Apathy reigns as Lagos ministries, agencies flout COVID-19 safety protocols (Guardian)
Lagos State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are routinely not complying with the COVID-19 safety protocols put out by the government to break the chain of transmission of the virus.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Federal and state governments had made it mandatory for managers of public and corporate buildings to provide hand-washing facilities, besides ensuring anyone going into such facilities to put on their facemasks, wash their hands or apply alcoholic-based sanitisers to clean their hands. In fact, the Lagos State Safety Commission had sealed some buildings for not complying with this protocol.
The Guardian took a tour of some buildings within the state secretariat in Alausa where none of the buildings housing the MDAs fully complied with the COVID-19 safety protocol, including that housing the Lagos State Safety Commission that has been enforcing regulation, compliance and punishing those who did not abide by the guidelines. Read more
Travel agent jailed for stealing N10m tickets (Punch)
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sentenced a travel agent, Babawale Ponle, to two years’ imprisonment for misappropriating N10m worth of airline tickets.
Ponle, who is the Managing Director of Travel Doctor Limited, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on four counts bordering on stealing and issuance of dud cheques.
It was gathered that Ponle was given the tickets on credit by a travel company, Sound Travel Services Limited.
The prosecutor, Samuel Daji, said Ponle committed the offence between March and December 2012. Read more
Sanwo-Olu tasks perm secretaries on cordial relationship (Guardian)
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has charged all permanent secretaries in the state’s civil service to bring their experience to bear in creating implementation framework and seamless co-ordination in the delivery of government’s programmes and policies.
Sanwo-Olu said there must be efficient collaboration between them and political heads assigned to their ministries to drive programmes’ implementation.
The governor spoke, yesterday, when he declared open a two-day retreat organised for the Body of Permanent Secretaries.
He said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had brought changes to traditional ways of working, charging all the 57 participants to adapt themselves to the new reality and think outside the box not to slow down the wheel of governance. Read more
How Lagos is pushing for enhanced rice production (Nation)
According to famous French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer, Georges Auguste Escoffier, “Rice is the best, the most nutritive and unquestionably the most widespread staple food in the world’’.
‘Oryza satiza’, as it is biologically called, rice is a basic meal in most homes in many countries. It is eaten as grain cereal mostly in larger part of the world, especially in Asia and Africa.
In Nigeria, it is daily consumed as a necessity and not an alternative to other meals. No wonder, most households see it as an option second to none.
There are two major species of rice namely African and Asian. Over 40,000 other varieties are grown across the world. Popular among such are long grains, short grains, basmati, brown rice etc. All these are grown in various levels of commercial quantities, process and stored for local consumption or exportation to other nations. It is an agricultural commodity with the third highest worldwide production with an estimated production of 741.5million tonnes in 2014. Read more
Kidnappers demand N100m to free UI student (Punch)
Gunmen, who abducted Emmanuel Odetunde, a student of Sociology at the University of Ibadan,Oyo State, have demanded N100m ransom from his family to free him.
He was abducted by the gunmen, who broke into his father’s farm in Oke Odan, Apete area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Monday.
Odetunde was said to have been kidnapped by the bandits around 5pm.
It was learnt by close family sources that four suspected herders had demanded for his father. They, however, kidnapped the young man when told by the workers that his father was not around. Read more
SSANU, NASU suspend strike (DailyTrust)
The Joint Action Committee of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has suspended its three-week-old strike with effect from midnight of on Friday, February 26.
President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim Haruna, and the NASU General Secretary, Peters Adeyemi, announced this Thursday night after a meeting with the delegation of Federal Government led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
It would be recalled that the leadership of the unions had on February 5 directed all its branches to commence an indefinite strike with a view to pressing home their demands bordering on alleged injustice on sharing formula of N40bn Earned Allowance and non-payment minimum wage arrears.
Other contentious issues raised include inconsistencies in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), delay in renegotiation of FG/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreement, non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members among others. Read more
Telecom workers threaten to disrupt network services nationwide (Guardian)
Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has threatened to shut down network services nationwide over alleged anti-labour practices by Huawei Technologies Company Limited.
At a press conference, yesterday, the union alleged that Huawei has continued to undermine Nigeria’s economy through its industrial relations practices designed to emasculate workers, make nonsense of the local content policy of the Federal Government and ultimately exploit the nation without appropriate investment in human capacity development and internalisation of technologies.
General Secretary of PTECSSAN, Okonu Abdullahi, implored business partners, individuals and corporate organisations, especially telecom operators, that rely on services rendered by Huawei to either impress it on the company to yield to the union’s demands or source for alternative, threatening that the proposed industrial action would negatively affect their businesses. Read more
Benue releases 210 impounded cows to owners (DailyTrust)
The Benue State government has released a total of 210 cows earlier impounded by the Livestock Guards Task Force for openly grazing in two Local Government Areas of the state to their owners.
