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Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Minister Of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, NCS Boss Dragged To Court By Soldiers

66 Nigerian soldiers who are currently serving their jail sentences in the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) facility, Kirikiri, Lagos have dragged the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola to court over their continued incarceration.

The soldiers filed the suits at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

In three separate suits filed through Falana & Falana Chambers on August 18, the soldiers listed the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Ja’afaru Ahmed, as first and second respondents respectively.

According to the soldiers, the defendants have refused to include them among beneficiaries of the amnesty granted by President Muhammadu Buhari in April when he ordered the decongestion of prisons to curb the spread of COVID-19, despite the fact that they had served 75% of their jail term.

Announcing the criteria for the pardon, Mr Aregbesola disclosed that those considered were inmates who were 60 years old and above, and those battling terminal illnesses.

Other criteria include convicts serving three years and lower who have less than six months to serve, those with mental health issues, and inmates with options of fines not exceeding N50,000 and who have no pending case.

According to Mr Aregbesola, the amnesty did not apply to inmates sentenced for violent extreme offences such as terrorism, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape, human trafficking, and culpable homicide.

The 66 convicted soldiers sought an order for the respondents to release them in compliance with the “Presidential Amnesty granted on April 9, 2020, by President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pursuant to Prerogative of Mercy under Section 175 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).”

Also, they prayed the court to direct the duo to pay them N20 million each as compensation for the violation of their fundamental rights to personal liberty.

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, had earlier written to Mr Aregbesola, requesting the release of the soldiers, who he said have remained in prison custody despite qualifying for the amnesty.

In three separate letters to Mr Aregbesola, Mr Falana said the soldiers, who were convicted and had served more than 75 per cent of their time, had remained in custody

According to the application of August 18, 35 of the convicted soldiers were tried before a General Court-Martial on a six-count charge, including mutiny and attempted murder.

At the end of the trial, they were convicted and sentenced to death in a judgment delivered in December 2014.

It was stated that upon a review of the case, the confirming authority upheld their conviction but commuted the death sentence to 10 years imprisonment.

“Since the convicted soldiers are entitled to remission of the 10-year jail term they are required to spend a total of 80 months in prison custody. From August 2014 to May 2020 the Applicants have spent over 64 months in custody. Thus, the Applicants have spent over 75% of their prison term.

Mr Falana noted that one of the 35, Stephen Clement, a corporal, was released from prison custody on April 28 on the ground that he had spent more than 75 per cent of his 10-year prison term in line with the terms of the Presidential Amnesty of April 9, 2020.

Also qualified for the amnesty, according to the lawyer, is another set of 19 soldiers who were tried before a General Court-Martial on a six-count charge and sentenced to death in a judgment delivered in December 2014.

Similar to the 35, upon a review of the case, the confirming authority upheld the conviction but commuted the death sentence to 10 years imprisonment.

Since the convicted soldiers are entitled to remission of the 10-year jail term, Mr Falana said they are required to spend a total of 80 months in prison custody.

“From August 2014 to May 2020 the Applicants have spent over 64 months in custody. Thus, the Applicants have spent over 75% of their prison term,” the lawyer argued for the convicts.

Unlike the other two categories, 12 soldiers, including Yusuf Shuaibu, Friday Onuh, Igomu Emmanuel and Stephen Clement, all lance corporals; were sentenced to death between August and September 2014.

Friday, 3 July 2020


U.S. payrolls grew by 4.8 million in June, the Labor Department said Thursday, New York Times reports.

  It was the second month of gains after a loss of more than 20 million in April, when the pandemic put a large swath of economic activity on ice.

The unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent, down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April but still higher than in any previous period since World War II. The rate would have been about one percentage point higher had it not been for persistent data-collection problems, the Labor Department said.

Stocks rose on Thursday as investors cheered a bigger-than-expected increase in jobs in June as the economy tries to claws back from the coronavirus shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 269 points higher, or 1.1%. The Nasdaq Composite hit a record high, climbing more than 1%. The S&P 500 gained 1.1%.

The major averages, however, cut their gains after Reuters reported a one-day spike of more than 10,000 coronavirus cases in Florida. 

