The Organised Labour movement and its Civil Society allies, under the Labour-Civil Society Situation Room COVID-19, has called for gradual and evidence base relaxation of the lockdown in different states of the country.
The Labour-Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 comprised representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), affiliate unions in the frontline of the COVID-19 challenge, civil society organisations and professional groups.
The meeting was held to discuss a broad range of issues pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria particularly the fallout of the recent relaxation of the lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States.
According to him, we emphasise the need for sector specific, gradual, and evidence led relaxation of the lockdown in different states of Nigeria.
“This is in order to avoid overcrowding in public places with the attendant risk of worsening the COVID-19 incidence.
“We also call for synergy between the Federal Government and the states. We reiterate the call for the prioritisation of adequate supply of personal protective equipment for health workers at all level of healthcare delivery;
“We call for specialised and continuous training of health workers on COVID-19 management and we call for special Isolation Centres for infected healthcare workers and standardisation of all isolation and treatment centres in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that this would also improve recovery rate, boost confidence of health workers and also make available more professional hands to fight the COVID-19 challenge.
He, however, said the Situation Room noted that the rash of conflicting responses and approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic by state governments should be addressed.
“We call on the Nigeria Governors Forum to issue a set of overarching guidelines on issues of common interest to states while allowing individual states to deal with peculiar nuances that affect them.
“We call on the Kano State Government to take the current wave of infection in the state more seriously.
“We call for very proactive measures by Kano State Government including strict enforcement of total lockdown of the state, deployment of robust public health education.
“We also call for the provision of adequate personnel and equipment for rapid contact tracing, testing and treatment of COVID-19 cases.
“We also call on the Federal Government to mobilise additional support to Kano State and other states in similar situations,” he said.
He further said the deportation of Almajiri children across many states in Nigeria has given rise to active mobility of the COVID-19 cases.
He said the failure to address and resolve the Almajiri question within the broader context of Nigeria’s “out-of-school-children” crisis has been severely exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wabba also called for adequate de-contamination of aircrafts and airports during and after the current lockdown of normal flight operations in order to safeguard the health of airport workers and users.
Wabba, however, called for a community based and decentralised contact tracing, testing, isolation and treatment, adding that this should be prioritised as a major public health policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also called for more testing facilities and kits across the country as a matter of national health emergency, adding that testing centres should be established in every senatorial district of the country complete with community mobilisation and enforcement.
He said that the Situation Room called for improvement in Public Health Education through community participation and ownership to educate people on the reality, dangers and public health guidelines on COVID-19.
Wabba, while speaking on the issue of mitigating socio-economic impact and stimulus package, said the Situation Room called on employers of labour to stop the massive layoff of workers and cut in salaries.
“We demand that the economic stimulus package by government target employers who have demonstrated iron-clad commitment to keep jobs, retain existing salaries and expand production.
“This is the time to re-think our economic strategy. We posit that the current economic crisis which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic is as a result of gross mismanagement of the Nigerian economy by successive governments.
“The continuous importation of refined petroleum products as a result of the neglect of our oil refineries, perennial distortions in our trade balance, huge patronage of foreign goods and services including medical tourism.
“Especially by public officials, dearth of a national development blueprint and appetite and widespread official corruption has brought us to this cauldron.
“To navigate out of this mess, we need a surgical socio-economic paradigm shift,” he added.
He also called for a paradigm shift in the management of the country’s resources and the economy, while re-echoing its earlier calls for an urgent national conversation for an immediate resuscitation of the four comatose national oil refineries.
He added that we also insist that Nigerians are not ready to bear yet again further costs of the clear ineptitude, policy failures and outright corruption of public officials whether in the petroleum sector or with regards to the so called cost reflective adjustment of electricity tariff.
“We call for strategic action and synergy by the federal and subnational governments on a scale of immediate, short term and long-term responses to the fallout of the COVID-19 challenge.
“Given that our country is almost at the limits of sustainable loan financing and the fact that we are almost at the same level before the debt reprieve from the Paris Club creditors in October 2005.
“We call for a cap on external and internal borrowing by different tiers of government,” he said.
He also said the Situation Room regards the bill on the Control of Infectious Diseases being currently considered by the two chambers of the National Assembly as an unnecessary distraction at this time of national health emergency.
“We demand that the bill should not in any way encroach on the fundamental rights of workers and citizens. We are also ready to engage with the bill when it comes up for public hearing,” he said.
Edited By: Nick Nicholas/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)https://nnn.ng/lockdown-labour-civil/
Ministries of Interior, Transportation, others make presentations at 16th virtual FEC meeting
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over the 16th virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) with some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) expected to make presentations at the meeting.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Ministers of Interior, Ra’uf Aregheshola; Finance, Zainab Ahmed; Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Godswill Okpabio, Niger Delta; Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum and Justice, Abubakar Malami are expected to make presentations at the council meeting.
Other departments and agencies expected to make presentations are the Nigeria Correctional Service and the Nigeria Customs Service.
NAN reports that eight ministers including that of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola joined the president at the Council Chamber for the meeting.
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan as well as other cabinet ministers are participating in the meeting from their respective offices in Abuja online.
New NSCDC Commandant assumes duty in Minna
Mr Haruna Zurmi, the new Commandant of the Niger Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has assumed duty in Minna.
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASCI Nasiru Abdullahi, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Minna.
According to him, Zurmi takes over from Mr George Edem who has been redeployed to Edo as Commandant.
He said that the new commandant urged officers and men of the command to be resilient in intelligence gathering and to be committed to their duties.
The spokesman said that the new commandant also reiterated his readiness to work round the clock to tackle crimes in the state.
He also called on officers and men of the command to stand up to their responsibilities.
NEMA distributes relief materials to flood victims in Kebbi
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on Wednesday, distributed relief materials to victims of flood disaster in some major communities of Suru Local Government Area of Kebbi.
Muhammad, who was represented by the Head of Planning, Research and Forecasting Unit, NEMA Sokoto Operations Office, Tukur Abubakar said the relief materials consists of food stuff, building materials and other household items.
He said the items distributed he said are: 349 bags of beans, 349 bags each of rice and guinea corn, 36 kegs of vegetable oil, 58 cartons of seasoning, 29 cartons of tin tomatoes and 18 bags of salt.
Others, he said, are 698 pieces each of mattresses, blankets, mosquito nets and wax prints, 600 bags of cement, 600 bundles of roofing sheets, 70 bags of nails and 140 packets of zinc nails.
Also speaking, the Chairman of SEMA, Alhaji Sani Dododo, attributed this year’s flooding in the state to high rainfall, which led to the discharge of water from Goronyo dam in Sokoto state and Bakolori dam in Zamfara.
Dododo said that the flood resulted to the death of many people and destruction of farmlands and houses in communities along Rima River.
He appealed to the federal government, NGOs and individuals to assist the flood victims. .
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Covenant University appoints Williams as Acting Vice- Chancellor
The Board of Regents, Covenant University, Ota, has appointed Prof. Akan Williams as Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Institution.
Mr Attat Emmanuel, Information Officer of the Institution, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Ota.
“The appointment of Williams was approved on Tuesday, following the expiration of the tenure of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Atayero.
“Williams was born on Feb. 16, 1970 in Calabar, Cross River State, he is a native of Itoko, Ibesikpo-Asutan Local Government Area (LGA) of Akwa Ibom.
“He is a Fellow of Chemical Society of Nigeria; a former Chairman, Ogun Chapter, Chemical Society of Nigeria; member, Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria; member, Royal Society of Chemistry and a member American Chemical Society among others,” he said.
Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Ali Baba-Inuwa