Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Wednesday 18th November 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today Wednesday 18th November 2020

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 18/11/20

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Biden Makes Nine White House Appointments

Joe Biden

US President-elect, Joe Biden, on Tuesday, appointed nine close campaign aides into key White House positions despite President Donald Trump’s continued legal battle on the result of the election.
Biden named Ron Klain as his Chief of Staff.
“I am proud to announce additional members of my senior team who will help us build back better than before.
“America faces great challenges, and they bring diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to tackling these challenges and emerging on the other side a stronger, more united nation,” the President-elect said in a statement.

Joe Biden

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Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, will become Deputy Chief of Staff, Steve Ricchetti, a longtime Biden adviser and lobbyist, will become counselor to the President.
Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, who was National Co-chairman of Biden’s campaign, will become senior adviser to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Biden also named Mike Donilon, a chief strategist for his campaign and a veteran Democratic tactician, to serve as senior advisor to the President.
“The team we have already started to assemble will enable us to meet the challenges facing our country on day one,” part of the statement reads.
Other appointments include the Chief of Staff and senior advisor to incoming First Lady, Jill Biden, a counsel to the President and a director of Oval Office operations.
The appointments come as Trump continues to challenge the result of the November 3 election and refuses to concede victory to Biden, and as his administration has declined to formally cooperate with Biden’s transition team.

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540,000 HIV Patients Need Urgent Care As Nigerian Government Converts HIV Laboratories, Other Infrastructure To Fight COVID-19

National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)

The COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and the resultant lockdown have affected the treatment of people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in the country with over 540,000 patients currently in need of treatment.
SaharaReporters learnt that about six HIV laboratories in the country had been converted to COVID-19 testing, carrying out about 30 percent of the tests.
According to the 2020 Quarterly HIV Fact Sheet, released by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and obtained by SaharaReporters, the Federal Government needs more than $2.4billion over the next three years to treat these 540,000 Nigerians living with HIV and AIDS.

National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)

The NACA factsheet added that due to the lockdown induced by COVID-19 and the rising number of COVID cases to attend to, the Anti-Retroviral Treatment initiation for HIV has dropped in the country from 39,450 to 21,495, representing a 45.5% decrease.
The factsheet said, “On the impact of COVID-19 on HIV response, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the provision of HIV services. There is a drop in viral load testing and clinical activities. There is a drop in the ART refill rate. Also, the six months’ interruption in HIV treatment due to lockdown may lead to 900,000 deaths as opposed to 430,000 deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“HIV infrastructure has also been deployed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic; about 25 to 30% of COVID-19 tests were conducted in six HIV mega labs. HIV sample transfer mechanism replicated for COVID-19 response in four states.
“We need to invest $2.4billion to identify and treat additional 540,000 People Living with HIV for epidemic control in the next three years.”
According to the United Nations’ statistics, 1,900,000 persons are living with HIV in Nigeria, with the prevalence rate of 1.5% among adults aged 15 to 49.
In 2018, 130,000 people were newly infected with HIV while 53,000 died from an AIDS-related illness the same year.
In Nigeria, there has been steady progress in the number of AIDS-related deaths since 2010, with a 26% decrease from 72,000 deaths to 53,000 deaths in 2018.
However, the number of new HIV infections have risen from 120,000 to 130,000 infected persons within the same period.
 

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Nigeria Going Nowhere Until Education Is Given Priority In National Budget, Varsity Don Says

UNILAG entrance.

A university lecturer, Dr Peter Osimiri, has said that the currently devastating state of Nigerian education will not improve until the Federal Government take investments in education as capital expenditure.
Osimiri, who is a lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Lagos, made this known in a public lecture delivered at the grand finale of the 40th anniversary of Humani Alaga High School in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

UNILAG entrance.

The don, while speaking on the theme, “Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria: Who is to blame” berated the depressing share of the national budget given to the education sector.
He lamented that the degrading features of deplorable school facilities, poor funding of researches and ill-equipped educators bedevilled the academic sector at all levels in the country.
Osimiri said, “The Nigerian government at all levels has not taken education to be a top priority. Regrettably, our politicians keep feeding education with crumbs from the national budget. This cannot help us. This cannot help the country. If this persists, the standard of education will keep falling.
“Without education, the economy will be deteriorating. Education evokes thinking, which in turn drives the economy with innovations. Until we see education as capital expenditure, we are going nowhere.”
Also present at the occasion was the Local Inspector of Education of the Ibadan North Local Government, Mrs Foluke Ogunsiji.
In her speech, Mrs Ogunsiji commended the old students’ association of the school for their kind and courageous gestures towards revamping the school. She also assured that the Oyo State Government under Governor Seyi Makinde would ensure the proper funding of education.
 

