Lockdown Extension: PRP Calls on President Buhari to Call-off Lockdown
The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call-off the ongoing lockdown in the interest of Nigerians.
In a statement issued by its National Chairman, Alhaji Falalu Bello, he stated that the strategy choice of the administration was alien to the socio-economic as well as environmental realities in Nigeria, adding that such facilities that would have made the strategy choice workable were either rudimentary or non-existent in Nigeria.
The party also observed that the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic was not just a health concern, but a multi-sectoral thing.
Noting that the lockdown strategy could rather become counter-productive as the Nigerian circumstances, in which housing transportation, feeding and other basic human need were in short supply, leading to congestions and herding of people in limited spaces and sharing limited resources.
It also pointed out the limited capacity of government to meet up with the demand for palliatives, considering the alleged suspicious nature of the database to be used for those who would qualify to benefit from government’s arrangement.
According to his statement which reads;
“First, the President appears not to understand and appreciate the futility and ineffectiveness of lockdowns as a panacea for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in an economic and social environment such as ours.
“Nigeria COVID -19 response strategy with terms such as aggressive enforcement of total lockdown, flattening of the curve, contact tracing, self-isolation, etc, is a very good strategy on paper but has been drawn in total disregard to our environment and circumstances.
“Complete lockdown for example may be useful and effective in developed economies and societies as exist in Europe and North America. But in our own environment where infrastructure such as housing, public transportation, sanitation and water supply are at best rudimentary, a wholesale copy of the lockdown template as a strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic is as good as playing the ostrich.
“Self-Isolation as another example in most of our houses in our towns and cities where tens of families stay in a house with only a toilet and tap is neither possible nor practicable. The Covid-19 Strategy sold to our President and his Governors is alien to our circumstances, not practicable nor sustainable and should be urgently jettisoned.
“Secondly, the President’s statement betrays a complete failure to understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health emergency but more appropriately a multi-sectoral challenge, with grave implications and threats to not just the public health but the livelihoods of citizens.
“So, to depend, as the President says he is going to do, only on the advices of the “scientific advisers” for the determination of whether and when to lift the restrictions on movements, is to say the least, most ill-advised.
“As experts in similar climes as ours have argued, complete lockdowns in and by themselves cannot and will not solve the challenges that COVID-19 has unleashed.
“Indeed, the lockdowns themselves may even compound and worsen the incidence of both contagion and spread by, for instance, weakening the immune system through worsening malnutrition, the herding together of masses of people in congested residential spaces which is what you find in most of our cities and towns, and the overstretching of rudimentary health-care facilities and infrastructures.
“Thirdly, President Buhari’s Statement convinces us of the Government’s utter disregard and lack of appreciation of its own low executive capacity. For the President to talk and promise that the Administration is going to distribute lockdown palliatives to the most vulnerable, who largely live from day to day in the interstices of the informal sector of the economy, in the face of gross bungling of the government’s initial efforts in this direction, only goes to betray this disregard of existential realities.
“The Nigerian government [both Federal and States] lack the executive capacity to do these in a transparent and effective manner. To begin with, the database that will be used to determine who qualifies for such an intervention and support is just simply not there.
“Furthermore, the executive capacity to execute the distribution in an equitable, fair and even- handed manner has simply been shown not to exist. These have been seen in almost all the States that gave out palliatives to their citizens as well as the fairly-tale distribution of N20,000.00 each to 2.6million Nigerians in 4 days by the Federal Government which most people don’t believe”.
However, Alhaji Falalu suggested a couple of answers to sorting out the management of the COVID-19 response strategy, which it said would be more suiting to the Nigerian circumstances and its people.
In view of this, to allow for a more custom-designed Nigerian response, PRP suggested urgent and mass procurement of testing kits, investment into healthcare facilities and training on mass contacts tracing and provision of stimulus packages for the sectors of the economy that would be most hit by the outbreak.
His statement continues;
“Review the lockdown orders restricting movements with a view to relaxing them to allow citizens to go about earning their livelihoods in an orderly and supervised manner.
