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Don’t Disregard Experts’ Advice, NMA tells FG as Schools Resume

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Schools Resume

The Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday advised federal and state governments against disregarding medical experts on school resumption in Nigeria due to COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The NMA President, Professor Innocent Ujah, stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents while commenting on government’s decision to reopen schools beginning from Monday (today).

 

Ujah stated that although the association would not advise government not to reopen schools, he stated that authorities must ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

 

The experts spoke as coronavirus cases in the country rose from 75,062 on December 17, 2020 to 108,943 on Sunday, January 17, 2021.

 

Also during the same period, COVID-19 deaths increased from 1,200 to 1,420, an increase of 220.

 

Advising government on the rising cases, the NMA president stated, “What we are saying is that for schools to reopen, authorities must be prepared. We don’t know how long COVID-19 will last for us to say schools should not reopen.

 

“But what we are saying is that they (school authorities) must prepare to comply with the NCDC protocols of hand washing at several points not just one point.

 

“In the universities where we have a large number of people in faculties and departments, there must be points for hand washing and sanitizers. The issue of face mask is a must and social distancing in the classrooms is also important.”

 

He suggested that lectures should conducted online, adding, “Once we comply with these protocols, I believe they will reduce the spread.”

 

While stating that the association had earlier advised Federal Government not to deploy people for the National Youth Service Corps, Ujah, who is also Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State, said that the NMA would continue to advise authorities.

 

He stated, “The NMA said that the NYSC should not deploy corps member for now. We don’t know what government will do, but we have to advise that authorities must listen to experts. That is one way of making progress, therefore reducing infections.”

 

Saturday PUNCH had reported that the Federal Government shunned a recommendation by the Economic Sustainability Committee led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and decided to re-open orientation camps nationwide on Tuesday amid rising COVID-19 infections.

 

According to the report, the Osinbajo-led committee had in June 2020 recommended that while the NYSC programme could continue, the three-week orientation exercise should be suspended for two years.

 

Schools resume in Lagos, Ogun, others

Meanwhile, nursery, primary and secondary schools in states including Lagos, Ogun, Ogun, Ebonyi and Nasarawa will today resume academic activities for the second term of the 2020/21 academic year.

 

Some higher institutions, both federal and states, had also signified their intention to resume academic activities today.

 

Resumption at basic schools was delayed in many states following the second wave of COVID-19 as well as the advice by the NCDC.

 

 

Schools in Oyo State, however, resumed on January 4, while schools in Edo and Anambra states will resume in February.

 

The Lagos State Government, in a statement on Friday, affirmed its earlier pronouncement that all public and private schools in the state below tertiary level should resume on Monday (today).

In the statement, the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo, urged students and staff members to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

 

Also, the Ogun State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, had on Friday directed all primary, secondary as well as government science and technical colleges to resume academic activities on Monday.

 

Arigbabu appealed to parents, guardians, teachers, school administrators and other stakeholders to ensure full compliance with all coronavirus protocols

 

Also, the Ebonyi State Government will deploy two nurses in each public school ahead of today’s resumption to stem the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Mr Francis Elechi, who disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria, explained that the nurses would assist the teachers, who had been trained on the preventive measures against the second wave of COVID-19.

 

Similarly in Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule approved the resumption of all schools in the state with effect from today.

 

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hajiya Fatu Sabo, in a statement said the ministry had put machinery in motion to ensure maximum compliance with the COVID-19 safety protocols.

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Man With 39 Wives, 94 Children, Dies In India

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Children

The death of Ziona Chana, a 76-year-old patriarch in India who was recently recognized as head of the world’s largest family, has been reported by Indian authorities.

 

Ziona, who was the head of a local Christian sect that permits polygamy, had 39 wives and 94 children.

 

His demise was announced on Sunday by Zoramthanga, the chief minister of his home state, in Mizoram area of northeast India.

 

Zoramthanga broke the news via a tweet.

With a total of 167 members, the late Ziona’s family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33, are counted.

 

Aside from Ziona, Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, who has around 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total, is another personality who is close to matching his record.

 

Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

 

The sect, named “Chana”, was founded by Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families.

 

Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.

 

They shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

 

Despite his family’s huge size, Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview that he wanted to grow it even further.

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Igbo’ll Feel Less Marginalised If They Produce Next President, Says Ngige

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Marginalised

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the South-East producing the next president will help in addressing the feelings of marginalisation in the region.

 

He, however, lamented that the 1999 Constitution doesn’t support zoning, which would have boosted the chance of the region in the 2023 presidential election.

 

Ngige who spoke during Channels Television’s Newsnight programme stated that what suits the current situation is the 1995 Constitution by the late General Sani Abacha.

 

“The people in the area have perceived that they are marginalised, that they are unappreciated, whether it was done by propaganda and brainwashing or not, that is now immaterial.

 

“So I agree with that proposal, unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution does not have that. This is where I quarrel with those who authored the 1999 Constitution.

 

“I still believe today, tomorrow, the Abacha Constitution of 1995 that espouses rotational presidency into the six zones in Nigeria, a single five-year tenure in order to heal all the wounds; the wounds of civil war, and the wound of June 12.

 

“Now, that constitution would have been the best constitution for Nigerians to use for the next 30 years by which the six zones would have tested the presidency,” the minister stated.

 

 

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ECOWAS Court Fixes June Date On Twitter Ban Suit Hearing

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Twitter

The Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States has fixed June 22 for a hearing in the suit challenging the Federal Government’s suspension of the operations of the microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria.

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 420 Nigerians, including a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili and the co-founder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Aisha Yesufu, had filed a suit before the court, challenging the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, criminalisation of Nigerians and other people using Twitter, and the escalating repression of human rights, particularly the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom in the country.

 

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/23/21, the plaintiff sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing its suspension of Twitter in Nigeria and subjecting anyone, including media houses, broadcast stations using Twitter in Nigeria to harassment, intimidation, arrest and criminal prosecution, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

 

The plaintiffs stated, “The suspension of Twitter is aimed at intimidating and stopping Nigerians from using Twitter and other social media platforms to assess government policies, expose corruption, and criticise acts of official impunity by the agents of the Federal Government.

 

“The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censor or restraints and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive media output.

 

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the full enjoyment of this right is central to achieving individual freedom and to developing democracy. It is not only the cornerstone of democracy but indispensable to a thriving civil society.

 

“The arbitrary action by the Federal Government and its agents has negatively impacted millions of Nigerians who carry on their daily businesses and operational activities on Twitter. The suspension has also impeded the freedom of expression of millions of Nigerians, who criticize and influence government policies through the microblogging app.

 

“The suspension of Twitter is arbitrary, and there is no law in Nigeria today permitting the prosecution of people simply for peacefully exercising their human rights through Twitter and other social media platforms.”

 

However, the court, in a notice to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) and the respondent’s counsel Maimuna Lami Shiru, stated that the hearing would be virtual.

 

“Notice is hereby given that this application has been fixed for hearing of the Application for Interim Measure on the 22nd day of June 2021 at 10 am and will be heard on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjourned day of which you may not receive further notice,” the court stated.

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