The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has announced September 21 date for reopening of primary and secondary schools in the state, ending months of school closure occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fayemi disclosed this in a state-wide broadcast on Sunday evening.
He also directed that tertiary institutions in the state be opened to students from October 2, subject to each institution’s Governing Council decision and strict adherence to safety protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Governor stressed that the authorities of the tertiary institutions were to liaise with the Ekiti COVID-19 Task Force for guidance on the appropriate measures to be put in place before reopening.
Specifically, the governor said students in SSS II, JSS III and Primary six are to resume on September 21, while students in SSS I, JSS II and Primary 5 and 4 are to resume from September 28.
Students in JSS I and Primary 1-3 are to resume on October 19, while pupils in Kindergarten and Nursery Schools are expected to resume on November 2, when more assurances of safety for their age bracket would have been established.
The governor noted that the decision to open more classes was taken because there had been no spike traceable to students in exit classes writing their certificate examinations.
According to him, this shows that our preventive measures to safeguard them from being infected has been effective.
On worship centres, Fayemi disclosed that they could henceforth hold two services on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, while midweek services and night vigils were still prohibited.
“After a careful review and advice by the experts, I am glad to announce that worship centres can now hold two services on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as the case may be.
“But mid-week activities and night vigils remain suspended for now. Other protocols and regulations concerning worship centres reopening still subsist.”
Reprieve also came for residents of the state on social activities, especially the ones taking place in halls and event centres, with owners of such facilities now mandated to rent them to users on condition that they should not contain more than 50 per cent of their normal capacities.
Fayemi said: “Owners of halls and event centres may now be allowed to rent out their facilities but under no condition should such a facility contain more than 50 per cent of its normal capacity.
“This is to allow for social distancing. Events centres are expected to observe all protocols prescribed for religious centres and to obtain certificate of readiness before opening.”
The governor, however, expressed concern on the flouting of social distancing rules and non-use of face masks, saying that enforcement would also be scaled up to ensure compliance with COVID-19 regulations.
“While we have progressively responded to the initial lockdown with gradual relaxation in line with the progress made, we must remain vigilant as we cannot afford to indulge ourselves such that a spike may recur as a result of flagrant disobedience to the established protocol.
“We cannot afford to go back into another round of lockdown with its attendant repercussions. This point needs to be emphasized; though, there is a national decline in number of cases, there has been a noticeable upsurge in Ekiti.
“One proof of this is the unpleasant but consistent figures that we have recorded in the last month. As at the time I addressed you on Aug. 5, 2020, there were only 152 confirmed cases in Ekiti.
“Today, we have recorded a total of 299 cases which means we recorded 147 new cases within a month.
“You would recall that the total recorded cases from March to August were 152. This suggests that from August to date, we have had near 100 per cent new cases, even while national number has maintained a stable decline.
“It is in view of this that I have issued a new directive to the law enforcement agencies to ramp up their enforcement activities. We should not delude ourselves that we are out of the pandemic until there is a reliable vaccine in place.
“Even as we continue to evaluate situations and act promptly, I urge you to take personal measures and responsibility by adhering to all existing protocols as not doing so could jeopardize our collective wellbeing.”
On empowerment, he said that his administration was doing everything possible to support entrepreneurs, artisans and self-employed residents.
He disclosed that over 200 businesses accessed the COVID loans from CBN through the Microfinance and Enterprise Development Agency (MEDA).
He added that Ekiti residents should expect to benefit from the multiple initiatives from the Federal Government to support the economy, including the recently launched COVID-19 Survival Fund.
The governor thanked the state’s medical and health workers in the front line and the COVID-19 Response Resource Mobilisation Team as well as all donors to the COVID-19 Support Fund.
He urged residents to keep safe in all fronts, especially with more rains coming.
“We must not only keep safe in terms of COVID-19 prevention, we must also ensure that every drainage is kept free to forestall flooding, just as our drivers must keep safe to avoid accidents in these last quarter as we move towards the end of the year,” Fayemi said.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Ephraims Sheyin
School principals in Delta have been advised to observe all COVID-19 protocols put in place for the resumption of SSS 3 students to contain the spread of COVID-19 among students.
