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Omicron: FG Expresses Disappointment Over UK Govt’s Red Listing Of Nigeria

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The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has expressed disappointment over the United Kingdom government’s placement of Nigeria on its red list following the detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

“We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each on the red list,” the minister said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, less than one day after the UK announced the move.

“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.

“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful.”

According to the minister, the move was ill-advised as he noted that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

“It is going to disrupt commerce,” he added. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”
Ban List Not ‘Helpful’

He explained that while Nigeria has detected the COVID-19 virus on travellers from the UK, the cases have not been confirmed to be the Omicron variant.

While reiterating that the placement of countries on the red list will not help in the global fight against the pandemic, Ehanire said Nigeria is anticipating the fourth wave of the disease.

“If every country were going to put other countries on the ban list, very soon you would have a large number of countries on your red list,” the minister said.

“So, I do believe there are other ways of going about it. We in Nigeria do not regard banning flights and movements of people as particularly helpful and supportive.”

The UK’s move, which came a few days after Nigeria detected the new strain, followed a similar decision by the Canadian authorities.

“Foreign nationals who have transited or stayed in these 10 countries cannot enter Canada if they have been in those countries in the last two weeks,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told a press conference.

Aside from Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi were the other countries recently added to Canada’s travel ban list.

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BREAKING: APC Convention To Hold February 26, Says Buni

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee Chairman Mai Mala Buni has announced February 26 as the date for the APC convention.

Buni, who is also the governor of Yobe State, said this on Tuesday at the national progressive women conference 2022 holding at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja.

He said the party is counting on the support of women to hold a successful convention.


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Lagos Transporters To Pay ₦800 Daily Levy, Excluding RTEAN, NURTW Dues

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…Effective From February 1

Lagos State government, on Tuesday, introduced a daily ₦800 consolidated informal transport levy for transporters in the state.

The levy is outside the union dues collected by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN).

Lagos State finance commissioner, Dr Rabiu Olowo, who revealed this at the agreement-signing ceremony by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), local councils and transport unions, said that the consolidated levy collection will start February 1.

He stated that the harmonized levy became expedient to ensure that the transport sector in the state is organised and fits into a 21st-century economy.

Olowo added that the consolidated levy takes into consideration all the elements in a sane society.

According to him, the levy takes care of dues previously accrued to local councils across the state, as well as revenue for Lagos Waste Management Authority (LASWA) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Lagos State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) among other MDAs.

He said that the state government expects that once a transporter pays the ₦800 at a point, he or she is expected not to pay at any other park or bus stop throughout the day.

He also said that the government expects that union members will not collect levies from transporters as they are not expected to pay at every bus stop or park.

Olowo said the consolidated levy would reduce the multiplicity of levies collection as many residents and transporters have complained about the huge levies unions often collected.

The commissioner also made an allusion to a report about the ₦150bn that transport unions collect in Lagos under the disguise of collecting dues, saying the new development will eliminate multiple taxes.

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House Of Reps To Reintroduce Electoral Act Amendment Bill Wednesday

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari, will be reintroduced Wednesday for a rework by the lawmakers.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in December rejected the Bill, citing issues with direct primary provisions.

Gbajabiamila, in his welcome address at the resumption of plenary Tuesday while chiding the appalling argument that lack of proper membership registration of the political parties was among the reasons why the Bill should be rejected, however stated that a credible electoral law is what the people want and that is what they will get.

He also assured Nigerians that the lawmakers will prioritize action to pass the constitutional amendment bill.

Thereafter, the lawmakers went into a close door session.


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