“Procure, subsidize and massively distribute face masks to the public and make the wearing of these compulsory in public spaces until the pandemic is over, urgently procure testing kits and make them widely available so that members of the community with individuals suspected of showing symptoms of the disease can have easy access for testing.
“Invest massively in the medical infrastructure and training for contact tracing of confirmed cases, their isolation and treatment, as well as the provision of protective gear for health workers, immediately prepare stimulus packages for sectors of the national economy which are going to be worst affected by the pandemic in the coming months, such as small-holder agriculture, small and medium enterprises, operators in the informal sectors of the economy and selected strategic industries.
“Reopening of the public services while maintaining social-distancing in the work-place and commercial operations, stop the wasteful if not fraudulent texting by NCDC reported to have cost the Government over a billion naira and divert such scarce resource to building the much required testing centres in and out of towns and cities.
“Immediately probe the fairy tale distribution of N20,000.00 each to 2.6 million Nigerians in 4 days as a means of confirming what happened and as important strengthening the distribution capacity of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services and Disaster Management before engaging them to handle further distribution of palliatives to the needy Nigerian population.
“Liminate police and military brutality coming from the enforcement of the lockdowns reported to have cost across the nation more harm than COVID-19 and resort to counselling and even fine as seen in the jurisdictions we have borrowed our Covid-19 strategy”, the statement said.
Public, private investments critical in transforming Africa’s food systems – Osinbajo
By Gistflash News
July 27, 2021
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says transforming Africa’s food system is an obvious task requiring the active mobilisation and prioritisation of both public and private investments.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the vice president virtually spoke at the preparatory meeting of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.
The pre-summit is a prelude to the global event scheduled for Rome, Italy, in September; an event the vice president described as crucial just as the previous dialogues held in several countries on food systems.
He said that the Federal Government was committed in complementing existing development plans, sectoral strategies, and prioritising investments in specific innovations and technologies to transform food systems in the country.
“The Nigerian Government is committed to addressing the drivers of food insecurity such as food inflation, changing consumption patterns and climate change, amongst other things.
“At the same time and as an outcome of 40 different food systems dialogues in which up to 5,000 people participated, Nigeria is prioritising investments in specific innovations and technologies to scale up and transform food systems.
“These actions complement existing development plans and sectoral strategies such as our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the National Policy on Food and Nutrition, and the National Policy on Food Safety.
“A specific aim of our recently launched National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy is to address hunger, malnutrition and poverty as part of our target of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.”
Osinbajo added that at the heart of Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 response was the Economic Sustainability Plan.
He said that the plan had a major component, which is the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme (AFJP), where the country sought to leverage suitable technologies to build a resilient food system for Nigeria.
“Our Nutrition Policy addresses the issues of sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food systems – and the country has prioritised key nutrition actions that are impactful, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable.
“An integral part of our food systems’ transformation strategy is to create an enabling and supportive environment to implement these policies in a participatory manner involving farmers, investors and state governments.
“For example, when, as in our country and several others, population growth exceeds growth in national income, food supply would not meet the needs of people, especially when distribution systems are inequitable.”
According to him, post-harvest losses in Africa, and particularly in Nigeria, are more than 20 per cent of production for several food groups.
He said the losses were mainly due to poor storage, poor rural infrastructure and non-automation of food processing, among others.
“The situation in many African countries is given increased urgency with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to growing levels of acute food insecurity.
“This is of great concern to all of us, especially if we recall that prior to the pandemic, the prevalence of severe food insecurity was as high as 22 per cent,” he said.
Earlier in her remarks, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, commended Nigeria’s effort, especially the vice president, for leading six ministers in the dialogues and other efforts aimed at building sustainable food systems in the country.
“Food unites us all, as families, as communities, as cultures and as humanity, now let’s use it to unite around the urgency and the actions that are needed to transform our world by 2030,” she said.
Aside Osinbajo and Mohammed, participants at the second day of the preparatory meeting included the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi; Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; and ministers representing India, Canada, China, Norway, Egypt, among other countries.
2021 Children Golf Development Clinic begins Monday in Abuja
By Gistflash News
July 23, 2021
The 2021 edition of the Children Golf Development Clinic, being organised by the Ladies Section of IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja, begins on Monday at the club.