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Court Sentences Deputy Director To 14-Year Jail For Defrauding Job Seekers Of N7m

A High Court sitting in Gusau, Zamfara State, has sentenced a serving Deputy Director of the Federal Character Commission, Alhaji Ahmad Balarabe, to 14-year imprisonment, for defrauding job seekers of money worth N7million.
This was contained in a statement by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and made available to SaharaReporters on Tuesday.

The anti-graft commission, ICPC, had earlier filed a suit against Balarabe, before  Justice Bello Shinkafi.
He was first then arraigned in September 2018 on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining by pretence, an allegation to which he pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the tone for the lengthy trial.
The ICPC prosecutor, Mashkur Salisu, had told the court that, “Balarabe, while serving as the Coordinator, Sokoto and Zamfara States for FCC in 2017, collected N7million from some job seekers with the promise to get them employment with the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State.”
Salisu also informed the court that, “the said action of the convict was in contravention of Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
In his ruling, Justice Shinkafi said that the trial had confirmed their case beyond reasonable doubt and that the action of the convict was “despicable and unbecoming of a public servant”.
Nigeria Going Nowhere Until Education Is Given Priority In National Budget, Varsity Don Says
A university lecturer, Dr Peter Osimiri, has said that the currently devastating state of Nigerian education will not improve until the Federal Government take investments in education as capital expenditure.
Osimiri, who is a lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Lagos, made this known in a public lecture delivered at the grand finale of the 40th anniversary of Humani Alaga High School in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The don, while speaking on the theme, “Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria: Who is to blame” berated the depressing share of the national budget given to the education sector.
He lamented that the degrading features of deplorable school facilities, poor funding of researches and ill-equipped educators bedevilled the academic sector at all levels in the country.
Osimiri said, “The Nigerian government at all levels has not taken education to be a top priority. Regrettably, our politicians keep feeding education with crumbs from the national budget. This cannot help us. This cannot help the country. If this persists, the standard of education will keep falling.
“Without education, the economy will be deteriorating. Education evokes thinking, which in turn drives the economy with innovations. Until we see education as capital expenditure, we are going nowhere.”
Also present at the occasion was the Local Inspector of Education of the Ibadan North Local Government, Mrs Foluke Ogunsiji.
In her speech, Mrs Ogunsiji commended the old students’ association of the school for their kind and courageous gestures towards revamping the school. She also assured that the Oyo State Government under Governor Seyi Makinde would ensure the proper funding of education.

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ASUU Strike Not Only On IPPIS, NLC President Say

The Nigeria Labour Congress has said that the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities was not only on Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System but also the 2009 collective bargaining agreement.
President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja while speaking with journalists shortly after meeting with the Senator Smart Adeyemi-led Committee on Aviation.

Wanna asked government to show enough commitment to resolve the issue of ASUU strike once and for all.
He said, “A lot of issues are contained in the agreement which has not been implemented. The process of dialogue is ongoing. We have tried to give our own side of how the issue could be resolved include giving inputs and writing of letters and we would continue to do that.
“The sooner it is resolved, the better for all of us because an idle mind certainly is a devil’s workshop. Clearly speaking, I think it should be a priority if the issues are resolved so that we could get our wards back to schools.”
 While commenting on the petrol price hike, the NLC President said, “We issued a comprehensive statement on the issue already.  What we said in that agreement is that all the palliatives must be implemented with time line and that has not been done.
“We have since communicated to government and our next line of action would also be communicated to Nigerians.”
The NLC President, who also spoke on the Aviation Bill and the plot to remove ‘Authority’ from the name of FAAN, said, “We are here to shed more light on our position on the six bills before the Senate Committee on Aviation. The first item is about the provision in the law which tries to designate the aviation sector as an essential service.
“By our labour laws, which Nigeria is a signatory to, guarantees workers rights and core values. The sector cannot be designated as essential service because sectors that are designated as essential service are listed in the Nigerian labour law and the aviation sector was not part of it.
“All provisions relating to the issue of essential service into the six bills being considered for review especially section 29 of the civil aviation act should be expunged because it is actually in conflict with the existing provision of the labour law which is part of our international commitment to standards.
“The issue has been determined by the court that the aviation sector is not an essential service. I think the government is not aware of this,  that is why it included it in the law.
“The second issue is that it is the usual practice to have social partners in key organisations. We have not seen any provision in the bill where the key unions that would actually address issues of industrial relations, issues of professionalism, and workers core interest are not accommodated in the bills.
“The provision of the interim boards in the bills of aviation agencies is not in tandem with global best practices because at no point should we envisage that the board of such organisations would not be constituted. We were told that the boards were not constituted in the last four years due to conflict of interest. The use of interim board should certainly not be there.”

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E2%80%94aycf Quality Of Leadership From North Has Been Disappointing, Embarrassing —AYCF

Shettima Yerima

Youths from the Northern part of the country under the aegis of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum has berated the current political leadership representing the region, saying that they have been disappointing and embarrasing to the region.
This was part of the conclusions reached at a meeting og Northern youth held in Kaduna on Tuesday.

