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Davido confirms 'wife' Chioma, is Corona positive - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : Music sensation, Davido, has confirmed that his 'wife' Chioma has contracted Coronavirus after returning to the count...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Davido confirms 'wife' Chioma, is Corona positive - ITREALMS

Music sensation, Davido, has confirmed that his 'wife' Chioma has contracted Coronavirus after returning to the country, reports ITREALMS.

Confirming this in a tweet, Davido wrote:

"Hey everyone ! I came back recently from America after cancelling tour. My fiancé Chioma also came back from London recently with our baby. We had no symptoms and still both feel perfectly fine but because of our recent travel history we decided to take ourselves and our all close associates we’ve come in recent contact with for the COVID-19 test on the 25th of March."

According to him, "Unfortunately, my fiancé’s results came back positive while all 31 others tested have come back negative including our baby. We are however doing perfectly fine and she is even still...yet to show any symptoms whatsoever. She is now being quarantined and I have also gone into full self isolation for the minimum 14 days."

Davido also assured that they are doing very well and used the opportunity to thank "you all for your endless love and prayers in advance and to urge everyone to please stay at home as ...."

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor

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NNPC, partners boost Covid-19 fight with N11b donation - ITREALMS

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has made an intervention of $30 million (about N11 billion) to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic and its attendant impact on the Nigerian economy, reports ITREALMS.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mele Kyari, disclosed this intervention initiative to 
ITREALMS on Friday in Abuja and said it was done in collaboration with its partners in the oil and gas industry, and in line with the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to curb COVID-19 spread in the country.

Kyari also said in a press statement available to 
ITREALMS that the intervention was aimed at supporting the country’s healthcare delivery facilities and would cover three major areas: Provision of medical consumables; deployment of logistics and in-patient support system; and delivery of medical infrastructure.

“The three thematic support initiatives amount to a total of $30 million (N11 billion) and will be delivered in phases, starting today.

“To address the increasing demand of medical services, we are immediately providing medical consumables covering testing kits, medical protective suits and ambulances to the highly impacted areas across the federation.

“This will be followed, in the next few days, with the deployment of ventilators, beds and temporary intensive care facilities across the geopolitical zones of the federation,” he said.

ITREALMS equally gathered that some of the industry players that partnered with the NNPC to make the intervention possible include the Niger Delta Petroleum Resources Limited, Oando Oil Limited, Oriental Energy Resources Limited, Pilar Oil Limited, Platform Petroleum Limited, SEPLAT Petroleum Development Company Plc and Shoreline Natural Resources.

In addition, were Suntrust Oil Company Nigeria Limited, Vertex Energy Limited, Waltersmith Petroleum Oil Limited and Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum Limited.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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COVID-19: 2bn-man prayer to be led by Pastors Chris, Benny Hinn worldwide - ITREALMS

Over 2 billion faithful have confirmed participation for the joint two-hour Global Day of Prayer event to be hosted by President, Loveworld Incorporated Rev. (Dr.) Chris Oyakhilome, and Pastor Benny Hinn, today Friday March 27, 2020, from 7pm to 9pm GMT+1, reports ITREALMS.

The two men of God, ITREALMS gathered, had declared this special prayer programme that will be broadcast LIVE on all LoveWorld TV networks, Ceflix, @PastorChrisLive super User handle on Kingschat, terrestrial TV stations, various Radio stations across the globe and also on various Internet and social media platforms.

This is a timely instruction of the Holy Ghost poised to change the narrative and free the world from the devastating effects caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. These God's generals will also be bringing a special message to the world during this program.

To this end, Christians around the world, irrespective of denominations, are now preparing to take a stand in unity against the forces of darkness causing panic and perplexity in the world today, as they observe this Global Day of Prayer. This is a special call to prayer according to the inspiration of God’s Spirit.

It is a faith response to restore hope amidst the growing fear and confusion expressed by different governments of the world in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic. Through effective prayers, there is an assurance that the nations will be liberated from the siege of this pandemic.

In the featured video, Pastor Chris and Pastor Benny unveil deep truths about the events being witnessed across the world today in relation to Bible prophecies. They emphasize the need for the body Christ to unite in prayers and put a stop to the devil’s schemes as the Church is the only hope for the world.

Over Two billion people are expected to participate in the #GlobalDayofPrayer with Pastor Chris and Pastor Benny Hinn as the publicity for the programme has reached top gear. According to Pastor Chris, “Over 2 billion people have already indicated they will join what tonight may be the largest prayer meeting ever.”

Some of the local Television Stations that will broadcast this global event live today from 7pm include Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), AIT, TVC, STV, SuperScreen, MiTV, LTV, Galaxy TV, NTA2 Lagos, NTA10 Lagos, Wazobia TV, ITV, RSTV among others.

It will be recalled that LoveWorld President Pastor Chris Oyakhilome on March 1, 2020, during his Monthly Global Service and Communion prayed for the entire world going through anxiety as a result of a global pestilence that has been raging since late last year.

He prayed: “Father, in the name of Jesus Christ…thank you for your word that has been given to us. Lord you told us that in the last days, there will be perplexity of nations. Men’s heart failing them from fear because of the things they will see…because of the terrible experiences in the nations of the world,”

“Right now Lord, many are afraid because of this deadly virus orchestrated by the devil, but you gave us power over every unclean spirits…to cast them out and cure diseases. In the name of our Lord Jesus, we come against the Corona virus from the very cause of it…from the very root of it. And we come against the devils, the demons that spearheaded this project.

“You devils of sickness and disease…you evil spirit behind the Corona virus, it is said that your work started in China, but wherever you started from and whatever nations you have gone, we break your influence now in the name of Jesus and we command you to stop your operations and your maneuvers over the governments of the world.