Boeing contributed to the gains, rising more than 1% after the airplane maker completed recertification flights for its grounded 737 Max jet, according to a CNBC report.

Stocks that would benefit from an economic reopening also rose. Cruise operators Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean all gained at least 0.5%. United Airlines and Delta each traded more than 0.6% higher. American Airlines and Southwest advanced 1.1% and 1.6%, respectively. 

The government’s June jobs report showed 4.8 million jobs were created. Economists were expecting 2.9 million jobs were created. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1% from 13.3% in May. Economists were expecting a rate of 12.4%, according to Dow Jones. 

Last month, economists forecast a loss of 8 million jobs in May and the economy gained 2.5 million payrolls instead.

“The direction of the economy is certainly north,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” following the report. “I think that’s all it has to do to continue to provide confidence, not only to investors, but also to companies and to consumers.”

Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims data was released Thursday morning. 

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial jobless claims rose by 1.427 million in the week ending June 27. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial U.S. jobless claims to rise by another 1.38 million, down from 1.48 million the week earlier.

The data also showed the number of continuing claims — the number of people receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks — rose to 19.29 million, an increase of about 59,000. 

The moves Thursday followed the market’s first trading day in the third quarter. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained during the regular session on Wednesday, with the latter jumping more than 1% to an all-time high. 

Unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted. The government began collecting standardized unemployment statistics in 1948.·Source: Bureau of Labor Statistic

U.S. markets will be closed on Friday for the July Fourth holiday.


SOURCES: . Bureau of Labor Statistics

CNBC’s Fred Imbert @FOIMBERT

Patti Domm contributed to report.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Nigeria Job Controversies: Minister, lawmakers clash over planned 774,000 new jobs

What started like a peaceful committee meeting between the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Employment and Labour on Tuesday ended in chaos as both parties began exchanging words.
The meeting was aimed at discussing the progress of the planned employment of 774,000 Nigerians by the federal government.
The National Assembly had in the 2020 budget appropriated N52 billion for the Special Public Works Programme aimed at employing 774,000 citizens, a thousand from each of the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.
The controversy
The argument started when members of the committee, headed by Godiya Akwashiki, asked the Director-General of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Nasiru Ladan, to explain the composition of a 20-member committee inaugurated on Monday by the ministry for the implementation of the programme.
In his response, Mr Ladan noted that he was aware of only eight members of the committee and asked the lawmakers to seek further clarification from Mr Keyamo.
Unsatisfied with Mr Ladan’s response, members of the panel implied that he was not in control of the programmme.
When Mr Keyamo was asked for further clarification, he snapped, furiously hitting the table. He wondered if he was being accused of hijacking the programme from the NDE and whether the lawmakers were alleging the committee composition was lopsided.
The chaos intensified and lawmakers asked that journalists leave for an executive session with the minister.
But Mr Keyamo firmly rejected the demand, insisting that having been openly accused and disgraced, the cameras should remain in the room.
“How can you expose corruption without the cameras? How can, how can you expose it? I must respond to what he said. You cannot say something and I won’t respond. It is wrong,” he said.
The minister’s outburst angered the lawmakers who asked that he apologise for his behaviour.
Mr Keyamo refused to apologise and insisted that he had done nothing wrong. He said he had been denied the opportunity to respond to their allegations and threatened to walk out of the meeting.

The lawmakers responded in anger, shouting back at the minister to leave if he wanted.
“Go go, get out. Where is the sergeant-at-arms to walk him,” members of the panel yelled.
The lawmakers thereafter reached a resolution asking Mr Keyamo to leave – which he obliged.
Speaking with Journalists, Mr Keyamo accused the lawmakers of trying to take control of the recruitment exercise under his ministry.
He said while he was not aversed to them investigating the programme, they cannot direct him on what to do. He said doing so “will mean sharing in the powers of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
He also admitted that lawmakers were given slots by the ministry.
He said despite granting the lawmakers 15 per cent of the job placement, “they still want to hijack the entire the programme, taking over the power of the president in the process.”