Mr Patrick Ukah, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, said on Tuesday in Asaba that he, along with officials from the ministry, and the state Post Primary Education Board (PPEB), would monitor the resumption.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that JSS 3 students in public secondary schools in Delta are to resume academic activities on Tuesday.
“The resumption is in line with the state government’s programmes on phased reopening of schools beginning with the certificate classes.
“JSS 3 students are to immediately begin revision lessons for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) organised by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education scheduled to begin on Sept. 21,” he said in a statement.
The commissioner further revealed that the five-member committee put in place in all local government areas in the state to monitor compliance with COVID-19 protocols would also monitor the schools.
He urged students in other classes to stay away from schools as the date for their resumption would be made public at the appropriate time.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s witness, Mr Rislanudeen Mohammed, on Monday, said that the 2.2 million dollars transaction in respect of the liquidation of a loan former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Bello Adoke, obtained from Unity Bank PLC was transparent.
Mohammed, a former Acting Managing Director of the bank, told Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja during a cross examination by Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the court had, on July 1, adjourned until Monday for the continuation of cross examination of Mohammed who is the second witness of the anti-graft agency.
The EFCC is prosecuting Adoke and a businessman, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, on a 14-count amended criminal charge bordering on alleged money laundering and fraud.
They however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mohamed had, in his evidence last month, told the court how Adoke obtained a loan of N300 million from the bank and the efforts he made before Adoke could pay back the loan.
He said that the money was finally liquidated after Adoke handed him the sum of $2.2 million and when converted to naira exceeded the principal loan.
However, responding to questions from Adoke’s lawyer, Chief Agabi, the witness told the court that he did not report the transaction to the bank or relevant financial and anti-corruption agencies because the need did not arise.
He said that the $2.2m, upon receipt from Adoke, was kept with the Abuja branch manager, Mr Nura Abdullahi, after which it was handed to a Bureau de Change operator, Alhaji Usman Bello, for conversion to naira.
Mohammed further said that after its conversion, the money was then paid into Adoke’s account domiciled with the bank and subsequently used to liquidate the loan.
“I am fully aware of all the transactions in respect of the loan payment. I did not report any suspicion to the bank, EFCC, ICPC, NFIU and SSS because there was nothing suspicious.
“The bank did not reprimand me for the transaction because it was transparent and I acted as agent of the bank when I collected the money ” he said.
Mohammed, who stated that there was no record of the transaction, added that Adoke did not have a dollar account for the $2.2 million to be paid into.
Earlier, the former bank acting MD admitted that his wife and daughter were shareholders of the Bureau de Change that converted the $2.2 million.
He also told the court that he new nothing about the 2nd defendant, Aliyu Abubakar.
Another witness, Alhaji Usman Bello, in his testimony, told the court that although he had followed Mohammed to Adoke’s house, he did not see the ex-AGF.
He told the court that it was Mohammed who handed over the money to him to convert to naira.
Bello, who is the 3rd prosecution witness (PW3), said upon conversion, he paid the sum of N367, 318,800 into Adoke’s Unity Bank account.
However trial could not continue because the prosecution counsel, Mr Bala Sanga, was yet to furnished the defendants with the statement of the 4th prosecution witness, Farouk Suleiman.
The 2nd defendant’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, had raised objection to Suleiman’s testifying in the matter due to failure of the prosecution to avail them with the witness’s statement.