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, every demon of darkness that is involved in this wicked onslaught against the nations of the world. You devils of darkness that are responsible for destroying lives and economies of nations through fear of the Corona virus, we bind you; we break your influence in the name of Jesus.

“We command you now to stop in your tracks in the name of Jesus Christ. Your works are now frustrated. We dispatch angels of God to go forth and cause the vaccines to be made available; to come into operation; solution to come to men in their various nations; the cure to be available and cheap by the wisdom of God, be released into the nations now. In the name of Jesus, there is an answer and there is cure right now in the name of Jesus Christ. And there will be no more fear of it by the power of the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Chinese Virus: Nigerian govt lacks citizens cooperation, blames religious leaders - ITREALMS

Nigerian Government has lamented that citizens are not cooperating at this moment in combating the Chinese virus also known as Coronavirus or Covid-19, reports ITREALMS.

This is coming as the most populous nation on the continent is on the verge of community spread of this scourge.

The Federal Government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave these indications on Thursday in Abuja, blaming some Nigerians for not complying with relevant government directives at this time, especially religious leaders.

“The government is not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians,” he decried.

In addition, he said some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings while some religious leaders willfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing.

As said by Lai Mohammed, the government is doing its best but Nigerians equally need to do their best as well.

“We need the citizens to do their best too,” he said.

Emphasising that Nigeria has now gone past the stage of persuasion, unto to “time for strong enforcement,” the Minister maintained.

Nigerians, he insisted, need to support the authorities in this regard.

“We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread,” Lai Mohammed warned.
As at 10:28pm on Thursday, March 26, 2020, ITREALMS gathered that Nigeria has recorded 65 cases across 8 states; 14 new cases of #COVID19 have been confirmed in Nigeria: 1 in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), 1 in Bauchi and 12 in Lagos.

According to NCDC update available to 
ITREALMS, “of the 14, 6 were detected on a vessel, 3 are returning travelers and 2 are close contacts of confirmed cases.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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Anambra to close market by Monday, March 30, 2020 - ITREALMS

The Anambra State Government has directed the closure of markets across the state for 14 days with effect ‪from Monday, 30th March, 2020‬, reports ITREALMS.

Secretary to Anambra State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, disclosed this Thursday to 
ITREALMS, saying that the decision was part of ongoing measures by Anambra state government to stop the spread of Coronavirus, "All markets in Anambra State will be closed ‪from Monday, 30th March, 2020‬ for 14 days."

In addition, he directed that "Only businesses selling food items and medicines are authorised to stay open during the closure. Such businesses should however observe social distance protocols and other coronavirus health advisory already in place in Anambra State.

"During the 14-day period also, traders should stay at home and not move about.

"This directive will be reviewed at the end of the 14-day period and further directives will be communicated.

"The executive and members of Anambra State Market Traders Association (ASMATA), executive and members of various market associations, market men and women are hereby directed to strictly comply with this directive.

"Members of Anambra State Covid-19 Task Force, the police and other security agencies should strictly enforce this directive.

"This is in the best interest of all of us. Please help us to fight this Pandemic," he pleaded.

Ozo Nweke Ozo/Editor

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Covid-19: FG declares 4,370 persons wanted, suspects filling false addresses, phone numbers - ITREALMS

The Federal Government (FG) has declared some 4,370 persons wanted for Coronavirus-related cases. Reports ITREALMS.

This came as Nigeria, Thursday recorded 65 cases across 8 states, while those who flew into the country lately, filled false information including non-existing addresses and phone numbers respectively.

The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made these revelations to 
ITREALMS in Abuja, saying that some 4,370 persons are on high-case tracing by the authorities.

“We have 4,370 people of interest whom we are tracing. We urge those who have had contact with suspected cases to immediately report to the authorities,” he declared.

He urged Nigerians to support the authorities in this regard, stressing that “We are on the verge of reaching the level of community spread.”

This, he said, the country must stop immediately or “we will record exponential cases in the days ahead. There is no better way to say this.”

The Minister also lamented that the government is not getting the kind of cooperation that this moment deserves from Nigerians.

“Many are busy engaging in meaningless criticisms instead of complying with the stipulated directives to keep people safe.

“Some Nigerians who flew into the country from overseas filled wrong addresses and phone numbers in their forms, making it difficult to trace them when the need arises

“Some Nigerians defied orders to stay away from large gatherings while some religious leaders willfully flouted the directives to ensure social distancing.

According to him, the government is doing its best but Nigerians need to do their best too.

“We need the citizens to do their best too. We have now gone past the stage of persuasion. It's time for strong enforcement,” Mohammed said.

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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NCC rolls out measures to deal with COVID-19 - ITREALMS

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed measures being put in place by the telecom regulator to deal with the scourge of COVID-19, reports ITREALMS.

The Commission said its working in conjunction with industry players and all other government agencies to reduce the frequency of physical meetings all through the period of the coronavirus outbreak and consider alternative electronic meeting platforms, in order to reduce person to person contact that may arise from travels or meetings.

Departments within the Commission that interface with customers have developed e-platforms where all licensing requests, consumer complaints and BTS investigation requests could be channeled or provide designated e-mail addresses to be used for such requests throughout the pandemic period.

The Commission has also approved resource sharing by operators throughout the period of coronavirus. These include fibre optics cables and other resources in the event of cable cuts and other unforeseen developments during the period of coronavirus outbreak.

The Commission has also directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes are in tandem with government initiatives to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic in order to provide safety and support aid materials that will protect the public against coronavirus.

All social and official visits to the Commission have been cancelled immediately and visitors advised to use relevant online platforms and or telephone services in accessing the Commission’s services.

For those who may be affected, we implore them to take advantage of the Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) by dialing the toll free number 112.