Commander of the Livestock Guards, Linus Zaki, said 140 of the cattle were arrested at Mballgh council ward in Makurdi LGA while 70 were impounded from Ggbajimgba in Guma LGA.
Zaki, who handed the seized animals to their owners in Makurdi, urged them to respect the state’s law which banned open grazing since 2017, adding that they had fulfilled the requirements for violating the law.
“We can’t stop implementing the law so they (herders) should do the right thing by obeying the law,” he said. Read more
Delta government, APC disagree on concessioning of Asaba airport (Guardian)
Secretary to Delta State Government (SSG), Chiedu Ebie, has declared that the recent concessions of Asaba International Airport would create more jobs for Delta people, stimulate export of agricultural produce and boost economic activities in Delta and neighbouring states.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) disagreed with the government’s position, saying: “Concessioning of the airport is a monumental failure and a move to enrich government officials and their cronies.”
While explaining the benefits of the concession, Ebie said the concessions would facilitate the movement of cargoes to foster export operations, hotels, a conference centre, industrial site, office facilities, tank farms and a hangar for maintenance of aircraft.
“We expect that with the investments and revenue that will come with the initiative, it will make a lot of economic sense for the benefit of Delta people. Read more
Disturbing video shows shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer (NYPost)
Horrifying home surveillance video captured the moment Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot by crooks who stole two of the singer’s beloved French bulldogs — and the victim’s anguished screams for help as he lay bleeding on a Los Angeles street.
The footage, obtained by TMZ, caught the dog walker strolling with the pooches in tow around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday when a white, four-door sedan pulled up alongside him.
“Give it up!” yelled one of two men who hopped out of the car and jumped the dog walker, identified by TMZ as Ryan Fischer.
“No! Help me!” screamed Fischer as he wrestled for control of the dogs with the brutes. Read more
US attacks ‘Iranian-backed military infrastructure’ in Syria (AlJazeera)
The United States military says it carried out attacks on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed militia on Thursday, following recent rocket attacks on US troop locations in Iraq, the Pentagon said.
“At President Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilised by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” spokesman John Kirby in a statement.
“These strikes were authorised in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” he said.
Kirby said the strikes destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS). It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties. Read more
Haiti gang violence puts burn victims at risk, doctors say (VOA)
Burn patients in Haiti who need specialized care had to be transferred, after gang violence erupted near the burn care hospital in Drouillard, a Port-au-Prince neighborhood.
Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says the violence is putting its patients at risk.
“Severe burns require highly specialized care, and our Drouillard hospital is Haiti’s only specialized burn care center,” Dr. Alain Ngamba, MSF medical coordinator in Haiti, told VOA via email. “We are concerned about the consequences for patients who would otherwise have been admitted there.”
MSF says the eruption of gunfire on February 23 sent staff members running for cover on hospital grounds. That’s when it was decided to relocate 21 patients to an MSF hospital in the Tabarre neighborhood of Haiti’s capital, once the shooting stopped. No staff or patients were injured during the violence, MSF told VOA. Read more
Amazon rainforest plots sold via Facebook Marketplace ads (BBC)
Parts of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook, the BBC has discovered.
The protected areas include national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples.
Some of the plots listed via Facebook’s classified ads service are as large as 1,000 football pitches.
Facebook said it was “ready to work with local authorities”, but indicated it would not take independent action of its own to halt the trade. Read more
Senior citizen ‘Granfluencers’ are making it rain on Instagram (NYPost)
When it comes to Instagram swagger, age doesn’t matter.
Shilling on social media is no longer just a young person’s game.
Web-savvy seniors called granfluencers are racking up thousands, even millions, of Instagram followers — along with mountains of money — by posting pics of themselves in scintillating outfits and other celeb-worthy snaps.
“Been stealing your man since 1928,” reads the tag line for the Instagram page of 92-year-old Helen Ruth Elam of Knoxville, Kentucky — known as baddiewinkle on the platform. In lieu of the usual knit sweaters and drab white Skechers, this glamorous grandma rocks an arsenal of flamboyant feather boas, bombastic sunglasses and other couture too colorful for an Andy Warhol painting.
First hitting the internet’s radar at the ripe old age of 85, the mother of one currently boasts 3.6 million Instagram followers and sponsorships that net her up to $9,815 per promo, the Daily Front Row reported. Read more
Israel freezes plan to send vaccines to foreign allies (AlJazeera)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plan to ship surplus coronavirus vaccines to a group of allied nations was frozen on Thursday following a legal challenge to the deal, his office announced.
It was the latest twist in a saga that has raised questions at home about Netanyahu’s decision-making authority, as well as his move to help far-flung nations in Africa and Latin America at a time when the neighbouring occupied Palestinian territories are struggling to secure their own vaccine supplies.
The plan has also illustrated how at a time of global shortages, the vaccine has become an asset that can be used for diplomatic gain.
Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that he had personally decided to share small quantities of surplus Israeli vaccines with allied nations. He did not identify the countries, but Israeli media reported that Israel would send shipments to 19 countries with close or growing ties with Israel. Read more
China’s detention of Irish businessman spotlights global issue (VOA)
After two years of discreet silence about his detention without charges in China, Irish businessman Richard O’Halloran finally spoke up this month.
His youngest child was only 5 years old when he traveled to Shanghai in February 2019 on what he expected to be a short business trip, O’Halloran said in an interview with Irish public broadcaster RTE.
Speaking from his hotel room which he describes as a virtual prison, O’Halloran said he found it very difficult to explain to the now 7-year-old “that daddy is not coming home, for your birthday, for your communion, for your confirmation, for Christmas.”
O’Halloran’s case is a showcase example of behavior that is to be targeted by a newly created 58-nation coalition launched last week to address state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes. Read more
Kano Pillars go top as Enyimba, Kwara United slip at home (DailyTrust)
Former champions, Kano Pillars assumed leadership of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, table for the first time this season after they managed to beat Sunshine Stars 1-0 in the week 12 fixture played yesterday at the Ahmadu Bello stadium Kaduna.
Nyima Nwagua’s 9th minute strike was enough to take the ‘Masu gida’ boys to the top of the table with 23 points after Enyimba FC and Kwara United shared the spoils with opponents on home soil.
While Akwa United rallied back to draw 1-1 with Enyimba in a fiercely contested duel, Kwara United also had to fight back to draw 1-1 with Abia Warriors in Ilorin.
Victory for Enyimba would have returned them to the top of the log but Akwa United’s substitute David Philip denied them the opportunity when he jabbed home Charles Atshimene’s knockdown in the 4th minute of second half added time. Read more
Man Utd ease into Europa League last 16 (BBC)
Shola Shoretire became the youngest player to appear for Manchester United in a European game as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side eased into the last-16 of the Europa League with a goalless draw against Real Sociedad.
At 17 years and 23 days, Newcastle-born Shoretire beat the record of Norman Whiteside by 108 days on a night when January signing Amad Diallo also made his first appearance at Old Trafford.
They were notable milestones on an evening when Bruno Fernandes went closest for the hosts in the opening period as he smashed a lay-off from Fred onto the crossbar.
However, the best chance turned into a miserable failure for visitors’ skipper Mikel Oyarzabal. Read more
UEFA launches probe into abuse aimed at Ibrahimovic (AlJazeera)
UEFA has opened a disciplinary investigation after Italian club AC Milan’s striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was subjected to ethnic abuse in last week’s Europa League match against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.
Serbian media reported that Ibrahimovic, who has Bosnian roots, was insulted by an individual seated in the Red Star stadium’s VIP box during the February 18 match.
“An Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed today to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding incidents which occurred during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 match,” UEFA said in a statement on Thursday.
Ibrahimovic did not play in the game but a TV channel broadcast scenes of the Swede as the voice of a man chanted an abusive term at him several times. Read more
Olympics gymnastics coach, charged with dozens of crimes, dies by suicide (VOA)
A former US Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar died by suicide Thursday after being charged with two dozen crimes, including forms of human trafficking, Michigan’s attorney general said.
The announcement from Attorney General Dana Nessel came about three hours after a news conference where Nessel announced that John Geddert was charged with crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise.
The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison.
Geddert was accused of turning his Michigan gym into a yearslong criminal enterprise by coercing girls to train under him and then verbally and physically abusing them. Read more
Bronny James suffers likely season-ending knee injury (NYPost)
LeBron James son’s basketball season is likely over.
Bronny James, who plays for Sierra Canyon High School, suffered a torn meniscus in his knee, according to a Los Angeles Daily News report on Thursday. Bronny, 16, had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
The injury happened about three weeks ago and is believed to be season-ending, according to the report. That could change depending on the status of high school basketball in California, which has not yet permitted indoor competition, including basketball and volleyball.
James, a sophomore, also recently mentioned he suffered the injury on Twitch, a live-streaming platform for video games, but did not say how it occurred.
According to 247Sports.com, James is a five-star-rated recruit for the class of 2023 and is ranked 19th nationally — regardless of position. He also is the No. 4-rated combo guard. Read more
Late Aubameyang goal sees Arsenal advance (BBC)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a dramatic late winner to help Arsenal edge past Benfica into the last 16 of the Europa League.
In a ‘home’ leg played at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, because of Covid-19 restrictions, Aubameyang opened the scoring to give the Gunners a 2-1 aggregate lead.
Diogo Goncalves levelled for Benfica just before the break with a superb free-kick after Dani Ceballos had needlessly fouled Julian Weigl.
The Spanish midfielder compounded that error after the interval with a poor defensive header that saw Rafa Silva race clear to put the visitors in front.With Arsenal needing two goals to advance because of the away goals rule, Kieran Tierney’s low drive set up a grandstand finish before Aubameyang rescued the tie. Read more