 Source: Premium Times

How Nigeria Poise To Lift 100 Million Nigerians Out Of Poverty In Ten Years -Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday at the United Nations outlined the Federal Government’s plans to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.
The president spoke in a video message to a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on poverty eradication.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the virtual meeting featured the launch of the Alliance for Poverty Eradication (APE).
At least, 94 million Nigerians live below the poverty line, according to Oxfam.
APE is designed to serve as a forum to galvanise UN member states, the international community and other stakeholders to support actions geared toward poverty eradication.
Mr Buhari welcomed the launch of the initiative and expressed Nigeria’s endorsement of all multilateral actions aimed at actualising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said: “Nigeria attaches great importance to poverty eradication.
“It is for this reason that in May, 2019, on my inauguration for a second term in office, our government committed itself to starting a new programme of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a 10-year period.
“It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion, and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.
“In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrollees who fit the various programmes in the scheme.
“Nigeria will also continue to provide easier and increased access to financial services for micro and small-scale businesses through the government’s Enterprise and Empowerment Programme.”
The president expressed his administration’s determination to do more, including massive investment in education, especially of the girl-child.
“Nigeria holds the view that education is a critical driver of sustainable development and has immense capacity to eradicate poverty.
“Educating our children, especially the girl child, contributes significantly to the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability and improved health as well as building peace and resilient societies,” he said.
Mr Buhari said the Federal Government had also integrated the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs into its economic plans.
He decried the adverse economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which he said was threatening to reverse decades of progress made in poverty eradication.
The president said that in Nigeria, as was the case in many other countries, the “domestic supply chains and trading corridors had come under enormous strain.”
According to him, the situation is dire for Sub-Saharan countries with large informal economies and a significant number of daily wage earners.
Mr Buhari noted that the potential economic devastation of the pandemic had made it a national development priority.
In response to the challenges posed by COVID-19, he said the government recently developed an economic sustainability plan.
The plan, he said, would stimulate the economy and extend protection to the very poor and other vulnerable groups through pro-poor spending.
The president lauded the over 30 UN member states anchoring the Alliance for Poverty Eradication.
“In these difficult times, it takes considerable boldness and courage to consider that which is in the interest of the greater good.
“The anchor members have done just that,” he said.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases exceed 25,000

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced 566 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 25,133
Eight deaths were recorded from the virus on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the virus to 573.
There was an increase in the number of confirmed cases reported on Monday (566) compared to what was reported on Sunday (490).
The health agency in a tweet Monday night said the new cases were reported in 20 states.
These are Lagos, Oyo, Delta, Delta, Ebonyi, Plateau, Ondo, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ogun, , Edo, Imo, Bayelsa, Benue, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Osun, Nasarawa, Borno, Katsina, and Anambra states.
All the reporting states already had at least a case of the virus.
As of the time of reporting, 35 states and the FCT have recorded at least a case of the disease. Only one state, Cross River, is yet to officially report any case of the virus although there are controversies about it.
“Till date, 25, 133 cases have been confirmed, 9, 402 cases have been discharged and 573 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” the NCDC stated.
The 456 new cases were reported from 20 states: Lagos – 166, Oyo – 66, Delta – 53, Ebonyi – 43, Plateau – 34, Ondo – 32, FCT – 26, Ogun – 25, Edo – 25, Imo – 15, Bayelsa – 13, Benue – 12, Gombe – 11, Kano – 11, Kaduna – 11, Osun – 8, Nasarawa – 7, Borno – 5, Katsina – 2 and Anambra – 2.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria in February, NCDC said, 132,304 samples have been tested.
As of the time of reporting, there are 15, 255 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, while 9,402 have recovered and have been discharged.
A breakdown of the 25, 231 confirmed cases shows that Lagos State has so far reported 10, 310 cases, followed by FCT – 1,818, Oyo – 1, 372, Kano – 1, 211, Rivers – 1, 056, Edo – 986, Delta – 965, Ogun –807, Kaduna – 703, Katsina – 549, Bauchi – 500, Gombe – 503, Borno – 491, Ebonyi – 481, Plateau – 405, Jigawa – 317, Imo – 318, Abia – 302, Enugu – 261, Ondo – 308, Kwara – 217, Nasarawa – 213, Bayelsa – 211, Sokoto – 151, Osun – 124, Akwa Ibom – 86, Adamawa – 84, Niger – 84, Kebbi – 76, Zamfara – 76, Anambra – 73, Yobe – 59, Benue – 59, Ekiti – 43, Taraba!- 19 and Kogi – 4.
Although the COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Nigeria on Monday further reopened its economy as it lifted the ban on interstate travels and opened its airports for domestic flights.


