Fear has enveloped residents of Kano metropolis as more people continue to succumb to a strange illness that has hit some parts of the city.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that scores of people, including elites and prominent sons of the state, have been lost to the yet-to-be identified disease, with Dala, Fagge, Tarauni, Nasarawa, Gwale and Kano Municipal worst hit.Among those already buried are academics, administrators, bankers, media practitioners and businessmenA source told NAN that one of the victims of the illness, Alhaji Aminu Yahaya, a former Commissioner of Education, died on Saturday night.“Aminu died last night. We have just buried him. He was diabetic and came down with a fever few hours before he passed on,” Alhaji Muhammad Yahaya, a brother to Aminu Yahaya, told NAN on Sunday.NAN sources, however, indicated that the deaths were not connected to the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as none of the deceased had tested positive to the pandemic.Dr Isa Abubakar, the Director, Centre for Infectious Diseases, Bayero University Kano (BUK), told NAN that the disease resulting to the surge in deaths was not related to Coronavirus.According to him, none of the deceased was confirmed to have exhibited the symptoms of the pandemic.Meanwhile, the Kano State Government says it has begun investigation into the cause of the recent surge in deaths recorded in Kano metropolis.Dr Tijjani Husaini, the Executive Secretary, Kano State Primary Healthcare Board, told NAN that the investigation was to examine causes of the deaths and ascertain the number victims in the metropolis.Husaini said that the state government would brief members of the public on the outcome of the findings as soon as investigation was concluded.A worried Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje has also admitted that the health situation in Kano is “getting tougher and tougher by the day”.“Everything is becoming so serious now. But as the situation gets serious, we are surely on top of it. We require testing machines in Kano and want the Federal Government to bring them.“It is when we have the machines that we will be able to tackle whatever threat that facing us.”Ganduje said that all those that had tested positive to COVID-19 in the state were in stable condition, adding that none of them was critical to need ventilators.“Their (patients) conditions are still manageable,” he declared.He explained that due to the shut down of NCDC’s test centre, samples of suspected cases of COVID-19 are being transported to Abuja “despite the cumbersome processes and inconveniences in long distance traveling.“The Federal Government should hasten their support programme in Kano with adequate testing centres and all the necessary kits to help contain the spread of the disease,” he said.Ganduje, who commended Kano people for observing the total lockdown, said that the measure is the only remedy to stopping the movement of the pandemic.“We are appealing to the Federal Government to support Kano the way it supported Lagos and Ogun; we are doing everything within our power to contain the pandemic.”He explained that the isolation centre at Sani Abacha Stadium donated by Aliko Dangote Foundation, had a 210-bed capacity, while the other one is located at Kwanar-Dawaki where the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is active.Ganduje said that there are challenges of ventilators and other major facilities at Kwanar Dawaki Isolation centre, while the 100-bed Isolation Centre at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital was being activated.But residents of the city have urged the state government to intensify awareness creation on the dangers of the dreaded COVID-19 and the need to comply with the stay-at-home order by government.They also called for more sample collection centres and urged the Kano State government to demonstrate similar commitment to the war against the pandemic as its counterparts in Lagos, Ogun and Edo.“Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has established two test centres and over 20 sample collection centres; Gov. Seyi Makinde has initiated a mobile sample collection strategy thereby extending the COVID-19 outreach to the grassroots, to enhance effective response and case management of the disease.“My view is that the Kano State Government should do same. We should not wait for the Federal Government’s intervention before responding to the pandemic,” Mahmoud Ismail, a medical practitioner, told NAN.He also decried the poor environmental sanitation and personal hygiene in the metropolis, urging government to step up efforts to rid the city of the dirt dotting all corners.“Poor personal hygiene and indiscriminate dumping of waste in residential areas expose the people to health risks and infections. Government must be proactive,” he said.Malam Isa Sharif, a health analyst, stressed the need for the state government to prioritise awareness creation to educate the people on the dangers and preventive measures of the pandemic.Sharif said that such campaign was necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the people.
Fear of job loss has grips private school teachers in Kaduna State as school owners may not cope with payment of salaries due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Some teachers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Kaduna, said if the lockdown persisted, private school owners might be forced to lay-off some staff so as to remain in business after the restriction.
Mrs Irene Bukola, a teacher at Excell Model School, Narayi, told NAN that many private schools depended on school fees to pay their staff.
“If the lockdown takes longer time, the owners will deem it necessary to downsize their workforce.
“It is not a good feeling when you know you may possibly lose your job, especially when you know that’s your major source of income.
“Parents, by now ought to be making payments of school fees for the third term that should have begun after Easter holiday.