Sanga then asked for a short adjournment to enable him do the needful.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Sept. 9 for trail continuation.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Mrs Amina Liman, President, Fire Officers Wives Association (FOWA), on Thursday donated over 200 sanitary pads to female students of the Government Secondary School (GSS), Karshi, Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other items donated to the Junior (JSS3) and Senior Secondary School (SSS3) girls were packs of tissue and detergents. Donating the items, Liman said the association deemed it fit to ensure school girls maintained menstrual hygiene amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She advised students to ensure proper sanitary pads usage, change and disposal to avoid infection and environmental contamination. The FOWA President further thanked the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, for supporting the association with cartons of sanitary pads which were part of the toiletries distributed to the students. “We are here today as an association and as concerned caring mothers to make this donation following the outcome of the virtual meeting organised earlier by FOWA,“ she said. NAN also reports that on Aug. 21, Tallen had donated 200 sanitary pads to FOWA during a virtual conference tagged ‘Maintaining Menstrual Hygiene during Pandemic’. The Director co-curricular Division, FCT Secondary Education Board, Mrs Fatima Babba, thanked the President of FOWA for her kind gesture and assured the association that the doors of the board were always open for collaborations. Mr Jafar Usman, Principal, GSS Karshi, thanked FOWA for the candid donation and assured that the sanitary pads, tissues and detergents would be adequately distributed among the students. An SSS III student of the school, Blessing Agu, expressed her profound gratitude to the association for sensitising the female students on menstrual hygiene and provision of sanitary pads. Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Junior Secondary School (JSS3) students in Kaduna State are to resume classes on Aug. 17, the state government announced on Friday in Kaduna.
Mrs Phoebe Yayi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, announced the resumption date in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria .
Yayi said the resumption was to enable the JSS 3 students to prepare for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) slated for Aug. 24.
She added that the ministry had directed all principals to make arrangements to receive the JSS 3 boarding students on Aug. 16 and the day students on Aug. 17 respectively.
“All administrators of public and private schools in the state should note that the one week period, starting from Aug. 16, is to enable them to make the necessary preparation.
“This preparation is in line with the COVID-19 guidelines in place, as it in the case of the SSS 3 students,’’ Yayi said.
She advised proprietors of private schools to comply accordingly.
“Proprietors of private schools are advised to ensure proper arrangements for safe transportation of their students to and fro schools.
“Appropriate resumption dates for other examinations and for the rest of the classes, including the SSS 1, SSS 2 and JSS 1 to JSS 2, as well as primary schools, will be announced in due course.’’
She assured the public of the ministry’s willingness to continue the e-learning education programme, using the google classrooms, radio, television stations and other online applications until full normalcy is restored to the academic environment.
Yayi also lauded all partners in the education sector, including Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Parent Teacher Associations, proprietors of private schools, Old Students Associations and the media for their continued support.
Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
No fewer than two leaders of secondary schools in Oyo State have expressed concern about the conditions of classrooms in the schools for the conduct of the West African Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) scheduled for August 17 .
In separate interviews with them in Ibadan on Friday, they noted that fewer schools had a hall with capacity to contain all candidates to observe the two-metre social distancing in accordance to the guidelines of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
Mr Hassan Adebayo, the Vice-Principal Academic of Isabatudeen Girl’s Grammar School ll, said that “the school has 107 candidates sitting for 2020 WASSCE for subjects on science, commerce and arts.
“Although there are three classrooms and a major hall to conduct the examination, the school is not sure if WAEC will permit the use of classrooms.
“Here in our school, the school had reopened since the government of Oyo State had permitted schools to reopen for graduating classes.
“The sitting arrangements of SSS III have been done, we have fumigated the school premises, including the classrooms and our students are used to the new normal arrangements since the pandemic started.
“There would be one student per seat to ensure social distancing because of COVID-19,’’ he said.
Adebayo noted that the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) had started since on Monday and its conduct had been smooth and hitch free.
Speaking on behalf of the principal of Islamic High School, Mr Mojeed Fawumi, a vice-principal, said that the school had started giving out mathematical sets to students provided by WAEC in preparation for Mathematics examination slated for August 17.
“But we are still waiting for directives where WAEC will allow for the use of classrooms or hall. If it is hall, we have one that can accommodate the number of students we have on the ground. We have 129 students sitting for the examinations.
