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Press focuses on reintroduction of nationwide restrictions to curtail spread of Covid-19, others

The reintroduction of nationwide restrictions by the Nigerian government as part of efforts to curtail further spread of Covid-19 and…

The reintroduction of nationwide restrictions by the Nigerian government as part of efforts to curtail further spread of Covid-19 and the invasion of residences of two senior aides to Nigerian President by armed men inside the precinct of the Presidential Villa, Abuja are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Guardian reports that following the rising in infections in several and the danger the development poses to Africa, the Federal Government has reviewed Nigeria’s COVID-19 response and reintroduced a nationwide 12am to 4am curfew as part of efforts to curtail further spread of the virus.

The Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) has also approved the commencement of administration of the second dose of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine across the federation.

Besides, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government has fixed the cost of COVID-19 testing –be it PCR or any other – at $50 at all points of entry with effect from May 17, 2021.This is to ease travel and trade within the sub-region.

Speaking at the briefing of the committee yesterday in Abuja, the National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, announced that the curfew would take effect from midnight of Monday, May 10, adding that night clubs, gyms and others would remain shut till further notice beginning from Tuesday.

He said effective from 0000 hours on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Phase 4 of the first restrictions would come into effect.

“We shall maintain restrictions on mass gatherings in and outside work settings with a maximum number of 50 people in any enclosed space, approved gatherings must be held, maintaining physical distancing and other non-pharmaceutical measures,” Mohammed clarified.

The newspaper says that the Presidency last night confirmed that armed men suspected to be robbers invaded residences of two senior aides to President Muhammadu Buhari inside the precinct of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Garba Shehu, confirmed the development via his verified twitter handle @GarShehu at 9:28pm.

“The Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, has confirmed that ‘there was a foolish attempt’ to burgle his residence at 3:00am this morning but it turned out to be unsuccessful.

“Professor Gambari, whose house is on a street next to the Villa, has assured that there is nothing to worry about from the incident,” Shehu said.

The incident on Sunday prompted Gambari and Abubakar Maikano, the chief of staff and admin officer, to abandon their residences, sources said.

The Guardian also reports that the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), yesterday, threw its weight behind calls for the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari, warning Nigeria cannot survive two more years under this regime.

Speaking during African Independent Television’s ‘Kakaaki’ programme, the spokesman of the forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, called on members of the National Assembly to begin the process of impeaching the president, noting that the lawmakers must realise that the country is in a dire state.

Baba-Ahmed, who pointed out that the challenges bedeviling the country were more than mere talking and issuing statements, said now is the time to act.

He said: “Those who have constitutional responsibility must realise that the country is in a dire strait, and do something other than just talking and making promises. The second option is for citizens to get together and decide to do something.

“The third option is that those leaders who are failing will recognise the fact that they are the problem, and they will resign because they clearly have nothing to offer in terms of leadership,” he said.

The Punch says that it is going to be highly suicidal to remove petrol subsidy now and the advice by the Presidential Economic Advisory Committee on subsidy removal is wrong, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers has said.

The PUNCH reported on Monday that the PEAC advised President Muhammadu Buhari to remove subsidy on petrol and adopt a pricing regime that reflects the cost of the commodity.

Reacting to the development, the General Secretary, NUPENG, Olawale Afolabi, told our correspondent that implementing the advice would spell doom for the poor masses considering the precarious economic situation of Nigeria at present.

He said, “Within the current context of hardship in the country, it is suicidal to remove subsidy now. It is highly suicidal within the current situation.”

Afolabi said NUPENG had repeatedly told the government that the full deregulation of the downstream oil industry was the way to go, but this must not be based on petroleum product imports.

ThisDay reports that the federal government has reiterated that the current moves to revamp the power sector using the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), Nigerians will have access to about 25GW of electricity in the next five years.

Speaking during a webinar with the Energy Transition Council, a body under the United Nations, Minister of State, Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, who presented the keynote address at the council’s country dialogue conference, reassured that the government has the political will to make sure the goal is achieved.

Jedy-Agba explained that the country was experiencing a turning point in the power sector, noting that the ministry was exploring ways of localising the energy value chain in Nigeria and giving priority to technology transfer and capacity building.

“The Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) is a comprehensive programme targeted at the grid, transmission, distribution and grid communications projects that will modernise the grid and unlock 25GW of stable operable capacity over the next five years,” Jedy-Agba stated.

He stressed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been undertaking reforms that will make the power market very attractive and competitive for investors.

The newspaper says that the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Kassi Brou, has described the regional electricity market, under construction, as fundamental to the development of West Africa.

Brou spoke when he visited the Accra-based ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), where he reiterated that energy production is vital to the viability of the market, adding that the regional organisation is already formulating policies that will attract investments.

He said ECOWAS’ focus was looking forward to the needed funding in the production of electricity, ensuring transmission and distribution lines for cross-border power exchange and access to the local population.

According to him, the body was also interested in having a good legal environment “so that private investors can know exactly, in a very predictable and transparent way, what the rules are and so can invest in the sector”.

The first phase of the Regional Electricity Market was launched in June 2018 in Cotonou, Benin Republic, while the second phase, he said, will introduce a competitive market and help promote efficiency.

Brou said the electricity market will ensure an increase in investment, considering the existence of a free trade area and the free circulation of persons, goods and services in the region.

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