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Covid-19: Presidency bars Eid-el-Fitr homage to Buhari

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FG releases guidelines for reopening of worship centres

The Presidency has cancelled this year’s Eid-el-Fitr homage to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari has said that he would be conducting private Eid prayers with his family to mark the end of the month-long Ramadan fasting.

The foregoing measures were contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Friday, just as the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, reminded the public that socio-religious gatherings remain prohibited.

According to the Presidency, the changes in the pattern of celebrating Sallah with the President this year are both in obedience to new rules to help in combating the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure social distancing.

President Buhari has over the years received homage from individuals and groups, including top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children.

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Announcing the pattern for this year in the state, the Presidency said: “With the Eid-el-Fitr celebration around the corner and the month-long Ramadan fast coming to an end, President Muhammadu Buhari will be conducting his Eid prayers with his family at home.

“This is in observance of the lockdown measures in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, put in place to save lives and protect people from all dangers.

“This is also in line with the directive of the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, suspending Eid congregational prayers across the country as well as the protocol against mass gathering issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

“Further to this, the President, who has traditionally shared the joyous moment with top government officials, political leaders, community heads, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and children, will not be receiving these homages in a bid to stop coronavirus from further spreading.”

Congratulating Nigerians on the occasion of the Eid celebration, IGP Adamu said the successful conclusion of the Ramadan, a period of self-denial geared towards attaining wholesomeness, reinforces his belief that with the citizens’ collective perseverance and voluntary compliance with the prevention regulations put in place by governments at all levels, the nation will surely overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, DCP Frank Mba, on Friday, Adamu assured the nation of adequate security during and after the Eid el-Fitr celebrations.

He said proactive and robust anti-crime measures, including the deployment of tactical and intelligence assets of the Force, were already in place to prevent any untoward incidents in the country.

“The Force, however, reminds the citizens that the COVID-19 prevention regulation orders, including the inter-state movement restriction orders, national curfew and the prohibition of mass socio-religious gatherings by the Federal Government in Lagos, Ogun, Kano states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and restriction orders by governments in some states of the federation, are still in force.

“It, therefore, enjoins the citizens to observe the Eid celebrations, bearing in mind the unusual times occasioned by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Force will leave no stone unturned towards the due enforcement of the orders,” the statement said.

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We’ll ban churches, mosques gatherings again if…, FG says

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The Federal Government has threatened to review the relaxation of the restriction placed on churches and mosques if worshippers disregard its guidelines.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said this on Thursday at the task force press conference in Abuja.

In the guidelines, the task force advises vulnerable people including those with conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer as well as people that are above 55 years to worship at home.

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Mustapha said the task force would continue to explain the guidelines it issued to worship centres and other public places.

On the reopening of churches and mosques, he stated,

“As we approach the weekend, we remind the public to be aware of the guidelines set for restricted opening of places of worship. National guidelines have been shared with the states and we expect that protocols will be agreed with religious leaders. Compliance is important so as to avoid unwanted consequences that put the lives of people at risk of contracting COVID-19. We urge utmost caution at all times.

“The PTF will continue to monitor the overall compliance to the easing of restriction as well as evolution of the outbreak. However, we will not hesitate to review as we progress, should the situation warrant, to avoid preventable risks of transmission.”

Mustapha restated that the World Health Organization had resumed the clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, which it suspended on May 25.

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Buhari nominates Okonjo-Iweala for WTO DG position

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Buhari nominates Okonjo-Iweala for WTO DG position

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated a former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as its candidate for the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) election coming up next year.

Buhari confirmed the nomination on Thursday in an official announcement through the Nigerian Embassy and Permanent Mission to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In the diplomatic note to inform all member countries’ embassies and permanent missions, President Buhari said he was communicating Nigeria’s decision to withdraw the candidacy of Yonov Frederick Agah for the election.

He did not disclose the reasons for the withdrawal of Mr Agah’s candidature. Mr Agah is currently one of the four deputy director-general of the WTO. He was first appointed deputy director-general October 1, 2013. He was reappointed for a second four-year term on October 1, 2017. His tenure runs out on October 1, 2021.

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The President said Mrs Okonjo-Iweala would serve as Nigeria’s Candidate for the term 2021 – 2025 at the elections scheduled for in Geneva, Switzerland in 2021.

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A renowned global finance expert, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, is an economist and international development professional with over 30 years experience, having worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.

She is currently the Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; a member of the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc, and was recently appointed as African Union (AU) Special Envoy to mobilise International Financial Support in the fight against COVID-19, as well as Special Envoy for the World Health Organization’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

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Twice Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006) and (2011-2015), Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also served briefly as Nigeria’s Foreign Minister in 2006, the first Nigerian woman to hold both positions.

She had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the position of managing director (operations).

As finance minister, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala steered Nigeria through a varying degree of reforms, particularly on macroeconomic, trade, financial and real sector issues.

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As managing director (operations) at the World Bank, her several portfolios included oversight responsibility for the Bank’s $81 billion operational portfolios in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

She spearheaded several World Bank’s initiatives to assist low-income countries during the 2008-2009 food crisis and later in the trying period of the global financial crisis.

In 2010, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala served as chair of the World Bank’s successful drive to raise $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the poorest countries of the world.

President Buhari used the memo to solicit the support of AU member-States, as well as Permanent Missions and Embassies in Addis Ababa to Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy during the elections.

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JUST IN: Nigeria records 350 new COVID-19 cases, total now 11,516

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Confirmed cases of coronavirus have increased to 11,516 in Nigeria.

This is after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced 350 new cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The NCDC made the announcement via its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It said, “On the 4th of June 2020, 350 new confirmed cases and 8 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

“To date, 11516 cases have been confirmed, 3535 cases have been discharged and 323 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The 350 new cases are reported from 20 states- Lagos (102), Ogun (34), FCT (29), Borno (26), Kaduna (23), Rivers (21), Kwara (16), Ebonyi (17), Katsina (14), Edo (10), Delta (10), Kano (10), Bauchi (10), Bayelsa (9), Imo (8), Plateau (4), Ondo (3), Nasarawa (2), Gombe (1), Oyo (1).”

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