The event’s Organising Committee Chairman, Joy Ikwue who is also the club’s Vice Lady Captain, disclosed this on Friday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
“The two-week event tagged `Future Champions of Golf’ is being put together by the club’s Ladies Section and it is part of efforts to raise the level of the sport by the Executive Committee led by Lady Captain MaryRose Richard-Obioha,” she said.
Ikwue disclosed that top Nigerian professional golfers would also be available at the clinic which ends on Aug. 6 to offer life skills training to the children and youths.
“This is with a view of not only integrating them into the game but the society in general.
“Golf is a game of rules and in as much as there will be many rules for the children to learn, we will also want them to know about service to humanity, country and fellow golfers.”
Ikwue stated that more than 70 children and teenagers, whose ages range from five to 18, have so far registered and the organisers believed that more are still coming.
She added that the club’s ladies have traditionally always arranged this summer development clinic for over a decade now.
“The section has tried to sustain the developmental programme with the aim of discover potential young golfers.
“This is because the clinic is to catch them young and groom them so as to become assets for their parents and Nigeria as a whole.”
Ikwue however lamented the difficulties in getting sponsors as some of the letters sent out did not receive any response.
She nonetheless thanked the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Rotary Club, as well as members of the club for their support.
Workers’ welfare: FG to ensure implementation of projects
By Gistflash News
July 22, 2021
The Federal Government on Thursday, expressed its commitment to the effective implementation of projects that would improve the welfare of civil servants in the country.
Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), said this at the inauguration and handing over of erosion/flooding control, and road improvement work at Ama Pepple Public Servants’ Estate, FCT.
Yemi-Esan said that the project was one of the 7th ecological interventions, approved by President, Muhammadu Buhari, for 3rd and 4th quarters of 2019.
She said that the government had in pursuance of this goal, also implemented a project named the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.
The HCSF explained that the FISH Programme was designed to provide quality and affordable housing for public servants, in line with the Federal Government’s Housing Policy.
According to her, the government is working assiduously to make the lives of public servants better.
“We are also working to provide critical infrastructure in estates built for civil servants under the FISH project.
“Necessary action has been taken to reposition the FISH programme. So, we are working very hard to ensure that public and civil servants live in comfortable homes.
“The Federal Government is determined to pursue and implement projects aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of citizens, and also looking for better opportunities for economic growth of the country,’’ she said.
Yemi-Esan, however, implored residents of the estate to cherish the project by desisting from indiscriminate dumping of refuse, in order to ensure its sustainability.
“Having successfully completed this project, the living standard of the residents will be enhanced. This will also reduce dangers of erosion and persistent flooding that had been experienced here in recent times.
“The execution of projects across the country also demonstrates the sincerity of purpose by the present administration towards entrenching justice, equity and fair play to all and sundry,’’ she said.
She commended Ecological Fund Office (EFO), the project contractor; Diamond Global Engineering Investment Ltd and the project consultant; Enplan Group Ltd, for their doggedness in ensuring speedy completion of the project.
Dr Habiba Lawal, the Permanent Secretary of EFO, said that the project was initiated through a request for an urgent intervention, forwarded to the EFO by the Chairman of the estate.
Lawal said that the request was to arrest the continued erosion, flooding and other ecological challenges, as well as to prevent further environmental degradation, loss of lives and properties in the estate.
She said that the completion of the project was made possible through the efforts of the project contractor and consultant, which worked tirelessly to ensure that minimal time in the project implementation was achieved.
Dr Gaga Ali, the Chairman of the estate, who spoke on behalf of the residents, thanked the Federal Government and EFO officials for their effort sin making sure that the project was duly implemented.
Ali appealed to the government to construct an access road to the estate, as according to him, each year residents repair the road, it deteriorates due to erosion.
Also, Alhaji Mohamed Bello, the Managing Director, Diamond Global Engineering Investment Ltd, said that the job was to be executed within six months, but was completed in four months.
Bello said that the project was executed during the rainy season, and that in spite of the horrible state of the road and the season, the contractors were able to ensure the delivery of a quality project.
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