“But that has not happened,’’ Bukola noted.
Mr Joseph Akoh, who teaches at Brighter Academy, Sabo Tasha said that he foresaw a situation where, not only teachers would be sacked, but many private schools would shut down.
“Our fear is as the same with the owners of the schools, whose businesses may also fold up if the COVID-19 pandemic persists,’’ Akoh said.
He decried a situation where private school teachers have insurance cover, let alone a fall-back trust fund that would serve as succour when they are sacked.
He added that the situation would have untold effect on their personal and family needs.
Mrs Alheri David, a teacher at Imani Model School, Ungwan Romi said there was need for the state government’s intervention for private school teachers who also contributed to the state’s education sector.
“There are private schools in remote areas where public schools are not given the requisite attention.
“Eventually, the children would be at the receiving end when these schools close down and that is not a plus for educational development,’’ David said.
Some school proprietors, contacted for comment on the situation, declined to talk to NAN correspondent.
Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Palpable fear has gripped residents of Kano as the State Ministry of Health announced it has recorded the first COVID-19 death on Wednesday evening.
The announcement came through the ministry’s official Twitter handle @SMOH but did not reveal the identity of the deceased and no much details about the death.
Malam Usman Abdulhakeenm, a resident of Janbulo area of Kano, expressed shock over the incidence, saying “I fear for Kano’’.
He said that the situation was worrisome since the onset of the first case, who was said to have been to many places when he returned to Kano.
Another resident of Rijiyar Zaki, Alhaji Ibrahim Imam, also expressed sadness over the development, saying that it was unfortunate.
Imam appealed to residents to bear in mind that the virus “has really started taking effect in the state’’.
He urged the people to be cautious.
“We need to know that the disease is real as it has already started claiming a life in the state.
“Let’s keep ourselves and families safe.’’
NAN reports that the Kano State Ministry of Health had late Wednesday, reported one death of a coronavirus patient in the state.
The report came as a shock to many residents, especially with the confirmation of 12 new cases.
Meanwhile, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje has ordered a complete lockdown of the state for seven days, beginning from 10.00 p.m. on Thursday.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had, on Wednesday, reported 34 new cases COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 407 nationwide.
Summary of the report indicated that Lagos recorded 18, Kano, 12, while Katsina recorded two. nd Delta and Niger recorded one case each.
“As at 11.20 p.m. on April 15, there are 407 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria.
“A total of 128 have been discharged with 12 deaths,’’ NCDC had announced on its Twitter handle, Wednesday night.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
School administrators in Lagos, on Friday, emphasised the need to encourage public speaking among secondary school students.
The administrators stated this during a discourse, organised by De Rehoboth Schools, Ojokoro Housing Estate, Ijaiye, in partnership with Eloquence Scholars Foundation.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the discourse had as its theme: “Social Vices: A Clog in Educational Progress in Nigeria.”
The Proprietor of De Rehoboth College, Mr Idollo Clement, stressed the need to create awareness on how to tackle ‘glossophobia’, meaning, fear of public speaking.
“We have been organising this discourse for some time now, in partnership with Eloquence Scholars Foundation.
“This is the third edition and the aim is to expose our students to public speaking and not give room for stage fright.
“We have been taking our students out and we also invite other schools for debate. This is for us to expose them, learn and know their weaknesses in public speaking.
“We don’t just do academics all year round; rather, we examine all other areas of extra-curricular activities, which can add value to the students,” he said.
Clement called for support from the government and the private sector to partner with schools on projects that would add value to students.
Mr Babatunde Omibekun, the Director in charge of schools debate and other curricula activities from the state Ministry of Education, said he was always excited whenever students were gathered to discuss salient issues.
He advised the students to develop interest in discussing trending issues and urged more schools to partner in tackling ‘glossophobia’.
“You should not only watch Nollywood but other educational programmes that can add value to your lives and inspire you.
“There is no knowledge that is lost, because you may be called upon at anytime to speak on issues. This is when you become a champion,” he said.
Mr Temitayo Abudu, President/Founder of Eloquent Scholars Foundation, said that the organisation was on a mission to be one of the foremost contributors to knowledge.
“We intend to empower the youths by dealing with ‘glossophobia’, the fear of public speaking, so that individuals will be able to express themselves in public,” he said.
Abudu said that the topic for the discourse was chosen, because it was one of the trending issues which the students could learn a lot from.
Adeniyi Eniola from Chris Flourish College, during the debate, described social vices, including cultism, examination malpractice and drug abuse as morally-unacceptable habits.