President Muhammadu Buhari has extended phase two of eased lockdown by another four weeks with effect from tomorrow Tuesday, June 30 through midnight of Monday, July 27, 2020.

Chairman of Presidential Task Force  and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha in his statement received by announced  on Monday resumption of inter-state movement, reopening of schools for students in graduating classes.
Details are as follows:
“You will recall that the PTF had in previous briefing stated that the aim of Phase Two was to sustain the gains from earlier steps taken for pandemic control and to enable additional sectors of the economy restart activities. Given the challenges and the visible danger ahead occasioned by skepticism, poor public perception both leading to lack of compliance, it has come to the inevitable conclusion that the extension of phase two of the eased lockdown will be needed to:
consolidate the gains in the areas of the economy that have restarted,
ensure better compliance with the health-based response;
support the states in enforcing guidelines and protocols as well as strengthening the LGAs build community level structures for ownership and effective risk communication; and
help to better achieve the balance between saving lives and ensuring that wellbeing and livelihood of citizens are protected.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has carefully considered the 5th Interim Report of the PTF and has accordingly approved that, with the exception of some modifications to be expatiated upon later,
the Phase Two of the eased lockdown be extended by another four weeks with effect from Tuesday, June 30, 2020 through Midnight of Monday, 27 July, 2020.
-“Specifically, however, the following measures shall either remain in place or come into effect:
Maintaining the current phase of the national response, for another four weeks in line with modifications to be expatiated by the National Coordinator;
– Permission of movement across State borders only outside curfew hours with effect from 1st July, 2020;
-Enforcement of laws around non-pharmaceutical interventions by States, in particular,
– the use of face masks in public places;
-Safe re-opening of schools to allow students in graduating classes resume in-person in preparation for examinations;
-Safe reopening of domestic aviation services as soon as practicable;
-Publication of revised guidelines around the three thematic areas of general movement, industry and labour; and community activities;
-Provision of technical support for states to mobilise additional resources for the response;
-Strengthening partnerships with States, Local Governments, traditional rulers, community/religious leaders and civil society to ensure increased public awareness and compliance with preventive guidelines;
-Encouraging State governments to empower Local Government Authorities to intensify contact tracing efforts and ensure stronger grassroots mobilisation to support the response;
-Encourage States and Hospital authorities to ensure continuity of other health services to prevent fatalities from other life-threatening conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic;
-Deepening of collaboration with other mandate groups at States/Federal levels to harmonise the country’s COVID-19 response in the short, medium and long terms.
“The National Coordinator will in due course announce and publish the details of the revised guidelines while relevant MDAs including Education, Transportation and Aviation will respectively consult further with stakeholders and issue guidelines for their sectors.”
Within the Month under review, the PTF continued to monitor developments and consistently admonished Nigerians to change their behavior in view of the fact that the spread of the virus had entered the community phase. It is the considered opinion of the PTF that Nigerians, though aware of the existence of the virus, have generally misunderstood the objectives behind the reasoning of government in gradually relaxing the restrictions.
“As we are all aware, the PTF in conjunction with sub-national entities, the organized private sector, put in places a number of measures. The PTF also escalated its activities around risk communication to Nigerians but we have observed with growing concern the non-compliances with these measures designed to prevent transmission and protect vulnerable segments of the population. We hold the strong view that if such actions do not abate, experiences of resurgence of the virus from other jurisdictions including China, the United States of America, Brazil and across Europe may emerge in igeria and we run the risk of erasing the gains made in the last three months.
