The alarm raised by the Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday over the death of 20 medical doctors as a result of COVID-19 and the report that about N9.4bn bribes exchanged hands in the judicial sector between 2018 and 2020 are the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Punch reports the Nigerian Medical Association on Sunday said it was disturbed by the death of medical doctors as a result of COVID-19, saying it would in January write the Federal Government on the need to train health workers in infection prevention.
The NMA President, Professor Innocent Ujah, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Makurdi, while reacting to the death of 20 medical doctors within one week as a result of COVID-19.
Ujah said this as the President, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, asked the Federal Government to ban flights from countries with new variants of COVID-19.
Also on Sunday, the team lead, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada treatment centre, Dr. Yunusa Thairu, raised the alarm that 22 coronavirus patients out of 86 on admission at various treatment centres in the Federal Capital Territory were in critical conditions.
The newspaper says that a survey by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences has found that an estimated N9.4bn bribes exchanged hands in the judicial sector between 2018 and 2020.
The report said the level of corruption in the justice sector was heightened by the “stupendously high amounts of money offered as bribes to judges by lawyers handling high electoral and political cases.”
The 84-page survey titled, ‘Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey 2020′, disclosed that the private sector ranked next to the judicial sector in corruption levels, noting that the graft in private business sector contributed greatly to the national level of corruption.
It explained that the methodology was experienced-based rather than perception-related questions of corruption, as measured from a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing “Absolutely not corrupt and 100 indicating “Absolutely Corrupt.”
Of the 901 respondents in the justice sector, 638 making 70.81 percent were lawyers. Judges were 124 judges or 13.76 percent, and 25 respondents at 2.77 percent were court staff (clerks and registers).
The report stated that 9.9 percent of lawyers admitted paying N5.7b bribes in connection to mostly electoral cases they were handling.
The Guardian reports that hopes of lower construction costs by prospective homeowners may have been dashed, going by fresh increase in price of cement and related products.
The increase has already triggered ripple effect in the open market, where prices have gone up by as much as 60 percent in recent weeks. The rising prices have also worsened construction costs in a sector, reeling under pressure from disruptive policies and ineffective housing supply.
The Guardian investigation revealed that the export of the product to neigbouring countries, despite huge domestic demand, may be responsible for the shortage.
The Federal Government recently granted Dangote Cement and BUA permission to transport products across the border, despite closure. Cement and by-products in neigbouring countries command higher prices.
Distributors hinted that there was increase of ex-factory prices due to economic realities, which prompted many dealers to change prices. For instance, Dangote Cement increased its ex-factory price to N3, 050 due to logistics and production cost.
The newspaper says that fresh hurdles now await international air travellers from the United Kingdom and South Africa as Federal Government’s preventive measures against new strain of COVID-19 take effect this morning.
By the new protocol, all inbound passengers are mandated to seek and get travel permit from Nigeria before boarding flights coming into the country.
To enforce the protocol more than ever before, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will fine airlines $3,500 for each passenger and may be required to return non-Nigerian defaulting passengers to the point of embarkation for non-compliance.
Stakeholders, though received the new directive with mixed feelings, have urged the Federal Government to also intensify on-arrival rapid COVID-19 testing centres at ports of entry.
While several countries placed a ban on UK travellers over COVID-19 new strain recently detected, the British government has also banned travellers to the country from South Africa, having linked the new variant to the African country.
The Guardian also reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has wreaked the nation’s economy and should, therefore, step aside for more competent hands to manage the nation.
In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP condemned the rejection by the Presidency of the recent Financial Times editorial that warned that the country might become a failed state.
“The Buhari administration has wreaked our once robust economy, destroyed the value of our naira and turned our nation into world poverty capital, where life has become so unbearable that compatriots now resort to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options,” the PDP declared.
The opposition party cautioned officials of the presidency against playing with the sensibilities of Nigerians by “their arrogant dismissal of wise counsel on how to redeem our nation”.
“They should advise President Buhari to take a back seat and allow competent hands to manage critical sectors of our national life before it is too late.
The Vanguard reports that despite the challenges in the operating environment, May & Baker Nigeria Plc has been able to weather the storm in the last decade as it is now in a strong liquidity position following its proactive measures in sourcing long term credit facilities as well accessing the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, intervention facilities among others.
The Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, disclosed this at a media luncheon in Lagos. saying:“ Taking over from a company a decade ago when Profit Before Tax, PBT was barely a third of a billion naira and to triple this to becoming a billion naira-profit company, doubling the balance sheet size from N7billion to N14 billion and doubling shareholders’ equity from N3billon to N6billion were not an easy task.”
“We also doubled revenues by 100 per cent during this period and growing the business by investing in key infrastructure, research and innovation,” he said.
Okafor disclosed that having worked for 35 years and of which 10 years was as the managing director, he would be exiting May & Baker and Pharm. Patrick Ajah would be taking over from January 2021.