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Soldiers attack PUNCH van, stop newspaper from South-South

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A group of soldiers on Sunday morning attacked the circulation vehicle of The Punch Newspapers, which was on its way to distribute one of its titles to the states in the South-South.

One of the vehicle’s front tyres was torn beyond repair with a knife by one of the soldiers manning Mbiama, a border town between Rivers and Bayelsa State.

It was gathered that the soldier tried getting a stick to smash the windscreen of the Passat Golf 3 car, but resorted to using a knife to destroy the tyre.

The driver of the vehicle, Sunkanmi Olusola, said the incident, happened at about 4.10 am, as the soldiers stopped The Punch and The Nation Newspapers from moving beyond Mbiama.

Sunkanmi said, “When I got to Mbiama, some soldiers there did not allow us (Punch and Nation) to pass. I made an attempt to appeal to the soldiers to allow us continue our journey, but one of them became very angry and attacked the company’s car.

“He used a knife, which he brought out from his uniform, to tear the driver side’s tyre. The soldier was trying to get a stick probably to smash the windscreen of the car, but decided to use a knife when he could not get a stick. I ran away when I noticed that he had brought out a knife.

“The tyre was destroyed beyond repair. It is a new tyre that we bought few days ago; not up to a week. I had to replace it with the car’s spare tyre. The crisis started three days ago; security officials at Mbiama would not allow us to pass and distribute papers.

“They also stopped ThisDay truck carrying newsprint from coming into the state. Yesterday (Saturday), the policemen on duty at the same spot allowed my colleague to pass, but today, the soldiers there refused to allow us to pass.”

However, efforts made by the spokesman for 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major Charles Ekeocha, to make the soldiers allow the drivers to circulate their newspaper proved futile.

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A top security official, however, maintained that due to the closure of all boundaries, it was only the Rivers State Governor and the Commissioner of Police that could give a directive that print media organisations should be allowed to distribute their papers beyond the state boundaries.

When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Mustapha Dandaura, said, “You know there is a task force, which has the military, police and others as members.

“If they (your circulation drivers) are ready to move, just tell me the routes they are plying, so that I will talk to the Commander there. We cannot stop newspaper firms from circulating their papers. It is not possible.”

Earlier, calls and a text message to the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tammy Danagogo, to respond to the stoppage of newspaper circulation vehicles at Rivers boundaries with neighbouring states were not replied.

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But the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, on Electronic Media, Mr Simeon Nwakaundu, told our correspondent that the matter was already being addressed.

Coronavirus

Covid-19: Brazil records largest daily increase in deaths

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Covid-19: Brazil records largest daily increase in deaths

Brazil, on Tuesday, recorded its largest daily increase in deaths related to the novel coronavirus, data by the country’s Health Ministry showed.

The country confirmed 1,262 new virus-related deaths, bringing the total toll to 31,199, according to the latest official figures.

Tuesday’s daily jump was the steepest since the first victim was confirmed on March 17, the data showed, surpassing the record set on May 21 of 1,188 deaths in a day.

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The ministry also reported almost 29,000 new infections for a total of 555,383 cases.

After the United States, Brazil is the country with the highest number of officially recorded infections worldwide.

Brazil’s death toll is in fourth place globally, behind the U.S., Britain and Italy, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Bauchi deputy governor tests positive

Seeing as the biggest nation in Latin America is carrying out relatively low levels of testing, the real figure is likely significantly higher.

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There have been at least 29,314 coronavirus deaths so far in the country.

In many cities in Brazil, hospitals have reached capacity.

Authorities have set up makeshift clinics in football stadiums.

Meanwhile, a dispute between President Jair Bolsonaro, several governors and congress has paralysed the country.

Right-wing populist leader, Bolsonaro, sees the COVID-19 lung disease as a “mild flu” and has rejected protective measures.

MORE READING!  JUST IN: Nigeria records 241 new cases of COVID-19, total now 10,819

But many state leaders have put in place their own restrictions on movement and public life to stem the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, clashes were reported between Bolsonaro supporters, anti-government protesters and the Police in several Brazilian cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19: Bauchi deputy governor tests positive

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COVID-19: Bauchi deputy governor tests positive

The Deputy Governor of Bauchi state, Mr Baba Tela, has tested positive to the novel Coronavirus, a statement issued by the state government revealed on Wednesday.

The statement, signed by  Mr Muktar Gidado, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media to the state governor, indicated that test by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed the development.

According to Gidado, Tela, who is also the Chairman, State Task Force Committee on COVID-19, was tested after exhibiting noticeable symptoms of the virus, adding that all his primary contacts had been taken for screening.

“This is to inform the general public that His Excellency, Sen. Baba Tela, Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, was confirmed positive of Coronavirus.