“By way of a reminder, there is presently no known vaccine for the virus and that all over the world non-pharmaceutical measures still remain the most effective fighting opportunity we have for overcoming this pandemic.
“To further strengthen our National Response, the PTF in the intervening period vigorously built partnerships locally and internationally. Similarly, we fully have decentralised the National Response with State Governments and communities taking ownership and more responsibility. These efforts have greatly improved our ability to maximally detect, trace, isolate and treat nationwide successfully.
“The PTF has also continued to pursue the strategic thrust of “telling (communicate), tracing (identify) and treating (manage)” cases, with a stronger focus on precision interventions in high burdened LGAs within identified states of the Federation. This precision intervention will be signposted by:
Aggressive scaling up of efforts to ensure effective community protection and sensitisation; and
Increased provision of support and guidance to states in their response to the outbreak.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the focus on the important roles to be played by the States is underscored by the following considerations:
The spread has entered the community phase which only States and LGAs should drive;
The inaction of a particular State could endanger its neighbours and compromise the entirety of the response;
States will be encouraged to make considerable efforts to ensure a push for compliance within the guidelines issued by the PTF;
States must also take greater care in leading on public health measures in the LGAs under their jurisdiction, by working on surveillance, case finding, testing, isolation, tracing and quarantining contacts; and
FG will predicate its resource deployment to States on the level of compliance and the extent of collaboration received on this public health emergency.
“Notwithstanding the challenges faced in the last one month and the fact that Nigeria’s statistics have been on the rise, substantial progress has been made in the following areas:
Harnessing of data, which shows that 60% of the confirmed cases are in a handful of local governments in the country (18 out of 774 LGAs nationwide), and putting in place targeted interventions;
Increased capacity to detect, test and trace those infected with the virus,
through the activation of 38 molecular testing laboratories, resulting in raising the test count nationwide in excess of 130,000;
A shift in focus to a targeted community-based approach, enhanced risk communication;
Increased collaboration with the legislature, State Governments and the organised private sector;
Activation of a new, cost-effective policy on the evacuation of returning Nigerians;
Increased awareness of COVID-19 among the population;
Cushioning the socio-economic impact of the restrictions through the provision of palliatives to vulnerable members of various communities nationwide; and
Successful re-opening sectors of the economy despite initial challenges in areas such as the banking sector, industry and agriculture.
“Today, the PTF submitted its 5th Interim Report to Mr. President for his consideration. In the Report the PTF specifically reviewed the issues around the general level of compliance with prescribed measures, while taking note of the following:
Implications of the lack of general compliance with measures;
the global and domestic developments especially in the area of rising statistics; and
the continued restrictions in the education and transportation sectors as well as for activities that attract mass gatherings such as operations of markets, worship centres and entertainment.
“In doing the foregoing, the PTF considered the need for the continuation of the policy of striking the delicate balance between lives and livelihood as well as inputs received from different stakeholder groups.
“The PTF similarly identified the underlisted areas of concern that would require attention under the on-going restrictions:
International travel;
Entertainment activities;
Educational services/sector; and
Public and Private Sector offices.

