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Covid-19: Lagos rolls out guidelines to reopen businesses post-lockdown

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Covid-19: Lagos rolls out guidelines to reopen businesses post-lockdown

Following the ongoing lockdown, Lagos State Government on Friday has rolled out what it called ‘Register-to-open’ guidelines for businesses as it prepares for the opening of the economy.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, speaking at a webinar organised by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”, said the government was concerned about balancing the reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the state’s response to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines, the state government is offering incentives which the governor said will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

The overall strategy is to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of labour.

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In addition to granting a three-month moratorium to MSMEs that applied for loan facilities at the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds (LSETF), the government has also started to compile data of registered MSMEs in the state for operational support that would cushion the effect of economic slowdown on their businesses.

He said: “We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only depended on commercial activities in Lagos alone but also other States across the federation.

“We have had weeks of engagement with players in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.

“Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities. As we prepare for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have higher number of labour.”

The governor said the construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given a large number of employment they generate while the entertainment, hospitality and aviation industries will be considered in the second phase of intervention.

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Sanwo-Olu said the weeks of inertia in the economy also had significant impact on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), stressing that millions of small-scale businesses operating in the state could completely fold up if the economy is not fully reactivated.

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Police arrest man over death of elephant in India

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Indian police have arrested a plantation worker and are hunting two others after a pregnant elephant died after eating fruit laced with explosives, officials said Saturday, in a case that shocked the country.

The elephant died in agony last week in the southern state of Kerala, the latest casualty of a growing conflict in South Asia between nature and humans as ever more forest is lost to urban expansion.

Footage of the animal standing in a river for hours with its badly injured mouth and trunk in the water as it slowly weakened went viral, triggering horror online.

P. Wilson was arrested on Friday after he allegedly placed fruits filled with explosives to keep creatures — mainly wild boar — away from his rubber plantation.

“The man has admitted that they used the explosive-filled coconuts to target the wild animals,” Surendra Kumar, Kerala’s chief wildlife warden, told AFP.

Two of his associates were still at large, the officer said.

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Kumar said the men made several “coconut bombs” in the second week of May, and left them near the plantation boundary.

Officials said it was unclear when exactly the 15-year-old elephant consumed the rigged fruit but it was found injured on May 25, two days before it died.

Forest officials said the explosion caused severe damage to its mouth, leaving the creature unable to eat or drink for days.

Villagers across India often use explosive or firecracker-filled fruits -– which act like pressure-activated landmines –- as bait to target wild animals that threaten crops and homes.

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A similar incident was reported last month in a nearby Kerala district when a female pachyderm was found with serious mouth injuries.

If convicted, the men could face up to seven years in jail for killing an elephant, a protected animal under Indian wildlife laws.

– Lord Ganesh –
The latest incident caused widespread outrage on social media, including from several sports and Bollywood celebrities, who condemned the “inhuman act” and called for harsh action against the perpetrators.

But it stirred another controversy after several Hindu right-wing figures on social media turned the death into a hate campaign against Muslims, falsely claiming that the community was behind the incident.

Many right-wing Hindu figures alleged online the creature was specifically targeted because the animal is an embodiment of Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu deity.

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Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, including environment minister Prakash Javadekar and parliamentarian Maneka Gandhi, also claimed the event happened in Malappuram, a Muslim-majority district.

The incident took place in Palakkad district, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) away.

India is home to nearly 30,000 elephants, equivalent to 60 percent of the world’s wild Asian pachyderms.

But urban expansion has put the animals in conflict with humans.

About 2,360 people were killed in elephant attacks between 2014 and 2019, according to Indian government data.

In the same period about 510 elephants died, including 333 from electrocution and roughly 100 from poaching and poisoning, the figures stated.

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Alleged rapist: El-Rufai’s wife suggests tougher punishment

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Alleged rapist: El-Rufai’s wife suggests tougher punishment

Wife of Governor Nasiru Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Aisha-Ummi Garba El-Rufai, has suggested for tougher punishment for rapists in the country.

According to Aisha-Ummi Garba El-Rufai, all hands must be on deck in the fight against rape, stressing that everyone’s help is required in the fight against rape.

She strongly suggested that unless the laws on the legal punishment for rape are changed, sexual predators and rape perpetrators would always keep destroying people’s lives without any serious consequences.

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Aisha, a UNICEF Ambassador for Nutrition & Breastfeeding, and Chairperson KADENAP, said on her social media account that heads have to roll instantly for such monsters to be repelled.

She lamented, “The existing laws are such that each state is autonomous in its dispensation of criminal laws.”

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She suggested that the country needs to begin the unrelenting advocacy and tenacious movement for each state in Nigeria to adopt extremely harsh laws, execution and punishment for rape offenders.

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Aisha-Ummi Garba El-Rufai opined that it might be difficult and slow for the country to get 2/3rds of the National Assembly to vote for and pass these appropriately severe punishments into law.

She noted that even if this happens, it remains the independent right of each state to either adopt or ignore the bill if passed – at their own pace and convenience.

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She expressed the hope that the father in every Governor, the parent in every lawmaker and policy influencer would support and help protect the girls, boys and women from rapes and brutal violations.

Aisha-Ummi Garba El-Rufai stated that everyone and anyone who can help, can collectively put in all efforts and pursue this tenaciously until something is done on how to tackle and stop rape tragedies in our societies.

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Malabu deal: FG confiscates Dan Etete’s $57m Jet in Canada

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Malabu Deal: FG confiscates Dan Etete’s $57m Jet in Canada

The Federal Government has grounded a luxury private jet owned by former minister of petroleum, Dan Etete, believed to have been bought with proceeds from the controversial $1.1 billion Malabu oil deal.

Mr Etete is alleged to have paid a total of $57 million for the jet in 2011 after allegedly receiving $336 million from the OPL 245 deal under the rule of a military dictator, Sani Abacha.

The Bombardier 6000 jet with tail number M-MYNA had been on the government’s watch list since it touched down at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport in Canada on May 29.

Babatunde Johnson, whose firm, Johnson & Johnson Solicitors, was appointed by the Nigerian government in 2016 to recover assets from the OPL 245 deal, told Financial Uncovered about the government’s move.

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The jet was said to have flown from Dubai via Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland.

It was not immediately clear if any passengers were on board.

The seizure order was reportedly signed by a judge in Quebec on Saturday and was served on the company which owns it, Tibit Ltd, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.

The company, Mr Johnson said, had until June 9 to oppose the court order.

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The lawyer also said the jet had been grounded in Dubai for the past four years, where it had been closely monitored.

“Our investigators in Dubai then noticed that the jet, having been grounded in Dubai for so long, suddenly did some test flights and even went up to a cruising altitude for a short while. It seemed like they were testing whether they could fly somewhere,” he was quoted to have said.

“The jet then took off from Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, mid-morning on Friday. We did not know the destination at that point.

“We now suspected that it was being flown to Canada for a major service, pending a possible sale.

“We had just a few hours to get a legal team in place on the ground there in Canada to file the injunction. It was 3am in Nigeria when I made a statement to the judge via video link.”

A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gwagwalada had in January issued an arrest warrant for Etete following an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the deal.

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Etete, 75, is also facing corruption trial in Italy for the OPL 245 deal. But the Federal Government is understood to be seeking his extradition.

Multinational oil firms, Eni and Shell, have both denied receiving kickbacks in the controversial deal.

It is not known whether Etete still owns or uses the private jet which dealers currently value at approximately $20 million.

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