“The confirmation was sequel to a test carried out on him by NCDC when he exhibited noticeable symptoms of the disease.

“He contracted the disease while discharging his onerous responsibility as Chairman of the State Committee on COVID-19.

READ ALSO: NDDC says late finance director died of COVID-19

“Consequently, he has gone into self-isolation in Bauchi and health professionals are properly managing his situation.

“Similarly, samples of all his primary contacts have been taken by NCDC for tests and they are advised to remain in isolation pending the outcome of their results,” Gidado said.

The SSA further stressed that Gov. Bala Mohammad had sympathised with his deputy and solicited for prayers from all for his speedy recovery.

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He said that the governor also called on the citizens to adhere strictly to the protocols against the dreaded virus to curtail its spread in the State.

Newsmen report that Bauchi state, as at Tuesday, June 2, had recorded a total 241 cases of COVID-19, out of which 221 had been discharged while eight had died.

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Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge construction begins early 2021

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The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, says the construction of Fourth Mainland Bridge will start in the first quarter of 2021.

Hamzat said this while discussing Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu/Dr Obafemi Hamzat’s administration in the last one year on an online show tagged: ”Covinspiration” on Tuesday.

Reports have it that the show was moderated by Dayo Israel, a UN Special Representative and British Council Global Change-maker.

Hamzat noted that the 4th Mainland bridge was central to the present administration as the state was aggressively pursuing various infrastructural renewal programme to make life abundant for the residents.

The deputy governor said the bridge was an important programme for the administration, saying that its completion would help break traffic gridlock and ease transportation in the state.

He said: “The project is key for our administration and we flagged the construction of regional roads within VGC two days ago, the project has been awarded to Hi-Tech Company.

“First Quarter of next year (2021), we will be able to start. Early next year, construction will start on the 4th Mainland Bridge.

“Regional Road is to be done for the survival of the Fourth Mainland Bridge to help us break away traffic from the Lekki-Epe Expressway. The regional road will increase the viability of the 4th Mainland Bridge.”

According to him, there is hope that by November or December, plans will have been concluded for work to begin.

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According to him, 32 Consultiums put in interest in the bid and the government had been able to reduce them to nine.

He described the project as huge, which would involve a lot of money, adding that the government was looking for partnerships with private organisations.

Hamzat, who noted that the government had been funding aggressively road infrastructure, said that the Lagos -Badagry Expressway would unlock the tourism potential in Badagry.

He assured that the administration will continue to grow better, especially in terms of infrastructure while also dealing with deficits.

Speaking on the management of traffic in the state, the deputy governor said that the administration had been able to reduce traffic lock jam by 15 per cent to 20 per cent.

“In order to expand roads and give room for free vehicular movements, we have been able to remove some of the roundabouts which include Allen Roundabout, Ikotun Roundabout, Lekki, Abraham Adesanya Roundabouts are all gone.

“We are fixing major roads and reducing traffic congestion and making sure that drainages are cleared,” he said.

Hamzat said that the government was committed to mass transportation, saying that Oshodi-Abule Egba, BRT corridor would soon commence for mass movement along the corridor.

MORE READING!  JUST IN: Nigeria records 241 new cases of COVID-19, total now 10,819

According to him, the government is also “funding aggressively” the Blue Line Rail for the mass movement of people.

He said that 600 buses procured by the government had been cleared at the port, saying that the government was also procuring small buses for its ‘Last Mile’ transport programme.

Hamzat said that the government was working to have the buses manufactured in the state to create employment for the residents.

On water transportation, Hamzat said that the government had procured ferries to move people along the waterways.

The deputy governor said that the Okada ban had not only reduced Okada-related accidents from about 21 monthly to one but had also reduced crime rates in the state.

“Before the ban, on the average of 21 lives were lost monthly to due to Okada accident but after the ban, it has reduced drastically to one.

“Crime has also reduced in the state, the NDLEA (The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency) report says that narcotics are transported through the use of Okada as a means of transportation.

“There was a need to ban Okada, especially at this period with the outbreak of COVID-19. There is no way one can maintain social distancing on Okada,” he said.

The deputy governor emphasised the need for data for efficient planning and delivery in the state, saying that data gathering would allow transparency, planning and efficient record keeping.

“It (data) is the new currency for us and it drives all that we are doing. We should be able to have a database in order to manage the citizens better. Data would help for proper planning and documentation purposes.

“For example in education, there is the need to check the number of population in each area in order to plan accordingly. It makes the system run faster and more efficiently.

“Data is key, that is why we are pushing LASRA(Lagos State Residents Registration Agency) to get information about our citizens. It is also necessary for us to have robust data governance and protection,” he said.

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