“If WAEC allows classrooms, no problem and if it is hall, no problem as this hall can accommodate 129 candidates conveniently; some schools have challenges of lack of capacity to accommodate their students in a hall but ours is different,’’ he said.
Speaking on the conduct of BECE, Fawumi stated that there are 137 students who registered for the examinations but only 129 were present.
“So far so good, we have no problem with the conduct of the examination; before the commencement of the examinations, the students have resumed and they have been so conversant with the COVID-19 safety protocols.
“That is why you see them clad with face masks and they have to wash their hands,’’ he said.
In Ikolaba High School, Agodi GRA, Oba Akinbiyi Memorial School, Bashorun, Ibadan, preparations were ongoing, though they declined to speak with the News Agency of Nigeria on their level of preparedness.
NAN also reports that some schools have old dilapidated buildings used as school halls which will require some refurbishing to make it suitable for the conduct of WASSCE.
It is observed that there are provision for water and liquid soap for hand washing and students’ temperatures were checked with a digital thermometer before entering the school premises.
Some persons expressed optimism that safety protocols for COVID-19 would be adhered to as students write WASSCE as it was done for BECE in most schools in the state.
Edited By: Abigael Joshua/Kayode Olaitan (NAN)
The Nasarawa State Government has threatened to withdraw the operational approval for any private schools caught violating the lockdown order by reopening schools for all category of students.
Mr Usman Abu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, made the threat in a statement on Monday in Lafia.
”It has come to the notice of the ministry that some proprietors of private schools have sent messages to parents/guardians to send their children/wards in all classes back to school as from Monday.
”The message by the proprietors has contradicted the directive of the government that only Senior Secondary School (SSS) three students are allowed to resume school for their West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations.
“On no account should any school, public or private, invite students in classes other than SS3 to resume school for now.
“To ensure compliance the Ministry has already constituted a task force to monitor the situation and any school found wanting will have approval for its operation withdrawn without hesitation,” Abu warned.
Hr therefore advised all management of all the secondary schools to adhere strictly with this directive to avoid any problem.
NAN reports that the Nasarawa State Government directed that schools would be reopened for only SSS 3 students to enable them prepare for their final examinations scheduled for Aug. 17. .
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in Delta, Mr Patrick Ukah, has expressed displeasure over the attitude of some parents in bringing their children late to schools.
Ukah, however, advised such parents to always ensure that their children were brought to school early enough.
The commissioner spoke on Friday after his team’s monitoring of some schools in the state to ascertain compliance with the resumption by teachers and students.
“I also frowned at parents who allowed their children to resume school without their uniforms, as some students were seen in classes with different dresses.
“I urged the teachers to continue to display exemplary attitude and behaviour for their students to emulate, saying the future of every child rests mainly on the teachers,” he said.
Ukah said that there was need for parents and community leaders to prevail on their children, especially those in SSS 3, who had not resumed, to come back to school and participate in the revision classes before their examinations begin.
“Students in other classes, particularly the JSS 3 students and Primary Six pupils, who had not been directed to resume, would soon be informed of their resumption dates,” he said.
Ukah called on the communities to protect the school facilities in their areas, saying that government would not condone any act of vandalism of schools’ infrastructure.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that schools visited by the commissioner were Government Model Secondary School, Asaba; Otulu Mixed Secondary School, Otulu; Anglican Grammar School, Akwukwu-Igbo, and Illah Grammar School, Illah.
Others included: Ebu Grammar School, Ebu; Basic and Secondary School, Illah; Ukala-Okpuno Mixed Secondary School, Ukala, as well as Boys’ Model Secondary School, Onicha-Olona.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
The Defence Headquarters has allayed fears of Nigerians over alleged plans by Al-Qaeda and ISIS to make an inroad into Southern Nigeria and penetrate the north-western part of the country.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, while answering questions from newsmen at the updates briefing on military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja, said there was nothing to fear about the claim.
The United States had said that Al-Qaeda and ISIS were looking to make an inroad into Southern Nigeria and that Al-Qaeda had started penetrating the north-western part of the country.
