BY VC ONONYE.
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has approved the release of 70,000 metric tons of grains to Nigerians to help alleviate the harsh effects of measures against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who announced this yesterday, noted the adoption of a document of implementation guide and protocols for the COVID-19 lockdown policy.
Mustapha, who revealed the initial reports on public compliance to restriction order where applicable, said President Buhari had granted partial exemption for operators of the upstream subsector of the nation’s oil and gas sector and operations at Port Harcourt and other ports in Rivers State.
Explaining the presidential approval for the release of grains to Nigerians, Mustapha said it was part of plans to ensure some level of comfort for people across the country, especially in areas where the restriction order was strictest, adding that the first tranche would go to Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states.
“The President has approved the released of 70,000 metric tons of grains from the National Strategic Reserve, for distribution to the poor, the vulnerable and those whose livelihood will be affected by the lockdown.
“The first tranche of about 6,000 metric tons will go to Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, while the remaining will go to other frontline states in the fight against COVID-19.
“In the continuing effort to ensure very minimal disruption of upstream oil and gas exploration and operation in Nigeria, President Buhari has approved limited operation exemptions for operating companies, services and logistic companies in the Nigerian upstream sector.“They will ensure regular gas supplies to power turbines that supply domestic electricity,” he said.On the level of compliance with the restriction order by the President, Mustapha said the PTF had been impressed by the reports received so far, noting that although there were still some reports indicating that security operatives were having challenges, especially in states where governors had introduced their own measures.
“We received situation reports from the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on inter-state traffic across the country on March 31. Indications are that there was a reasonable level of compliance with the presidential directive, which has led to great reduction of traffic on major highways. We have, however, received reports of challenges arising from the enforcement of the presidential directives by security agents generally and in states where governors have imposed their own measures.
“As we continue to dialogue to remove the bottlenecks, I am pleased to inform you that the PTF has developed an Implementation Guide and Protocols for the COVID-19 Lockdown Policy. This document will be circulated to security agencies and will be discussed with sub-national entities for building synergy in the fight against the virus.
“In the course of this briefing, the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps will bring you details of the nationwide traffic situation, while the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 will provide the details on the guidelines and protocols for the lockdown.
“I, however, assure you that these guidelines and protocols will be published in the national dailies and broadcast on the news networks for more awareness,” he said.
Sir Ononye VC: COVID-19: Worshippers attack police, officials at Lagos mosque
•Stay-at-home order defied in parts of the citySOME worshippers at Agege Central Mosque, Lagos have attacked officials of the state Environmental Protection Agency, (LASEPA) and Lagos State Safety Commission.
Journalists and police officers were also attacked, The Nation learnt.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night when the officials were monitoring the compliance with the lockdown order.
The team had earlier visited and sealed off a warehouse of Jumia, an online marketing store, for contravening the order by the Federal government.
The agencies also sealed off SPN Packaging Studio Press Nigeria Plc on Plot B, Israel Adebajo Close, Ikeja and Supreme Hotel on 8, Omitola Panada, Agege.
On their way back to Alausa, the team stopped to check if the worshippers were adhering to the directive of the Lagos state government on crowd reduction.
The congregation was observing Solatul Ishai (the last part of the five daily prayers) when the LASEPA team leader and two journalists went into the mosque pavilion.
The big mosque, popularly known as Moshalashi Alhaja, was filled to the capacity.
After completion of the prayer, the LASEPA team leader requested to have an audience with the Chief Imam of the Mosque.
A leader in the mosque told him the Chief Imam was not around.
While requesting for the next person in rank, some members of the congregation started shouting at him. Some became very aggressive and attacked the state officials, who fled into their vehicles and sped off.The lockdown order was flouted in some parts of Lagos yesterday, though Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended residents’ compliance on the first day of the lockdown.
He said: “I would like to note the high level of our people’s compliance with this presidential directive. It has shown that we realise the enormity of the challenge that we are facing and the choice that we have made – fighting to stave off a massive attack of COVID-19 and staying alive to reclaim our life that has been disrupted by this unseen enemy.”
The youth, however, turned major roads and inner streets to football grounds.
Our correspondent who went round the metropolis reports that the residents complied in some areas, while some were defiant in other places.
Some motorists were seen going out in Egbeda, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and Mushin.
Some market women were stranded at Iyana-Ipaja bus stop with their goods.
Those in Surulere, Lagos Island and Ojuelegba complied with the directive
Sir Ononye VC: CBN, coalition raise N15.3b to fight virusTHIRTY-SEVEN donors, including individuals, banks and other corporates bodies have contributed N15 billion to the account of the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
This was contained in a statement issued yesterday on behalf of the coalition by the CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor.
A breakdown of the contributions showed that the CBN and Aliko Dangote donated N2 billion each, Abdul Samad Rabiu (BUA Sugar Refinery); Segun Agbaje (GTB); Tony Elumelu (UBA); Oba Otudeko (First Bank); Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank); Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank) and Femi Otedola of Amperion Power Distribution donated N1 billion each to the relief fund.Other donors, include Pacific Holding Ltd, Union Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citi Bank Nigeria Ltd, FCMB, Fidelity Bank, ECOBank, African Steel Mills and Multichoice Nigeria Limited.The statement listed others as FSDH Merchant Bank, FBN Merchant Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, Coronation Merchant Bank, Sun Trust Bank, Providus Bank, Wema Bank, Unity Bank, Heritage Bank, Nova Merchant Bank, Polaris Bank, and Keystone Bank.
Globus Bank, Titan Trust Bank, Takagro Chemicals Ltd, Ahmadu Mahmoud and Handy Capital Ltd make up the list of those that have so far made contributions to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Relief Fund domiciled at the CBN.
Okorafor noted that the coalition was full of appreciation to the list of good spirited individuals and corporate bodies for hearkening to the clarion call championed by the CBN and the private sector.
He, however, urged more Nigerians and corporate bodies to key into the coalition with a view to supporting the fight against the pandemic, stressing that Nigeria could overcome the scourge with all hands on deck