Today’s Breaking News In Nigeria This Morning, Monday 6th Of July, 2020

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1. Akwa Ibom State Government approves tax holiday for civil servants over Coronavirus

As part of measures to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the Akwa Ibom State government has approved holiday for tax-payers in the state and directed the Ministry of Finance to work out modalities for its immediate implementation.

The waiver was part of resolutions reached at the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting presided over by Governor Udom Emmanuel at Government House, Uyo. Briefing journalists after the meeting, Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, said the decision was in line with the World Bank requirements for giving grants and support to state governments as well as a decision taken at the Governors Forum for grants to cushion the effect of the pandemic on states.

He added that the council also considered a report on leadership training for senior civil servants and commissioning of blocks of flats under the second phase of Barracks Rehabilitation Initiative for the Nigerian Army at the Wellington Bassey Barracks, Six Amphibious Battalion, Ibagwa, saying the project would be due for inauguration within two weeks.

Udoh said the council also received the report of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the lingering boundary dispute between Nung Oku Ekanem and Afaha Obio villages in Onna Council Area.

On reopening of schools, he hinted that the State COVID-19 Management Committee has been directed to work out protocols and guidelines for resumption of schools and make recommendations to the council.

Besides, Chairman of the state COVID-19 Management Committee and Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, at the weekend issued a seven-day ultimatum to ExxonMobil to comply with COVID-19 guidelines or risk closure of its isolation centres.

He said in operating its quarantine centres, the company had not followed laid down protocols of the Akwa Ibom State Government, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the effective running of isolation centres.

“The breaches observed at ExxonMobil’s quarantine centres, in the estimation of the COVID-19 Management Committee, are capable of endangering the lives of not only the employees of ExxonMobil, but also the lives of Akwa Ibom people,” he said. Ekuwem maintained that the state government could not overlook the breaches, as they could jeopardise efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has arrested 121 violators of compulsory use of facemasks in public places in the state.The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), CSP Nudam Fredrick, disclosed this in a statement, saying the action was aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, in line with provisions of the Quarantine and Restriction of Movement Regulations 2020.

He said the arrested offenders would be arraigned in the special courts established in the three senatorial districts to serve as a deterrent to others and urged the people to always use their facemasks in public places, as the command would continue to prosecute violators.

2. Lagos State discharges 45 recovered Coronavirus patients, including 4 foreigners

The Lagos State Government on Sunday discharged 45 more patients from various isolation facilities across the state having recovered fully and tested negative for COVID-19.

The state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is also the Incident Commander, who revealed this said the patients include: 18 females and 27 males including 4 foreign nationals to reunite with their society.

According to Sanwo-Olu, “Today, Sunday, 45COVID-19 patients; 18 females and 27 males including four foreign nationals were discharged from our Isolation facilities to reunite with the society.

“The patients; 19 from Eti-Osa (LandMark) 11 from Onikan and 15 from Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Isolation Centres were discharged after full recovery and testing negative to COVID19.

“This brings to 1,740, the number of COVID19 confirmed cases that have been successfully managed and discharged from our isolation facilities.

“Remember, it is now a criminal offence in Lagos State to go out without using a facemask. Let’s continue to adhere strictly to all public advisories given by government #ForACOVID19FreeLagos.”

3. Ojudu, Adeyeye not my enemies, says Governor Kayode Fayemi

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi said that the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Babafemi Ojudu; former Minister of State for Works, Dayo Adeyeye and others who launched attacks against him were not his enemies.

At an All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders’ meeting held on Saturday, July 4, 2020, in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi was quoted to have said that his disagreement with Adeyeye, Ojudu and others was a family affair.

A statement by the party’s state Publicity Secretary, Ade Ajayi, yesterday, quoted Fayemi as having said: “Whatever disagreement we have in Ekiti APC is a family affair. I’m not an enemy to anyone and neither is anyone an enemy to me.”

Ajayi said that, at the meeting where issues affecting the party were discussed, a vote of confidence was passed in Fayemi after a review of many projects carried out by his administration, including road and water projects, schools’ renovation and sinking of boreholes across schools, among others.

The Ekiti State Government in another development, said it had introduced mandatory payment of property tax by landlords and land-owners across the 16 local councils.The government said that the move was part of efforts to shore up its internally-generated revenues (IGR) for more infrastructural development.

Chairman of the Ekiti State Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Muyiwa Ogunmilade, who disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, said the Ekiti State Property Tax Law was backed by the State Land Use Charge Law No 3 of 2013, which comprises payment on ground rent, tenement rates and neighbourhood improvement levy.

He said that the policy had been neglected for long, saying that time has come for it to be put to full use in view of the low revenues from the federal allocation to the state.

He also said that the governor was not interested in imposing double taxation or obnoxious tax policy on residents, but that the new measure was just an implementation of an existing, but abandoned law.

4. Oyo State deputy governor Rauf Olaniyan, others denied access to Abiola Ajimobi’s eighth-day fidau prayers

There was a mild drama yesterday as a family of the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi denied the state’s Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan, access to the eighth-day fidau prayers held for the deceased at his Oluyole Estate residence in Ibadan.

Olaniyan arrived the residence at about 11:20 a.m. in a convoy of five vehicles. On getting to the gate of the road leading to Ajimobi’s residence, the convoy was stopped by policemen and members of other security agencies manning the gate. They insisted that only the deputy governor’s vehicle could be allowed into the street to participate in the prayers.

Olaniyan’s security details initially rebuffed the idea but when the argument was degenerating, a senior policeman intervened and they eventually agreed that only the deputy governor’s vehicle should go in.

But on getting to Ajimobi’s house, the gate was also locked. The deputy governor’s aides introduced their principal but they were told that the gate had been locked, and that Mrs. Florence Ajimobi was in possession of the key.

The deputy governor waited, believing that the issue would be sorted in no time. After waiting for about 15 minutes without any positive development, Olaniyan left the residence.

Ajimobi’s spokesperson, Mr. Tunji Bolaji, who spoke on the issue, said the state government delegates arrived after the prayers had started.He said: “There is need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan, at the eighth-day prayers of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo State.

“The deputy governor arrived after the prayers had started. The event was strictly a family affair. There was a need to comply with the COVID-19 protocol as established by NCDC accordingly after which the gate was shut.

“No one was aware that the deputy governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us. By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a spate of 10 minutes.

“Through a serving senator and a former attorney-general, we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left. We, however, apologise to his Excellency.”The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while reacting to the development, said the event was never a family affair with the presence of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala.

The state’s Publicity Secretary of the party, Akeem Olatunji, said: “To the unsuspecting members of the public, kindly disregard the All Progressives Congress (APC) media team press release in its entirety. It wasn’t a private family affair because Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and many others were there and the family members were well-informed in advance that the deputy governor would be leading the government delegation to the event.

“It was reported that the security personnel at the gate said that there was an order from Madam not to allow the government delegation into the venue.”

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