Dagvin Anderson, Commander of the United States special operations command, Africa, made the claim in a digital briefing on Wednesday.
Enenche, however, said that the claim was nothing but just an alarm and that Nigeria security agencies were equal to the task, urging the pubic not be afraid of such claim.
The coordinator, who described the statement as a wakeup call or form of advice, said that the security agencies were on top of the situation.
“On the issue that terrorists from other zones are coming to the country, I think it will be good for us to be keeping records as events are unfolding, for me this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm.
“It’s as good as may be five or ten years ago, and the armed forces and the country are conscious of it.
“When the conflict in Libya was declared ended and which actually was not, what happened? It was we, our NIA and the SSS that said these people were moving which is true.
“Have we not captured foreigners that have been terrorising us in this country?
“So it is just a piece of advice or call that you still keep doing what you are doing, of which I can assure the general public that the security agencies are on top of that,” he said.
Enenche said that the military in their recent exploits had captured some foreigners who came from neighbouring countries in Niger State.
“Where are they coming from, why do we have ISWAP here now, or is ISWAP indigenous from Nigeria? No. So it is telling you the obvious and I want to tell you that look, continue to ensure that you have measures in place to continue taming them.
`I read the details of the presentation, it was not accusing, it was not specific, it is like saying you people, should put efforts to continue to contain them.
“Because when pressure is on them from other climes, they will still continue to increase their influx,” he said.
Eneche also said that the military was winning the battle against terrorism in the country, adding that huge successes had been recorded.
He added that while the people outside there do expectation analysis, the military do operational analysis based on the direction of operation.
According to him, what has flattened it is that you will discover that from March up till now, it is offensive, offensive with sacrifices made on the part of the military.
“Yes, of course, we lost some people but the gains have outweighed what we lost which is what we signed for, so what you have seen is success and it will continue to improve.
“This is because, as it is now, we have been given marching orders again, all we need to do is to go and dig up where we have our contingencies because by our training, we are trained to face challenges,” he said.
Enenche explained that the terrorists had been decimated seriously, adding that there was leadership problem in the enemy camp at present.
According to him, the air and artillery bombardment conducted have decimated them and this is going to dovetail into all the other major aspects of the initial strategies of the northeast which is domination and occupation and we are getting there.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Kaduna State chapter, says 95 per cent of its members are ready to reopen schools for students in exit classes.
The Secretary of the association, Mr Philip Iorhena, disclosed this while reacting to the state government’s directive to schools to reopen on Aug. 10.
The directive was to enable final year students in secondary schools to sit for the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and other certificate examinations.
Iorhena told the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Thursday that the members were fully prepared for reopening, with strict adherence to safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We are 95 per cent ready to reopen for students in exit classes to write their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations.
“We are ready with hand sanitisers, hand washing facilities, thermometers, and other COVID-19 safety protocols.
“So far, 95 per cent of our members have submitted the Risk and Readiness Assessment Form to the Kaduna State Private School Board.
“I am sure our remaining members will be ready before end of the week,” he said.
The NAPPS scribe said that no private school was allowed to collect any amount from students in the guise of covering expenses on COVID-19 safety protocols.
He stressed that all safety measures had been taken care of by the school managements, to ensure safety of students throughout the examination period.
“Officially there is no agreement on any private school collecting money from students to cover expenses on COVID-19 preventive measures,” he said.
NAN recalls that Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i on Monday approved Aug.10 as the resumption date for exit students in secondary schools expected to begin their WAEC examination on Aug. 17.
The state Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi, had on Aug. 3 directed all school principals to make arrangement to receive SSS 3 boarding students on Aug. 9 and the day students on Aug. 10.
“Principals are to ensure compliance with agreed guidelines which include reduced hours of work and revision to four hours per shift, social distancing in classes, laboratories, libraries and hostels,’’ he said.
He added that there should also be consistency in temperature monitoring and handing over of any suspected case of COVID-19 to health authorities.
Edited By: Abdullahi Mohammed/Ejike Obeta (NAN)