Press highlights warning of second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria, others

The warning by Nigeria's Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, of a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the country…

The warning by Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, of a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in the country and the efforts being made to ensure Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala clinched the director-generalship of the World Trade Organisation are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Guardian reports that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has warned that a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak is imminent in the country, following the recent EndSARS protests, where many protesters threw caution to the wind and violated the COVID-19 protocols.

He further noted that reopening of schools would likely precipitate the second outbreak as had been experienced in parts of the world, warning that Nigeria had no reason for complacency, but every reason to wake up.

Addressing the 26th Scientific Conference and the Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), the minister observed that Lagos State suffered the double impact of being the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and also the #EndSars protest, putting the resilience of the institutions and systems to the test.

He said, “Lagos is a major international travel entry point and an extensive, vibrant metropolis. The risks are corresponding. I, therefore, solicit your support now, with propagating known effective public non-pharmaceutical measures, increasing your index of suspicion and caution, and above all cooperating with public health officials to prepare for, and respond to all emerging health challenges.”

The newspaper says that the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, has said that Nigeria is reaching out to the United States of America (USA) and South Korea to have Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala clinch the director-generalship of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The American government is obstructing the recommendation of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance for the top global job.

Thanking others that have been backing the United Nations ex-official for the position, the minister said the Federal Government would lobby other nations to secure the needed consensus.

She assured the citizens of regular updates on the quest to making the Delta State native the first African and woman to head the global organisation.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Katagum, who also chairs the campaign strategy team for the mission, said everything legal and diplomatic would be deployed to seeing to the announcement of the Nigerian as next WTO chief executive at a Special General Council meeting holding on November 9.

She pointed out that the U.S. was holding back its support because it preferred the South Korean rival for the post.

The Punch reports that power distribution companies have commenced the implementation of the revised electricity tariff that was jointly agreed upon by organised labour and the Federal Government.

In an exclusive report in Sunday Punch, the Nigeria Labour Congress stated that the Federal Government would not revert to the September 1, 2020 service reflective tariff that led to widespread outcry across the country.

The Deputy President, NLC, who doubles as General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, Joe Ajaero, said that the September 1, 2020 hike in tariff had been reviewed downwards in most categories.

Ajaero said, “If you watch the new template, for customers in Bands A and B, there was a reduction of 10 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively. For those in Band C, there is a 31 per cent reduction.” “Those in Bands D and E were not increased at all.

“NERC is not reverting to the tariff that led to the outcry, rather it would commence the implementation of these adjustments that were done.”

The newspaper says that the Federal Government is to spend between N269.38bn and N497.13bn on the provision of six million free meters to various unmetered power users across the country.

 Also, findings from separate quarterly reports of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission on the power sector showed that the number of unmetered customers in Nigeria has reduced by 210,359.

It was also gathered that about 245,916 unmetered power consumers would not benefit from the six million free meters, as Nigeria currently has about 6,245,916. On Thursday, a presidency source told reporters in Abuja that the government would commence its free meter distribution scheme the following day with Kano, Kaduna, Eko and Ikeja electricity distribution companies’ franchise areas.

The newspaper had reported on Friday that the presidency official, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, explained that the exercise would be carried out under the National Mass Metering Programme.

The Sun reports that amidst dwindling oil revenue occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, Nigeria produced 155,062,220 barrels of crude oil and condensate for the months of July, August and September.

According to data from the Department of Petroleum Resources, the country produced a daily average of 1,701,738, 1,704,669 and 1,648,786 for the months of July, August and September 2020, translating to a combined production of 52,753.877, 52,844,750 and 49,463,593 for the three months respectively.

This was even as the regulator said Nigeria currently extracts hydrocarbon from 323 developed fields in both onshore and offshore basins.

The DPR statistics further indicated that the fields, which either contain crude oil, condensates or natural gas reservoirs, are connected to 265 production processing stations, after which the stabilised oil and gas are exported through 31 export terminals.

The Nation says that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has explained the modality for the disbursement of the Federal Government’s N75 billion Entrepreneurship Youth Support Fund.

She spoke at the weekend in Kaduna at a meeting with 77 district heads and religious leaders. The engagement was in continuation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to all his cabinet members to return home and interface with their constituents on the efforts of the present administration towards national development.

Speaking at the event held at Kaduna State University (KASU), Ahmed explained how youths can access the fund. She said the amount accessible to each beneficiary would be dependent on their business idea, proposal and their repayment plan, with amount ranging from N250,000 to N5 million.

She explained that the interest-free loan is expected to be paid back to the government within five years. The Minister, who said the meeting was meant to get inputs into the best ways to empower youths in reaction to the #EndSARS protest, which metamorphosed into looting, appealed to religious and traditional leaders to educate parents on the need to instill family values on their children.