Meet Miss Imafidon, a 27 year-old Nigerian lady receiving national honour from Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, by Ahaoma Kanu

The eldest daughter of Prof. Chris and Mrs Ann Imafidon from Edo State, Nigeria whose family has been dubbed the Brainiest Family in Europe, Anne-Marie holds the record of being the youngest girl to ever pass two GCSE examinations — for Mathematics and Information Technology  and A-level computing at the age of 11 in Britain. The 27 year old Nigerian lady is being listed to receive national honour from Queen Elizabeth II on Friday, 19th May 2017.Ahaoma KANU, the CNN African Journalist Award winner, writes:

Nigeria’s Miss Anne-Marie Osawemwemze Imafidon, 27, will on Friday be decorated by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, with the prestigious honour of Member of the Most Excellent British Empire (MBE) for her services to young women with specialty in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
An MBE is an award given by the Queen to an individual for outstanding service to the community or local hands on service.
Due to her high exceptional brilliance, she received a British Scholarship to study Mathematics at the John Hopkins University at the age of 13 in 2003. Two years later, she commenced a degree at Oxford University after which she enrolled for her Masters degree setting another record of the youngest Masters degree holder from the Ivy league university.
Imafidon, who is a multi-linguist, speak six languages and has worked with Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Bank, and Lehman Brothers. In 2013, she founded Stemettes, a social enterprise which inspires the next generation of women into pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with an objective to break barriers women who pursue a career in the field face.
Stemettes, which grants awards to young women, have programs workshops and events designed to introduce young women to STEM careers, concepts, and role models, have attracted over 7000 young women from across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Imafidon’s rather unique achievements at a young age has stood her out as a person to watch out for by the British press; she was named on Evening Standard’s recent list of ’25 under 25s’ and a Guardian ‘Top 10 women in tech you need to know’ as well as being the UK IT Industry & British Computer Society’s Young IT Professional of the Year in 2013.
Her father, Professor Chris Imafidon, a renowned government adviser to presidents, the royals and the Queen who is  known also as the patriarch of Britain's brainiest family, said he received the news last year of her inclusion in the 2017 honours list with shock.
“Like every parent would feel, we are still in shock. This is simply God-orchestrated. I, personally never believed that her young career would accelerate to this historic height. This is beyond belief,” he said in a chat.
The Imafidon family definitely have the achievers blood running in their DNA as not only Anne-Marie dominates their achievements wall of fame. Her sister, Christina, 24,  is the youngest student to ever get accepted and study at an undergraduate institution at any British university at 11; another sister, Samantha, 17, passed two rigorous high school-level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of six, while the twins, Peter and Paul, made British history as the youngest students to ever enter high school when they became the youngest to ever pass the University of Cambridge’s advanced mathematics exam,  setting world records by passing the A/AS-level math papers at eight years.
With the Imafidon family has been setting across the world, he advised parents to change their methods of education in an obvious changing world in order to explore every child’s gifts and talents.
“The same God has given every child gifts and talents. We parents must join the ExcellenceinEducatio­ in developing such massive potential. As stated in my forthcoming book entitled "The Genius in You", we can't use the old methodology of learning. Schools and society must wake to the re-engineered system of education that understands that there is a genius in every child and greatness in every adult. This genius is irrespective of ethnicity, gender, nationality, postcode, class or creed. So every family can equal or exceed our achievements.”
Prof Chris Imafidon who invented this accelerated academic and career development path, has tested it on people of diverse race and it produced the same or improved result and achievement as attain by his children. He stated that some of this exceptional educative methods are including in his book, "The Genuis in you. How To Win The Oscar".
He revealed  that he will be visiting Nigeria very soon to launch the learning methodology to enable Nigerian parents learning of their winning ways while  Anne-Marie will be expand  Stemettes to also offer Nigeria young girls interested in pursuing a career in STEM an opportunity to realize their dreams.

“Our grandparents taught us that charity begins at home. We are very enthusiastic about Africa and must contribute our quota to the training and education of young minds.  We want to launch a bigger program in Africa, particularly Nigeria and work with the corporate community, industry leaders so that we can deploy the re-engineered learning methodology of www.ExcellenceinEduc­ program. We know that with these programs young Nigerians can equal or exceed our record-breaking achievement. The next generation of Africans have no choice but excel because there is a genius in everyone.”
Others Nigerians who will also be honoured this year include Prof. Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu, a Professor of Nursing, who gets an OBE for her services to nursing and the Mary Seacole statue appeal, Chris Ofili, an artist who gets a CBE for his services to arts and Jeremiah Oluwatosin Ayotunde, a Cadet Colour Sergeant who gets an OBE for his services to young people and the community of London. Top ranking tennis star, Andy Murray, is among the hundreds of achievers to be honoured.
By Ahaoma Kanu, the Chief Executive of Stage 4 Media and winner of CNN African Journalist Award.

Monday, 20 April 2020

Breaking:: US crude oil crashes to 0$ per barrel as producers forced to pay to dispose of excess

US oil prices turned negative for the first time on record on Monday as North America’s oil producers run out of space to store an unprecedented oversupply of crude left by the coronavirus crisis.

