Lagos State government has said from Monday, March 23, 2020, all public and private schools in the state would be shut down as part of the preventive measures against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A statement issued on Wednesday explained that the move became necessary to prevent children and their teachers from getting more vulnerable to the pandemic.
According to the state government, the closure is not intended to create panic, but to arrest the spread of the disease, which has become a global threat.
“It is important for parents to ensure that their children practise ‘social distancing’ while at home, wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers and observe high standards of personal hygiene. Children should be encouraged to remain at home,” the statement said.
Also, the state government announced the suspension of religious gatherings of more than 50 persons due to the recent increase in the number of people testing positive to COVID-19.
It was stated that this directive will remain effective for the next four weeks, advising that all health workers should be more vigilant, especially at the grassroots, while emphasising preventive measures.
Speaking at an event convened for religious leaders, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, reiterated the state government’s decision that all residents must avoid congregating in large numbers to avert an epidemic of the disease, noting that the measure was taken as a proactive step to protect the lives of Lagosians.
He averred that the life of every resident was precious and the government cannot afford a catastrophe in the area of health, considering the fact that the state has over 25 million people.
The Commissioner alluded that the virus is no respecter of person, gender or age, hence the pragmatic decision to act fast and prevent any eventuality, affirming that the state government will not relent in its massive sensitisation campaigns to further enlighten Lagosians to keep the disease at bay.
In his contribution at the event, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lagos State Chapter, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, commended the state government for creating awareness about the disease and putting measures in place to combat it.
Mr Bamgbola noted that the church community will not relent in praying for God’s intervention in curtailing the scourge.
In the same vein, the Grand Chief Imam of Lagos Central Mosque, Sheikh Oluwatoyin Suleiman Abou-Nolla, stated that all hands must be on deck to check the virus as an outbreak cannot be imagined.
At the end of the meeting, a committee was constituted to monitor the situation, review and report developments on a daily basis during the four-week suspension period.
Peter Obi Withdraws from PDP Presidential Race, Quits Party
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, has announced his withdrawal from the presidential primaries of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a letter dated Tuesday, May 24, 2022, the businessman turned politician said he was also resigning as a member of the PDP.
In the letter personally signed by him and addressed to the National Chairman of the opposition party, Mr Iyorchia Ayu, Mr Obi said he has already informed the chairman of Agalu Ward 2, Anaocha LGA Anambra of his decision to quit the party.
“I am writing to intimate you of my resignation from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which was conveyed to the Chairman of Agalu Ward 2, Anaocha LGA Anambra, effective Friday, May 20, 2022.
“Consequently, I am by this letter informing you of my withdrawal from the PDP presidential primaries.
“It has been a great honour to contribute to nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it particularly impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions.
“Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.
“I wish to thank you personally for your graciousness and leadership. I wish you well and best of luck in the service of the country,” the letter stated.
Edo, US Explore Investment Partnerships in Agric, Others
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Edo State Government and the United States will explore areas of investment in agriculture, economy, healthcare and education, among others to sustain the gains recorded by the Godwin Obaseki-led government.
According to the governor at a recent meeting with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Mary Leonard, on a courtesy visit to the Government House, Benin City, his government was sustaining efforts at engendering sustainable growth and development and ensuring economic prosperity for the people of the state.
He said, “For us, it is all about our economy. We have been able to grow our economy to align with its potential. We are addressing a whole lot of issues, particularly security and healthcare to sort out the economy.”
“We are working to fire our economy to the extent that we utilise the economy to the benefit of our people, and one key driver for us is agriculture; food. The number one pressing issue in Nigeria today is food availability.
“We are going to make sure we focus on food production and economic growth. We are engaging with our young people and trying to position them to take advantage of the opportunities in culture and technology globally.
“In order to be competitive economically, the key asset you need are your people; the key driver they need is education. They have to be educated. We are emphasising education, particularly basic education,” he added.
He also affirmed his government’s commitment to ending the menace of human trafficking and illegal migration in Edo, noting that, “We realised that it is that lack of hope and poor education that fuels irregular migration, and we have tried as much as we can to curtail that menace of irregular migration by creating hope for them; nobody wants to leave home if the home is comfortable.”
