The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has made a call to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
This call followed the report of the Panel of Investigation established by the Lagos State Government to reveal the true incidents of October 20, 2020 at the Lekki Toll Gate. The report charged the police and soldiers in the Nigerian Army with killing and maiming harmless Nigerian youths who were protesting police brutality and poor governance in the country.
However, Mohammed denied that anyone was killed at the scene of the protest in a series of press conferences. Despite the stance held by the Federal Government, the report provides clear evidence that there was truly a massacre at the Lekki toll gate.
In a media statement that came after the conclusive report and verdict of the Judicial Panel, the HURIWA called for the dismissal, arrest and trial for his shocking lies which have now been contradicted by the findings of the Lagos Judicial Panel of Investigation. The Association also recalled the claim made by Amnesty International that at least 12 protesters were killed in Lagos State by security operatives was challenged by the Minister of Information.
HURIWA likened the denial of the killing at the Lekki toll gate by Lai Mohammed to the denial of the Holocaust by Adolf Hitler, stating that the offence is punishable by nearly “half a century of incarceration.” The Association also commended the members and Chairperson of the Panel of Inquiry for their hard work in bringing the truth to light.
The group also asked the President not to treat the lawlessness of the security agencies like water over rock, just as it mentioned that if the President allows his Minister of Information to get away with denying the massacre, the President will be remembered as a dictator who oversaw the genocide of young protesters.
Npower Latest News: Npower Payment Update as at December 2
The Npower programme has been under a lot of criticism lately for its inability to pay the programme’s beneficiaries their stipends since September. This article will be providing updates concerning the programme, payment of stipends and other updates concerning it.
Earlier in the week, the National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) posted on its Facebook page that there had been a reversal of payment status. NASIMS apologized for the incident, saying that the reversal was caused partly by instability in network, causing it to bounce back after waiting days to “clinch the next payment process has elapsed.” They stated that they were working on resolving it, and all qualified beneficiaries would be paid eventually.
Then on Thursday, NASIMS addressed a Facebook post to the unpaid beneficiaries of Batch C1. The post informed beneficiaries that payment of the outstanding September stipend had begun.
This comes at a period when the affected beneficiaries are going through a frustrating period, considering the economic situation of the country (with rising prices of food and other products) approaching the festive period. It will come as a relief to many that at least one part of the outstanding payments has commenced, when the demand for the payment has been high in recent weeks.
NASIMS then implored the beneficiaries to continue monitoring their accounts closely, in case they are credited with their stipends without receiving any alerts. The Management System also confirmed that correction of any issues associated with payment is still ongoing, and once again assured the beneficiaries that all those concerned and qualified will be paid.
After posting the update concerning the September payment, NASIMS went ahead to speak concerning the October and November stipend payments. The Management System once again stated that in order to avoid false information, beneficiaries should bear in mind that the payment of the October and November stipends have not started.
NASIMS said that it was still working on issues concerning payment and hoped to settle everything as soon as possible.
Npower Payment: NASIMS Talks Payment of October and November Stipends
The National Social Investment Management System (NASIMS) has released an update concerning the payment of the Npower October and November stipends to the Batch C volunteers of the Npower programme. The failure to pay the stipends has launched quite the discourse concerning the efficacy of the programme.
In a Facebook post, NASIMS addressed the lack of payment, responding to the enquiries of some beneficiaries. These beneficiaries had previously repeatedly made attempts to find out exactly when the payments for October and November would be commencing.
NASIMS first moved to clarify how the payment process works, explaining that the payment procedure is not quick and it takes time. The group stated that the account would need to be validated before anything else, after which the bank account details would be forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria, who will in turn send out the required stipends to the financial institutions.
The Facebook post closed with NASIMS saying that they are not aware of an exact date on which the payment of the October and November stipends will commence, but mentioned that they are sure that the payment process will be starting anytime soon.
Also, the Federal Government – through NASIMS – has told the beneficiaries of Batch C to provide their Bank Verification Numbers if they are yet to do so, as the BVN is necessary for account validation. The Federal Government also confirmed that if payment status reflects as ‘Pending’ on the dashboard, it means that the account has been successfully validated.
At this stage, beneficiaries are to simply be patient and wait for the payment to be made.
NASIMS also stated that its attention has been drawn to a ridiculous post going around social media, concerning the commencement of Batch C2 selection. The post announced that the Batch C2 of the Npower programme had begun and individuals would need to pay N4500 to be enlisted.
Omicron, WHO Gives New COVID Variant Name
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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