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Enugu govt flags off decontamination of schools ahead of resumption

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The Enugu State Government, on Friday, flagged off comprehensive decontamination and fumigation of secondary schools in the state, ahead of the resumption of academic activities. The exercise is being carried out by the State Fire Service, led by its Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Okwudiri Ohaa.

It would be recalled that Enugu State Government, on March 24, 2020, closed all educational institutions in the state, as part of proactive measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). The state government directed all public officers/civil servants to work from home till further notice, except those on essential services and has been paying them salaries, including the teachers, as and when due, since then.

Briefing newsmen shortly after the flag off, which took place at Queen’s School Enugu, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uche Eze, who monitored the exercise alongside the Chairman of Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) Barr. Nestor Ezeme, said that it was Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s directives that “all our schools, classrooms, dormitories and school premises should be decontaminated and fumigated in preparation for resumption”.

Prof. Eze disclosed that “this is to ensure that when the students and teachers are back to schools, they will be safe to learn in a conducive environment”.

The commissioner added that the exercise will take place in all the schools and will be completed on or before the evening of Monday, August 3, 2020.

He pointed out that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration has utilized the four months of break in academic activities “in renovation and expansion of our school facilities to ensure that we have enough space for our children to maintain social distancing when they return to schools.

“In fact, a few days ago, His Excellency himself moved round schools to inspect our state of readiness and this decontamination and fumigation exercise, which is very important, is going to be the last stage of our preparation”, Prof. Eze said.

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Also speaking, the PPSMB Chairman, Barr. Ezeme, added that “our education-friendly Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi during the four months of lockdown had paid our teachers, totaling 11,000 in number their salaries, from the 22nd to the 23rd of every month”.

He said that the teachers are coming back to schools, ready and much energized, expressing optimism that their output will be maximized.

In his speech, the State Chief Fire Officer, Engr. Ohaa stated that the decontamination and fumigation exercise will be carried out simultaneously in about 297 secondary schools, saying: “We are sure that on or before the evening of Monday, we will complete it”.

Engr. Ohaa revealed that the state fire service offices at different local government areas have been mobilized to carry out the exercise, reassuring that the schools will be ready “for students and their teachers to be safe when they return”.

He maintained that the Enugu State government has been consistent with the decontamination of its public places since the outbreak of COVID-19, stressing that “there is no other state that is as consistent as Enugu State”.

Appreciating Gov. Ugwuanyi’s efforts towards enhancing the standard of education in the state as well as the welfare and safety of the students and their teachers, the Principal of Queen’s School Enugu, Mrs. Ada Nweke, said that the teachers will ever remain grateful to the governor for his commitment and good works in the education sector and beyond.

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NIGERIA

Gov. Ugwuanyi appoints Dr. Ezugwu as Chief of Protocol

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Monday, appointed Dr. Barth Ezugwu as the Chief of Protocol, Government House, Enugu.

Dr. Ezugwu is the immediate past Transition Committee Chairman of Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area and a former Commissioner for Transport in the state.

He also served as a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Youths Mobilization and Empowerment as well as the Administrator of Adada Development Area in Uzo-Uwani LGA.

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NIGERIA

NUPENG meets Lagos Govt, calls off strike

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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called off its strike which started in the early hours of Monday after a meeting with Lagos State Government officials.

A communique jointly signed by Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr. Olalere Odusote and Deputy National President of NUPENG, Mr. Solomon O. Kilanko, stated both parties agreed the government will meet with heads of all security agencies to prevent further disturbance of vehicles conveying petroleum products.

The two sides agreed the issue of “area boys” will be addressed by the State.

“A dedicated phone number will be established within one week to enable petroleum product transporters gain prompt access to security agencies.”

While assuring the allegation of extra-ordinary levies charged by a particular local government will be investigated promptly, the communique further reads: “The State government will continue to relate with all road users in the planning and execution of road works in the State”.

NUPENG also made a commitment all tankers will not exceed the loading capacity of trucks as provided in the regulations and in compliance with directives of the Department of Petroleum Resources.

Disclosing Lagos will review the timing restriction on movement of petroleum tankers within the next one week, Odusote said recommendations will be put forward to the government on ways to ease access of petroleum tankers to tank farms.

“Lagos State Government will immediately set up a standing committee to relate with the Union on an ongoing basis to address any issues as they arise,” the parties agreed.

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NIGERIA

Kano singer sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy

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A Kano Upper Shari’a Court on Monday sentenced the 22-year-old singer to death by hanging for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

The Presiding Judge, Khadi Aliyu Muhammad Kani, gave the judgement after finding Yahaya Sharif-Aminu guilty as charged.

Sharif-Aminu, a resident of Sharifai in Kano metropolis, was accused of committing blasphemy against the Prophet in a song he circulated via WhatsApp in March 2020.

After the incident, protesters burned down the singer’s family home and led a procession to the Kano Hisbah Command’s headquarters in protest against the singer’s action.

The court also sentenced one Umar Farouq of Sharada quarters in Kano metropolis to 10-year imprisonment for making “derogatory statements concerning the Almighty Allah in a public argument.”

Aggrieved youths on March 4 staged a protest on the premises of the Kano Hisbah office, over what they described as an alleged blasphemous song against Prophet Muhammad.

While addressing the protesters, the Kano Hisbah Commander, Harun Ibn-Sina, said officials in the state were on top of the situation and that the man’s parents had been arrested and were under Police custody.

The protesters alleged that the nonchalant attitude of the government and the security agents in the state over the issue informed their decision to embark on the protest.

The convener of the protest, Idris Ibrahim (popularly known as Baba Idris), said, “Our mission is to alert the government to do the needful; otherwise, we will take the law into our own hands.”

Idris, who said similar incidents had occurred in the state without any action from the relevant authorities, warned that they would not allow Sharif-Aminu’s case to go unpunished.

Sharif-Aminu had composed a song containing alleged derogatory verses against Prophet Muhammad, which ignited violence against his family members.

But the family house of the singer, located at Sharifai quarters in the Kano Municipal Local Government Area, was set ablaze by irate youths who described the song as blasphemous.

Investigations revealed that the singer, said to be a follower of the Tijjaniya sect, is a member of Faidha group, who are known for their preference of Ibrahim Nyass (a famous Senegalese Islamic scholar), over Prophet Muhammad.

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