He urged the education board to make counselling effective in schools, adding that students should be educated on the use of drugs, while their minds should be disabused on the notion that drugs could make people do great things.
Deborah Onyedika from De Rehoboth College, emphasised how the issue of sex for grades was a social vice, which she described a clog in the educational progress.
She condemned the act from both lecturers and students, attributing the cause to lack of proper upbringing.
“One of the social vices that cannot be overlooked is sexual harassment, which is not getting enough publicity and condemnation.
“An example is the sex-for-grades scandal, which was unravelled after an investigation by a journalist.
“We often get abused by neighbours, step parents and guardians. We need a society where cases of sexual harassment can be addressed so that victims can speak out,” she said.
Adeyemo Rereloluwa from Gray Royal College urged the Federal Government to check cyber crime, which was also damaging the image of the country.
“The internet, which should be utilised to advance our education, is now being used to defraud innocent people.
“Students should also be enlightened on the dangers of thuggery. We shouldn’t abandon our education only to be used as political thugs,” she said.
Jikiemi Temiloluwa of Chris Flourish told NAN that the project would provide good exposure for him and commended the organisers.
The discourse, which had three schools in attendance, ended with De Rehoboth College clinching the first position, Gray Royal, second and Chris Flourish, third.
The programme had students from the three schools and teachers, who cheered the speakers as they took turns on the topic.
Edited by Dorcas Jonah and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Super Eagles’ stand–in captain William Troos-Ekong says while they respect five–times world champions Brazil they however have no fear as both teams step out in a friendly in Singapore.
Ekong made the remarks on Saturday at a pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Brazil at the Singapore National Stadium in Kallang.
He said his team was inspired by the 1-1 draw fellow West African neighbors Senegal played with the South Americans.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Brazil were held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal on Thursday in Singapore.
“Brazil are a top team, probably the best team in the world, but Senegal gave them a good fight on Thursday.
“We can pick some inspiration from that performance when we play the Brazilians on Sunday.
“It will be tough because they will want to win at least one game against an African team on this tour, but we will also want to take something off them,” he said.
NAN also reports that Sunday’s encounter starts at 8 p.m. Singapore time (1p.m. Nigeria time).(NAN)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
Prof. Charles Ayo, a former Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, has identified indiscipline and lack of fear of God as major factors contributing to the incessant cases of `sex for marks’ in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
Ayo made this known in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Ota, Ogun, on Tuesday.
NAN reports that a Senior Lecturer, Dr Boniface Igbenegbu of the Faculty of Art, University of Lagos, Akoka, was recently caught on camera making sexual demands of a student seeking admission into the institution.
Also, Prof. Richard Akindele of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, was sentenced to six months imprisonment for same offence of ‘sex for marks’ scandal in 2018.
The don said that it was really unfortunate that issues of sex for marks had become rampant in the country’s tertiary institutions.
“Lack of discipline by the lecturers and the way some of the students dress are reasons for their molestation,” he said.
Ayo said that lecturers and faculty members are supposed to act as parents to the students.
The former vice chancellor said that being in a position of authority does not confer on lecturers the right to oppress or molest students for sex.
He said that sex for marks was one of the factors responsible for the falling standard of educational system in the country.
The don, however, called for reorientation of the people generally to eliminate the decadence in the country and its tertiary institutions.
Ayo stressed the need to begin to preach morals in the country, and blamed total loss of cultural and social values for the slide resulting in sex for marks in the tertiary institutions.
He also urged students to dress appropriately, saying “the way you dress is the way you will be addressed by others.’’
Ayo further advised students to know their rights to avoid being molested by anyone. (NAN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Bayo Sekoni
Asian shares edged higher on Monday after data showed the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to the lowest in almost 50 years, easing concerns of a slowdown in the world’s largest economy.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.16 per cent. Australian shares were up 0.63 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei stock index opened higher but reversed course and fell 0.2 per cent.
The pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures STXEc1 were up 0.2 per cent at 3,435, German DAX futures FDXc1 were up 0.18 per cent, while FTSE futures FFIc1 were down 0.03 per cent.
U.S. stock futures, ESc1 fell 0.39 per cent in Asia on Monday after the S&P 500 surged 1.4 per cent on Friday.
The offshore yuan CNH fell around 0.3 per cent to 7.1337 to the dollar after Bloomberg reported that Chinese officials are signaling they are increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump.
There was no onshore yuan trading, as Monday is the last day of a long China holiday for its national day.
The media report also pushed up safe-haven assets such as gold and the yen.
Crude oil futures pared losses to trade little changed amid caution about a resolution to the trade dispute.
