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Risk of Contracting Coronavirus Now Higher Than Before – Sani Aliyu

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Sani Aliyu, national coordinator of the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19, says Nigerians now stand a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

He disclosed this during the PTF briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

According to Aliyu, there is a greater risk of infection now that the lockdown has been eased and people choose to ignore the safety guidelines set in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“The PTF continues to be very concerned about the issue of compliance. As you are aware, we are here to push for the containment of COVID-19 in the country through data-driven medical advisories,” he said.

“The fact that we are receiving many reports on the flouting of the guidelines, the hint by individuals, groups and organisations is simply unacceptable.

“As I said in the past, COVID-19 is far from over globally, neither is it over in Nigeria.

“There’s no doubt that a lot of community transmission is happening and it continues to increase across the states. Now more than ever before, if you go out, you’re more likely to get COVID-19 than before.

“Your risk of acquiring COVID-19 because of the numbers we have now is more than three, four weeks or five weeks ago when we had a lockdown, so there really isn’t any room or relaxation at this point.”

Aliyu said the reason the federal government relaxed the lockdown was to sustain the livelihood of Nigerians, “particularly those who depend on daily income for survival”.

“It wasn’t because COVID-19 has gone and it wasn’t because we should be more relaxed in terms of our prevention measures,” he added.

He disclosed that the federal government is working with security agencies to enforce compulsory adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines, as the PTF “will not sit back and allow public safety to be endangered by a few”.

The national coordinator called on Nigerians to accept the new normal of living with COVID-19, while adhering to safety measures and protocols to ensure protection.

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Federal Govt Warns Civil Servants Not Join Labour Strike

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The Federal Government has warned civil servants against participating in the planned nationwide strike called by the organised Labour.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had called on workers to embark on an indefinite industrial action on Monday over the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, asked civil servants to be at work, saying the government is engaging with the union officials over the issue.

“Accordingly, all officers on grade level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.

“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are, therefore, enjoined to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned officers and ensure strict compliance,” the statement partly read.

Yemi-Esan argued that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court with suit number, NICN/ABJ/253/2020 issued on September 24 on the matter.

The court order, she noted, had restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on any form of industrialisation action pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice.

“Sequel to the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, Sept. 28, the office of the HOCSF wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the labour unions with the view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial actions,” she said.

The HOCSF’s directive comes 24 hours after Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court in Abuja issued a fresh restraining order against the unions, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The fresh order came a day after the same judge made a similar restraining ex parte order in favour of a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.

The judge ordered that both the NLC and the TUC joined as the defendants in the suit should be served with the fresh court order within seven days from Friday.

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Gov. El-Rufai Clarifies Selection Process Of New Zazzau Emir

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has reiterated the commitment of the state government in ensuring that the selection process for the new Emir of Zazzau is carefully done.

The governor disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye.

While quoting the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Balarabe Abbas, the procedure is for the kingmakers of Zazzau Emirate to address their recommendations to the Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, who will in turn process the document and forward to the Governor.

“Upon receipt of the correspondence from the commissioner, the SSG will avail the security agencies of the names on the shortlist for the necessary checks,” Adekeye said.

“It is the duty of the SSG to forward the recommendations and the associated security report to the Governor for his consideration.”

The governor’s spokesman confirmed that the report of the kingmakers has been submitted, adding that it is a step that will trigger the next sequence of events in the chain of reporting and security vetting.’

According to Adekeye, the SSG appealed for calm and understanding as the responsible institutions manage a selection process that was last used 45 years ago.

The former Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris died on September 20 at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in the Kaduna state capital after a brief illness.

He was 84 years and was buried the next day in the state.

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NLC Insists On Monday Protest Despite Court Order

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The Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.

In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

In the statement by Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobile at least 2000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.

Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.

The NLC Secretary also noted that all Presidents and General Secretaries are expected to lead and identify with their members at the take-off point.

Reverse fuel, electricity price, or?
Earlier in September, Organised Labour threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government refuses to reverse the recent increases in fuel and electricity tariff.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba while making the announcement in Abuja said the NLC’s central working committee (CWC) has resolved to issue a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the increase.

He said workers and Nigerians are disappointed that the government decided to increase both the price of fuel and electricity tariff at a time “other countries across the world are giving palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of COVID-19.”

“NLC central committee will also mobilise its members, civic society allies, and other social partners to resist this policy because it has driven many into poverty,” Wabba added.

Ahead of the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to resort to industrial action, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held an emergency meeting of all the governors.

Following the meeting, the NGF cautioned NLC against the planned strike, arguing that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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