Highlighting the success recorded by his administration in the health sector, the governor said the state partnered with the Association of Nigeria Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) to provide free medical outreach to the Edo people.
He said, “A couple of weeks ago, we received 67 medical practitioners in our state and they worked with our personnel on the ground to improve quality healthcare delivery to our people. For us, with healthcare, it’s about the foundation.
“If we have the basic health footprint right, as well as the training of community healthcare heads, then it will not be too challenging dealing with diseases such as malaria and distributing vaccines.
“We are looking forward to working with the Royal Palace in building a royal collection and the whole idea is to build the Edo Museum of West Africa Art (EMOWAA) where you will have a lot to see when you come in.”
In her speech, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Leonard, acknowledged the government for its anti-trafficking laws, noting that they have helped in curbing irregular migration among young people in the state.
ICAN, BOI Partner to Drive Stakeholders Inclusion in Tech
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) have strategically inaugurated an ICAN-BOI Tech Hub that will promote job creation, entrepreneurship and skill development in the technology space.
This was the central point of the tech hub inaugurated on Tuesday at the ICAN annexe office in Lagos which will ensure that members of the institute and the public can access the necessary skills and competencies required to become job creators and productive contributors in today’s tech-savvy world.
According to the Managing Director of BOI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, the project was necessary, given the increasing importance of technology to development and youth empowerment.
Mr Pitan said the dominant role of technology in many professions, including accountancy, had transformed the way businesses operated, resulting in improved efficiency, cost-saving, and simplified processes.
“The tech hub shall encourage development and testing of new ideas, products and business models as well as create an environment to prepare for start-ups and existing businesses for sustainability.
“It also aims at boosting business mentorship, market linkages and accelerated programmes to enable young entrepreneurs to scale up.
“Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are key factors shaping global trends and there is a need to continually scale up on them for our national economic growth and development,” he said.
The BOI boss noted that young people were embracing an entrepreneurship mindset and technological skills, which had resulted in the provision of innovative solutions servicing millions of people in diverse sectors.
According to him, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 14.7 per cent to the gross domestic product in 2020 and increased to 15.21 per cent in 2021.
“We can see a perfect example of the value of tech hubs when we consider Silicon Valley, which is one of the earliest tech hubs in the world.
“It houses the headquarters of many of the world’s largest high tech operations as well as thousands of promising start-ups and we have started on that journey here in Nigeria.
“Nigerian Fintechs are fast gaining recognition globally. In 2021, Nigerian FinTech start-ups raised about $1.37 billion out of a total of $4 billion raised by African start-ups despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In Nigeria, we can boast of having technologically-driven products and services such as Flutterwave, Opay, Andela, Interswitch and Jumia.
“This shows the growing significance of ICT in driving the economy,” he added.
Mr Pitan also added that the BOI, through its corporate social responsibility programmes, would proactively continue to support the establishment of tech hubs across the country.
He said the ICAN-BOI tech hub collaboration brought the total tech hubs established by BOI to 10 in six states across the country.
“Structurally, the ICAN-BOI tech hub boasts of over 250 co-work desks, meeting rooms, private offices, a relaxation centre and a hybrid area for organising competitions and hackathons.
“In collaboration with ICAN, we have made provisions for all divider networks, IT equipment, power supply and all required to enable the hub function at optimal capacity.
“The bank is committed to making all its financing products and services available to bankable projects that emanate from users of the tech hub.
“We are confident that this hub will help users to innovate, incubate, collaborate and scale up as they become employers of labour and contributors to the economy of the nation,” he said.
The 57th ICAN President, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, adding her input said the hub was positioned to empower users through different stages from idea generation to actualisation of products or services.
Mr Eyitayo expressed gratitude to the management of BOI for partnering with the institute to ensure members and youths were equipped with the necessary skills for economic growth and development.
On his part, the ICAN Registrar, Professor Ahmed Kumshe, commended Eyitayo, who through the ICAN Entrepreneurship Development Centre initiative brought about the partnership with BOI that resulted in the establishment of the tech hub.
He urged the institute to enlighten members and students to maximise the benefits of the hub since technology had taken over every aspect of life, especially in finance.
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