Sentiment toward the U.S. economy deteriorated sharply much of last week after disappointing data on manufacturing and services suggested the trade war was taking a toll, and more rate cuts would be needed to avert a potential recession in the world’s biggest economy.
But a modest September increase in U.S. jobs, announced on Friday, eased some of these concerns and lifted U.S. markets that day.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.5 per cent in September to reach the lowest since December 1969. Non-farm payrolls also grew in September, but slightly less than expected.
“Moderate job growth and subdued inflation in the United States is a positive for stocks,” said Shusuke Yamada, head of FX and Japan equity strategy at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities in Tokyo.
This week, the main focus will be the high-level U.S.-China trade negotiations expected in Washington on Oct. 10-11 to see if the two sides can end a bruising year-long trade war that has hurt global growth and raised the risk of recession.
“The dollar is a little soft heading into U.S.-China trade talks,” said Yamada. “I see some scope for yen gains, but it is not likely to be a big move higher.”
The United States and China have slapped tariffs on each other’s goods as part of a long-running dispute over Beijing’s trading practices, which Washington says are unfair.
Central banks around the world have been easing policy to try to offset the impact of the trade war.
The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates twice this year. Before the jobs report, traders saw a 85.2 per cent chance the Fed will cut rates by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent -2.00 per cent this month, but that chance has now fallen to 81.1 per cent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.
The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR rose to 1.5272 per cent on Monday compared with its U.S. close of 1.5140 per cent on Friday.
Spot gold XAU=, an asset often bought during times of uncertainty, rose 0.05 per cent to 1,505.11 dollar per ounce.
The yen JPY=EBS, also considered a safe-haven asset, edged slightly higher to 106.85 versus the U.S. dollar and gained to 72.12 per Australian dollar.
U.S. crude CLc1 was flat at 52.81 dollars a barrel. Brent crude LCOc1 fell 0.15 per cent to 58.28 dollars per barrel.
In addition to worries about the global economy, signs of oversupply in the oil market are weighing on futures prices.
Political instability in Hong Kong could hurt market sentiment after China’s army took the unusual step of issuing warnings to anti-government protesters in Hong Kong over the weekend.
Hong Kong’s stock market is closed on Monday for a public holiday. Trading will resume on Tuesday.
Four months of often violent protests against Chinese rule has pushed the former British colony to the brink of recession and posed a serious challenge to Beijing’s control of the city. (Reuters/NAN)
Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Rahimi Ganiyu, a businessman, on Thursday petitioned a Mapo Customary Court in Ibadan to dissolve his 17-year-old marriage over his constant fear of his wife, Adijat Ganiyu.
Ganiyu, a resident of Soka area in Ibadan explained before Chief Ademola Odunade, the President of the court that his wife whom he married in 2002 had become a terror by constantly causing him apprehension and discomfort.
He added that the only option he had left was to seek legal intervention in getting Adijat out of his house or she might get rid of him any moment from now.
“For some years now, my cohabitation under the same roof with Adijat can best be described as passive or servant-master relationship because of the fear my wife has instilled in me.
“If there is any misunderstanding between both of us, Adijat usually aim at my life and she does this by threatening me with knife.
“In fact, she recently got petrol in an attempt to set my house ablaze and it took the effort of well meaning people in the community to pacify her.
“I cannot count how many times Adijat has willfully destroyed my personal wears including; clothes shoes and other properties.
“Worst still, she damaged my car key and the windscreen and I cannot allow her to kill me before my time,” Ganiyu said.
In her argument, the respondent opposed the suit and refuted all the allegations leveled against her.
Adijat however, prayed the court to consider the four children between both of them in dismissing her husband’s divorce prayer.
“My lord, none of the submissions made by Ganiyu against me is true, though we sometimes had quarrels.
“He doesn’t even fend for the children, let alone their feeding or mine.
“I even suggested to him that I can jointly shoulder the responsibility with him. He however, adamantly refused to do anything.
“We quarreled because he never wanted to be responsible, he doesn’t like paying the children’s school fees,” Adijat stated.
In his judgment, Odunade held that the court was convinced that the allegation of threat to life was well proven against Adijat.
Consequently, he dissolved the union and granted custody of the first two children to the plaintiff and the last two to the respondent.
The Arbitrator also directed Ganiyu to pay N10, 000 as the children’s monthly feeding allowance in addition to being responsible for their education and other welfare needs.
