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Covid-19: New law, measures may not check spread in Anambra State

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▪︎Gov. Obiano acknowledges 8 active COVID-19 
A new Covid -19 bill signed into law by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra may not check the spread of the disease in the state if effective enforcement measures are not put in place signaturetv.org investigation reveals.
The law among others made not wearing a face mask a punishable offence with fine and community service.
“The offence attracts a fine of N10, 000 or some hours of community service, I will like to re-emphasise that my administration is determined to enforce this law,” Obiano said Tuesday in a special broadcast in Awka.
However the porous boundaries of the state is making a nonsense of any enforcement effort as illegal inter state movements has become a flourishing business in the state.
Our correspondent in Awka reports that at the Enugu/Anambra boundary for a fee ranging from N200 to N10,000 individuals and vehicles freely go in or out of the state.
At  Amansea/Ugwuoba axis a relay race – like operation was witnessed as passengers coming from  Enugu were discharged at the police checkpoint where they crossed by foot, sorted out the security personnel and boarded waiting vehicles to continue their journey into Anambra State unperturbed.
” I fit carry plenty people pass police checkpoint here, the only thing be say make dem hold their money”
Okechukwu a former bus conductor who has found a new job “ferrying” people and goods across the Ugwuoba/Amansea boundary told our correspondent in Pidgin English.
A top Government official in Enugu State who is among the boundary monitoring team deployed by the Enugu State Governor who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said one of their greatest challenges was stopping the illegal influx of people and goods across the boundary with Anambra State.
“It has been a running battle with the security operatives here. Even corpses are carried across this boundary and all they do is collect money. They have illegal routes everywhere and they are hand gloves with those charged to police the entry points.
Signaturetv.org also found out that the situation is the same at the Delta/Anambra State boundary.
While acknowledging that Anambra State  currently has eight active COVID-19 cases being treated at Protective Care Centres in the state

with 71 persons on home isolation and quarantine Governor Obiano said the state was making efforts to enhance the testing capacity of the state for coronavirus.

“We are ramping up our testing capacity to ensure that we slow down the spread of this pandemic in our dear state.

“The COVID-19 Committees that we have set up in Wards and Local Government Areas across Anambra are helping us in driving the campaign to every nook and cranny of the state.

“I will like to assure you that we have made adequate arrangements to handle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obiano urged traders and religious leaders not to relax in ensuring that their members continued to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols while noting that it had been observed that most of them had jettisoned the safety measures.

He urged healthcare institutions to set up holding centres to keep patients who exhibited symptoms of the virus to check the possibility of spreading it in Anambra”

However Emeka Chikelu, a medical doctor who runs a private clinic in Awka applauded the extra measures being put in place by the state government, but still faults the enforcement “all these efforts are not yielding the desired result because enforcement is weak. Look at the law on face masks that came into force about a week ago, not one person has been arrested for violation but how many people are wearing it? For this to work more needs to be done.

♧This is a continuing investigation by signaturetv.org, supported by the MacArthur Foundation

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NIGERIA

BUHARI suspends Magu as EFCC Acting Chairman

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Ibrahim Magu has been suspended as Acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, Signaturetv.org can confirm.

Magu spent the night in a police cell at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Headquarters in Abuja.

This followed a six-hour grilling by a presidential panel, chaired by Justice Ayo Salami, a former president of the Court of Appeal.

Buhari set up the panel to probe various allegations levelled against Magu, following a petition by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Department of State Service (DSS).

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NIGERIA

Senate passes sexual harassment prohibition bill

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A Bill that seeks to protect students in the nation’s tertiary institutions was passed for third reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

The Bill titled: “A Bill for an Act to prevent, prohibit and redress sexual harassment of students in tertiary educational institutions and for matters connected therewith, Bill, 2020” was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie-Omo Agege (Delta Central) and co-sponsored by 105 other Senators.

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NIGERIA

WAEC appeals for PPE ahead of WASSCE Exam period reduced by four weeks

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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has appealed to the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, State Governments and corporate organizations for funds to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for manpower that would conduct the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) starting August 4.

WAEC Nigeria Head of National Office, Mr. Patrick Areghan, said at a briefing on Tuesday that it would need more supervisors and invigilators for the examination kitted with appropriate PPE, the cost of which was not captured in the budget for the examination.

Lamenting the examination would be conducted under unfriendly conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Areghan said it would cost the Council more than N50 million to give one face mask and one hand sanitizer to each of its supervisors nationwide.

He said: “There are many well-spirited individuals donating face masks and hand sanitizers – that is what we are asking for.

“Even if we are going to give only one washable/reusable face mask and one bottle of hand sanitizer to every staff and supervisor that will not cost us less than N50 million.

“And if we make it two per staff and supervisor, that will not cost us less than N100 million.

” A committee has already worked on it; these are not just fictitious figures. We have even done negotiations with some companies.

“If we now say if you have hand sanitizers, give us; if you have face masks, give us, is it out of place?” he asked at the briefing at the Council’s headquarters in Yaba.

“These are not normal times. When we were planning for the examination nobody anticipated a situation like this.

“When we talk about supervision; we used to have one supervisor to 299 candidates. Once it is 300 we now have two supervisors.

“But now we are going to have one supervisor to about 150 candidates in order to maintain this social or physical distancing.

“All these have cost implications. For example, we are going to engage 23, 250 supervisors from 10,667. That is a lot of money.

“Now, we have 19,129 schools. If a school has 300 candidates, for example, we are going to have two supervisors. And it also even depends on the number of classrooms they are going to use because we are going to maintain a social distancing of two meters apart.

“How many candidates will sit in a hall like this and put one supervisor there? So we are really going to spend more money than originally budgeted.”

A total of 1,549,463 SS3 candidates have been registered to take the examination in 19,129 schools nationwide on Mondays-Saturdays from August 3-September 5, 2020.

Areghan said the examination would hold at the same time in the other four member countries.

However, he noted that the international timetable for the examination would be domesticated for use in Nigeria to align with local time.

He said the examination was shortened by four weeks to reduce the period of mass interaction and check the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Areghan said schools would be required to soap and running water for handwashing; hand sanitizers, non-contact infrared thermometers, as well as face masks for all candidates.

He added that there would be two-meter spacing between candidates while regular hand washing would be required during the examination.

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