Jamaicans vote in elections expected to give incumbent, Holness another term



Jamaicans started voting on Thursday in legislative elections overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which were expected to give Prime Minister Andrew Holness another five-year term in office.

About 1.9 million people are eligible to elect 63 members of the House of Representatives on the largest island in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Campaign rallies and door-to-door campaigning had been restricted after the number of new coronavirus cases surged.

Jamaica has recorded more than 2,600 infections and over 20 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Holness is nevertheless seen as having done a relatively good job in handling the pandemic, including by quickly closing the borders in March.

The government has received praise for its economic policies, with unemployment falling to the historic low of 7 per cent in October 2019, according to World Bank figures.

“Poverty is at its lowest in 10 years … we have … had no new taxes,” Holness said during an election debate.

His challenger Peter Phillips’ People’s National Party (PNP) argues that much of the economic groundwork was done when it was in power before Holness’ Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won the elections in 2016.

But the pandemic left hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans without jobs or on low incomes, leading to the government reopening the borders of the tourism-reliant island in mid-June.

The subsequent spike in infections gave Phillips an opportunity to criticize the government’s health policies, and Holness for calling elections during the pandemic.

The opposition also accuses the government of corruption and points to high levels of crime on the island, which has a homicide rate three times higher than average in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Opinion polls have nevertheless indicated that Jamaicans trust Holness more than Phillips, and would give him another term in office.

Election arrangements include the deployment of 7,400 sanitation officers, fever checks, face masks and social distancing at polling stations.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)


Osimhen’s Napoli capitalised on Parma mistakes as spectators return to Serie A



Napoli on Sunday capitalised on two defensive mistakes to win 2-0 at Parma in their opening match of the season as spectators returned to Serie A for the first time since March.

Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne got Napoli’s campaign off to a winning start with second-half goals shortly after club’s record signing Victor Osimhen was brought on for his debut.

A smattering of fans, wearing masks and widely spaced apart, watched the game at the Stadio Tardini.

This was after the Italian Government agreed to allow up to 1,000 spectators at matches from Sunday for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown.

A cagey first half produced no real chances but Napoli came to life after Nigerian Osimhen, signed from Lille in the summer, was brought on in the 61st minute.

Two minutes later, Hirving Lozano crossed the ball into the area and Parma defender Simone Iacoponi headed his attempted clearance straight to the feet of Mertens who fired past Luigi Sepe from 15 metres.

Insigne struck the post from Oshimhen’s flick before Parma gifted Napoli a second goal.

Lozano intercepted a pass out of the Parma defence, his shot was saved by Sepe but Insigne snapped up the rebound in the 77th minute.

Parma, playing their first match under Coach Fabio Liverani, did little to impress new president Kyle Krause, Chief Executive of the United States-based Krause Group which took over the club on Friday.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: Ebonyi Govt. lifts restrictions on weddings, others



Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has lifted restrictions placed on public burials, wake-keeps, weddings, conferences, meetings, festivals, religious services, among others in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that restrictions were placed on such activities in the state since March,  due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic across the country and the globe.

The lifting of the restrictions was contained in a statement signed by Mr Uchenna Orji, State Commissioner for Information and Orientation and made available to NAN on Sunday.

Orji said that the measure was in furtherance to the state’s post COVID-19 economic recovery plans.

“It’s also in the exercise of the powers conferred on the governor by the state’s Coronavirus and other Dangerous Disease and Related Matters Law 005 of 2020 and other relevant laws.

“It is also subject to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 protocols and other directives of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19,” he said.

The commissioner said that closure of public places such as event centres, bars worship centres, educational institutions, public parks, night clubs, cinemas among others had been lifted.

“All restrictions on conduct of business and commercial activities are hereby rescinded.

“Regulations on wearing of facemasks, hand washing, use of  hand sanitisers, observance of social distancing among others, are still in force in public places, events and gatherings,”  he said.

He further disclosed that the governor charged security agencies and public office holders especially Chairmen of Local Government Areas and Coordinators of Development Centres, to enforce subsisting regulations.

“These are regulations contained in the proclamation hereof, in the interest of the safety and health of our people,” he added. 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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General news

NCAT Zaria to open additional schools for pilots, aviation security personnel – Rector



The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, says it will open Airport Emergency Training School and another school for training of aviation security personnel.