The NCC supports Right of Passage (RoP) for all telecommunications members for easy movement in the event of a total lockdown and or restriction of movement.

The regulator is also in support of RoP for suppliers that are involved in supplies of fuels, foods and other support services to telecom operators, to allow for free movement in the event of partial or total lockdown as a result of the coronavirus.

We are in touch with Law Enforcement Agencies to constantly protect telecom infrastructure nationwide.

We will come out from time to time with enlightenment information on the dangers of the virus so that consumers can be guided accordingly.

Since we are in this together, no effort would be spared to bring this deadly disease to an end.

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Paradigm Initiative releases 'Violation Reloaded' on Digital Rights - ITREALMS

A pan-African social enterprise working to advance digital rights and inclusion in Africa, the Paradigm Initiative, has released the 2019 Digital Rights in Africa (DRA) report, ITREALMS can confirm.

Building on previous reports published since 2016, the Digital Rights in Africa Report 2019, 
ITREALMS gathered, gives an in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights in Africa, and examines violations such as Internet disruptions, illegal surveillance, arrest of bloggers and the passage of hurtful legislation, amongst others.

According to Babatunde Okunoye, Research Officer at Paradigm Initiative, “the 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report, titled, ‘Violations Reloaded: Government Overreach Persists Despite Increased Civil Society Advocacy’ takes a critical look at the state of digital rights in 13 African countries – Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Speaking about the findings of the report, Emmanuel Vitus, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative said, “African countries are now adopting repressive models of Informational controls borrowed from authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China — a worrying signal which forebodes ill for the future of open and inclusive societies in Africa.” He continued: “This happens through a motley of targeted shutdowns, surveillance, arbitrary legislation to silence digital users. African nations are becoming adept at controlling information both inside and outside their borders”.

“In addition to the publication of the 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report, we are currently working with a media company to convert the report into a short movie. This will be followed by regional media briefings that will discuss our findings from the report, across Paradigm Initiative’s offices in Accra, Abuja, Arusha, Lagos, Lusaka and Yaoundé, later in the year. The report is available for download, via Paradigm Initiative’s website, in English and French,” said Adeboye Adegoke, Digital Rights Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative.

Bulanda Nkhowani, Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights Program Officer for Southern Africa, and a report contributor, stated, “Digital rights have become increasingly contested in Africa, with rights-limiting legislation, Internet shutdowns and other violations regularly headlining international media reporting. The 2019 Digital Rights in Africa Report investigates and documents these violations, serving as a body of evidence for advocacy for greater digital rights. In the fight against digital rights violations in Africa, civil society must persevere and use all the tools at their disposal, including research, to ensure that digital rights become respected and upheld.’’

Paradigm Initiative wishes to express a profound appreciation to the Netherlands Embassy, Ford Foundation and OSIWA for their support in producing this report. Their continued support for digital rights programs in Nigeria, and the rest of Africa, has been pivotal to ensuring that human rights in the digital age remains a priority.

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COVID-19: TJAA urges media owners to prioritise journalists welfare - ITREALMS

With over 15,000 deaths due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and rising infection rate globally, an advocacy group under the aegis of Times Journalism Alumni Association(TJAA), has called on media owners especially in Nigeria and Africa to place a high premium on the welfare of journalists who risk their lives daily to inform, educate and entertain the world, reports ITREALMS.

Intervening against the backdrop of increasing cases of the COVID-19 infections worldwide, Chairman of TJAA, Clifford Agugoesi, noted that journalists are almost always on the go and must really stretch themselves to limits to be available where the news is happening and to be able to report this accurately, timeously and this peculiarity of their job exposes them to great risk and many have actually paid the supreme prize in the pursuit of professional duties and excellence.

“We urge employers of journalists to treat them with greater respect, compassion and dignity as no time in the history of mankind has the vulnerability and gullibility of humans, particularly our colleagues and members, being so exposed as under the COVID-19 crisis period.

“We specifically call on employers of journalists and our members in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular to prioritise their welfare more than ever before.

“As actuality reporters, we cannot pretend that all is well with our members. They are not immune from pathogen exposure, long working hours, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, physical, emotional and psychological violence and cannot be left to their devices.

“Our employers owe us a duty at this time to empower us to work efficiently and effectively because it is only under this milieu that their maximum productivity is guaranteed.

While we appreciate the role of the World Health Organisation(WHO), global experts, governments, private sector employers and development partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus and to provide timely advice on measures to protect people’s health and prevent the spread of this outbreak, we appeal to employers of our members in Nigeria and Africa to up their games on our members’ welfare which, at best is currently despicable and, at worse, non-existent at all in some cases.

We cannot afford to play the ostrich at this time as COVID-19 has virtually met two of the three factors for a pandemic -rapid sickness and death and sustained person-to-person transmission and analysts saying the third criterion-worldwide spread of the virus, seems like just a matter of time.

There is no gainsaying fact that journalists face a direct threat to their health and lives and this is an opportune time for employers to show serious concern on their plight. Journalists are the most important resource wherever they are employed and their employers must, as a matter of priority, provide them with the requisite tools and conducive environment to work in and avail them of appropriate protective gears to keep them safe and secure in the course of work, especially at this period of the COVID-19 pandemic. They must also put in place policies that promote the highest level of state of health of mind and body of reporters and reduce to the barest minimum, pressures borne by those who fall sick in the course of active service while putting in place a good retirement regime for those who retire.

To prevent or halt global spread, several countries have imposed travel bans to and from China and other countries and many events around the world have been cancelled or postponed indefinitely.

For journalists, this means fewer events to cover. All journalism beats are impacted although in varying degrees. From sports, maritime, aviation, religion, capital/money markets, insurance through technology, labour, defence et cetera, their experience is the same and confounding for most reporters.