Shettima Yerima

Alhaji Yerima Shettima, National President of AYCF, in a statement after the meeting, condemned Northern political leaders for failing to stop kidnapping and banditry in the region, adding that rather than focus on developing the region, majority of Northern governors were ignoring substance and chasing shadows.
He, however, stated that while they had followed old politicians for too long, the youth from the North were prepared to take over politics in the region.
Shettima said:m, “We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt, that the quality of leadership we have got from the North has been disappointing and embarrassing to the political expertise and integrity that our region has been known for.
“We have for too long allowed old political cargoes to decide or determine who should go for which elective office in the North. The few among them who know what is right get blocked by other governors  from guiding the region right.
“The result of this going-with-the-flow kind of disposition of the youth is the emergence of many incompetent old cargoes as governors and few good ones, leading to general backwardness of our region.
“Our plans are therefore in top gear for mobilising the youths of our region to immediately take-over the democratic space from the majority of old brigade and their cronies who have blocked their colleagues who meant well for the region and brought us into the mess we’re in today.
“The spate of killings and kidnappings can be tackled by voting out the current crop of old, weak, pacified and out-of-touch-with-reality political spent forces as governors.
“We, therefore, call on all lovers of greater future for the North to join hands with us in this renewed effort to give the North a more deserved sense of direction. The year 2023 should mark the take-off point of this renewed struggle to dominate the democratic space.”
Shettima stated that it was time to rescue the North from being further taken hostage “by the predatory powers of some clueless governors, who have got trillions from the federation account to deal with insecurity, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment but are focusing on emasculating views against their incompetence in the social media and other mundane issues”.
He also said Northern youth will consult with their counterparts from the Southern part of the country and “seek their blessing for this struggle of emancipation” ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 general election.
 

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#EndSARS: Seun Kuti Revives Fela’s Political Party, Demands Improved Governance From President Buhari

Seun Kuti

Seun, one of the sons of Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has announced the revival of his father’s political party, the Movement of the People.
He disclosed this while addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Kalakuta Museum in Ikeja, Lagos.

Seun Kuti

He said the party was re-established as part of his drive to call for better governance in the country and as well as an end to police brutality.
The original Movement of the People was set up by Fela in 1979 when he intended to run for the presidency under its banner but was barred by the Nigerian Government from taking part in the election.
He said, “The idea is that we liberate the Nigerian people. I want to guarantee you that this movement will be the movement to cultivate those minds, those ideas. The pan Africanist and socialist foundation.
“The movement cannot survive without the Nigerian professionals and the middle class. We have to do the work now to begin to engage those of us in society that have been completely left behind and that have been overlooked.”
The briefing comes hours after Seun tackled the Nigerian Government over plans to shut down African Shrine due to a proposed #EndSARS meeting at the venue.
Lagos Police Threatens To Close African Shrine Over Hosting Of Meeting On #EndSARS | Sahara Reporters pic.twitter.com/jkTFBh2IPC— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) November 16, 2020

In a post on his Instagram page on Monday, the 37-year-old Afrobeat singer had called out the government for clamping down on citizens’ rights to association.
He added that the government called Yeni Kuti, his eldest sister, to warn against the meeting billed for 12:00pm on Tuesday.
Seun also accompanied the post with a letter from the Divisional Police Officer of Alausa, who kicked against the proposed meeting.
This is just as armed policemen on Tuesday morning restricted movement in and out of the African Shrine in Ikeja to prevent the meeting from taking place there.
BREAKING: Armed Policemen Block Road Leading To African Shrine Over Planned #EndSARS Meeting | Sahara Reporters pic.twitter.com/dWH7IAXDHM— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) November 17, 2020

The policemen mounted strategic locations across the area while their vans were parked in front of the relaxation spot.
The musician, however, vowed to continue with the meeting.

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You Can’t Criminalise Protest, Activists Tell Buhari As Demonstration Is Set To Resume In Abuja

Human Rrghts activists have told the Nigerian Government not to criminalise peaceful protests by citizens calling for good governance.
They described the plan by security agents to clampdown on #ENDSARS protesters on Wednesday in Abuja as an attempt to subvert democratic tenets in the country.