The price of US crude oil collapsed by more than 105% to -$2 per barrel in a matter of hours, forcing oil producers to pay buyers to take the glut of crude which they cannot store, as rising stockpiles of crude threaten to overwhelm oil storage facilities.

The crash in demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic also forced Canada’s benchmark oil price to plunge into negative territory for the first time on Monday.

“The problem of the global supply-demand imbalance has started to really manifest itself in prices,” Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil at Rystad Energy said. “As production continues relatively unscathed, storages are filling up by the day. The world is using less and less oil and producers now feel how this translates.”

The Guardian reported over the weekend that a record 160m barrels of oil was being stored in “supergiant” oil tankers outside the world’s largest shipping ports, including the US Gulf, following the deepest fall in oil demand in 25 years because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last time floating storage reached levels close to this was in 2009, when traders stored more than 100m barrels at sea before offloading stocks when the economy began to recover.

The price collapse in North American oil markets accelerated because it is the last day oil producers can trade barrels that are scheduled for delivery next month, when oil storage is expected to reach capacity.

The US price for oil delivered in June, which will become the default oil price from tomorrow, is also falling due to the economic gloom caused by the coronavirus, but has managed to remain above $20 a barrel.

In an unprecedented day of trading, the price for the May contracts wiped out all value, breaking every low for oil prices since 1946. The exchange where WTI futures trade said the contract would be allowed to price below zero. The extreme move showed just how oversupplied the U.S. oil market has become with industrial and economic activity grinding to a halt as governments around the globe extend shutdowns due to the swift spread of the coronavirus. An unprecedented output deal by OPEC and allied members a week ago to curb supply is proving too little too late in the face a one-third collapse in global demand.

Concerns over the economy, which directly affect oil demand, have been heightened by the growing standoff between the US president and state governors over whether the US can begin to lift restrictions on movement and businesses.

The heads of all the UN’s major agencies issued a graphic warning of the risk of coronavirus to the world’s most vulnerable countries after disclosing that international donors had pledged only around a quarter of the $2bn the UN requested for its emergency Covid-19 response in March.

Global oil prices are expected to begin recovering over the second half of the year as tight restrictions on travel to help curb the spread of the virus are lifted, raising demand for fuels and oil.

The world’s largest oil-producing nations have agreed an unprecedented deal to hold back between 10m to 20m barrels of oil a day from the global market from May, and many oil companies are likely to shut their wells as financial pressures mount.

Cailin Birch, global economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “US crude oil production has begun to fall in the last two weeks, and will continue to fall in the coming months as already heavily indebted shale firms scale back activity or are forced into bankruptcy or consolidation.”

Despite the historic production cuts, most analysts believe that oil prices will fail to reach the same price levels recorded at the beginning of the year before the outbreak. The global oil price in January reached highs of almost $69 a barrel in January before plummeting to less than $23 a barrel at the end of March.

Dwindling Oil Revenue: Oyo Lawmakers Donate 30-percent Monthly Income to Civil Servants' Salaries

As COVID-19 pandemic bites harder on the global economy leading to drastic drop in oil price, national revenue and subsequently about 60 percent drop in federal allocation to States, the Oyo state House of Assembly has agreed to a 30 per cent slash in their monthly allocation effective from April.

The 30 percent deduction includes both the lawmakers' salaries and other monthly allowances entitled to them as State honourables.

This sacrifice will be made by political office holders in Oyo State to ensure the regular payment of civil servants' salaries is not affected  irrespective of the economic situation of the State.

The agreement was reached when Governor Seyi Makinde met with the state’s lawmakers at government house, at the weekend.

At the meeting, Governor Makinde explained that the pandemic had resulted in about 60 per cent drop in the federal allocation and it is taking toll on the state’s economy.

Chairman, Oyo House Committee on Information and Media, Honorable Kazeem Olayanju said the lawmakers agreed to the slash in the interest of the smooth running of the state.

“Our income has been slashed by 30 per cent as our support towards COVID-19. The governor brought the idea and we agreed that effective this month, there should be the 30 per cent deduction.

“We were made to understand that the pandemic had greatly affected the economy of the country and the state as well as that the Federal Government has reduced allocation by 60 per cent.