It is a known fact media professionals face a direct threat to their health and lives as well and the situation is more dire in many developing countries who lack the resources to test and identify those infected with the virus and put up with the nagging fear that the virus may already be circulating in the local population.

Our thoughts go out especially for the freelance community, some of whom have to be on the go to meet their basic needs. In fact, these are the worst-hit since they have neither health insurance nor leave benefits and need to be out in the field often which compounds an already bad case of meeting extra expenses such as working with facemasks and sticking to the safer and therefore costlier eating places to grab a quick bite. For this category of reporters, preventive measures such as density reduction, social distancing and their likes are neither here nor there because remaining at home equates with literally committing suicide.

We have gone at length to bring these concerns in the public space and passionately appeal to stakeholders in journalism to be more responsible and responsive to reporters who keep the world informed, educated and entertained on a regular basis. We appeal to governments at all levels to do all within their powers-policy, regulatory and legal, among others, to ensure that journalism and journalists had the best working environments and enjoyed the best working conditions that conduce to increased productivity and a buoyant economy.

On their part, we advised reporters themselves to understand they are humans and must be guided by rules and regulations that lead to a safer and more secure humanity. It might be nice to see productivity maximised while working remotely via telecommuting and engaging in virtual office meetings. Instead of running face-to-face interviews, it might be a good idea in the era of COVID-19 to do online interviewing and limit as much as possible, contacts with their interviewees, except where adequate safety and security measures have been certified by relevant professionals. Online press coverage needs to be seriously considered to minimise human contact and exposure and enable reporters to carry on even while confined to bed.

In addition, for reporters to always sanitise their microphones and recording gadgets with respect to broadcast journalists whereas maintaining the prescribed one (1) meter distance with others. 

Uj. N. Dominic/Editor
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COVID-19: Pastors Chris, Benny Hinn leverage technology to host global prayer session - ITREALMS

The global President, Loveworld Incorporated Reverend (Dr.) Chris Oyakhilome and Pastor Benny Hinn, have declared a Global Day of Prayer, reports ITREALMS.

This special prayer programme is slated to hold tomorrow Friday, March 27, 2020 at 7pm GMT+1 or 2pm EST, and it will be broadcast LIVE on all LoveWorld TV networks, terrestrial TV stations, various Radio stations across the globe and also on various internet platforms.

This is a timely instruction of the Holy Ghost poised to change the narrative and free the world from the devastating effects caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. God's generals will also be bringing a special message to the world during this program.

To this end, Christians around the world, irrespective of denominations, are now preparing to take a stand in unity against the forces of darkness causing panic and perplexity in the world today, as they observe this Global Day of Prayer. This is a special call to prayer according to the inspiration of God’s Spirit.

It is a faith response to restore hope amidst the growing fear and confusion expressed by different governments of the world in the wake of the Coronavirus epidemic. Through effective prayers, there is an assurance that the nations will be liberated from the siege of this pandemic.

In the featured video, Pastor Chris and Pastor Benny unveil deep truths about the events being witnessed across the world today in relation to Bible prophecies. They emphasize the need for the body Christ to unite in prayers and put a stop to the devil’s schemes as the Church is the only hope for the world.

Over One billion people are expected to participate in the #GlobalDayofPrayer as the publicity for the programme has reached top gear.

It will be recalled that LoveWorld President Pastor Chris Oyakhilome on March 1, 2020, during his Monthly Global Service and Communion prayed for the entire world going through anxiety as a result of a global pestilence that has been raging since late last year.

He prayed: “Father, in the name of Jesus Christ…thank you for your word that has been given to us. Lord you told us that in the last days, there will be perplexity of nations. Men’s heart failing them from fear because of the things they will see…because of the terrible experiences in the nations of the world,”

“Right now Lord, many are afraid because of this deadly virus orchestrated by the devil, but you gave us power over every unclean spirits…to cast them out and cure diseases. In the name of our Lord Jesus, we come against the Corona virus from the very cause of it…from the very root of it. And we come against the devils, the demons that spearheaded this project.

“You devils of sickness and disease…you evil spirit behind the Corona virus, it is said that your work started in China, but wherever you started from and whatever nations you have gone, we break your influence now in the name of Jesus and we command you to stop your operations and your maneuvers over the governments of the world.

“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, every demon of darkness that is involved in this wicked onslaught against the nations of the world. You devils of darkness that are responsible for destroying lives and economies of nations through fear of the Corona virus, we bind you; we break your influence in the name of Jesus.

“We command you now to stop in your tracks in the name of Jesus Christ. Your works are now frustrated. We dispatch angels of God to go forth and cause the vaccines to be made available; to come into operation; solution to come to men in their various nations; the cure to be available and cheap by the wisdom of God, be released into the nations now. In the name of Jesus, there is an answer and there is cure right now in the name of Jesus Christ. And there will be no more fear of it by the power of the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Chuks Egbune/Editor

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COVID-19: ROAM Africa asks 400 staff to work from home - ITREALMS

Leading classified group in Africa, the ROAM Africa (Ringier One Africa Media) has sent over 400 staff on Work From Home across eight countries on the continent, reports ITREALMS.

ROAM Africa, 
ITREALMS gathered made this known Wednesday in order for all employees to work remotely as part of efforts to protect workforce from the COVID-19 virus.

In February, ROAM Africa increased travel restrictions and implemented a self-quarantine policy for its staff traveling to countries with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.

"As COVID-19 continues to spread across the continent, ROAM Africa moved to mandate the new remote work policy," sources from the company revealed.

"Starting this week, 400 staff in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa are working remotely," says the Clemens Weitz, ROAM Africa CEO.

