FirstNigeriaTV News-In-Brief For July 28, 2020

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Nigerian Secondary Schools to reopen August 4- FG

The Federal Government has announced the reopening of secondary schools with effect from August 4, this year, for pupils in exit classes to sit for their examinations.

The resolution was made at the end of a virtual consultative meeting between the Federal Ministry of Education, Commissioners of Education of the 36 states, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, (NUT), the proprietors of private schools, and Chief Executives of Examination Bodies.

Intending students will have a maximum of two weeks to prepare for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council and which would commence on August 17.

AfDB Chief, Adesina Cleared Of Corruption Allegations

The African Bank of Development (AfDB) Chief, Akinwumi Adesina, has been cleared of corruption.

The panel of three experts, led by Robinson alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s Integrity Vice President, Leonard McCarthy, cleared Adesina of all charges alleged by whistleblowers.

Although, the panel did not investigate the charges themselves, as that was not within their mandate, the Former Minister of Agriculture had always stated he was “innocent” of the charges.

The AfDB plays an important if the largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport and other development sectors.

NCAA Extends Closure Of International Airspace Till October

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), stating that, it is extending closure of international airspace until October 15 instead of August 19 as previously stated.

FirstNigeriaTV, confirmed this development that the international airports would remain closed until October.

LinkedIn Cuts 960 Jobs As COVID-19 Pandemic Impedes Corporate Hiring

Microsoft Corporation’s professional networking site, LinkedIn, has said, it would cut about 960 jobs, or 6 per cent of its global workforce, as the coronavirus pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products.

Announcing the plan in a message posted on LinkedIn’s website, Chief Executive Ryan Roslansky said the company would provide at least 10 weeks of severance pay as well as health insurance for a year for U.S. employees, and will hire for newly-created roles from laid-off staff.

As lockdowns to contain the coronavirus have hit businesses around the world, LinkedIn’s business has been hit as companies lay off staff or sharply curtail hiring.

First Bank Convenes SMEconnect Webinar, Promotes Educational Sector

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, had convened a Business Clinic to promote the growth and sustainability of the educational sector, especially in the light of the coronavirus which is having an adverse effect on the operations of schools across the world.

“Managing Your School through the Pandemic: Engagement and Retention Strategies,” was the topic of the event which was discussed by experts, leading players, policy influencers and proprietors in business and education management that have carved a niche for themselves at promoting the growth of education and business, towards impacting the national economy.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, FirstBank said, “the education sector remains the bedrock of the growth and development of any nation – without a viable educational system, the human capital would be incapable of driving national growth and development. FirstBank is delighted to convene this event as it reinforces our leading role at enabling the growth of the educational sector in the country, over the years.

“A recent example is the current pandemic in which the Bank has spearheaded the continued learning of school children, with a view to moving over 1 million Nigerians to e-learning, an exciting journey that has had over 45,000 active participants on the respective platforms, notably Roducate and IBM.

“We appreciate the panelists invited to speak and we look forward to the knowledge and ideas that would be deliberated towards having participants enlightened on essential activities to not just sustain their schools but reinforce its growth against the odds of COVID-19. We implore players, policy influencers, school and business owners as a whole to register and participate in the event because indeed there is knowledge for everyone,” he concluded.

FirstBank has held various SME clinics in the course of the year, including a virtual event to ensure Social Distance is adhered to in this sensitive period of the COVID-19.

Eid-el-Kabir: FG Declares Thursday and Friday, Public Holiday

The Federal Government has declared Thursday and Friday, July 30 and 31, 2020 as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Georgina Ehuriah, on Tuesday.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while making the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulated the Muslim faithfuls and all Nigerians – both at home and abroad – on the occasion.

Mr. Aregbesola advised Nigerians to take responsibility against the spread of the COVID-19 virus and also to stay safe by observing physical and social distancing, personal and respiratory hygiene, as well as other regulations issued by relevant authorities.

He therefore, wished all Muslims a happy Eid- el- Kabir Celebration.

FG Spends N15.8bn On Hazard Allowances —Ngige

The Federal Government says it has so far spent N15.8 billion on hazard allowances in its teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed this while addressing newsmen at a meeting with  the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, leadership on Monday in Abuja.

The meeting was held to assess the level of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, entered by both parties, to avert strike threat by health workers and also to set up a committee to resolve the lingering problem between management of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and NARD.

According to Ngige, a resolution had been reached and all disputes resolved, assuring that the Federal Government was committed to health workers’ safety and welfare.

The Minister further said that the June allowances were still outstanding because the budget had been affected by developments not originally captured, such as pay for house officers, interns, NYSC doctors and volunteers.

He, however, added that government was already liaising with the Presidential Taskforce to sort out especially for volunteers.

Ngige also said that the 20 per cent top-up for all health personnel inside the COVID-19 wards and isolation centres of the hospitals should be effected as quickly as possible.

He noted that hence, a directive was given to the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to reconcile all matters relating to the issue by August 4, to enable urgent payment.

He also said the issue of Residency Training Fund was captured in the 2020 budget.

Ngige also said the government had paid all the premium for Group Life Insurance spanning between April 17, 2020 and April 16, 2021 for all Federal Civil Servants, except those in the revenue generating agencies such as customs, FIRS and NNPC who could afford their own insurance.

The Minister added that agreement had been reached to forward the nominal roll of the Health Ministry workers and its parastatals to the six handling insurance companies latest next week.

The meeting will reconvene on August 6, to take stock of the implementation of the agreement reached.

Why We Can’t Lock Down High-Risk Lagos Councils – PTF

There will be no precision lockdown in 11 “high-burden” Local Government areas, where Coronavirus is prevalent, the government said on Monday.

Seven of these councils are in Lagos – which is the epicenter of the virus in the country – with others in Kano, Bayelsa and two others in unnamed states.

National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Control Dr. Sani Aliyu said at a briefing in Abuja on Monday, that closing down those local government councils will be akin to closing down the states.

He said the geographical nature of the councils make it impracticable to do isolated lockdown.

According to him, the PTF was working with the affected councils through risk communication and community engagement as part of the means of intervention to reduce the high infection rate.

PTF Chairman Boss Mustpha said inbound passengers from foreign trips will henceforth be tested for COVID-19 on arrival at the Nigeria airports.

Mustpha, also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), added: “Considering the importance of international air travel to the economy, the PTF and the Aviation sector are working hard to fast track reopening of the international airspace.

Mustapha urged Nigerians to be patient and await the date for the resumption of international flights, as no date had been fixed yet.

The SGF said: “The Aviation sector has been working assiduously to develop the protocols for the resumption of international air services.

The PTF Chairman said phase two of the eased lockdown, which ought to have ended tomorrow, had been extended by one more week.

According to Mustapha, the one week extension had been necessitated by the fact that the end of phase two coincides with Eid-el-Kabir celebrations.

He also urged Muslims to continue to adhere strictly to the protocols to curb the spread of the virus, during the Eid-el-kabir celebration.

Mustapha remarked that the PTF has continued to evaluate the developments as well as the level of compliance nationwide and has “regrettably come to the inevitable conclusion that majority of Nigerians irrespective of status, creed and level of education continue to live in denial on the virulent nature of the virus and consistently breach the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures put in place.”

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, reiterated that the target it set nearly three months ago, to test two (2) million persons for COVID-19 by the end of July, is not the sole target for the agency but that of the country as a whole.

He said although it has not yet reached the target, the agency now has in its network of labs, 60 testing sites for COVID-19 scattered across the country, and it plans to increase the numbers and capacity.

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