Edited by Zainab Garba/Maharazu Ahmed
The Ebonyi Commissioner for Projects Monitoring and Evaluation, Chief Ukie Ezeali, has assured the people that the Gov. David Umahi-led administration will complete all existing projects before leaving office.Ezeali, who gave the assurance while speaking with Nigeria News Agency in Abakaliki on Tuesday, added that the governor would not start what he would not finish.“Considering what the government achieved in its first tenure, I want to allay all fears bordering on its non-completion of the numerous projects it embarked upon.“The state is on auto-pilot mode as the governor has infused the spirit of effective utilisation of resources into us to work whether he is around or not.“All the projects being embarked on in the state are viable and would ensure that Ebonyi is turned into an investment hub presently and in the future,” he said.Ezeali said that with the prudent management of resources in state, the usual high cost of construction of projects had been reduced and huge amount of money saved.“The average cost of a kilometre of concrete-paved road is N155 to N165 million, including two side drains as against what is obtainable in other states.“We have ensured that it is criminal for any head of monitoring or regulatory agency to be enticed with bribe for compromise on his core duties.“I came from the private-sector where what counts is ‘man-hour’ and I have warned all my staff to be proactive to judiciously earn their pay,” he said.Ezeali said that to achieve his office’s mandate of executing projects according to stipulated standard and specifications, the ministry had recruited additional personnel.“They have been permanently posted to all project locations in the state and we have also provided quality manuals and guidelines, while equipping our personnel with latest technological practices.“Our prime objective is always value for money and to strictly monitor cost using the principles of value of work done.“We also ensure that no contractor is paid for jobs not executed, while paying reasonably using the best costing approach,” he said.RCO/ORO/PDE(Edited by Razak Owolabi/Peter Ejiofor)
Egbeba, who made this assertion in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , in Abuja on Monday, debunked the notion that GMOs are harmful.
He said that presently all the food people consumed had been altered in one way or the other, either through conventional breeding methods or through genetic engineering.
Egbeba said genetic engineering is an advanced alteration, which is basically the movement of one gene of interest into another organism to perform a particular function.
He said in the conventional breeding method of tissue culture, budding, grafting involved one gene or another being moved into related specie.
He, however, said genetic engineering went beyond related specie, as gene could be moved from animal to plant and from plant to animal.
“Let me say that most of the crops we have presently in our farms and the markets have actually been altered in one or the other by scientific process.
“ Either through conventional breeding methods or the few ones that we have that are genetically modified, those ones have been screened for safety.
“ So, the fear of whether GMOs is harmful or not should not be there because we ensure they are safe before they are released into the market.’’
Egbeba also debunked the idea that some crops had been genetically modified in Nigeria like the Nigerian pawpaw, orange and mango, saying that they had only been improved upon through conventional breeding method.
“ So, the few ones we have that are genetically modified are not yet on commercial level in the country like the cotton and cowpea; there are still other processes that are ongoing before they get into the market on commercial scale.”
The director general said one of the major developments in the biosafety sector was the new act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in July, which is an amendment to the 2015 Act.
He said the amendment was an additional mandate to the agency to accommodate the regulation of emerging aspects of biotechnology in the area of synthetic biology, genome editing and gene drive and biosecurity.
According to him, bio-security is all about assuring that biological agents do not have any potential to cause harm in the environment neither will anybody use it maliciously to cause harm either to humans or the environment.
He said the agency had also received an application from Institute of Agricultural Research, Zaria, on Water Efficient Maize For Africa (WEMA) .
WEMA is a public private partnership that was formed to develop drought-tolerant maize for use by smallholder farmers and Confined Field Trials (CFT) are already being conducted on it in some countries like Kenya and Uganda.
CFT are small scale field experiments to evaluate the performance of a GM plant.
Egbeba said the application was being reviewed by the agency and the results would soon be posted on the agency’s website, adding that there would be a public notice before the process was completed.
He said the agency was constantly monitoring applicants, that is the institutions and the GM crops that were undergoing CFT in the country, such as the Bt cotton and the PBR cowpea.
“We do a lot of monitoring; what we do is inspection to ensure compliance in terms and conditions.
“We send some staff to visit the institutions to ensure they are complying with our terms and conditions and the law.’’
The biosafety boss assured Nigerians once again that the agency would continue to ensure that no GMO that is unsafe would be allowed into the environment.
He, however, said that the fear will be there for a long time because of those who are deliberately creating it and those alsoexercising the fear because of ignorance.
“` We want to assure Nigerians that the practice of modern biotechnology will be safe before we will allow it and GMO that is unsafe will not be allowed into the environment or market for consumption by Nigerians.
According to him, NBMA is here to protect Nigerians from any harmful effects of GMOs.
“We are also going to make sure that our environment is also protected, we have that responsibility and we will discharge it in the interest of the country.’’
Edited by Felix Ajide