“Covid-19 pandemic is a global challenge, but African countries face particular headwinds from the virus given their fragile economies and underdeveloped health care systems. Its impact in the region could be severe. In these unprecedented times, we’re committed to the safety of our staff. Our employees’ well-being and health are critical to our ability to continue our important work of connecting people to opportunity,” he said.

ROAM Africa’s Head of Talent, Heather O’Shea is leading the shift to remote operations, stressed that the most important thing right now is the safety and well-being of staff members - and ROAM has been swift to move to a remote working policy.

"But working from home can be challenging, so this is only the start: the challenge is to equip our people and teams with the right mindset and tools to work effectively from home. This comes with investments that we are willing to make,” said O’Shea.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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COVID 19: FirstBank to solve education challenges on parents - ITREALMS

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has revealed they are partnering the government and other stakeholders in curtailing the widespread of COVID-19, reports ITREALMS.

This, Adeduntan said would happen by putting in place complementary efforts in education to support students and minimize the disruption to education resulting from schools’ closure. 

Following the activation of the Bank’s Business Continuity Process and subsequent deployment of safety initiatives and measures implemented across its business outlets nationwide, First Bank said these would help flatten the curve and ensure the safety and well-being of staff customers and other stakeholders.

Dr Adeduntan explained that many parents are concerned about children and wards whose education is truncated by the current crisis and are particularly worried about keeping children at home idle as all schools from primary through to tertiary institutions are closed across the nation. Emphasising the urgent need to ensure that our children are not disadvantaged, remain engaged and stay safe during this period, he announced the Bank has concluded plans with the necessary authorities to enable as many children as possible access e-learning.

Speaking on the initiative to enable as many children move on to safe e-learning, Dr Adeduntan said “we are warmed by the fact that different organizations have risen to the various challenges and are supporting in areas such as health and welfare, and we feel the peculiar needs of our children and youth must not be left out and have therefore elected to focus on contributing to solving the current education challenge. Education remains the bedrock of any society and we believe that when we educate our children we enable our nation and produce global citizens who provide ground breaking solutions for the continent and the world at large. So, building educational partnerships is an avenue to support our children to remain resourceful and fully engaged at this time so they can compete favorably with their peers internationally. It’s a responsible approach to empower them given that they are our future and the foundation to build our country to greatness. By partnering on this we are solving a problem for families and for our future.”

To this end, we are working with the States; United Nations Global Compact; innovative technology firms such as Robert & John to provide e-learning solution with the Government approved curriculum for students across the country. The roll out begins first week in April starting with Lagos State where FirstBank will support the roll out of Roducate which has been adjudged a best fit solution by educators, teachers and all necessary authorities. This solution has the full curriculum on both the online and offline versions with the offline version of particular interest as it eliminates the challenge posed by data affordability.

We call on well-meaning organisations and individuals to join us and collectively rise to address the challenges this current pandemic presents to our children and youth and are reaching out to other organisations with complementary solutions to also partner on this initiative for the youth who are our future. They must not be lost in this pandemic’.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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COVID 19: Fayemi says economic implication wont hinder project completion, salary payment - ITREALMS

The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has assured the people of the State that the current economic challenges occasioned by the outbreak of Coronavirus, in the Country would not stop salary payment and completion of legacy projects and other developmental initiatives in the State, reports ITREALMS.

The Governor, gave the assurance at the Civil Centre complex in Ado Ekiti, during an inspection of some building and road projects in the State on Monday.

The Governor also inspected facilities at the state's isolation centre in Ado- Ekiti where he interacted with some health workers on duty.

Fayemi said the enormous pressure on the finances of the State would not cause projects to be abandoned as stipulated in the State's Transition law.

He explained that the current priority of his administration in the face of the current economic situation is to maintain recurrent expenditure, particularly in relation to salaries of workers, which he said remained a top priority.

Reiterating commitment to the completion of the projects, Fayemi said; "these are legacy projects and we are not going to leave them abandoned, don't forget that we have a law now in Ekiti, that says you can not abandon a project as a government."

The Governor, expressed satisfaction at the pace at which the contractors were working, adding that they have exhibited commitment to delivering the projects within the time frame given to them by the State government.

Speaking on the Civic centre, the Governor revealed that the contractor handling the project had made significant progress since his last visit to the site with the hope that the work would be completed by May, "the elevations are up, the generator is here, the tilings have been completed inside.
The ceiling work is being done, the air conditioning unit, the electrical, as far as the Civic centre is concerned, I think they have almost finished the internal works, what remain is the external work and the outer element of the work." He added.

Fayemi further disclosed that the abandoned phase 5 lots 1&2 of the Secretariat building would be completed by August this year. He said: in all the other places that I have been to work is progressing well, the buildings at the Secretariat are still on course for completion, by August 2020, this (referring to the Civic centre) definitely should be finished by May at the rate at which they are going, all that will remain are the external works that they will have to do.

He also revealed that the new Ado-Iyin road which was expected to be completed by April, 2021 has been opened up to Iyin axis, with majority of the rocks blasted and asphalt laid on about two kilometers part of the road, adding that enumeration of the work would soon start.

"They will do the enumeration and then do the clearing and then start the construction work as far as that is concerned. The road has been opened up to Iyin now, so in fact we drove in from Iyin axis of the road.

"I also think from what the contractor said and from what we can see they are on course for completion early 2021 as they promised by April, 2021. I think the entire road should be ready for use."

The Governor, accompanied by Commissioner for Works, Mr Sola Adebayo, Commissioner for Information, Aare Olumuyiwa ,Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on works and infrastructure, Mr Sunday Adumo and other top government officials also visited the Aramoko Erinjiyan road, the newly constructed Erio bridge, ongoing Water reservoir at Fajuyi in Ado Ekiti and drainage work at the Oba Adejuyigbe Hospital.