“This situation could have affected regular payment of salary of Oyo State civil servants but the governor maintained that irrespective the economic situation of Oyo state, the salary of civil servants must not be affected. Hence, we agreed that political office holders should make sacrifices,” Olayanju said.


The Commissioner of Police Oyo State Command, CP Shina Olukolu psc(+) have observed with dismay and trepidation the persistent panicky wide spread distress calls on non existing criminal activities in several communities across the state,  but rampant in the night time in the State capital, Ibadan.

In a press release received by NUJ Europe from the office of the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP.  Fadeyi Olugbenga, Oyo State Police Command maintained that the police remains ever conscious and always  demonst6 theier capabilities, readiness and willingness to carry out its constitutional responsibilities of the protection of lives and properties.
The Commissioner of Police stated that it  maintenance of law and order and other extant laws in Oyo State is sacrosanct.
CP Olukolu appeals to the entire peace loving and good people of Oyo State to be circumspect in their persistent unverified or nonexistent criminal activities and distress calls to the Police Command on a daily basis particularly at night time.

"There is no doubt that some of the unpalatable and fear inducing, stories, videos and write ups they probably have seen or watched on the social media, whatsapp platforms and the Newspapers may have psychologically being responsible for some of these unverified distress calls mainly burn out of fear." Commissioner asserted.

It must however be noted that the persistency of such unverified distress calls have largely served as a distraction and thereby derailing the focus and the concentration of Security Agencies reaction to genuine victims who are actually in distress.

" In as much as the Commissioner of Police is very highly appreciative of the communal efforts, including that of the Vigilante Groups, the Hunters, Landlords, Youths and the entire citizenry efforts and collaboration to rid our society of criminal elements in our midst, but the introduction of panicky measures of burning tires on the roads which is a critical infrastructure, the firing intermittently of gun shots under the guise of scaring criminal elements away, the beating of the gates of neighbours in a bid to force them to join the Vigilante groups as well as the uncontrolled acquisition of dangerous weapons by individuals is an open invitation to anarchy, chaos and unprecedented, bastardisation of the security architecture."
Consequently, the Commissioner of Police wishes to appeal to all and sundry to be patient, show more understanding and get across to the security agencies via their EMERGENCY telephone numbers namely: 0705 5495 41, 0808 1768 614 and 615 (toll free) only when it is absolutely necessary. It must be noted that these telephone numbers are active and being attended to 24/7 i.e. on a daily basis for 24 hours. Hence, except where it becomes absolutely necessary, People are strongly advised to use these emergency numbers, rather than individual officers’ personal GSM numbers which are reserved for extreme cases. 
In addition, another major observation of the Commissioner of Police is the nonchalant concerns of many of our people as to the reality of COVID-19 and the subsequent rules and regulations, medical advisories and curfew imposed on the State by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde from 7pm to 6am. 
"I want to seize this opportunity to reiterate and remind our people that COVID-19 is real, so we must obey the rules and regulations and the medical advisories including the curfew imposed on the state", Olukolu emphasized.

"The recalcitrant individuals are hereby strongly warned to desist from their nonchalant attitudes as the Security Agencies are ready and willing to enforce the curfew and other extant rules imposed on the state for the benefits of all and sundry in our collective efforts to fight and defeat the pandemic"
The enforcement, the statement emphasized is being monitored on a daily basis by the Commissioner of Police himself.

"I wish to reiterate that the Security Agencies in Oyo State led by the Nigeria Police Force are ready, willing, determined to ensure that lives and properties in Oyo State are safe and secured, while encouraging the law abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without any fear or favour as adequate security have been emplaced to protect them. The criminal elements in our midst will be given a good fight and brought to justice anytime, any moment, anywhere they commit an infraction against the law. Nonetheless, the Commissioner of Police wishes to continue to solicit for a more fruitful partnership, synergy, collaboration and support of the people with useful credible and timely information to enable us serve them better".


Statement Ref: AZ: 5250/OY/PPRO/ VOL. 5/143                                         Dated       20th April, 2020.

Reported by Lashley Oladigbolu, London 

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