This it said would  enhance its training capacity and assert its position as regional center of excellence.

Capt. AbdulSalam Mohammed, the Rector of the College, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Zaria.

Mohammed said as part of the requirements to be certified as regional center of excellence, the college was required to developed standard training packages by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He said the college had developed ICAO standard training packages in 2017 for the certification, and since then, had increased the number of standardised  training packages from three to seven.

“We are in the process of opening a new school called the airport emergency training school that is where we will be training airport rescue and firefighting personnel.

“That is where we are installing fully automatic fire simulator. We are also in the process of establishing the school for training aviation security personnel,’’ he said.

According to the rector, the college is in the process of developing ICAO training packages for online delivery of courses, instead of in the classrooms.

He noted that COVID-19 had changed the way of doing business in the world which had greatly affected NCAT training, adding that throughout the COVID-19 lockdown the college introduced virtual classrooms for its students.

The rector said the college also introduced new courses in the flying school such as the Airline Transport Pilot License, which was like a masters degree for the pilots.

He added that the college also introduced Multi Crew Coordination Course (MCC) for pilots and Jet Orientation for pilots.

“These two courses were aimed at preparing the newly graduated pilots from flying school to prepare them for work in the commercial airline industries,’’ he said.

Mohammed said the college embarked on re-fleeting of its training aircrafts to upgrade the equipment, so that the training aircrafts would be fleeted with modern electronic flight instrument systems which came in a modern aircraft.

He added that the college had purchased seven Diamond Aircrafts out of the 20 aircrafts which it  planned  to buy, stressing that the re-fleeting would enable the college train more pilots.

He said: “the Diamond Aircrafts use Jet A1 which is the fuel the big commercial passenger jets use and it is readily available and it costs one quarter of what we paid for the Avgas.’’

Mohammed the said the amendment of the College Establishment Act had commenced, adding that the exercise would enable it to access Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) grants.

“To that effect, the bill was sent by the President to the National Assembly earlier this year and it has already passed the first and second readings, it is now waiting for public hearing.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions has caused delay for the public hearing, but I understand that the national assembly is making arrangement to have the public hearing very soon.

“Once the bill is passed into law,, the college will be recognised as a tertiary institution,’’ he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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COVID-19 palliatives: LGA distributes food items to 1,690 households in Kebbi



The Kalgo Local Government Area of Kebbi, says it has distributed relief materials to over 1,690 households in 10 wards in the area to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Chairman of the council, Alhaji Shamsu Umar-Kalgo, while distributing the relief materials to the beneficiaries in Kalgo on Sunday, commended the distribution committee for adhering to the guidelines attached to the directive.

He said that it was the wish of the council that the food items would alleviate the sufferings of the beneficiaries in the various communities.

“This support is to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence we are expecting that this distribution, at the end of the day, will assist our people,” he said.

He said that the food items included,  1,899 bags of sugar, 1,899 cartons of spaghetti and macroni, 88 bags of salt, bags of maize flour and 3,890 packets of noodles, among others.

“A committee was set up comprising, ward heads, political party leaders, women leaders and security personnel.

“We will closely monitor and supervise the distribution in order to ensure that the food items reached the under- listed households,” Umar-Kalgo said.

The chairman also commended Gov. Atiku Bagudu for the support he had given  to the council ,while calling on well-to-do individuals to assist the vulnerable people.

Earlier, Alhaji  Bawa Kukah, member representing Kalgo constituency in the state House of Assembly, advised the chairman to ensure proper monitoring and supervision of the distribution.

In his remarks, the District Head of Kalgo, Alhaji Haruna Bashar, commended the state government and the local council for the gesture, and urged the beneficiaries to use the items for the purpose it was meant for.

Also, the District Head of Diggi, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, thanked the council and state government for the intervention.

“You should use the items to support your families and no one should attempt to sale it as you and your  families are in dire need of the support in this trying time of COVID-19 and flood in the state,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Malam Shehu Kalgo, commended the council chairman for the gesture and promised that the materials would be judiciously utilised. .

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Maharazu Ahmed
Source: NAN
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