Ayo Midele/Editor

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

COVID-19: NCDC website is down for redesigning - ITREALMS

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) is redesigning its websites at this time of great need, when the world and citizens look up for updates on daily basis, reports ITREALMS.

A visit to www.ncdc.gov.ng showed that visitors are welcome with a note display affirming that “You are in the right place.”

The note also informs visitors that the website of NCDC is undergoing redesign to fulfill its mandate of protecting the health of Nigerians citizens.

Equally, the note urged visitors to follow NCDC on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter for updates.

NCDC, ITREALMS gathered, was established in 2011 as the Nigeria's leading national public health institute in response to the challenges of public health emergencies and to enhance infection disease.



Currently, ITREALMS further gathered that Nigeria has recorded 46 cases of corona virus with one death.

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ARC takes measures over Covid-19 pandemic, provides business continuity plan - ITREALMS

The African Risk Capacity in response to the COVID19 pandemic has announced health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among its personnel and stakeholders countries where it has physical presence as well as provide a business continuity plan, reports ITREALMS.

In his message to ARC staff on Wednesday March 18, UN-ASG and Director-General Mohamed Beavogui indicated that the purpose of the measures is to ensure the safety of ARC staff, their family members and the communities in which they live. “We are doing our best to ensure that you are protected, safe, and healthy under the disruptive circumstances we find ourselves and to be able to remain effective and efficient in fulfilling our obligations to our Member States, donors and other stakeholders even at minimal acceptable levels”, he affirmed.

Senior Communication Specialist, African Risk Capacity (ARC), Mr. Chinedu Moghalu, informed 
ITREALMS that ARC adopted a detailed Business Continuity Plan to help prevent, manage and mitigate the effects of the pandemic on staff and their families; and also sustain its operations in the event that the crisis escalates in Africa.

ARC in a press statement available to 
ITREALMS, outlined some measures put in place to include:

1. Reduction of staff members that work from the office to a ‘business-critical’ level, as determined by the Director-General and in line with our Business Continuity Plan;

2. The rest of ARC staff are working from home since Monday, March 16 while we monitor and assess the situation within South Africa and globally;

3. ARC has put in place virtual systems, including video conferencing in lieu of physical meetings, until further notice to ensure that its work with Member States and partners is not unduly hampered by the current situation. Therefore, all stakeholder engagements requiring local or foreign travels, including conferences, workshops and seminars have been postponed until further notice;

4. Any ARC personnel who has recently returned from official duty to any of the hotspots of the COVID19 pandemic has been requested to self-quarantine for the mandatory period of 14-day observation; and

5. In line with WHO rules on responding to COVID19, all staff, their family members, and stakeholders are encouraged not to panic about the Coronavirus; but rather take all the necessary precautions to stay healthy in line with the Personal Protective Precautions (PPP) as we continue to monitor the evolution of the situation.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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COVID-19: WMD2020 to highlight strong health systems, keys to zero malaria - ITREALMS

The 2020 World Malaria Day will highlight the importance of robust health and surveillance systems and sustaining malaria prevention and control interventions as the world grapples with COVID-19, helping ensure millions of the most vulnerable are protected from malaria, reports ITREALMS.

The global awareness day will also emphasize the importance of upholding progress and commitments made in the global fight to end malaria.

World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April each year to raise awareness of the global burden of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that puts half the world at risk and kills a child every two minutes. Led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, World Malaria Day educates citizens in malaria affected countries on simple actions they can take to prevent malaria, highlights the impact of investments in ending malaria, and engages community, national and global leaders to ensure ending malaria remains a priority on the global agenda. In 2018, these investments saved almost 600,000 lives and prevented nearly 100 million malaria cases compared to 2000 levels.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Malaria Day 2020 will urge greater investment in building and supporting resilient health systems to protect and advance progress against existing infectious diseases like malaria and be prepared to effectively address new outbreaks like COVID-19.

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, noted that as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the critical importance of strong health systems to fight deadly infectious diseases like malaria, which is still one of the leading causes of child mortality across Africa. Progress against malaria can only be achieved with increased investment, and World Malaria Day is a crucial opportunity to remind global leaders of their commitments to end this preventable and treatable disease. We must close the annual US $2 billion gap in funding to reach all those at risk with the life-saving malaria tools they need, and boost research and development of new, transformative tools to stop the cycle of extreme poverty. This will further strengthen existing efforts to address ongoing public health challenges like malaria and emerging ones like COVID-19.”

The global theme for World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, emphasizes everyone’s power and responsibility – no matter where they live – to ensure no one dies from a mosquito bite. The theme is inspired by the pan-African movement of the same name, which engages and enables political leaders, the private sector, communities, and other members of society to take actions that will protect their families and help communities and countries thrive. Already, 14 countries have launched national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns, and several others are planning to do so this year, in support of this growing movement.

World Malaria Day 2020 will highlight, recognize and revitalize the involvement of high-burden countries in Africa, which account for approximately 70% of the global malaria burden. Messages will engage political decision-makers, the private sector, civil society, the academic community and the public to take ownership of global malaria control and elimination efforts.

It will also shine a spotlight on the successes achieved in reducing the malaria burden around the world, including countries like India and those in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that made significant progress in recent years, as well as on countries recently certified malaria-free or that are on track to reach the 2020 elimination milestone set out in the global malaria strategy.

Malaria is increasingly a disease of poverty and inequity, with the most vulnerable at greatest risk of dying from a mosquito bite – particularly pregnant women and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, nearly 900,000 children in 38 African countries were born with a low birth weight due to malaria in pregnancy, and children under five still accounted for two-thirds of all malaria deaths worldwide.

Nenye Dom/Editor


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COVID-19: ITU launches platform to protect networks - ITREALMS

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has launched a global platform to help protect telecommunication networks during the COVID-19 crisis, reports ITREALMS.

