the need of each state of the federation as they were today, instead of, according to him, a parochial approach to national anxiety.

Ologbondiyan said,

“Buhari should, therefore, go back, listen to the nation, retool his policy framework and implementation strategy to properly address the fears as well as the needs of Nigerians, including health safety measures and the real remedies that meet the anxieties of our nation at this critical time.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition of the United Political Parties said it is in support of Buhari’s decision to lock down Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States for an initial period of 14 days as the government’s move to stop the spread of the dreaded coronavirus.

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The CUPP spokesman, Mr. Imo Ugochinyere, said CUPP is of the view that the order will go a long way in salvaging the health crisis which the virus has thrown the nation into.

He also hailed the decision of the Federal Government to suspend loan repayments by small businesses, describing it as laudable.

Ugochinyere said,

The CUPP also describes the decision to convert public infrastructures like stadiums etc to isolation centres as a welcome development.

“Although the President’s address to the nation was late in coming, we believe very strongly that it is better late than never. We hail state governors for being proactive in complementing opposition’s advisory for inter/intrastate lockdown.”

He urged Nigerians residing in the affected areas to use the 14 days of the lockdown to report suspected cases of coronavirus infections to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control promptly.

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He also advised them to continue to observe the hygiene measures already highlighted which include social distancing, regular washing of hands with soap and running water, regular use of alcohol-based sanitizers among others.

He said Nigerians should remain united and resolute at this period, adding that this is the only way to tackle and win the war against the virus together.

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Reopening of churches: We await further details, says CAN

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Coronavirus: Catholic church in Lagos suspends sprinkling of water, handshakes at mass over virus

The Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] President, Adebayo Oladeji, said the association was awaiting further details on the reopening of churches.

This comes as the Federal Government relaxes restrictions on churches and mosques as coronavirus[COVID-19] pandemic rages.

Oladeji said the Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines.

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He said,

“We want to get the details before we will react fully. But in the interim, it is a welcome development. It is our prayer that God will surely deliver Nigeria from the pandemic in Jesus Name.

“If Christians and Muslims return to their worship places to pray for victory over COVID-19, God will surely answer us. The closure of the worship places is not acceptable to God. We thank God for opening the eyes of our government to the reality.

“The Church is ready for the reopening and willing to follow the NCDC guidelines and while waiting for them. We have already directed all churches to keep to the hygienic regulations whenever they meet and to pray for the victory over COVID-19. The new development is as a result of our meeting with the religious leaders.”

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COVID-19: Final year students may write exams in July; bars, clubs and gym remain closed

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said final year students in its tertiary institutions may write their examination in July as the Federal Government begins the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions placed on Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

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But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

Schools remain closed, final year students to prepare for exams

He added,

“All schools to remain closed until further evaluation. The Federal Ministry of Education is instructed to work with schools to start the process of preparing students that require exiting exams, to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown. But for the moment, schools are to remain closed.

“I have already mentioned places of worship. Restricted opening will apply subject to the guidelines issued by the PTF as well as the protocols agreed by respective state governments, working with religious leaders.

“Recreational parks and communal sports to remain closed until further evaluation.

He said for funerals, the task force was limiting the crowd to 20 people including family, with physical distancing adhered to, as well as hand washing.

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COVID-19: FG bans street trading, hawking

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had approved the relaxation of restriction placed on churches and mosques starting from Tuesday.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

He said,

In terms of general movements, persons may go out for work, go out to buy necessary foods and for exercise, provided they abide by the curfew hours. Movement between local government areas is strongly discouraged unless for critical reasons such as health care and work.

“I will like to emphasise that it is still safer to stay at home and avoid crowds. The pandemic is not over in this country and the relaxation of some of the rules does not mean that it is safer to go out. If you do not need to go out, please continue to stay at home.

“Hawking and street trading is also prohibited and we will be looking into this in greater detail with state authorities.”

“With interstate travels, movement across state boundaries remains restricted other than the free movement of goods and essential travels. Security services are requested to please cooperate with members of the public and ensure that goods are provided with free passage, as this particular phase is directed at ensuring the economy starts moving again.

“With intrastate travel, we will implement new travel processes for areas of the country with high-burden local government areas, and this will be restricted to essential travels.”

The task force coordinator listed the new guidelines for reopening of offices in the public and private sectors.

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He said,

“For the industry and labour sectors, in terms of working hours, normal working hours will apply to offices other than government offices, provided this is kept within (outside) the curfew hours of 10pm to 4am. Offices are to maintain working at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining the two-metre physical distancing.

“For government offices, they can open between the hours of 9am and 2pm. So, no changes in opening hours but can work from Monday to Friday. Prior to this, we allowed three working days. However, all persons within the Grade Levels of 14 and above at both the federal and state governments will be allowed to come to work.”

 

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