According to the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, Ariyo Dare Atoye, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Wednesday, #ENDSARS protesters had the right to return to the streets to protest.
He condemned the undue persecution of participants and members of the #ENDSARS movement by the government with indiscriminate arrest and freezing of bank accounts.
He said, “We have not seen any commitment on the part of government and they must take these demands seriously. The #ENDSARS protesters has every justification to return to the streets.We have recorded situation where people have been unfairly treated and government is not responding and they are going after the protesters one by one.
“It is possible that #ENDSARS people are coming out to show solidarity with their brothers and sisters who have been unduly profiled and being persecuted by government.
“They have every legitimate reasons as guaranteed by the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria to stage protest to organise rally when they so deem fit.
“They have right to assemble and make their demands and tell government to stop persecution of their colleagues.”
Atoye said some decisions recently made by the government coupled with the increment in the price of petrol were enough to trigger another round of protest.
He, therefore, called President Muhammadu Buhari to call the security agents particularly the police to order to stop the threat against unarmed citizens and allow the peaceful protest to hold.
Another activist and member of #BringBackOurGirls Movement, Ms Maureen Kabrik, berated the government for attempting to stifle the civil space, adding that protest was not a crime.
She said that protest was a constitutionally guaranteed right of citizens all over the world and any attempt to criminalise it would be resisted by Nigerians.
She said, “The truth of the matter is that protest is not a crime and people are free to protest for anything as long as it remain peaceful. This democracy that we have today some people actually died for it while some of them were jailed just for us to have democracy.
“It is only tyrant and despotic government that are afraid of protest. The government have nothing to fear or to hide. Government who communicate and articulate its stand on issues clearly to the citizens have nothing to worry about.
“For people to come out and protest, it is their freedom as guaranteed in the constitution. The  President we have today was on the street several time. So precedent have been set, so don’t let us take ourselves back to the dack day.
“Protest is a right and no one can criminalise it even all over the world. The #ENDSARS protesters have rights if they want to come back to the streets, no one should stop them from expressing themselves. I don’t see any sincerity on the part of this government. They have never been an administration that can be trusted.”

#EndSARS

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ICPC Arrests Four Immigration Officers For Corrupt Acts

Arrested NIS Officials

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has arrested four officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service over corrupt activities.
The four officers — Adeda Retty, Abimbola Louis, Eboji Ngozi, and Okunda Olawale — were arrested for allegedly receiving gratification and purchasing proceeds of crime.

Arrested NIS Officials

ICPC

The ICPC said the officers were arrested alongside one Godwin Agazuwu, an agent of Telly Ship, in a sting operation following an investigation into their underhand activities at the Apapa Port in Lagos.
“While Adeda, Abimbola, Eboji and Okunda were at the time of the arrest in possession of seven cartons of frozen fish which were believed to be proceeds of gratification collected from a vessel flying a Panama Flag and carrying a cargo of fish which berthed at the Port, the fifth suspect, Agazuwu, was responsible for buying the frozen fish from the officers.
“The commission in its fight against corrupt practices will from time to time strategically conduct similar operations to sanitise the ports of corrupt elements impacting negatively on international trade, and undermining the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure ease of doing business in the sector,” the ICPC said.
A major international stakeholder in the fight against corruption in the ports sector, the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, had expressed concern about incidences of corruption in the ports including asking for bribes and gratification from ports officials. 
The ICPC stated that upon completion of investigation, appropriate legal action will be taken against the officers.

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E2%80%99m-doing-god%E2%80%99s-work-boko-haram-leader-shekau-mocks-nigerian Nobody Can Arrest Me, I’m Doing God’s Work, Boko Haram Leader, Shekau Mocks Nigerian Soldiers In New Video

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Jama’atu Ahlissunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram, has claimed that he cannot be arrested because he was doing the work of God and ‘He will protect him’.
Shekau, who spoke in a 30-minute video seen by HumAngle in response to the Nigerian Army’s fresh manhunt for him, vowed that the war against the government would continue even after him. 

In the video, the Boko Haram leader was shown sitting circled by two of his fighters holding guns in a less spacious room. 
He said, “Nobody can apprehend me because I’m doing God’s work. He will protect me like those doing similar work and seeking His protection.
“I’m very sure God will protect my commanders. We are all doing God’s work.” 
The Nigerian Army had on Wednesday, November 11, kicked off a fresh manhunt for Shekau and some of the top Boko Haram commanders. 
A banner showing the pictures of Shekau, Abu Mus’ab Albarnawy, and Ibrahim Abu Maryam, who topped the most wanted list, was unveiled by Babagana Zulum, governor of Borno state, and Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff. 
In his new view, which features a question and answer session, Shekau vowed that the war would continue even after him. 
“Arresting me will not stop the work we started. What confuses you is you think the religion is mine but it belongs to Allah,” he said. 
He also spoke on the members of Boko Haram,.who recanted from the group and joined the amnesty program in the North-East. 
“They have left the fold of religion,” Shekau said of the ex-fighters. 
He, however, said he and his men would never consider such a path in their lifetime, putting aside any chance of reconciliation between his group and the state.
Shekau mocked Nigerian military in the video, saying that they repeatedly told people that he was killed even though he was still alive. He attributed economic hardship in Nigeria to God’s vengeance against the country for its war against Boko Haram and it’s members.

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