The Secretary-General, ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao made this disclosure to 
ITREALMS, saying that the new platform will assist governments and the private sector in ensuring that networks are kept resilient and telecommunication services are available to all Infrastructure cum Emergency communications.

Never before have telecommunication networks been so vital to our health and safety, and to keep our economy and society working, as during the COVID-19 crisis we are living through today. As a result, I have instructed my team to leverage without any delay ITU's existing regulatory and policy-maker platform to help countries and industry cope with the increasing stress being put on global networks.

At stake is our ability, as one human family, to give health workers everywhere the tools they need to carry out their duties, to allow all those that can to work from home, to trade online, to ensure that hundreds of millions of children and young people keep up with their studies, and to keep in touch with loved ones, wherever they are.

The platform ITU is launching today aims to assist national policy-makers, regulators and industry stakeholders to ensure that networks are kept resilient and telecommunication services are available to all to the maximum extent possible by sharing best practices and initiatives put in place during the COVID-19 crisis. It will collect relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on actions that telecommunication policy-makers, regulators and others in the regulatory community can use to ensure that their telecommunication networks and services serve the needs of their country.

The new Global Network Resiliency Platform (#REG4COVID) is available here.

This new ITU platform will provide countries struggling to find appropriate solutions to ensure their networks' resiliency with relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on how to cope with the stresses faced by their infrastructure. And because time is of the essence, it will give those countries that still have time to prepare an opportunity to learn from what is being done elsewhere – from emergency spectrum reassignments to guidelines for consumers on responsible use. Serving initially as an informative tool, the Global Network Resiliency Platform will soon be expanded to provide an interactive and engaging platform for continuous sharing throughout this crisis and beyond.

The crisis we are in today calls for solidarity.

In these uncertain times, we should not forget all those around the world who still lack access to the Internet. As the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, ITU has long advocated for universal, reliable and affordable connectivity, and we will continue to push on all these fronts until everyone is connected.

"I call on all ITU members, from the public and private sector alike, to come together to build the best platform we can so that information and communication technology can help defeat COVID-19 and make us safer, stronger and more connected," he said.

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FG alerts Nigerians: coronavirusapp is ransomware - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The Federal Government (FG) has alerted Nigerians over the malicious and fraudulent Coronavirus Ransomware Application on Androids, reports ITREALMS.

This, they said claims to provide updates on the virus and infections near the user.

Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Ransomware blocks access to users' personal data and accounts and threatens deletion, unless users pay One Hundred US Dollars ($100) in Bitcoin within 48 hours.

He said the Ransomware App, detected on the website www.coronavirusapp.site, prompts users to download an Android App purportedly for coronavirus map tracking and heat map visuals.

Alhaji Mohammed said the development confirms warnings against cyber criminals seeking to exploit the growing spread of the virus for nefarious gains.

He therefore called on the general public not to download the Ransomware App and to seek updates on the pandemic only from the appropriate authorities.

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Covid-19 lockdown: ATCON seeks free movement for telco's technical staff

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has requested that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to initiate the process of National Right of passage for all technical staff of telecommunications companies in the event of foreseeable lockdown, reports ITREALMS.

ATCON through its Executive Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude noted this has become imperative because either the Federal Government or the State Government in an attempt to curb the spread of Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

"This request is made because of the essential nature of telecommunications infrastructures in managing the entire situation and the need for maintenance and repairs that may arise during the possible lockdown," he said.

ATCON, he said, counts on NCC to expedite action in this regard while they appreciated the Commission for being proactive and attentive.

"We also urge all our teeming members and their staff to comply with all the guidelines stipulated by the Federal Ministry of Health and all relevant authorities at State levels," ATCON Executive Secretary said.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Deregistration: ANRP slams INEC with N2bn suit - ITREALMS

ITREALMS
Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) has dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to court and is claiming N2 billion in damages for the election management body claiming to have delisted her as a duly-registered political party, and bringing her hard-earned name and brand value to disrepute.

The grounds of our action in the suit filed at the Federal High Court Abuja are: 

1. That section 225A of the constitution which gave INEC power to deregister, not providing a procedure for a party sought to be registered to make representation to INEC before the decision is made, is invalid being in conflict with S.36 (1) and (2) of the constitution whoch provides for fair hearing in the determination of rights and obligations of any person as an inalienable right.

2. The powers granted under section 225A have not arisen given that the section envisages that all events of deregistration must have occurred before the power is exercised. In this case, INEC itself admitted.

3. There are already extant orders of and proceedings of the court preventing INEC from exercising the power which it went ahead to do. For instance, order of perpetual injunction confirmed by the Court of Appeal in  Jezie Ekejiuba V Inec & Anor , as well as  Advance Congress of Democrats & 32 Ors v AG Fed & INEC .

4. The powers granted under S225A ought not to operate retroactively in imposing the penalty of deregistration  on parties existing before its enactment when deregistration was not a term of registration at the time and winning elections  is not part of the exhaustive constitutional provisions on the objectives of a political party. 

The matter is yet to be assigned to a particular court as well a date for the legal fireworks to commence, after which the defendant, INEC, will be served the court processes.

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COVID-19: Konga reiterates last mile deliveries for customers, govts - ITREALMS

Despite the worrying trajectory of the coronavirus (COVID-19) which is fast spreading across Nigeria, Konga, Nigeria’s foremost e-commerce giant, has announced its determination to continuously deploy its huge nationwide delivery and warehousing infrastructure to assist the government in reaching the citizenry with essential needs; even as it has reassured its customer base of its commitment in ensuring that they are served with essential requirements, irrespective of their locations.

