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NIPOST Clamps Down on 8 Illegal Courier Operators in Lagos

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The Courier and Logistics Regulatory Department (CLRD) of the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), last week, clamped down on eight courier operators in Lagos who were operating illegally without a courier operating license.

The enforcement team, comprising of the police and staff of CLRD, led by its Assistant General Manager in charge of Ethics, Complaints and Strategy, Mr. Banks Worimegbe, carried out an undercover investigation on illegal courier operations in Lagos for several weeks, before the clampdown.

Items such as dispatch motor-bikes, logbooks, invoice/receipt booklets were confiscated from each of the eight courier operators and a management staff arrested.

The eight courier operators were Chinmark Logistics, Crestline Logistics, Zibia Speed Logistics, Eko Expedite, Gadget Freak, Massive Solanc Limited, Nestore Technologies as well as the eight courier operators, whose name was withheld for further investigation.

Addressing the media shortly after the exercise, the General Manager at CLRD, Mr. Gideon Dotun Shonde, said the eight courier operators were clamped down for operating without a courier operating license, which he said, constitutes illegality.

According to him, there were several implications of operating without a license, such as a tendency to shortchange innocent customers, by receiving payments and parcels from customers for deliveries, without actually delivering the items, because they have no registered addresses through which they could be traced and tracked, as well as defrauding the federal government of their licensing fees, among others.

He advised the general public to desist from patronising unlicensed courier operators for the safety of their deliverables.

He said CLRD had licensed over 260 courier operators and advised Nigerians to identify them in order to transact genuine courier business with them.

Although some of those affected were full of surprise and claimed ignorance of the existing federal law that mandates courier operators to obtain a license before the operation, Shonde said the CLRD had over the years, sensitised the courier industry on the need to obtain an operational license, but that some of the operators deliberately refused to begin the process of obtaining a license, because they had the intension to cut corners and defraud the federal federal government and innocent customers.

“Sensitisation has been ongoing and in January this year, we kicked off another round of enlightenment campaigns to inform courier industry players on the need to obtain a license and to renew such license after expiration.

“I have been on national radio and television to discuss the implications of operating courier business without a license and we will not relent in our efforts of sensitising the courier industry until it is free from all manners of sharp practices and irregularities,” Shonde said.

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Omicron, WHO Gives New COVID Variant Name

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the new COVID variant B.1.1.529, Omicron on Friday.

The organisation disclosed in a statement published on its website after its officials assessed data received from South Africa earlier today.

It said “The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.”

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout or S gene target failure) and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.”

Therefore, countries are asked to do the following:

  • enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  • submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database, such as GISAID.
  • report initial cases/clusters associated with VOC infection to WHO through the IHR mechanism.
  • where capacity exists and in coordination with the international community, perform field investigations and laboratory assessments to improve understanding of the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19 epidemiology, severity, effectiveness of public health and social measures, diagnostic methods, immune responses, antibody neutralization, or other relevant characteristics.

WHO said its independent Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) will continue to evaluate this variant and communicate new findings to member states.

On Friday, Belgium reported a case of Omicron variant covid in a traveler from Egypt while Hong Kong reported two cases.

The United Kingdom, US, Israel and others have imposed restrictions on flights from South Africa and other six nations to curb Omicron outbreak in the nations.

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US, UK, EU Nations, Israel, Others Restrict Travel From South Africa

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The United States has joined the United Kingdom, Israel, European Nations and a host of others to restrict flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi starting from Monday.

US Senior officials announced on Friday, saying the restriction was recommended by Joe Biden’s chief medical officer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the restriction does not apply to US citizens or permanent residents.

The decision was after reports of a fast-spreading new covid variant called B.1.1.529 hits headline on Thursday, raising concerns it could spread across the world if nothing is done fast. On Friday, Hong Kong reported two cases of the virus while Belgium confirmed one case in a traveler from Egypt.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the heavily mutated coronavirus strain ‘a variant of concern’.

WHO said the new COVID variant would be given the name Omicron after data examined by its officials showed exponential growth in cases of the B.1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant.

The news plunged global financial markets, with stocks falling to their lowest in more than a year. The Standard and Poor 500 dropped 2.3 percent while Europe’s Stoxx 600 sheds 3.7 percent and the MSCI Asia-Pacific index dipped by 1.7 percent.

Crude oil dropped over $10 or more than 5 percent to $72 a barrel. Even gold, a known haven commodity, pulled back, losing its earlier gains.

“What should have been a quiet Friday trading in both bonds and equities globally has turned into a rout,” said Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at NatAlliance Securities.

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Npower Batch C: Payment Status Now Pending

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In an update concerning the Npower batch C volunteers, the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) has stated that the payment issues are one step closer to being resolved.

NASIMS stated that previous complaints about error messages like ‘Failed Payment’ and ‘No Payment Data Available’ have now been changed to pending.

In a previous update, some reasons for the failure in payment were revealed. Some of the reasons revealed were the lack of completion of a physical verification exercise, provision of wrong account details, no provision of account details at all, failure to provide Bank Verification Number or the lack of matching information on different documents.

Newsonlineng reports that NASIMS has stated that once the resolution has been effected, it cannot be instantaneous but will rather take a few days before the changes made can reflect. The site has however also confirmed that all the payment issues have been resolved days ago and that the resolution has reflected on every Batch C volunteer’s NASIMS profile page.

The profile page is now showing ‘Pending’ which is the very first page of the payment process.

By virtue of the resolution made, all the beneficiaries of Batch C of the Npower programme have been advised to login to their NASIMS page for the confirmation of the update. All the Batch C volunteers whose issues are yet to be resolved and the update yet to be reflected on their page have been encouraged to exercise patience as all the payment issues will be resolved and the payments will surely be made.

Some other information released from NASIMS include:

  1. Collation of account details as well as the resolution of problems is still going on
  2. Resolution of the payment issues have now been rectified, and the pending status seen is the first step of payment before processing
  3. For wrong account details, those affected should call the NASIMS support lines 092203102 and 018888340 to lodge complaints and provide the correct details.

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