The composite e-commerce giant was arguably one of the first Nigerian corporates to anticipate the coronavirus challenge, long before it assumed the current status of an impending national crisis. As a matter of fact, weeks before the pandemic started spreading rapidly across Nigeria, Konga had internally activated a comprehensive preventive compliance system which drew widespread commendation. In addition, Konga’s thoughtfulness and high-level emergency readiness, which had seen it receive high praises from several quarters, had seen it deploy its considerable structure and resources in the face of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Among these is the set-up of a COVID-19 response desk to handle enquiries and requests and the launch of multiple partnerships to assure lowest prices for customers on products across categories including genuine drugs and other related health products for its customers.

Equally important, the management of Konga had also put up millions of Naira in palliatives to support shoppers throughout this period, which Nigerians had already started benefitting from.

Prince Nnamdi Ekeh Co-CEO, Konga Group, affirms that the company will not relent in its determination to stand with Nigerians through these trying times.

‘‘Konga as a composite e-commerce group is proud to stand with Nigerians at this time. Certainly, the country faces an uncertain period with the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we understand that Nigeria needs us now more than ever before. As a result, we are determined to put our considerable infrastructure at the disposal of the governments and in supporting our customers in these tough times.

‘‘We are structured to anticipate emergencies and situations like this which the world is facing at the moment. This is evident in the speed with which we responded in setting up a series of responsive systems and initiatives when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out.

‘‘Across Nigeria, Konga boasts of internally owned and secured massive regional state-of-the-art digital warehouses in Lagos, Abuja, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan, Warri, Enugu, among others as well as our nearly 40 network of physical stores dispersed across Nigeria’s landscape with 16 operational stores in Lagos alone. Added to this is a large chain of digitally-powered delivery trucks, vans, vehicles and motorcycles. All these assets will be placed at the disposal of the Federal and State governments for the delivery of essentials such as medical equipment, drugs, testing kits and other supplies and in reaching our customers at the last mile this period.’’

Consequently, Prince Ekeh has appealed to customers to prioritize pre-payment in order to assist the company ease the surge for essential deliveries.

‘‘With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, we have noticed a significant increase in shopping activity, especially for groceries and other essentials. Naturally, this comes with a surge. Therefore, we appeal to customers to pre-pay for their items in order to help us manage the increased demand.’’

Nevertheless, he assured that the company was not stopping payment on delivery option.

‘‘We are not stopping payment on delivery. However, these are critical times and due to the need to creatively manage logistics infrastructure to cater for the increased demand and the delivery of essentials such as medical needs, we encourage shoppers and prospective customers to pre-pay as this would aid us serve them faster and better,’’ he concluded.



Nigeria is battling the coronavirus scourge which has so far seen over 40 confirmed cases since an undisclosed Italian, who returned to the country on February 24 became the index case. Meanwhile, the government, in a bid to curtail the spread, has announced bans on airports, religious gatherings and markets. Furthermore, there have been renewed calls for better personal hygiene and social distancing among the populace in a bid to curb the coronavirus menace.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19: MLTAN shuts Lagos market - ITREALMS

The Lagos State chapter of the Market Leaders and Traders' Association of Nigeria (MLTAN), has declared that markets in the state would be shut from Friday, March 27, 2020, over the Corona Virus COVID-19 pandemic, reports ITREALMS.

Leadership of MLTAN under its President, Comrade Christopher Okpala, and Secretary, Comrade Okey Enwuru, confirmed this to 
ITREALMS, saying that they are pained by the ravaging effects of the deadly Corona Virus COVID-19, since it's first case was reported in Wuhan Province,China in 2019.

"Our hearts go out to the families and countries that have lost 10, hundreds or thousands of their citizens especially health workers and care givers to the virus,as we pray for the peaceful repose of their souls," they said.

Also, they expressed thanks to God for the recovery of other thousands of individuals, who were infected by the virus, and praying that those still undergoing treatment will recover their sound health soon.

"Our association is also concerned and worried about the dire economic crisis the pandemic have thrown the world into,hoping that things will normalize soon in every aspect of human lives;as the search for a permanent cure and eradication of the COVID-19 intensifies across the globe," he said.

A press statement made available to 
ITREALMS, the market leaders pointed out that following these developments, the leadership of our association having studied the present trend of events in the world and in our country Nigeria,especially Lagos State,and after due consultations and deliberations with markets leaders affiliated to our association, hereby arrive at the following,with the title LIFE FIRST.

"LIFE FIRST:
Since it is only the living that transacts business,we assume its wiser for our members to be alive, in other to be engaged in their daily businesses, hence measures to protect their lives at this critical time should be employed.

1.We therefore advise all markets affiliated to our association and other markets in Lagos State, to direct their members to buy and stock foodstuff that will sustain their families in the next couple of weeks between today,Tuesday March 24th to Thursday March 26th,and close their shops,offices, showrooms, warehouses and markets temporarily from, Friday March 27th to Friday April 4th, 2020, as we study events as they unfold.

2.Market Executives should ensure that temperature testing kits are provided for the appropriate officers in the market to screen both members and customers in their markets,while the appropriate officers should ensure that every shop or showroom provide hand washing spots and keep hand sanitizers handy when their markets reopen.

3.We advise our members to stay at home during this temporal market shutdown, and maintain social distancing of at least 6feet spacing in any public facilities; also observe other measures as directed or may be directed by relevant health agencies.

4.We advise all our members to adhere strictly to any information or directives from the Lagos State Government and other relevant regulatory bodies relating to curtailing the spread of the COVID-19.

5.We regret any inconvenience these measures may cause our members,our customers and the general public but reminding us again that ONLY THE LIVING WILL TRANSACT BUSINESS (LIFE FIRST),while praying and hoping that God will intervene very soon to save Nigeria and entire world from this precarious situation."

Ayo Midele/Editor

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